Learning how to use the oxygen system
Paul wearing the new Top Out mask and holding an IMG oxygen bottle. You can see the green regulator at the top of the bottle which adjusts the flow rate. Photo Fiona Adler
Location: Everest Base Camp
Local Time: 17:30, May 2
Weather: Fine in the morning, overcast in the afternoon. min -5C, max 12C
Hi it's Paul here,
Today was spent seeing off the injured Italian climber and learning how to use the oxygen gear.
Italian climber leaves base camp
This morning was clear and there was almost no wind, so the helicopter was able to come, land and pick up the injured Italian climber. Overnight the climber's condition improved, so he was able to walk from the medical clinic to the helicopter pad. Fiona and I had our radios on early in the morning and the HRA was going to call if they needed assistance carrying the stretcher. Fortunately the call came through at about 6am, that everything was OK and we weren't needed. We went and watched the helicopter land, and this was a pretty impressive sight; seeing such a large machine maneuver onto the pad, pickup the climber and quickly take off again.
Trying out the oxygen system
After breakfast we all went to the communications tent and were issued with our own oxygen masks. These masks are the new TopOut masks that IMG purchased earlier in the year. We have also been given an LSE mask, which is a tried and true mask that we will carry as a backup. The TopOut masks fit our faces very well, in fact there is no discernable leaking at all. This is very important, as leaking oxygen is not only wasteful, but it causes your goggles to fog up. These masks have a bottle hanging down in which the oxygen fills when you are exhaling. This oxygen is available all at once at the start of your inhalation cycle and goes deep into your lungs. We also learnt the correct procedure for changing over a bottle and practised this several times. There were several bottles that we were able to connect up to and feel the effect of different flow rates. Sitting here at base camp acclimatised as we are, and not working at all, it wasn't possible to feel the effect of the oxygen. I am sure that up higher this won't be the case. IMG uses their own oxygen bottles, which are much bigger and heavier than the Poisk system used by almost everyone else. However, our bottles hold 1800 litres of oxygen (more than the other systems) and we will need only two on the summit day. With Poisk you would need 5, which means more changes. Our bottles weigh 7kg, compared with about half that for Poisk, so this is the disadvantage. But I think that 7kg isn't too much to have to carry.
Mary reported in to us this afternoon that she is safe and sound in Dingboche, after walking in from Tengboche. Dingboche is about 4400m, and a bit of a jump in altitude from Tengboche (3800m). I would imagine that she will rest there a day before heading up to either Dugla or Lobuje.
Brad, loved the photo of Paige.
All messages have been passed onto Jim. Jim is heading up to camp 1 tomorrow; if he feels good he will go up to camp 2 in the afternoon. Then he will have a rest day, and then head up to camp 3 for a night.
Hi Juerg, Glad you are back safely from your Island Peak climb and good to hear from you. The Uno crowd was also pleased to hear from you.
Hi Valerie and Rummy, I think we are no different to most people when it comes to a fear of heights. The deeper the crevasse the more scary it is. The trick is to concentrate on the rungs of the ladders, and not the bottom of the crevasse.
Hi Tam, When Dennis or us see Vern we will ask him about "Bag Suck". Dennis is planning to go up for his camp 3 rotation on Thursday. He is going straight to camp 2.
Bonaire guys - Dennis was very surprised but pleased to hear from you.
Hi Maddi and DP, Avoiding potatoes, tuna and eggs. Last night's dinner was spagetti with chicken, followed by apple pie for desert. Nice!
Jan, Wish Rachael's husband best of luck with the Kokoda Trail.
Hi Jill, Yes we did get both your messages, but sorry we didn't respond. Marg said she had a great time with you in Sydney.
Hi Jac, Great to hear all your news.
Hi Ian and Phyllis, Say Hi to Liz and Bill for us. Did you guys climb Kili?
That’s all for now,
Posted by: Anne Munro on May 2, 2006 11:08 PM AEST
Hi Paul and Fiona,
Was the helipad that was used today the same one which you guys all made the day of the icefall accident. If so it was lucky it was there. Keep up the good work. Cheers Anne and PP
Posted by: Liz James on May 2, 2006 11:23 PM AEST
Hi Fiona and Paul,
Thanks again for your wonderful postings and I'm really pleased that you are both well and busy fattening up! I am too but only because it's been a bit wet to get out on the bike (what a wimp.....) but I'm very pleased that you are getting the good weather. cheers, Liz J.
