Saturday, July 25, 2009

Back in Civilization

E-mail from Isaiah:

July 24th
"We're back to Skardu. The sat phone didn't have any minutes on it after the summit push so that's why I've been out of touch. In summary: I didn't summit, of the 20 people that went up the day before about a third got to the false summit during a 16-19 hour day for most of them. It was pretty horrific. One person died, several got HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema) and/or frostbite, but fortunately there was no large scale rescue and no one was dragged off the mountain. I did however spend the night at 23,050 feet and was probably the strongest of the four in our team that was there that night. I'll write up a detailed trip report in the future and I have lots of video to try and show what it was like. We trekked out over the Gondogoro La (a 18-19,000 foot pass) in a whiteout. It only took three days to go from BC to Skardu. From cold and wet at the top of a pass to eating the best apricots I've ever had strait off the trees in only 36 hours. We are laying over today here in Skardu. After six weeks using a sat phone I only have 332 emails. So if you want to email me you can. I will be checking every few days. Most likely I will also try to get an earlier flight home because we could be in Islamabad as early as tomorrow. It's very odd being reimmersed in civilization. Last night at supper at 10:30 when we finally got in there were like 20 central Asian people with designer clothes and the women didn't have head shaws and they were loud. It was a huge change from seeing only westerners and conservative hill people. I slept in a bed last night in a hotel room that has a shower and toilet. I had a propper shower for the first time in five weeks. Then this morning (which is Friday the holy day for Muslims) I went out and had some ice cream. It's so hot here at 8000 feet and the air is so thick. I hold my breath and get bored. At the most I'll be home in eight days probably more like five."

July 25th- Still in Skardu
"We're having problems getting a flight to Islamabad. It's not a terrible place to be stuck but it makes you realize how fortunate we are to travel at our will in the west. I might fly tomorrow or the next day or drive. We find out at 4 pm today, in two hours. I'm reading the explorers web stuff now and it's interesting to see how many things they have that are not totally complete. I guess that is news. Anyway we are traveling with Giampaolo. I don't remember meeting Christina. It is the first time I have ever been on a mountain when somebody died. It's really scarry. From the time I arrived at camp 3 just before 2 PM until 9 PM when our member finally returned were seven scarry hours. I could not sit still. She was far more experienced than I am, than most of the people on the mountain that day. It is a very strong reminder, at least for me, that these mountains play for keeps. One bad step and that's it. Foods I will be craving: good hard sharp cheeses, steaks and good meats, ice cubes, Italian, and ice cream, fluffly breads, and stuffed noodles. A quick funny story: So I wrote my name on the outside of my down jacket so that when I was bundled up people would know who I was because I have a rather popular jacket. So I spent a month getting made fun of because I was the only person that did that. Then we're sitting at camp three and Eelco Jansen shared a tent with us, a story I will tell at a later date, and he asked about my name because we have the same last name more or less. So it worked out well."

1 comment:

  1. Hey Isaiah,

    I can imagine how tough your journey to Pakistan must've been. I'm guessing your Pakistani friend at WPI is me. :) Keep in touch if you would like to discuss something you experienced in Pakistan and haven't yet found an explaination for it!! Great blog. Keep it up.

    Omair Paracha

    ReplyDelete