Saturday, 6 September 2008

Another early start and it was back up the gully with more equipment. This time the 1000m ascent was a lot easier and we soon reached ABC. We pitched our tents at an altitude of around 5000m, and then pushed on up the continuation gully to Pierres high point from the previous day. 

Jerry and i dropped our kit and started the approach to the climb, the first 30m are up a steep ice gully on an old fixed line and over a jammed block. I led this not really knowing the condition of the fixed line and once at the top replaced it with some of our static. The top of the gully gives you access to the South Col. As you stand astride the col to your right you look back down the gully towards the Trango Glacier and to the left the Dunge Glacier. A 40 foot traverse on loose flakes above a steep ice shoot leads to the first belay of the Slovenian route. I fixed the static to the belay, looked up at the first pitch, down to the glacier below and took a deep breath wishing that the weather window will come sooner than predicted. With moves already in my mind from only a few minutes looking at the first pitch it was time to head down to ABC to sleep.

ABC is situated at the head of a massive gully, with room for possibly 5 tents under a huge boulder which protects you from any rockfall. We had a nice evening eating noodles, taking photos and taking in the view. The night wasnt too cold but i had made the mistake of taking only a very thin mat and i could feel every stone under me.

We awoke to a dusting of snow and after a quick breakfast it was back up the gully to the col with more gear. A quick repack and we hauled a couple of bags to to the start of the route. We have been getting forecasts from Metteo France and the next few days we are expecting snow, so all this work is in préperation for the weather window that we are expecting soon. As we finished our haul the sun was shining on the wall, so Dénis and myself geared up quickly and began to climb.

Within minutes it was snowing, but with frozen feet i led the first pitch up a well protected crack that is given 7a+ on the topo, even with the exposure, altitude and cold it only felt about E4 6a. Denis led through and at the next belay we fixed the ropes and abseiled off. By now i was shivering and couldnt really move my jaw due to the cold so i was glad of the plan to return to BC to wait for the weather to turn. Up hère it is amazing how fast you can go from being warm to being freezing. Its another world of risk and commitment to climb a free route, it has taken 12 days from leaving the UK till the climbing i did yesterday. It is a long way from the walk in to Stanage !

Last night we got the forecast again, we are expecting around a meter of snow over the next three days !! The winds up high are fast though and should stop the snow from settling on the tower. We are expecting a good weather window soon and we are ready to go, hopefully there will be no avalance risk after the snow fall.

Another excitement has taken over BC though, as last night we had snow leopards in camp. Our cook and guide saw two adults and a cub around 50m from the tents, they shone their lights but they came closer. It was only the noise of the stove that scared them off in the end. This beautiful and very rare animal has only ever been filmed once. We found their tracks in the mud by the lake this afternoon and tonight we might be lucky enough to see them.



Kev Groome said...

Hi Jerry & team.
we've been following your journey...great progress despite the weather not being so kind right now!
How is the diabetic management going there Jerry?
7a at 5000M plus; makes the Tete d'Aval look like a walk...!
Take care and enjoy,

vi said...


la météo à l'air parfaite pour faire du ski mais pour de la grimpe c'est un peu frais; ici , c'est la pluie non stop depuis hier soir donc on sort les palmes et pas les chaussons; Peut être demain après un tour de vtt dans les bois , histoire de faire quelques dérapages dans la boue;
je vous souhait vivement de voir les léopards des neiges mais trop trop près tout de même;
qui le touchera, qui le prendra en photo

bises à tous


Sarah Harfield said...

Hi Team - Jerry's little sis here, on a wet and cold day in London. Nothing to say on any note - not change there Bro - but thinking of you all as you have fun in the snow and I'm here looking after a guide dog and 6 kids..... take care of my big bro!
S xx

Sarah Harfield said...

Shall I re type that last message without the typo's! Give you something to think about while in your tiny tiny tents!
S x

Cesc said...

Bon courage à tous !!!
Vous devez faire que je regrette de ne pas avoir venu.
Bonne chance.