Annapurna IV 5th October 2019
Leader: Stu Peacock & Andrei Kuznetsov
The team are doing well, Steve and Norbu are now down with the rest of the team and they plan to clear the mountain and descend to Hongde tomorrow.
Stu called this afternoon to say that the team are back down safely at base camp after a challenging summit attempt. Steve and Norbu Sherpa have stopped at camp 1 on the way down to rest and will follow on down tomorrow. The team made it past the step to camp 3 and on the way to camp 4 the neve soon turned to knee deep snow which was tough going but unfortunately the avalanche risk was too high to continue. The weather conditions have been on side and otherwise conditions have been good so it’s not for lack of trying but most importantly the team are down safe.
The team are at base camp today, having one more rest day before they start moving up the mountain tomorrow to be in place for their summit bid early next week. The rope fixing team have made good progress, fixing almost 6km of rope so far. The plan is for them to get most of the way to camp 4 tomorrow.
Stu called in this morning from base camp with the main request being the all important world cup rugby results and premier league results from the weekend! They plan to head up to camp 2 tomorrow and the Sherpas will fix the lines up to camps 3 and 4, then the rest of the team will head up on 25th.
All the team are now down in the comforts of base camp.
On the 15th we moved up to camp 1 after sorting out the food we needed for the next few days. From crampon point we were straight onto the fixed lines working our way up progressively steeper rocky terrain until we reached a steep slab corner. There is quite a bit of loose rock around so the team needed to be really mindful of this during ascent and descent. This was the first crux of the route which had to be negotiated with some awkward thrutching on the jumar and some huffing and puffing. Once above this the route traverses around to a snow filled gulley which winds its way up to rock step number 2, which has now been named Andrei’s step after Andrei assisted several of the team over this awkward rock step. The key is footwork on this tricky ground. Above Andrei’s step was just a couple of snow slopes bringing us into the snow covered rocky area of camp 1 at 5440m.
On the 16th most of the team made a carry of personal gear up to camp 2. The Sherpas have done the hard graft of team kit carrying. Isabelle opted to stay at camp 1 and rest. The route to camp 2 is much more straight forward on snowy slopes with just one short steep section of 65 degrees before reaching the camp. This took around 3 hours and once we had spent a bit of time there and dropped kit off we quickly dropped back down to camp 1.
The 17th saw the team move up to camp 2 at 5910m. Evaldas decided to stay at camp 1, having sustained a pull or something to his calf on the route to camp 1. Upon arriving at camp 2 the weather started to change and eventually the winds picked up and snow started to fall. It got quite windy through the night and we did sustain some damage to a couple of tents with one broken porch pole and one porch tear at the bottom of the fly.
Due to the weather it meant that it was impossible to touch camp 3 on the 18th. So four of the team decided to head down to base camp, picking up Evaldas on the way, with five of the Sherpas. The rest of us decided to stay at camp 2 for an extra night of acclimatisation and then headed back down on the 19th.
Upendra has decided to leave the trip today, we are sad to see him go, however he is happy with his achievements so far. He has decided to head over to India to celebrate dewhali with family, which he hasn’t had the chance to do for the last 15 years.
We are now enjoying some rest days at BC. Soon the Sherpas will make another rotation up the mountain to rig towards camp 4 and then we will head up for our summit bid, but in the meantime we will keep an eye on the weather.
Stu phoned in to say the team had a windy night last night at camp. 4 of the team have went down to Base camp today and the rest are staying another night with the aim of trying to touch camp 3 tomorrow.
Stu phoned in to say that the team were all at camp 1 after moving up the fixed lines today. Tomorrow they will try to touch camp 2.
Today the team walked up to 5200m, where they refreshed their ice axe, abseiling and jumar skills. They are looking forward to their puja tomorrow, with a plan to walk up to the start of the fixed lines after it.
Team AIV (Annapurna IV) are now at a very luxurious base camp 4818m. The Sherpa team have really done themselves proud with a lovely mess tent, shower and individual sleeping tents with thick matress, pillow and towel waiting for us on arrival.
Everyone is very impressed with the setup and even more impressed with the lunch that was served by Rojan.
Today is our acclimatisation day. We first walked up to the Monastary at Braka, where you get some really nice views of Annapurna IV summit ridge along to camp 3 area.
