Getting established at base camp
Fiona sorting out gear on the site of our future patio! Our tent is in the background.
Location: Everest base camp
Local Time: 7:30pm, 4 April
Weather: Fine -4C and no afternoon snow!
Hi it's Paul here, coming to you from inside our communications tent at Everest Base camp. It's a pretty amazing setup here and we will give you more details over the next few days. The communications tent is a large dome about 10 metres in diameter and has both AC and DC power, as well as chairs and tables for writing. There is another communications tent of the same size which contains the base station for radio communications up the mountain.
Today was our first full day at Base camp and it was spent sorting out gear, digging an entrance and pathway to our tent, and spending some time with our Sherpas.
Sorting out our gear
All our gear arrived in one piece, however some of our duffel bags have small holes where sharp objects rubbed against the fabric. Nothing seems to be damaged though, and no liquids were spilt so that was great.
We have sorted our gear into several duffel bags with a bag each for our clothes and personal technical gear (crampons, torches, etc.), a separate bag for our down suits and sleeping bags, and then another bag for our food.
Yesterday we setup our camp beds that we carried as hand luggage all the way from home due to weight restrictions! These beds are fabric stretched tightly between two poles a bit like a stretcher. We were unsure if they would go inside our tents, but they just fit. Last night we used them for the first time, and I like them, but Fiona is not yet convinced. We have been supplied with a pretty good mattress, which works well just on its own.
Renovating our tent site
Much of the group enhanced their tent sites and we did the same by putting in stone steps up to our tent and also digging out the entrance. We chipped through the ice to deepen the entrance to our tent and then paved it with flat rocks so that it doesn’t get too wet during the heat of the day. Jean Francois, another climber built a stone chair. For future renovations we will flatten the rocks around our tent to make a nice area to lay out gear.
Watching the icefall doctors
During the day we could see the icefall doctors hard at work. The icefall doctors are a small group of Sherpas paid for by all the teams to setup and maintain the route through the icefall. In the morning we could see them through a telescope fixing a ladder across a crevase about half way up the icefall, and then later in the day we saw them descending about two thirds of the way up. This is great news, because they only started work yesterday, and everyone is saying how fast they are going. Will the icefall be easier this year?
Tomorrow we plan to walk back down the valley to Gorak Shep and meet up with our friends Chris and Bridget. We hope to climb Kala Patar if the weather is good, otherwise we will just play cards in their lodge! I have a sore throat which is getting worse. It would be nothing to worry about at sea level, but up here its a little concerning.
Bye for now,
Posted by: Eric Lajoie on April 5, 2006 02:29 AM AEST
It's very nice to have daily news from you and I enjoy reading about your wonderfull adventure. I wish you all the best and off course, to summit Everest!
By the way, I just learned that Jean-Francois Carrey, a fellow canadian is part of your group. I would like to say too him "Bonne chance Jean-Francois. On parle de toi dans plusieurs journaux du Québec et je trouve bien plaisant d'avoir de tes nouvelles" Thank you to follow my message to him.
The pictures are also very nice. Hope you will have the chance too send some more! Good luck!
Posted by: MC on April 5, 2006 04:53 AM AEST
Fiona and Paul
Love the view from your future patio! Also, stone steps definitely add value to your "new home". Last year, on the north side, one of the teams built a steam room using stones and it worked quite well.
Paul, I sincerely hope that your sore throat will go away...definitely a bit of a concern. Believe it or not, I gargle often with mouthwash to rid myself of a sore throat. (At least you'll have great breath!)
Posted by: John Kellner on April 5, 2006 08:48 AM AEST
Thank you for keeping us informed of your adventure and passing on messages to other members. It makes me feel closer to my son during his travails. Best of luck to you both and the whole expedition and give Dennis my love.
Posted by: Jan on April 5, 2006 09:47 AM AEST
How exciting to be at base camp - talk about a room with a view! Loving the story of your adventures. Watch Chris on the 500 - he's a gun - as a kid he played most nights over dinner with a 500 pro - his dad!
hope the throat gets better quick.
