Saturday, February 22, 2014

Week 8 - day 6 of BZ adventure "agony of defeat"

Thursday, February 20

Hiking time: 10 hours
Total distance: 17km
Starting attitude: 4550m
Got to 5000m
Final altitude: 3100m
Habitat: stone scree, ice cap, alpine desert

I was awoken by Dennis at 11:30pm, told to get to get some tea and be ready to leave with Baraka for my summit attempt. He gave me all my clothes that I sent to the kitchen tent to be dried. I put on tights, track pants, my Columbia over pants, t shirt, under armour dry fit, my running vest, Columbia jacket, 2 pairs of gloves, and a toque.

Since I was the slow poke, Lennie and the 11 others were leaving later since I needed a head start.
We we left the tent you could see up the mountain. So many wonderful lights going up path. Reminded me of the car lights coming to the farm in the movie, Field of Dreams except these were on a very steep slope.
From the moment I got on the path I knew I didn't have it in me. I walked and walked with Baraka but we had several steep climbs up the rocks too. I was so hoping that this whole thing was just paths and walking up but alas, more climbing.

We walked until 2:30am at 5000m when all of a sudden I couldn't breathe and Baraka got upset. I was warm enough, practicing the polee polee with Baraka holding my hand but my stomach had other plans too. I then realized that the further I went up the more I would have to walk down. It was 7kms to the top and that is 7kms down then you get a little rest and are expected to walk another 15km to our camp tonight. Unacceptable!!!!

I had to make a tough decision. If I continue up I would continue to become ill and then not be able to come down safely knowing the terrain we just passed. Plus, how do you expect me to have a little lunch then walk 15 more km to another camp?

Baraka and I had a talk and I told him that it was not be safe for me to continue since I am ill, my heart is still racing since Monday, my temperature is too high, I had the cold sweats, and really was wobbly. I can't hurt myself and I haven't been 100% since we started on Monday. I told Baraka that I needed to touch the snow and be at 5000m so he pretty dragged me forward for 10 more minutes, stuck my pole in the snow and he said we must go down now. I saw other climbers turning around at this point too be come down.
I knew Lennie and the rest of the team would be behind us and we would pass them on the way down and that would be upsetting but we turned around anyways. We met up with the team coming up at about 3:00am and I shared that I could not continue. By this time, I couldn't get a clear breath and my stomach needed a bathroom stat. I knew I had made the right decision. Hugged and high-five everyone and wished them well to the top.

I was so upset to put that pressure on Lennie now to get to the top for us but he was upset knowing this was my dream. We shared a cry and a hug and I sent him on his way. Their head lights bouncing in the dark like the other trekers.
Baraka proceeded to hold me up as we made our way back to camp, about and hour and I laid down immediately and fell asleep. He woke me up at 6:45am and said to come eat breakfast to begin the trek down to the next camp. NO WAY I must rest.
He came back at 7:45am and said pack my bag we must go. I looked at the mountain and could see many trekkers up and down the path. I wondered if they made it to the top yet.
I had an egg and some tea and left with Baraka for the 15km down hill.
I was so tired, my knees were killing me and my toes were squished. We got to some place called High camp where I had a nap on a bench while Baraka fixed my shoes and gaiters. So much better. We then spent 3 more hours hiking down to our camp through rain and a exceptionally dangerous river bed. How are the others going to be able to hike that after summiting?
I got to the camp and was put in a temporary tent to wait till the site could be set up. You can't set it up till the others have come back down from summit, eaten, and left to come here. Finally Penny another hiker appeared. She could not summit as she too got very sick, we sat and chatted, and tried to stay warm waiting. 3 hours later I got into our tent, organized my bag, changed into dry clothes and waited for the others to come back.

Believe it or not at 8:30pm the team arrived. I don't know how they did that final hike to this camp after summiting. Lennie arrived at the tent and completely collapsed. He said I would have died if I have just been through what they did. After they passed me at 3:00am it took them till 9:00 am to summit then everyone needed extra porters to come tot the top to help everyone down. They arrived back at base camp and were told to have some tea and pack their bags. No rest what so ever but Lennie and the boys refused to go right away as they were so dehydrated. Alex even passed out. Lennie said they were told they had a 3 hour hike to this camp (big fat lie as it was 5 hours) and more in the rain, cold, and eventually dark got here with extra porters carrying most people. His knees were ruined and got him some meds right away. Got his clothes changed and used some of our camping showered wipes to try to get clean. He then showed me all his photos and I balled like a baby. He also showed me a video he made for me from the top - most romantic thing ever.

So 10 of the 12 people in our group made it to the summit and only Penny and I didn't, people were being very nice not to celebrate too much in front of us, I felt bad because it was a huge accomplishment and they were being very sensitive to me and Penny.

We were called for dinner and I didn't want to go as I was so tired and disappointed but this was the last one together so we went. It was a delicious potato stew and for the first time in a week I ate something. The team described their horrible long journey and day and we all went to bed as we had to leave tomorrow morning for our final 12km hike back to the gates to get our van back to the hotel. Everyone can not wait to take a shower, get dry clothes, and be clean.