Back to Base Camp
Fiona and Paul coming down the Western Cwm between C1 and C2 this morning. Photo Dasona Sherpa.
Fiona carefully negotiates a two ladder crossing near the top of the icefall. Photo Paul Adler.
Location: Everest Base Camp
Local Time: 5:30pm, Sun 30th April
Weather: Fine but very windy -17C in our tent at night.
Hi everyone - Fiona here, very pleased to be reporting to you safe and well at base camp.
The Trip Down
We left just after 6am this morning so that we could get through the icefall before the heat of the day. It was very cold when we left, around -18C, and not long afterwards, the wind started blowing pretty hard as well. We were well rugged up when we left, wearing down jackets, warm hats, neck warmers, big gloves, and gortex overpants. We also used chemical heat warmers in our gloves and socks to keep our hands and feet warm.
We got down to camp 1 pretty quickly and then started tackling the icefall, just as the sun came up. The last part of the icefall seemed to take forever as we grew more weary. All up we probably crossed around 25 ladder crossings, heaps of snow bridges and hundreds of places where the terrain was so steep or dangerous that we clipped into fixed lines.
We got back to base camp at around 11am with the only casualties being some blisters on my toes and a black toenail. I'll live.
Luxuries of Base Camp
Upon our arrival here we were greeted with a bottle of Sprite each - a treat reserved only for times like this! After a bit of a rest we had lunch (chips, baked beans, a small salad, tuna and chapati bread). Then finally, we both had a shower. Even though the pressure is pretty woeful compared to anything back home, after 6 days up high, it was wonderful.
We're now sitting around, clean, tired and anticipating a nice dinner. We plan to take it easy for at least 4 days before we head up again for our next acclimatisation rotation.
We heard from Mary today that she is now in Tengboche after her rest day in Namche. The altitude of Tengboche is 3800m, so she is getting up there. At Tengboche there is a lovely monastery and hopefully she will be able to visit.
In answer to Rosemary & Dave's question the other day about whether I am using the "pee like a bloke" device, yes, I have a couple of different devices. The She-Wee (which Sam kindly gave me to try out) and the Freshette. I'm only using them at night so that I can avoid going outside (requiring copious amounts of clothes) and pee into a bottle (like all the guys do). It's the first trip that I've tried out these devices and so far, I'm a convert (although I'm not yet using them for normal outdoor peeing like I know some women do - I'll still take the squat position!). Michelle - I hope you're proud of me.
It made me laugh to hear about some of your other toilet horror stories. Chris and Bridge - years ago we had the same thing happen with a rat in the toilet in our rented house in Carlton - so I guess it can happen anywhere.
Karlyne - sounds like you and J are having fun toilet training the kids. I haven't received any of your emails - the only email address we are getting here is firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope all the plans are going well and you can send again to let me know.
MC - Thanks for your message. Camp 2 is the highest we will do the NASA tests. Would probably be better to do them at higher camps but we'll all have too much else to worry about up there.
Carlinea & Josh - Great to hear from you guys. Say hi to the MBS gang for me.
Brad, Trace, Maddi & Paige - We'd love to see a photo of Paige (just make it as small as you can). Are you guys about ready to move house now?
Michelle - In case it wasn't clear from our last post, Jim is fine. We're back at base camp resting with him now.
As usual, it's lovely to hear from everyone else - sorry we can't reply personally.
Bye for now,
Posted by: Mary on April 30, 2006 11:13 PM AEST
Congratlations on getting back to Base Camp. You two amaze me! I thought my day was tough today!!Left Nanche (just getting up the steps out of town was tough!!). It is a fabulous trek up to here at Tengboche. The vegetation is changing and not so many pine tress. I walked through the rhodedenrum forest, which although nearly finished, still is beautiful. Just out of Namche you get a magnificent view of Everest. Unbelievable as it looms up in front of you. I looked for you guys!!!! The lodge here in Tengboche is called Everest View lodge but that will have to wait until the morning as it is cloudy now.
