Local time: 28 April, 17:45
Location: Base Camp
Weather: Windy and cold overnight, but no snow!
Today Meagan, Atilla and I made our way down to base camp. It’s with much relief that I write this.
Camp 2 to Camp 1
We woke up at 5am, got gear packed had breakfast, and by 6:20 we were on our way. This was a little later than we had hoped, as we wanted to beat the sun hitting the top part of the icefall. It’s this part that is really dangerous, so we moved as fast as we could between camp 2 and the icefall. We were carrying sleeping bags and sleeping mats from camp 2 back to camp 1, so that they are ready for our next rotation.
It was pretty windy last night and this morning, and it didn’t let up as we raced through the gentle slopes of the Western Cwm, until we got to the heavily crevassed section near C1. Here there are lots of ladders spanning the deep crevasses, and steep descents into the shallower ones, with almost vertical ascents out the other side. We dropped our gear off at C1 and then continued down to the icefall.
Crossing the icefall
All the dangerous sections of the icefall are still there: The arch that you go under, the hole that you drop into and then have to climb out, all the while under the shadow of a leaning slab of ice, and the two large 40m high walls that you have to go up/down and look very precarious. A large section had collapsed, but I can’t remember what was there.
I met Pat in the icefall again – he is in great shape and looks well. I was coming down a ladder on a particularly dangerous section and he was waiting to go up, so we couldn’t talk long at all. It’s not conducive to chatting when you have a 40m high wall of ice leaning on a precarious angle.
Oxygen mask demonstration
Ted Atkins came to our camp and gave a talk about the TopOut mask that I am using. Ted makes the oxygen masks and it was really interesting to hear first hand the thought that has gone into the design of the mask. The benefits that Ted mentioned over the standard Poisk mask are:
When you are not breathing in, the oxygen flows into a bag and is not wasted
The system fails safe
It makes a good seal around your face so that oxygen doesn’t leak and fog up your glasses
The oxygen in the bag is taken into your lungs first and goes deeper, making better use of the oxygen
While on the subject of oxygen I weighed all my new bottles supplied by Asian Trekking and they are perfect. I am extremely happy about this 🙂
This afternoon, and even as I write this, there have been some huge avalanches off the west shoulder of Everest. They have reached the icefall and dusted base camp, however luckily no one was injured.
Hi Nick, Our base camp manager Pertemba Sherpa climbed with Bonnington in all his attempts on the South West face. I am sure he is featured in the book, because Pertemba talks about going on a lecture tour with Bonnington. It really looks amazing from C2 – some parts of the rock look overhanging.
Joseph, The Sherpa was with an Italian expedition organized by Thamserku. He lived in Solu, below Lukla and was married to someone from Thame. He was bought down to BC today. I don’t have a name.
Hi Liane, Yes I think that it’s good that Nepal has rules on minimum ages. Chris Harris was the guy from Australia, but I don’t know how high he got – maybe a little above 7000m. Lincoln Hall was also on his expedition. It’s definitely possible to survive a night out, but the repercussions would be severe. Frostbite from the lack of oxygen for one. I have forgotten the detail of the acclimatization process, but from memory it seemed pretty right. Beck Wethers was essentially lowered down the Lhotse face in 1996, and this could have been the inspiration….
Hi MC, Being a climbing Sherpa is such a risky business, but there are not too many other options that pay as well. I wonder if there will still be the same number of Sherpas interested in climbing in the next 20 years.
Hi Mark, We did visit the clinic about 7 times last year, but obviously never made it onto the final film.
Hi Phil and Patti, thanks for your support.
Hi Robert, Vedat, Jarrod, Mark & Sarah, I haven’t seen a Yeti, but many of the Sherpas believe in them. In the Khumjung monastery, they claim to have a Yeti skull. We made a donation and were able to see it. It looks pretty real.
Hi Zoe, Hope you are keeping Zac in line and that both of you are not being too much trouble for Baz and Gab.