Rest day at Camp 2
Paul checking out the oxygen stash at C2, cook tent is behind him. Photo Fiona Adler
Location: Camp 2
Local Time: 5:30pm, 28th April
Weather: Fine, 5C during day, -15C at night
Hi everyone, it's Fiona here,
Well today is a day of rest for us and not much is happening, so I thought I'd give you my list of the best and worst things about life on the mountain.
10 Worst Things About Life on the Mountain
1) The toilets. OK, I never expected them to be good, but today's effort of hauling up a rope just to get to the toilet, and then balancing awkwardly over a plastic bag strung between a rock and a lump of ice wasn't my idea of fun.
2) Waking up in the morning to find it's raining ice inside your tent. The condensation that most tents get overnight freezes up here and when the tent starts warming up in the morning, this starts to rain down on you.
3) Cold feet at dinner time. Sitting around our dining tent is generally very pleasant with good conversation and the heat of bodies warming the room (although we're all still in down jackets). But the glacier ice that our feet rest on means that we all get cold feet and have to retire to the comfort of our sleeping bags to warm up.
4) Not having showered for about a week. Eww my hair is ickky but that will change once we get back down to base camp.
5) Worse still, sharing a tent with someone who also hasn't showered for a week!
6) Feeling out of breath just walking to the toilet or between tents. Makes you wonder just how we'll go up higher but here's hoping our acclimatisation program works well.
7) Dry skin and lips. The low humidity means that our skin is in far less than ideal condition.
8) Potatoes, eggs and canned fish. I don't really mean to complain about the food because I think the cooks do an amazing job with the resources they have, but I am having trouble stomaching any more foods from these categories.
9) The sound of avalanches nearby. Although we seem to be relatively safe from avalanches here at camp 2, it is still unnerving to hear them all around.
10) Seeing how far we still have to go. Now that we can see the Lhotse face, as well as most of Everest itself, we do seem a lot closer, but gee that face looks steep and the days ahead of us look extremely hard. And not only that, we have to go down, then come back up to Camp 3, then go back down again before beginning to climb for the summit! It seems a very daunting prospect from this vantage point.
10 Best Things About Life on the Mountain
1) The stunning landscape we are surrounded by. The ice formations continue to amaze and the colour of the sky is a blue so deep, you'd think it was the ocean. Often I'm pinching myself in disbelief that we're actually here.
2) When you wake up in the morning you're already dressed for the day (as you wear so many clothes to bed, you only need to put on boots and a jacket when you get up)
3) Being able to eat as much as you want - especially junk food. But of course the problem is that we don't feel like eating that much.
4) Having plenty of time for reading and relaxing during the day (well during our rest / acclimatisation days anyway).
5) Getting around 12 hours sleep a night (well at least being in bed for that long - often when we get to a new altitude we don't sleep that well).
6) Snuggling up in my super warm sleeping bag with a water bottle filled with hot water at my feet.
7) The comraderie of our team. It's great being part of the dynamics of a disparate group of people coming together to work on a mutual goal. When Paul and I pulled into both Camps 1 and 2, we were welcomed by different team members congratulating us and shaking our hands - a great feeling.
8) Having lots of time to sit around talking (usually drinking tea). Spending so much time together means we've gotten to know each other quite well and the conversations are always interesting and enlightening.
9) Constant radio communications with base camp. It is reassuring to know that Mark and the rest of the team at base camp are tracking our every move and are always there to offer advice. As a standard, we radio in 3 times a day, and more often when we're actually climbing.
10) And of course, getting messages from all of you guys. Reading your news from back home, advice, and words of encouragement continues to be a highlight we look forward to every day.
High Altitude Testing
Aside from reading, eating and toileting, the only other action for today was to complete the verbal and cognitive thinking tests we are involved in for NASA. We had already completed these tests at base camp but needed to repeat them over the radio to ascertain whether there is a difference at this altitude. We don't know the results but we both felt like we completed them at about the same level as at base camp. We'll hopefully find out once we're back down there.
Tomorrow we intend to climb up to the base of the Lhotse face during the day but then return to C2 for the night. Weather permitting of course.
Marc & Em - great to hear you'll be in Melbourne later this year. Look forward to seeing you again. Enjoy San Fran Em.
Mum & Dad - Lovely to hear from you both. Sounds like the Sydney trip was lots of fun. I would have loved to have seen photos of you hang-gliding Mum! Maybe next time.
Dame & Beck, Meals & Danny, - Thanks for your messages. We're also thinking of all of you and the rest of the family back home all the time.
QECVI - Hi guys, thanks for your message. The Cwm does get extremely hot. We left Camp 1 early to avoid most of the heat but we were still roasting by 10:30am when we arrived at C2. I'm not sure what the temperature was, but we each had on light tops, light pants and then gortex overpants and were extremely hot. Sunburn is definitely an issue and even though we applied a couple of layers, I think we still got a little burnt (not much though).
