Day 3 – Balfour High Col and Scott Duncan Hut
It's 5AM when the first alarm goes off and I slowly wake up. For some odd reason it feels like I had a bad dream but can't seem to remember about what exactly though. Then Kelly his I-Phone starts playing music and everybody is returning to the land of the living and Kelly starts asking me about my dream. I am confused but then the rest of the guys are telling me that in the middle of the night I was asking for help and that Bill, who was sleeping next to me, woke me up and that I rolled over and that I went back to sleep again within 10 seconds. The only person that didn't notice anything was Scott but his own snoring probably overpowered my voice ;-). I decide that the next night I won't be taking Greg his "sleeping" pills anymore though, not sure what the other side effects might be but I'd rather not take the risk again.
Anyway, we all get up and ready for another exiting day in the hills. By 7AM most of us are leaving Balfour hut and drop down to below Mt. Balfour where we rope up for the ascent of the glacier that leads to the Balfour high col. Matt is doing an awesome job breaking trail and leading the first rope team up the glacier and our team is following his track. At some point we have to traverse a steeper portion so the second team is waiting until the first team is safely off the slope and then goes up as well. In the mean time the first team is well ahead and we all keep a good pace along the crevasse fields and seracs above. The closer we get to the col the more clouds move in and by the time we all get to the col we are in a full white-out and can only see a couple of meters in front of us. It is quickly decided that today is not the day to ascend Balfour and Scott and I pull out our GPS's to navigate down towards the Scott Duncan Hut. My GPS looses it signal so Scott is taking over the navigation and after about half an hour we get slowly out of the clouds although Balfour and the high col are still in it. We ditch the rope and ski down and traverse over to the Scott Duncan hut.
At the Scott Duncan hut we all get settled in and grab a bite to eat and some of us are taking a well deserved nap. Kelly, Clayton and Matt still have some energy left and decide to ski some turns above and below the hut while others discuss politics, global warming and the intelligence of certain animals. Bill and I had been looking at the ascent route of Daly but it looked like there was too much snow so we'll leave it to another time, maybe when we come back for another try at Balfour. After a few hours we can finally see Mt. Balfour so even if we had intended to wait at the col it we would have been several hours before we could have made an attempt so we certainly made the right decision to abort our mission.
We enjoy another freeze dried dinner (the lasagna with meat sauce is actually pretty good and recommended for these trips) and try to eat as much as possible to lighten our packs. Scott Duncan hut is pretty small, even for 8 people, so after we consumed most of the oxygen we decide to go to bed and get rested for our last day in the mountains. This time I did not take one of Greg his pills and it took a long time before I got to sleep, mainly because of the jet engines roaring next to me.