Return to Everest 2009
There was another collapse in the Icefall overnight, near the Popcorn, but our sherpas found a way around it and managed to do a big carry to Camp 2. Today we finished out first acclimatization rotation, with the successful descent from Camp 2 to Base Camp of Nancy, Panuru, and the Camp 2 cooks. Tomorrow starts the beginning of the second rotation. We'lll send up new cooks, along with Scott and Rejean and over thirty sherpas who are making a huge carry tomorrow to Camp 2 in preparation for starting to fix the route to Camp 3. Today we sorted out over 150 bottles of oxygen, checked the tank pressures, and these cylinders will start moving up the hill starting tomorrow. [More at IMG]
Most of the IMG Everest team members have now cycled back down to BC after their first acclimatization rotation to Camps 1 and 2. The Icefall has had several collapses during the last couple days, requiring the icefall doctors to rebuild the route in several places. Above the top of the icefall, the route is good to Camp 1 and 2, with a few ladders. We have now wanded this section of the route to C2 to be easy to follow in case of a snowstorm. Up at Camp 2 we now have a third big tent set up and about a dozen smaller sleeping tents, making for a secure and hospitable advance base camp.[More at IMG]
On the trail to Dengboche. Aba Dablam is on the right.
With my acclimatization stay at Tengboche completed, Tashi and I set out for Dengboche. With my ever increasing acclimatization, things are now much easier to do. The walk out of Tengboche was a gentle slope uphill interrupted with some steep portions. I now find my pace rather quickly and can go quite a while without resting.
Day 31/April 21, 2009 (Tuesday)
Youâ€™ve read about SPOT. Youâ€™ve seen SPOT run. Youâ€™ve seen SPOT sit. Now youâ€™ll see SPOT, as in SPOTScott and SPOTDanuru, go to new heights: Camp III is situated at 24,000+ feet above sea level, just a vertical mile from Everestâ€™s summit. The brochure that comes with a SPOT unit states it functions up to 21,000 feet above sea level, but we know it works wonders at Camp II --- 21,500 feet --- and its reception just keeps getting better and better the higher we go. The manufacturers picked that somewhat arbitrary number, not realizing how popular the device would become with mountaineers. Check out the map page in the coming days and follow along as we suffer our way up the Lhotse faceâ€¦
Day 30/April 20, 2009 (Monday)
You canâ€™t just walk up to base camp, strap on your crampons and head for the summit, at least not here in the Himalayas. Climbing Everest is a marathon, and not a sprint. Morphing the kidâ€™s riddle: â€œQ: How do you eat an elephant? A: One bite at a time!â€ Climbing Everest is â€œone step at a time, one day at a timeâ€¦â€ [I apologize profusely to any card-carrying PETA members I may have inadvertently offended with this insensitive reference.] Iâ€™ve been back down at EBC for a couple of days now, and look forward to a couple more before heading back up progressively higher. I know the next trip up will be tougher than the last, and I need to stockpile my energy here in the thicker air of EBCâ€¦
We were up again early this morning - due mostly to my sleeping patterns. Sparing no time we were off to our next stop - Tengboche - just after 7:00 am. The trail out of Namche was relatively civil at first (i.e. it was not like climbing an eternal set of stairs). But after about an hour, things steepened noticeably and we were soon up in the clouds. It was clear that fog is a major source of moisture in non-monsoon months - mosses and other epiphytes were in abundance in the trees. At times it looked like we were in Baton Rouge - not Nepal - as the moss fluttered in the wind. The illusion is complete - so long as you ignore the mountains (not very easy to do).