Getting Ready to go to C3
Looking up towards the summit of Everest from camp 2. Photo Paul Adler.
Location: Camp 2
Local Time: 5pm, 7th May
Weather: Fine for most of the day, 5C
Hi everyone, it's Fiona here,
We've been having a lazy day here at Camp 2 - getting ready for our climb up to Camp 3 tomorrow.
Preparations for C3
Camp 3 is where the altitude and weather can get particularly serious so it will be the first time we'll be wearing our down suits. However, if the weather is fine, we could potentially roast in these on the way up but we figure it's better to be too hot than too cold (and it would be virtually impossible to change halfway up the Lhotse face). We'll also be using hand warmers in the morning and Paul will be using toe warmers. We've packed a spare pair of overmitts as we've heard that a guy from another team accidentally dropped one of his mittens on the way up to C3 and suffered some serious frostbite.
At C3 we cook for ourselves so we've packed so instant dinners and some snacks which we hope we'll be able to stomach. We've also got a couple of bars and plenty of Gu's for the trip up. We expect it to take around 7 hours - a fairly long day at altitude.
You might wonder why we're going up and down so much, rather than going straight up to the summit. The theory goes that time spent up high is necessary for the body to acclimatise (build more red blood cells and trigger a variety of other processes). However, at these altitudes, the body also deteriorates (loses muscle mass, is very susceptible to illnesses, etc), and so there is a very fine balance between acclimatisation and deterioration. On Everest, doing rotations going increasingly higher seems to work best. Most people work up to spending one night at C3 and then they are considered ready for a summit bid - providing there is not too much of a wait for good weather.
We've heard from Mary that she hiked to Gorek Shep today - so is now only a 2 hour or so hike away from basecamp. She is feeling well and will be heading into basecamp tomorrow (Monday).
Hi Nat - glad to hear you got those kids to the top. Hope you're still managing to fit in some cycling (Beijing is coming!)
Anne & Ronnie - thanks for all your messages. We usually spend about half to one hour writing the messages and then at around 5pm our time, we upload it with the picture(s). At the same time we get one email which contains all of the messages posted to the site that day and any emails sent to us. This is put together by Nick as it makes it much faster to download than lots of little messages. We either lie in our tent reading the messages to each other, or if it's a bit later, take the PDA to dinner and read it there.
Hi Jon - Thanks for the insight into dogs at altitude. (Jon is our vet who looks after our own two hounds.)
Paul - not sure if we have any real wisdom or inspiration to share with your school kids. We are just ordinary people, and at times up here, feel very much less than ordinary (in fact, I'd love to feel ordinary again soon!). We'll have a think about it once we're back at BC and the brain is working better.
Jan - Paul didn't know about the question as to whether he was just here to support me! He was out helping build the helicopter pad. By the way, I'm not so huffing at base camp now (although I probably am right here at C2!)
Jac & Mark - Hey guys, great to hear from you. I will be more careful with the old hands - don't worry! Give my love to Leah as well when she gets back.
Sue - Great to hear from you. I do remember Margaret Lithgow. I don't think she ever taught me but may have taught one of my sisters (maybe Jacqueline?). Pass on my best wishes to all at HEPS. (By the way, is the school motto still "Aim High"?)
Phil - Thanks very much for your message. Although we'll use 2 oxygen bottles on summit day, we're forunate in that the IMG Sherpa team will deposit one of these bottles for each of us at a place called "The Balcony". We start out with a full bottle, and then change when we get here (probably with more than half our starting bottle left). We then use the fresh bottle from the Balcony to the summit and back to the Balcony, where we change over to our original bottle. That's the theory anyway. So aside from carrying 1 bottle, we'll also carry 2 litres of water each (one in a thermos), a small amount of snacks, some spare gloves, heat packs, sun hat, sun glasses, and small first aid kit. We'll be wearing a lot as well (climbing gear, torch, warm gear), but I don't imagine that our packs will weigh more than 12kgs (although they will probably feel a lot heavier up that high!)
Hi Dame and Beck - great to hear from you all.
All messages have been passed onto Jim, Jack and Dennis. Dan's will have to wait until we are back down at BC (unless he comes up before then).
Dennis is planning to make the trip up to C3 with us tomorrow.
That's all for now,
Posted by: Liz - Upper Montclair, NJ USA on May 7, 2006 11:30 PM AEST
I am curious to know how well your hand and toe warmers function at altitude with increasingly low O2 ... I took the air activated ones and they did not even work well enough at BC!
Have a fun and safe climb up to C3.
Sending my warmest regards,
Liz (Tara Lu says bye-bye!!)
Posted by: Deborah Griffith on May 8, 2006 01:12 AM AEST
Hi Fiona and Paul,
Have you any idea where Dan is located on the mountain right now?
