Saturday, April 30, 2011

30 Apr - Back at Everest Basecamp

Well, we're back from our sourjourn on the mountain.

The first day was our first time up the icefall; as series of ropes to be clipped and ladders to be negotiated across crevasses and around seracs up to camp 1.

The glacier evens off to camp 1 which we stayed at for 2 nights, the day spent reading and lazing in progressively hotter tents, while it was too windy to leave the doors open without being covered in spindrift, which actually became welcome as the afternoon progressed, and myself and Susan who I was sharing with were down to our underwear and the tiny ice ice particles on our skin were both shocking and refreshing.

The important thing is to avoid dehydration, so we were melting snow on our little gas stove much of the time, and, in the evening trying to heat up boil-in-the-bag meals which are never more than lukewarm, as the water boils at lower temperatures high up.

The following day, the sun hit the trail early and we found ourselves slogging up the shallow-angled glacier to camp 2 with the blazing sun reflected onto us by the snow-bowl of the Western Cwm.

Camp 2 is pretty luxurious for over 6400m; we have a cook stationed there, so we don't have to spend hours melting snow or cooking and can rehydrate with ease.

We also have a mess-tent with a table fashioned from rocks, with a tarpaulin lashed round it, and similar for seating, but very comfortable given the circumstances!

We had planned to stay there for 2 nights, perhaps climbing some of the way up the Lhotste face towards camp 3, but the next morning saw us hurrying down the hill in the teeth of rumours of bad weather coming in for several days; much better to be stranded at basecamp than higher up.

Down through the icefall was hot, hot, hot, and even though it was much quicker down than up, we arrived back at BC pretty bushed, but in time for lunch.

We are all delighted at the effect of our acclimatization, meaning that it is no longer the long puff-&-pant getting between our tents and the mess-tent that it was, and our bodies are adapting as they should. After great night's sleep, interrupted only by the numerous avalanches all around which sound perilously close, but are in fact a way away, we're all in good spirits and looking forward to a couple of rest days before going up the mountain again....

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