Dramatic moments on Muztagh Ata

Here comes some of the photos from the rescue of the Koreans that I told you about before.
All pictures: Courtesy of Max Bogalytev.

Preparing to move from Camp 3 (6800m)

Deep powder.

First fluid in 4 days.

Heavy work down to C2 (6100m).

Rest before taking on the icefall.

It took six people to drag one up, and still it was heavy work.

Same here.

Checking all the slings and ropes before going down to C1 (5400m)

Swedes (Mats, Peter, Patrick, Jan and others) are carrying one guy to waiting donkeys a
hundred meters or so below.

Heavy work with backpacks on.

Here, there and finally back again. Part 2

To continue the story from where it ended in Part 1.

I was slowly loosing my Botebangwei. I can't really recall what we did in our tent that night. I think we just layed there, hoping we would avoid any need to go to the toilet right there on the tent floor. :(

The following day we started walking...*sigh*

Now it's here were you guys that don't do alpine climbing say: -And they call it an action sport?

We moved up, slower than the day before. or so it sure felt. The last part up to C3 was long and bloody fucking boring. And just when i had that thought in mind, the weather started to change and clouds were coming in from behind the ridge from the Tadjik side. I was a bit worried about finding our stash, we had a couple of hundred meters to go and suddenly we didn't see much more than the marker wand in front of us. And since it had blown spindrift all night we would sure have to dig alot to get it.


Navigating up on the slope wasn't that difficult. The trail was visible ten meters forward and the marker wands was visible every fifty or so.Eventually, I saw one of our iceaxes sticking out of the snow. We went over there and dug out the rest of the stash. With overloaded backpacks we moved up the final part to C3.


Looking around there wasn't one place at first where i would want to pitch my tent. I looked like a loo. The weather had been pretty good up there for a couple of days so no snow to cover the mess up. We took an old platform that looked like a bunker and dug it out. We thought, at least, that we would be protected against spindrift here.

A big Norwegian grup prepared for their summit attempt that night. We wanted to wait another day and then head up. They started at 2 am, and i think i woke up around that time to give them a thought of good luck, It was significally colder up here than C2, so I would not want to be in their shoes at the time. I sank down in the warmth of my sleeping bag and drifted away.

Daylight came, but we stayed inside almost the whole day. The Norwegians came down one after one. Almost all of the (12 people) had turned back and only 3 pushed on. The made it after 10 cold hours up and 3 down.
I tried to pep myself and Oskar during the day, it was our turn this night. That evening we melted as much snow as we could. We really tried to drink alot of fluid before bed and to prepare as much as possible. The overboots was on our plastic boots and the crampons was mounted.

Beede-beede-beep, beede-beede-beeeeep!!

-Oh man...turn that bloody thing off will you?

We forced ourself to open our eyes. It was pitch black in the tent. I switched on my headlamp and opened the zipper to the vestibule where the stove was. A puff of coooold air hit my face and I just wanted to crawl back in my sleeping bag again. Actually...I was already down in my sleeeping bag. It was my right arm that was outside.
As I told you before and some some of you may know, I'm very lazy in the mornings. And that includes all of my body parts.

Anyway, the gas would not burn at first. Took some time to get the stove going but then it and we were feeling much better. The stove made the temperature rise and it was kind of cozy really.

We dressed slowly and put on many layers. Two layers of thermals, fleece, shell and finally downparka. Balaclava and beanie. No goggles were neeeded but the headlamp with fresh batteries was. We ate some, not much for breakfast. Oskar was trying to force down a pack of freeze dried pasta with little luck. We had some hot chocolate and also loaded a bottle each with that and broguht energy gels, chocolate bars and energybars.

And so we went, Oskar first out of the tent. He had some troubles putting the boots on because all the straps were frozen solid and cursed the boots in a quite creative way. I won't quote.

Off we went. It was blowing pretty steady and rough. We couldn't detect anyt sign of life in camp, no headlights, no voices. We went through and down. I had to concentrate quite a bit to find the right way. The ground was hard just near the camp but when we went further we sank first down to our ankles, a bit further and it was snow up to our knees. I couldn't see more than the headlamps range and even that was quite difficult because of the spindrift. it wasn't snowing, the sky was clear and if I looked up I could see millions of stars above me on the dark sky. But the wind was carrying very fine powder that blurred my vision completely.

I noticed myself going a tad to the left and so i went back again to what I thought was the right path. Then discovered that I was going to far to the right and then my orientation was completely screwed. I saw the blackness of the steep 400 altitude meter ridge towering in front of me so I kind of knew what direction i was going, but where was the first step up on to it? The area we walked on was broad but not that broad. To far to the left and say hello to the abyss. We would fall a couple of hundred meters down and drop down to C2, the hard way.

We had walked, I think, for 20 minutes or so when I called a halt. A quick council with Oskar and we took the descision that it was not safe to continue in the dark of the night . We started walking back to the camp when two lights slowly emerged in front of us. It was two Estonian climber that also were heading up. I explained the situation for them and told them about our plan to head back and start later. They agreed and they joined us back.

The Estonians and I decided to check the weather at 5am and team up if it was good to go. The clock was 4:30 when we crawled back into the tents.I really didn't want to. I took of my boots and fell asleep. i woke up at 6:30, it was late. I looked out. The wind had picked up and our tent walls was pressed in due to the heavy load of snow that had stacked up outside. We couldn't believe this had happened in just two hours! We could actually lean on the tent from the inside and it felt like a brick wall. I punched it with my fist and now it reeally felt like a brick wall !!

