PROJECT 321: TIM’S DIARY 13.04-20.04.19
Everest Base Camp … home for the next 5 to 6 weeks or so. I say ‘home’ … they’ll be various forays on the hill visiting Camp 1 and Camp 2 and getting well and truly acclimatised.
When we’re on the hill, despite trying, most people don’t drink enough, eat enough or sleep enough so Base Camp is a great sanctuary to return to after each rotation. Enjoy the view …
Loitered at Gorak Shep for a couple of hours yesterday until the snow cleared and then came over to EBC. My barrels and duffels were here as hoped and I moved into my palatial tent which has a bigger floor space and overall volume than the teahouse room I had the previous night. Managed to get everything unpacked which you can’t normally do if you’re in a smaller tent. Then I met the crew, met some fellow climbers, had dinner and went to bed, setting the alarm for 04:50.
I was up and away for 05:10. Hardly any sign of folk in the Khumbu Icefall which was a blessing and before you know it I was at crampon point.
The route this year is pretty good in terms of lack of objective danger. But – and it’s a bit of a big but – there are quite a few sections where you can tell that less well-versed folk are going to start jumaring and cause tailbacks. The route is definitely not as fast as last year and I’d say that the uninitiated, the cautious, and the not so strong will struggle. But if they practice, practice, practice on the glacier by EBC then perhaps they’ll not be overwhelmed too much.
Caught up with the Icefall Doctors and had a fun half an hour or so helping them to lengthen a section of ladder that was up against a sheer ice wall. It involved dropping the existing double ladder, tying another one on with some rope and then propping it against the icy barrier again. Once it was secured in place we continued our journey.
There are quite a few big steps across crevasses. You’re on one side and the footprint you’re aiming for is on the other side but off at a slight diagonal AND a couple of feet higher up. Coming down usually entails a small jump but sometimes in ascent, they’re a bit tricky and a certain amount of faith and momentum – as well as a grip on the rope – have to be employed. If your grip is too far back you lose that tension as you step up so it’s a delicate balance.
Got to 5,990m and there was another ladder being repositioned so I called it a day and came down to EBC. All in all a 6-hour round trip which is not bad for a first foray.
06:12 Helping out the Icefall Doctors refix a ladder.
18:36 There were a few deep rumbles of thunder last night and some light snowfall and the place is now transformed. Everything is carpeted with snow, there’s no breeze and there’s a thin veneer of cloud in the valley. You can’t actually see the peaks but you can certainly get the impression that there’s stuff up above.
06:53 What a difference 24hrs can make! A stunning morning at EBC with clear blue skies and a good covering of snow from yesterday and last night. Lots of avalanches throughout the night as to be expected. In theory there’s no movement on the hill today as a mark of respect and remembrance for the 2014 serac collapse that killed 16 Climbing Sherpas.
Currently drinking milk tea in Gorak Shep and enjoying the novelty of WiFi that actually works! Probably going for a rotation tomorrow for a couple of nights at C1. In which case I’ll be out of touch for a couple of days.
07:44 Wowzer. 10,000 likes on my facebook page. Not sure why this seems like such a milestone but it’s great to know that there’s so many of you out there following along. I hope you enjoy the show!
09:09 My foray in to the Khumbu Icefall a couple of days ago:
00:30 I’m off to Camp 1.
06:31 Slow going … but everything is OK.
11:43 Fantastic views looking up The Western Cwm this morning from Camp 1. Some funky clouds over Everest.
Had a great night last night at C1 so have decided to descend to EBC for a quick rest. Next rotation will then hopefully be 1 night at C1 and 2 nights at C2. As predicted the journey through the Khumbu Icefall was a challenge for some folk and there were a few queues … and yesterday was a reasonably quiet day. Managed to do quite a bit of overtaking at the right places but when it’s busy it’s going to be mayhem.
11:46 As ever there are people here who are reliant on their Climbing Sherpas to put on their harnesses and attach their crampons to their boots. Really? I find it utterly perplexing that these people haven’t learnt how to do these fairly simple tasks in a benign environment before arriving here. These are simple tasks that are simple to get wrong … but equally they are simple to take on board with practice. And let’s face it, if you can’t don a harness and a pair of crampons, surely that’s a reflection of a lack of overall experience.