Back to BC
A world away, we are united back at base camp
Things are kinda random, and the sick sense of humour returns
6 May - Julian, Sukhi and Paul to BC
High winds were forecast for a long time so we made the choice to recover at BC; this is always a tough decision and it means we have a much longer (3 days more) lead time for summitting, but we are hoping our paid weather forecast service will come up with a summit window early enough in advance to get back and prepare.
Julian flew, Paul trekked and Sukhi suffered an 8 hour trek down, but everyone made it back to the Arun Base Camp. Thick air!
We are sharing the Arun base camp in a deal not worth explaining here; luckily some of them are further down the road at New Tingri, so at BC are the two Norwegian women, the Team A-Long-goni (Ogawa) x4, and of course us.
7 May - Jamie to BC
Looking at the forecast, I grew more and more worried; in 2003 there was serious camp-destroying winds, and rethinking I talked thru the sherpas and Tibetans about our preparations, most of the barrels in the dining tent, extra guying for the kitchen tent and what to do with the personal tents - pull out the poles. Hope it doesn't get that bad, but it pays to be prepared here. Dorje and Da'Nuru, our Tibetan staff will look after our ABC camp, the sherpa team returned to BC.
We also have tents at North Col, left well iced in, and should be OK, everything inside packed up in bags too, and the sherpas from Arun will have a look at ours if they go up to check theirs...
With this on my mind I set off for BC later, but... As they say, "Life is random", for the iPod Shuffle. What a way to relax and trek alone, taking pictures, and those views.
In the evening another way of relaxing was Scott's bottle of whiskey, which between us, almost lasted the distance. Drunken Chessell came over a bit late for that, but by the rumours from Russell's party and to what he actually admitted to - "You Russian pussies don't know how to drink vodka" - perhaps he shouldn't drink again!
7-8 May - bikies come to see us
Well, they really asked to see Jamie but that didn't stop the drooling. Jamie said that they weren't any different from a bicycle frame, but almost everyone else begged to differ. Billi, who has a room in Jamie's house, her friends' Chrissy and Tina (from Argentina) showed up having biked from Lhasa with an unintended 200km detour due to road works and horrible corrugations, and were looking forward to a rest day here (although they were staying at Rongbuk). A funny time was had by all.
Base Camp really is a different world far removed from ABC, gone are the nagging appetite problems, the occasional breathlessness and also the cold, or at least relatively. we can sit in the canvas dining tent and keep warm with down jackets on until at least 8:30 in the evening; in ABC our dining tent, with gas lamp 'heater' would get to around 5C, warm we thought, but cold knees were always a problem, and hot water bottles now optional only.
Life is social too, as virtually all the teams are down here and there are temporary teahouses to meet in, beer doesn't taste so bad, and there is always Red Bull too, for a kick. Life is almost timeless here, but sometime we have to return to the mountain.
9 May - the winds truly arrive
On 7 May fearsome winds ripped off Everest and the North Col; on the 8th Everest looked calmer, and on the 9th we were beginning to worry that the jet stream forecasts might not be true; the mountain was stunning, a dark sky without a single cloud, and and only the occasional snow plume, but Temba and Dawa brought the news that the KE sherpas could not even get above North Col due to extreme wind; deceptive.
We had a meeting to discuss our summit approach, oxygen plans, and when we will leave BC for ABC. The weather situation, with serious jet stream winds predicted for many days, means we will stay in BC for at least a few days more before beginning the final push up the mountain. As always our plans remain flexible.
10 May - Rongbuk?
Some of us plan to trek to Rongbuk - good fitness work - for a small puja. Julian will be going to a medical planning meeting.
Moe is feeling almost 100%, although the Spam Chilli of 9 May almost set him off again. Again life is 'kinda random'. Having been sick in BC for 4 days, Dawa, the manager for the Arun base camp that we are using, gave Moe some medicine. Not the sort of medicine Jamie or Julian might have proscribed, but it fixed Moe, so far at least. It is for Amoebic Dysentery, which is approx 1% of cases of diarrhoea in Kathmandu. We are hopeful!
Sukhi is recovered from the long walk from ABC to BC and will trek down to Rongbuk Monastery on 10 May with part of the team and sherpas for another puja before heading up on the summit push. She really wants to summit 'early', by 15 May but the weather is not being kind, and it is very likely she summits later than this.
Team Ogawa - spies in BC
The weather reports saga - we give the team the latest ExplorersWeb (adventureweather.com) forecasts, the free weather forecasts put out by an EU organization, but the temptation to spy on our (Project Himalaya's) paid forecasts is proving too much. There are a considerable number of chocolate bars at stake.
Al (the fifth member of the team) will come to BC tomorrow, 10 May, probably; he apologizes for not reading his email but will tomorrow, after his recovery journey to New Tingri's 'stunning' hotel.
The team also has their own site you can look up: everest.myblogsite.com.
Team KE leaders
We watched the Indian Air Force being challenged by the KE Leaders to horse shoes. As 5 minute spectators, we have been challenged too!
© Jamie McGuinness - Project-Himalaya.com - 2005