“When I’m up I can’t get down!”: June 22 (Thursday)


11am

Yes, the title is a Great Big Sea reference. I’m currently sitting in the Barrel that we will be staying in for the next 4 or 5 days. It’s long, very long and it can comfortably accommodate the six of us. I’m listening to my MP3 player and even getting Sergei to listen to some Great Big Sea. Keli wants to partake and at one point she grabs one of the ear pieces and tunes in…

3:20pm

Okay what an exciting couple of hours. We came up to the Barrels with all our gear and settled in as I mentioned above. It took a bit of doing on the chairlifts to bring up the gear, but in the end it was all good. We then immediately went for a lunch cooked by our camp cook, Vera. She seems to be very nice, though what is for sure is that her food is fantastic. After the meal and a short rest, we went on our acclimatization climb to 4500m. I love walking to music. I kept at a slow pace (at least for me). Occasionally Keli would also listen in on one of the ear pieces to some Punters or other Newfoundland music. Eventually we made it to the Diesel Hut again ñ 4050m. The clouds were angry today and they were gathering behind us. At first Sergei was content to continue but within three steps of that decision, the thunder crashed very loudly and very close. He immediately ordered us around and we descended. One of the greatest risks in mountain climbing is lightning strikes on an exposed slope. To lessen the risk we collected our ice axes and other obvious metal and strung it all behind Sergei by a length of rope. We descended through fog and ice rain (oddly like Newfoundland).

Now we sit relaxing for a bit. Anders has taken quite the liking for the Nick Hornby (ìA Long Way Downî) that I had brought with me. I might have to wrestle him for it in the next couple of days! I’m going to go help shovel snow so we can have some drinking water. Oh and I have seen the toilets now and have revised my take on them. Diesel is not bad; the Barrels are a 9 on the Barafu scale. Mike Mannion, you were right!

7pm

Everyone is quiet and in their own worlds. It’s interesting how this group has become quite comfortable around each other. They say a good group is one that can exist in silence. Keli, Anders and Mike are reading, and Ahsan is listening to music, as am I. I’ve begun work on a couple of short stories which I’ve been meaning to write for many years. I’ve also discovered that my bed does not have support on one side and keeps sinking oddly; it should be an interesting night.

Mike is looking forward to sleeping without the noise of the hotel bar below him! For the last two nights locals had been partying at the hotel bar. Naturally I sleep through anything, but Mike was unfortunately stuck directly above the bar. Last night had been so bad that even I had been woken up at 2am and I had gone looking for Tatiana unsuccessfully. Luckily it quietened down shortly after. Here at 3800m there is no bar, simply the silence of ice and snow… and snoring.

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