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  Everest 2006: Fi and Paul: Glad to be back in base camp


Location: Everest Base Camp
Altitude: 5350m
Local Time: 5:30pm, 25th May
Weather: Mainly fine, but now cloudy and snowing lightly

Hi everyone, it's Fiona here,
Glad to be reporting in from the relatively thick, warm air of base camp.

Down to Camp 2
We crashed out heavily last night - still very stiff and sore from the last few days of climbing. Even though coming down is a whole lot easier than going up, it's pretty hard on your feet and upper body. We were very pleased to get to Camp 2 - and in the heat of the day, even more pleased to be met by Lakpa Sherpa who hiked to the base of the Lhotse face with a bottle of juice for us to drink. Marvellous!

After another 10 cups of juice, we ate lunch - the first proper meal for quite a while - and then fell asleep in our tent for the afternoon.

At dinner I managed to be the source of entertainment for the 12 or so Sherpas up there. I got the camera out to take some photos and then showed a couple of the Sherpas. They were very interested in seeing more so I showed them how to flick through the photos on our digital camera. However, unbeknown to me, at some point in the last couple of days, Paul had thoughtfully taken a photo of me relieving myself in the tent - basically a close up of my bare bum. When the Sherpas got to this, they started laughing and within 10 seconds, everyone in the tent knew. Oh well, there's not much room for dignity up here.

Heading Down for the Last Time
In the morning, we left early to cross through most of the icefall before the sun and heat hit. Getting down to camp 1 was pretty uneventful - mostly a fairly gentle sloping plain with the occasional crevass to step across, walk around, or cross with ladders.

We got to the top of the icefall and took a break so that we were rested to move through as quickly as we could. About halfway down we came to a large section which had collapsed during the night. Massive towers had fallen down creating huge boulders of blue ice to climb over and exposing new crevasses to cross - all of which was unroped as it had happened so recently. A bit hairy to say the least.

As soon as we got through this section and back onto the normal route, we heard a huge crash and just about jumped out of our skins. It was a large avalanche - but thankfully not close enough to be of danger to us. After watching this for a moment, we decided to get out there as quick as we could. Not easy on our fatigued legs.

Eventually we reached the end of the icefall and were very happy to see Mary there waiting for us. She had climbed up the first steepish section past the crampon point - without crampons of course.

Relative Luxuries of Base Camp
We are so glad to be through the icefall - where we can finally say that we've finished our climbing and have escaped without injury, frostbite or worse.

After being up high for a while, basecamp feels warm and the air so thick. It's also amazing what little things now feel like luxuries. A bucket wash, chairs with backs, a drink of lemonade, and especially wearing shoes other than our heavy climbing boots!

Since we were here, much of the glacier has melted and tent sites keep having to be moved and repaired. As we're now nearly at the end of the climbing season, many people have left and only a handful of tents remain. It's a bit sad really that there's no way to farewell our fellow climbers as we all finish in dribs and drabs and then pack up and leave individually. It was great to be given a welcome back from the team that remains here. We have contact details for most of our team so will be able to keep in touch. We've gone through a lot with this group.

Our Plans
After lunch and a shower-in-a-bucket, we spent most of the afternoon packing up our gear. We're planning to leave tomorrow morning to start the trek out to Lukla from where we'll fly back to Kathmandu. The trek will probably take us 3 days (even though it took almost 2 weeks to trek in).

Now that we've finished climbing, we've started thinking of home, friends and family a lot more. Until now, we've tried not to let ourselves get homesick by keeping focused on our climb. But we're definitely looking forward to getting back now.

Thanks again for being with us, we'll continue to post updates until we get home.

Fiona

Updates

 

Millet One Sport Everest Boot Expedition and mountaineering boot for high altitude and extremely cold conditions. The Everest has conquered all 14 mountains over 8,000m and also the Seven Summits- and has now had a makeover to ensure continued peak preformance. With a newer sung, Alpine Fit, and even lighter Expedition footwear for mountaineering in conditions of extreme cold.  NOTE US SIZES LISTED. See more here.

 

A cold weather, high altitude double boot for extreme conditions The Olympus Mons is the perfect choice for 8000-meter peaks. This super lightweight double boot has a PE thermal insulating inner boot that is coupled with a thermo-reflective outer boot with an integrated gaiter. We used a super insulating lightweight PE outsole to keep the weight down and the TPU midsole is excellent for crampon compatibility and stability on steep terrain. WEIGHT: 39.86 oz • 1130 g LAST: Olympus Mons CONSTRUCTION: Inner: Slip lasted Outer: Board Lasted OUTER BOOT: Cordura® upper lined with dual-density PE micro-cellular thermal insulating closed cell foam and thermo-reflective aluminium facing/ Insulated removable footbed/ Vibram® rubber rand See more here.

 






 

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