Please No One be Under There...
Days 41 & 42/May 1 & 2, 2009 (Friday & Saturday)
Home Sweet EBC
Arising to a warm, sunny Friday here on the glacier, Rejean and I studied the summit forecasts for the coming days. Sherpa teams are making great strides towards establishing Camp IV, and will soon be on their way towards the Balcony. With reasonable weather and such great progress, coupled with some recent horror stories of food-related illness in the kitchens below, Rejean and I elected to stay at EBC until our summit push.
Keith and I have been having good fun linking up with Miles back in the States via our BGAN/Inmarsat system, often gloating that weâ€™re in Everest Base Camp and heâ€™s in Columbus, Ohio or elsewhere on the road. [Not to malign Columbus in any way, but the Khumbu glacier is much more exotic --- sorry you canâ€™t be here, Miles!] This morning we had a great time introducing Danuru, my personal Sherpa and sidekick this season, to Miles. He truly does have superhuman strength and a powerful, positive attitude...
Sobering Avalanche Followed by Weather
Soon after signing off with Miles this morning, an enormous avalanche ripped off the West Shoulder of Everest like a nuclear mushroom cloud. Keith and I were standing at â€œtable rock,â€ where we had a commanding view of the entire icefall and cirque. I called to Keith to quickly grab his camera and shoot some video, but he was already on it. Soft expletives uttered from my mouth as the spindrift and mass of the avalanche spread across the entire width of the icefall --- with secondary and tertiary releases continuing to drop from the West Shoulder, scouring the face. An eternity later, spindrift began to fall on us, perhaps 2 km away from the base of the icefall of itself. Quite simply the most massive avalanche Iâ€™ve ever seen --- and I was honestly terrified that friends, Sherpa and Western climbers alike, might have been trapped in the fallout. Miracle of miracles, no one from our team was injured --- and initial reports suggest that there were no injuries throughout the other teams.
Dark clouds have moved up valley, and light snow coupled with low temperatures remind me that Iâ€™m very much in the Himalayas, at the mercy of nature and weather.