Everest III: 7in4 Supporters take over Base camp

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The arrival of the Project7in4 Everest Base Camp Trekkers breaks the monotony of Basecamp life.

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-crossing 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).

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 back – a 6hr round trip. It was a pretty good day out and was actually a new high point for 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 it is 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. 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 what will become Camp 3 for a while, enjoying 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.

Everest Day 11, 25-Apr-2018

Camp 2 to Basecamp to Dingboche.

This morning Jon and I woke up at Camp 2 just before 06:00, had a quick breakfast of Masala tea and boiled eggs, then set off for Basecamp. We made great progress down the Western Cwm to Camp 1, but upon arriving at Camp 1 we heard there had been a collapse in the Icefall and it was impassable. We decided to wait in Camp 1, along with a few other teams, until the Icefall Doctors had re-established a route. I don’t know how long we waited but it was well over an hour. We eventually heard word via radio that a temporary route was in place so we pressed on.

The collapse was midway through the Icefall. When we got there the impact of the collapse was clearly evident. A mass of fresh, loose rubble everywhere. It looked like the Icefall Doctors were working on a permanent route around the mess, but at the time we were there we just had to pick our way along a temporary route through the middle of it. We got through safely and made it back to Basecamp just before 11:00. Sadly, a couple of Sherpas were injured in the collapse. We wish them a speedy recovery.

At Basecamp, Tom – a good mate from school days – paid me a surprise visit which was amazing. After a shower and lunch I walked with him and his girlfriend, Nicole, back to Dingboche. At Dingboche I met up with a group of family and friends who are doing a Basecamp / Kala Pattar trek. It is incredible and humbling to have so much support from family and friends on this journey.

So tonight I’m sleeping down in relatively thicker air, on a bed, and with a western toilet…. what more could you ask for!?

Everest Day 12, 26-Apr-2018

Day in Dingboche.

Had a wonderful day today with the Project 7in4 trekking group. Went for an acclimatisation walk up a local hill out of Dingboche. It is great to have a few rest days with friends!

Everest Day 13, 27- Apr-2018

Steve and our EBC trekkers took a nice long walk to Lobuche Village yesterday. A few of the trekkers will climb this peak in a few days but today the group are having a long walk to basecamp where they will leave Steve who will spend the next week doing final acclimitisation

Everest Day 14, 28- Apr-2018

The EBC trekkers made it to base camp today and managed a photo shoot along the way. From here the team split up with Steve remaining at basecamp and a few members opting to extend their trip and climb Lobuche. Brian and Juris who joined the group for the first few days and then stayed behind to explore some local villages (and save their knees) arrived in style via chopper to meet the group and have a chance to wish Steve well before he starts final acclimitisation. Well done to the team on their fundraising, support of Steve and @project7in4 and their team spirit. We hope you have made memories that will last a lifetime!

Everest Day 15, 29-Apr-2018

Reflecting on the past few days at Basecamp.

To recap: On the 27th I walked with the Project 7in4 trekking group from Dingboche to Lobuche. Yesterday (28th) we trekked from Lobuche to Everest Basecamp. At EBC I said farewells the trekking group, they returned to Gorek Shep while I returned to my camp.

While passing through Gorek Shep we arranged for my Dad and Juris (Uncle) to heli up from Namche and meet us there. A bit of a rock star entrance for them. They weren’t acclimatised to the altitude at Gorek Shep so couldn’t spend long on the ground but it was wonderful to see them briefly and all be together for a short period of time.

It has been incredible to be able to spend a few days with the Project 7in4 trekking group. I’ve been truly humbled by all the support. In arranging the trek we weren’t sure how timings would work with my climbing schedule to be able to meet but it couldn’t have work out better. Thank you to everyone who joined the trek and for your help with fundraising for SpinalCure and Surf Life Saving WA. Legends! Enjoying the trek out and have a safe journey home.

Today, with a spare day in EBC, I ducked down to Gorek Shep and up Kala Pattar. Always good to stretch the legs. I managed 34min 38 sec up Kala Pattar today. Better than my 39min when I first arrived at EBC a couple of weeks ago, shows my acclimatisation is improving, but still not as good as my best times last year. Maybe I just need some more time acclimatising or maybe it’s just a sign of cumulative fatigue from +4 months on the road. Either way there’s not much I can do about it now.

For Jon and I, it’s now time to switch our focus back to the hill. Rope fixing is progressing well on Everest and weather is currently reasonably stable. Tomorrow we’ll head back up to Camp 2 and see what’s happening there.

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