Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ericsson and Aamot have reached Kangchenjunga Base Camp

Last Sunday, the Swedish extreme skier Fredrik Ericsson have reached the Kangchenjunga Base Camp at around 5300 meters. During the next three weeks Fredrik and Jörgen will prepare for the high altitude with acclimating climbs. When they are well acclimated, they will try to climb the 3000 vertical meters high Yalung Face on Kangchenjunga in a four day push. They will carry all their equipment by themselves and climb without supplementary oxygen. Well on the summit, 8586 meters above the sea, Fredrik and Jörgen will put on their skis and try to ski all the way down to base camp. The first complete ski descent of Kangchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world.

"Base Camp at last!
Finally we have reached the Kangchenjunga Base Camp and it was not a walk in the park to get there. We were hoping for eight days of nice walking in the hills and mountains of eastern Nepal. Now 14 days later I know that the Kangchenjunga base camp trek is a bit more complicated than that.
First we were strolling in the sun along rice fields and banana plantations. Then came the Jungle with the leeches. The days got longer and the rainfalls got more frequent. As we moved up to higher altitude the weather and the terrain got nicer. Once in a while I even got a glimpse of a snow capped mountain. Our mood got better but that didn’t stop Jörgen from catching a cold. He got a sore throat and a bad cough that kept him a wake most of the night. To get rid of the cough Jörgen decided to stay a few days in the camp in Tseram (3700m) while the rest of the crew continued. During the trek we had about 20 porters that helped us carry our gear and food. When we came up to the Yalung Glacier that leads up to Kangchenjunga, about half of them didn’t want to continue. With only half the men it took us two days to travel the distance of a normal day. If that wasn’t enough, then came the snow. In one day we got 20 cm snow and that made the rest of the porters give up on us as well. Even though it gave us some problems I totally understand them. Walking on this glacier is no fun at all and 20 cm of snow doesn’t make it more exciting. It’s a mix of sand, rocks and ice and always up or down. Not a single flat spot. The gear the porters show up in is better suited for a sunny day on the beach than on a snowy glacier. I’m impressed that they made it as far as they did. Fortunate for us we were not far from base camp. Jörgen got well and caught up with us and together with our cooking crew: Buddhi, Kansha and Mon we could move up to Kangchenjunga Base Camp.
It feels great to be here at the foot of Kangchenjunga and the view of the beautiful mountains makes the long trek all worthwhile. After 14 days in the jungle and on the moraine Jörgen and I are getting very excited to take out the skis and head up to the snow".