Location: Everest Base Camp
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
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
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.
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.
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