Posted by: Don McAllister on April 30, 2006 11:27 PM AEST
Thanks you both for providing such great commentary. Good luck.
Please let Fireman Jim know that Don, Amy and Levi are thinking of him.
Posted by: TROCCON Marie Claude on May 1, 2006 12:13 AM AEST
A small moment with you ...
Congratulations for this last performance !
I took my time to consult (in spite of my limited english) the useful links on your site, especially "General information" and there, I realized the importance of logistics, human assistance, all this organization without which could not be carried out this so dangerous and risky project (the accident in the Khumbu icefall proves it).
I understand better now this attraction for the high summits, to overcome them after so many efforts without forgetting the risk to lose the life there.
January 30 of this year, one of our best french mountaineers, Jean Christophe Lafaille (41 years old) has been reported missed during the climbing of the Makalu. Its last communication, 3 days earlier informed his QG of the difficult climatic conditions he met. The temperature was -30°C, its face was frosted.
He had already known a critical situation in lost his companion of excursion, in the rise of Annapurna, it will spend 5 days to only go down to its base camp.
He was a great climber. He reached the tops of Cho Oyu, Gasherbrum 1 and 2, Manaslu, K2, Annapurna, Dhaulagi, Nanga Parbat, Broad Peak, Shishapangma and the Lhotse (west side without oxygen).
You can visit his website that his wife left at disposal : www.jclafaille.com
and you can read it in english.
Thinks for having a thought for him when you clim the Lhotse face.
As far as i am concerned, my relation with the mountains is limited in using
the footpaths of the "Mont d'Arbois" (1800 m !) of Megève (a village at 35 km before Chamonix, above Sallanches) where my husband and me have a wooden chalet. I am not able to climb higher, Everest is not for me !
Can you explain me why you make these acclimatisation rotation ? is this for better accustoming you to the lack of oxygen ? Do all the climbers do it too ?
I wish you much relaxation before setting out again in full form.
Posted by: Chris & Bridget on May 1, 2006 12:40 AM AEST
Well done guys. Bet it feels great to have round 1 done. Hope you now achieve a good few days of rest - enjoy the library and look forward to only walking between your sleeping bags and the dining tent!
Chris & Bridge
Posted by: Elizabeth on May 1, 2006 05:28 AM AEST
Sounds like things are going well. Good luck with everything!
Posted by: Valerie & Rummy on May 1, 2006 06:58 AM AEST
Your climbing adventure gets more thrilling by the day. I suppose it must feel wonderful to achieve so many goals. Although you are only able to tell us a fraction of what you are doing, we still have such a feeling of "being there". Thank you so much. I am currently reading the book: From Everest to Enlightenment, by Canadian Alan Hobson, who summited in '97. cheers--Valerie
Posted by: Juerg Bandle on May 1, 2006 07:00 AM AEST
Back in Nyc, I am anxiously reading your progress reports, wishing all of you good health and a successful climb. Please say hello to my "uno" buddies Markus, Walter and Karl.
Posted by: Valerie & Rummy on May 1, 2006 07:02 AM AEST
I can't believe I forgot to mention the sheer awe I experience when looking at all of your wonderful photos. The ladder crossings look so technical. I guess it goes without saying that neither of you suffers from a fear of heights!!
