To the Top of the world
5/25/2010 5:57:25 PM
In the evening of May 17th we heard that Carina Räihä had reached the summit of Mt Everst. Motivated by her example we woke up early in the morning of 18th. The morning routines we know by heart now and we perofmed those quickly. We headed out with a head-mounted lamp showing us the way.We reached C1 in approx. four hours.Timo decided to camp there for a while. Mika took a rest for the hottest time and decided to continue to C2 in the afternoon. When the clouds rose to cover the sun, Mika climbed to C2. Timo instead arrived to C2 in the 19th. When climbing in a high altitude it is imporant to save your breath - recovery is almost impossible in the higher altitudes. So we basically rested in C2 without doing anything.
In the morning of the 20th we headed out to Camp three. It was a sunny day and things looked bright. We optimistically dressed with nothing but shell-clothing and packed our thicker gear into the backbacks. We ascended towards the Lhotse wall and reached it after about 1,5 hours. Just like a replay of the previous time we were here, a strong wind stirred right below the wall. We dug the down jackets from the backbacks, struggled in the wind to get dressed - and did not incur any significant losses. We started ascending the Lhotse wall, which has a 40-60 degree incline. It took us about 2,5 hours to climb to Camp three - just to realize that the wind last night had broken the two tents in the camp. The resourceful sherpas from Asian Trekking erected two new tents and we decided to fit David in our tent as well. Our lodging was very well air conditioned and had a great view to all the way to the top crest of Mt. Everest. We spent the evening performing our well known routines: preparing food, coocking water and chatting. When the night fell, the winds from the stratosphere rose and the tents were flapping like crazy. We could not get much sleep in that noise. One cannot underestimate the powers that lie in the nature.
In the morning we continued our journey - but not feeling very rested after a restless night. This time we carried only minimal gear in our backpacks and our breathing was eased by a top-out mask. We set the oxygen flow to level two. The first shock was quite an experience for the scandinavian skin - the down jacket felt hot and the oxygen felt weird. After the first 5 minutes we opened up the down jackets and took of the masks- with a comment.. After a small break for thinking we continued towards the Yellow Band, which is the rock formation that separates the Lhotse wall and Geneva Spur. Crossing these formations proved to be the most technically challenging task for the day. After crossing the Geneva Spur we arrived to Camp four. It took us 6 hours of hard work to get there. We ate quickly in the camp and tried to catch some sleep (with the oxygen masks) before it was time to push to the summit. We decided that we will target to take off at 21:30, but at 21:00 the sky was filled with snow and wind, which made us rethink the whole idea of reaching the summit. The sky cleared as fast as the snowing had begun and it was suddenly clear skies all the way. We donned the down jackets again and moved out as fast as we could - for us this meant 23:00 in the evening. The rout took us straight up the mountain to a southern ridge called Balcony. Here we exchanged new oxygen bottles and drank some hot liquid. Our normal water bottles were frozen solid and the cocoa we had in the thermos was only lukewarm. At the Balcony there was about 5 m/s wind and the temperature was a crisp -36 degrees celsius. The coolness of the air did not slow us down when we headed to the southern summit. The rock formations before the southern summit were challenging ones and we had to wait for other climbers here and there. Since today there were "only" 50 climbers trying to reach the top, the queues were cleared quite fast from even the hardest spots. We crossed the southern summit only to see that the summit of Mt. Everest was close, but so painfully far away. We descended a few meters from the southern summit and reached the Hillary Step. Before the Hillary Step we could see both China and Nepal, in a place were China lies 3 kilometers below us. In contrary to our expectations the Hillary Step was not very challenging, since it was pretty much cleared by the wind with rocks visible.
After about nine hours of hard climbing work we finally reached the top of the world - and yes, we did cry tears of joy.