It’s 04.50 and you’d think you’d be fast asleep the day after returning from the mountain, but I think we have existed for days with minimal sleep our bodies are just adapted to having less. This got me thinking to how amazing our bodies actually are on expeds and can any benefits come from this this state?
Both Pete and I have lost loads of weight, and I mean loads…. I personally usually float around 85kg and would estimate I’m now 70kg at the very most and likewise for Pete, that’s about a 15kg loss over the period so far BUT although this makes for some quite drastic changes in image this does very little for functional fitness and strength, we are still able to climb, work, think.
Whilst reflecting on the recent football tournament and the English competitors in the Olympics Pete are I questioned “Is there are harder more intense sport than high altitude mountaineering”
As stated above we exist in an emaciated state from start to finish, no nutritionist to ensure correct intake. Some days Pete and I consume less than 200cal’ and can easily burn 8000-10000 cal, during a 15-27hr day.
Hydration, ALL water is obtained by melting ice/snow. As bout 90% of snow and ice has been urinated on, thrown up on, or worse…… so to find a water source that doesn’t taste of such is near impossible. Pete and I have been known to consume less then 200ml of water in 24hrs, especially during summit pushes as it’s just awful and sickening.
Food, we have shipped out some of the most tasty food ever, some fantastically well researched meals that at sea level taste amazing but at altitude it’s simply impossible to eat, just impossible. We have every chocolate variable to hand….. just disgusting
Every cake….. awful
Every dried fruit and nut combo…… minging
Energy gel, sugar based energy, powered protein drink…… all needing piss stained, poo infested, puke inducing water to eat!
Constipation/Shits well because of the above it’s inevitable that this is a problem. We could go days without going to the toilet because the regularity of convenience is simply not there. Even the luxury of the international shitting stone does not exist on the mountain so you literally “lock down” until it’s clear to go. The longest we’ve had this Exped is a full 7 days without shitting….. then boom!
Rest, again like the food intake I think we believe we need more than we actually get. In a typical mountain day Pete and I will exist with 2-3 hours of sleep a day, some days we just rest our bodies in the stench of our tent. Laying in our own putrefied odours neither of us mentioning “Jesus is that you?”
Mental health…….wow! I’m sure some well paid boffin out there or at least my plethora of friends in the industry could analyse Pete and I state pre and post Exped, but we can both see and feel how our mental health is affected throughout this period. The remoteness of an expedition is the biggest challenge. No or poor communication with loved ones and children. Long, long periods of loneliness, periods of isolation, periods of personal doubt, illness, physical injury, doubt, fear, all of these peck away at your head and create this “fog” that can take over a healthy cognitive mind. And sadly when losing friends to the actual mountain your are climbing this can be overwhelming at times.
So what other sport or activity pushes the body so far? What sport or hobby does this to your body and still expects for optimal output?
……..so now at 05:58 we are expected, whilst in prime health to detail our next steps.
Well today, is admin day. Pete and I will wash and wash again, we bloody stink. Really really bad. We have had days of no washing and really bad personal admin.
We will tend to cuts, scrapes, coughs and ailments.
We will eat, drink, eat, drink as much as possible.
We will tally up all that was lost on broad peak. So far we know:
3 mountain tents
2 mountain stoves
4kg mountain food
100m climbing rope
1 Down suit
Once this is done we HOPE the mountain gods will allow us the time and conditions to move round to K2 base camp and ascend what we have tried in 2016, 2019. This is of course a really simplified way of saying we will now try to climb K2 but I am saving you the details of needing:
Coming to K2 will follow……