Day 5 – 双桥沟 (Shuang Qiao Gou)
I woke up early today, feeling ready for today’s ice climbing training. Breakfast was served at 0830 hours and our drivers arrived at 0900 hours. By 0915 hours, we were on our way towards the next training site. I was secretly nervous for today’s training, as I have missed yesterday’s training due to severe headache and vomiting. These are symptoms of acute mountain sickness (AMS), and it was unfortunate that my body is slower in adapting to the increase in altitude and decrease in oxygen level on the mountain.
Yi Qian doing something. You probably know what he’s doing 😉
For the past two days at 3200m above sea level, I have been experiencing headaches and cold discomfort due to an average of -10 degree Celsius temperature. On the first night, I managed to endure the pain and proceed with training the next day. However, on the second night, I can no longer take the pain and I had to resort to painkillers. The painkillers worked fine for me, as it allowed me to have a deep sleep from 0900 hours to 0400 hours before waking up a more severe headache and constant vomiting. That’s when our coach Edwin provided me with a mountain sickness drug, Diamox, which helped to release some pressure from the brain that was causing all the headache. I took the drug and rested for the entire day, skipping my second day of training. Thankfully, the drug worked and by the time my team mates returned from training, I was out of my bed, ready to chiong!
On Friday, we did some ice climbing with ice axes and crampons. Due to the fact that I missed a day’s training, the learning curve for me was steep. Ironically, the ice wall that we were going to ascend today appears steep as well. After some struggling, I managed to overcome some of my fear, and caught up with my team mates. However, I still needed to develop more confidence and trust my crampon foothold more as I ascend up the ice wall. Over the next few days, the training will get tougher, requiring us to ascend steeper ice walls of approximately 70 degrees gradient, much steeper than the initial 20 to 50 degree gradient. Nevertheless, I will bite my teeth and push on, together with the team. Nothing else can scare me after having overcome the nasty AMS that haunted me for the last two days!
Karen ascending the slope.
Karen and Samuel striking some pose. Interestingly, the poses look identical.
Team photo after training!
From left to right: Samuel, Raymond, Javier, Daniel, Karen, Yong Siang, Yi Qian. (Han Xiao could not join us due to injury)
P.S. Yong Siang why your helmet still on?