Safely back down in base camp
Fiona carefully crosses a snow bridge above a crevasse near C1 this morning. Click to see full size image. Photo Paul Adler.
Location: Everest Base Camp
Local Time: 18:00, May 11
Weather: Cloudy most of the day, max 11C
Hi it's Paul here,
We woke up this morning early to beat the heat of the day. At 4:30 we dressed, opened up chemical handwarmers and let them warm up, packed up the things that we were leaving at camp 2 (down suits, sleeping bags), had breakfast and by 6am we were walking down to base camp.
The route down to base camp
Every time we have been through the icefall, the route seems to change. The icefall doctors monitor it every day, and if an area looks too precarious and an alternative route can be found they move the ropes, ladders, and icescrews. This time we noticed a lot of water flowing in the icefall, which was a bit concerning.
When we got to the bottom of the icefall, Mary was waiting for us. It was really great to see her. She looked great, and had no trouble walking the 15 minutes to camp. Unfortunately Mary developed a headache later in the day, and had to rest in her tent for the afternoon. She is now starting to feel better though.
Many teams have headed down the valley to soak up the oxygen rich air. Some have even taken helicopters into Kathmandu for the ultimate break. Fiona and I think we will stay put here. Last time when we went down to Pheriche, I came back with the beginnings of my sore throat that lasted for 2 weeks. On balance we think its not worth it for us, but each to their own.
Thanks everyone for all your messages.
Hi J, No we havn't spotted any alpine style climbers this season. I too followed Gavin Bates and was very impressed then, but am even more now.
John C, We tend to keep to our own camps, but because everyone is on different schedules it usually seems like the camps are pretty empty. Coming down today we saw about 15 people in total, over a 3 hour period. It's not too many. So far we have found Everest to be less technical that other mountains, but the altitude makes it the hardest. Camp 3 was the highest we have ever been and sleeping there is a lot different than just touching and going. Camp 2 was the equal highest we had ever slept at before. Lots of new things! No ideas on summit time frame yet.
QECVI students, We are very cautious climbers. When we pass people we always make sure that we have at least one connection to the fixed ropes at all times. This means we might be a bit slower (clipping twice to the ropes), but it's safer.
No we haven't come across any dead bodies from previous expeditions. Not sure how common this is these days.
Psychological strain of climbing? Being two of us helps. It's hard to stay motivated, and this web site really helps. We spend about 1-2 hours per day writing the updates, but what we get back is a lot of support and encouragement, which really helps maintain our focus and eye on the objective over such a long time. If you read the text on the left hand side of the home page you can see a bit more about this.
Hi MC, see above for answer to your question.
Valerie & Rummy, Not sure if there is an ettiquette, but if we are coming down we usually do the unclipping, and if we are going up we just stand there (trying to breath!). You usually need the rest anyway and pretty soon the person comng down does the unclipping!
Dad A, We take lots of photos and of course pick the best ones for the website. When the sky is clear it's always very blue, just like central Australia. Fiona wears her heart rate monitor as a watch, but not the strap, so she can't see her heart rate. I think it would be too shocking!
Hi Daryl, Hands and feet are great.
Sandy and John, Will get back to you later on your questions.
Rosemary & Dave thanks for all the info on the birds. We are a lot more informed now. Not really sure about the size of the summit, but I think 6 or so people can be there at the one time. It probably changes from year to year depending on the snow conditions.
Donovan, Our dreams are really vivid and frequent. It's probably because we don't get a very deep sleep. I usually dream about whatever book I am reading.
Hi Sammie and Nick, I don't think too much about anything else as usually my mind is peoccupied with the climbing.
That’s all for now,
Posted by: Cas,London on May 12, 2006 12:03 AM AEST
Very well done so far and I hope the rest goes without any complications from here. I have a question i should have asked the day you came down Lhotse. Fiona mentioned the 100 or so climbers coming up the opposite direction and having to unclip etc. How many "Lines" of fixed rope are there up the face. It would abvioulsy make sense if there were a few on such a steep and busy part of the route
Posted by: Liane and the QECVI Students (Ontario, Canada) on May 12, 2006 12:08 AM AEST
Hi Paul and Fiona:
Thanks for answering our questions! It's really exciting for us to log on in the morning and see our names on a web page. Of course, this isn't nearly as exciting as climbing Everest!! You guys must be anxious now that the final push is almost here. What have you heard from the weather forecasters? Is there a weather window coming up? When do you plan on heading up the mountain? We are anxiously awaiting your summit push!! Cheers from Canada!
