Location: Camp 1
Local Time: 5pm, 5th May
Weather: Fine at first, then snowy in afternoon
Hi everyone, it’s Fiona here,
We’ve now moved up to Camp 1 for our second acclimatisation rotation. It’s a good feeling to be above the icefall. No matter how many times we end up going through it, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.
The Trip Up
We left base camp this morning at around 5:30am – so that we could be through the icefall before the heat of the day hit. It seemed to be just as hard as last time – lots of ups and downs, making it hard to find a rhythm. However, we were pleased to find that we are moving faster now – having reduced our time from around 6 hours to 4.5 hours (although Paul was under the weather last time). This is still not considered especially fast, but is at least about average.
On the way up, my hands started getting very cold – and because we were in a position that did not seem a good place to stop and pull out warmer gloves (given there were big ice structures towering above us), and also because I could see that the sun was going to hit us soon, I foolishly left it until I had dangerously cold hands. Fortunately we found a rest spot and Mingma and Dasona helped me warm them up. Luckily no damage done, but it sure was a good lesson.
We arrived at C1 at around 10am – giving us plenty of time to relax and recover from the climb up. Ironically, with the sun shining on the tents, it gets unbelievably hot – in fact the thermometer on our watches read 45C! We were constantly trying to adjust the tent ventilation to get a breeze blowing through, and then piling snow into a bandana to cool ourselves down. Around mid-afternoon, the clouds came in and the temperature plummeted – leaving us scrambling to close up the tent and put layers of clothes on. We have left our good sleeping bags up at C2 so will be using IMG’s tonight – along with a lot of clothes I imagine. At the moment I have 3 sets of thermals on and a down vest and it’s only 4pm. It’s expect it to be around -12C here tonight – and that’s inside the tent!
After we send this off, we’ll be heading over to the cooking tent where we’ll cook up one of those instant pasta meals and possibly some 2 minute noodles for dinner. Will have to collect some snow for melting water first so we’re hoping the weather outside eases off a little. As we’re the only ones at C1 at the moment, there’ll be plenty of room for cooking.
C1 has Moved
Since we were here last time, our Sherpas have moved the location of this camp. Last time there had recently been a lot of new snowfall and everyone staying at C1 had witnessed several reasonably close avalanches coming off the West shoulder. With this feedback, IMG arranged for the camp to be moved a little further across the valley towards Nuptse. It’s not really clear cut whether it’s safer or not as there could just as easily by avalanches off Nuptse but most people (including our Sherpas) are happier about its new position.
We’ve heard from Mary that today she hiked to Dugla and is staying there tonight. Yesterday, while on a rest day at Dingboche, she hiked over to Pheriche and attended the daily lecture on altitude sickness put on by the Himalayan Rescue Association. As that altitude (around 4000m) is often where people start having trouble acclimatising, they strongly encourage trekkers to break up their journey and stop overnight at Dugla rather than going straight to Lobuche. This makes it a pretty short day, but there is no hurry for Mary to get here – especially now that we are up the hill again for a few days. We’d much rather her arrive feeling well.
Hey Kyna – thanks for your message. Great to hear that everything appears to be going along well – despite the toilet troubles, cracked lips, disturbed sleep, aversion to food. I hope that Womblebat is kind to you – make sure you let us know when you have news. In the meantime, give Jemimah a big kiss from us.
Don McComb – Thanks for your message. In answer to your question, after coming down from C1 and C2, base camp no longer feels like high altitude. It doesn’t exactly feel like sea level yet (maybe after this rotation???), but the air certainly feels quite thick, we sleep really well, and hardly get out of breath walking around anymore.
MC – The dog was reportedly running around quite a lot at camp 2 and even up to the base of the Lhotse face. Doesn’t seem like the altitude affected it as much as it does us. Not sure why this would be though. We heard late yesterday that the dog is back down in base camp, although we didn’t see it.
Hey Kennette – great to hear from you. Hope your throat thing is all better by now. I’m not too sure about your idea of a reality TV show though – don’t think it’s quite up our alley! By the way, Dave is still the undisputed Scrabble champion, with Justin and Brenda at his heels. Have passed on your message to some of the team – will continue to pass on as we see the rest of them. (Kennette trekked into basecamp with the IMG team.)
Mark R – Thanks for your message. I also believe that in past years there have been ladder crossings or climbs of many, many ladders. Fortunately for us though, the longest ladders this year are just 2 lashed together – whether vertically or horizontally. This may change over the season as crevasses open up and the route changes but I doubt it will get to as many as 8 (thank goodness).
Valerie & Rummie – Hi again guys, good to hear from you. In answer to your question about the books, most of us bought around 5-10 books each and as we read them they get deposited in the “library box” in the dining tent for others to read. Thanks to my mum and Karlyne, we brought quite a stash and are still making our way through these. I am a bit concerned about the genre of the books already in the library though. Most of them seem to be of the murder mystery variety with titles such as “Kill”, “Secret Murders”, etc. I’m wondering what that says about our team members??!! Enjoy your golf guys.
Hi Ron, I’m sure your golf handicap would put most of these players to shame – if only you could make it up here! In answer to your question, all the rubbish from the mountain (including the high camps) is removed. This is a continual process with Sherpas taking down rubbish after they bring up loads (eg. of oxygen). I believe that many years ago, this wasn’t standard practise but now all expeditions have to put down a substantial garbage deposit and if they don’t bring out enough garbage (based on the number of people and the time they stay), then they don’t get their deposit back. A good system I think.
Rosemary & Dave – Nice to hear from you. We haven’t seen any cockroaches around at all (thankfully). This only insects I have seen at BC are a couple of blow-flies and spiders. Unfortunately we didn’t read up on the local wildlife before we left so I can’t tell you exactly what types of birds are here. There are some that look like sparrows, and others that look like crows (in fact, on most climbs we’ve done there have been crows hanging around the camps – I guess they scavenge up some of the scraps). I also saw some type of eagle when climbing Kala Patar which is not far from here. Paul has had no problems with his glasses fogging – I guess it depends on the shape and how much air they allow to circulate. We are all quite concerned with our goggles and sunglasses fogging up once we are using oxygen. Most of us have brought some type of anti-fog wipe but hopefully the design of the new masks we are using will mean that this is not an issue. In regards to Mary’s nail polish (which I hope she hasn’t brought because it really is not necessary up here!), I think there is a pretty good chance that it could freeze overnight in her tent – water certainly does so I guess it depends how much alcohol is in it. Even if it did freeze though, it would certainly thaw out during the day. Interesting questions!
Barb – loved your message – very funny! Hope you had success with the trolleys!
Philip – thanks for your post. Although we didn’t see the dog cross the ladders ourselves, apparently this is what happened – amazing but true. The other posts from people seem to suggest that it is not all that uncommon for dogs to climb ladders. We’ll keep an eye out for your friends and pass on your message if we come across them. Cheers.
Hi as well to Jane Barrow and family, TN Fan, James (and the other Gardiners), BJ, Bev, Dave and Stephanie. Thanks so much for all your lovely messages.
Well, that’s all for now. Tomorrow, weather permitting, we plan to head up to C2.
Cheers to all, Fi.