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
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
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
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