This past spring, First Ascent guides David Morton and Melissa Arnot attempted to climb Makalu, the fifth-tallest peak in the world. David produced this short film documenting their expedition.
Story by Melissa Arnot and David Morton; photos by David Morton Melissa: It is sometime between 7 and 9 p.m. Today, May 20, we carried our camp up to our highest resting point, Camp 4 at 7,600 meters. This is as high as I have slept without oxygen, and I am feeling the effects.
Story and photos by David Morton I’m sitting, drinking another cup of tea at base camp. Yep, still. I’ve had a lot of time to stare around at the majesty that surrounds us here. My head is tilted way back half the day, staring far into the distance
Story by Melissa Arnot; photos by David Morton The waiting game is not one I am good at. It seems that all the nervous energy of an entire expedition can be pushed into the days preceding a summit attempt.
Story and photos by David Morton Calm. Sun. Something resembling warmth by 10 a.m. The pond next to my tent shows hints of a thaw. Are those signs of spring? Or is this just a sucker hole? It’s so hard to tell here, up high in the Himalaya.
Story by Melissa Arnot; photos by David Morton and Melissa Arnot Paradox: noun; a situation, person or thing that combines contradictory features or qualities. Base camp on Makalu is a paradox of comfort and struggle.
First Ascent guides David Morton and Melissa Arnot acclimatize on Makalu at 20,750 feet, but altitude isn’t the only concern. Heavy winds and snow make their climb even more difficult.