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  Canadian Mt. Everest 2005: A day in the life at Base Camp Diary by Harold Mah


©EverestNews.com

Update: Friday 22nd April, 9pm. Everest Base Camp
(EST is 9 hours 45mins behind Nepal)

A day in the life at Base Camp Diary by Harold Mah

You may be wondering what this strange life is like at Base Camp.

Well, we’re basically camping on top of a large block of ice. The ground is a mixture of rock, dirt and ice. Nothing is flat, apart from the area that has been cleared for each tent and when you walk around you slip and slide everywhere. As the air temperature warms up, the ice melts, the water runs around and the rocks roll free, making it even more awkward to go anywhere.

At night in my tent (Sean and I have our own tents) the temperature dips to minus 5 degrees; in the morning when I wake up it’s plus 38 degrees. Consequently, I am always late for breakfast, which is at 8.30am, because I’m enjoying being warm for once during the day. After breakfast, Sean and I do a workout of some sort – either a hike or some technical climbing. We’ll stop for lunch, which is always good and plentiful. If we request something, it seems these amazing sherpas can make it! We’ve had birthday cakes, chocolate brownies and pizza!

Today, I went in to the Pinnacles, which is an area of waves of ice that have come off the glacier. It’s like a giant scavenger hunt as you find all sorts of debris from earlier expeditions. The guy I was hunting with found a letter from a 1963 expedition which was still intact!

In the afternoon we’ll do another workout, we may chat with some of the other teams or we may work on our technology – like recharging batteries, writing reports or backing up data over the HP ProCurve system, which still works well, despite the harsh conditions. We heard news that our replacement cable is now making its way up the mountain (via Yak Express) and should be here on Monday which will allow us to set up our satellite link and move data back to Ottawa. The first cable was damaged in the huge wind storms we had when we first got here.

Sean got checked by a doctor today. He’s OK and in good health but has been put on some medication to help him with the acid reflex.

Late afternoon, 4-6pm, seems to be a quiet time for the whole camp. People are around but they’re huddled in their tents, dozing, reading and writing. The camp gets busy again for dinner, which is at 7pm and there is yet more food! Sean and I eat together in the dining tent and usually invite others over, or we’ll go visiting, and after dinner we will sit around and chat, or watch DVD movies on someone’s laptop. People start to drift off to bed around 8.30pm/9pm and you can always tell when they’re going because they fill up their water bottles with hot water to use as sleeping bag warmers, before they climb in to their tents.

The toilet is basically a large bucket set in among the rocks. It has a privacy screen, so it’s quite private, but we’re not talking flush toilets here. Now that all the trekkers have gone, it’s a little more bearable. The shower tent is not that bad at all, although it’s best to use it in the morning, when the air temperature is a little warmer.

The view is one of white, snow covered mountains and grey soulless rocks and slopes. We had another inch of snow today which covered the ground but it soon melted in the warm sun. There’s very little natural colour here, other than the blue sky. The Base Camp tents make up for the greyness with their patchwork of yellow, orange and green and the multi-coloured prayer flags that are strung between them flap and billow in the wind as if they’re conversing with their gods. If I miss anything though (apart from my girlfriend) it’s a blossoming tree!

Once the climbing starts again all this routine will change. We will go up the mountain on Sunday, weather permitting, and everything will go in to high gear. Everyone is waiting.

We are very thankful for what we have been sent– emails from family, friends, people we know and even people we don’t know. Thank you. We are deeply touched that so many people are thinking of us.

More later Harold

Dispatches

 

Millet One Sport Everest Boot  has made some minor changes by adding more Kevlar. USES Expeditions / High altitude / Mountaineering in extremely cold conditions / Isothermal to -75°F Gore-Tex® Top dry / Evazote Reinforcements with aramid threads. Avg. Weight: 5 lbs 13 oz Sizes: 5 - 14 DESCRIPTION Boot with semi-rigid shell and built-in Gore-Tex® gaiter reinforced by aramid threads, and removable inner slipper Automatic crampon attachment Non-compressive fastening Double zip, so easier to put on Microcellular midsole to increase insulation Removable inner slipper in aluminized alveolate Fiberglass and carbon footbed Cordura + Evazote upper Elasticated collar.

Expedition footwear for mountaineering in conditions of extreme cold.  NOTE US SIZES LISTED. See more here.

A cold weather, high altitude double boot for extreme conditions The Olympus Mons is the perfect choice for 8000-meter peaks. This super lightweight double boot has a PE thermal insulating inner boot that is coupled with a thermo-reflective outer boot with an integrated gaiter. We used a super insulating lightweight PE outsole to keep the weight down and the TPU midsole is excellent for crampon compatibility and stability on steep terrain. WEIGHT: 39.86 oz • 1130 g LAST: Olympus Mons CONSTRUCTION: Inner: Slip lasted Outer: Board Lasted OUTER BOOT: Cordura® upper lined with dual-density PE micro-cellular thermal insulating closed cell foam and thermo-reflective aluminium facing/ Insulated removable footbed/ Vibram® rubber rand See more here.

 






 

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