Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Day 7: Camp V to Base Camp

We're finally here! Phase one of the expedition accomplished. It was a pleasant five hour hike up and down the rocky granite Jaya range. We went over New Zealand pass and down to the base of Carstensz. The mountain appears as a massive granite upshoot and dwarfs everything around it.

As usual, it rained during our trek. However we noticed today that instead of fat raindrops, it was actually pouring down hail! This makes sense, since New Zealand Pass is 4,500m.

It's a weird feeling being completely alone on the mountain. Every other peak I've climbed, there have been other teams climbing at the same time. Here, it's just us. It's a pretty cool feeling!

Anyway, the temperature is definitely dropping (the perpetual dampness of everything doesn't help..) and is probably in the low 50s now. Gloves are a must for the rock sections because of how sharp it is--you'd cut up your hands otherwise.

Once at camp (4,330m according to the sign here), we sorted through our summit gear in preparation for tonight's summit bid. We are excited but nervous too!

Because we did not want to risk getting out clean, dry summit clothes wet in the afternoon rain, my mother and I both used our pee bottles. For me this was super easy because a) I'm a guy and b) I've had countless times to practice. My mother, however, had never used her 'female urinary device' (it's called a GoGirl and is aimed at women who need to pee in public or in a tent like now). These devices are not super complicated but some practice beforehand is definitely recommended. My mother had not done this and it was both amusing and painful to hear her struggle with it as I shut my eyes. Luckily none of our stuff got sprayed.

We're going to get some shut eye now in advance of our 1am wake up and 2am departure for the summit!

My mother at Carstensz Pyramid Base Camp after six long, hard days of trekking.

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