Location: Camp 1
Local Time: 17:30, April 26
Weather: Fine until mid afternoon, then snowing -3C now.
Hi All, It’s Paul coming to from camp 1.
The good news for me at least, is that this morning my throat is better than it was last night.
What is camp one like?
Camp 1 is situated at the end of the Western Cwm, just before the glacier tumbles down the icefall towards base camp. The glacier for the main part is flat here, although there are big rolls, and some crevasses nearby. Our camp is situated in a small depression, so we are very sheltered from the wind. However being in a depression wouldn’t be good if there was an avalanche. We have already posted the avalanche pictures taken by Jim Gagne, and last year the entire camp 1 was wiped out when a large avalanche came down. We are in a slightly different spot compared with last year, but it still looks dangerous.
Around the camp we have marked out designated toilet spots and also a very separate spot for collecting snow to melt for water. We have dug a nice hole in the vestibule of our tent, so that it’s easy to put your boots on and off. Apart from all that there is not much else to say. The day has been filled with melting snow; a continuous operation, eating and sorting out food left by other people.
Dinner last night
After sending the update last night we had dinner in the dining tent, which is a small dome tent that holds about 6 people at a squeeze. We have these ready to heat meals that the US army has given us to test, and they are very tasty. The ones we had needed to be boiled in their packets for 10 minutes; some people had packs with a chemical heater that had the liquid boiling almost as fast as a stove. We both tried to drink as much hot liquids as possible, to try and reverse the damage done by the cold dry air. I have found that if I cup my hand over my mug of tea and hold my mouth close, the steam is very soothing.
When we arrived yesterday, my throat felt pretty good, although I had done a lot of coughing on the climb up. However after a few hours it started to swell and breathing became increasingly difficult. My throat was sore all the way into my lungs – it felt like it was my spine that was sore, but I knew that this wasn’t the case. Whenever I would swallow it was the same feeling you get when you have swallowed something that was too big – you can feel it going all the way down.
Needless to say the breathing was a bit concerning, so I took a heap of pills – codeine to suppress the coughing, ibuprofen and voltaren gel to help bring the swelling down. A drinking bottle with hot water in it placed on my back and neck also seemed to help. I found that sleeping on my stomach also helped. Anyway, by the morning my throat felt better, the swelling has gone down a bit and I am able to swallow much easier. The pain is still there, especially around my larynx but at least its improving. Next time we are climbing I will try taking some codeine before we go so that I don’t cough as much in the cold air.
Sleeping last night
The first night at a new altitude can often be a bit restless. Fiona had a headache which didn’t go away when she had painkillers, so she didn’t get the best night’s sleep. She also had a Diamox pill, which makes you breathe deeper and can help, but it didn’t. At 5am it went away and she has been fine since. I haven’t had any altitude symptoms, and both of us have moderate appetites – usually the first thing to go at higher altitude.
People moving up to camp 2
This morning half the people at camp 1 moved up to camp 2. They didn’t leave until 9am and it’s a four hour climb. I don’t envy them at all as it has been extremely hot today and the Western Cwm is like a giant solar reflector, with the mountains on either side. Even when a bit of cloud comes in, it still seems to be hot.
We think we will stay here another day. Camp 2 is still in the process of being established, so things might be better setup if we get there a day later.
My stepmother, Mary Adler is coming to base camp to support us at the business end of the climb. She leaves Melbourne tonight and hopefully we will be able to bring you updates of her trek into base camp.
Hi Kennette, great to hear from you again. Kennette trekked into base camp with all the climbers. (FYI it wasn’t Dennis’ Phinjo that was killed.)
MC, Thanks for all your thoughts and messages.
Hi Sheryn, Are you the Sheryn we went to Uni with?
A few people commented on Fiona’s interview on the ABC. She was trying really hard not to sound breathless! It’s pretty hard not to.
Hi Kirk, it’s a really hard slog up the hill to Namche. I reckon it’s one of the hardest days on the trek to base Camp.
Hi Michelle, Jim is right here with us at camp 1. Yes it was him trying to call you in the morning, but the satellite phone cut out and didn’t work again.
Till next time,