Telluride Inside…and Out: Ben Clark in the Himalayas, Dispatch 7

Telluride Inside…and Out: Ben Clark in the Himalayas, Dispatch 7

Editor's note: For eight years, Telluride local Ben Clark and a few friends/professional colleagues have made Spring treks to the majestic mountains of the Himalayas. Follow his adventures on Telluride Inside… and Out, including links to his regular podcasts. If you have missed any of Ben's posts, just type "Ben Clark" into Lijit Search to find them all.

Benbioshotlr-254x300 "Dispatch 7: 17,600'/So we wait

Gray clouds build overhead as high winds stream and batter our position. Boy are we lucky to be landlocked today rather than our initial plan of ascending to camp one at 20'000'. We set out in clean clothes under sunny skies this morning only to be turned back with an equipment failure. The mountain is now being blasted hard. Fighting upward would have resulted in dodging rockfall and hunkering into a stormy night. Bad luck is good luck sometimes, no?

Of course our equipment failure wasn't the gnarly bravado filled kind, with only two full days at base camp we haven't even whetted a crampon and our gear is the best, bar none. It was far dorkier, it was camera failure, a modern affliction far less terrifying than eating your buddy or cutting off an arm. There is enough dust up here to render one's ears, noses, eyes and camera tape trays grindy like sandpaper and sticky like the boogers you might imagine. Great territory when Clariton clear, bad when not.

Last year on the other side of Baruntse we emerged from our tents looking like dry wall hangers, men covered in flour even…it was like being prepared to become a biscuit. This year, we're camped on a sandy beach at high altitude that clogs our pores, forces us to cry and digs under our fingernails. So with only one huge HDV camera left to shoot a high altitude film and podcast series, we opted to return to the tent and get cracking on a fix for one of our two breakdowns to avoid carrying the big rig and ruining our 'alpine style.' We got time (15 days for a three-day climb), we got patience, and we have Camilia Rada (Chilean climber and geophysicist/camera repairman). He got one working. That's good luck and got us an invite to climb in South America in 2011. SCORE!

Of course, I never thought I'd empathize with a failing camera but that's how I feel now, not quite impervious either and my teeth are just as gritty 14 days without a proper shower. Expect the unexpected and thank your luck, even when bad.

Live the Dream, I'm gonna take a nap.

Ben Clark"

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