Monday, April 20, 2009

Lobuche Success!

4850m Lobuche BC - We arrived back in Lobuche BC the afternoon of April 18th. It was great to see our teammates again as some had just come down from the summit of Lobuche while others (Team 2) were at Camp 1 about 500 meters above us on the eve of their own summit bid. The 19th found us making our way up towards Camp 1 which sits on a fairly smooth rocky terrace.We woke at 4:30 this morning and after boiling some water for a Ramen Noodle breakfast (carb load) we were on our way up the 700 meter vertical that would put us on top of Lobuche (6119 m or 20,192'). Only 50 meters into the climb and we donned crampons and ice axes. Another 200 meters (+/-) and we were clipped into fixed rope. Thank you to Phurba and the Sherpa staff for a great fixed line all the way to the summit.The climb itself was steep. 4 hours after leaving camp and a small crevasse to jump across on the final traverse/summit ridge I was standing on top of Lobuche! I had the honor of climbing with my Japanese colleagues (see summit photo) for the majority of the climb as we stayed pretty well in the middle of the pack. Our guides, Hiro and Shinji (see photo of Shinji and I on the summit) were wonderful. In fact, after leaving the summit my camera dislodged from its pouch which I did not discover until about 100 meters into the descent. On his way up Guide Hiro found it just prior to the crevasse! I told him down at base camp that he was my "Hero." We agreed that I would buy him at least 5 beers when we get back to our Everest base camp. A small price indeed. :) The views were breathtaking (see photo of Everest, another 2731 meters or 9,012 feet higher). And the icing on the cake? We all made it back down to Lobuche base camp safe and sound where we feasted on anything with sugar, along with french fries and Coke. Yummy! Tomorrow we will make the 3 hour trek back to our home away from home. Perhaps a shower and a shave awaits.I would like to say hi to my loved ones and friends back home. Imiss you and think of you often. From Lobuche BC, Namaste