All the best, JanXX
Posted by: Caroline White on April 5, 2006 10:19 AM AEST
Good luck to you all. May your climb be a success. One thing I'd like you to expand a bit more on is how you are dealing with the problem of garbage disposal. Please let everyone know that hopefully you are being responsible trekkers and are not leaving anything behind!
Posted by: jan laing on April 5, 2006 10:32 AM AEST
Hi Paul and Fiona,
Take some advice from an 'oldie'who still remembers the home remedies from childhood (that would be a couple of centuries ago) gargle regularly with warm, salty water. Hope this helps.
Posted by: Andrew Sutcliffe on April 5, 2006 10:37 AM AEST
Well done on getting to Base Camp. I guess that was the easy part. The views look inspiring and you must be pretty excited about the climb ahead. A photo of the inside of the communications tent would be interesting. I am constantly amazed at the ability to stay in touch with the outside world via sat phone etc. Any time you have spare if you could expand on your communications setup and the role the solar panels play in it.
Hope the sore throat does not cause you too many more problems and enjoy the climb up Kala Pater.
Posted by: Sara on April 5, 2006 11:32 AM AEST
Congratulations on making base camp! I am amazed everytime I read an update (especially the home improvements you are making). I have been fascinated by the yaks and have some dumb questions about them. Were they delivering things to base camp? And do they go any further than base camp? Thinking of you always and Paul, I hope your throat rights itself.
Posted by: Paul w. Gagne on April 5, 2006 12:18 PM AEST
Glad to hear you made BC. I'm hoping you could get a message to my brother Jim and his girlfriend, Michele letting him know that everyone at home is thinking of them and wish them nothing but good weather and good fortune on your groups' quest to summit.
thank you I wish I was there with everyone to see the spectacle of BC.
Posted by: Mary and John on April 5, 2006 12:39 PM AEST
re the renovations....Now you're talking. I like the idea of the steam room. Hope it's ready by the time I get there!
We toasted you both at Meals' birthday dinner last night.
Oma sends her love and she says "Don't get too cold!". She is here with us for a few days and really enjoys reading your bulletins which Roger prints off for her.
lots of love
Mare and Dad.
Posted by: Beck Adler on April 5, 2006 01:35 PM AEST
Hi Guys, Well done for getting to base camp! How many other climbers are already there ? Why did Chris and Bridget not arrive at the same time with you ?
Hope your feeling better soon Paul. Love Beck
Posted by: Lucinda on April 5, 2006 04:03 PM AEST
Beck - I can answer your quesion for you - It was mentioned earlier that Chris & Bridget have "accommodation" organised at Base Camp from 6 April - so I guess that it why!
By the way Paul & Fiona, congratulations on making Base Camp - that is one step accomplished. I hear there is an article on you in this week's Melbourne Weekly - haven't seen it yet, but Beck will no doubt save it for you.
Posted by: Valerie & Ken Johnson on April 5, 2006 04:27 PM AEST
You are still giving us riveting reading. HA--and I thought it was cold in Apollo Bay today?? I don't think so. Paul, I hope your throat gets better REAL soon. I anxiously await all of your wonderful updates.
Good Luck and Good Health--Valerie
Posted by: Rose on April 5, 2006 07:10 PM AEST
Hi Paul and Fiona
Congratulations on reaching the summit. Nicola wants to know how you keep warm sleeping on the ice!! Quite a contrast to Sydney weather and soft beds. Still the view looks amazing, and the weather so far has been great. Good luck with making yourselves at home and begining the next stage. We watch with great interest. Thanks Tim for helping with the return of the photos.
Posted by: Fotina Koutropoulos (sensis) on April 7, 2006 11:47 AM AEST
I have no doubt you'll both make it to the top.
good Luck and all the best
Posted by: Liz and Bill Inglis on April 9, 2006 12:58 PM AEST
Hi P & F,We are mindboggled by the tec that allows this instant imaging and messaging so we can all see and be part of your wonderful adventure. So glad Rob sent us your address. Take care of yourselves and have a fantastic adventure. I was born in Srinigar but sadly have no memory of the views. With our love Bill and Liz