National Geographic : 2012 Apr
the mountain. He was able to dig himself out, but the slide had re lled the broken trail, and eventually he too turned back. So now they were four: Gerlinde, Vassiliy, Maxut, and Dariusz. e job of breaking trail was Sisyphean---worse really, because they couldn't pretend they hadn't volunteered for the punish- ment. Sweep the snow aside, crack the crust with your knee, compact what's underneath, step up, slip back. Repeat and repeat and repeat. A er 11 hours they set up a bivouac at Shoulder De- pot Camp, below Camp II, and spent a miser- able night crammed into a two-person tent. e following day they negotiated the most di cult sections of the ridge and reached Camp II, at 6,600 meters, where they changed into down suits. On Saturday, August 20, they slogged on to Camp III, arriving in the a ernoon, exhausted, chilled to the bone. ey drank co ee with hon- ey and warmed their hands and feet over their gas stoves. All night the hoarfrosted tent walls snapped and shuddered in the wind. ey had been promised better weather by a satellite-phone forecast Ralf passed along over the radio from Advanced Base Camp. e break finally arrived on Sunday, August 21, lifting everyone's spirits and helping to carry the team to Camp IV. They were now at nearly 8,000 SILK ROAD CITY OF KASHI IS AN ARDUOUS JOURNEY.