I stayed one more day in Base Camp 5,200m/17,160ft and finally left on May 10 for the Advanced Base Camp (ABC) at 6,400m/21,120ft. The reason for this extra day was to make sure that I really had recovered from my cough and from the overall weakness which I felt since the beginning of the acclimatization period. While I was able to climb 6,000m/19,800ft and 7,000m/23,100ft peaks during the last few weeks, I never felt in the shape and condition I used to be on all other of my expeditions, including my 2011 Everest climb up to 8,600m/28,380ft.
So after ten days at Base Camp, I felt mentally ready to move up. For me, it was also a test to see if this recovery period gave me back the good condition I used to be in. The first day was OK, I reached Intermediate Camp which is about 10km/6,25miles away from BC at about 5,700m/18,810ft in about five hours, which was in the limits. I spent the night there and the next day I left early for the 12km/7.5mile hike along the “Miracle Way” up to ABC. First it was OK, but as higher as I came worse it got in terms of my strength and my cough. Actually, the cough came back and last, but not least, a strong wind came up and it started snowing. Well, snow and wind is part of any mountain climbing, but the other two factors did not fit my picture in terms of climbing the highest mountain in the world… It took me almost seven hours to hike up to ABC at 6,400m/21,120ft in these conditions. My mind went forth and back to figure out what this could be. My cough was hurting me and my legs gave me signals that something is not like it should be… I used my mental strength, moved up in the snow storm and finally arrived at ABC.