I did not get much rest the night of the 22nd at camp 3. During the night I developed a productive cough. I didn’t think it was a HAPE cough – I am a medical first responder and have treated others with altitude sickness, but I also knew that my own judgement could be impaired both by the condition itself and my own lowered cognitive clarity at high altitude. I regularly check my blood oxygen levels and the device I use was telling me my blood oxygen was abnormally low. I was very reluctant to act on this information, the peak was so close! But even as I resisted the conclusion, and even in the hazy logic of a high altitude mind, I knew it was unmistakable. I knew the answer, but I just didn’t want to let it in.
On the morning of the 23rd I headed back down the mountain. My objective was to descend all the way back down to camp 1 at 23,000 ft.
5/23 Evening Update
I’m in C1 tonight – nice and low. Something is seriously messing with my body right now, though. My Sp02 is still mid 70s. I still don’t know whether it’s a bug or something else. But I’ve got a couple of buddies keeping an eye on me. I’ll probably hang here, at least for tonight, and see if my blood oxygen recovers with some rest.