EXPEDITION CANADIAN SUMMIT 2001

(8 - 14 May : Main Group)

Introduction / 27 Apr - 8 May / 8 - 14 May (Main Group) / 8 - 14 May (Advanced Group) / 15 - 19 May / Sitreps / Metreps / Map

Main Group Members: Chris McGuffin, Patrice Sabourin, Ian Cox & David Mulrooney.

  Tuesday - 8 May (Cont'd)

Meanwhile, the rest of us prepare the snow walls that will protect us tonight. We will prepare to move up to Camp 3 tomorrow. We’ll get a Sitrep from Eric at 0730 by radio. Tonight we’ll look at our timeline and decide on a course of action…

Sitrep sent to NSMC

Patrice and Dave resting in the icefall above Camp 2

A little higher in the icefall

Wednesday - 9 May

Metrep from Comox

Today started out with a pretty decent Metrep. Even more encouraging was the clear sky above us. We were in radio contact with Eric & Pat right on schedule. They wouldn’t be moving until afternoon (resting in the morning). Somehow, Eric managed to spill one litre of water in his sleeping bag last night and was hoping to dry it out this morning. The rest of us down at camp 2 were preparing our half loads. We left at around 0930 and the morning seemed to go by slowly. The slopes were killers to begin with. To make matter worse the path had to be toed-holed most of the way. We zigzagged around huge seracs from wand to wand following the tracks of the climbers before us. The climb never seemed to end. Breaks and a slow pace were mandatory. Finally at 1200 we see two people. Alas we are not at camp 3 yet. These two just decided to camp at a lower spot! We keep walking and finally reach Eric & Pat at 1300. They are tired from yesterday’s climb and happy to see us. After a brief discussion we decide to carry our loads a bit further. We walk over crevasses and through an ice debris field and bury our cache at 1400 at around 4600m. We start our descent at 1425. After a brief stop to drop off a candle lantern at Eric’s tent we continue. Pat & Eric are on their way to Camp 4 with a half load. Our tracks are mostly buried and we approximate the route back to Camp 2 arriving at 1540. We quickly settle into our tents for supper and I manage to spill 1/3 of Patrice’s potato supper on my self and the sleeping bags (only a bit on Patrice). I guess Eric isn’t the only sloppy one!

Sitrep sent to NSMC

Breaking Camp 2

Heading up the icefall with Camp 2 and King Peak in the background

Thursday - 10 May

Metrep from Comox

Today was a demanding day! We started the day at 0615 again. Another favourable Metrep with a perfectly clear and sunny day. My face feels hot. We were in touch with the advanced team at 0730. They planned to break camp and climb to Camp 4 recovering their load on the way from the day before. We broke camp and started up the steep slope to Camp 3 at 0950. I learned from yesterday! I switched the lead with Ian much sooner this time. Once we were in snow shoe country, Dave took the lead keeping an excellent pace. It was around 1400 when we finally reached our cache. We recovered the saw and a shovel leaving the rest for later. It was another 40min climb to camp 3 (4700m). We were easily winded while we worked on our snow block wall. The air is thin here. We had both tents up by the time we sent the 1700 Sitrep. At 1725 we head back down to recover our cache. It’s an easy 6 min descent. We are careful crossing the snow bridge through. The sun is quite warm and we don’t want to land at the bottom of the biggest crevasse so far this trip! By 1810 we’re back at our camp. Hot drinks, supper, night briefing and I’ll be in bed.

Sitrep sent to NSMC

David at Camp 3 with King (left) and Queen (right) Peaks in the background

Friday - 11 May

Metrep from Comox

We were blessed with another great day today. The weather was partly sun/cloud with few flurries. Our traditional Euchre games kept us up till 2200 last night so we weren’t in a hurry this morning. We had breakfast and prepared our loads. By 1025 we were on our way. Our progress was assured by Dave’s steady pace from the front. The trip was relatively eventful. We gained around 400m with a flat stretch through the "Football field". We passed Eric & Pat’s tent on the final slope towards our destination. They must have been gone on their load carry toward Camp 5. We also met Peter & Sarah today. These two climbers from BC have been here since 21 Apr. We’ve been following their wands for several days now. We reach our destination in about 4 hrs and bury our cache. The return trip is a quick 40 min with gravity on our side. We make use of the rest of the sunny afternoon to dry our sleeping bags and other wet articles. It worked a bit but then the snow cut our progress in that respect.

