Local time: 2 May, 22:25
Location: Base Camp
Weather: 20cm of snow overnight, then snowing all afternoon, but stopped after dinner.
Hi It’s Paul at a very snowy Everest Base camp. It snowed overnight, melted in the morning and then has snowed again.
Today I tested my oxygen regulator and mask. I wasn’t happy with the appearance of one of the washers, but fortunately we have plenty of regulators, so it wasn’t a problem to get another one. We tested that nothing comes out when it’s turned off, plus I will check later with soapy water to look for internal leaks. I will be carrying a spare with me while climbing. I will be using my technique outlined in the forums to test the flow rate of the regulator and to calibrate. I think the regulator is the most high risk component of the oxygen apparatus.
How to sleep well at base camp
I wanted to write about the camp bed that I am using, because I think it’s fantastic and I would recommend it to other climbers. Our tents at base camp are pitched on the ice & rocky moraine of the Khumbu Glacier. It’s not exactly a flat surface, despite the Sherpas best efforts to make it so and over time your body heat and the warmth inside your tent during the day melts the ice, further compounding the problem. Enter a camp bed, with its legs that lift you off the ice and rocks, making for a much flatter surface and better sleep. I have a product called a Luxury Lite Cot, which I agreed to test for the company. I have used this since day 1 at base camp and it’s great. These are the reasons why (and what you should look for in a camp bed)
It’s lightweight and very compact so it’s easy to transport.
It’s low to the ground. I can’t stress this enough, because other beds we have used are way too high and you can’t sit up inside your tent.
It uses what look to me like Easton aluminum tent poles to provide the tension and some of the load bearing capacity. The heavier your are, the tighter it will tension the surface of the bed. I have used beds with steel springs before, but even under my weight 75kg, they ended up stretching and making a saggy bed.
It’s fast to assemble. The instructions show you assembling it outside a tent, but I did it completely inside my North Face Ve25 tent in about 5 minutes.
You can sit on the edge of the bed and this makes putting your boots on and off much easier.
You can see in my photo I have a small trekking mattress on top of the bed for insulation. Anything would do.
I highly recommend this product. In fact I am the envy of the rest of my team! I’ll let you know how it holds up throughout the remainder of the expedition.
While on sleeping, bring a pillow and a pillow case to base camp. It’s a nice luxury.
The rest of the day was spent getting gear ready for the trip up to C1, C2 and C3. Food, clothes, gear. I am trying to work out whether to wear my down suit to C3 or not. Last year we did, and it was very hot, but then some people got frostbite, so it can be cold. My suit is in C2 at the moment, so I can decide later.
Not sure if we will be going though because of the snow. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. Great dinner tonight of chicken and tabouli.
What to wear on your eyes is an important question, and I can see that you have started off a good discussion about this, with a few comments posted. Here is my two cents. By the way when I write an answer to you guys I am always mindful of future Everest climbers reading this, so I do try to give as much information as possible. I will take both sunglasses and ski goggles. Last year, my ski goggles kept fogging up through lack of airflow from the large hood on my down suit. This is a good thing, because the main reason that you want the ski goggles is in case it’s windy and it meant that my hood was doing a good job for the direction of the wind at the time. I have heard of people turning around because of getting a frozen cornea, so it’s important to have goggles that work. This year I went and bought some goggles with a fan, and I think that they will work better. They are over glasses goggles, but I’ll just wear my normal glasses. I will also carry my sunglasses, but I will leave the South Col wearing ski goggles and normal glasses. I don’t have clear lenses. They are not necessary.
Hi Steve, The decision to have laser eye surgery is not a dumb question. In fact I considered it before the last climb. However, I felt that the risks weren’t worth it for me. There have been a number of cases where laser surgery has reversed itself with altitude, the most famous being Beck Weathers, although I am reasonably sure that his was an older style of surgery. I have never felt comfortable with how they always say that the latest machine / technique is so much more advanced than previous – I’ll wager that they’ll still be saying that in a few years time. It doesn’t bother me that much wearing glasses, so I figure I’ll just stick to the safer, tried and true option.
I will publish some of our ideas and thoughts later, but not many people read these. The one about oxygen is really important, but I bet that not a single climber outside our team up here will use it. I have explained this to every person in our team and we are all going to be testing our oxygen gear in this manner.
I am keen to be on the top of Everest too – just got to get through this acclimatization round and then have a good weather window. I have paid for a forecast from Meteotest – last year they were the most accurate by far, but I didn’t have the benefit of their forecasts.
Hi Scott, In the early morning it can get hot enough to dry the clothes if there is no wind. It’s better to put your clothes on a rock or against your tent, because that way the wind can’t blow through them. It’s really fiddly though, and if you leaves your clothes out for several days then you’ll get one that’s warm enough. Inside your tent is good for finishing them off too.
Hi Corrina, Rudi is back at BC from above the Yellow Band and he looks very well. Now he is waiting for a summit window.
Hi Jennifer, Yes, It’s true a Sherpa died on the mountain. Please login to our website when you post a message so that I can reply to you in the future. Thanks, Paul.
Hi Paula, I saw the Sherpas walking around eating some snack out of a bowl and they said it was chilli. I didn’t have any because they had all been putting their fingers into it and I didn’t want to get sick. We are right for books – I was given about 30 from friends and family, so this has given our library a boost.
Hi Mira, I knew about the summit – Ptemba’s nephew was one of the Sherpas and it was his 11th summit. I am pretty sure that Russell Brice’s team reached the summit about the same time last year. On the North all the teams pay Russell to fix ropes on the route, so there is less discussion about fixing and more action, hence it gets done quicker. The Sherpas were up high waiting and then the weather was good, so they went for it.
I think the route will be fixed by May 8 on our side, weather permitting.
Camp 1 this year is in a better spot. Our team’s camp 1 last year was placed in a bad spot, but it’s better this year. Complaints in 2006 by Walter Laserer who was involved in the avalanche of 2005 fell on deaf ears. This year we are higher up the valley and on a small rise, surrounded by really large crevasses. These would take an awful lot of snow to fill before an avalanche hit us.
Hi Wp, There is no leaving the tent door open to admire the view at night. It’s too cold. I am not using a Thermarest 4 season. Up high I have closed cell foam pad and an old thermarest and down low I have the Luxury Lite Low rise cot. The problem with a Thermarest is that it doesn’t level out the rocks underneath, whereas the cot does this perfectly.