Journal Entry 5/6/21
We are now in a rotation cycle where we traverse the icefalls and head up to Camp 1 and Camp 2, eventually we will be going to the higher camps and trying to acclimate to the extreme altitudes. The weather will obviously play a factor on when we can go. We are currently at EBC resting and waiting until we are given the go ahead. My lungs continue to be an issue and I am not finding it any easier to acclimatize to the higher altitudes; hopefully, with some rest here at EBC, I will be able to regroup and assess my situation better.
COVID-19 is beginning to throw a major curveball into this rotation cycle. Over the last few days, it has become obvious that several people throughout EBC have been testing positive. I sent IMG testing kits prior to leaving, which have been getting regular use multiple times a week within our group. Along with regular testing, we have strict lockdown rules and have remained within our bubble that we have created. Unfortunately, Everest is not immune to COVID-19. Clearly, there is a worry that this could unravel everything on Everest over the course of the next couple weeks. Climbing this mountain may be next to impossible if COVID-19 continues to escalate.
I am continuing to realize how out of touch with the world we are while on this mountain. Now that we are back at EBC, we are getting news that COVID-19 case numbers are increasing like crazy in Nepal. India’s numbers have been increasing by 350,000-500,000 each day. With India on their border this is clearly overwhelming to the Nepalese who have limited capacity to manage this. Kathmandu is now on the verge of lockdown. We got word that flights in and out of Nepal will be closing soon and there will be no air transportation for at least another two weeks. I have been in contact with my medical colleagues in Kathmandu and they have confirmed all of this. Furthermore, due to the lack of adequate airway management, high flow oxygen, ventilators, medications, vaccines, etc., this dramatically escalates the problem in Nepal. We’re reaching a crisis point here within the country; the situation is scary and difficult to sort out. It has really made me take a step back and see the bigger picture.
Continued support and prayers for Nepal and the climbers on Everest are much needed!
The summit is what drives us, but the climb itself is what matters. – Conrad Anker