Into Thick Air
An Adventure Story by BL&T

It started as a dream one night about 12 hours ago.  To climb a mountain, from sea level to its highest peak, without supplemental oxygen or beer.  How ever difficult, with proper planning we should be able to make the summit.

After a good night of food and beer, a high carbo, high energy meal, we planned our trip the morning of June 22, 1998.  We gathered the essential items to make the summit, a couple of cups of coffee, cameras, extra fleece and of course our climbing shoes.

8:32AM.  Summit Day
We're off to the base camp.  Jun25_02.jpg (53733 bytes) 

8:37AM. Summit Day
Along the way we make arrangements with the local search and rescue, just in case of a catastrophic event.  Jun25_13.jpg (48289 bytes)  Jun25_04.jpg (57214 bytes)

8:38AM Summit Day
We start off on the grueling trail to Camp1.  Camp 1, the scene of many first time attempts on Mt. Ulvon, sits littered with the remnants of failure and tragedy of previous climbs. 
Jun25_11.jpg (63319 bytes)

8:43AM Summit Day
  The start of the dreaded "Munchkin Step".  Alas, many teams have started before us and their sherpas have clogged the path.  SherpaSteps.jpg (56878 bytes)

 

8:44AM Summit Day
   The decision is made to swat the other teams sherpas off the steps.  Easy solution to a potential climb ending problem.

8:54AM Summit Day
  We have reached "Svenska Ridge" the most technical part of the climb.   Its also possibly the only place in the world where trees grow perpendicular to the mountain sides.  Jun25_08.jpg (64227 bytes)  Notice our free climbing, NO GEAR HERE!

8:57AM Summit Day
  The summit!  Reached in an astonishing 20 minutes, possibly a new world record!  Jun25_07.jpg (44806 bytes)  Jun25_09.jpg (52545 bytes)  As you may have now seen, Jacky did not make it, lost on the trail along the way.  We strained our vocal chords for a few seconds but the winds were to light to carry our calls very far.  She is not the first person to be lost on the trail as seen in this photo, a marker to the first person  Jun25_10.jpg (59675 bytes)  to stub a toe on Mt. Ulvon.

You may ask did they know the risks involved?    Jun25_06.jpg (57110 bytes)
  YES we did!

 

Epilog


   Jacky did make it!  After following a slightly longer trail, she reached the summit moments after our decent from Mt. Ulvon.  With her timely decent and arrival at base camp, Risqué, we began to celebrate with toast and an extra ration of coffee!  

And so goes the first of many....