Our great mate Marty flew up from Melbourne on Friday, and we all headed out to Mt Barney, ready for an early climb the next morning. We arrived in the dark, and set up a couple of tents before getting a cracking fire started, to cook up a tasty Puttanesca. Eager to be in the best possible form, we were all in bed before 9pm. It is amazing how flat the ground looks when you pitch a tent at night. In fact it’s not until you start sliding to the side of the tent, that you realise your selection of the site could have been better.
Pete joined us bright and early Saturday morning, before we made the long ascent up the South East ridge. The weather was overcast and windy, making for very comfortable climbing conditions. Marty had never climbed a mountain like Barney, so she really enjoyed herself and did really well, taking on the more challenging sections without too much difficulty. Coming down is always the hardest part of the day, and arriving back into camp is a great pleasure.
Sharon was laughing at me as I persisted in stoking the fire whilst the rain fell. Despite the call of ‘give up’, I wasn’t going to let a little rain spoil my fun, and stuck with it. Needless to say, she was pretty happy with my perseverance, eventually enjoying a raging hot fire once the weather cleared.
The next day we chilled out, even managing a quick dip in the nearby waterhole. At about 12 degrees, there was no time to think about the cold, with quick entry a prerequisite. Not since Finland last year, where Raul and I moved back and forth from sauna to freezing cold lake, have I felt completely numb, yet so invigorated and alive afterwards.
On the way home, we got the news we had been sweating on, with Chris, Lakpa Sherpa and Tsering Sherpa reaching the summit of K2. We are completely blown away and in awe of these guys, this is a phenomenally grueling, strenuous and brave accomplishment, and we are just so proud of what they have achieved. This is now Lakpa’s 8th 8000m summit and Chris’s 7th, and they are both well and truly on their way to climbing all 14 of the 8000m peaks. Amazing effort guys, we cant wait to catch up in Nepal and give you all a big hug.