Trek from Tharpu to Kangchenjunga base camp – part 2 of 2

Anna Gatta’s report on the trek:

17-18 APRIL:  Ramche
Rest days

Philippe Gatta looking at Kangchenjunga. Photo: Anna Gatta

Philippe Gatta looking at Kangchenjunga. Photo: Anna Gatta

The 17th was a rest day and Philippe and I profited the day off to go up towards Oktang to try to get our first views of Kangchenjunga. We just needed a 30 minutes walk, almost flat, to get the magnificent view… The whole face was visible from camp 1 to the summit. We sat down and took in the scenery under a blue sky without a person in sight. Philippe tried to follow the trace of the route and found a crevasse that seemed to cut off the passage. We took some photos so that Philippe, later on, can open them on the computer (when the porters finally reach the team with the bags) to analyze it with the other expedition members. Philippe wanted to go higher up on the hill and I turned back to the camp site.

When Philippe came back after a few hours he was in a quite bad shape… Shivering, ache in the stomach, dizzy… He went to bed and put all his clothes on inside the sleeping bag. He was hot as an oven… Alexia had the same symptoms and both of them stayed in their tents while we other had a delicious dinner.

Next day it was decided to stay another day in Ramche to try get a few more bags reaching us before heading towards the higher camp in Oktang. Alexia seemed a lot better while Philippe was still weak with stomach issues. Nothing serious, but not being able to eat or keep what ever you succeed getting down, can be pretty tough on 4580m altitude… We did nothing this day, except from taking a “shower” in the tube coming down from the mountain side with ice cold water. It was a 5 minute walk from the camp in a small ditch where you could hide. Lovely to get clean and wash the hair and some clothes under the blue sky surrounded by Himalaya mountains!

Anna Gatta washing clothes in Ramche camp. Photo: Philippe Gatta

Anna Gatta washing clothes in Ramche camp. Photo: Philippe Gatta

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19 APRIL:  Ramche-Oktang
10km (?), +505m, -161m, 4h45

Philippe Gatta below Ramche. Photo: Anna Gatta

Philippe Gatta below Ramche. Photo: Anna Gatta

Philippe succeeded in getting a breakfast down, but still felt weak. He had no fever though and we prepared our rucksacks to get going to the camp in Oktang (around 4800m). It was an easy walk up to the view point (that some people call Oktang) but then we headed down onto the moraine, a labyrinth of stones and ups and downs… Trying to find the cairns (stones piled on top of each other to show you the way) was not easy and we moved very slowly, taking another 3 hours to reach the camp that was squeezed in where ever they had found a big enough spot for each of the 5 tents and kitchen tent. We directly went inside our tent since it started snowing heavy with a thunderstorm and lightening. Cosy inside the tent! In the evening Philippe felt a little better and ate normally. We had a kitchen tent of about 15m2 and we were having the kitchen there with the chef and his 4 assistants, 9 expedition members and around 10 porters… Crowded but gay! It was a great atmosphere and a nice, last, evening for me to spend with the team.

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20 APRIL: Anna’s departure down from Oktang

I decided to turn back here instead of doing another 5 hours walk up the moraine.

It is not easy to leave your husband to go back home. Knowing that he will spend yet another 4-5 weeks on the mountain. A quite respected and serious mountain. I am confident though that he will be smart and only advance, trying to reach his objective, the Kangchenjunga summit (8586m), if being able to do so safely. I am also confident in the other team members. They have much experience and are all having a great attitude.

Jean-Marc Wojcik, Cedric Haehlen, Regine Tornay, Philippe Gatta, Gorgan Wildberger and Alexia Zuberer. Photo: Anna Gatta

Jean-Marc Wojcik, Cedric Haehlen, Regine Tornay, Philippe Gatta, Gorgan Wildberger and Alexia Zuberer. Photo: Anna Gatta

I want to say thank you to:

Ludovic Challeat – a very friendly, calm, relaxed and experienced expedition leader that was kind to let me join this expedition within my limits. www.expes.com

Alexia Zuberer – a charming, tough and positive lady that I really enjoyed meeting. An artistic and free spirit!

Gorgan Wildberger – a fantastic adventurer that we met in Pakistan the first time while he was cycling from Singapore to Paris attempting Cho Oyu and Gasherbrum 2 in between. Now in search for sponsoring for future projects, I congratulate the company signing him! Good luck Gorgan in your upcoming challenge on your home turf  :-)

Jean-Marc Wojcik – a doctor and great trail runner beyond any limits that we met many times in Nepal and that was accompanying Philippe on Ama Dablam. Was great meeting you again!

Regine Tornay and Cedric Haehlen – a charming couple from Switzerland that is sprouting of energy.

Benoit Rosset – a friendly and very generous guy that I am happy to have the pleasure to meet.

Berghaus – your clothes, shoes and rucksacks turned out to be great during the trek. Thank you!

Philippe Gatta – thanks for sharing your dreams with me. Come back home safely. I am there waiting with a big Brie, pasta and tarte au pate d’amande. ILY.

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As of today I don’t know if the expedition members will go back the same way we walked up or do as me, a circle.

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