Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Management meeting at 5000 meter

I attended the Big Expeditions fixed rope meeting today in BC and it was like a comedy for the clueless. The proposition from the Big Boys on the strip is that every team member has to pay to use the fixed ropes going from camp one to the summit on G2. The price is 150 USD or the equivalent in gear, meaning snow stakes or rope.

I went over to listen for pure entertainment reasons as this might well be a once in a life time thing for me. I can’t really see myself going back to a mountain where I have to share parts of it with a bunch of commercial expeditions (well with one possible exception). The issue of payment is kind of stupid in my opinion. If you are a commercial outfitter bringing clients to a mountain where they have little or nothing to do its your problem. If the clients can’t get up or down without the assistance of fixed ropes and they have been sold a mountain holiday to 8000 meters, then it’s the sole responsibility of the outfitter to make sure he delivers. But hey no! They are asking all the other teams to share that cost in some lame form of socialism.

Okay the small teams are piggy backing on the bigger teams, but that’s tough shit for the Big Boys. Live with it and get on with it. The only interesting issue that came up was brought forward by a member of a small Spanish team as he asked what the Big Guys would do if an independent climber got stranded. The issue was not really penetrated but a vague consensus was to be responsible and help out. The only one who gave a straight answer was Phil Cramton from Altitude Junkies as he said he would help out no matter what. I can only wish them the best of luck and pray they all get up and down safe.

Base Camp sucks

Well every single expedition to G1, G2, G3, G4 and G6 are now stuck in Base Camp as a storm is passing through the area for the next 5 days. Lots of snow is expected between 7000 and 8000 meters so this will make for interesting conditions going forward. The next time we hit the slopes we will go for a summit push on one or two of our different options. As I have said a hundred times; condition determines the objective not the ambitions so we will see what we end up trying to do.

Now we are at a phase of the expedition where luck and timing will be critical to getting anything done and we all know it’s impossible to beat the house so it will be interesting to see what we can come out with in the end.

Talking about different phases one goes through on an expedition. There is the talk about food, there are the jokes, the stories, the sex talk and then food again but the one topic that is hardest to deal with is climbing stories. Being a climber on a climbing trip not doing any climbing for weeks is outright suffering. This whole acclimatisation process and approach to the bottom of the face sucks. My next trip has to be to a mountain where the approach is limited to 45 minutes and where you can do some recreational climbing from BC while waiting for the real deal.