More snow in base camp
Fiona, Mingma and Paul standing in the thick snow at base camp. Photo Jack Gerstein.
Location: Everest Base Camp
Local Time: 5:30pm 19 April
Weather: Snowing, warmer in the afternoon
Hi It's Paul here, coming to you from a very snowy base camp. Last night it continued to snow, and there have been scattered showers today. Whilst this amount of snow is normal in the post monsoon climbing season (Oct-Nov), it's most unusual in the pre-monsoon climbing season that we are in now.
People in camp 1
We have nine people stuck up at camp 1, but they are doing fine. This morning they reported over the radio that Jim Gagne is the snow wall king, as he has been building lots of snow walls to fill in the time. Although they have been up there for a few days now, they still have plenty of food and cooking gas, and are happy to sit it out and wait for the route through the icefall to be re-established, either by the icefall doctors or a Sherpa team. With over 1m of snow, all the fixed lines are completely buried in the icefall. We heard that another team in camp one tried to come down this morning, but after half an hour, they couldn't find the route and had to turn back.
As I write this, its getting more and more bright outside, so hopefully the weather is going to break soon. That's what the forecast says too.
What do we do while waiting in base camp?
Fiona and I have been doing a lot of reading, eating, listening to music, playing cards and talking to other climbers. Believe it or not, it can get extremely hot in your tent during the day - much too hot to stay inside. We put our sleeping bags on the outside of our tent to try and provide some shade, but still we usually retreat to the dining tent. The dining tent is a great meeting place and at any one time there will be at least four people there, sitting on the chairs, snacking on the endless array of biscuits, tea, chips, cheese and nuts. Topics of conversation from today were the weather, when everyone is going to go up the mountain, gear, people's families, jobs and businesses back home, different tax systems in everyone's countries & the social security system in the US. Broad topics!
We hope that with fine weather tomorrow, the route will be re-established through the icefall. Then we should be able to go up the day after. Both Fiona and I are slowly getting better and should be fine to go by then.
Thanks for your messages.
Rex and Caroline - we found your message very funny and shared it with Tuck and the rest of the team. Anyone who has been on a trip with Mark Tucker will know what they were getting at!
Liz - We passed on your message to Luanne - we see her nearly every day. Is Tara's middle name Luanne?
N&M H - The cold and extremely dry air irrates your throat and can cause coughing and sore throats. I have been wearing a face mask at night to warm and moisten the air and I think this is helping a bit.
Hi Liv, Great to hear from you on sunny Majorca.
Hi AA - Thanks for your advice about being patient. The snowfall couldn't have come at a better time for us!
MC - We don't have any mouthwash so can't try your idea out. We have been using iodine and salt water. The doctors say that it's likely to be viral and there is not much you can do about it other than rest.
Hi Kennette - Good to hear that you got back safe and hopefully you will get better soon. We passed your message around the team - everyone sends their best wishes for a fast recovery.
Zoe - When washing clothes we start out with warm water, but it does get cold quick. When I am shaving I have to go back and get more hot water mid way through! Sometimes the clothes don't dry in time and they get stiff as a board after about 5pm.
Last but not least a special Happy Birthday to Lucinda.
From the dining tent in base camp,
Posted by: Liz on April 19, 2006 11:38 PM AEST
Hello there in snowy BC! Thx for passing messages to Luanne! Yes, Tara's middle name is Luanne - obviously named after the wonderful Doctor herself!! Tara Lu came close to not having a daddy - long story, but had it not been for Luanne, her team and the amazing Sherpa's help, my husband would not have survived the severe case of HAPE he developed on the mountain in 2004.
You 2 take care & feel better. I look forward to reading your dispatches daily! Stay warm & climb safe.
Posted by: Terri Allen on April 20, 2006 03:28 AM AEST
Hi you two! Sounds like you are feeling better. I came home with a case of bronchitis, nothing a little steroid inhaler won't cure! Am glad to be home but think of you all up there and am praying for your health and success on THE MOUNTAIN! By the way, is "crash hot" good or bad? Make some snow ice cream: Clean snow, vanilla, milk and sugar. Love, Terri
Posted by: Christy on April 20, 2006 05:35 AM AEST
Paul, I saw your response to Zoe about shaving and running to get hot water mid-way through....why not just grow a beard? Unless Fi thinks covering up that baby face would be a waste :)
Posted by: Daryl on April 20, 2006 08:42 AM AEST
Hi P&F - nice to see you smiling. you both look well.
Posted by: Lucinda on April 20, 2006 10:08 AM AEST
Hi Paul & Fiona,
Thanks for the birthday message - very nice of you to remember all the way up there! We had a family dinner last night but it was very small - No Tim, Inna, Paul, Fiona, Dame, Beck or Beck! So it was just Meals & Danny, Chris & I.
Sounds like you two are improving health wise, good luck for the first climb up from Base Camp.
Posted by: Rose on April 20, 2006 10:37 AM AEST
Hi Paul and Fiona
We've just got back from an easter holiday in NZ. The children were pleasantly surprised that the Easter Bunny found them there!! Now they want to know if your Easter Bunny is a snow bunny, how else could he survive in all that snow?!!
Hope your throats continue to heal and your chests clear up. Enjoy the enforced rest, I'm sure in a few weeks time you'll be exhausted by too much climbing and activity.
Hope the weather clears soon and your have a good climb to Camp 1.
Oliver wants to know how the tents are secured to the ground, can you use tent pegs? It's all a bit different from our summer camping trips near the beach.
Posted by: MC on April 20, 2006 10:40 AM AEST
I am sure you are anxious to start ascending the ice fall and make your way up to C-1 and C-2. Wonderful news that you both are feeling better.
Once again, great photo! Fiona and Paul...you have the greatest smiles! Must be a reflection of your positive attitudes.
A smile can light up a room; imagine what it can do for the human spirit. MC
Posted by: Jonathan on April 20, 2006 12:29 PM AEST
Sorry to hear you're still stuck in BC, but better there than higher on the mountain.
How quickly have you adjusted to the air at base camp? I know that moving up and down the mountain is essential for acclimatization but I'm curious about what it's been like to be relatively stationary.
Posted by: Dad & Mum H on April 20, 2006 01:21 PM AEST
Hi Fiona & Paul,
Great to hear you're both feeling better. Must be frustrating with all the snow - I guess the time needed to uncover the trail won't be known for a while. It feels like winter here but it's all relative!! We're going over to see Mary & John for lunch on Saturday, before Mary leaves on her trip to BC. Sounds like a good idea to grow a beard Paul, unless you want to reduce wind resistance!?!
Love, Mum & Dad
Posted by: Liz James on April 20, 2006 03:31 PM AEST
Hi Fiona and Paul,
Like every-one else, I really enjoy finding out what you are getting up to each day. There are quite a few silent observers here at the Botanic Gardens too (Wayne says hi) and one of our PhD students, Gareth Holmes, has just realised that he went to school with Paul in Daylesford! He has just come back from 2 weeks on the Annapurna circuit. I miss you on those early mornings, only 14 last Friday! Good luck for the next few days. cheers, Liz.
Posted by: Jan Tozer on April 20, 2006 06:18 PM AEST
Hi Paul & Fiona, Glad you are both recovering. We Icebergers had a farewell coffee gathering for Mary at the baths cafe after we had our swim this morning. She was pedalling that bike this morning and getting very fit and ready for her part of the adventure, as well as her
swim in the 14 degrees, you would think that very warm, but it's all relative you know !! It is so interesting to hear your news each day and the pictures are great, so thank you and keep enjoying your great adventure. We will miss Mary when she leaves this weekend. Cheers from Jan Tozer