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  Mt. Everest 2004: Irish Expedition Update


Update 11 - April 23: Time to descend to Base Camp for a few days of relaxation before re-ascending to set up Camp 3. I couldn't sleep with the anticipation of chips and fried eggs - my favorite meal on return from altitude! Without doubt, Dawa our cook would have that ready for us.

It snowed all night and in the morning we were uncertain if we'd make a go for it. After our second cup of tea, we decided to - the eggs and chips won the day! As usual we were not looking forward to the descent through the ice fall. This moving river of ice has a mind of it's own. Today, once again, it had changed completely; there had been a few new serac falls and a lot of changes in the crevasses. I think the biggest fear when climbing through the Khumbu ice fall are the massive overhanging ice blocks just waiting to tumble. Acutely aware of these dangers, Clare, Pemba, Tenzing and I made the journey from Camp 2 to Base Camp in four hours.

We're all relieved to be back at Base Camp and yes, true to form, Dawa had eggs and chips ready and waiting! Today we met up with Samantha O'Carroll who arrived at Base Camp while we were at Camp 2. She hopes to make her first trip through the ice fall tomorrow.

There was an evacuation from Camp 2 today of an American climber with pulmonary oedema; last week, his wife, (who was also climbing) was found to be 5 weeks pregnant - this was the cause of her symptoms rather than AMS(!) and she had to be evacuated also.

Clare descending into collapsed crevasse


Jumble of ice blocks to negotiate in ice-fall (Clare and Pemba)

- April 22: Tensions were high today as we were set to make our first assault on the Lhotse face. Our objective was to further improve our acclimatization at high altitude by climbing over 1,000 feet before returning to Camp 2. The Lhotse face is an impressive 4,000 foot wall of hard blue ice and affords no mistakes.

The Lhotse face is also home to our next foothold on Everest - Camp 3 at 24,000 feet. The weather so far has not been kind to us and today we were hoping for this to change. The Lhotse face is not a place to be caught in bad weather.

We set off at 5am in reasonable conditions; within an hour, the winds had increased and the temperature had dropped. With the wind chill temperatures were down to -40 degrees Celsius. The going got tougher as we ascended the main face. Clare was using her light weight boots and gloves and started to feel extremely cold. We battled on for a further 2 hours; at this stage, we decided it was safer to descend to avoid potential complications such as frost bite. We had achieved our objective for the day, which was to gain 1,000 feet. Battered from the blasting winds that had rocketed the Lhotse face, we returned to Camp satisfied though exhausted.


Approaching Lhotse face in high winds
 

- April 21: Today we further acclimatized here at Camp 2, by resting and going for a walk up the glacier for about three hundred feet. The winds have picked up and we are just hoping that they will ease down for our approach to the lower regions of the Lhotse face tomorrow. More teams are arriving at Camp 2 now.

Working title productions, Discovery, Peak Promotions, The Greeks, Henry Todd's Group and our own are now firmly established here. Teams are starting to plan summit dates now. Our projected date now looks somewhere between May 14 to May 20th, all going well with the weather and our health.


Pat and Clare having dinner at Camp 2

Dispatches

Pat Falvey, veteran expedition leader, Everest climber, author and motivational speaker.

To book Pat Falvey on his 'AGAINST THE SKY' LECTURE TOUR. e-mail us at

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