We are at Camp 2
The view down from the middle of one of the ladders this morning. Needed a stable ladder for this shot! Photo Paul Adler.
Paul and Fiona about half way to C2. Everest and the Lohtse face is in the background. Photo Dasona Sherpa.
Location: Camp 2
Local Time: 17:30pm, April 27
Weather: Snowed last night, windy but warm today, --2C
Hi it's Paul here coming to you from camp 2. We were pretty tired when we arrived, but after a lunch of rice, cabbage salad, tuna and chappati bread, and then a nap, we are feeling a bit better. Both of us have mild headaches from the altitude, but this should pass overnight.
Dasona called his kids in Kathmandu
Last night Dasona asked if he could use our phone to call his children in Kathmandu at their boarding school. Of course we said yes, and after a little mucking around trying to work out the area code and country code for Nepal, we got through. You could tell Dasona really enjoyed speaking with his kids, and after he finished the conversation he said, "My kids are happy, I am happy."
Cooking dinner with our Sherpas
Our Sherpas usually cook dinner in their own tents - they seem to prefer this, despite many requests from all of us for them to come and cook and eat with us. Last night with only Fiona and I in Camp 1, Dasona and Mingma said that they would cook with us, but only after we had finished. When we asked why they said that they wanted to cook Nak cheese and that it had a very strong smell. (A Nak is a female Yak.) Dan (see his update from a week ago), said that when he was in camp 1, he walked past a Sherpa tent where they were cooking Nak cheese and he nearly vomited. We were glad that the Sherpas decided to take pity on us and wait until we had finished, although I was very interested, being a big cheese fan. Well, we finished dinner and Mingma started cooking. The Nak cheese was in a jar and Mingma opened it, and immediately there was a lot of coughing in the tent, but it was coming from Mingma! Pretty soon the smell reached me, and boy is it strong. It's like blue cheese, but much stronger. Soon we were all coughing in the tent, including Dasona. They both thought it was extremely funny! Mingma heated the cheese in a pan, added salt and chilli, and then let it sit. He then made a pancake batter from flour and started to cook the pancakes. When the pancakes were ready, the cheese sauce was poured on top. After a while we got used to the smell and even tried a pancake. Not bad, but I can see why it hasn't taken off outside of Nepal.
Getting ready for the climb to camp 2
To make a fast getaway this morning, we got our water ready last night. The temp was about -10C inside our tent, so it's really important that you take measures to prevent the water from freezing. We start out with boiling water in our water bottles, and then we place them either inside our sleeping bags or between us. This usually works. Sunscreen also freezes at this temperature, so this is also placed inside your sleeping bag. The socks that we are going to wear are also inside the bag, so that they are warm in the morning. When we woke up, we got dressed into out climbing gear; Poly-pro pants, Gortex overpants, plastic liner socks, thin liner socks, thick socks, long sleeve tech top, poly-pro top, Gortex jacket, down jacket, climbing harness, poly-pro gloves, thick outer gloves & a hat. The reason for the unusual layering (poly-pro not next to skin) is that it gets extremely hot in the Western Cwm, and we wanted to be able to strip down quickly. Before setting off, we removed our down jackets, although it was still pretty cold.
The climb to camp 2
We left at about 7am and there had been a lot of wind blown snow, so the track was almost non-existant. After 15 minutes, Fiona's hands got cold, so we pulled out some chemical hand warmers and Dasona and I shook them to activate the heat. Within a few minutes, they were hot, and Fiona's hands were soon warm. There was a lot of steep techical sections as the route crossed right over big blocks of ice that have been thrust up by the glacier. There were also a number of ladders too. Near camp 2 the glacier climbs very slowly upwards in a long, unbroken snow slope and this seemed to take forever. After 3 and a half hours we reached camp 2, pretty tired.
I was a bit nervous how I would go today. My throat had been getting so much better over the past few days, I thought that the cold air could set me right back. I took a good swig of codeine, and really tried to stop myself from coughing. Here at camp 2 I feel really good - can breathe fine, no tenderness around the front or back of my neck. I am really happy! I think the new antibiotics are working.
Hi Simon and Jacqui, good to hear from you. Hope everything is going well at the big T.
Hi Muggaz - Got your text message. Have you really been OS that long?! Hope you had a good trip.