Posted by: Roland Rocchiccioli on May 2, 2006 11:26 PM AEST
Fiona and Paul -
I have been following your climb with such interest. Your daily reports are fascinating. It's like I said to you - it is nothing like it happens in the movies! I am so envious. You reports have made me feel that I am with you - every step of the way.
I am delighted to hear that Mary has arrived - safe and sound. I talked with her soon before she left, and she was most excited.
Take great care, and I am looking forward to talking with you when you return.
Posted by: Phil Mickan - Sydney on May 3, 2006 12:00 AM AEST
Hi Fiona and Paul,
Still following yourexciting adventure. Must be the most amazing experience to make dreams come true, and live an adventure like this. Has been fascinating hearing of your exploits and I'll continue to follow with interest and envy. Hope the weather holds and the window allows you all the luck in the world to get to the summit. Good Luck.
Posted by: Chris and Bridget on May 3, 2006 12:10 AM AEST
Hi Guys, sounds like you are keeping relatively busy at base camp. I was wondering how Bud was going, so it was a shame that he had to leave.
Bridge and I are now in Panjim the capital of Goa, and have spent the day exploring, which was great fun. Then I went for a run and just about died from overheating! I don't think it is much hotter than the beach but there must be less wind here or something cause it felt heaps hotter.
I read in the Age yesterday that there is apparently now a 50/50 chance that interest rates will go up - announcement due tomorrow morning.
Glad to hear Mary's walk in is going well!
Chris & Bridge
Posted by: Robbin Adams on May 3, 2006 12:34 AM AEST
Hi Jim, Peter, Ben and myself have had fun watching your progress through Paul and Fiona. Your series of Avalanche Photos are awesome, can't wait for you to show us all your photos. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all the way!! Love Robbin Peter and Ben
Posted by: Tamara Brown (a/k/a Tam) on May 3, 2006 03:09 AM AEST
Paul & Fiona:
Great news regarding the Italian climber. What a tremendous group effort and comforting to know that there is such a great support team for all of you. Are the two of you waiting for Mary's arrival to BC before you depart to C3? When Dennis departs for C3 on Thursday morning, wish him a Happy Anniversary from me! 2 months married and I am eagerly awaiting the 2nd honeymoon!
To all of you.......remember, "There are no unimportant steps".
Stay strong, climb safe and special thoughts to Den.
MC: Thanks for the climber's lingo input! Sounds good to me!
Posted by: Greg Hollon on May 3, 2006 03:35 AM AEST
I made it back safely (after walking out in that snowstorm) and am now settled back in at home. Say hello to Brenda for me. She called on Saturday and it sounded like everyone was doing well. Best of luck with the ongoing acclimatizing and eventual summit bids!
Posted by: Diane...Pilates support! on May 3, 2006 08:28 AM AEST
Jack! Am thinking of you and with you through every step, AND breath! Love, Diane Stay balanced
Posted by: Ian edwards on May 3, 2006 09:33 AM AEST
Hi Fiona and Paul those oxygen bottles look
bloody heavy to me
great to hear from you
We climb Killi in October this year
Best regards Ian and Phyllis
Posted by: Lucinda on May 3, 2006 10:06 AM AEST
Hi Paul & Fiona,
Things sound as if they're going well for you at the moment. I am currently reading Into Thin Air - I haven't got to the bad bit as yet but I am finding it quite interesting and after having read your updates, I am familiar with many of the place names and also the acclimitisation procedures etc. Although I must say from reading it so far it seems that many people are totally unprepared for what they are embarking on.
Just a quick question re the oxygen tanks, how do you carry them? Are they strapped on to your backs?
Anyway best of luck for the next few days before you go higher again.
Posted by: Andrew Rankine on May 3, 2006 10:22 AM AEST
Hi Fi and Paul,
Love the photo of you in the oxygen mask, Darth Vader has got nothing on you Paul. he he.
Looking forward to hearing about the trek to the summit. stay safe.
