Oct 22/2011 Update
Oct 22/2011 from Barunste Basecamp
We left Khara at 5000 metres a few days ago to climb the 6500 metre peak called Mera. Michael and Alex progressed well to the 5800 metre high camp and then early the next morning the made the summit with clear skies but high winds. David decided not to attempt the summit because he was not well enough adjusted to the 1500 metre elevation gain to try the summit. It would have been dangerous to take that on after feeling the on set of altitude sickness around 5400 metres. Otherwise it was a great climb for Alex and Michael who dropped all the way down to a new camp at 4800 metres in the Hongku Valley. David enjoyed the lower elevation and spectacular day hiking. Both Michael and Alex were very tired after 2 huge days on Mera but recovered quickly. We are moving up the Hongku Valley toward Baruntse Base Camp, we camped at about 5200 metres just below the massive west face of Chamlan. Imagine Mt Robsons north face on steroids. Snow began falling and persisted for 12 hours, closing the route to Baruntse Base Camp. When the clouds cleared we retreated to incredible vistas of snow covered Himilaya. The next day our crew broke trail to the Baruntse Base Camp boulder hopping in fresh snow at times knee deep. Now we are adjusting to a new camp altitude of 5500 metres in the blazing sun under clear calm skies. There will be a Puja tomorrow, praying for our safety on the mountain and the next day we will begin to move towards camp 1 at 6100 metres. The snow was a dull grey storm and clear skies at 5500 with a blue sky that is unbelievable. Today is calm and restfull the day before the efforts really begin. That’s it for now.