Alois at Himalaya

I would never have dreamed that I would be taken on such a long journey to the Himalayas, to Ladakh to be precise!
It's true that my ancestors from the pick smithy Bhend already made history in 1953 and 1956 when they were part of the first ascents of Everest and Lhotse, but back then there were no modern, ultra-light ice tools like there are today.

I was already quite nervous when I was checked in at the bottom of an expedition bag at Zurich airport. The destination was Delhi in India. It must have been uncomfortably hot and humid there, as I could gather from the conversations of my fellow travellers Tina, Hansruedi, Pascal and Marco. 

After two nights in Delhi, we flew to Leh, the capital of Ladakh.

Ladakh belongs to India and lies about 500 km west of Nepal. Here you are closer to the eight-thousand-metre peaks of Pakistan. About 200 km away are Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum I, Broad Peak and K2. What names!

In Leh I am taken on an acclimatisation hike. I am carried up to 4800 m. Why is beyond me: far and wide there is no snow or ice. Only in the distance are the mountain peaks covered in snow, they are supposed to be six-thousand metre peaks.
Presumably it was for a so-called photo shoot.

More rather boring days followed for me. Far and wide, neither ice nor snow. On the sixth day of the trip we climbed to the base camp at 4600 m above sea level. But here, too, no ice or snow. 

On the eighth day, we finally got down to business: a rather steep glacier with some crevasses had to be overcome. Fixed ropes were set up along the entire route of more than 400 metres above sea level, but they had to be checked and partly re-fixed. Here I was able to show off my skills in hacking some steps.

The following three camps at 5420 m, 5570 m and 6300 m were all in snow. I came into action from time to time. For example, when it came to collecting glacier water in a small trench.

Once a Ladakhi wanted to abuse me to hammer in a herring. Fortunately, Tina saved me from the worst!

As I was already looking forward to the ascent to the summit, everyone descended back to base camp and stayed there for two nights in beautiful weather. I was told that this was necessary for acclimatisation. I don't know what the problem is. I feel comfortable at any altitude!

Finally, finally after 13 days away from home, we started from Basecamp towards the summit. Overnight in Camp 1, two nights in Camp 2 and then - for the first and last time - overnight in Camp 3.

We started at 2.30 a.m. with some wind but clear skies. The route was icy and steep. I was mainly needed as a support. Apparently it was too exhausting to use me to chop steps. I have never seen my mountain guides ascend so slowly! Again and again they took breaks. Apparently they lack anything to make them go faster. I'm doing fine. Seven hours after setting off, we were standing on the 7135 m high Nun, and I was ceremoniously stretched out and photographed from all sides.

Down we went quickly. Once again I was wedged between my back and my backpack and didn't get much of the abseiling along the fixed ropes. No matter, my mission was obviously accomplished! We reached Camp 3 after two hours, Camp 2 after four hours. 

The rest is quickly told. At Basecamp, I was brought out once more for photos. Then I disappeared into the bottom of a travel bag and only came back to light when the bag was unpacked at home in Grindelwald.