Sitrep sent to NSMC

Camp 3

Saturday - 12 May

Metrep from Comox

Today was a perfectly calm and sunny day at 4700m. Eric & Pat were already on the move when we spoke at 0730. Their progress has been slowed down since they don’t have snowshoes. They left early today to walk on firmer snow. They should be at camp 5 with all their gear this afternoon. They will call back at 1630 with an additional Sitrep. Ian still has the headache he has endured for the past two days. We’ll spend the day resting here and drying our wet sleeping bags and other gear. By the afternoon, we’re all basking in the sun and having lunch together. Ian’s headache is better. I’m sure the rest will have done us all some good. If the weather is good we can still reach the summit. If the weather turns sour, we may have to revise our schedule to reach the West Peak. Either one would be just as big a challenge. There was no sign of Eric & Pat on the radio at 1630. Perhaps they are too far or behind too many natural obstacles now. If we don’t reach them tomorrow at 0730, we’ll probably get them from Camp 4 at 1630.

Sitrep sent to NSMC

Magoo proudly flying the Sigs flag

Sunday - 13 May

Metrep from Comox

It’s another beautiful day today. It’s hard to get up in the frosty tent but we have to move to Camp 4. Thankfully, Ian’s headache has subsided. Not surprisingly, we are still unable to get Eric & Pat on the radio. There are too many peaks between us. Hopefully we’ll get them from Camp 4. We start climbing with our load at 1015. We make good time and it would seem we all benefited from yesterday’s rest. After crossing the Football field, we meet Peter and Sarah. They are skiing down from Camp 4 after a successful summit attempt. We congratulate them and ask a few questions about the terrain above. Ian scrounges some granola from Sarah and then they’re off. We climb up to our cache and reach it at 1315. One hour faster than two days ago. It takes us 50 min to repack with all the gear and food we’ll need for our summit attempt. 6 days of food and then we have to be on our way down. Our full load are heavy and then we climb for another 45 min to the Camp Peter & Sarah used. After a bit of breathless work our tents were up. There’s still no radio contact with the advanced group. They should have been at camp 6 today. Peter & Sarah think they saw their camp but no sign of the Germans. We should be in touch with them tomorrow after we clear the Col between Camp 4/5.

Sitrep sent to NSMC

  Monday - 14 May

Metrep from Comox

Ian woke up with quite the headache this morning. He started the Diamox at 0530, but we made this a rest day to help our acclimatisation. The weather was good and we spend it in our tents resting and trying to build an appetite. We had not been in radio contact with Eric & Pat this morning so we were eager to speak with them tonight. Either they’re on their way down today or they’re still waiting for a summit attempt. Dave & I start climbing the Col of Prospector’s pass to remove at least one of the obstacles to the VHF radios. Our efforts are rewarded after 45 min. Eric & Pat are climbing up the other side and should be at our camp in one hour. We send the daily Sitrep when we get back and 30 min later Eric & Pat show up. It’s great to see them and hear of their successful summit attempt yesterday at 1400. Our chance will come in the next few days…

Unfortunately, they report that the German team is not well. They are both badly frost-bitten, dehydrated and one has AMS. They were unable to follow Eric & Pat down today without blacking out, so Eric gave them 1 Litre of fuel (they have run out and couldn’t cook or make water). We will see how they are tomorrow on our way up. Eric may come along to help them down.

Sitrep sent to NSMC

Next... with Advanced Group for 8-14 May or 15-19 May with complete Team

Introduction / 27 Apr - 8 May / 8 - 14 May (Main Group) / 8 - 14 May (Advanced Group) / 15 - 19 May / Sitreps / Metreps / Map