Resting at Camp 1
Fiona above camp 1. Photo Paul Adler
Looking up the Western Cwm from camp 1. Camp 2 is at the bottom of the Lhotse face and camp 3 is half way up the face. Photo Paul Adler
Location: Camp 1
Local Time: 17:30, April 26
Weather: Fine until mid afternoon, then snowing -3C now.
Hi All, It's Paul coming to from camp 1. The good news for me at least, is that this morning my throat is better than it was last night.
What is camp one like?
Camp 1 is situated at the end of the Western Cwm, just before the glacier tumbles down the icefall towards base camp. The glacier for the main part is flat here, although there are big rolls, and some crevasses nearby. Our camp is situated in a small depression, so we are very sheltered from the wind. However being in a depression wouldn't be good if there was an avalanche. We have already posted the avalanche pictures taken by Jim Gagne, and last year the entire camp 1 was wiped out when a large avalanche came down. We are in a slightly different spot compared with last year, but it still looks dangerous.
Around the camp we have marked out designated toilet spots and also a very separate spot for collecting snow to melt for water. We have dug a nice hole in the vestibule of our tent, so that its easy to put your boots on and off. Apart from all that there is not much else to say. The day has been filled with melting snow; a continuous operation, eating and sorting out food left by other people.
Dinner last night
After sending the update last night we had dinner in the dining tent, which is a small dome tent that holds about 6 people at a squeeze. We have these ready to heat meals that the US army has given us to test, and they are very tasty. The ones we had needed to be boiled in their packets for 10 minutes; some people had packs with a chemical heater that had the liquid boiling almost as fast as a stove. We both tried to drink as much hot liquids as possible, to try and reverse the damage done by the cold dry air. I have found that if I cup my hand over my mug of tea and hold my mouth close, the steam is very soothing.
When we arrived yesterday, my throat felt pretty good, although I had done a lot of coughing on the climb up. However after a few hours it started to swell and breathing became increasingly difficult. My throat was sore all the way into my lungs - it felt like it was my spine that was sore, but I knew that this wasn't the case. Whenever I would swallow it was the same feeling you get when you have swallowed something that was too big - you can feel it going all the way down. Needless to say the breathing was a bit concerning, so I took a heap of pills - codeine to supress the coughing, ibuprofen and voltaren gel to help bring the swelling down. A drinking bottle with hot water in it placed on my back and neck also seemed to help. I found that sleeping on my stomach also helped. Anyway, by the morning my throat felt better, the swelling has gone down a bit and I am able to swallow much easier. The pain is still there, especially around my larynx but at least its improving. Next time we are climbing I will try taking some codeine before we go so that I don't cough as much in the cold air.
Sleeping last night
The first night at a new altitude can often be a bit restless. Fiona had a headache which didn't go away when she had painkillers, so she didn't get the best night's sleep. She also had a Diamox pill, which makes you breathe deeper and can help, but it didn't. At 5am it went away and she has been fine since. I haven't had any altitude symptoms, and both of us have moderate appetites - usually the first thing to go at higher altitude.
People moving up to camp 2
This morning half the people at camp 1 moved up to camp 2. They didn't leave until 9am and it's a four hour climb. I don't envy them at all as it has been extremely hot today and the Western Cwm is like a giant solar reflector, with the mountains on either side. Even when a bit of cloud comes in, it still seems to be hot.
We think we will stay here another day. Camp 2 is still in the process of being established, so things might be better setup if we get there a day later.
My stepmother, Mary Adler is coming to base camp to support us at the business end of the climb. She leaves Melbourne tonight and hopefully we will be able to bring you updates of her trek into base camp.
Hi Kennette, great to hear from you again. Kennette trekked into base camp with all the climbers. (FYI it wasn't Dennis' Phinjo that was killed.)
MC, Thanks for all your thoughts and messages.
Hi Sheryn, Are you the Sheryn we went to Uni with?
A few people commented on Fiona's interview on the ABC. She was trying really hard not to sound breathless! It's pretty hard not to.
Hi Kirk, it's a really hard slog up the hill to Namche. I reckon it's one of the hardest days on the trek to base Camp.
Hi Michelle, Jim is right here with us at camp 1. Yes it was him trying to call you in the morning, but the satellite phone cut out and didn't work again.
Till next time,
Posted by: Simon & Jacqui on April 26, 2006 12:04 AM AEST
Hi Paul & Fiona - Jacqui and I have been following your journey with great interest, but haven't left a message yet. We just wanted to pass on our condolences to those who lost their lives recently and more importantly, to their families and loved ones. We congratulate you on your progress so far and wish you all the best for the rest of the trip - we will have our eyes on you (well as much as the site can provide anyway). Take care and we look forward to seeing you in person once you have conquered "the beast". All the best, Simon, Jacqui, Jasper & Homer (had to include the dogs, they are missing playing with Zoe and Zac).