Posted by: Valerie & Rummy, Apollo Bay, Victoria Australia on May 12, 2006 12:11 AM AEST
I can't believe how much I look forward to your updates. I don't think you will EVER know how much we are enjoying climbing with you. You are so very generous with sharing your thoughts. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Stay Safe--Valerie & Rummy
Posted by: Dad H on May 12, 2006 12:13 AM AEST
Hi Fiona & Paul,
A big congratulations on safely negotiating the icefall again and arriving back at BC. Also to Mary on her achievement. Please say hello to her from us. John & Rebecca had dinner at our place tonight and Zoe & Zac will be staying for a while. Hope you recouperate well while at BC.
Love, Mum & Dad
Posted by: al hospers on May 12, 2006 12:18 AM AEST
thanks to Paul & Fi & best of luck on your incredible journey.
please pass my best wishes & encouragment to my friend and climbing/cycling companion Jim Gagne. whatever you do Jim, is the right thing, just take care of yourself. I'm thinking about you all the time & sending massive amounts of positive thoughts your way as all of us in North Conway are. all my best my friend.
Posted by: Mike G. on May 12, 2006 12:41 AM AEST
Best of Luck. I've been following your climb from Chicago. Keep posting pictures. They are incredible. Stay Safe.
Posted by: Tam - Florida Keys, USA on May 12, 2006 12:49 AM AEST
Paul & Fiona:
Great news knowing you are safely back in BC where all of you, and us (!), can breath more easily!
We had a spectacular sunrise in the Florida Keys this morning. Let Dennis know that "It's A Wonderful Night For A Moon Dance" --- a full moon on the 14th!
Heavy thoughts are with Jack, Jim and the friends and family of the Czech climber.
Again, thanks for keeping us in touch with those we love and miss so dearly.
Set your sights on the summit! We are all cheering you on........!!
Posted by: Laura - Florida Keys on May 12, 2006 12:50 AM AEST
Hello Paul and Fiona and a special hello to Dennis. I go to your site first thing every morning to see how your day went and am in awe in all that you have accomplished. We each have a destiny in our lives and it's good to see that you are fulfilling yours. Thank you for sharing your daily experiences with all of us who are following your climb and a big thank you to Dennis for bringing mountain climbing into my world. The photos are awe-inspiring. Dennis - all of us at home are looking forward to your safe return. Stay safe and well.
Posted by: Alex Luer on May 12, 2006 01:15 AM AEST
I found your site on Alan's climbing page and have eagerly been following your climb day after day. Being a highschool senior during the devastation in my hometown of New Orleans, I know how difficult times can be, and I offer you my support for the momentous challenge you face. Keep up the hard work and climb on.
Posted by: Michael on May 12, 2006 01:22 AM AEST
Auntie Michelle sent me an e-mail regarding your partner.
I am very sad it happened & I pray that Jack will be ok.
God has given you even more strength to accomplish your mission.
You will do it.
As my Dad said a couple of days ago, it took the Red Sox many years to win a world series.
So now, this is your year to be a World Champ.
I pray for all the climbers’ safety.
Michael, Paul, Joanne, & PJ.
Nanny and Papa send their Love.
Posted by: Fi & Mark on May 12, 2006 02:09 AM AEST
Hi Fi & Paul,
You guys are just amazing! Congratulations on making it this far!!! It must seem all very close now! We absolutely love reading your updates every morning - its a tad different to us over here in NJ elbow deep in nappies!!! Thankyou so much for spending so much time letting us all know about your climb - it really makes it very special. Best of luck with the rest of your adventure - hope a weather window opens up for you soon. We are always thinking of you and cant wait to hear your next installment!
Love Fi, Mark, Annabelle & Alexander (our new little 2 month old addition!!!) xoxoxoxo
Posted by: Luke & Jacci - Melbourne on May 12, 2006 03:17 AM AEST
Congratulations guys on your successful acclimatisation bid and reaching new dizzying heights of over 7000m. We are just blown away by your achievements so far.
Until now it seems that you have both managed to keep yourselves relatively busy with the day to day tasks associated with the acclimatisation process. As you guys now face the prospect of waiting for long periods of time for the right weather conditions, what apart from reading are some of the things you can both do to reduce boredom and keep yourselves on the ball mentally at altitude? Is sleep a good way to pass the time? Once you reach certain heights does your body naturally crave more sleep or do you get just a standard 7 – 8 hours per night.
Enjoy your rest time at bc, stay safe and well.
Luke and Jacci
Posted by: MC - Vancouver, Washington, USA on May 12, 2006 04:09 AM AEST
Hello Fiona, Paul and the entire IMG team
I hope you are resting well at BC and enjoying your time together.
The photo of Fiona crossing the snow bridge near C-1 takes my breath away. (I'll bet for those who crossed the bridge, it took your breath away, too!)
I thought I would post a link showing a 360 degree panoramic view of "the top of the world". http://www.panoramas.dk/fullscreen2/full22.html
Hopefully, everyone on the team will be able to see this view live. But either way, you are all stars!!! To get to this stage of the game is a huge success. Take good care, MC
Posted by: Elizabeth on May 12, 2006 04:50 AM AEST
You must be very happy to be out of the icefall! Keep going, I am amazed at how much you have achieved and I would love to see you reach the summit.
