Day 8 — Training Camp
The number 789 has become somewhat of a routine. By 7 we’ll be woken up by the chef for a nice cup of hot tea; By 8, we’ll be having breakfast; By 9, training begins.
A crow attacked our GoPro
Overview of our camp again. Notice the melting snow
The first half of training today was a refresher course for the belaying skills that we learned during ice-climbing in China. It involved using the jumar, ATC and figure of 8 to climb up and down a small section of a slope.
A crow attacked our juice 🙁
The second half of the training was where it started to get different and interesting as we moved from individual mountaineering skills to team-based ones. Walking up a slope was no longer as straight forward when we had to rope up in teams of 4 to tackle the steeper and more technical sections. If one person fell, the rest of us had to adopt a self-arrest position to break his fall.
Roping our lives together
Once we were done, it was time to practise sequence climbing. In the same roped-up formation, we each took turns to set anchor and belay the next climber up to where we stood. It was a very systematic approach of ascending (likewise, descending) a mountain because for safety reasons, no more than 2 climbers should be standing at the same position during the climb. This meant that we’ll be spending ¾ of the time waiting for a climber to ascend rather than climbing up ourselves. As inefficient and slow as this may seem, it is actually the safer method of ascending steeper terrains.
A quick peek: testing if the slope is avalanche prone
We had noodles and fried potatoes for lunch after that (YES!), and this usually precedes rope and theory lessons by our instructors. I don’t know if it’s due to the cold weather (ahem excuses, excuses…), but I usually take a longer time to learn how to tie the various mountaineering knots. It doesn’t help that there are so many different kinds either — climbing, anchoring, special and joint knots. Dinner came after that and that’s when our day ends normally.
One highlight of the day was being able to finally unleash the black kraken that has been held up for 3 days… a big relief to know that my constipation ended there. It’s funny how one can change from praying for his diarrhoea to stop to praying for something to just come out a few days later hahaha.
Each day passes by so quickly up here in the mountains, yet a warm shower and comfortable bed still seems so far away…
– can’t wait for our summit push –