Jon Gupta’s 7in4: EVEREST II
Eschewing the tedium of basecamp, Team tin4 attempt a feat that epitomizes the ambition of the project and exemplifies the incredible drive and athleticism of the team.
NUPTSE 7861m attempt
On Tuesday 1st Steve, Tim, Adam & I, alongside Pemba & Cheddi Sherpa headed round from Everest Camp 2 6350m to the other side of the Western Cwm to Nuptse Camp 3 6830m in just under 3 hours. We dug out 2 tent platforms next to the 3 tents from Adventure Consultants & jumped in 3 to a tent.
Nupste is part of the famous Everest horseshoe which comprises of 3 summits – Everest 8848m, Nuptse 7861m (21st highest mountain) & Lhotse 8516m (4th highest mountain) – aka ‘The Tripple Crown’. Nuptse is rarely summited, with only 20 people ever having reached the true summit.
There are 6 of us in our team & 3 in another, all going together – me, Steve, Tim Mosedale, Adam Booth + Pemba Sherpa & Chhebi Sherpa and the other team Guy Cotter + his client & some AC climbing Sherpas.
At 02:00am we headed out into the clear cold night – it was super bright with a huge moon overhead…perfect!! Just 50m away the route started up a steep snow arête (note: steeply…& it never relented!). Not once during the entire route was there a nice flat bit to stand on, it was simply just super steep all the time!
Adam & I decided to climb without Oxygen whilst Tim & Steve wore their masks on a low flow rate. At about 7200m my left toes were getting very cold (some minor damage left over from Denali) & refused to warm up with the usual tricks so I turned my oxygen on & they soon warmed up. ( I was carrying 1 bottle ‘incase’).
Way up ahead 2 skilled climbing Sherpas from the Adventure Consultants team were fixing the final 400m of the route ahead of us, I could see their head torches from time to time. These guys had spent 3 full days fixing the route up to that point (over the last week or so) & were phenomenal mountaineers, I was super impressed as I climbed the route thinking about what they had done that days before.
At around 08:00am we all caught up with one another: Steve, myself, Tim, Adam & our two sherpa, and Guy Cotter, Keshan (his client) & their Sherpa. It was quite windy & spindrift snow was being blasted around making it difficult for the 2 fixing Sherpa above. The slopes we were standing on were also substantially avalanche prone, & a few sluffs were being self triggered close by.
The radio call came through from above & the thumbs up were given to continue. Tim & I took the lead. Feeling good, we took turns breaking trail for the next 2 hours. Spindrift had wiped out any sign of old footprints so we just had the rope to give us direction. The going was tough & deep but it felt amazing. Every now & then looking around to see the view literally made me smile! Eventually, at around 7630m (just 200m short of the top) we caught up with the 2 fixing Sherpa who delivered the blowing news that the next slopes that lead to the summit were substantially loaded & prone to avalanche & therefore too dangerous to cross.
Understandably we were gutted but accepted the decision without question. So so close but yet so far.
We descended via a number of abseils & arm wraps all the way back to our camp – this took about 3 hours or so. Exhausted but safe, we got the stove on & packed our stuff away & hauled the tents, cookers, oxygen etc back around to Camp 2 on Everest. We got in around 17:00 and enjoyed a huge 12 hour sleep.