Location: Everest Base Camp
Local Time: 17:30, May 2
Weather: Fine in the morning, overcast in the afternoon. min -5C, max 12C
Hi it's Paul here,
Today was spent seeing off
the injured Italian climber and learning how to use the oxygen gear.
Italian climber leaves base
This morning was clear and there was almost no wind, so the helicopter was
able to come, land and pick up the injured Italian climber. Overnight the
climber's condition improved, so he was able to walk from the medical clinic
to the helicopter pad. Fiona and I had our radios on early in the morning and
the HRA was going to call if they needed assistance carrying the stretcher.
Fortunately the call came through at about 6am, that everything was OK and we
weren't needed. We went and watched the helicopter land, and this was a pretty
impressive sight; seeing such a large machine maneuver onto the pad, pickup
the climber and quickly take off again.
Trying out the oxygen system
After breakfast we all went to the communications tent and were issued with
our own oxygen masks. These masks are the new TopOut masks that IMG purchased
earlier in the year. We have also been given an LSE mask, which is a tried and
true mask that we will carry as a backup. The TopOut masks fit our faces very
well, in fact there is no discernable leaking at all. This is very important,
as leaking oxygen is not only wasteful, but it causes your goggles to fog up.
These masks have a bottle hanging down in which the oxygen fills when you are
exhaling. This oxygen is available all at once at the start of your inhalation
cycle and goes deep into your lungs. We also learnt the correct procedure for
changing over a bottle and practiced this several times. There were several
bottles that we were able to connect up to and feel the effect of different
flow rates. Sitting here at base camp acclimatised as we are, and not working
at all, it wasn't possible to feel the effect of the oxygen. I am sure that up
higher this won't be the case. IMG uses their own oxygen bottles, which are
much bigger and heavier than the Poisk system used by almost everyone else.
However, our bottles hold 1800 litres of oxygen (more than the other systems)
and we will need only two on the summit day. With Poisk you would need 5,
which means more changes. Our bottles weigh 7kg, compared with about half that
for Poisk, so this is the disadvantage. But I think that 7kg isn't too much to
have to carry.
That’s all for now,