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Decisions

Decisions have consequences, some more serious than others, or they just set things in motion with results that won't be known for some time.

Today's difficult decision was whether to carry on with the tent and my sleeping pad or whether to send it down with Roland when he headed home at noon.

With a tent we have flexibility where we sleep and comfort anywhere. But even an ultralight tent weighs something, and our packs are obscenely heavy for climbing anything difficult. Without a tent we were commiting ouselves to huts, either the bivouac variety with mattresses and blankets but little else or the fully staffed kind that are mountain hotels. After considerable agonizing, we decided not to bring the tent. I also sent down my sleeping pad; John Bird kept his.

Now we're trying to sleep under the stars with no tent. John is comfortable on his pad. I am lying on climbing ropes flaked out flat and my empty backpack. That's all that's between me and frozen rocks on the glacier. It should be an interesting night.

The problem was that the hut we were aiming for was put there specifically for the border-edge route we wanted to do on Monte Rosa tomorrow. It is supposed to be a great route. But when we saw it in the distance it looked too much for us with such heavy packs. It is very steep, technically difficult, and fresh snowfall seems to cover the whole thing. We were intimidated. So we didn't go to that hut after all.

Instead we hiked across vast glaciers to reach this spot at about 3400m just under a tributary glacier with no name. We think we can make it up this glacier tomorrow. It has its problems, but we expect to surmount them on our way to the Dufourspitze of Monte Rosa and then the Refugio Margherita for tomorrow night. That's the highest hut in the Alps. It should be an interesting day. I'm now going to see if I can get some sleep on these ropes.

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