Posted by: Jane and Ron on May 1, 2006 07:19 AM AEST
We're following "Massa Jim" and his progress through your site. Let Jim know I rode 50 miles with Michelle today while she regales folks with her Katmandu/Everest tales. We saw many of the pictures recently too. Watch out, National Geographic! Jim, your fans are thinking of you!! Love, Jane & Ron
Posted by: MC on May 1, 2006 08:30 AM AEST
Well, congratulations on the huge success of your first acclimazation rotation. Well done and then some. Echoing Valerie's words, the photos are astounding. What memories you will have of this incredible adventure. Your mountaineering skills are certainly being utilized; 25 ladder crossings, snow bridges and steep terrain...you two are amazing! (And of course, so are all of the climbers and sherpas on this great mountain.) Enjoy your rest days and "luxuries" at BC. Thank you for allowing so many people to be able to follow your progress and be a part of your support. Cheers, MC
Posted by: Tamara Brown a/k/a Tam on May 1, 2006 08:31 AM AEST
Paul, Fiona and the IMG Gang:
P & F - Glad to hear you are back in BC. It is nice to know that the IMG Family is back together again! Your postings keep most of the Florida Keys hoping we don't lose internet access as you are our daily dose of adventure and excitement! The "climber's lingo" I inquired about came from Vern Tajas's web posting.....Possibly he could enlighten us.
Stay strong, climb safe and, as always, special thoughts go out to Dennis.
Posted by: Mark R on May 1, 2006 09:43 AM AEST
Hi Fi and Paul
Congrats on a successful trip back to BC. 25 ladder crossings: amazing. Fi, you make it look so easy in that great pic. Rest up and enjoy some good cheese, Paul -- as a fellow cheese enthusiast, I'd gladly send you some awesome Jalapeno cheese I'm currently enjoying, if only FedEx delivered to Everest Base Camp! I'd throw in some hard pretzels and a cold beer for good measure. Anyway, enjoy the BC comforts and be safe.
Posted by: Maddi on May 1, 2006 10:00 AM AEST
Well done guys! You have come so far already so now enjoy your well earned rest. Fiona - will you be able to avoid tuna, eggs and potatoes for a few days?
Love Maddi and DP xx
Posted by: Jim and Jane Madden on May 1, 2006 10:17 AM AEST
Paul and Fiona, your website is absolutely amazing...we look forward to reading it each morning and are amazed that you two are doing all that climbing and still managing an incredible website! Bravo! So glad both of you are feeling well again. The "we" I refer to are all the folks who are friends of Dennis Kellner that live here on Bonaire in the Netherlands Antilles...Dennis's soon to be new home! We are all keeping the candles burning for your entire team and are doing the climb with you vicariously while we scuba dive, snorkel and sit on the beach!!! Our thoughts and prayers and "warm" wishes are with you daily and we wish you the best in your trek to the summit! Keda duru! (Stay strong in Papiamentu). Jim, Jane, Alex, Pete, Meade, Franc, Amado and Sue
Posted by: jan laing on May 1, 2006 10:41 AM AEST
Hi Fiona and Paul,
Each morning I go and get my mohair rug and wrap it around me in preparation for reading about your latest exploits (& that's with the heater going) I can't even begin to imagine -18C!
Rachel's husband Stephen, is doing the Kokoda Track in May, so Rachel and I are going to Fiji - much more my style! The only climbing I intend to do is out of the pool.
Congratulations on all you have achieved so far and the best of luck for what's still to come.
PS I'm happy to report Fiona, that your mum kept her feet firmly planted on the ground while she was in Sydney.
Posted by: Amelia on May 1, 2006 01:02 PM AEST
hi mum, john has been passing on your emails. Great to hear from you. Sounds like it is going really well and that your training was more than sufficient! Enjoy the scenery. We are thinking of you.
Posted by: Marina Herriman on May 1, 2006 08:36 PM AEST
Hi - its Marina from the McLennan Library again. You guys are doing an amazing job. I read your diary everyday - it makes me feel like its me up there climbing too. Anyway, just wanted to let you know there is a good size article on your guys in this weeks Melbourne Uni News.
Good luck - stay safe - look after each other. Marina :-)
Posted by: Dee Tozer on May 2, 2006 12:09 AM AEST
Hi Fiona and Paul, I am addicted to your daily email and don't have words to express my wonderment at your courage. I am particularly moved by your descriptions of the immense and daunting challenges ahead.You are in my heart and thoughts constantly.Love Dee