Update: Wednesday 20th April,
8pm. Everest Base Camp
We have an inch of fresh
Diary by Harold Mah
It snowed last night and
again this afternoon. We have about an inch of fresh snow and this is the
ugliest weather I’ve seen since I came to Nepal 25 days ago. Everyone spent a
lot of time in their tents watching DVD movies. There won’t be a lot of people
climbing the Ice Fall tomorrow as the snow covers up all the small crevasses.
The snow will melt, create ice and the ice will make seracs (also known as
popcorn) which will break away with popping noises. The Ice Fall will be a
very, very dangerous place to be for a while.
We managed to spend about an
hour in the lower ice field practicing our crampon technique in readiness for
Sean is suffering from a form
of acid reflex which means that he has to be very careful about what he eats.
The cooking is still amazing and the sherpas practically cook to order. They
cooked me soup and dumplings today which was delicious and cooked Sean some
plain pasta as my meal would have been too rich for him.
People are settling in now
and a real sense of community has developed. Essentially, all the climbers
have now arrived at Base Camp and there is a great deal of friendship and
camaraderie among the group. Many of them have known each other for years and
share common goals in their climbing expeditions.
Today I met one of the more
respected professional guides and climbers, Willie Benegas. Born in Argentina,
Willie, 32, lives in Salt Lake City in the US although “lives” is probably the
wrong word as he is rarely there! He has had six days off since December
during which his sister “made him” be a river guide. He is a professional
guide with Mountain Madness, he’s climbed Everest for a fifth time he’ll head
to Pakistan, for a break, to do some climbing with his twin brother. He and
Sean got to know each other when they climbed Aconcagua in Argentina in
January this year and are good friends. Willie has climbed all over the world
and says he will climb anything that takes him closer to nature.
What’s nice is that the
sherpas have a great deal of respect for him as a climber and really like him.
His team is the only one at
Base Camp that has a gas-powered oven! This means that they get a constant
stream of visitors wanting to get bread baked.
He is also deeply involved
with a shadowy group that ransoms mascots. Someone stole his penguin mascot
and now emails him pictures of the penguin in compromising positions. As a
result, Willie was forced to steal a small giraffe which is being kept
prisoner until the penguin returns.
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