The Mountain Decides

The entire world lies in front of me from Lhotse camp 4, nearly 26,000 ft. On the left is Nuptse, the "small" pointy peak in center is Pumori, the large peak behind is Cho Oyu, the world's 6th highest mountain.

The entire world lies in front of me from Lhotse camp 4, nearly 26,000 ft. On the left is Nuptse, the “small” pointy peak in center is Pumori, the large peak behind is Cho Oyu, the world’s 6th highest mountain.

The mountain always decides. Last night, lying without oxygen at nearly 26,000 feet, Lhotse’s wind and snow made the decision for me…slide down the 8000 vertical feet of fixed ropes to base camp and GO TO THE BEACH IN THAILAND! Details to be determined…

Well, the story of the last few days is long, but I don’t have time to go into it at the moment. No summit, but the mountains aren’t really about that. It was a pretty amazing few days, and I ended up reaching the highest camp on Lhotse, nearly 26,000 ft, healthy and without oxygen. Not the slightest headache took away from the beauty of the surroundings and the privilege of visiting this wild place. Long story short, we got a really freaky forecast during the day which sent me into “serious decision” mode despite my excellent physical health and conditions the whole trip. It got a bit nasty early last evening and at my expedition leader’s urging, I switched to sleeping on a tiny bit of oxygen partway through last night in case I needed to descend in serious conditions in the morning. It turned out to be fairly reasonable last night, but I stuck with my gut and didn’t reverse my decision to descend. A bit after six this morning, I zipped down the route to base camp in a bit over five hours–absolutely flying without oxygen. It was a great day in the mountains.

This trip has been amazing, and I’m happy.

I’ll have more soon,
Hari

The weather that I was escaping. The jet stream slipped back south and blasts the upper reaches of Everest.

The weather that I was escaping. The jet stream slipped southward unexpectedly and blasted the upper reaches of Everest this morning.

Clouds swirl above Lhotse from Camp 2.

Clouds swirl above Lhotse from Camp 2.

7 thoughts on “The Mountain Decides

  1. Vic

    Hari,

    Congratulations!!!
    Sounds like you had a great adventure and made a sound decision.
    Like competitive sports and life, you have to weigh risks VS rewards.
    Hope we can get up to see you, when you are home.

    Love,

    Vic

    Reply
  2. Tom Mix

    Dear Hari

    Nobody climbs a mountain without the mountain’s permission. That jet stream over Everest looks so peaceful and beautiful from afar, but I’m sure it’s pure nasty when you’re in it.

    Congratulations on a great adventure and good decision making!

    Love

    Dad

    Reply
  3. Mike Bordoni

    Hari,

    I’ve really enjoyed following your amazing journey thus far. Although a summit wasn’t in the cards the pictures you’ve taken and experiences you’ve shared are amazing and have made reading your blog better than anything out of National Geographic. Take care and I will look forward to hearing all about your exploits when you are back stateside!

    Mike

    Reply
  4. Gunnar Fermann

    Congratulations on your serious attempt on a very serious mountain!

    I have followed your expedition with interest.

    One can only do so much – stay healthy, preserve a strong, but sensible attitude, and bring oneselves to the optimal spot for a summit-attempt. Then one can only hope for a proper weather-window to open within that slim time-interval which is available at 26.000 feet. Good luck with your next high-altitude project – and have a safe journey home.

    Gunnar

    Reply
  5. Ben Clark

    Great decision Hari. I look forward to a full debrief when you get to Telluride.

    PS-since you’ll recover a little faster, maybe you can pace me through the last 10 miles of the San Jaun Solstice 50 miler when you’re here! Aren’t you glad you made the right decision? Now you can have a lot more mountains!

    Reply
  6. Marie

    Great trip Hari !
    Thanks for making us dream a bit and for the beautiful pictures !
    Hope you did not find a big crevasse on your way this time 😉

    All the best from France

    Marie and Fred from Grenoble

    Reply

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