The day after we had walked through the white out to reach Camp 1 on Kyajo Ri, we actually realized that we were about 50 m lower and 200m away from our Ideal campsite – it would give us a view of our objective but more importantly it would also get the SUN about 45 minutes earlier! We were however, at this point too tired to repack everything so made the choice to stay where we were for the time being and instead start to do a small acclimation walk up towards Camp 2.
Camp 2 is situtated at 5670m on the Col at the base of the true climbing and its accessed by walking up a steep gulley – which was very much filled with snow. In fact there was so much snow it was going to make getting a trail up to the Col difficult. To add to this we had just gotten a weather report that suggested that over the next 72 hours that there could be upto 60 – 70cm of new snow coming. This was very worrying ……
Heather and I made the choice to go up and simply watch what the weather was going to do. We had enough food and fuel to wait out a big storm but that might also mean that any chance of summitting or even attempting to get on the peak would simply not occur.
Anyway – off we set around the lake towards the Kyajo Ri Glacier where we roped up to make our first foray onto it – as it turns out the glacier was very benign and slow moving so crevasse hazard was not really a concern. After out first trip we wouldn’t need to rope up again.
As we plugged steps up the gulley – the afternoon cloud rolled in and totally obscured our view – Id actually been so busy trying to get weather updates that I’d hardly eaten any breakfast and by the time I was getting close to 5550m I was pretty exhausted. We turned back before the Col as we could see nothing at all and made our way back to camp. By now visibility was again poor and it was snowing again. There ended up being 10-15cm of snow laid down that evening ..
Thankfully the day dawned clear the next day and we chose to have a rest day. Around midday 2 lone figures were seen coming up the valley in our trail as the days clouds once again began to boil. It turned out to be Soren Ledet and Lakpha Tamang – two good friends of mine and whom I’d last seen in 2016 on CHOLATSE. It was amazing to see them however they quickly turned around after dropping of a load of gear and want back down towards BC to allow Soren to Acclimate.
We’d heard that there was actually a fixed line that had been recently placed and given the snow conditions / the weight of loads needed to be taken to Camp 2 and the potential snow coming we made the choice to forgo an alpine style ascent and instead use the fixed lines.
The next morning we again chose to have a ‘semi’ rest day and instead move our camp Higher to where the sun would get to us earlier and provide a more comfortable location for us to relax. After a few hours of load carrying, site construction and sorting we were much better placed and retired for a good rest just as Soren and Lhakpa again arrived back at Camp 1 to set up camp.
Thankfully the forecast snow had shifted and it appeared we would get a chance to summit in the coming days.