Greetings from Dharamsala:
I am writing with scabs on the backs of my hands and legs still sore, so the short of it is, yes, we did get to climb! As luck has it, I don't have to get into all the nitty gritty details of the account, because Pat already did, for the backcountry.com blog (who supplied us with oodles of freeze dried dinners and gu's!):
Check out Pat's story and photos about Peak 5394
Freddie on Peak 5394, Manikaran Towers, India
Did you read it? OK, here are my comments to add:
Our all-out-light-and-fast-town-to-town style of ascent (vs our original plan of establishing porter-supported camps along the way) was quite the adventure. Our choice to go ultra light (e.g. single set of cams per team) limited the lines we could choose, meaning easier climbing, but less optimal rock conditions (i.e. snowy, icy, wet, loose) and protection options. Freddie was, excuse my language, like a pig in shit on this type of terrain, while I was, at one point, squealing that I wanted to go wee wee all the way home. Too many seasons on good Cathedral, Yosemite and Patagonia granite I guess. It was my first time participating in this type of first ascent, and I remain in awe at the amount of experience Freddie (and Ben and Pat) has accumulated on every conceivable type of alpine terrain.
the Manikaran Towers before...
...and after a week of snow. Peak 5394 is on the far left. Our line ascended, more or less, the left skyline.
I did thoroughly enjoy myself; it is so unexplainably, incredibly beautiful up there. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world to shiver through a sunset and star bright night at 16 k, sharing one sleeping bag with my man, on a mountain no one is known to have set hand or foot on top of.
sunset over the himalaya
is he ever not happy? freddie and me sharing one sleeping bag on Peak 5394
So yesterday we parted ways, and Freddie is on his way to Nepal for another adventure with Kevin Mahoney and Ben Gilmore, while Pat and Ben (Ditto) stayed in the Kullu region for some more climbing.
I only have 5 days left, so I took an overnight bus last night here to Dharamsala, the home of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Gov't in exile. I am taking Ashtanga and Hatha yoga classes for the next few days with an incredible instructor named Vijay, and am completely inspired after just one class with him.
I'll be home in less than a week now...I trust I haven't missed too much besides the near collapse of our economic system...