Bridge & Chris - enjoy the beach, sounds lovely. We were actually talking about you today as the Sherpas were playing a radio and your favourite song about the cat drowning in the well was on. We had Jack singing along making up the words.
Marie Claude Troccon - Paul was amazed and thrilled to hear from you. Thanks very much for your message.
Mary - very glad to hear that you got through Kathmandu OK. I’m imagine that you're now at Namche - make sure you check out the market tomorrow morning.
Barbara - we passed your message onto Dennis last night. He has now headed back down to base camp today.
Aaron, Megumi, Thanos & any other AC'ers - Hi guys, great to hear from you. Hope everything is going well with the baby, work, etc. In answer to your questions about the number of climbers here, based on the number of climbing permits issued, we believe there are around 150 climbers attempting Everest from the south side this year. However, this excludes the many Sherpas who will also climb but don't need to be on a permit. There are also many climbers attempting Everest from the North (Tibetan) side - probably slightly more than from the South. Over the last 10 years or so, the number of climbers seems to have remained fairly static, but with more shifting to climb from the North due to the increasing costs of permits from Nepal.
Jacci - wow, what an achievement - almost! But what I really need is a progress report on the wedding plans. I may be away but I still want the goss!
Kerry - definitely make that booking for Max Brenners. It'll be tough, but I'll struggle through for the girls!
Sara T, Marlene & Ray, Max & Judy, Rose, Jo & Leo, Scotty, Sarah G, Benno & Kate, & Liz - Thanks so much for all of your messages of support.
Well that's all for today.
Best wishes, Fi.
Posted by: Samantha Fountain on April 28, 2006 11:35 PM AEST
We've never met, but I'm the 'Sam' that sent you the Shewee!
I just read your 1st 'Worst Things on the Mountain' was the toilet situation! Have you taken Shewee with you or a similar product? Has it helped at all?
I'd also like to say that I love reading your updates everyday, brilliant! And they motivate me tremedously, go for it! I think it's an amazing challenge.
Best wishes and all the luck in the world.
Posted by: Joost on April 28, 2006 11:44 PM AEST
Fi and Paul,
Thanks for the lively and frequent updates! From your blogs it looks like you both have a lot of extra energy:)
I added your blogs and pictures to the EveryTrail Everest map:
http://www.everytrail.net/everest2006/everest-map.php or just select the Joost link above.
Then select Paul & Fi in the 'Team' box on the right of the map page that opens up.
All the best and good luck!
Posted by: Dad A. on April 28, 2006 11:52 PM AEST
You sure are a funny girl Fiona! It's not often that I break out laughing when I read your reports, but tonight I sure did. The 10 best and 10 worst things was really a classic report. Mary seems tired, but obviously happy to be making good progress. To be in sympathy with you all I don't think I will turn on my electric blanket tonight!! love to you both and great work.
Posted by: Valerie & Rummy on April 29, 2006 12:27 AM AEST
Again, you make it all so very REAL for the rest of us. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Posted by: Karl on April 29, 2006 12:35 AM AEST
Great Web site, please tell Jim Gagne that we all say hi. We love to track your progress, and your top 10.
Karl, Sharon, Pat, Dick (Jim's dad)
Posted by: Michael on April 29, 2006 12:48 AM AEST
Just want to make sure Jim is doing well.How is auntie Michelle doing? Be Safe
Posted by: paul on April 29, 2006 12:53 AM AEST
Just got off the phone with Papa & Nanie,they send there love,PS:Julie,Artie, Steven,& Eddie all say hello.I also see that My Michael is following up everyday.Be well-Be Safe
Posted by: Chris and Bridget on April 29, 2006 12:57 AM AEST
Hi dudes, does the Goo man come to camp 2? We had a bit of a toilet incident today to rival yours - at about 5am I heard splashing in the bathroom and I'm thinking "what could that be" (sounded like a siamese in a well - ha ha) so for about 5 minutes I listened and thought it would go away or that it was some noise outside our hut, but unfortunately there was a rat trying to high jump to freedom in our toilet, but he wasn't that good at it so had to remain there (I definitely wasn't going to touch it, or flush it, cause then it might come back at an inconvenient time). So I went back to bed and got one of the staff to have a look at about 8am, by which stage it must have done a bit of scuba diving, cause it was gone. So we go to the toilet with caution now! Bet you don't have this loo issue at high altitude! Some things are tough at sea level....
Great to hear all is well.
Chris and Bridge
Posted by: MC on April 29, 2006 02:09 AM AEST
Hi Fiona and Paul
Fiona, I loved your 10 Best and Worst Things About Life on the Mountain! It seems that the good out weighs the bad. (Maybe that depends on what day and where you are on the mountain.) My favorite: Worst Things...#4 and #5.
I was wondering, is C-2 the highest camp you will do the High Altitude Test for NASA? Or will you take the test at C-3 and C-4? It is nice that you are a participant for NASA.
Continued success and health to everyone. MC
p.s. If you think about this amazing adventure of climbing Everest and look at the big picture...from when you first started your training and preparing...you are almost there!
