Dhaulagiri Expedition

Summited 7th October 2021

Dhaulagiri. I could write a whole book about this expedition! Here is the brief summary!

This is the expedition that really showed me how brutal, unpredictable and life threatening a mountain can really be. My respect grew ten fold.

It all began at basecamp, already an ominous feeling loomed, it was empty. There were no clients to be seen, all the teams had turned back either summiting earlier in the season or fearing the future bad weather coming in. We pushed on. Coming straight from Manaslu we were already acclimatized and so we left that same night for straight for Camp 2 (6300m). It was an awfully long slog up to camp 2. Full of crevasses and steady but never ending sections. Each hill we approached we thought "oh it must be there, just over that bump" the amount of times we said that, it became a joke.

The next morning we were set to push onto camp 3 (7000m). The weather was picking up and there was a heavy nervous energy in the tents that morning at 3am. It was still pitch black outside and we were all shivering awaiting the green light to proceed up what was now a very steep incline. We stepped out, wrapped up like sausages in bacon, not one piece of flesh exposed to the deadly elements. 

One hour in. Chaos erupted.

Winds reaching 80kph, ice pellets showering us from every direction, we couldn't stand straight. Our bodies were being thrown around like dolls in what felt like inhumane cold conditions. I couldn't feel my hands. From one second to the next they were rock solid and left clinging onto the rope, totally lifeless. I knew straight away my fingers were entering frostbite and I had to make a decision. We were so close to Camp 3, but the way up would take longer than running down. 

We had no choice but to turn around and head to upper camp 2 (6800m)

Every ten seconds of descending I stopped to clap my hands and get some blood moving to my fingers but the excruciating pain was taking over and my mind had already accepted that I would be losing my hands. Nimsdai turned my around gazing into my lost stare and took my bare hands into his armpits for some body heat. I believe this is the moment that saved my fingers. 

We continued, eventually reaching Camp 2 where we all sat in relief and shock of what had just occurred. My hands were numb for 3 months after this moment. 

We did make the summit after 3 nights sleeping at the height of Aconcagua. It was a seriously long summit day which was made even longer and tiring when I ran out of Oxygen at 8000m. My body went into shock mode at that moment but I knew after all we had been through and an 18 hour summit push, I was not going to give up now. No uh Adriana.

We made it all the way to basecamp after 32 hours total of climbing.

Unforgettable.

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