Posted by: Shelagh - Ottawa, Canada on May 12, 2006 05:59 AM AEST
Everest has always intrigued me and every spring I look for websites of people climbing Everest. Yours is the best I've read. Thank you for sharing your adventure with us all. I hope you stay safe and well and wish you the best of luck in your summit push.
Posted by: Campton Elementary School on May 12, 2006 06:16 AM AEST
Hello Paul and Fiona,
Jim came to Campton Elementary School and talked to the entire middle school about his trip. Every student was in awe and very excited for him. I just wanted to pass along to him, to you both and to all the others...that we're speechless of what an AMAZING personal experience this is. If the summit is reached...WOW...if not, you have done what many will never do...and for that BE PROUD. We're rooting for you!!!!!
Campton Elementary School
Middle School Students
Posted by: Jo on May 12, 2006 06:58 AM AEST
Hello Fi and Paul! I've been following you daily for a few weeks now; excellent job and fantastic reporting on your conditions. I am praying for you guys to reach the summit and descent safely. You seem to be doing everything right! Keep up the positive spirits!
Jo, WI, USA
Posted by: mary kissel on May 12, 2006 07:01 AM AEST
to jim, thanks for helping sashi take care of jack. i will pray for you as you attempt to summit. in my book you already reached the top -- it is what happens when one takes care of another. well done. God bless.
Posted by: Jack Belletete on May 12, 2006 07:43 AM AEST
Hi to Paul and Fiona;
I'm a friend of Jim Gagne, would you please wish him good luck, and tell him the avalanche pictures were spectacular. Best of luck to all of you... and good health. Jack Belletete
Posted by: Andrea Imler on May 12, 2006 08:42 AM AEST
Hello Paul & Fiona,
I somehow found your website while researching IMG's Everest expedition, namely Brenda Walsh who is a friend of mine. Please tell Brenda good luck for me if you can! Luck to you and everyone on the IMG climb. I look forward to following your push to the summit. Cheers, Andrea
Posted by: meals and danny on May 12, 2006 09:43 AM AEST
That photo is amazing - one of the best so far I think. It shows just what sort of challenge you guys are dealing with. Even though everyone has already said this, I am so impressed!! Try and enjoy it as much as you can (whilst trying to breath and scaling ice and mountains!!). thinking of you, meals and danny
Posted by: Deb, Ned, and Holly Jordan, Tootgarook, Victoria, Australia. on May 12, 2006 09:44 AM AEST
So pleased for you and how you're doing. Sympathies to all of those whose news is not so good. Question ... at higher altitudes are you thinking clearly and if not, do you realise you're a bit slow or do you think all is normal?
Posted by: Janet Fearnley on May 12, 2006 09:55 AM AEST
Hi Fi and Paul,
Its a great thing to be able to follow your trip with these daily updates, thanks for keeping us all informed, you are both bloody amazing!
The pics are great too, what sort of camera are you using? (sorry if someone has already asked this and I have missed it the answer).
Take care and best wishes for the next part of the climb.
Posted by: Gabe on May 12, 2006 10:08 AM AEST
You guys rock!!! It's so exciting reading your daily updates - keep up the amazing work xo Gabe
Posted by: Rachel Beckwith - Melbourne, Aust on May 12, 2006 10:39 AM AEST
Congratulations on your wonderful efforts. I got a lovely surprise this morning opening the Herald Sun and seeing your smiling faces! Lots of love and warm hugs to you both. Take care. Rach xox
Posted by: Jan G (Melbourne, Aust) on May 12, 2006 10:41 AM AEST
Hi Fi and Paul
Congratulations on your fantastic achievements - inspiring couple, wonderful photographs and totally addictive narrative and website. Keep up the great work! Stay safe, warm and focused - the whole world is cheering for you!
PS Hi to chris and bridge - enjoy Scandinavia!
Posted by: Marlene Magnetic Island FNQ on May 12, 2006 10:45 AM AEST
Fiona, knowing how much Ringwood Sec.Coll. loved to highlight achievements of past students, I hope they are logging on to this website and giving you the praise you so richly deserve, have you had any emails from them, I feel like someone addicted to the 'TV soaapies" have to have my 'fix' of your progress everyday Love Marlene
Posted by: J on May 12, 2006 11:23 AM AEST
you guys are doing really well. keep the good work up. on north side there is some movement with the epp and other teams preparing for a sumit launch as early as next week. you are spot on it is the altitude on everest that really makes it hard. i have no doubt with your preparation you will be on top soon. drink some nepali chang while @ BC. regards
Posted by: Pankaj Gupta on May 12, 2006 01:21 PM AEST
Your updates are really detailed and now has become a daily routine for me to check your updates. I wish the best for both of you and others as well. You guys are superb! Thanks for the updates and photos.
