And I crossed it, boy did I cross it. I left the Camp I tent at 4:20 in the morning. The first rays of sun surprised me before the first technical part of the route: an area of cracks and seracs about 100 meters high, where some expeditions had installed a metal ladder that facilitated passage over deep cracks. The backpack weighed me down, yet I felt light.
I overcame the difficulties in less than two hours, and began to ascend the heavy upper Lenin glacier, little by little, step by step, my breath constantly quickening. My own breathing and the wind were the only things I heard. Below, much further down, some expeditions left Camp I in the direction of II, my destination. They weren't enough for me.
I gained height as I advanced, at a slow but constant pace. Upon reaching the height of 5000 meters I stood under the large snow shovel that, in 1993, buried dozens of climbers who, oblivious to all risks, slept in the old Camp II. Today the situation of this high altitude camp has changed and is strategically located at the foot of a rocky rock.
I arrived at Camp II after five hours of suffering, happy, but tired. My heart rate and rhythm were good. I decided to set up the tent and rest all afternoon with a group of French people.
The passage of time is better done in company. Except for the comments from the French who, when going in a group, ignored me a lot (it must be said that I didn't do much to integrate myself either), life in Campo II is monotonous: you drink, you sleep, you cook, you try to rest. This is how time passes, as the night comes. At 5 in the afternoon I was already sleeping, thinking about my acclimatization walk the next day, to Camp III in the Razdelnaya summit at 6200 meters high.
The wind that night was horrible. I was barely able to sleep at all after 9. The discomfort of the noise, the altitude and the cold ended up keeping me awake and preventing me from entering a desired state of wakefulness. In the morning I was tired, although the most tragic news came when they told me that one of the Frenchmen had disappeared. We found him shortly after, in the early hours of the day, buried in a crevice: it sounds grotesque, but that's how it was, he died while looking for a quiet place to clean. Anything, even if it seems inconsequential, can become vital at that point.
With my spirits not very high, after the bad news, I ascended (without weight this time) to Camp III. It only took me 2 and a half hours. He was really well physically, although he had to save energy for the final attack on the summit.
The views from Razdelnaya, with the entire expanse of the Tian Shan and Pamir mountain ranges at my feet, is one of the most beautiful memories I have of the expedition. In camp III the tents, half-buried by snow, and the tired faces of the climbers who had returned from a failed attempt to the summit, offset the fabulous landscape of the white peaks of Communism Peak, Khan Tengri and Pobeda.
The summit of Lenin looked so close, only 800 meters away, so affordable, I felt so good... But it is necessary to be cautious, the acclimatization was not yet good, it would be necessary to better adapt the body to the altitude. For this reason and following my initial strategy I decided to descend to Base Camp the next day and spend two days resting and eating, with the intention of attacking the summit on August 13 or 14.
Bad news came from Spain: a sudden change in weather was expected in the next few days that could affect the success of my solo expedition. Would I risk staying at altitude and risk acclimatization? Did he descend to Base Camp and continue with the planned plan? Being prudent, the best option was the second, so I decided to fly to Base Camp and take those well-deserved days off.
I had not yet tasted the true face of Lenin Peak: vHundreds of 85 kilometers per hour that broke my tent, snow and more snow in which I would be buried up to my waist, missing on the way to the summit... although I would not know this for a few days... (to be continue).