No sign that the Estonians had left the camp yet either. A huge wave of tiredness swept over me. The last 8 days had been full of misery so to say. I was tired from the whole trip, of carrying heavy loads every day, not getting enough food and so on. Still i felt like I really could do one more try, I had it in my body.

Oskar plainly said: - Look i can't go up, i'm not strong enough.

Then we had three options as I saw it.
1. I go up, Oskar will wait.
2. I go up tomorrow, Oskar will go down by himself this day.
3. We pack up and leave.

At that moment I knew number 1 and 2 was impossible, I just couldn't reload mentally. I still had a spark of willpower in my muscles but my mind was not there. I sobbed for a second or two to release the tension I was feeling.

- What the hell am i doing this for?

I'm not going to explain how we went down, I already bored you with the story going up. But what i can tell you is I found the answer of the question I asked myself that moment when I took the deciscion to throw in the towel.

- Because it's a hell of a vacation.;)

I like the views, it makes me feel so small when standing in front of a mountain. I like the complexity of a face, I can sit and watch it for hours...dreaming. There are hundreds of reason to love mountaineering. Amoeba isn't one of them. Luckily a Norwegian doctor had some antibiotics for us to chew on. We found more in Osh.

So now I'm back. I'm glad to report that today was the first day that my tummy felt normal again. It took 15 days and 7 kilos...


I nearly lost my Botebangwei but I think i still got it.

"See, you know how to take the Botebangwei, you just don't know how to *hold* the Botebangwei and that's really the most important part of the Botebangwei, the holding. Anybody can just take them."
- Jerry Seinfeld (Slightly modified quote)


PS. Many of you are waiting for e-mails. Haven't got around to sit down properly in front of the computern until now. Sorry about that. DS

Here, there and finally back again. Part 1

Hi Guys,

I'm writing from Stockholm, got back yesterday and it sure feels good to be back home!

After my session in Kashgar I left for Pik Lenin in the southern part of Kyrgyzstan. I managed to get hold of a 4x4 taking me to the border at Irkeshtam Pass. Now this border isn't just a virtual line separating to countries, it's also a 4km no-mans-land of a complete mess of trucks, cars and people. All getting stuck, being turned upside down and breaking apart. So in other words i had a bit of struggle reaching my pick-up at the Kyrgyz side in time. A truck loaded like a funnel standing straight up on the narrow end... if you follow, had tilted and had spread it goods alover the place so I had to carry my stuff a km or two. I was happy to get in the Lada Niva after some hours.

The driver was really funny. He had a strict opinion that Panasonic, of all brands, made the absolutely best cameras in the world. When I took out my compact Canon he literally spit on the inside on the windscreen and sweared, very broadly , in Russian over it like it was a black cat or something. Well I gave him some Chinese cigarettes that he really seemed to like and we swooshed through the flat lowlands over rough roads and with happy smiles.

Lada Niva
The Lada Niva somewhere between Sary-Tash and Pik Lenin BC.

The trip ended in Achik-Tash. That is the name of Pik Lenin's BC. The BC is spread out on an area of around one square kilometre so it didn't had the same intimacy as Muztagh Ata BC. Camp 1 on PL is more like the latter. Achik-Tash is more like a landing spot that you want to leave as fast as possible.

The day after it was raining so I decided to stay in my tent. Oskar, my partner was up in C1. He had arrived 10 days before me to gain the acclimatisation I already had in me. I walked up the following morning with gear and food to last for a week and a half. The trek up to C1 is quite beautiful and very dramatic. Sometimes the terrain drops 50-60 meters on the side of the narrow path and a small mistake could easy send you tumbeling down to the glacier below. Not sure anyone would hear you scream from down there. It's amazing, the nomads are riding these trails on horse!

The view of the trail on the left leading up to C1.

I got to C1 after 5 hours. Oskar was there and he was happy to get some company. He had been alone with his anatomy book for some time now and was longing for some company. We had dinner in the mess tent of our arranging company and decided to head up the glacier the following day.

We got a really late start and we left camp a bit stressed by the fact that we had small chances to reach C2 by nightfall. The bags were heavy and the dome shape of the lower part of the wall made it terrible hot. It was fun though to cross the glacier were we jumped crevasses, some big and scary with unstable snowbridges leading across.

Roped in through the field of crevasses.

Just when we had moved our way up to the beginning of the traverse the light of day started to fade on us. I was feeling strong but Oskar was affected by the altitude and we decided to make camp and pitched the tent close to a area in danger of avalanches. We came to the conclusion that it was still safe since we had a couple of small hills that covered our back to the ice/snow wall. They would sure stop most of debris coming our way.

Icefall. The trail is visible in the upper-middloe part of the picture.

Next day we moved up to C2. On the way the snow began to fall. It fell and it fell, on and off for two days.
We layed in our tent melting snow and chatting about.


The time in C2 was a bit boring but still pleasant one until our stomachs started to produce bad gases. The problems grew worse and especially Oskar had some very explosive moments. He was running out in the middle of the night in panic.

Sorry for putting you through this but it explains a lot later on in the story. :)

Anyway, we layed mostly in cramps and ate Imodium and coal pills, just trying to stop things up. It isn't easy to get any nutrition down when you are feeling like this but we tried our best anyway with light food like noodlesoups and tea.

On the third day we moved up a load of food and gaz to C3 at 6100m, well at least we tried. Some unprovoked toilet stops on the way and we started to climb the last part and a steep and long section leading up to C3. In the middle of that part we put a stash, we just couldn't go any further in our condition with cramping stomachs. We put it just next to a marker flag and we put our ice axes in the snow around it so we could find it if snow was coming during the night.

And so we turned around and went down to our tent.

Oskar & Stefan
On our way up to C2.

More will come soon! Time for bed.