Posted by: Dad H on May 3, 2006 11:15 AM AEST
Hi Fiona & Paul,
Great to hear all is still going well. It looks to me that with those oxygen masks you won't have much opportunity to smell the roses!! Back here, we've had a fair amount of rain, and the Reserve Bank lifted interest rates by 25 points this morning.
Keep well and stay safe.
Posted by: Steve B on May 3, 2006 11:21 AM AEST
Hi Fiona & Paul,
Its great keeping upto date on your progress. Best of luck.
What sort of tanks are you using for oxygen - steel, alum or carbon fibre?
Posted by: MC on May 3, 2006 12:03 PM AEST
Hello Fiona and Paul
Glad to know the Italian climber is O.K.
As always, great picture! I was hoping to see a close up of the Top Out mask. Thank you. It is interesting comparing the pros and cons of the oxygen masks and bottles. Aside from the extra weight, the IMG bottles sound good. Fewer changes can obviously mean quicker time to the summit and back to C-4. And every minute counts. I will look forward to hearing how you like the Top Out mask on your summit bid. It seems like a great system. Also, nice that you have a back up mask being that the Top Out is quite new.
Cheers - MC
Posted by: Mary and Bob Sampson on May 3, 2006 12:17 PM AEST
Message for Jim Gagne, Jim we have been following your adventure. Wow!! Michelle just posted that you will be heading to C3. Hope everything goes as you hope for. We are thinking of you all and will keep following this site for updates.Sounds like you have a great group. Watch out for each other and we will keep following along.
Love and lots of energy your way
Bob,Mary, Tom and Mike
Posted by: roberta rees on May 3, 2006 06:00 PM AEST
Hi Paul and Fiona (I've never met Fiona!). I am a voice from the past having known Paul at school. My daughter Ceridwen sent me the website and I have been fascinated everyday since...... I hope the climb fulfills your dreams.....don't forget to take care on the way down too! I especially want to wish Mary well on her big adventure. Mary and I were at school together and I really applaud her fitness and determination! So this message is for Mary.....keep up the good work..... you have taken maternal determination to new levels!Enjoy your youth and vigour. I have been sent a different Everest to challenge me My spine is doing strange things such that I can barely walk and need a walking frame all the time! No pain, but no answers either! So, Mary's efforts seem especially clever to me. The good thing is that there's no problem with my head and arms. Paul and Fiona.....just remember one of my father's favourite sayings:'The price of life is constant vigilance!' Good luck and stay cool! Enjoy the view!!!
Posted by: Jane Barrow on May 3, 2006 10:16 PM AEST
Paul & Fiona,
Keep the photos coming, they are awesome. Those crevasses look terrifying. We think you are so brave.Be pleased when Mary makes it to BC. Talking about you to Phyllis Burgess today. Stay safe.
Best wishes Jane and family
Posted by: Kyna Hart on May 3, 2006 10:32 PM AEST
Hello gorgeous ones! Have just FINALLY caught up on all your updates. Stoked to know you're both doing well, although parts of the trip have clearly been harrowing...
We're about to attempt an 'Everest' of our own, in the form of (we hope) natural childbirth. Yip, we're almost full term - and after the emergency caesar/premature birth/weeks in hospital thing last time it seems really weird to be this far along without trouble. Will let you know what, er, pops out. ;)
Love you both heapsly. Think of you so often - especially given that the annual mouse invasion of our kitchen has begun. Ahhhh, memories of North Carlton! Take care, stay safe, *big hugs*...
Kyna - and of course Mal, Jemimah, Womblebat (that's the bump) Tank-girl & Peggy Bay.
P.S. Fi, much of your '10 worst...' list had me cracking up: toilet troubles, cracked lips, disturbed sleep, aversion to food - sounds just like pregnancy really. Hee.
Posted by: Liz & Bill Inglis on May 5, 2006 06:04 PM AEST
Hi Intrepid Adventurers, Loving your messages and photos, our friends Ian and Phyllis were so pleased we showed them your website. Went to the movies today to see Below Eight, it is brilliant, about Antarctica and Huskies. Thought about you when seeing the ice and mountains. Stay safe Love Liz and Bill