Thursday, April 16, 2009

Stretching the Legs.. and Arm

5300 m 5300 m - HimEx Everest Base Camp - Since the Puja Ceremony and my last dispatch we have had a couple of interesting yet fun days. On April 14 Russell Brice led our first team meeting here at base camp. Other than basic camp logistics he laid out plans for the next couple of weeks. We have been divided into 3 climbing teams for Lobuche (6119 m). The first team left today and will begin climbing tomorrow with summit day on the 18th, the day I will leave here for my own summit attempt on Lobuche. Tomorrow we will be training on ladders with crampons as well as steep ice climbing here in the Khumbu ice flow. We will likely repeat this process a second time.

All of this training is essential so that we are as fit and ready as possible to enter the Khumbu icefall on our way to Camp 1 and ultimately into the Western Cwm (pronounced Coom) and Camp 2.. The latter process will be repeated with the addition of Camp 3 up the steep Lhotse Face. A lot of climbing to come! I will obviously provide you more details in future dispatches.

I got my Wisconsin Cheese Wedge Hat out and had the team, including the sherpas and base camp staff sign them. As you can see by the photo attached, the staff has enjoyed the new UV protection! I have also been working with Phurba Tashi, our lead Sirdar or Sherpa (14 successful Everest summits) regarding the logistics of deforming the yaks (likely to start down at Lobuche) and checking on their overall health (see picture, Phurba Tashi is assisting). I know my friend and colleague Denny Hausmann, D.V.M. with Alpharma Animal Health will appreciate that picture!

I took a short trek up to around 18,000’ (5500m) on a nearby peak. From there the views of Everest and the neighboring peaks were incredible. Everest towers over everything nearby, a daunting but inviting task at hand.

I’m not sure when the next dispatch will be due to the hectic schedule over the next 5 days but I will try my best to keep all of you posted on our progress. Take Care.