Monday, September 24


Satellite message from Hoseman Monday 24 September. (circa 11:00 am)

Thanks for blog updates, have had a chance to look at them and they look good. Have prepared a day by day summary of last week’s activities but may not be able to post them yet as Jamie is having a problem linking his laptop with the satellite. Two groups in Jamie’s expedition returned to camp ABC yesterday. Some are sick, mainly coughs and sore throats and then there is the usual bantering. I have had two good rest days at ABC so, today Gromit and I decided we would rather push on than stay in camp and get sick themselves.
We have now had a good walk to Depot Camp where we are having our lunch break. We might spend the night here but, as we are feeling so fit and strong, we might just decide to push on across the Penitentes and, maybe, on to establish Camp 2 – and, if possible, Camp 3. Will still have to decide how far to go. But I have my tents, sleeping bag and equipment with me, ready for Camps 2 & 3.
The big BUT is of course the weather! At the moment, conditions are continual wet heavy snow – at least 30 cm. Most climbers are coming down and looking at me askance as the only one going up. However, visibility is good and the walk thus far has been enjoyable. Despite the constant ‘fluttering’ snow, it is amazingly warm. It takes a whole hour to pass through the ‘Penitentes’ studding the glacier. They are like shark’s teeth – hard, sharp 20 m high ice points, like white sandpaper!
Hoseman said he could hear rumbles in the distance – avalanches occurring at regular intervals - four rumbles in the last hour. The periodic snowfalls are creating snow build up in layers which is the reason for the avalanches. They are not really threatening to the climbers because they are quite far away. The route does not lie in an avalanche area.

Andrew Locke (an Aussie who has already completed twelve of the fourteen 8000 m peaks) and his girlfriend have arrived at ABC where they will wait because the girl friend has a bad headache. He arrived later than the groups and may be coming up tomorrow. Mark hopes to meet him on the pathway and would be interested to obtain his views on the current situation – whether he thinks it will be too dangerous to go on in the current weather.
Mumsie came on the line and asked how he was. Hoseman replied that he is feeling fit but sometimes finds it quite difficult to remain motivated which is why he and Gromit are very glad to be on the move again and able to stretch their legs!!! The immediate next plan is to try and establish Camp 2 but this may be hampered by the bad weather - but he is going to try.
Jamie is presently at Camp 1 with most of his other groups - no one is left at Camp 2. Most of the climbers on the mountain are getting ready to summit. The four British teams are fairly widely scattered. Some are coming down from Camp 1 and Depot and some are already back at ABC.

Hoseman said he would like to say a special thanks to Mike B, Jenny B, Mike P, Major P and the folks for their SMS’s – they are great to receive!
Should try and get a picture of the Penitentes from Google wiki.
As a matter of interest, the term Penitentes was first used by Charles Darwin on his journey through Chile. It was thought these white spikes of ice resembled the processions of white-hooded monks, members of a Roman Catholic brotherhood of Hispanic origin, that celebrate the Passion with rites involving fasting and self-flagellation. Darwin noted that the locals believed the spikes were formed by strong winds. Recent laboratory experiments and computer modelling however, confirm that sunlight forms the spikes independently of wind – a process known as ‘localised sublimation’.

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