Letters from Sophie Lavaud: April 23rd, 2023


Rest before a new phase of ascent..

Arriving at the Shishapangma base camp (5025 m) on April 10th, Sophie and the whole team reached the advanced base camp (5400m) on April 12th, after a 6-hour walk in icy winds during the last 3 hours.

On April 17th, they left the ABC for a long day of 9 hours and 900 m of elevation gain to reach camp 1 (6380m), unfortunately still accompanied by the wind. On April 18th, Sophie continued her progression to reach camp 2 after a 4.5-hour day of ascent that was a little easier because the wind had finally calmed down. On April 19th, while Sophie had planned to descend to the base camp, she agreed with the majority and continued the ascent.

The wind was so strong that they could not reach camp 3 at 7300m, so they set up an intermediate camp at the foot of the couloir at 7115m (camp 2.5). A much too strong wind, a fixing team that ran out of time to progress, and a change in the weather forecast, forced them to turn back instead of attempting a summit push on the night of April 19th.

On April 20th, after a 9.5-hour descent, they reached the advanced base camp, having crossed the very slippery moraine due to a snowstorm. The descent was even more complicated because after camp 1, Viridiana, the Mexican, sprained her ankle while jumping a crevasse, and Sophie and 4 Sherpas helped her to continue the descent nonetheless.

Well-deserved rest … waiting for the next weather window.

On behalf of Sophie,

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