Island Peak: part 2

 
We continued up the steep headwall until we reached the summit ridge. This spectacular knife edge ridge led to a tiny pinnacle summit. Here we congratulated each other, took photos and determined to start down as soon as possible to be ahead of the other groups of climbers, some of whom were inexperienced and careless on the steep ropes.
We were quickly back to the headwall ropes and began the 200+ foot rappel. Just as we thought we were out of range of the rock and ice that the other groups would knock down a rock the size of a football bounced down the face and hit Gyalzey a glancing blow on the thigh. He was very lucky it didn't hit him in the head, it would've killed him.
Finally we came to the gaping crevasse. Hugo took a rope and led down into the bergschrund until he was about 15 feet deep in the crevasse. Here there was another snowbridge and he was able to cross to the far side of the crevasse. Then he climbed up and out the other side leaving the rope for Gyalzey and Doug to use. It's always a bit spooky to climb into a crevasse, they are ready made coffins/graves for mountaineers and many have lost their lives in crevasses. In the early days of Himalayan climbing crevasses were regularly used as places to dispose of dead bodies and still today torn apart skeletal remains are often found in glaciers near Basecamp.
With everyone safely out of the crevasse, the team was able to move quickly down towards crampon point. Here they changed out of their heavy cumbersome mountaineering boots and crampons, back into hiking boots and were about to set off down when one of the porters Lakpa and the kitchen boy Chirring arrived with hot orange juice to sooth sore throats and revive energy levels - what a treat! They had climbed for hours to deliver this thermos to us and it was greatly appreciated.
The rest of the descent was knee-crushingly steep, but uneventful. The successful summit team arrived back in camp in time for lunch. After lunch Basecamp was broken down, packed on yaks and backs and everyone began the 6 mile hike down to Chukkung where we stayed back at the Yakland Lodge.