DAY 10 – 4th May 2013
We departed base camp at 2am in a tight group of five.
The first part of the climb was horizontal for 15 minutes, then the trail rose up traversing for 5 hours.
We only got the flat ice fields at 8am where the crevasse filled flats were.
We had to cross this section for about 300m before arriving at the foot of the final summit climb.
It felt like a never ending climb.
Upon finishing the first rock climb section, we put on our crampons for the snow where we traversed in a glacier rope travel system across the 300m of snow field to the base of the 200m ice wall.
We got to the ice wall & had to use our training from earlier in the day. It took us more than two hours to reach the top of the ice wall due to the altitude making it harder to perform at that height and climbing at a 70 degree incline.
We were already close to 6,000m when we got to the base of the 200m ice wall.
At the top of the ice wall we had to traverse a knife edge ridge to get to the true summit. We reached the summit of Island Peak at 12.42pm having left camp at 2am.
It then took us another 5 hours to descend to base camp. I got to base camp at 6pm and was totally shattered.
Total time from base camp to summit and back to base camp was roughly 16 hours. I got to my tent, took 2 neurofens and went to sleep until 6am the next day.
I was so tired I had no energy or inclination to have dinner that night either despite having only eaten the porridge the previous night before leaving and a few bars of chocolates along the way during the climb.
It is difficult to get a sense of scale of the heights we had reached from the pictures below, however, indulge me. If you have a look at the third and fourth picture in the 3rd row of pictures….(the one with the back of my shoe on the right edge of the picture and the one after that).
On the third picture, if you let your eyes skim the bottom edge of the picture, from the left, about one third of the way as you go along to the right of the picture, you will notice a black speck on the photo…that is actually one of the climbers descending the peak. That is a distance of about 200m. We climbed a full kilometre that day. So from that point where that guy is, there’s another 800 vertical metres to go.
It is a lot easier to see on the fourth picture if you struggled with the last one. If you look let your eyes skim from the bottom of the picture upwards from the red part of the prayer flag, you will notice two black specks on the incline of the peak, those are 2 climbers on their way down from the summit at a distance of 200m from where we were standing.
What a day…