The waiting game begins
Jamie hammers Moe, we sleep the night out en route to ABC
13 May - Jamie and Moe to ABC
Was it Moe's lucky day? Probably not. Feeling good for the first two hours, Moe hit a small wall as Jamie caught up. Passing Interim Moe remarked the Russian tents looked really good, and we had friends staying there, Ivan and Yuri, and Jamie knows the sherpas. But Jamie said lets push it. And push it Moe did.
Danuru arrived momentarily later having taken not even two hours from ABC to Interim with a flask of hot orange juice and carried Moe's pack from that point on.
The walk from BC to ABC takes at least two days the first time, it is approx 26kms and an altitude gain from BC at ~5160m to Interim at around 5780m to ABC at 6400m. You can feel proud if you can walk it in a day once into the expedition, and if you can do it comfortably you are definitely acclimatized and not a slow walker.
Why were we pushing it? First, well-acclimatized, one would hope, the hard exercise might help us acclimatize some more, a medically debatable point for some, but it definitely works for others. Second I have a feeling that we all got sick from Interim camp last time, even though the crew were careful, and definitely didn't want a repeat. And thirdly, many people don't know just how hard they are going to have to push for the summit, and this will show them that they might be able to do it, and at least that they can push harder than they thought.
At Changtse BC, which is three-quarters of the way, Moe and I debated whether to stay there but our radio communication was strangely tenuous; at ABC I found the sherpas had hooked up the radio and coaxial cable but had forgotten to reassemble the aerial! Thank goodness they didn't blow the system, and it even partially worked, with the cable to the aerial acting as an aerial. So we pushed on slowly and made Lhakpa Ri BC, only 10-20 minutes from ABC, but Moe was stuffed, so we sent Danuru to get an extra sleeping bag, tent etc, and we camped there, no problem.
We woke to a windy morning and after a quick pack were in ABC 15 minutes later, back to the warm comfort of our dining tent.
Over breakfast we learned Paul had had a reasonably good day up from BC to ABC, although still found the last quarter tough; Sukhi had found it much tougher but had got to ABC before dark. Well done!
The wind is raging off the summit and even North Col, and big gusts are coming thru camp. Namgyal was going to drop a load to 7700m today but it is not a suitable day; yesterday with more moderate winds it had been tough going up to North Col.
We have picked up new forecasts and it is clear that although the mountain might be wind-free some mornings, there is not yet any sign of a real summit window. The jet stream is still over the region and our paid forecast says it could stay for the foreseeable future. The free forecast is more generous and perhaps more in tune with the fluctuating summit winds, but as the forecast changes rapidly, it is still relatively little use in helping with a summit bid. Looking outside and chancing it would be similar, but on Everest this is risky, especially with a team, rather than just an individual who may be better able to judge their condition and turn around.
Team Ogawa-Boealps Seattle
They, and Julian and Dawa, were planning to hike up to ABC today but we hope that they have listened to the wind and postponed until tomorrow (although the forecast is for perhaps similar winds).
© Jamie McGuinness - Project-Himalaya.com - 2005