A journalist observes life in the far north.
Expected strong winds, three broken cook stoves and two climbers who are having trouble breathing have caused the Snow Dogs to decide to descend to 14,000 camp today.
Alec, who is doing fine, was disappointed and is holding out a bit of hope to join another expedition because it seems that this one is over, he said. Ramin, the San Francisco physician and one of the climbers whom Alec has grown quite fond of, is especially struggling to breath in the thin air. Alec said Ramin can still walk, but his oxygen saturation rate is down to 50 percent and it’s best for him to go lower where the breathing is easier. Shahid is also having trouble breathing, but I did not get his oxygen saturation rate, and I didn’t get the impression that his situation is as dire as Ramin’s. Shahid posted on his blog late last night that it took 14 hours to get to high camp. The climbers must be exhausted.
I don’t think this is altogether bad news that the climbers are going lower because a wind storm is coming tomorrow. The prediction has been downgraded to 65 mph, but I believe that that is still strong enough to blow a person off of a mountain. Also, Alec said that three of the team’s four cook stoves won’t work. They need the stoves to melt water.
Alec promised more later once they get back down to 14,000 foot camp.