Everest VI: Meteorological Pyrotechnics

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A thunderstorm breaks the monotony of basecamp life and threatens to improve conditions for a summit attempt.

Basecamp Tour

Steve Plain has made this video to give us a quick tour of basecamp and to point out the surrounding mountains and landmarks. While it looks calm at basecamp the strong winds up high continue to delay the strong Sherpas from their rope fixing which is needed before anyone can attempt the summit. Fingers crossed for good weather and quick, safe rope fixing so that Steve can make his summit attempt soon.

Posted by Project 7in4 on Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Everest Day 23, 07-May-2018

Another day in Basecamp. Another day waiting.

It is a real shame to have come this far, to have completed the first six climbs in such quick succession and now to be stuck here waiting. But I guess that’s the nature of the beast. That’s the mountains.

I don’t know how long this wait will continue for. The days down at Basecamp have been idyllic; warm, sunny and light winds. But up high we can see the spindrift being ripped off the mountain peaks by the wind. It is that wind up high which needs to dissipate before the amazing rope fixing Sherpa team can do their job and before we can contemplate a summit attempt. Until then, we wait.

Today Jon and I headed down to Gorek Shep mid-morning to enjoy the heated teahouse and good WiFi. I can’t believe I’m actually calling it “good” WiFi! It is still painfully slow, but compared to the WiFi in Basecamp it is lightning fast, and less than half the price. Worth the 1hr walk each way.

While down in Gorek Shep I ducked up Kala Pattar again. 4th time for this trip and counting. 36min today from bottom to top. A bit better than yesterday but still room for improvement.

We got back to Basecamp mid-afternoon in time for cheese and crackers, a few games of monopoly cards and then dinner. The guys really turned it on with dinner tonight. A chicken casserole thing with pasta and potato chips. One of the better meals of the trip so far. Full compliments to the chef. The chicken casserole, in particular, was superb, and it actually had nice tender pieces of chicken in it, as opposed to malnourished skin and bone which is more common. Although dessert was the standard semi-heated, lukewarm, tinned fruit. What I would do for a nice piece of fresh chilled fruit right now. Although I have a feeling I’ll be waiting till I get back to Australia for that.

And finally the plan for tomorrow…. Another day of waiting!

Everest Day 24, 08-May-2018

Still in Basecamp. Still waiting!

At the end of all this, if anyone asks me what was the hardest thing about climbing the 7 Summits, my answer will have to be “waiting”. It is absolute torture. The worst part is knowing that if the weather had cooperated and given us an early summit window I could almost be home by now. I could almost be tasting a nice medium rare steak with a perfectly match bottle of red, a nice bowl of ice cream and my own bed. And yet I am still here, still waiting.

Today was almost identical to yesterday. Breakfast. Lazy morning. Walk to Gorek Shep. Up and down Kala Pattar. Sit in the teahouse in Gorek Shep and use WiFi. Walk back to Basecamp. Dinner. Bed. At least it fills the days. I did manage 34min 27sec up Kala Pattar today which was a bit better than yesterday, but still not quite as good as my best time last year.

I know I shouldn’t complain. I know I should be cherishing every moment I get to spend in this remarkable environment. After all, it is not every day you get to walk up a hill and enjoy one of the best views of Everest and the surrounding Himalayas, but for me, at the moment I just want to get this little project finished and get home.

But don’t worry. I will see this through. There is no way I am pulling the pin now. However, time is running out to achieve my personal goal of 7in4. For that, to complete the 7 Summits in under 4 months, I need to summit Everest by 15th May. I have a bit more time after that to still squeeze in the world record but my personal goal was, and still is 7in4. I thought we would do it easy but it is now starting to get very tight.

So what’s on the cards for tomorrow? Most likely another lap of Kala Pattar…..

Everest Day 25, 09-May-2018

And still in Basecamp. And still waiting.

Last night we had the most terrific thunderstorm. The first couple of rumbles almost sounded like one of the numerous avalanches/icefalls we get each day (which you almost become desensitised too), but then it became a bit too frequent and I realised it was something different. Then the lightning flashes started. It was like someone was shining a flashlight on the tent. The whole tent would glow orange then plunge back into darkness. At it’s peak, the gap between the lightning and the thunder was only about 1sec indicating it was very close.

In the morning we woke to a beautiful white covering of snow over everything. It was a nice change from the usual grey, rocky terrain with underlying ice.

With another day of waiting I had breakfast then headed off for my usual lap down to Gorek Shep and up Kala Pattar. I think it’s my 6th time so far this trip. I’m losing count.

At Gorek Shep I tried logging onto the WiFi at one of the teahouses but it was down. I went around every teahouse and it was down everywhere. Back at Basecamp the WiFi was down there as well. Maybe it had something to do with the thunderstorm last night. I don’t know. Anyway, if anyone was expecting any messages/emails from me, that’s why I nothing came through.

Moving forward, it looks like the winds up high may be dropping off soon. But then there is still the matter of rope fixing as well. So still not exactly sure of our plans for the next few days, but tomorrow morning Jon and I will head back up to Camp 2. At least there we are one day closer to the action.

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