Location: Camp 1
Local Time: 5pm, Mon 24th April
Weather: Fine at first then snowing, now 0C
Hi everyone, Fiona here.
I'm very pleased to report
that we've finally left base camp and are now coming to you from Camp 1.
The trip through the Icefall
We left base camp at around 6am this morning after an early breakfast - not
that we could eat much of it. Needless to say, all of us were fairly nervous
heading off and led by our Sherpas, we all stopped at the Puja Altar and asked
for a safe journey by throwing rice and burning juniper.
We took it pretty slowly to
try to avoid aggravating Paul's throat and lungs any more than necessary. The
day started out fine with the sun hitting us at around 9am - perfect climbing
weather. A bit later the snow came in - quite heavy so we hope it's not going
to continue for too long.
The icefall was as beautiful
as ever. Past the parts we'd been to previously, we also went through a
section known as the "Popcorn" region - where the ice formations resemble big
rounded shapes with jagged bits coming off them. One structure looked more
like a giant golf ball to me - complete with dimples that the sun had melted.
Then there is a relatively large flattish section known as the football field.
Apparently this is not nearly as big as it has been at other times but still
open enough to have a safe break. Following this, we climbed through the
section some have been calling the "Cocktail" area - due to the fact that the
ice formations look like they'd make a good daquery. This is the section where
the towers recently fell and crushed three Sherpas. We passed through this
section as quick as we could.
Finally we reached the top of
the ice fall - but still had about an hour and a half to go before reaching
camp. This section meandered around and over several deep crevasses and by the
time we eventually reached camp, we were thoroughly exhausted.
As I'm writing this, we're now sitting safe and snug in our tent at C1. Our
camp here currently has 6 three person sleeping tents and a dome tent for
cooking and eating. Our team members who have been here previously have done a
fantastic job of digging out the dome tent so that there is a snow bench
around the perimeter with room to put your feet. At the moment, there are
quite a few of us here (Walter, Karl & Marcus came up yesterday, while Brenda,
Jack, Dennis, Jim, Tashi, Phinjo and the 4 of us all climbed up today), so we
need to take shifts to use the cooking tent.
Until not long ago, we
couldn't see anything because of low cloud and continuing snow. It has just
now stopped snowing and we can just see the great peaks of Lhotse and Nupse
(still no views of Everest from here though).
Here is where we start having
to cook for ourselves without the luxuries of base camp. We have some freeze
dried meals for tonight so will see how they go.
Plans for tomorrow
Since arriving here, Paul's throat has become very sore again so we'll
probably stay here at least another night for that to settle down. Ideally,
we'd like to spend 2 nights here and then move up to camp 2 for 2 nights
before heading back to base camp - but everything depends on our health and
the weather. We'll see.
Well, that's all for now.
Hope everyone out there is well.