Location: Camp 1
Local Time: 5pm, Mon 24th April
Weather: Fine at first then snowing, now 0C
Hi everyone, Fiona here.
I’m very pleased to report that we’ve finally left base camp and are now coming to you from Camp 1.
The trip through the Icefall
We left base camp at around 6am this morning after an early breakfast – not that we could eat much of it. Needless to say, all of us were fairly nervous heading off and led by our Sherpas, we all stopped at the Puja Altar and asked for a safe journey by throwing rice and burning juniper.
We took it pretty slowly to try to avoid aggravating Paul’s throat and lungs any more than necessary. The day started out fine with the sun hitting us at around 9am – perfect climbing weather. A bit later the snow came in – quite heavy so we hope it’s not going to continue for too long.
The icefall was as beautiful as ever. Past the parts we’d been to previously, we also went through a section known as the “Popcorn” region – where the ice formations resemble big rounded shapes with jagged bits coming off them. One structure looked more like a giant golf ball to me – complete with dimples that the sun had melted. Then there is a relatively large flattish section known as the football field. Apparently this is not nearly as big as it has been at other times but still open enough to have a safe break. Following this, we climbed through the section some have been calling the “Cocktail” area – due to the fact that the ice formations look like they’d make a good daiquiri. This is the section where the towers recently fell and crushed three Sherpas. We passed through this section as quick as we could.
Finally we reached the top of the ice fall – but still had about an hour and a half to go before reaching camp. This section meandered around and over several deep crevasses and by the time we eventually reached camp, we were thoroughly exhausted.
As I’m writing this, we’re now sitting safe and snug in our tent at C1. Our camp here currently has 6 three person sleeping tents and a dome tent for cooking and eating. Our team members who have been here previously have done a fantastic job of digging out the dome tent so that there is a snow bench around the perimeter with room to put your feet. At the moment, there are quite a few of us here (Walter, Karl & Marcus came up yesterday, while Brenda, Jack, Dennis, Jim, Tashi, Phinjo and the 4 of us all climbed up today), so we need to take shifts to use the cooking tent.
Until not long ago, we couldn’t see anything because of low cloud and continuing snow. It has just now stopped snowing and we can just see the great peaks of Lhotse and Nupse (still no views of Everest from here though).
Here is where we start having to cook for ourselves without the luxuries of base camp. We have some freeze dried meals for tonight so will see how they go.
Plans for tomorrow
Since arriving here, Paul’s throat has become very sore again so we’ll probably stay here at least another night for that to settle down. Ideally, we’d like to spend 2 nights here and then move up to camp 2 for 2 nights before heading back to base camp – but everything depends on our health and the weather. We’ll see.
Thanks so much for all you messages of sympathy for the 3 Sherpas lost recently. It’s very heartening to hear how this has affected people so far away. Fingers crossed for no more incidents this season.
Doug and Jen – we’ve passed on your message to Jim. He’s doing well and at the moment, he’s playing king of melting snow for everyone here.
QE Students – We lost track of how many ladders there were in total, but I would guess about 15. The longest span is two ladders. There might be some big ones between here and C2.
Tam – Dennis, Brenda and Jack have just finished making a seat in the snow – looks good, can sit about 5 people. He made sure it’s the regulation 18 inches off the floor and the steps leading up to it are no more than 7 1/4 inches high. (For everyone who doesn’t know Dennis, he is a builder.)
Well, that’s all for now. Hope everyone out there is well.