Posted by: Chris & Bridget on April 26, 2006 12:32 AM AEST
Hi Guys, Bridget and I went for a scooter ride around Goa today. We saw some more beaches and an old Portugese fort. The roads have a few pot holes but otherwise are pretty good, it just gets a bit hairy when a big truck passes on the narrow road (a bit like passing a yak train on the path to BC!)
Good to hear things are going well at camp 1. Hope the throat continues to improve.
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Posted by: Kevin on April 26, 2006 01:23 AM AEST
Good to hear things are going well! I have a question about your Carabiner selection for use on the fixed lines. What do you find easiest to use, the screw-lock, or push-and-twist-lock 'biners? I'm wondering which you plan to use at altitude, with the bulky down mitts, or even the over mitts? [or which would be easiest w/ slower mental/motor function?]. Do you have a specific brand/model? I mostly climb technical ice, and don't need to worry about bulky down layers!
Posted by: Dad on April 26, 2006 01:25 AM AEST
Mary got away OK about a hour ago. We spoke to the Sherpa in Katmandu this morning because last night the Australian Goverment issued a warning not to travel to Tibet. Anyhow he assured us that she will be met at the airport and he will travel with her into the city. She expects to arrive in Base Camp in about ten days, and yes she has the extra things you requested. Very pleased to read that your throat seems to be on the improve, take it easy you two, love Dad
Posted by: MC on April 26, 2006 04:32 AM AEST
Hi Fiona and Paul
Great photo looking up the Western Cwm from C-1. There is an amazing amount of snow this year!
As focused as you are on acclimating, staying healthy and just the physical parts of your climb, how beautiful your surroundings must be. Stay safe and hopefully your throat continues to get better, Paul. Wishing you both a safe ascent to C-2 after your rest day. Enjoy the views! MC
p.s. Message to John, Paul's dad. You may already know this...good news regarding the situation in Nepal. According to the BBC news, Nepal's seven-party opposition alliance says it is ending weeks of protests after King Gyanendra agreed to its demands to reinstate parliament. The general strikes and protests have been called off and the planned demonstrations will become victory celebrations instead. Meanwhile, the city is beginning to return to normal after a crippling strike. Taxis are back on the streets, shops are reopened and mobile phone connections have been restored. The Maoist rebels will continue blockading the capital but the situation is much better at this time.
Posted by: Ron Hilton on April 26, 2006 07:41 AM AEST
Very cool picture looking up the Western Cwm. I've never seen this perspective before. It gives a good feel for what's ahead. Good luck and thanks.
Posted by: Daryl on April 26, 2006 08:46 AM AEST
Paul - what antibiotics are you on. If you are coughing a lot and it is not productive, it sounds like you might have tracheo-bronchitis. This can be caused by a germ called mycoplasma, which may not be covered by conventional (penicillin-type) antibiotics - you will need to take an erythromycin-type antibiotic (roxithromycin, azithromycin)
Posted by: Roger Crawford on April 26, 2006 09:34 AM AEST
Hi Fiona and Paul
Is any toilet waste removed from the mountain?
Is all other waste packaged and removed from each camp?
Posted by: Adrian Good on April 26, 2006 01:11 PM AEST
Hi Adrian Good here, I'm a friend of John and Mary. I am also a physio and osteopath. Your throat/swallowing difficulty could well come from your upper back, between the shoulder blades. It is due to overloading that region. (? having your head in a fixed flexed position, possibly carring a pack). It gives both discomfort and the feeling you describe - ie trying to swallow something a bit large and requiring a second or third swallow to make it go down.
Best treatment is 1) Analgestics 2) massage to muscles between shoulder blades 3)Heat (as you have done) to interscapular region 4) Exercises including twisting 20x, sit ups 20x and prone lifting head and upper trunk 20x
All the very best in your endevours and luck with the weather window.
Posted by: Emily on April 27, 2006 12:33 AM AEST
Congratulations on making it to Camp 1!
Be safe in your next journey to Camp 2, and keep your neck warm Paul!
Not much to report here. I am off to San Francisco for a conference this weekend whilst Marc will be climbing mountains! We are actually coming back to Melbourne at the end of August for a short visit, so we look forward to seeing you then!
Posted by: Carlinea + Josh on April 29, 2006 10:38 AM AEST
Hope you are well and are enjoying your amazing adventure, think of you two often up there, and are enjoying the website. Really proud of you, stay healthy, warm + happy and we are sure we'll all be hearing some words along the lines of old Sir Edmund " Well, we knocked the bastard off" soon... Good luck and all the best! J+C.