Just one day at a time, then one step at a time. You will be standing on top of the world!
Posted by: Jean-Pierre from Paris on April 29, 2006 03:30 AM AEST
We are with you with all our strength. Keep safe and go on !
Posted by: Elizabeth on April 29, 2006 04:53 AM AEST
I have posted messages a few times before, I know you don't know me but I enjoy reading your updates and I'd just like to say good luck and I hope you make it. It sounds like you are doing very well. I'll be following along from home!
Posted by: Donavan on April 29, 2006 06:57 AM AEST
I'm just loving being "along for the ride" via these dispatches! I'm SO pleased to see you've reached Camp 2...
Sounds like "no news is good news" regarding your health? (Paul's throat must be better?)
Loved Fiona's list; really puts things into perspective...
Keep up the good work!
Posted by: Mark R on April 29, 2006 08:41 AM AEST
Hi Fi and Paul --
Greetings from Pennsylvania, USA.
I've been following your Everest adventure closely on EverestNews.com, reading your always-informative daily posts with great interest. Today I discovered your website, so I can finally send you all a message of encouragement and support!
My wife and I homeschool our three children, and I've gotten my children hooked on following your daily posts. They are 13, 10, and 8, and think you both are very brave to climb Everest. Learning more of the great Chomolungma and all its rich history and what it takes to climb it has been a great addition to our homeschool curriculum. They certainly know more than any of their friends about Everest, and I think they feel they now "know" someone on the mountain right now -- you two!
So please know our family is following along here in America, and sending you both our best wishes and prayers for safety and success.
Posted by: Brad on April 29, 2006 10:39 AM AEST
Hi Paul and Fi,
Loved the top 10. It's hard enough getting Tracy to use the in-the-ground toilets in Thailand let alone climbing up a rope to use a suspended plastic bag. Each to their own I guess! Really enjoying the updates, it's good to see the altitude hasn't had any affect on your ability to write copious amounts of words, probably in a very short time. I almost thought I was reading a Yellow Pages ad! ha ha.
I've been meaning to send you an updated photo of Paige but I know how paranoid Paul is about his download times. Paul is it OK if I send one through? Stay safe.
Brad, Trace, Madi & Paige
Posted by: Jan G on April 29, 2006 01:44 PM AEST
Hi fi and Paul, thought I might add one of my toilet 'highlights' to Fi's placcy bag and Chris's rat. Rafting the Franklin in tassie is another 'what goes in comes out' environment. Ours was a barrel, fondly known as the thunder box, which was located a couple of hundred meters downstream from each of our campsites. To get there one caught the loo barge - a gentleman's sitting (so to speak) and a ladies' sitting. Timing was of the essence! A couple of the rapids dislodged all the raft occupants but not our thunder box - it was indestructable!
Happy and safe climbing, love, Jan
Posted by: Robert on April 29, 2006 04:03 PM AEST
Lots of encouragement from a San Francisco area biker. I look forward to your detailed daily dispatches, it's almost like being there.
Posted by: Mum & Dad H on April 29, 2006 06:35 PM AEST
Well done on your great achievement - we're so proud of you both. Although I returned from Sydney poor dad missed out on dinner last night as it was hte Friday drinks night with the girls and nothing stops that!! - they all love the website (except Kay who is computer challenged)Dad had to have a pizza with Robert while they watched the footy. Tonight we're off to the Addisons for a group night. Love you Mum & Dad xx
Posted by: Deb, Ned, and Holly Jordan on April 29, 2006 07:04 PM AEST
Hello ... a rock and a hard place hey! Reading avidly each night. Continued best wishes.
Deb, Ned, and Holly, in Tootgarook.
Posted by: sue w on April 29, 2006 08:00 PM AEST
Hi Paul and Fiona
You are doing really well. By the second time you will be running up those ice ladders with your eyes closed! Hope Mary is going well on her walk in. Love Sue
Posted by: KARLYNE on April 29, 2006 08:17 PM AEST
great to hear we are all having toileting issues brody's decided he can do it all by himself i am sure the stuff under his nails everyday is not from digging outside and well chelsy sits on her potty everday but for some reason it is easier to do her business bracing the potty and doing it on the floor post her lengthy sit. mind you if i was in your situation I don't know if i could go the toilet fi. Glad to hear you are both well. Are you getting emails about hen's night? I have sent 4.
Posted by: mary kissel on May 3, 2006 05:11 AM AEST
for jack 'gearstein'
-- you'll be there - top of the world - in just about 10 or 12 days. peace to you up there and go easy on the knees on the way back down. crawl if you must.
God bless, keep eating and drinking -- take care of yourself.
blessings to all
Posted by: Gabe Rhodes on May 3, 2006 08:17 PM AEST
Hi Paul and Fiona!
Its ace reading your updates - hope all is well - thinking of you often,
Posted by: jill.carter on May 3, 2006 08:18 PM AEST
hi there fiona and paul. will send another message if I know this one works. Having trouble.