Day 3 (Ice Climbing Day 1): Jin Yu Xin
Waking up at 8.00am in an altitude of 3500m, I felt a little dizzy and the lack of proper rest due to several nightmares last night was preventing me from getting out of the bed. After a few days, I came to realize that insomnia and nightmares are common symptoms in high altitudes because of the low oxygen level.
We had a simple breakfast with Mantou and porridge at nine’ o clock before getting up to the car. The driver is a Tibetan who likes to play popular songs loudly which are adapted from the traditional Tibetan ballads. The road towards the mountains are steep with sudden turns and the scenery outside the car window also changes from the flat meadow with black and white yaks to the great towering cliffs with slivery snow. Also, I remembered clearly a frozen lake with icy gloss, quietly reflecting the brightness of the sky and the shadows of the clouds.
Such a beautiful valley!
Of course we took the chance for photos!
Then we start hiking into the mountain area. The path is physically challenging, from the start. It is challenging to walk across the river using merely a tree trunk, especially when wearing the bulky boots and thick clothes. One slip and that’s it. After going through a rugged mountain road, we reached the a frozen river where we put on our crampons and tried walking on ice for the first time.
Edwin giving us a briefing before we proceed up the mountain.
Everyone taking a break and gearing up with our crampons, ready to begin walking on ice!
To be honest, it was not as difficult as I thought, but you need to exert more force when kicking into the ice in order to let each claw of the crampon fix into the ice firmly. Out of the blue, one of the soles of my boots detached from the boots and Edwin had no choice but asked Vivian to exchange crampons with me since hers was a strap-on. Luckily, I am able to walk back to have a short lunch.
After lunch, we put on our harness, learned how to use the Ascenders, aka Jumaar, safety carabiner, as well as tying of our safety strap before proceeding to the new level—ascending a 45-60degrees ice waterfall. It was quite challenging for us to know when to change the security hook, how to use Jumaar to clip onto the string and pull ourselves up.
A sneak peak with our fellow team member Yati!
Grinning from successfully reaching the top of the Jumaar section!
Dramatic sunset behind the mountains.
I thought I could definitely reach the destination after changing the crampons. But when encountering the nearly vertical waterfall, my left sole suddenly dropped off totally. At that time, I was at the center of a 2-meter ice surface, lost my balance and i fell on my knee on the hard icy surface. I was not able to move for a few minutes because of the excruciating pain. Then with much determintion, I tried to put all my weight on my right leg and continue going upwards. At some point of time, I stood on the handle of someone’s ice axes, but I still kept falling down every time with every slip as I was walking without any spikes. Finally, they stopped me from going on and guided me to climb from the rock. In the end, I lost both of my soles and walking in the forest is like walking with bare feet which left me cold and painful. Thank God I could return to hostel safely.
Ending with a cheery photo!
The sharpest and steepest peak around!