Update: Tuesday 26th April,
8pm. Everest Camp Two
(EST is 9 hours 45mins behind Nepal)
The view from the Lhotse face
Diary by Harold Mah
Sean left Camp One today with
his climbing sherpa and has now returned to Base Camp. He is going to stay the
night there before heading back to Dingboche in the morning, at a much lower
altitude, to give his body a better chance to heal quickly. He is in good
spirits but is still suffering from a respiratory ailment. His climbing sherpa
is also sick and is going back down the mountain with Sean! On the way down
Sean met Will Cross who is sick too – from a gastrointestinal ailment – and is
heading back down the mountain. It seems that sometimes all it takes is a
return to a lower altitude to let the body heal itself (with a little help
from some medicine) and then you can get back to business. I expect to see
Sean back at Base Camp in a few days.
Today, under a sunny sky, I
accomplished my goal. I got to the foot of the Lhotse face. I climbed from
Camp Two which is at 20,000 feet and had a barometric pressure of 462hPa (Hectopascals),
to 21,670 feet and a barometric pressure of 442hPa. This is the start of the
final climb to Camp Three. To give you an idea of how steep the ascent is to
the Lhotse face, it took me and my climbing sherpa three hours to get up there
and only one hour to get back – we literally flew back down.
There are some minor
crevasses to cross but nothing as severe as the Khumbu Ice Fall and nothing
that needs a ladder. You just have to be careful where you step and how you
walk because you could easily twist an ankle, or hurt yourself. And, it’s a
long way down from up here.
The Lhotse face, which has a
yellow band of dissolved fossils that give it some colour, is probably one of
the most beautiful and magnificent sights on the route. When you get there you
turn around and look back down the Western Cwm to Camp Two far, far away and
see the dots of climbers snaking their way up the mountain. The climbers
heading up to Camp Three above are heading up a slope with a 70-80 degree
pitch. They have Everest framing them on one side and a valley on the other
side. One false step to the side and they would end up rolling and tumbling
down the slope for half a kilometre or more.
When we got back to Camp Two
we celebrated with a traditional Nepali lunch of potatoes and an extra spicy
soup that almost burned my mouth off.
The afternoon was devoted to
visits from other Sherpas and cooks who came by to say “hello”. There is a
definite pecking order among the Sherpas depending on experience and years in
the business but they are all unfailingly charming and friendly.
Tomorrow I’ll head back to
Base Camp and wait for Sean.
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