Namaste one last time!
A big hello from sunny and green
Namche Bazaar. It's around noon and people are out and about with shorts and
flip flops on! Summertime has certainly come to the Khumbu.
Most of the team is here in Namche today after arriving yesterday from
Pheriche. Various routes to Namche were taken by the team. Todd went over
the Cho La into the Gokyo valley and spent 2 nights en route to Namche. He
should show up in the next couple of hours here. Ellie, Amy Bullard, Tony,
John and myself all took the high route out of Pangboche and came here via
Phortse and the Mong La. Vern, Amy Beaton, James, Jeanne and Werner all came
via the normal track through Tengboche. Everyone has gathered here waiting
for Lakpa Rita and the rest of the staff in order to have a large final
party tonight at the Panorama Lodge. We're all looking forward to a last
night of dhal bhat, beer, chaang, tongba and off course music and dancing.
It should be a hell of an ending. Unfortunately Firat and Bill had to high
tail it out quickly and Jeanne left Namche this morning in order to catch
her international flight home.
The past couple days everyone was been recapping the excitement of summit
day and the difficulties of such a long and demanding expedition. It's been
a great time of enjoyment through reliving it all from afar. The monsoon
crept close a week or two ago and blanketed Namche Bazaar with rain. We
showed up with perfect timing as the weather has turned nice and Namche is
spring like with greenery everywhere. It's a spectacular time to be here
spending our last couple of nights.
We had 21 members of our team on the summit on May 22nd. It's quite a
number. Everyone is extremely happy with the success this year. It's been a
special one. Every member of our team including our Sherpa came down from
the summit healthly, safe and in good style. No need for rescues, help from
outside or late night epics. That is the way it should be done.
Unfortunately it doesn't always happen that way.
The day after we returned to BC from the summit, Lakpa Rita and I went back
up the mountain to bring down the body of Pemba Doma who died in a fall on
Lhotse. She was an important part of the Khumbu community and especially
Namche Bazaar where she was from. She was a competent climber and fellow
sponsored athlete with Lakpa Rita for Sherpa Adventure Gear. She was the
first Nepali woman to summit Everest and return safely. A fairly common
small slip in bad snow conditions ended tragically. Hundreds of Namche
locals had gone to Tengboche Monastery to wait for her body to arrive via
helicopter from BC in order to take part in her cremation and accompanying
ceremony. From all accounts it was a touching and important ceremony for
all. The Namche community returned yesterday afternoon en masse. Pemba Doma
was a wonderful woman.
We're all thankful for our safety this season on the mountain as well as
appreciative of the highs and lows of an expedition such as this. We will
celebrate all of that tonight with our incredibly dedicated Sherpa staff.
They are the heart of the expedition. Start the music!
We'll be in touch in another year...
all the best,
Earlier: May 25 Packing Up
Well this expedition has been busy right up to the end! Everyone is
EXTREMELY happy as you can imagine. Yesterday after all members got down, we
had a nice dinner with Champagne and wine in our tent and then went down for
a small party with our fabulous Sherpas in their dining tent. We handed out
tips to them for which they were very grateful and then proceeded to the
glitter and dancing (including Nepali, Sherpa and Western) and drinking.
Much fun was had by all and it was so nice to have time to enjoy getting to
know all of them a little more.
Today Bill and Firat left for down valley and places beyond. Firat will be
on a helicopter out of Pheriche tomorrow while Bill is heading for Lukla to
catch a plane to Kathmandu to do some work for his foundation, Basic Health
International, for about a week. He would also like to thank his foundation
for all of their support on his Everest expedition. The rest of us were
packing and getting ready to make the transition to home while quite a bit
more activity was going on in the Khumbu Icefall. Our Sherpas were up at 5am
to haul the last loads down from Camp One and were on their way down when a
part of the upper Icefall collapsed below them. Dave and Lakpa were on their
way up to retrieve Pemba Doma’s body which was on it’s way down from the
Lhotse Face. Dave and Lakpa waited for a long time before a new way was
found through the collapse and our loaded Sherpas were able to get through.
A great effort was made today to get the last loads safely down and it feels
like a huge weight is lifted now with everyone safely down and nobody to go
back up tomorrow. Dave and Lakpa made an incredible rescue of Pemba Doma
today that included the entire Icefall and involving many lowerings,
raisings, and 2 tyrolean traverses. They were assisted by some IMG Sherpas
and team mates of Pemba as well as a few of the Icefall Doctors and others
as they got lower. A helicopter took her body out after it was prepared for
cremation at the heli pad. This makes two rescues in two days for Lakpa and
it has been a very intense last 5 days for him! Lakpa Rita has got to be the
strongest and strongest willed of anybody on this mountain and we are so
honored to have him on our team!
Tomorrow morning we finish packing and head down to Pheriche and possibly a
possee to Gokyo via the Cho La Pass. Our Sherpas will catch us up in Namche.
We are looking forward to warm temps, tee shirts and grass again!
Tashi Delek from our last night in Basecamp! Amy
Earlier: May 23 - Down to Camp 2
Hello there friends, family, and loved ones. This is one happy team. We have
descended the mountain after a very successful summit day. We’re happy to be
where the oxygen is a little bit thicker and the food is a little bit
better. Looking around the dinner table tonight we have a lot of
satisfaction on our faces. So we want to thank you very much for your
prayers and your best wishes, they all seem to have come true. We have come
down the Lhotse Face and only have one more little challenge, and that’s to
descend the deadly Khumbu Icefall.
Todd would like to report that his camera fell down the Lhotse Face today,
so he will not have his pictures to share (seems like his team mates could
send him some). Sticky found a crevasse today. Fortunately John was on hand
to pull her out after Firat belayed her, so she is still with our team. We’d
also like to mention that the wonderful support from our sherpas made this
all possible, without them we could not have climbed this mountain.
We’re all looking forward to getting home as soon as possible and seeing our
loved ones, so please keep your fingers crossed for good weather in Lukla so
we can fly out. One more person who really needs to be mentioned is our
wonderful Camp 2 cook, Ang Tsering, the finest cook in the Western Cwm.
Bill, the persistent one, made it to the summit by being slow and steady.
We’d really like to give him a round of appreciation in the fact that he has
been going from tent to tent making medical tent calls and keeping everybody
healthy. Everybody is in good health, and we’re very happy that the good
Lord has smiled upon us and blessed us with good weather, good sherpas, and
Thanks for all your support, and stay tuned for the further adventures of
the ascent of Everest. Vern Tejas at Camp 2
Earlier: May 22 3:30 pm:
Well, I guess it’s about time to send an
interim descent report. No, Vern, Bill, and Pa-Rita aren’t back to the South
Col yet, but they are making their way steadily down. When they talked to
the South Col at 3:30 they were at the Balcony. The weather continues to be
reasonable – a little breezy but sunny. So we are expecting them to be down
in the next couple of hours. I’m sure they will be plenty tired and ready to
sleep when they get there.
Ellie at BC
May 22 1:00pm;
And here’s the second message everyone has
been waiting for. I’ve just had word that the entire team except Vern, Bill,
and Pa-Rita are back at the South Col. They are climbing into their tents and
I suspect some of them are already asleep. I’ve also been told that the wind
is picking up and blowing a lot more than it has in the last few days. So
we’ll be standing by until we have news that Vern, Bill, and Pa-Rita are also
safe back at Camp 4. I have also talked to Amy Bullard. She decided that her
breathing would be better if she descended to Camp 2, and that is where she is
now. She just had a nap, and will spend the night there before continuing on
to Base Camp tomorrow. So she will be here to join our welcoming committee
when the rest of the team comes to Base Camp the day after tomorrow.
Ellie at Base Camp
8:08AM Third Team Summits!
Well the great news just keeps pouring
in. Our third summit team has just made the top. The group has been actually
split up a bit and the fourth team is still making their way. We also have
other good news that sounds like Ellie has been able to get messages through
so she should be sending in the summit recount in a little while.
But for now, we want to congratulate our third group! The third group has Amy
Beeton, Tony King, Werner Berger, Fur Kancha, Nima Kancha, Gyelzen and our
guide and sirdar: Lakpa Rita Sherpa. Congratulations to you all!!
We'll be waiting for one more last group to head up there. It's Vern, Bill
Hanlon and Pasang Rita.
One more set of congratulations.
Kristine from the office
7:30am Second Summit Team Up!
Hi out there again. It's so exciting, Ellie just called in and the second
group just made the summit. Unfortunately we had an earlier miscommunication
on the radio and the second team is actually made up of Todd Macy, Firat
Eren, John Griber, Thopke, Dorje and Mingma. Congratulations you guys!!!
So that makes us waiting on the final summit team to call in. The final team
has Amy, Tony, Werner, Bill, Fur Kancha, Nima Kancha, Gyelzen, Lakpa, Vern
and Pasang Rita. We expect to hear from them shortly.
Kristine from the office
May 22nd 7:10am Summit!
We are happy to announce that part of the Alpine Ascents Everest team is
standing on the summit and the rest of the group is not far behind. In the
first summit team is our guide, Dave Morton, James Ogilivie, Jeanne
Stawiecki, Chewang and Tshering. Congratulations to the them as they
Following and should be up there soon is Amy Beeton, Tony King, Werner
Berger, Fur Kancha, Nima Kancha and Gyelzen. The final group with Vern and
Lakpa and the rest of our summit team should be calling in again soon. We
expect to hear from them very shortly for more details.
We are so excited as the good news keeps coming in. More to follow.
Congratulations to the summit team - Kristine
May 22nd 6:37am Nepal Time
Sounds like we are getting close. Ellie from Base Camp just called in. She got
off the radio with Lakpa. He was calling from the South Summit. He's about in
the middle of our group and said that he thought Dave and the group in front
of him were just below the Hillary Step. We should be hearing from the team
again soon hopefully from the summit.
May 22 5:00am Nepal Time
Hi out there. I just fielded another call from Ellie at Base Camp. She is
still having some problems connecting to the satellites and asked me to
forward a message from Dave. She got the radio call from the group around
5:00am and he said that he thought they were about 45 minutes from reaching
the South Summit. The group is feeling good and the weather is still
beautiful, hardly any winds. Ellie is figuring she'll send her next cybercast
out (or through the office) when they reach the south summit. Cross your
fingers out there and continue to watch as the group gets closer and closer.
Thanks for watching - Kristine from the Seattle office
May 22 2:30am - We reach the Balcony!
We got a radio call from Lakpa – the first members of the team are arriving
at the Balcony. It is still a beautiful night – a sky full of stars, no moon
at this point, and not a cloud to be seen anywhere. And maybe most
important, still not much in the way of wind. So everything is going well
for the climbing team. With the clear sky the temperatures are cold, so I’m
sure they are eagerly awaiting the arrival of first light in about an hour
and a half. Here at Base Camp I got a couple hours of sleep while Gopal and
Deepak monitored the radios until 2:00am. Then they handed off to Padam. I
awoke to the gentle sound of Nawang Thandup continuing to say prayers and
burn juniper out by the puja altar. Soon the team will be starting up the
Southeast Ridge on their way up to the South Summit. This will take several
hours and will be full daylight by the time they get there.
Ellie at Base Camp
May 21 11:45am - Up the Triangular Face : This will be the
last report from May 21. By the time I write again it will be tomorrow. Step
by step by step the team is making their way up the Triangular Face. It
sounds like there have been some adjustments to oxygen masks, and some
sorting out with people going different speeds, but everything is going
well. It is still a beautiful night, although the moon has set behind Pumori
so travel is strictly by headlamp. It will start getting light again at
around 4:00 am. Our sherpas tending Camp 4 will be watching the glow worm of
headlamps heading up the mountain.
Here at Base Camp Gopal and Narayan are entertaining all of us with stories
(lies???) and views of the world. Unfortunately my Nepali isn’t good enough
to understand most of it, but the laughter is good. We are drinking
sweetened black tea and huddling around a nice propane heater. We even have
a light overhead, run off of one of our battery banks. So despite being the
middle of the night things are pretty cushy. Padam and the cookboys are
presently sleeping, but soon we will be waking them up and trading off the
radio monitoring duties. I’ll let you know whenever I get an official radio
call from the team.
Ellie Henke at Base Camp
May 21, 9:20 pm - We're
It’s 9:20 pm in Nepal. I’m standing at the South Col in front of my tent,
with clear skies and a crescent moon. The team is all just crawling out of
their tents and we are planning on starting out in ten or fifteen minutes.
There are very low winds. We see a few people up toward the Triangular Face
with their headlamps on, other people are getting ready. We’re looking
forward to a good summit day. We’ll be in touch as we head up the mountain.
Dave Morton at the South Col
Also from Base Camp: the Base Camp team is assembled in the communications
tent to give the Climbing Team a big send-off. I am here along with chief
cooks Gopal , Padam and Deepak, our two liaison officers Narayan and Mukti,
and our cookboys Sila, Kancha, Tshering Tenzing, and Lakpa. Nawang Thandup
is outside lighting the juniper and saying prayers. I have incense burning
inside as well. We will be taking turns all night listening for the radio
and keeping track of the team. I plan to send reports in every 2 or 3 hours
to let you all know how the team is doing. Outside we still have clouds, but
we’re starting to see some stars peeking through above. It’s a good night
down here as well.
Ellie Henke at Base Camp
Earlier: May 20am - On the Move to
Camp 4 : Good Morning in cyberland,
It’s another exciting morning for us as the team moves on up the mountain
from Camp 3 to Camp 4. Today they will be meeting notable landmarks
including the Yellow Band, the Geneva Spur, and the South Col itself. Our
weather has been very warm, to the point that there was discussion this
morning about whether to wear down suits or not. With the higher elevations
we can expect the temperatures to be cooler, but the sun on the mountain has
been intense. Some will wear their suits, others are deciding not to. Last
night the team slept on oxygen for the first time, and today they will be
climbing using oxygen for the first time. They’ve already noticed how much
easier life is with a few extra O’s. The night at Camp 3 was much easier
than the last time they were there. So far the weather is cooperating with
sunny skies, mild temperatures, and almost no wind. We are watching the
forecasts as they are calling for winds in the 10 to 30 knot range at the
summit over the next few days. When the temperatures are below zero that
makes things a little more chilly but not impossible. We’ll see what it
really does. So far we are on track for leaving the South Col for the summit
tomorrow night, and hopefully reaching the summit on the morning of May 22
Meanwhile, here at Base Camp we have valley clouds that are staying below
the elevation of the climbers. We have beautiful views of the higher peaks
peaking through the clouds and bathed in sunlight. Base Camp is busy this
morning and filled with the music of yak bells. Some of the teams that have
already reached the summit are now packing up and heading down the valley
for home. In the next day or two all our close neighbors will be gone and
our camp will be a small island in the middle of the glacier.
Check back for more news from the team after they reach Camp 4 later today.
Base Camp Manager
May 19 pm - We Arrive At Camp 3:
Hello Friends, We finally made our move up the mountain, and
we now have what we call “mountain inertia”. It was a really hot day,
probably the hottest day of the expedition, coming up the Lhotse Face with
one step, then several breaths, another step, several breaths. . . It was
so, so hot. We got a bit of heat exhaustion but we were able to fix that
with electrolytes and drinking. It felt like 100 degrees out.
Now we’re all tucked in at Camp 3. We are on ½ liter flow of oxygen tonight.
Everybody has great appetites – it makes a huge difference getting to go on
oxygen. We all feel a lot better than the last time we were here. We’re
really, really excited to be moving up the mountain. It’s like our bodies
are moving themselves now. We’re looking forward to tomorrow, to be going up
the Yellow Band and the Geneva Spur, heading up to the South Col and
spending a rest day there. At the Col we’ll meet up with all of our sherpas,
we’ll have a whole rest day there together before heading up for our summit
bid. The weather looks like it’s going to hold out really nicely. We’ll let
you know tomorrow what we find at the South Col.
Amy Bullard at Camp 3
Earlier: May 19 am - The Pieces Come Together
It’s a quiet morning here at Base Camp, but there’s excitement in the air.
It feels like pieces of a puzzle all coming together to make the final
picture. Our team of summit sherpas walked out of camp this morning at about
5:30 heading for Camp 2, where they will be in position for heading on up to
the South Col tomorrow. Meanwhile at Camp 2 our team of western climbers is
beginning their ascent up to Camp 3, where they will also be in position for
heading up to the South Col tomorrow. Although it’s cloudy in Base Camp it
is sunny higher up and should be an excellent day for moving on up the
mountain. In addition to Lakpa, the sherpas chosen to assist the climbers to
the summit are: Lakpa’s brother Thapkee, Chewang Nima, Mimgma Tshering, Fura
Kancha, Nima Kancha, Tshering, Dorjee, Gyelzen, and Pa-Rita. In support at
the South Col will be Lakpa Nuru and Passang Tsheri. It will be their job to
melt enough water to keep everyone hydrated and any food anyone thinks they
can eat. Most popular is usually RaRa (Ramen) noodles and fruit cups.
This time Camp 3 should be easier than the last time. Last time the climbers
were trying to push their bodies to further acclimatization so they didn’t
use oxygen. This time they are going for the summit, so they will begin
sleeping on oxygen for the first time tonight. They are also more
acclimatized from their previous efforts so life should be easier. They will
be sleeping on about ½ liter flow tonight, and then will continue breathing
oxygen as they continue on up to the South Col and on to the summit.
Base Camp Manager
May 17 - Up to Camp 2: Let
the climb begin! The team is psyched to be on their way to the top. Kancha
and Lakpa, two of our kitchen boys, woke us up this morning at 3:30. Gopal
had breakfast on the table at 4:00, and everyone was suited up and ready to
go by 5:00. By that time it was getting light, the dawn of a magnificently
sunny and windless day. Everyone threw rice and said a prayer at the puja
altar before heading up into the icefall for the last time. From base camp
we could see a string of climbers as they made their way up through the
“popcorn”. It was a long day for our team. They reached Camp 1 by about noon
after about seven hours of climbing. But this time the day didn’t end there.
After a rest and some lunch snacks they were on their way again, pushing on
up to Camp 2 by 5:30 pm – 12 ½ hours of climbing. So this report is coming
from base camp so the team can rest and get some food and drinks after their
arduous day. We’ll have another report directly from the team tomorrow after
they’ve had a good night’s sleep.
Also of note today were a pair of (unconfirmed BC scuttlebutt) Italian
climbers doing a technical ice route up our side of Nuptse. We could see
them up there today, and through binoculars it looked like they only had
light day packs. We speculated that they were either up there for the day or
were going to be doing a very cold bivouac. Later I was told that they were
putting up fixed lines and would be going back up again in a couple days. So
this will be future BC entertainment watching them work their way up a
probable new route.
Ellie Henke Base Camp Manager
May 16 - BC:
Friends, family and loved ones,
We are in “Go” mode. Every one of us is excited with anticipation as we
prepare for tomorrows departure for the upper mountain. Weather report looks
favorable and we are all in good health. Even potential people problems with
other teams seem to be resolving themselves. The first teams from the South
side summited this morning relieving some of the human pressure on our
route. Hopefully in the next few days even more folks will top out and be
gone by the time we move into position. This is actually our plan, to miss
the first wave and go when it’s warmer and less crowded.
Still, we have time for fun and games. We need to remain relaxed as it’s
real easy to get sucked up into the mood of summit fever. Patience is a
virtue in times such as these. To that end we cheer First the “Champ” of
base camp Chess. We also salute the gallant team member that, under the
cover of darkness, stole the dinner “Gong” from a very noisy nearby British
team. Only time will tell if we will be made to pay retribution for this
dastardly deed. Stay tuned.
Wish us luck,
May 15 - Base camp: Today found us preparing for our push
up the hill, which possibly will come May 17, day after tomorrow. This will
give the crowds a chance to settle out and the temperatures to continue to
increase and the winds to continue to abate. Patience is everything now.
Today we sharpened our crampons, put foam on our ice axe heads, caught up on
email and other technological advances and went for walks to keep ourselves
focused and fit.
Warner received a Fed Ex package the other day with two kites inside. The
winds this morning were perfect for breaking these out and it was fun to
watch Warner fly his kites like a kid in front of the crystal blue sky.
Firat made the long journey over to IMG’s camp to play Dave Hahn in Chess.
Dave is reputed to be the Chess superstar of all of Basecamp.
With the warming temperatures small rocks are falling off their ice
pedestals and it has been one of our favorite activities to anticipate when
they will be ready to go and give them a little assistance. Also there is a
river forming between the icefall and our camp and we can hear the soothing
sound of running water from our tents. I can’t help but think how nice it
could be someday to exit basecamp on rafts!
Tonight our friends at Mountain Madness will be attempting to summit Mount
Everest! This will be the first bid of the season. We are very excited for
them and will be monitoring their radio frequency to hear how their progress
is being made. It looks like a stellar night for a summit bid!
We’ll keep you posted and until then will be eating more bacon and playing
May 14 - BC
Namaste and Tashi Delek everyone out there!
I’ve been a bit out of the loop here in cybercasting land since I was under
the weather for a few days after our drop back. I’m slowly coming back
around and my body is starting to cooperate. Everyone around camp is abuzz
with summit hopes and ideas. Many people have already headed up on their
summit pushes and many more are on their way tomorrow and the day after.
It’s an exciting time of the season for everyone!
We are planning on having at least another day here at BC before we head up
to begin our long march to the summit. The forecasts are starting to
solidify and come together in a good way for us and I’m optimistic how
things are shaping up. Today we had a mix of rain and sun. We’re still
enjoying the luxuries here in BC. That includes a great game of Texas Hold
‘Em tonight with another American team coming over to utilize our
professional chips. Hopefully the local boys do well. With sun out each day
we we’ve also been able to enjoy some movies the past couple of days- a
great distracter to keep the mind off the summit push until we actually
The team is healthy and strong with no real sickness or difficulties to hang
us up at this point. We’re looking forward to an exciting and wild 3rd week
of May here!
We’ll be in touch soon.
All the best,
May 12 - Base Camp:
Friends, family and loved ones,
Thanks for bearing with us throughout our technical issues. Hopefully we are
now out of the woods and will continue to have improved communications for
the duration of our expedition.
We have made it back to Everest base camp stronger than when we left. Team
members noticed their endurance and acclimatization were vastly improved
over our first trek up to base. Our spirits and physical beings are now
ready for the next phase, the actual climb itself. Us, guides are now
concentrating on our weather reports to divine the correct moment to start
our summit push. In preparation for our upcoming ascent we put on a half day
oxygen school. The main thrust was to familiarize all team members with the
proper care and use of our O2 delivery system. Now the team feels
comfortable enough to change O2 bottles and regulate oxygen flows should
anyone need to in an emergency situation on summit day.
On a somber note, we are sad to have lost Victor from the team. He had to
make a difficult decision to go home to resolve some important issues. We
will miss him and his sense of humor in the days to come. Hopefully there
will be a more opportune time when he will be able to return again to
attempt Everest. Best of luck in all Victor.
May 10th: From the office: we got a message from the team.
They apologize for not being able to send in any cybercasts or get any
emails out. They have been having some technical difficulties with the
computer. At the time of the message, they were getting ready to make the
journey back to base camp and they should be able to get the computer up and
running and get more daily cybercasts up. Thank you for your patience and
May 5 - Pheriche :
Hello friends, family and loved ones,
Ah the first day of R&R. As part of our acclimatization program, we
traditionally drop down real low after we climb up to camp III. And today was
the first day of the process and it feels great. We had a leisurely rise this
morning with most of us succumbing to “Bag Suck”, the inability to leave our
sleeping bags. With all the oxygen at base camp we felt compelled to sleep as
long as possible. Most of the team has not had a full night of sleep for over a
week so hence the “bag suck”. All that said, we hit the trail down to Pheriche
well rested and rearing to go.
Over glacier and across moraine (glacial rubble piles of rock) we move quickly
toward even thicker atmosphere and the world of the living. We could smell the
vegetation before we got to it. First there was mosses and occasional lichens,
then grasses and prostrate dwarf Juniper. Pink flowers (family Primulacae) and
vocal little birds welcomed us back from the heights. Babbling brooks and
freshly born yaks frolicking amidst the stone villages reminded James of his
Scottish highlands. Proud Chortans (memorials to fallen climbers) etched against
the swirling mist humbled our passage. Yet each step was a step into the world
of life and joy.
Join us tomorrow when we eat the Teahouse!
Earlier: Base Camp : Back in the
thick air of 17,300’! The return to BC today was a bit of a homecoming. It
was a return to better tasting food due to more oxygen here. It was a return
to warm showers… a return to modern communications like email… a return to
clean clothes… and a return to our homes away from home- our BC tents. It
really does feel like we’ve come back to a luxurious setting compared with
the thin air of C3.
The experience up high on the Lhotse face was dramatic for everyone. Many of
our climbers had not slept at that altitude ever before, let alone climbed
at that altitude. It was an accomplishment in it’s own right despite our
expectations for the next couple of weeks. The three nights we spent at C2
readying ourselves for the trip up to C3 were well worth the patience. A
couple of the climbers were able to recuperate from a bit of the generalized
altitude ‘yuks’ by spending a third night instead of the expected two.
Everyone who was already feeling on top of it were able to do a bit more
reading, napping, and music listening. By the time we set out on May 2
towards C3 on the Lhotse face everyone was ready for the journey.
Camp 3 is set on chopped ledges in the Lhotse face at the head of the
Western Cwm. It’s a commanding spot with views down the Western Cwm towards
Pumori, Cho Oyu, Gyachung Kang, Lingtren and Khumbutse. There really is
nothing to compare the views to… unless it’s Camp 4 but we’ll get there
later. The late afternoon and evening we spent at C3 was spectacular because
of the combination of snow flurries and late clearing up high. The entire
Cwm and lower valley where BC sits was covered by thick clouds and as the
sun set it also was obscured. It made for a wonderfully surreal sunset.
The following a.m. the gang descended the fixed lines which string together
the route from C3 back to the flats of the Western Cwm. This year much of
the route is bare ice rather than snow coated blue ice. It makes for a bit
more excitement really. The team handled it well. Lakpa and I added a few
hundred meters of needed fixed line in spots where only one line was fixed.
Having an up and down line in those spots is essential to keep teams moving.
This morning as we sputtered out of C2 after a brilliantly restful sleep we
heard that the Korean team next to us had two members within a couple hours
of the summit of Lhotse. A couple of us were able to use their spotting
scope to check out their tracks leading into the couloir which leads to the
summit. We assume that they did summit later in the morning and we send our
congrats. It was the first summit of the season on this side of the mountain
though there were north side Everest summits earlier in the week.
Tomorrow we head down valley for some needed rest and relaxation. We’ll be
bringing the computer so we can send dispatches and the team can email
family and friends.
We’ll be in touch soon.
All the best, Dave
Earlier: Camp 3 : We arrived at Camp
3 at about 4:00 yesterday afternoon and got right into the tents. We were
tired after a nine hour climb. We went right to work making pots of water
for our water bottles and ramen noodle soup, garlic shells, fruit cups, and
all the various accoutrements that go with dinner at Camp 3. The evening was
very beautiful with the full moon. We could see all the way out through the
Cwm. Then it started snowing through the night. I thought it was snowing
pretty hard all night, but when we woke up in the morning there really
wasn’t any accumulation. It was just a flurry of snow crystals hitting the
tent all night long. The temperature went down to about -10 F.
We all slept pretty well, although restless. Everybody did very well
throughout the night. We were impressed. This morning we got up when the sun
hit the tents at 8:40 and started the stoves. At 10:30 we made our way down
to Camp 2. It was very hot. We wanted to take all our clothes off it was so
hot. It took us four hours to get down to Camp 2. Dave and Lakpa (after
Lakpa carried a load to Camp 3) fixed a down rope most of the way from Camp
3 down to the bottom of the Lhotse Face.
We spent the afternoon resting in our tents enjoying some fresh beautiful
snow at Camp 2, and now we’re getting ready for another delicious meal.
Tomorrow we head down to the luxuries of Base Camp.
Amy Bullard from Camp 2
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