I haven't heard any mention of him in several days. Any messages would be great. Good luck with your trip to camp three!
Posted by: Donavan on May 8, 2006 03:34 AM AEST
I've been wondering if either of you have any plans to bring back any souveniers from your trip--other than photographs and memories, of course...
If so, what would they be? And why?
Posted by: Joe Constantino on May 8, 2006 05:46 AM AEST
Enjoying following the expedition. Please tell Jack hello and good luck to all.
Posted by: MC - Vancouver, Washington, USA on May 8, 2006 09:09 AM AEST
Fiona, Paul and Dennis
Good luck climbing onward and upward to C-3. I hope the winds won't be too extreme up there. Stay safe and enjoy the views. Your "dream" is right on schedule.
p.s. Paul, it is great that you are not having any repercussions regarding your throat and chest. Thankfully, you are all holding up really well with your strength and your health. Excellent news!
Posted by: roger crawford on May 8, 2006 10:16 AM AEST
It is really useful to hear of the combinations of gear you are using at different stages of your climb and how effective these combinations are.
I am also keen to hear how the various combinations of fluid and gels/food work and how palatable these are at differing alttitudes.
How are you finding consumption of water. We all know it is really important to consume lots of water, but how are you finding this in practice as you progress higher? Are you adding anything to your water? Are you finding your water is getting very cold and unpalatable? I expect that by taking a thermos you are taking warm fluids also.
On another note, do you find it is easier to skip clipping into ropes on easier sections or do you religiously clip into all ropes?
Cheers Roger in Sydney (Was 26 degrees Celcius here Sunday)
Posted by: amelia and danny on May 8, 2006 12:31 PM AEST
hi mum - looking forward to hearing from you when you arrive at base camp.
good luck with c3 paul and fiona. We are enjoying the comforts of your home and appreciate your generosity - we think about you while relaxing on the couch after dinner!!
meals and danny
Posted by: Maddi, Australia on May 8, 2006 12:33 PM AEST
Just wanted to wish you luck for the next stage of your adventure. You sound so well prepared (mentally and physically) so hopefully all will go as smoothly on the climb to C3 (and beyond) as it should.
Love Maddi, DP and team xxx
Posted by: mary and Bob Sampson on May 8, 2006 12:48 PM AEST
To Jim and all climbers, hope all is going well. Sounds like it is so far. Keeping our fingers crossed that your window to summitt has good weather. Stay healthy and we are thinking of you.
Mary, Bob and kids
Posted by: Sandy and John McCarthy on May 8, 2006 12:51 PM AEST
Good Luck for the camp three assault. Wear all your gear even if you are hot -I don't want you to test the freezing theory for me your mother would never forgive me !!
love and lots of positive vibes to speed you upwards.
Sandy and John.
Posted by: Katrina Cuskelly - Melbourne on May 8, 2006 01:28 PM AEST
Hello there - you guys just take my breath away. Stay safe and here's to reaching C3 safely. With love the Cuskelly family
Posted by: Rosemary & Dave Abbott (Gippsland Lakes, Australia) on May 8, 2006 04:22 PM AEST
This photo looks cold and forbidding - the tents look like they are set at the base of a 'mini' avalanche site - do all the climbers share the tents at these camps during their various rotations? The grey/brown exposed 'stuff' towards the summit - is that rock or ice? I had imagined there being no exposed rock around but I guess it is summer after all. Hi Mary, bet you wish you'd brough a golf club to BC. Happy panting to you all from sunny Paynesville, although there's a wind chill factor here today - Rosemary & Dave
Posted by: Dad A. Melbourne, Australia on May 8, 2006 07:00 PM AEST
If all things have gone to plan Mary should have arrived at Base Camp today ... so Hi Mare!! all is well at home, but very quiet without you. I had a great weekend at Painsville with Rosemary and Dave and then came back via Foster to see Mum and Caroline. Mum still cannot understand why you are doing this, but at least she has accepted that it is beyond her understanding, and she thinks you are very brave. She also said for me to make sure that I send you her love, and to Paul and Fiona. She even got me to crank up her old computer so she can keep up to date with the reports,however even with mouth to mouth it would not respond.Caz is giving her print-outs, so she is following along. Trust that you arrived all ok, missing you,love J.
Posted by: Carissa O"Gara, New Hampshire on May 8, 2006 08:11 PM AEST
WOW-you guys are doing great -at Base Camp 3!!! Jim, we (Moultonboro Central School) have a bulletin board that shows where you are on Everest on a given day. We look forward to putting you on the summit and then safely back at base camp. Sending our love and positive energy to all of you. We think of you every day!
Carissa and Mick, NH crew