Location: Camp 1
Local Time: 17:30, April 26
Weather: Fine until mid afternoon, then snowing -3C now.
Hi All, It's Paul coming to
from camp 1. The good news for me at least, is that this morning my throat is
better than it was last night.
What is camp one like?
Camp 1 is situated at the end of the Western Cwm, just before the glacier
tumbles down the icefall towards base camp. The glacier for the main part is
flat here, although there are big rolls, and some crevasses nearby. Our camp
is situated in a small depression, so we are very sheltered from the wind.
However being in a depression wouldn't be good if there was an avalanche. We
have already posted the avalanche pictures taken by Jim Gagne, and last year
the entire camp 1 was wiped out when a large avalanche came down. We are in a
slightly different spot compared with last year, but it still looks dangerous.
Around the camp we have
marked out designated toilet spots and also a very separate spot for
collecting snow to melt for water. We have dug a nice hole in the vestibule of
our tent, so that its easy to put your boots on and off. Apart from all that
there is not much else to say. The day has been filled with melting snow; a
continuous operation, eating and sorting out food left by other people.
Dinner last night
After sending the update last night we had dinner in the dining tent, which is
a small dome tent that holds about 6 people at a squeeze. We have these ready
to heat meals that the US army has given us to test, and they are very tasty.
The ones we had needed to be boiled in their packets for 10 minutes; some
people had packs with a chemical heater that had the liquid boiling almost as
fast as a stove. We both tried to drink as much hot liquids as possible, to
try and reverse the damage done by the cold dry air. I have found that if I
cup my hand over my mug of tea and hold my mouth close, the steam is very
When we arrived yesterday, my throat felt pretty good, although I had done a
lot of coughing on the climb up. However after a few hours it started to swell
and breathing became increasingly difficult. My throat was sore all the way
into my lungs - it felt like it was my spine that was sore, but I knew that
this wasn't the case. Whenever I would swallow it was the same feeling you get
when you have swallowed something that was too big - you can feel it going all
the way down. Needless to say the breathing was a bit concerning, so I took a
heap of pills - codeine to supress the coughing, ibuprofen and voltaren gel to
help bring the swelling down. A drinking bottle with hot water in it placed on
my back and neck also seemed to help. I found that sleeping on my stomach also
helped. Anyway, by the morning my throat felt better, the swelling has gone
down a bit and I am able to swallow much easier. The pain is still there,
especially around my larynx but at least its improving. Next time we are
climbing I will try taking some codeine before we go so that I don't cough as
much in the cold air.
Sleeping last night
The first night at a new altitude can often be a bit restless. Fiona had a
headache which didn't go away when she had painkillers, so she didn't get the
best night's sleep. She also had a Diamox pill, which makes you breathe deeper
and can help, but it didn't. At 5am it went away and she has been fine since.
I haven't had any altitude symptoms, and both of us have moderate appetites -
usually the first thing to go at higher altitude.
People moving up to camp 2
This morning half the people at camp 1 moved up to camp 2. They didn't leave
until 9am and it's a four hour climb. I don't envy them at all as it has been
extremely hot today and the Western Cwm is like a giant solar reflector, with
the mountains on either side. Even when a bit of cloud comes in, it still
seems to be hot.
We think we will stay here another day. Camp 2 is still in the process of
being established, so things might be better setup if we get there a day
My stepmother, Mary Adler is coming to base camp to support us at the business
end of the climb. She leaves Melbourne tonight and hopefully we will be able
to bring you updates of her trek into base camp.
Till next time,