Friday, 23 August 2013

Link Sar attempt… sort of

After countless days in the rain at base camp it looked like we eventually had a few days of good weather coming so had planned on going up Sulu Peak to sleep high, but at the last minute the weather changed and a week long weather window appeared.  We weren’t really acclimatized enough for Link Sar and hadn’t checked out the approach properly but the weather looked too good to miss, so we decided to go up to Link Sar and just see how we felt.  A quick repack of the bags lead to some stupidly heavy packs, about 19kg each including all the ropes, rack and food for seven days, but we knew there’d be no going fast and light with our lack of acclimatization.

A quick change of plans and sorting kit for Link Sar rather than Sulu Peak (Photo – Jon Griffith)

The first day didn’t see us at the bergschrund as we’d hoped. Getting caught by the sun and heat on the unfrozen glacier, we bivied at about 5,100m thinking it was only a couple of hours to the start of the route at around 5,500m. 4 hours after leaving our bivi spot we still hadn’t made it to the start of the route. The glacier was so broken, gnarly and scary. Where Jon and Will had simply walked up last year we were struggling to find our way around massive crevasses and ice towers. In the time we’d hoped to be a couple of hours up the route, we still hadn’t found a way to the start of it!

Jon heading through the first ice fall and onto the upper glacier

Threading our way through endless crevasses (Photo – Jon Griffith)

The safest place on the glacier we could find to stop once the sun got too intense (Photo – Jon Griffith)

It was fair to say I was knackered from the big pack and heat of the day before, it had really taken it out of me. Luckily Jon didn’t seem to have noticed the heavy pack and heat and he’d been happily breaking trail all the way up so far and was raring to go. We were really late and it was still going to take at least a couple more hours to work our way onto the face and on top of that I just didn’t feel comfortable starting up a massive route as tired as I felt already. Having figured out a way onto the face, we left a gear stash at our high point and headed back down to base camp to recoup for a couple of days. Fingers crossed this weather holds and we’ll head back up in a day or so.

Heading up toward the start of the route with sunrise on K6 behind (Photo – Jon Griffith)

Jon at the point we got shut down, we tried a couple of different ways but couldn’t find a way through and definitely didn’t fancy the bridge of ice blocks on the right
Heading back down to base camp with the kit stashed and a better route found for our return in a few days

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