Thursday, September 25th, 1997
Pitching Camp 1, 20.000 ft. (Per Bager).
After the Puja was over, Michael and I left ABC to pitch Camp 1, our first
camp on the mountain. The path, or rather, faint track passes across large scree
areas, where you have to jump from one rock to another or zigzag your way among
the boulders. At 18.700 ft. a large plateau is reached where we passed between
the camps of the Czech and the Australians. Both of these expeditions are aiming
for Makalu II (Kangchungtse). Beyond these camps we move between tall towers of
ice, still on rocky moraine, until reaching a rocky cliff, which you have to
overcome by solo rockclimbing 40-50 ft. (no protection) at about 18.900 ft.
Due to the late start following the puja, it was late afternoon as Michael and I stood in front of the last 900 ft. rise leading to the proposed place for pitching Camp 1 at 20.000 ft., a platform waiting to be dug in the snow so the tent could be pitched and, last but not least, protected against the hard gusts of wind of the Himalayas. After a brief discussion whether it was possible to reach camp before nightfall or not, we succeeded by united efforts to cover these last 900 ft. Michael ploughed like a steam roller the way up to 20.000 ft. in less than an hour and a half, giving us time to dig the platform and pitch the tent before nightfall. Our last strength was used to melt snow so we were able to cover our great water deficiency with tea and soup. The hunger, however small it was, was satified by Raiders and Bounty, which don't need more preparation than tearing off the chocolate wrapping. Camp 1 was now a reality, and although we had a little headache, we wormed down our snug sleeping bags with a content smile.