Location: Everest Base Camp
Altitude: 5300 meters
Weather: Snowing for most of the day
Hello there, it’s Julia reporting on behalf of Paul and his Support Team. We had an early start today because we planned to climb some of Mt. Pumori in an effort to see some really good views of Everest; supposedly you can catch the whole ice fall, the Lhotse face, the north ridge, the west ridge, the second step, the west face, along with the South and North cols.
Stay tuned to find out what we actually saw…
Waking Up at Base Camp
Waking up was around quarter past six with that nice Everest Base Camp sunshine shining just right upon your tent. I tend to forget about this recent weird feeling in my back. Looking outside and seeing the ice covered mountains, the ice sculptures, the water streams (mostly turned into ice), the colorful tents, the rocky paths between the colorful tents… all from the view of my tent that I share with Beck.
7am was brekky, which consisted of rice pudding with muesli, fried eggs, and really good honey pancakes. Food is a lot better at BC compared to the lodges and not just breakfast – lunch and dinner as well. We were initially hesitant to leave because the weather was not at its best, but we ended up giving it a go and leaving just a bit past 8 to start our big trek.
About an hour into the trek, we were halfway up to the basecamp on Mt. Pumori. We saw our first glimpses of the Everest Summit along with Lhotse and that got us a bit inspired to keep going to see more. Unfortunately, once we got to basecamp the clouds started clouding over and all that we were expecting to see could not really be seen. A few of us (Cas) were really disappointed, but a few others (Paul) still had hope that the clouds would diminish. We sat around at Base Camp for a while, eating chocolate and taking toilet breaks. Then it started snowing while some people (me) were going to the toliet. Although I look back at the moment …in the middle of Nepal a bit a away from Pumori basecamp, taking a bathroom break behind some rocks in the midst of a snowfall was an experience to remember, almost photo worthy but not appropriate for the site.
So after a good rest at this little open stone shelter, the group decided to split based on expectations of the possibilities of more Everest views. Paul, Cas, Liz, and I decided to keep going to Camp 1 while the others saw no point and headed back down. I was simply excited to be climbing something, and actually getting to Camp 1 of something so the possibility of Everest views was not a priority for me.
Camp 1 of Pumori
We started off at a good pace and continued at a good pace as well. I made sure to ask Paul if the pace replicated Tim and Dame’s. It did. (Ha)
We then kind of stopped midway to Camp One for a water break, some muesli bars and a photo shoot. I made sure to take advantage of the photo shoot. Then the boys + Liz decided that the weather was not going to get any better and that there was a no point in keeping going.
200 meters just short of our destination and we turned back – so as a disappointed group, we started heading back, pretty quickly actually, but we were going downhill.
Then along some rocky paths, up some more rocky paths, and down some more- we stopped. Paul remembered he had a radio interview. So we waited and waited while it snowed and snowed. Then Paul did his interview describing his 2nd attempt, while me, Liz, and Cas took photos of him in the midst of snowfall with streams of Yaks passing by.
Then we started heading back towards basecamp (Everest, not Pumori). To our luck, it started snowing harder and the boys started yelling at me harder to go faster. I struggled to keep up, successfully in fact. I think the thing that kept me going was the fact that my gloves were so soaked and my fingers were so cold, I could hardly feel my numbing fingers and I just wanted to get somewhere where I could keep them warm, preferably inside our dining tent holding a hot cup of tea. So I went on a rampage almost running along the rocks, pacing harder and harder, with so much energy just from my freezing hands. I passed long streams of Yak and almost sprinted all the way back; however, as I was mindlessly getting through the path to catch up, a porter passing by bumped his sack into my head. Then I stopped. Then I noticed a broken down helicopter to my right. Then I took a photo. (It’s still snowing and I still can’t feel my hands.) Then Liz caught up and made me keep going, so I did.
Arrival at Basecamp
Finally we were heading towards those brightly colored tents that make up Everest Base Camp. I was so happy to see them! almost like my first exposure to them. The struggle was over. I could see the Base Camp Bakery right in front of my eyes…only a little more to go till our dining tent. As I stumbled into the tent, I made my way to keep my hands warm, and started eating lunch. We had a nice garlic soup followed by roasted potatoes, sardines, and cauliflower. (nothing resembling the usual menu at each lodge prior).
After lunch, we were approached by a very interesting Canadian couple who had just dined at the British Army’s tent. They had come to our dining tent (Paul’s expedition’s dining tent) to meet with a Canadian climber doing the last of her seven summits (Megan). Then they started sharing their experiences as well. WOW!! We all thought Paul and Fiona were super couple, these guys though…. They are trekking to base camp on their honeymoon. The guy has been here before, having gone to Camp 3 as a sherpa, and trekked from the Indian Ocean (not Lukla). He previously swam around Vancouver Island (1400 km in 94 days!) He has completed 7 Ironman triathlons (like 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 as I confirmed with Fiona) until he crashed his bike. I assume that’s a good reason for stopping. His wife is doing a PhD in Medieval Literature, and she climbed Kala Pattar faster than he did. But as he was getting Meagan’s email address, he turns to his newlywed wife and asks if it’s ok. As she confirms, he turns to us and tells us he’s new at this ”whole marriage thing”.
Back to our reality
The weather has gotten nicer, the sun has come out more, but the clouds are still overshadowing what we would have seen at that Pumori Camp One. Tomorrow we plan on climbing Kala Pattar and then heading back to Lobuche.
Tonight is our last night with Paul and Fiona so you won’t see anymore updates from us, Trekkers. We have been very thankful for their generosity in giving us this opportunity. It’s been a great journey and we have enjoyed ourselves very much, especially with you guys. Thank you so much for your messages. We have genuinely enjoyed them. We should arrive in Lukla in about four days time to catch a flight back to Kathmandu the following day.
PS – Marg, Beck, Julia, Cas, Denise and Liz will be out of contact for a while now – most likely until they reach Kathmandu on the 17th May.