Update: Kathmandu and Camp
Sean and Harold reach Camp
Diary by Terry Kell and
Kathmandu (Terry Kell)
We left Gorak Shep yesterday
and left Mount Everest far behind us. The helicopter was late arriving so we
played a game of Frisbee with the sherpas. We had a great time and we left
them the Frisbee. The helicopter was an old Russian warhorse and it flew us
back to Kathmandu on the most spectacular ride I have ever been on. We felt
like we were in an Indiana Jones movie as we descended and spiralled down the
mountainside with some of the world’s most stunning scenery flashing by the
Now we are back in the guest
house at Kathmandu where we first stayed and we are enjoying hot showers,
flush toilets and comfortable beds. We are still waiting for the hikers to
join us – Lisa, Yvan, Katie, Keith, Chris, Dave and Wayne – and when they get
here, on the weekend, we will have a celebratory party.
Our thoughts are with Sean
and Harold because we know the level of comfort they have on the mountain.
Camp One (Harold Mah)
Sean and I have climbed to
19,370 feet – Camp 1. We gained 1,720 feet in an 8 hour climb and we are
absolutely and utterly exhausted. When we arrived here we collapsed asleep in
our tent until we were woken by the sherpas with tea and cookies. And, the
most amazing thing! I had my tea while feeding cookie crumbs to a sparrow! I
have no idea what a sparrow is doing up here at almost 20,000 feet, but Mother
Nature has a way of reminding you about your precarious frailty.
Sean has found the altitude
has upset his taste buds and everything tastes very acidic, so he’s having
trouble enjoying his food. But, other than that, we’re both well.
Neither Sean nor I have ever
done anything before, as stupid or as dangerous as crossing the Khumbu Ice
Fall. It has so many challenges that it just beats the energy out of you. It’s
totally physically and mentally exhausting. You have to deal with the
altitude, the crevasses, the heat and dehydration, the cold and the wind.
You’re climbing, jumping, descending, scrambling, using every muscle in your
body and hanging on for grim death. It’s the wind that is so challenging. One
moment it’s calm and warm in the sun; the next a wind storm has picked up from
nowhere that threatens to throw you down the nearest crevasse.
The ladders across the Ice
Fall were not as intimidating as we feared. The longest was 5 aluminum ladders
roped together vertically and was a fairly safe climb. We passed huge ice
boulders that you think will roll over you at any moment but seem to stay
attached to the mountain.
The temperature has plummeted
from +27 degrees (it was extremely hot and sunny today) to 0 degrees in 2
hours and we have been sleeping in our down jackets, in our sleeping bags, in
our tents. The wind is so strong that it’s lifting the tent right now and it
seems like only our weight keeps it from flying away.
I have gained so much new
respect for the Sherpas today. They carry tons of gear up and down the
mountain and they were having races down the Ice Fall. They did not even wear
crampons; they just slid down the Ice Fall.
Camp 1 is quite different
from Base Camp. We are perched on beautiful blue ice with excellent views of
Mount Everest. Tomorrow, we’ll climb halfway to Camp 2. It should be a fairly
safe climb up the slopes of the mountain and will be nothing like as hostile
as the Khumbu Ice Fall. But then we go back to Base Camp, through the Ice
Terry & Harold
Terry Kell is returning to
Kathmandu, with most of the expedition party and they will return to Canada
within the next 7-10 days.
Harold Mah is staying at Base
Camp to support Sean Egan when he makes his summit attempt in May.
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