Update: Sunday 24th April,
6pm. Everest Camp One
(EST is 9 hours 45mins behind Nepal)
Energy drinks and Snicker
Diary by Harold Mah
We have arrived at Camp One. (19,290 feet, barometric pressure 486)
We are sleeping in a tent which has broken zippers and which is on top of a
sharp block of ice which is pushing through the floor. We don’t have our usual
sleeping pads so we’re cold and extremely uncomfortable. But we’re very
pleased to be here again.
Sean, unfortunately, has a bit of a minor lung infection which has slowed him
down today. It took him so long to get to Camp One (ten hours) that I thought
he’d turned back. The good thing was that by the time he made it here, I had
dinner and hot water available so he was able to get immediate sustenance. He
has shown enormous strength and tenacity in getting here.
The Khumbu Ice Fall never fails to frighten the living daylights out of me. We
came through safely, once again, but there is a huge 6-storey block of ice
that is ready to fall at any time that you have to walk under. It’s adorned
with prayer flags and last time someone was throwing rice at it and himself
and others, to bless everyone. You just grit your teeth, hope for the best and
don’t stop for any “Kodak moments”.
There is lots of snow here at Camp One and there have been numerous minor
avalanches all day. We’re in no particular danger from the avalanches. It’s so
bright on the mountain that you have to wear sunglasses all the time and
everyone carries two pairs just in case they lose one.
I am proof that the process of acclimatisation works. Last time I came to Camp
One, on April 18th, it took me eight hours. This time it took me
five-and-a-half hours. I didn’t need to use ascenders or any of things that
you can use to assist you with climbing the ropes. My body has already spent
two nights at Camp 1 and I have previously climbed to over 20,000 feet so it
knows this experience. I also changed my approach this time which helped
improve my speed. To start with, I had a really good night’s sleep last night
- I finally figured out what to wear in my sleeping bag to keep warm all
night! Then, as I was walking up the mountain, I had energy drinks every 45
minutes and Snicker bars every two hours. I also used a walking pole. What was
driving me crazy though was that I was following someone who was sucking on
Halls lozenges and dropped every single wrapper on the mountain. So I followed
this unnecessary trail of litter all the way up.
Tomorrow I’ll press on to Camp Two. Sean is resting now and will decide
whether to push on to Camp Two when he gets up in the morning.
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