Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Diary of an idiot Part 5

If you don’t drink, you don’t pee, if you don’t pee …. You die!



With two aid pitches under our belt, we decide it was time to get on a route. After chatting with some resident hard core types we decided that the Prow on the Washington column would be a good choice with straight forward aid, and less crowded than the more popular south face route. This day saw us shouldering our pigs ready for two days (three at a push on the wall.) walking in with our 70kg loads (I only weigh 75kg at this point) the feeling in my arms disappeared as quickly as the car as we trotted up the approach path.


For the first time in my life I had cramp in my hips as a result of the load I was carrying (that wasn’t in the brochure). Our progress was helped in no way by the 40 degree heat! The closer we got the bottom the steeper the track got. To say that we had perspired on the approach would be a fair statement.


Finally we broke cover from the trees and were faced with the enormity of the face (SWEET!) the corners of our route steep and obvious. Bright orange in the relentless sun! On inspection we noticed a team low on the route moving slow (even by our standards) it would appear that these gods were freeing the route!!!!


So after a short team talk we concluded the south face route though crowded would be the way to go. Gearing up at the bottom of the route another team appeared from no where. The lady of the group was all like “HEY!” and we were all like “what’s up?” and She was like “you guys doing the south face” and we were like “yea, you?” and she was like “skull queen” and were like “OO!?” and she was like “we’ll just follow you guys for a bit till the route split” and we were like “na you can go first” and she was like “na you were here first” and we were like “this is our first wall” and she was like “this is my 40th ill give you guys a hand to get started” and we were like “thank you Jesus”. After some secret high fives we were off, the first pitch was free at about 5.7 which I led and then began the epic ordeal of hauling two 70kg pigs up slaby ground.


Gearing up for the next pitch a steep awkward looking corner in the full brunt of the sun, it started to dawn on me that Matt was looking a bit peaky, gray almost. His speech was slow and his eyes seemed unfocused, he had tucked himself into the only shade on the ledge. While chatting he confided in me that though he was kind of aware that we were in rather serious place. He had this growing feeling that he couldn’t care less!


Now im no doctor however I began to harbour the feeling that something may be amiss, and had to make the bitter discussion to descend. Tipping out the water we didn’t need I was still uncertain as to whether I had made the right decision as I watched Matt wobble across the ledge dropping etreiers as he went I felt that uncertainty slip away. Close to 6 minutes after he had disappeared from sight on the abseil he still had not taken his weight off the rope. Finally the call came “ROPE FREE!” I later learned that he had taken so long because on reaching the bottom of the decent there was a branch on the floor across the track, nothing special just a branch yet in his hyperthermic and severely dehydrated state passing this posed a problem that was nearly unfathomable! After that the decent went like most others silent, me wondering why, since I had ditched 15 litres of water from my load how come it still seemed to weigh the same? And Matt probably wondering where it all went wrong, how did a well trodden mountaineer form the Isle of Skye (north west Scotland) succumb to the heat so swiftly? Some things remain a mistery to this day, however on returning to camp Matt drank around 3 litres of water and didn’t pee till the next morning.