Take your chance to reach a peak, otherwise you just miss your turn!
Early breakfast at 6am. It is gonna be a long day so better start early. The entire group is enthusiastic and in a good shape.
We took some risk (the fact to go to Khuiten right the 2nd day was risky because we were not so well acclimatized to the altitude) but we took the right decision and got lucky too! There were another group too a little bit further on the moraine. I hope they manage to climb Khuiten too after but I’m afraid not because the weather the next days became very windy and snowy. Sometimes you have to take your chance to reach a peak, otherwise you just miss your turn! That is exactly what happen. This is the most difficult part of climbing, taking the right decision at the right moment. You have to think about your strength, your weak points, make the balance between all the parameters and trust yourself. It is a difficult part when you’re guiding because we had to take decision for the other members but what a great feeling when everything works as planed! What a relief when you come back to BC and you see happy, incredible smiles on my partners ‘faces.
We experienced a difficult moment after a couple hours on the glacier because it was very warm and super long.
We manage to remotivate everybody and the view from the top was just perfect! China, Russia, Mongolia…. There are mountains everywhere… so many future projects for BIGPACK… I just love this feeling, you’re full of a powerful energy, you just want to go and explore what you see, summit after summits…
So after Khuiten, we were all a bite tired. But weather was still good so we had to keep on going!
Day 3, Alexander glacier
On day 3 in the Tavan Bogd mountains, we took a late outside breakfast (it will be the only 1!!) still wearing our big down jacket… and we left to explore the Alexander glacier. Our plan was to explore Alexander glacier all the way to its beginning and manage to climb a pass to ski another glacier at the bottom of the south east face of Khuiten.
It was supposed to be a “cool” short day: 11km, 5h30mins and 800m of positive elevation. It was very nice. The group needed to slow down a bit, some had blisters on their feet, other were tired… As usual when your concentration is lower, little hints reminded us to be careful.
Reaching the pass between the 2 glaciers, we had to cross the bergschrund (it is the name of the first crevasse of a glacier; it is a special name because this crevasse can be huge! So very dangerous…). We talked with Mamat about how to do it safely and we decided to rope in to go check. Mamat went 1st, I was belaying him.
30 m before what we thought it would be the tricky bergschrund, Mamat discovered another one, completely hidden with a small quantity of snow. And a huge one! I quickly moved to make sure we will be safe and we ordered the group to come one by one cross the crevasse clipping a sling to the rope tenth between Mamat and I. Everything went well, and some of group told us later how impressive we were when all of a sudden we (Mamat & I) felt some danger! Never lose your concentration, never!
I was belaying Mamat (securing him) to cross the bergschrund at the beginning of the descent. I sit in the snow to make sure if Mamat falls that he won’t “take me “with him. I’m like an anchor in the snow to secure him
Back to BC, we all talked about how we manage the situation and we ask everybody to be very careful because the weather (windy and snowy) makes the crevasses almost invisible but still there.
There is no rescue in Mongolia and any little trouble can lead to a drama so we have to take a big margin with safety to make sure nothing bad will happen. A couple years ago, a French mountain guide fell into a crevasse in Mongolia. By luck his group was experienced and managed to take him out. He was unconscious… He did a couple days in a coma, had 2 operations in the brain. Now he is fine, but Mamat and I don’t want to experience something like that, never ever.
6.30 pm, time for our daily “apero” with peanuts, chips ,juice and some Mongolian vodka for the bravest. It is amazing to realize how good feel some little treats like peanuts and chips in expedition… I usually don’t eat a lot of this kind of food and I think it is because we miss some salt in the water we drink. It comes from melting snow or from the glacier itself so it is very pure with very few minerals in it.
Everybody went to bed early this evening. We woke up with a big surprise in the morning…