Kevin - Good question about carabiners. Bigger is better as it's easier with big gloves and also can slide over knots. We have screw locks, but to be honest we only lock them on the ladders. And then we use a backup sling as well! It's just too cumbersome and slow to lock the carbiner on every clip.
Hi Terri, Always great to hear from you. We were expecting Bud to come up to camp 1 sometime, but I gather he has decided to stay put in BC and wait until C3 is ready.
Hi Daryl - Not sure what illness I have. Did lose my voice for about two weeks, only just getting it back now, much to Fiona's dissapointment! The first antibiotic that I was on was Roxithromycin, but this didn't seem to do much. The second is Augmentin, which seems to be working. Louanne at the HRA has said that the whole thing could be a virus and the antibiotics a waste of time. If anyone is interested in finding out more about the HRA they have a great website at www.basecampmd.com. They write about the patients that they are treating. You'll probably find me in there.
Roger - Yes all waste is removed from the mountain, including toilet waste.
Hi Adrian, Really appreciate your message. Not sure if this is related to a muscle issue. Have carried very heavy loads for 10 days straight at home without neck or upper back issues. Sore feet, legs and hips yes!
Hi Michelle - good to hear from you again. Jim is here in camp 2 and is considering going down tomorrow or the next day. He went for a hike to the base of the Lhotse face today with Dennis. His health is improving.
Hi Sheryn, Good to hear from you after all these years. Will have to catch up next time we are in Sydney.
Bye for now,
Posted by: Anne Munro on April 27, 2006 11:13 PM AEST
Hi Paul and Fiona,
Warmest congratulations on making it to Camp 2. Paul that is a great photo taken looking down through the ladder. I am really pleased to hear that your throat is much better Paul and also pleased that I can presume Fiona's sore throat did not progress like yours did. I guess you will have a day or two of rest ahead of you. Then I presume you will go back down to base camp before going up again. Keep up the good work.
Anne and PP
Posted by: Juan on April 28, 2006 12:30 AM AEST
Hi Paul and Fiona,
Congratulations! I hope things keep going this way and see a picture of you on the summit... between you and me... your posts are the best!! Good luck.
Posted by: TROCCON Marie Claude on April 28, 2006 01:04 AM AEST
Hello from France !
Many congratulations to have reached camp 2.
Spectacular photo of Paul taken in the middle of th ladder, it's really impressive but is this quite careful ?
What a pleasure, on the second photo to see you both so happy in this fabulous landscape !
Rest well before setting out again for a new stage and you Paul, continue to look after your throat well.
Thanks for making us take part in your trip.
Marie Troccon (GENTON)
Posted by: Bridget & Chris on April 28, 2006 01:17 AM AEST
Hi again, awesome to see you up at C2 and feeling good, despite encountering nak cheese! Hope the acclimitisation goes ok and C2 feels nice and homey! Our day also productive, looked at our busy diaries and have decided to stay at the beach a few more days...then up the coast a bit to the capital of Goa, then to Mumbai.
Do you have an updated strategy yet - will you go higher before you go down? If not will you do another run to camp 2 or will your next run be up to camp 3?
Great photos. Bye for now.
Chris & Bridget
Posted by: MC on April 28, 2006 04:07 AM AEST
Hello to you, Fiona and Paul
Wonderful news that your throat is well at this time, Paul. Especially at the altitude of 6,425 meters. Excellent!!! (Hopefully, by the time you read this, you will still feel "happy"!)
I read on IMG's web-site that the route to C-3 is in place and that IMG's sherpas led the way to establish prime real estate for your team! Due to the more harsh conditions of this camp, I'd say...Kudos to the sherpas!
Your photos just keep getting better. Love the view looking down the crevasse from the ladder. But I especially love the picture with the two of you smiling in front of the majestic Everest and the Lohtse face. Beautiful!!! MC
Posted by: Tamara Brown (a/k/a Tam) on April 28, 2006 04:55 AM AEST
Paul, Fiona and "The IMG Gang":
You are one step closer to the top of the world! Congrats on your arrival at C2! Paul - Great news on the throat situation. As I am pulling information from other team's web sites, I came across some "climber's lingo". Please enlighten us (or humor us) and explain "bag suck"! Den, I am quite certain it doesn't mimic "OP", but I felt compelled to ask!
