Location: Camp 2
Local Time: 17:30pm, April 27
Weather: Snowed last night, windy but warm today, –2C
Hi it’s Paul here coming to you from camp 2.
We were pretty tired when we arrived, but after a lunch of rice, cabbage salad, tuna and chappati bread, and then a nap, we are feeling a bit better. Both of us have mild headaches from the altitude, but this should pass overnight.
Dasona called his kids in Kathmandu
Last night Dasona asked if he could use our phone to call his children in Kathmandu at their boarding school. Of course we said yes, and after a little mucking around trying to work out the area code and country code for Nepal, we got through. You could tell Dasona really enjoyed speaking with his kids, and after he finished the conversation he said, “My kids are happy, I am happy.”
Cooking dinner with our Sherpas
Our Sherpas usually cook dinner in their own tents – they seem to prefer this, despite many requests from all of us for them to come and cook and eat with us. Last night with only Fiona and I in Camp 1, Dasona and Mingma said that they would cook with us, but only after we had finished. When we asked why, they said that they wanted to cook Nak cheese and that it had a very strong smell. (A Nak is a female Yak.) Dan (see his update from a week ago), said that when he was in camp 1, he walked past a Sherpa tent where they were cooking Nak cheese and he nearly vomited. We were glad that the Sherpas decided to take pity on us and wait until we had finished, although I was very interested, being a big cheese fan.
Well, we finished dinner and Mingma started cooking. The Nak cheese was in a jar and Mingma opened it, and immediately there was a lot of coughing in the tent, but it was coming from Mingma! Pretty soon the smell reached me, and boy is it strong. It’s like blue cheese, but much stronger. Soon we were all coughing in the tent, including Dasona. They both thought it was extremely funny! Mingma heated the cheese in a pan, added salt and chilli, and then let it sit. He then made a pancake batter from flour and started to cook the pancakes. When the pancakes were ready, the cheese sauce was poured on top. After a while we got used to the smell and even tried a pancake. Not bad, but I can see why it hasn’t taken off outside of Nepal.
Getting ready for the climb to camp 2
To make a fast getaway this morning, we got our water ready last night. The temp was about -10C inside our tent, so it’s really important that you take measures to prevent the water from freezing. We start out with boiling water in our water bottles, and then we place them either inside our sleeping bags or between us. This usually works. Sunscreen also freezes at this temperature, so this is also placed inside your sleeping bag. The socks that we are going to wear are also inside the bag, so that they are warm in the morning. When we woke up, we got dressed into our climbing gear; Poly-pro pants, Gortex overpants, plastic liner socks, thin liner socks, thick socks, long sleeve tech top, poly-pro top, Gortex jacket, down jacket, climbing harness, poly-pro gloves, thick outer gloves & a hat.
The reason for the unusual layering (poly-pro not next to skin) is that it gets extremely hot in the Western Cwm, and we wanted to be able to strip down quickly. Before setting off, we removed our down jackets, although it was still pretty cold.
The climb to camp 2
We left at about 7am and there had been a lot of wind blown snow, so the track was almost non-existent. After 15 minutes, Fiona’s hands got cold, so we pulled out some chemical hand warmers and Dasona and I shook them to activate the heat. Within a few minutes, they were hot, and Fiona’s hands were soon warm.
There was a lot of steep technical sections as the route crossed right over big blocks of ice that have been thrust up by the glacier. There were also a number of ladders too. Near camp 2 the glacier climbs very slowly upwards in a long, unbroken snow slope and this seemed to take forever. After 3 and a half hours we reached camp 2, pretty tired.
I was a bit nervous how I would go today. My throat had been getting so much better over the past few days, I thought that the cold air could set me right back. I took a good swig of codeine, and really tried to stop myself from coughing. Here at camp 2 I feel really good – can breathe fine, no tenderness around the front or back of my neck. I am really happy! I think the new antibiotics are working.
Hi Simon and Jacqui, good to hear from you. Hope everything is going well at the big T.
Hi Muggaz – Got your text message. Have you really been OS that long?! Hope you had a good trip.
Kevin – Good question about carabiners. Bigger is better as it’s easier with big gloves and also can slide over knots. We have screw locks, but to be honest we only lock them on the ladders. And then we use a backup sling as well! It’s just too cumbersome and slow to lock the carabiner on every clip.
Hi Terri, Always great to hear from you. We were expecting Bud to come up to camp 1 sometime, but I gather he has decided to stay put in BC and wait until C3 is ready.
Hi Daryl – Not sure what illness I have. Did lose my voice for about two weeks, only just getting it back now, much to Fiona’s disappointment! The first antibiotic that I was on was Roxithromycin, but this didn’t seem to do much. The second is Augmentin, which seems to be working. Louanne at the HRA has said that the whole thing could be a virus and the antibiotics a waste of time. If anyone is interested in finding out more about the HRA they have a great website at www.basecampmd.com. They write about the patients that they are treating. You’ll probably find me in there.
Roger – Yes all waste is removed from the mountain, including toilet waste.
Hi Adrian, Really appreciate your message. Not sure if this is related to a muscle issue. Have carried very heavy loads for 10 days straight at home without neck or upper back issues. Sore feet, legs and hips yes!
Hi Michelle – good to hear from you again. Jim is here in camp 2 and is considering going down tomorrow or the next day. He went for a hike to the base of the Lhotse face today with Dennis. His health is improving.
Hi Sheryn, Good to hear from you after all these years. Will have to catch up next time we are in Sydney.
Bye for now,