Interesting blog from Everest base camp. Never really thought about number of people who quit, but now that I think about it, I am sure some must just walk away.
-------------------------------- This is kind of a long post but there is lots of stuff happening here at EBC so I hope you will hang in to the end… and to see the great photos.
Tents are being erected hour by hour at EBC. As Puja ceremonies take place and prayer flags are hung, EBC becomes more and more colourful. We did an acclimatization walk above EBC by about 400m (the peak did not have a name so Sumit named it ‘Sainty Hill’ after Margaret in our team. From the high point, we were amazed at just how many tents there are at EBC already – an impressive sight.
Some teams have huge numbers of climbers. I love being part of the small team that we are. One of the big teams had 2 team members leave as soon as they saw they Khumbu Icefall. They didn’t even want to attempt their lesser acclimatization climb of Lobuche East. It’s not uncommon for climbers to walk out on a daily basis throughout the season… there are no taxis to the top, or magic helicopters.
I was scheduled to be heading to Camp 1 (C1) early this morning but I woke up 2 nights ago with my head feeling like it wanted to explode and I knew immediately that my blood pressure was up for some reason – it can be due to slow acclimatization or something else. I checked my pulse and it was good and drank heaps of water through the night. I monitored myself and checked in with Lakpa so that I had someone else aware of my condition. By morning, I felt much better but was still not 100%, maybe 85%. I started to suspect a sinus infection as my sinuses hurt to touch.
Lakpa suggested I go to the ER Tent (the Everest doctors) for a check up (they are only 30 metres or so from our camp) so I went with Warren from our team. It’s really good because they check the things relevant to staying well at high altitude and if you pay a fee upfront then you can visit them as many times as you want during the climbing season.
All my systems were good except my blood pressure was slightly high (for me) but still low for altitude, reflecting I was acclimatizing well except… sure enough, I had the start of a sinus infection. So, I’m taking some antibiotics and Lakpa made a good call to stay one more day at EBC before we headed to C1 to sleep – so that we could check I really was getting better.
The Canadians in our camp who are also climbing Lhotse also decided to hold back for one more day so, weather permitting, we will all head to C1 in the early hours of tomorrow morning (12th). We will have 2 nights at C1 and on the second day we will try to ‘touch’ Camp 2 (C2) before returning to EBC for a rest. This will count as my first acclimatization rotation. 2 more longer ones will follow. The Canadians have had one of their number decide not to climb Lhotse and at some stage over coming days he will make his way home.
Its always hard to lose a team member – team work is critical on mountains, especially ones as big as these and there is always some reflection when one of your number leaves, for any reason…
Carol Masheter, our Salt Lake City Utah gal, left us today to climb Island Peak and we were sad to see her go. She was such a great team member and her achievements inspired so many people that she met – likely every one of them. Carol took no short cuts to the top and at the time of writing she remains the oldest woman in the world to complete the 7 Summits (both lists) and the 3rd oldest to climb Mt Everest at the age of 61 years and 7.5 months). Carol documented her Mt Everest journey in her book ‘No Magic Helicopter’ which is available on Amazon, in case you want to buy it online. When I hear how Carol goes on Island Peak, I will let you know! Jangbu Sherpa, Lakpa’s nephew, will guide Carol on Island Peak. We wish them both success and a safe descent.
Peter, our Irish team mate, arrived yesterday and after a couple of days rest he will start his acclimatization and head into the Khumbu Icef