Today's excursion was not successful. Freddie and I left early in the morning (3.30 am) from Zongla. We studied the face and realized that the face looked even better than last year: much more snow. But what we didn't realize was that the snow was pretty loose and the whole face was overlayed with a small shift of snow. We fought on our way until 6 am, hoping that it would become better. After the entry of the snow field, the passage was also loose, so we got stuck in the snow.
The rocks were covered with snow, offering no support. We had to give up.
Under these circumstances it will not work. And it also becomes very dangerous.
We are now back in Pheriche checking out new plans. This year the Northfaces have presented us with poor climbing conditions. Last year we were one month earlier on Cholatse Northface and we found perfect conditions. We were there just before the typical spring weather starts. This means that it has snowed a little bit every day. This snow accumulates. And now this snow is lying in the Northfaces.
Again we have learned something. But the important thing is that we have tried. But it is also important to realize when it is not possible to do something.
Last November a Korean rope team fell on Cholatse. You should never underestimate these faces. Although I have climbed the Northface of Cholatse twice already, it makes me realize even more how lucky I was to find good conditions. I also think about the great conditions I found last year on the Shisha Pangma Southface. I was very lucky.
This is the challenge that you'll find on mixed faces. To be at the right place at the right time when you take a chance.
This time it doesn't seem to be the right moment to climb the Northfaces in Khumbu. Freddie and I have decided to have a rest tomorrow to analyze the situation, and see what we can do. Since I have arrived in Khumbu I have not had any rest. I have been on the road every day.
Last year's climb through Cholatse Northface seemed so self-evident. This year's conditions have helped us recall how cool it was!
We won’t give up. There is a lot to do here in Khumbu Valley. We will find something else for sure.
See you soon,