Today we held the first day of our planned 2-day instructors workshop. We worked in large and small groups reviewing knots and applications for about an hour, then spent another couple of hours on building anchor systems and what Andy refers to as “sling craft”. All that took up our morning. Everett and I left the big group early and hiked up to Danfe, one of our highest and widest ice climbs so that we could set up some top ropes on the ice. We were interested in getting our instructors onto the ice for some practice as well as an opportunity for us to assess their current skill levels. I’ve attached a photo of the ice climb.
I spent about an hour climbing, setting the anchors, and placing the ropes. I was warm while climbing but the anchor work is not nearly as strenuous and I was chilly be the time I lowered off. We stayed for another 3 hours and we were all cold by the time we left as the climb gets afternoon shade. The wind picked up and we got some light snow. Nothing like a brisk winter breeze at 13,000′ in the Himalayas to remind you that you’re having “fun”.
There is more snow than usual this year and sections of the trails are fairly icy and treacherous. Many of us have taken slips and spills but so far no serious injuries. We’re actually looking at some alternative pathways that may be less problematic.
We’ll do our second workshop day tomorrow (Saturday) with some inside discussion first thing in the morning focusing on site management, safety issues, and daily briefings and debriefings. After that, we’ll move outside and do some simulated crevasse rescues, pulley systems, mechanical advantage. The afternoon is going to be planned and conducted by our Nepali lead instructors.
Sunday is our student check-in and Monday is our opening ceremony and first day of instruction. We all still have plenty of preparation to do before that day arrives but I am confident we’ll be ready.
All the best,