As always, our thoughts and encouragement are with all of you. Den, it is unconditional!
Posted by: Jules on April 28, 2006 08:30 AM AEST
C2 - bring it on! Thinking of dashing off to Hamilton Island for the weekend and I'll be sure to order the Nak...
Posted by: Peggy Brown on April 28, 2006 09:07 AM AEST
Been keeping up on your climb. Very interesting. We are in Kent. and leaving tomorrow to head up the Miss. Hope everything goes well for you and just want you to know we are thinking of you and wish you the best. Hurry home and we will be ready for you and Tam this summer in Illinois.
Prayers and hugs
Mom & Dad Brown
Posted by: Daryl on April 28, 2006 09:22 AM AEST
Hi Paul - happy to hear you are getting better. Enjoying your updates - some of you entries are somewhat similar to extracts from the degen's book Mulvania - stay safe. Daryl
Posted by: Valerie & Rummy on April 28, 2006 09:25 AM AEST
Absolutely beautiful photos. It's hard to imagine how difficult it is to breath up there when looking at the crystal blue skys. I still feel like I'm up there with you, if only in spirit. Sincerest congratulations on reaching Camp 2. Please continue to stay safe.
Posted by: Carla Danaher on April 28, 2006 10:23 AM AEST
Thanks for your updates. When does it look like you'll go for the summit at this stage?
Posted by: Lucinda & Chris on April 28, 2006 10:54 AM AEST
Congratulations on making it to Camp 2 - a very big step in the journey.
We are still enjoying the updates everyday. I am also loving the photos and they are getting better as you go higher. Good to also hear the throat is getting better.
Not much news to report here - hope you continue to have good luck with the climb.
Love Lou & Chris
Posted by: Dave Fearnley on April 28, 2006 10:56 AM AEST
Awesome photos guys! I eagerly await the update every day. Best wishes. Fi - remember what Vin Blatch used to preach ... "Aim High"!!
Posted by: Dad A. on April 28, 2006 11:21 AM AEST
Bec and I visited Mama in hospital yesterday, and she together with the others in her room are taking a real interest in your climb. In fact next visit she wants a map of Nepal and a detailed picture of Everest so she can follow the stages more easily. Apart from the expected 'make sure they are careful' and 'why would they want to be so cold'comments she is recovering very well and sends her best to you both. Have you heard from Mary?Take care, Love Dad
Posted by: Anne Marshall on April 28, 2006 11:34 AM AEST
All congratulations for the latest in your conquest. As a fellow cheese enthusiast I laughed heartily at the cheese episode. (My guess would be that you expected the smell to be a barrier for many who would never know what a fabulous taste-sensation they'd missed but one readily overcome for a cheese-lover such as yourself Paul!)It's great for us to picture Mary now trudging her way towards you!! Keep well from Anne & Ronnie
Posted by: Rosemary & Dave Abbott on April 28, 2006 11:41 AM AEST
Being in Camp 2 and finally able to see your goal must feel great, although to me it still looks a looooong way to the top (isn't that the title of a song?). But when you think of all the planning and training and where you've come from, it's only a stone's throw. The blue skies are an incredible colour, in fact all your photos are spectacular, looking at them gives me a real sense of where you are and the complex struggle of just existing in such a hostile yet beautiful place. We've just had a lazy couple of days sailing on the lakes, 20C, slight breeze and at one stage a pod of about 30 dolphins cavorting around us. Fiona are you using the 'wee like a bloke' device? And what about the humungous gloves made out of sleeping bags - did they end up going with you? Please give our love to Mary - ask her not to bother bringing back any yak cheese for us -
Congrats from Rosemary & Dave
Posted by: Rachel Beckwith on April 28, 2006 12:01 PM AEST
Hi Fi & Paul,
Congratulations on making it to camp 2. Just thought I'd let you know Fi that Jac, Kerry and I are catching up on Sunday for brunch, we have to keep up the tradition in your absence! We will toast to you over our coffee! Thinking of you both, take care.
Posted by: Sheryn on April 28, 2006 01:14 PM AEST
Hi Paul & Fiona,
It would be good to catch up sometime whenever you are in Sydney..just send an email. There is bar called Minus Five near work that would be just your style!
