Location: Camp 3
Local Time: 17:00, 8 May
Weather: Fine and hot, afternoon snow 40C inside our tent, -16C last night.
Yes we made it to camp 3 and this update is coming to you live from 7250m. It was a pretty tough day, but both Fiona and I feel OK up here, considering.
We left camp 2 at 5:20am and first had a gentle sloping walk to the base of the Lhotse face. This took 1.5 hours. After a quick rest we started upwards on fixed lines. The start was really steep, and went on for 100m. The ice is blue and very hard. After this initial steep section the slope flattened off, but it rarely gets below 50 degrees. Up high there are some vertical sections, which at over 7000m makes for tough going. After 6.5 hours we reached camp 3.
The camp is literally cut into the side of the slope. The platforms are just big enough for the tents, and if you go outside your tent you need to be clipped in and wear crampons. To get snow to melt for water we just reach out of our tent and grab it from the side of the slope.
How are we faring
Fiona has a slight headache, but I feel Ok. We have eaten a fair bit and tried to drink a lot. From what we have heard from other climbers, the night is terrible with most people hardly sleeping. In our tent there is an oxygen bottle for use if we feel the need. However this defeats the purpose of going up here so we don’t really want to use it. It’s a bit tormenting though, seeing it there!
What does it feel like up here
This is as high as we are going to get without oxygen. The next time we are here we will be breathing oxygen while sleeping, so I thought I would share with you what it feels like. If you don’t do anything, and lie very still, your breathing is fast, but you are not puffing. However the minute your move, sit up, light the stove, eat, drink, you start breathing like crazy. The trick is that as soon as you notice you are breathing hard, you force yourself to breathe a little harder and pretty soon you are back to normal. Our heart rates are about 120bpm at rest whereas at home they are in the 40s. We don’t notice our heart beating though, it’s the breathing that you really feel.
Plans for Tomorrow
Assuming we feel ok tomorrow morning we are going practise climbing up on oxygen. We will don our suits, masks and with an oxygen bottle in our pack and a flow rate of 1.5 litres per minute, climb up for about half an hour. I am really interested to see the impact of the oxygen. We will then return to camp 3, pick up our gear and head back down to camp 2.
Mary arrived into base camp this morning. She came onto the radio just as we were reaching camp 3 so it was a pretty breathless conversation on both sides. Mary said she was a bit tired, but otherwise felt fine. She was just in time for lunch, and I am sure that it will be a change from the Nepalese food she has been eating to date. We are looking forward to seeing Mary in a few days.
Other IMG Climbers
Dennis is up in camp 3 with us – his tent is about a metre from ours. He said he is feeling fine up here and doesn’t have a headache. He too is surrounded by oxygen bottles in his tent, tormenting him.
That’s all the news we have I am afraid, as we have been a bit out of the loop.
Hi Bud, Hope you’re “cooking with gas” now! Thanks for your lovely message; we’ll read it out to everyone when we are back down.
Hi Sammie & Nick, Yep Dave goes gluten free the whole way. He’s been doing it for a while now (I think this is his 9th time on Everest with 6 summits under his belt!)
Thanks everyone else for your messages, we’re a bit lacking in energy to respond to more today.
That’s all for now, Paul.