April 21 - From Camp 1 to Camp 2
Today we moved from Camp 1 to Camp 2. It took us about 5 hours. It was very
hot. The second half of the day was VERY hot. We covered every speck of skin
we had to keep out of the sun, and we practiced the rest step. The route
from Camp 1 to Camp 2 was very straight forward. It was one of the easier
days on the mountain. There are very few ladders this year, so very little
objective danger. Everybody is doing well clipping in and out of protection,
walking across ladders, and dealing with the sun. Everyone is here at Camp 2
now, at our lovely Advanced Base Camp on the top of the hill. We’re having
soup and snacks. James is very sad to find out that his scrabble word
“squids” is not allowable. But he’s doing ok with that. So it’s off to
dinner we go.
This is Amy Bullard signing off until tomorrow.
April 19 - Up Through the Icefall as Seen From Base Camp.
Hello from Base Camp.
I notice that we seem to be missing a report about the team moving up from
Base Camp to Camp 1. So until I can entice one from the folks who actually did
the hard work, here in the base camp perspective. The first move up above Base
Camp is always a special day – in many ways it is the day when the climb
actually begins, so it is pretty exciting for everyone. The adventure actually
begins the day before with packing food, warm clothes, sleeping bags, and
other gear to go up the mountain. The climbers always carry their own survival
gear: warm clothes, lunch for the day, water, and climbing gear (including
harnesses rigged for traveling on fixed lines, crampons, and ice axes). Our
excellent team of sherpas help them out by carrying sleeping bags and other
food, and by having the tents already set up at Camp 1 before the climbers
arrive. Only the western climbers sleep at Camp 1, so it is more of a
temporary camp that is taken down as soon as they leave. The sherpas only
sleep at Base Camp, Camp 2, and Camp 4 at the South Col.
The big day actually begins in the dark, with everyone rolling out of bed at
about 3:00 am. This time we started in two teams of 8 climbers and guides
each, so the folks in the second team got to sleep in a little later. We do
this so everyone can get a little more spread out on the fixed lines. At this
time of the morning the stars are shining and a glow-worm of headlamps can be
seen of other teams starting up the icefall. Our team enjoyed a power
breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and bacon before putting on their climbing
harnesses and backpacks and heading out. The first steps always include a stop
at the puja altar to offer a prayer and ask for safety by throwing blessed
rice three times. The second stop is a hundred yards or so out of camp to put
on crampons for safe walking on the fins of ice.
Here at Base Camp I am awake with the climbers. I start monitoring the radio
as soon as they leave Base Camp and stay with them all the way to Camp 1. When
the first daylight comes at around 5:00 am I can see our team in many places
as they progress through the icefall. They check in periodically to let me
know everything is ok. Normal is for the climbers to reach Camp 1 in 8 to 10
hours, and that was the case with this team as well. Everyone is tired by the
time they get there, and are glad to lay out their sleeping bags, get hot
drinks, a little dinner, and fall asleep.
Base Camp Manager
April 19 - Up Through the Icefall!
Today is our first foray though the icefall to Camp 1. We divided into two
groups today. On group left base camp at 4:30 am and the other group left at
5:50 am. The first group took 9 hours to reach Camp 1 and the second group
took 10 ½ hours. The route through the icefall was pretty normal this year,
maybe a little bit longer but no more dangerous. We were treated to Nima and
Lakpa cooking for us at Camp 1 at 19,600 ft. We had macaroni and cheese with
sun-dried tomatoes when we got there. Everybody was in bed by 7:00 pm, well
hydrated, well fed, and happy to be at Camp 1 watching the sun glow on the
Lhotse Face and looking up at Everest for the first time.
That’s all for now, Amy Bullard from Camp 1
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