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  Mt. Everest 2005: Czech Expedition Updates from several days

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

Sunday May 1st: Boys were saying yesterday, we should celebrate an old Czech custom. They suggested lighting a bonfire and celebrating...But we cannot do that, snow is everywhere and also ice and stones. Instead of a celebration, we went to sleep. The weather is changing and we have to adjust our plans accordingly as well. We had to stay an extra day in BC due to weather conditions. And so we will have one more day of reading books, playing cards or chess. We cannot wait to go to the face and continue to fix the route.

Monday May 2nd: Finally we can move and continue our work. We pack our stuff- refill our food for C0 and gas tanks. Kasang is coming with us and he is carrying all the rest of the fixing ropes. We know we need to depart early, so Kasang can return in the light. The breakfast is at 8 am and at 9 am we are already on the road. We got used to the route to the supply camp, so in about 2.5 hours we are all there. We do not cook so we don't waist time; we just had some tea from the thermos. We put on our skelet boots, harnesses and crampons and off we go. Because of the heavy snow the route has become one big mystery. Simon and Ivan, who lead off today, discover new cracks and re-discover the old ones which have become even bigger. It becomes pretty wild here. Some of the cracks are about 30 cm wide, and we have about 3 of them which are even wider. Once in a while someone slips into meter deep snow. Even under these conditions we are progressing fast and we get to the C0 around 3 pm. For the rest of the day we will rest and cook, meanwhile Kasang has to go back to BC. He should be able to do it before sunset.

Tuesday May 3rd: We separated into 2 groups as we did the last time. Boys - Ivan, Simon and Pepino leave for the face at 7:30am. Their goal is to get to the end of the already fixed route and continue to fix the route further. Boys are carrying the rest of the fixing ropes and other items to make the route secure. The second group - Petr, Lucka and Sona, will follow them a bit later. They will carry ropes which will be used to fix the higher parts of the route. Everyone is on the mountain face today, we know the weather should be bad, but we hope that it stays good until the afternoon. We work as much as we can to get as high as possible. The terrain is still not good, we now stand on pure ice. Lower part is in better condition than last time, boys can use steps which sometimes even hold. Some traverses are covered by snow and there is a danger of desk avalanches. The work is getting done, even with all of these difficulties. Boys are lining another hundred meters of rope. Around 3 pm the promised bad weather starts, and we get off the mountain face. Going down by repelling goes fast and in an hour we are at the tents. We get a much deserved dinner and everybody needs liquids.

Wednesday May 4th: Today is supposed to be bad weather as usual, but hopefully it will start in the afternoon. Some of us are resting in C0 after yesterdays work, those who cannot wait are separating the work load and one pair goes up to bring more ropes as high as possible. This will help us to get up tomorrow quickly and start to fix more of the route. Because they leave quite early in the morning they managed to get the ropes pretty high and that is great. The second pair goes to bring stuff to supply camp. It is like last time. We bring gas bottles, ice saw (which we forgot the day before yesterday) and all the items needed for C2. On the way back we use bamboo again to mark the route. Marking the route is the worst, you have to stop all the time and dig into the ground. Those who left later in the morning enjoyed the sun and dried our sleeping bags. We were unable to make it back from the supply camp in the good weather. On the way back we had to go through snow, fog and wind. It is ok, but it is difficult to see the route. The route we tracked out is not visible and so we have to look for cracks again. Tomorrow the weather should be better based on the forecast we have received from BC. Therefore we will go to work on the face again. All we have to do now is cook dinner and prepare some tea for the thermos. We also have to solve a problem with ropes. The company Singing Rock made special fixing ropes for us, we have about 1.5 km of length. It is all already on the face and it seems it will not be enough. The conditions on the face are so difficult that it is necessary to have more rope. We have to buy extra rope in Chinese BC. We believe we can buy it there, for without it the expedition can not go on.

Thursday May 5th: It snowed the whole evening and the whole night. We cannot go the face, for the route is steep and the new snow doesn't hold as well. We have to wait for the avalanches to get moving and make the route secure again. We are awake at 6 am, but getting up around 8 am. The sun shines on C0 around 7:30 am and when it shines on the face the avalanches get loose. It is like snow trains one after the other coming down. So there is nothing for us to do today. We wanted to go to the face and stay as long as it takes to build C1 and C2, but it doesn't seem realistic. We are retreating for the second time to the BC due to the weather. The mood is not good in the group, why would it be if the weather is doing with us what it wants.

We have witnessed an unusual event. We know from our experience that rescue helicopters can fly to a maximum of 6 - 6.5 km of elevation. And that was considered a great performance done only by Russian pilots, nobody else has even tried. Around 7 am we hear the noise of motors. Petr gets binoculars and in a moment we can see a helicopter visible by our eyes as well. The chopper is at an elevation of 8.5 km. We think this is not a Russian machine, but something more advanced, but what a performance. At 8 am the helicopter returns! And based on the whirling snow it is right over the summit!!! It circles for a while and then leaves. It appears again after 10 min later and it is over the summit. We would like to know what is happening. We have one guess. At 7 am they checked the terrain, at 8 am they unloaded rescue team and 10 min later picked them up and left for Nepal. But this is only our assumption. Nobody knows anything on the Tibetan side. Chinese forbid helicopters here so it must be from the Nepal side. The copter had amazing timing because at 9 am the summit is all covered by the fog. The show is over. We packed our stuff and are getting ready for the return trip. It is snowing already on the way to the supply camp. We are taking trash with us and empty gas tanks. We have to make it to the BC, where we will get some rest. We arrived at lunch time. Kumar is surprised we are back, since we had planned to arrive the next day. He manages to cook a very fast mushroom garlic soup for us. We have a long afternoon of waiting in front of us. We check our email, but when we are ready to send it, the server inmarsat is down. After consulting someone we found out we had to wait. Oh boy wait...always wait. It is great that our generator is working. The first day it wanted more oil, but since then the Honda EX 7 works very well. We re-charge all possible batteries we have, work on the computer even watching movies. Today we want to go to sleep soon, so we choose a short film "Jimmy Hendrix in Woodstock". We have to believe in good weather, because our time for the summit is running out. So far we have fixed the route up to 6800m. The face incline and its condition (pure ice with snow on top) doesn't allow us to just go up. To be more specific, it would be possible to just go up, but not down without the fixes.



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