Location: Camp 2
Local Time: 5:30pm, 17th May
Weather: Sunny & very hot in the cwm
Hi everyone, it’s Fi here – now back up at Camp 2 for the 3rd time.
We left base camp at around 5am this morning and have successfully managed to negotiate the icefall once more – although this is really more good luck than good management! With a bit more luck, we’ll only have one more trip through – on our way back down. Mary did get up with us and also walked the 20 minutes to the start of the icefall where we put on our crampons. It was great have her wave us off.
We climbed straight from base camp to camp 2 today – rather than stopping at camp 1 as we have done on our previous trips up. The acclimatisation is definitely working as we both felt much stronger getting through the icefall and to camp 1. However, not long after that we were hit by the sun and it’s million magnifications that seem to occur here in the cwm.
It was absolutely roasting – sapping our energy and causing our pace to slow down to a crawl. We stripped down so that we were only wearing a light shirt (long sleeves to avoid sunburn), and opened our gortex overalls right up at the legs – the flared effect made us look like we’d just stepped out from a 70’s party! Even still, I was continually stopping to pick up handfuls of snow and shove them down my neck and inside my sun hat. I never imagined that it could be that hot up here!
I put my MP3 player on and plugged on – one step at a time. The eclectic mix of Abba, U2, Andrea Bochelli, the Rent soundtrack and even some Opera somehow kept me going.
Many breaks later, we staggered into Camp 2 (so frustrating that our tents are at the far end of camp!). As usual we were greeted by the friendly Sherpa cooks with a cup of orange juice. Not long afterwards it was time for lunch – tomato soup followed by an egg-rice mixture and a piece of tinned meat.
Since then, we’ve been napping in our tent and I’ve been trying to get rid of a headache that the heat, or possibly dehydration, seems to have brought on.
We plan to rest here tomorrow and assess the weather forecasts, then to decide on whether we go up to Camp 3 on Friday.
By the way, we plan to continue sending our own updates until summit day itself. Will be interesting to see if we can send an update out from 8000m (at Camp 4).
It’s starting to get very exciting around here as many groups are now gearing up for their summit attempts. One group was trying today – haven’t heard yet whether they were successful. We’re hoping they were – both for their sake, and because that will mean that the fixed lines will be put in place to the summit. At the moment I believe that the lines have been fixed to the Balcony (about half way on summit day). We don’t particularly want to be attempting our summit the day the fixing is taking place. There are also teams poised for their summit attempts tonight and tomorrow night (weather permitting of course). We’re looking forward to seeing how everyone goes.
A few days ago we heard that many teams have started to summit from the North (Tibetan) side. Congratulations to everyone there. (Maybe we should have tried from that side after all??)
Paula – not sure which Apa you mean (it’s a pretty common name here). If you happen to mean Apa from Asian Trekking, we saw him heading up on the trail today.
MC – thanks for your message. Most of the meals we take up high seem to taste pretty good. But we did have one that reminded me of vomit! We’re mainly sticking to the ones we have tried and like now.
Stephen – thanks for your message and the book suggestion – sounds right up Paul’s alley!
Scott – not sure what other people do about cameras for the top, but we have two digital cameras (no film back up). We’ve bought Lithium batteries and will keep the cameras inside our down suits – so hopefully they’ll work. Time shall tell.
Hi to everyone at Canterbury Primary School. Thanks for your message and your best wishes – we’ll need them all!
Hi Donna and the Thomas family – thanks for your message and kind thoughts.
Hi Meals & Danny – we read about the NZ double amputee before we left. Great that he’s achieved his goal here. Look forward to reading about him when we return.
Mark R – don’t worry, we’ll be doing our best to take as many photos as possible. My guess is that there are not a lot of the shots you mention because it is pretty dark when most people climb through those areas, and they are exhausted when they climb down. We’ll see how we go (and will be happy to provide high res copies once we’re on a high speed connection at home). Thanks for your messages.
Hi Carlinea & Josh – thanks for your message and give a big HI to the MBS crowd for me.
Hi Anneke – Paul does remember you and was thrilled to hear from you. We were also here in January (1996) and couldn’t make it to base camp then due to the trails and towns being shut down for the winter. Thanks for your kind message.
Dena – Lovely to hear from you again and know that you are still “with us” so to speak. Stay tuned – we intend to keep you updated until we finish here.
Chris & Bridget – thanks for your messages. It’s great hearing what you’re up to. We won’t ask if you’ve set a date yet (know how annoying that is!)
Hi Kate & Benno – thanks for your great messages. The IMG trip is sold as “unguided” which means that we largely make decisions about when to go etc, on our own. We liked the idea of this style as the whole team doesn’t have to move in a group (we thought this could be a problem if you were sick for a while and couldn’t go, then you’d just have to miss out). Having said that though, there is lots of Everest experience within the IMG structure and plenty of people we can turn to for advice. Hope you’re all doing well.
Hi Leah – thanks for your lovely message – presume Bali went well?
Jacci – definite Bride Brain. You have already asked me, and I have already told you I’d be thrilled to do it. Maybe a bit of a lie down is in order??? Can’t wait to get back and hear about all the plans.
Mike C – thanks very much for your email and advice.
Well, that’s all for now.