Posted by: Ron Munro on May 12, 2006 02:19 PM AEST
Hi Paul Fiona and Mary, The web site is s credit to all concerned particularly the photo's which are excellent.I hope you can include one of Mary. Please give her my love. Ron
Bendigo Vic. Australia
Posted by: Shaun & Katrina on May 12, 2006 03:13 PM AEST
Hey Paul & Fiona,
We have been following your website regularly with great interest. The fact that it is essentially "as it happens" makes it even more interesting to follow.
We're getting to appreciate that even the smallest things are more difficult now that we have left on our not so ambitious adventure around the world, which doesn't have the challenge of altitude, cold, ice falls, etc.
Just a quick note of best wishes as you are getting to the "business end" of things.
All the best! Shaun & Katrina (Melbourne, Aus - soon to be London,UK)
Posted by: Philip Ling on May 12, 2006 04:26 PM AEST
Hello Paul and Fi,
If you are feeling bored in basecamp during your rest days you might like to locate the Summitclimb camp and say hello to my friends Arnold Coster from Holland (Leader of the Summitclimb Everest/Lhotse expedition) and Tunc Findik from from Turkey. From Philip Ling from Australia and Summitclimb Pumori expedition 2005 and 2006.Both are really nice guys and would be happy to talk to you. Both have summitted Everest previously. Any more news on the dog?
Posted by: Mark R -- Mountville PA USA on May 12, 2006 05:06 PM AEST
Hi Fi & Paul
Way to go! Safely back in Base Camp, great job! You guys rock. Now we wait for a weather window.....
Hey, watch out for Mr. Park coming down. He summited from the North side yesterday, and is reportedly traversing down the South side right now. Pretty bold!
Posted by: Jacqueline Melbourne Australia on May 12, 2006 05:25 PM AEST
Hey Fiona and Paul,
While another boring week here grinds to a close things are hotting up for both of you. In the paper again and radio on Monday I believe. Superstars already. Congrats for what you've achieved so far and lots of love, Jacqueline
Posted by: Nana Hanton on May 12, 2006 05:38 PM AEST
Hello Fiona & Paul, my thoughts and prayers have been with you both these past 50 days and now today I wish you again safe climbing, good health and good weather as you move forward and upward to your goal. Take care of each other.lLove your Nana who loves both of you heaps. xx
Posted by: Kathy Every on May 12, 2006 06:09 PM AEST
Hi Fiona and Paul, I am Alana's mum and have been following your web site with great interest. I love the pics and the info. I wanted to thank you for your progress reports on Mary's journey, they have given me a great feeling of being close, which has been lovely, I really appreciate them. Now, to hear of her arrival was exciting, and lovely for you when you got down, it must have been surreal to some extent.
I'm so pleased it's going well for you and each stage is such a step forward. Keep up the good work.
I can't help thinking about Willis and his talks on layers and looking at the rock in front of me not the whole climb. I frequently use his advice in life.
I wish you well in the next step in your journey.
Give Mary a hug for me.
All the best
Posted by: Kirk Benson on May 12, 2006 06:21 PM AEST
Your comment about Everest not being "technical" was interesting. In Pheriste I met Dr. Clare O'Leary, who was the first Irish female to summit (in 2004). Later I saw her again at Gorak Shep as she was heading to BC to see some friends. This year she is climbing Amadablam with just a single Sherpa guide. She says that mountain is "technical".
I any case, climbing any of the peaks I saw in Nepal looks intimidating, technical or not.
As always, best of continued luck.
Kirk (in Agra India at the moment).
Posted by: Jonathan Munro on May 12, 2006 06:57 PM AEST
Glad to hear you got there OK - we think you are amazing!
Karen & Jonathan
Posted by: sue w on May 12, 2006 07:11 PM AEST
It must be exciting getting so close, now you have been to camp 3 and felt the effects of the altitude with the lack of oxygen. I am sure nothing can prepare you for it until you have experienced what it feels like.
Love to you all, including Mary
Posted by: Glenda Baker. Margaret's Cousin.Frankston Australia on May 12, 2006 08:16 PM AEST
Dear Fiona and Paul,
Congratulations on another milestone on this amazing adventure. I am following your climb every day and am just in awe at your achievements and so pleased that you are so well prepared and careful about everything you do. I was defrosting my freezer the other day and as I was doing it I thought of you both all the time. I could not imagine sleeping in freezing conditions. I was so pleased to close the door of my freezer and return to the warmth of the family room.
Keep up the good work and rest well at Base Camp. Your Nanna Hanton and I are in constant communication about your climb. Stay Safe. Glenda.