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  Everest 2006: Fi and Paul: Resting at Camp 2

Location: Camp 2
Altitude: 6424m
Local Time: 5:30pm, 28th April
Weather: Fine, 5C during day, -15C at night

Hi everyone, it's Fiona here,

Well today is a day of rest for us and not much is happening, so I thought I'd give you my list of the best and worst things about life on the mountain.

10 Worst Things About Life on the Mountain

1) The toilets. OK, I never expected them to be good, but today's effort of hauling up a rope just to get to the toilet, and then balancing awkwardly over a plastic bag strung between a rock and a lump of ice wasn't my idea of fun.

2) Waking up in the morning to find it's raining ice inside your tent. The condensation that most tents get overnight freezes up here and when the tent starts warming up in the morning, this starts to rain down on you.

3) Cold feet at dinner time. Sitting around our dining tent is generally very pleasant with good conversation and the heat of bodies warming the room (although we're all still in down jackets). But the glacier ice that our feet rest on means that we all get cold feet and have to retire to the comfort of our sleeping bags to warm up.

4) Not having showered for about a week. Eww my hair is ickky but that will change once we get back down to base camp.

5) Worse still, sharing a tent with someone who also hasn't showered for a week!

6) Feeling out of breath just walking to the toilet or between tents. Makes you wonder just how we'll go up higher but here's hoping our acclimatisation program works well.

7) Dry skin and lips. The low humidity means that our skin is in far less than ideal condition.

8) Potatoes, eggs and canned fish. I don't really mean to complain about the food because I think the cooks do an amazing job with the resources they have, but I am having trouble stomaching any more foods from these categories.

9) The sound of avalanches nearby. Although we seem to be relatively safe from avalanches here at camp 2, it is still unnerving to hear them all around.

10) Seeing how far we still have to go. Now that we can see the Lhotse face, as well as most of Everest itself, we do seem a lot closer, but gee that face looks steep and the days ahead of us look extremely hard. And not only that, we have to go down, then come back up to Camp 3, then go back down again before beginning to climb for the summit! It seems a very daunting prospect from this vantage point.

10 Best Things About Life on the Mountain

1) The stunning landscape we are surrounded by. The ice formations continue to amaze and the colour of the sky is a blue so deep, you'd think it was the ocean. Often I'm pinching myself in disbelief that we're actually here.

2) When you wake up in the morning you're already dressed for the day (as you wear so many clothes to bed, you only need to put on boots and a jacket when you get up)

3) Being able to eat as much as you want - especially junk food. But of course the problem is that we don't feel like eating that much.

4) Having plenty of time for reading and relaxing during the day (well during our rest / acclimatisation days anyway).

5) Getting around 12 hours sleep a night (well at least being in bed for that long - often when we get to a new altitude we don't sleep that well).

6) Snuggling up in my super warm sleeping bag with a water bottle filled with hot water at my feet.

7) The comraderie of our team. It's great being part of the dynamics of a disparate group of people coming together to work on a mutual goal. When Paul and I pulled into both Camps 1 and 2, we were welcomed by different team members congratulating us and shaking our hands - a great feeling.

8) Having lots of time to sit around talking (usually drinking tea). Spending so much time together means we've gotten to know each other quite well and the conversations are always interesting and enlightening.

9) Constant radio communications with base camp. It is reassuring to know that Mark and the rest of the team at base camp are tracking our every move and are always there to offer advice. As a standard, we radio in 3 times a day, and more often when we're actually climbing.

10) And of course, getting messages from all of you guys. Reading your news from back home, advice, and words of encouragement continues to be a highlight we look forward to every day.

High Altitude Testing
Aside from reading, eating and toileting, the only other action for today was to complete the verbal and cognitive thinking tests we are involved in for NASA. We had already completed these tests at base camp but needed to repeat them over the radio to ascertain whether there is a difference at this altitude. We don't know the results but we both felt like we completed them at about the same level as at base camp. We'll hopefully find out once we're back down there.

Tomorrow we intend to climb up to the base of the Lhotse face during the day but then return to C2 for the night. Weather permitting of course.

Well that's all for today.
Best wishes, Fi.


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