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  Lhotse 2005: Joao Garcia's Journal

Joao is best known as an Summiter of Everest without oxygen. He is a member of Dan Mazur's Lhotse expedition this year (unguided of course).

April 16: We went to visit the glacier, which is very well equipped with fixed lines in which we clip our snap links as a safety measure in case we fall.  And also with impressive metal ladders, horizontal as well as vertical.  Some are joined two, or even seven times.  We installed our tent, and anchored it well, because the place is very windy.  When we went back down we shot some pictures, video and stills, because the weather has been varying.  Tomorrow (today) we will stay at base camp to rest.  The ceremony of the Puja will be held, that ceremony to bless the expedition.  This date was chosen, not by us, but by a priest.  The Lama saw the Buddhist calendar and saw in the stars that it was the proper day for the ceremony.  We will get up early to be with the group and to document this marvelous ceremony.  And we also planned what we will do on the next days: on Monday (tomorrow) we will go again to Camp 1, which is at 6,000 m., we spend the night there, unmount the tent and take it to camp 2, which I think is 400 m. above and we come back; on Tuesday we advance to that camp, because we don't have any porters, we don't have Sherpas, we will climb very light and I don't want to leave one tent here and another tent there.

I am moving the tent because I know that I take three hours to camp 1 and from camp 1 to camp 2 it will be other three hours.  I know that I can do a long distance in six consecutive hours.  And we continue our slow process of altitude acclimatization, I mean, the process of getting our body used to the altitude, the lack of pressure. If that process is accelerated we can have problems, like pulmonary edema which I mentioned recently, or cerebral edema, which is more dangerous. 

April 15: This morning we are worried for a climber who is feeling very bad, and pulmonary edema is feared.  She was taken to the medical tent and was placed in a camel bag, an inflatable bag that surrounds the body and simulates a descent of a thousand meters, to improve her situation.  She was kept under observation.

April 14: A date of a good night.  We stayed at the base camp of a Korean expedition and we had lunch with Mr. Park.  He has climbed 14 peaks taller that 8,000 m., and we spent most of the day and night with him, because the infrastructure is way beyond imagination.  The tent, huge, is a solid construction, with an incredible interior.  Sound system with sub-woofer speakers, tables and chairs, reclined chairs.  The climbers know well the luxury which I am talking about.  We had a good night.

April 13: We go a day ahead of the rest of the group.  A group of climbers and trekkers came, a group of friends who want to spend two days at base camp and go back to their lives.  We helped mount the tents, dig the platforms, carry sacks and a lot of things.

April 12: We arrived to base camp.  The first thing you see is the destroyed Russian helicopter that crashed in 2003, which nobody moves from here - and they make us put every waste in a barrel and take it out of here, but they don't clean those old irons...

Our camp is the first and everybody passes around here.  They've told me in past years of equipment that disappears, I am worried because when we are on the mountain, someone can come to pick something during the night and nobody will care.  There are a lot of expeditions, with very modern stuff, also for those who pay a lot.

I found a guide of a New Zealand expedition, who has been to Antarctica, whose clients pay 40 thousand dollars.  Now, who pays that has right for everything, a real first class.  Now we will dedicate our time to know the neighborhood, the next two or three days we will stay here. 

From where we stay we can see the Khumbu glacier Icefall, and up ahead the west face of Lhotse, an immense wall, which we will climb in some days, it is a nice view, it gives us strength for the day on the summit, which is always a day of suffering.  What from here looks vertical is not more than 45 degrees.  

Translated from Portuguese by Jorge Rivera

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