For the first time in two years I am about to attempt another 8000m peak, my third after Manaslu (2009) and Everest (2010).
Lhotse is the world’s 4th highest peak, and makes up a significant part of the Everest range- the famous south col route is the point where Lhotse and Everest join – as a result, much of the route to the summit follows the Everest south side route.
At 8501m it is a formidable climb – like the Everest climbers I will be using supplementary oxygen from above camp 3 (in the middle of the Lhotse face), a down suit, high altitude boots and expect to be pushed to my physical and mental limits to reach its rocky and jagged summit.
For now I am in Pangboche village, aiming to be at base camp this weekend. We start our climb soon after, aiming to summit in one of the weather windows from mid-May onwards.
Am I nervous? Yes. I know the route well and am therefore much more aware of the dangers. I am also highly aware of how quickly things can go wrong. Ignorance is bliss and I definitely do not have that on my side this time around – I have seen seracs collapse meters from me in the ice fall. I have passed people who were one day alive and a few days later dead. I know how it feels to just try and *breathe* at 8000m. I know the suffering – the extreme weight loss, the exhaustion, the cold.
I’d like to thank Karrimor for their continued support and for making this expedition possible, and for the kit that I will use throughout the expedition – including my X-Lite rucsac which has been on many expeditions with me now and is undoubtedly the best I have used.
You do get used to the cold, the routines of looking after yourself, being safe and as your body continually adapts you get stronger, faster and more psyched for the summit bid. By the time the weather window comes, you and your team mates know each other – you’re friends, you know their motives and what makes them want to climb – you want them to achieve their dream just as much as you want yourself to.