In respect to those antibiotics Paul is taking, I am hoping you have something to take to replenish all the good bacteria that antibiotics destroy in your digestive system. If you don’t then perhaps you should get stuck into that Nak Cheese…it sounds as though it is loaded with bacteria. As the saying goes, ‘When in Tibet…do as the Tibetans do’.
I may not post any more messages however I want you to know that I am watching your progress every step of the way so I will be with you in spirit. Good luck and have a safe journey on the ascent and descent! Sheryn.
Posted by: Dad H on April 28, 2006 06:35 PM AEST
Hi Fiona & Paul,
Getting to C2 is a fantastic effort and the photo from the ladder is awesome. Sounds like the news is getting better all round, with Paul's throat continuing to show improvement. Mum has returned from Sydney today so I can now resume eating. Leah is off to Bali on Sunday, for 5 days. Jacqui's keeping the economy going for the present.
Look forward to your next update - take care.
Posted by: Tony Frederick on April 28, 2006 08:09 PM AEST
Paul and Fiona congratulations, I look forward to seeing your messages each day, and take some considerable inspiration from your fantastic efforts.
I am climbing a mountain of my own these days so I will race you both to the top.
Keep on smileing and hug Mary for me .
Love Tony Frederick
Posted by: Mary on April 28, 2006 08:58 PM AEST
Congrats on getting to Camp 2!! Wow, what an amazing photo!! You really seem to be moving up ok.
I saw Everest for the first time today- It just towers above everything! I looked at it in awe and tried to imagine you guys up there.
Don't worry about saving me any of the cheese thanks...I saw it on the menu here and wondered what it tasted like.
Today I walked into Namche. It was a bit steep!!! but I had no problems. I go fairly slowly and drink plenty of water like you guys said.
It is amazing to see the Nepalese people walking up and down without even looking tired! How the porter can carry my load is beyond me (with a whole lot of medicines there for you if you still need them) and he goes ahead and waits at the place I am staying at.
OH Joy...oh bliss!! I had a beautiful hot shower when I got in this afternoon!!! My first one since leaving Kathmandu. I am staying at the same tea house that Jimmy Carter stayed in but not the same room- Tomorrow is a rest day and I have managed to be here on rest day for the Bazaar.
will be in touch later
lots of love Mary
Posted by: Kevin Mahoney on April 30, 2006 02:09 AM AEST
Jim G. I hear all is going well. No surprise your training and time in the mountains leading up to this are paying off. i will be thinking of you over the next few weeks. I will send you any weather Karma I have left since I won't need it and you certainly deserve it. You know the game and the rules so have fun up there. If you run into a brit guide named Kenton Cool with jagged globe give him hell for me, he's a great guy.
Good luck! Kevin
Posted by: Jim Carrier on May 2, 2006 03:06 AM AEST
Paul & Fiona, thanks for the web site, it's great to be able to follow the team so closely from New Hampshire, USA. Great photos Paul. Jim G. It sounds like your feeling better, that's great news. We're all praying for you and the team. Be SAFE! Everyone at the fire station sends their best!
Posted by: Dena Lasater on May 2, 2006 07:44 PM AEST
Dear Fiona and Paul,
Hello and BEST WISHES to you and EVERYONE on the IMG team!
The first thing I do in the morning, and the last thing I do before I go to bed is check your website--interesting to the very last detail, always. If you have no new postings, I re-read your previous journals.
Fiona, your 10 best and 10 worst things about life on the mountain brought some needed humor after a very sad week. Paul, I'm convinced it was your strong will that got you through those painful days with sore chest and throat. Was not a bit surprised to read your Mother's letter that she was bringing medicine in her "load!" By the time you receive this msg, Mary will have arrived BC. Wish I could be there to meet her! So glad PhuTashi was her guide on the way up.
Thanks for including the great photos--
you two are ALWAYS SMILING, even when you must not have an ounce of energy left! Oh, and please thank Jim for those shots of the avalanche--he deserves an award for that "photo-journaling!"
It will be great to incorporate all of your wonderful still shots into your video. WITH YOUR JOURNALS, THEY TELL A FANTASTIC STORY.
Am hoping for a good medical report about the Italian guy. Was heart-warming to see Fiona's photo of the IMG team members, carrying him to the helicopter pad. THANKS AGAIN FOR ALL THE UP-DATES!
Dena. 1:30 am, 2May'06