Had a dreadful night's sleep last night, a combination of the altitude and thoughts going through my head just kept me awake.
The weather this morning was much the same as yesterday, it continued to snow. None of this helped my mood.
Today is the day we put on our climbing gear, practice rope work and abseiling. I have never used any of this sort of gear before and felt a bit out of my depth. The guides however, and Jangbu in particular, really know their stuff and it's clear they are not going to let us fall off the mountain.
|No idea what it all means|
|Making it safe|
|Coming up was agony|
We did two exercises, one with a fixed rope on a relatively gentle incline and one where we abseiled down and up a vertical cliff. The down was OK, if just a little scary, the up was absolute agony. My technique was obviously dire but I seemed to lack the necessary strength. My strength is concentrated in the lower part of body and this definitely required a more even distribution. By the time I got to the top my arms, particularly my wrists were screaming with pain. My heart was also thumping reflecting of course not just the intense exercise but also the altitude.
The climbing requirement is driven almost entirely by the last fifty metres of the Mera Peak summit. This was very clear today as was the rest of the walk. The little summit, described by someone in the all male group as a very cold nipple, sits at the top of a long and fairly gentle climb across a glacier. The glacier of course has crevasses but provided these can be avoided doesn't look too bad.
So it's now a wait for the two day climb/descent to start. If the current weather pattern holds we will be arriving at high camp at around 2 in the afternoon and it will be snowing. We will then be in our tents until 2 in the morning when we start the final ascent. It should be fine then but very cold. After summiting at around six, hopefully with clear views of six of the world's biggest mountains we start a long descent back to Khara and some warmth. To be honest, although I'm looking forward to the challenge I'm also dreading it. I wish in particular that it would stop snowing.