Location: Everest Base Camp
Local Time: Fri 7th April, 5:30pm
Weather: Sunny, 5C
Hi everyone, it's Fiona here.
Paul and I are relaxing now
with Chris and Bridget after our first experience with the Icefall.
The Khumbu Icefall
After breakfast this morning, Paul and I set out with our Sherpas (Dasona and
Mingma) towards the icefall. After about 15 minutes scrambling through rock
and some other campsites, we hit the "crampon point", and sat down to put on
our climbing harnesses, helmets and crampons.
As we headed on, the terrain
became a mixture of snowy valleys and hills, small lakes, ice walls and
increasingly bigger cracks and crevasses. It is an incredibly beautiful
landscape and surprisingly, we didn't find this section of it to be too
frightening. Nothing big was overhanging near the trail and the only ladder
crossing we did do was not as bad as I'd thought it might be - slow and steady
was definitely the way for me. Somehow even though you need to look down at
the ladder rungs to place your crampons properly, your focus is just on the
ladder and not on the gaping crevasse beneath you.
Our goal today was to go to
the first ladder crossing but this year, it is apparently a fair bit higher
than usual. So we climbed for about 1.5 hours and our Sherpas said that we
were almost one third of the way through.
It felt great to actually get
out there with our climbing gear again. And great to see what the icefall is
actually like. Before today, it seemed to loom dauntingly in front of us -
both literally and figuratively. But the actual climbing we did today was no
more technical than we had done previously - although we both found it to be
pretty hard work aerobically. Along side our Sherpas we both felt a bit
inadequate. But on getting back to camp later we found that everyone had the
same experience. Dennis Kellner joked that he was infuriated as his Sherpa was
consistently whistling while he was gasping for air. Someone else commented
that climbing with a Sherpa is like driving at full speed next to an idling
We arrived back at camp just
in time for lunch - exhausted but elated to have started the climbing.
However, the next sections of the icefall are steeper with more crevasses - so
we don't want to get too confident!
Another lazy afternoon around
After lunch we spent the afternoon sitting around in the dining tent, drinking
lots of tea, and eating snacks (biscuits with Vegemite we brought from home,
popcorn, and nuts).
Bridget and Chris did some
washing this morning and spent a lot of time reading and resting. They're also
looking forward to logging on and seeing the responses to their engagement
news from yesterday (which we'll be doing as soon as I finish writing this
We have not seen anyone
suffering from either HAPE or HACE however when we visited the medical clinic
in Pheriche a few days ago, they had already seen a local Nepalese porter die
from HAPE this season. They are trying to educate the locals about high
altitude sicknesses and how to avoid it (apparently there are some
misconceptions around that locals are immune or less vulnerable to these
For us at this altitude
(5350m), we're not suffering any particular altitude sicknesses - most likely
because of our slow ascent, as well as a focus on keeping well hydrated and
breathing more heavily than usual.
However, we're only just now
getting a good night's sleep and doing anything strenuous is a whole lot
harder than it is at low altitudes. Everyone tends to walk around camp very
slowly and just lifting a few bags or rocks can make us so out of breath that
we need to sit down. Hopefully this should improve as we go higher and get
In terms of the food here, we
have an amazing kitchen staff who cook up all kinds of things for us.
Breakfast is usually some type of cereal (Cornflakes, museli, oat porridge or
rice porridge), followed by either pancakes or Tibetan bread and some bacon
and eggs. Lunch and dinner are usually some combination of meat, potatoes
(sometimes chips), green beans, rice and momos. These staples are put together
in an amazing array of different dishes. We generally have a soup with dinner
and a small dessert - often canned fruit but sometimes freshly baked dishes
(today we're told they're making chocolate brownies for dessert - yum!). We
also have an afternoon tea - so it feels like we are eating all the time. They
say that most climbers lose weight when climbing Everest but I'm pretty sure
we haven't lost any yet. We did bring some food from home - mainly for use
while climbing (museli bars, nuts, dried fruit, Gu gels, etc) but we may not
need nearly as much as we brought as there are heaps of snack foods here as
well. The Sherpas seem to eat the same foods as us - but perhaps with more
emphasis on the rice (with Dahl Baht) and noodles.
That's all for now,
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