Journal Entry 4/26/21
Okay, we made it to Everest Base Camp (EBC) a few days ago, but pretty much every day has run together as we are held down here due to a large storm that came in on the second day. The entire base camp is covered in snow, which is pretty unusual for this time of year. Staying here over the last week to 10 days is a pretty surreal experience. Throughout the day and night (approximately every 30 minutes), you hear avalanches coming off the mountains surrounding you. Obviously, there are no cars or roads or any form of transportation into EBC. The closest vehicle or road would be close to 50 miles away. Helicopters are clearly the predominant form of delivery, supply, and transportation in and out of EBC. Throughout the day, they are flying through every 5 to 10 minutes.
So, over the last week, we have been working on a variety of climbing skills from ice climbing, walking over ladders with our crampons, and traversing ice walls. Two days ago, we climbed through the icefalls and returned back to base camp. Tomorrow we head out traversing through the icefalls to reach Camp 1. We then climb up to Camp 2 to adjust to the altitude above 20,000 feet over the next few days before returning back to EBC to plan further higher rotations.
Andy and I have been spending most of the time climbing together working on technique and rhythm. We have a Sherpa (Mingma) who is terrific and we will be spending the next few weeks climbing together. I’ve been spending quite a bit of time working with the Sherpas on the carbon monoxide study. They get all excited to get their levels read on the CO meter. It has been interesting; they clearly don’t have toxic levels, but they all register numbers ranging from one or two to nine for carbon monoxide exposure. None of them have symptoms though; that said, these people are pretty resilient and they really don’t complain about anything, so I’m not sure they would even tell me.
The weather has been pretty good since the major storm. It warms up, reasonably, during the day, but is still really cold at night down 0° or -10°. Putting clothes and water bottles in your sleeping bag helps with insulation. We are getting up at 2:00AM tomorrow. We will have a quick breakfast and then start up into the icefalls to attempt to get to Camp 1. This will clearly be a long day!
– Because it’s there. George Leigh Mallory’s response when asked, why do you climb Mt. Everest?