Location: Everest Base Camp
Local Time: 8pm, Sat 13th May
Weather: Cold & Snowy, Max 0C
Hi Everyone, it's Fi here,
With cold weather we've spent most of the day inside the dining tent chatting
and drinking copious amounts of tea.
Strategising and Mind-Games
Now that we've finished our acclimatisation rotations, we're resting here to
recuperate for a least a few more days. The atmosphere and talk has changed in
nature to intense discussions on when the right time to summit will be. It
seems that it is this stage of the trip where the mind-games begin with
different theories floating around about when to go, when not to go, etc.
Everyone has already been on this expedition for 6-8 weeks and it seems that
many people's thoughts are turning to home and "when we'll get this darn thing
done". But this is not a place for itchy feet and Paul and I are trying to
exercise patience so that we can make our move at the right time (for us),
rather than blow our chances too early.
Many people have already left
for their summit push - making their earliest possible summit date the 17th
May, with the high rope fixing planned for the 16th. The weather forecasts are
currently saying moderate-highish winds speeds, but as this timeframe draws
nearer, the forecasts seem to be becoming slightly more favourable. Although
it did not seem to us as a particularly good weather window a couple of days
ago, it may turn out to be perfect. We hope it turns out well for them.
Many others are still
down-valley (some as far as Kathmandu), while others are about to head down
for a few days in some lower villages.
At the moment, we are resting
at base camp. Our Sherpas have gone down-valley to rest and visit with their
families but will be back here on Tuesday, so the earliest we will be leaving
is Wednesday (giving us 5 full days of rest). But of course, everything from
there on depends on the weather.
Reading the Weather
Today we have spent some time looking at the current weather forecasts and
learning how to read them. The main factor for the summit climb is the wind
speed at the summit - as this largely determines the effective temperature.
(The temperature is really the limiting factor as climbers would get frostbite
at lower winds than they'd be able to climb in - something we're very keen to
As there are no weather
stations anywhere nearby, the forecasts are all based on satellite data and
information from airplanes flying nearby. Although it seems that there is one
core set of data, there are many different interpretations and hence many
different weather forecasts - some which are freely available on the web, but
most which are subscriber based. IMG subscribes to one particular forecast,
but there are many rumors floating around base camp now and teams and
individuals are paying close attention to each others movements.
When we have looked at past
years, it seems that there has always been one or two very clear weather
windows (even last year, although it was so late). So we're hoping this year
will be the same. We certainly don't want to be going up if the conditions are
Passing the Time
Someone asked how we pass the time aside from reading and listening to music.
It's amazing, but time seems to have a different quality up here - I guess it
might be to do with the altitude, but it's similar to when you go camping. As
sad as it seems, at basecamp, our days tend to be structured around mealtimes.
Every meal is a chance to get together with our fellow teammates and chat -
sometimes we sit around talking so long that it's time for the next meal. Such
was the case today as it is one of the least pleasant days outside. There is a
practical purpose to this as well though - we are all trying to make sure that
we're constantly well hydrated (usually having come off the mountain at least
Chores like having a shower
or doing our laundry tend to take the best part of half a day. Sometimes there
are other chores like gathering up food to take up the mountain on our next
trip or fixing a piece of equipment that needs repairs. Aside from these
things, we definitely do a lot more sleeping than we do at home. Someone asked
if it was the standard 7-8 hours. Well, no - it's closer to 12 hours for most
of us (5-6 would be normal for us at home). And that's if we don't take an
afternoon nap! Although it sounds like a very simple life, I don't think
anyone here is bored or looking for ways to pass the time faster.
Well, that's all for now - time for yet another meal.