Location: Camp 2
Local Time: 5pm, 7th May
Weather: Fine for most of the day, 5C
Hi everyone, it’s Fiona here,
We’ve been having a lazy day here at Camp 2 – getting ready for our climb up to Camp 3 tomorrow.
Preparations for C3
Camp 3 is where the altitude and weather can get particularly serious so it will be the first time we’ll be wearing our down suits. However, if the weather is fine, we could potentially roast in these on the way up but we figure it’s better to be too hot than too cold (and it would be virtually impossible to change halfway up the Lhotse face). We’ll also be using hand warmers in the morning and Paul will be using toe warmers. We’ve packed a spare pair of overmitts as we’ve heard that a guy from another team accidentally dropped one of his mittens on the way up to C3 and suffered some serious frostbite.
At C3 we cook for ourselves so we’ve packed so instant dinners and some snacks which we hope we’ll be able to stomach. We’ve also got a couple of bars and plenty of Gu’s for the trip up. We expect it to take around 7 hours – a fairly long day at altitude.
You might wonder why we’re going up and down so much, rather than going straight up to the summit. The theory goes that time spent up high is necessary for the body to acclimatise (build more red blood cells and trigger a variety of other processes). However, at these altitudes, the body also deteriorates (loses muscle mass, is very susceptible to illnesses, etc), and so there is a very fine balance between acclimatisation and deterioration. On Everest, doing rotations going increasingly higher seems to work best. Most people work up to spending one night at C3 and then they are considered ready for a summit bid – providing there is not too much of a wait for good weather.
We’ve heard from Mary that she hiked to Gorek Shep today – so is now only a 2 hour or so hike away from basecamp. She is feeling well and will be heading into basecamp tomorrow (Monday).
Hi Nat – glad to hear you got those kids to the top. Hope you’re still managing to fit in some cycling (Beijing is coming!)
Anne & Ronnie – thanks for all your messages. We usually spend about half to one hour writing the messages and then at around 5pm our time, we upload it with the picture(s). At the same time we get one email which contains all of the messages posted to the site that day and any emails sent to us. This is put together by Nick as it makes it much faster to download than lots of little messages. We either lie in our tent reading the messages to each other, or if it’s a bit later, take the PDA to dinner and read it there.
Hi Jon – Thanks for the insight into dogs at altitude. (Jon is our vet who looks after our own two hounds.)
Paul – not sure if we have any real wisdom or inspiration to share with your school kids. We are just ordinary people, and at times up here, feel very much less than ordinary (in fact, I’d love to feel ordinary again soon!). We’ll have a think about it once we’re back at BC and the brain is working better.
Jan – Paul didn’t know about the question as to whether he was just here to support me! He was out helping build the helicopter pad. By the way, I’m not so huffing at base camp now (although I probably am right here at C2!)
Jac & Mark – Hey guys, great to hear from you. I will be more careful with the old hands – don’t worry! Give my love to Leah as well when she gets back.
Sue – Great to hear from you. I do remember Margaret Lithgow. I don’t think she ever taught me but may have taught one of my sisters (maybe Jacqueline?). Pass on my best wishes to all at HEPS. (By the way, is the school motto still “Aim High”?)
Phil – Thanks very much for your message. Although we’ll use 2 oxygen bottles on summit day, we’re fortunate in that the IMG Sherpa team will deposit one of these bottles for each of us at a place called “The Balcony”. We start out with a full bottle, and then change when we get here (probably with more than half our starting bottle left). We then use the fresh bottle from the Balcony to the summit and back to the Balcony, where we change over to our original bottle. That’s the theory anyway. So aside from carrying 1 bottle, we’ll also carry 2 litres of water each (one in a thermos), a small amount of snacks, some spare gloves, heat packs, sun hat, sun glasses, and small first aid kit. We’ll be wearing a lot as well (climbing gear, torch, warm gear), but I don’t imagine that our packs will weigh more than 12kgs (although they will probably feel a lot heavier up that high!)
Hi Dame and Beck – great to hear from you all.
All messages have been passed onto Jim, Jack and Dennis. Dan’s will have to wait until we are back down at BC (unless he comes up before then).
Dennis is planning to make the trip up to C3 with us tomorrow.
That’s all for now,