For 100 rupees you are allowed into the Monastary and the lama gives you a blessing. After a good look around we then dropped back down and walked over to Manang which is about 15 – 20 minutes away. Manang is a bigger village and has a few more shops selling snacks and outdoor clothing. We got some really nice views of Tilicho another 7000er that’s meant to be technically straight forward, so maybe something for the future AP brochure…
We got back for 12 noon, all hungry and looking forward to lunch. This afternoon will be a chill out for everyone. Tomorrow we lose the luxury of WiFi and beds as we head up the sabej khola valley to our interim camp before base camp.
The team are looking forward to reaching base camp and the feeling is that things are starting to get that bit more real…exciting!
Hi folks. We are now at Braka at 3475m. A very long day today. Apparently the half hour past hongde turned out to be 10km extra, so 30 km walked today. Thankfully for everyone we have an easy acclimatisation day tomorrow.In the morning we could see Lamjung from Chame a dramatic peak at 6900m.Our first break was at pratamg where there are apple orchards, so we all stopped for an apple break before heading over a short rise before dropping to dokho pokari. We stopped for lunch at lower pisang, which took about 2 hours. With full bellies we started on our way to hongde.
As we headed up the valley we were also greeted with views of Annapurna ii, iii and our objective Annapurna IV. Despite being about 6km from Annapurna IV the consensus from the team is… It’s big and so is the ridge to the summit.
We are all looking forward to our beds tonight and again to our surprise it is another lodge with free charging and free WiFi.
Hello from Stu in Pokhara. We had a pleasant uneventful drive today. Stopping at a lovely resort at Muglin overlooking the river I went rafting on on 2015, which if I remember rightly is the khula su. Overall it took 6 hours to get to pokhara including our lunch stop. Not a bad journey and the air conditioning was a welcome respite from the heat. Probably the most impressive sight for me was the numerous bamboo swings by the roadside that children were playing on. Now this isn’t your normal garden centre bamboo cane constructed by a bunch of scouts for a pioneering badge. No, no, these were quite a feat of ingenuity. Four, 5 inch thick bamboo, 20ft high bent over to make two a-frames with another 5 inch thick piece of bamboo as the cross beam.
The kids were getting some significant height I can tell you. Somehow I don’t think this would be allowed in the HSE protected country that is Britain
Tonight we plan to have dinner down by the lake front. A romantic setting, no doubt to be spoiled by an excited bunch of climbers itching to get moving up to the mountains.
Tomorrow, weather permitting we will make our helicopter journeys to Chame. Its a small helicopter, so 3 journeys will needed to get us all there. With our light ‘ish baggage. It’s funny how everybody’s rucksack looks full… Like the old saying goes “the bigger the bag the more you’ll put in it.”
Hopefully not too long a flight there are only a couple of hills in the way… Oh hang on it’s the Annapurna range… Maybe a bit longer than hoped. Fingers crossed we get some good views on the way.
All being well, tomorrow evening, we will be reunited with our main baggage that has travelled via Besisahar. I’m confident Shiva our base camp manager will do a better job than the airline transporting me to Nepal by successfully delivering our baggage on time, rather than leaving it London for a day like what happened to me!
A busy day yesterday for me, but everything is now sorted for our departure. Thankfully my bag arrived after midday with everything in it. Yay! Ministry briefing and then supermarket sweep.
The group arrived at different times so we did kit checks as and when everyone got to the hotel. Sherpas are at base camp and everything has been ferried up there, apart from the stuff here. Shiva has come back to Kathmandu and will take the main client kit by jeep or truck to Chame, so we just need some overnight stuff for Pokhara and then we’ll be reunited with it at Chame.
We have a 7 hour drive today to Pokhara, and we’ll stop along the way for lunch.
On Saturday the team will depart their home countries and fly to Kathmandu arriving on the 6th Oct. Once the initial briefings are complete and final preparations are made we will drive to Pokhara on the 7th Oct and then helicopter to Chame on the 8th Oct. From Chame we will trek to Hongde and after a day of acclimatisation will then break off from the main Annpaurna Circuit trail and head up towards our base camp at 4800m. Our Sherpa departed Kathmandu, ahead of us, on the 1st Oct to ready the base camp for our arrival. The team are all very much looking forward to this big adventure.