April 23 Lobuche, 16,600 feet.
Our last stop before base camp, we are all excited to get climbing. The trek here is fine, it obviously helps us acclimatize, but we are here to climb, and we all cant wait to get on with it. The drawback as you get higher in the valley is the accommodations and food progressively get .... well.....worse. Everyone struggles to stay healthy and I continue to stick to ramen noodles, fried potatoes and rice - seem to be pretty safe. So far so pretty good - just a dry throat and nose from breathing the dry, dusty air on the trek. I wear a buff or face mask piece of fabric covering my mouth and nose to help but still the feeling like you have something scratching the back of your throat is unavoidable.
So I attached a couple nice pics of our acclimatization hike yesterday - we went from 14,500 ft to 17,000 ft in just over 2 hours. It was a nice climb with some great views of surrounding 6000-7000 meter peaks and a nice perch at the top where I took a 2 hour nap - good for getting our bodies used to the altitude.
Definitely helped sleep last night as well, where as the night before I struggled with breathing which is never fun. Kinda common as you reach new heights to have some issues at night..... usually the second night at the same altitude you do better.
April 25 - Base Camp
So I have no idea when this post will get through. The base camp internet hot spot and cell service are pretty much non existent right now - they took our $50 bucks each though and said they are working on fixing it..... typical. Anyhoo.... we made it to base camp yesterday and are are settling in with better food and more comfortable accommodations than during the trek in. Yes.... we even have Sherpa Beer - Nepals first micro brew and box wine at our camp but no one is really up for it right now.
First couple days are pretty rough at the altitude. So we spend our time relaxing, sorting through our gear getting it ready to bring up high, hydrating and just acclimatizing. We have to just take time right now to get our bodies used to the altitude before the stress of the work to be done up high. The Lhotse face looks to be a sheet of 50-60% blue ice this year as it hasn't snowed much - which will make it a tough climb kicking the front points of your crampons in the whole 1500ft up.
The view from our camp and out our tents is pretty spectacular with the Khumbu Ice Fall right in front of us. Last night I was up a couple times and you can see the headlamps of people going up throughout the night. We head up on Thursday Night probably around midnight - we try to go through the ice fall when its coldest - which unfortunately is the middle of the night - which is when it is most stable. It will be about a 7-9 hour trip and we will hopefully get to camp 1 just as the sun is coming up. It can easily be well below zero when we start hiking, and by 11am could be 100 degrees at the top of the ice fall. Its like a big reflective oven with walls of ice and snow towering still 8000 ft above and around you making it unbearably hot.
So for the next couple days we will be at base camp, Thursday night/Friday early am we head up the ice fall to camp 1 at about 19,500ft. Spend 2 nights there, then through the Western Cwm to camp 2 for 2 nights at about 21,000 ft. Then up to Camp 3 just above 23,000 feet for a night or two depending on how we feel. Then its back down to base camp, then lower into the valley for a couple days to recuperate and breath some thick air, then back to base camp for a couple days, then we look for weather. Our summit window realistically is the May 16 - May 24th. We are hoping other teams that got here before us go early and get off the mountain so we can avoid crowds up high - but it all depends on weather so we shall see. We want the mountain and summit to ourselves :)))
When we head up on Thursday, we won’t have communications to the outside world except for a couple satellite phone calls for the week. When we get back down, hopefully they’ll have fixed the internet. So first I hope I can get this out - and send a couple pics. Then I’ll let you know how it goes up high when we get back down. Hopefully we have good weather and I can sleep!!!
By the way... when I do get internet service - I do get the comments that are made about the posts. They are great to read sitting in the tent at night and I appreciate them!!!