Everest Update 3 of 10: First Acclimatisation Rotation, up to Camp 3

In 7. Everest, Asia, Project 7in4by Steve

Everest Day 8, 22-Apr-2018: Basecamp to Camp 1

This morning Jon and I set off from Basecamp just before 05:30 and headed up through the Khumbu Icefall to Camp 1. It took us just over 3.5hrs at a nice steady pace and with a moderately heavy pack. I’m trying to get all my camping gear, some food and high altitude clothing up this time so that next time we come up we can do it with a light pack, but it did mean quite a sizeable pack this morning.

Camp 1 is positioned at the top of the Khumbu Icefall at approximately 6050m. From here the Western Cwm sprawls out in front of us with Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse towering above. The view is incredible. Everytime I’m here I have to pinch myself. There is so much history in these mountains. It truly is humbling.

The weather today has been pretty good and actually quite warm with full sun. Although just as I type this, the sun just dipped behind Nuptse and you can feel the temperature drop instantly.

Physically I’m feeling a bit better and I think over the worst of whatever bug I picked up, but still not 100% hence why we took it pretty easy this morning. Hopefully after this rotation and with a few days rest back at Basecamp I’ll be back to full strength.

Our plan for the next few days – Tomorrow we’ll push up to Camp 2 which is only a short stroll up the Western Cwm. 24th we’ll go for a day walk above Camp 2 for some extra acclimatisation and drop back to Camp 2 to sleep. 25th we’ll drop back down to Basecamp. But like all good plans it’s subject to change.

Everest Day 9, 23-Apr-2018: Camp 1 to Camp 2.

Today was a pretty easy day, just a gentle stroll up the Western Cwm from Camp 1 to Camp 2.

We waited for the sun to hit at Camp 1 and set off at 08:50. Out of Camp 1 there are a few steep undulations in the glacier surface, almost like standing waves at the top of a waterfall. The last undulation actually has a vertical ice wall about 10m high which we have to climb. There is a short ladder at the bottom then it is just straight up the ice with aid of a fixed rope and jumar. Nothing too strenuous but made a bit harder with a full pack.

After that the route meanders up the Western Cwm on a gradual gradient. There are two more horizontal cravasse crossings on ladders, one being quite bouncy with three ladders lashed together, but other than that it is just a steady walk through to Camp 2.

I got to Camp 2 at 10:30 so 1hr 40min from Camp 1. A bit slow but did stop a few times to chat with people along the way and also had to stop to take my thermal layers off as it was just getting too hot. Also still trying to take it easy and keep the heart rate low while I recover from this bug but overall feeling ok.

At Camp 2 we just spent the day napping, playing cards and playing Monopoly (card version).

Tomorrow we’ll head up the Lhotse Face towards Camp 3 for a bit of acclimatisation before dropping back down here to Camp 2 for a second night.

Everest Day 10, 24-Apr-2018: Camp 2 to Camp 3 and Return.

Today Jon and I just did an acclimatisation climb from Camp 2, up to Camp 3 (~7200m) and return. 6hr round trip. It was a pretty good day out. It was actually a new high point for us on our 7 Summits project, higher than Aconcagua back in January.

The route from Camp 2 initially heads up the upper section of the Western Cwm, weaving around crevasses, to the base of the Lhotse Face. From there you cross the bergshrund then it’s a steep climb straight up the Lhotse Face to Camp 3.

The Lhotse Face is in pretty good condition. The lower portion is a bit more difficult being steep shear blue ice but once past that it gets easier with more snow on the route. As more teams head up and down I’d expect it to get easier with footsteps kicked in, but at the moment does require reasonable footwork.

Camp 3 has not been established yet, we’re one of the first ones up this season. Teams have started marking out their planned tent sites, Sherpas have started carrying loads up, and one team has a couple of tents erected but no one is staying up there yet.

We stopped at Camp 3 for a while, enjoyed the view looking out over the Western Cwm then descended back to Camp 2 in time for lunch.

I still don’t feel 100% which is frustrating me. We’re moving ok and making reasonable progress but I just feel weak and lethargic which I hate. Jon keeps telling me not to worry about it and that we’re making great time, but I know I should be doing better. We’ll drop back down to basecamp tomorrow so hopefully some thicker air will help.

“Go with the decision that will make for a great story”.