Shop Windows to the Universe

We now offer the Cool It! card game in our Science Store. Cool It! is the new card game from UCS that teaches kids about the choices we have when it comes to climate change.

    Image Courtesy of Brad Clement

From: Brad Clement
Nepal, October 12, 2008

Annapurna IV Summary Part 3 of 3

Here is part 3 of the summary from Annapurna IV, covering Camps 2 to 3 and our decision to turn around before reaching the summit....

PART III - Camp 2 to Camp 3, and the decision to turn around

As with our move to Camp 2, we ended up making an intermediate camp en route to Camp 3. The weather and snow conditions made for very slow moving, and we ended up camping just short of our projected Camp 3. Our intermediate camp was placed on an ice fin between two HUGE crevasses (cracks in a glacier) which made it a very dramatic camp. Before reaching the official Camp 3, we had to climb over a large Bergshrund (a type of crevasse) and then continued up over 300 feet of near vertical ice, which made for very challenging climbing at nearly 21,000 feet. As with all of our travels, we climbed with heavy backpacks full of food, tents, ropes and other climbing gear. The snow conditions bordered on being dangerous for avalanches, but we pushed through and finally arrived at Camp 3 at 21,500 feet. Camp 3 is on the massive summit plateau of the mountain, and from here there are only 3,200 vertical feet to go until the summit!

By the time we reached Camp 3, we had spent two weeks completely alone on the mountain, carrying all of our supplies on our backs and living in a 4x6 foot tent on snow and ice. Our plan was to travel to one more camp and then try to reach the top of the mountain. We set off for Camp 4 in good spirits, but as we moved further up the mountain, we began to see how dangerous the top of the mountain looked. The upper slopes near the top of the mountain were covered with massive seracs and cornices (columns of ice and ledges of snow) which were actively dropping ice and snow to areas below. To reach the summit, we would have to travel under, around, and over these very dangerous obstacles. We decided it was too risky and dangerous, so we turned around and gave up on our chance for reaching the top. It took us three days to return to Base Camp.

Go to the next postcard

Postcards from the Field: Annapurna

You might also be interested in:

Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Glaciers and Ice Sheets

For a glacier to develop, the amount of snow that falls must be more than the amount of snow that melts each year. This means that glaciers are only found in places where a large amount of snow falls each...more

The Cryosphere

The cryosphere includes the parts of the Earth system where water is in its frozen (solid) form. This includes snow, sea ice, icebergs, ice shelves, glaciers, ice sheets, and permafrost soils. Approximately...more

Our Trek From Kathmandu to Humde

Hi, this is Brad writing from Humde, Nepal on the 14th of September. We left Kathmandu five days ago, and it has been a busy five days! From Kathmandu we drove north to the town of Besi Sahar, and from...more

Brad Clement

I am the owner of Spindrift Films and a freelance producer and camera operator specializing in high altitude mountaineering and wilderness adventure subject matter. I have traveled to some of the most...more

Packing for the Expedition

It is the night before we leave for Kathmandu, Nepal. Can you believe we will leave Denver, Colorado on Friday and land in Kathmandu on Sunday? It takes a long time to fly there, but also we will be crossing...more

Blessings for Safe Passage

We arrived in Kathmandu yesterday after over 30 hours of travel. We are literally on the other side of the Earth, very far from home. Given that we changed planes in Los Angeles, California and again in...more

Blizzard at Base Camp

Hello all! It's James McKee, Communications Manager for the Dare to Dream 2008 Expedition. I just received an update from Brad Clement, Expedition Co-Leader. He called on his satellite phone to share what...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF