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  Mt. Everest 2005: Czech Expedition to attempt the Hornbein Couloir: Pictures and updates

Like many expeditions they are using a Regional BGAN to send updates with a laptop

Update: Our plan was to leave to the BC on Friday, but as we said yaks will be ready on Saturday. We take the opportunity to wash ourselves (if splashing water from a aluminum pot can be called considered washing), we also rest and take photos for our sponsors.
There is more load than we expected so it needs to be carried on two occasions. We take with us the majority, about 50 bags, and the rest will arrive the next day. So we will separate the bags today.
While Pepino is running around surrounding hills and photographing anything he can, Kumar is cooking a soup with potatoes, onion, salami and garlic. There is a strong wind blowing during lunch and so we all trying to catch the tent. 8 people are holding it down and have their hands full to handle it. Dust and straw are everywhere. 10 minutes later it calms down but lunch is over. During the wind, Pepino lost the flags he prepared for the photo shoot, so we walk around trying to find them.

The wind is blowing in intervals. We are all shocked when in one part of the camp (close to the tent of the Finish expedition) a tornado hit!!! 3 personal tents and 2 large kitchen tents disappeared in about 10 seconds. We are staring with fear of what is going on. Everything is in the air about 200-300m high twisting and whirling. And it is not over. The tornado took about 5 more tents belonging to another expedition and it keeps going. It missed our tents by about 20 cm. We are still staring and wondering what will happen next. The wind calmed down and dropped the stuff. We grab our tent Hannah. It seems it is not over. We can see some whirling dust on the hill. We are scared and we have no idea what else can happen. Someone was saying that it will not return back, because it is not possible to experience this twice in one life, so how it could be twice in one day?

Friend of our cook Pasang works for the Finish expedition and all his members are already in advanced ABC camp, so he is left alone to deal with this disaster. We are all going to help him. We pack left over of ripped tents, putting together mattresses and left over gear. Pasang also lost his passport and all his money. After sometime, someone found all Pasang's personal items. Now where is the money? He had it saved in one of the mattresses and we saw them fly very high, but in about a hour Kumar found some mattress and there was Pasang's money.

We are back in our kitchen tent, which luckily survived because the wind missed it. We do not want to linger here any longer, and want to get out of here. Any light blow of wind makes us terrified. Petr, Lucka, Pepino a Kasang left on borrowed motorcycles for the Rhonbuk monastery. They will either arrange "Puja"(festival for reconciliation with gods) or they will get prayer flags blessed, so we can take them with us. They returned before dinner. The Lama is coming tomorrow morning and will go with us all the way to the base camp. That is considered a big honor here. We cannot wait for tomorrow to get out of here.

4/18: We are finally in the base camp. Our apologies to everyone, who worried about our well being. Let us explain. Our computer just collapsed, to be specific the battery did. In that time we moved to the Chinese camp, and unexpectedly we spent the whole week there. Then we finally arrived the base camp and had a problem with the second computer as well. The computer hard disk has problems with the elevation and so it freezes very often. We are taking the advantage of the fact that it works at the moment and letting you all know we are here and well. We will start to take our gear and stuff under the face of the mountain after tomorrow. If the computer will be fine we will write more and send some pictures.

So we have managed to send a short message to let you know we are fine and now we can start to give you details about the adventure we had. Even strong individuals among us had some new adventures and experienced even a bit of fear. Lets start from the beginning.

Our last log was from Tingiri. This was the last village where we could sleep in little houses and eat in "local restaurants" instead using the expedition's chef. By the way local restaurants are horrible. Since we can not reach our original logs we have sent, we have to get our dates straight.

We spent 3 nights in Tingiri. Some of us got some sleep, some had to fight flu and those who couldn't wait took pictures of the mountain. Some adventurous members hitch hiked to the local "spa" and had a nice bath, only to walk back 12 km on dirt and dusty road.

We left Tingiri on Saturday the 9th in a jeep to the "Chinese BC" . We got up quite early to have enough time to choose the right place for our tents. But reality is always different. Meanwhile we were ready at the car at 8 am, the driver was missing. He arrived at 8:30 looking for his toothbrush and toothpaste. Then he had breakfast and after we finally could depart. The road was dusty, but compare to our experience from other expeditions it was without problems.

Driving through the moon like environment, we noticed old uninhabited villages, but also live ones, where people were working in the fields. Passing the monastery Rhongbuk, we planned to return there later. We arrived in to our place at 2 pm.

We were greeted by wind and light snow. The first tent to build is kitchen tent to have a headquarters and to be able to get hot tea as soon as possible. After a bit of struggle we had the frame up (we practiced this in Kathmandu...), then we planned to cover the frame. In that moment the wind got strong and six people had to hold it down. After the fourth try we gave up. Our kitchen tent is not new and it could rip easily. So we rolled up the material and put stones to hold it down and waited for a better moment.

So we started to build another tent. It is family style tent Hannah with capacity for 4, which we usually use in BC. Then we realize that the wind is too strong to build this one too. So we turn to our elevation tents. On "sand beach", at an elevation of 4970 m, we put up the tents Expedition and Vertigo, since we cannot do anything else in this wind. Chinese base camp is an unpleasant place with a lot of people: climbers, trekkers, Tibetens, man with yaks, and also Chinese. Locals have big tents withstanding even strong winds. Our kitchen aide Kasang is getting us accommodation in one of the tents. We are allowed to use it as kitchen and dinning room. We are thankful for that, in this weather it is important to have roof over the head.

Based on our food ration list, we are getting " Knorr noodles" and our chef Kumar is making an excellent strong soup out of them. We have plenty hot tea and there is nothing we really need at the moment, just maybe better weather. The wind is blowing the whole night through, we estimated it is blowing at about 70 km/h. In such a wind you can not do anything even sleep. So we have sleepless night and hope there will not be many of them.




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