Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Back to Lobuche

5300m Himex Everest BC - Shortly after arriving back to our 'home away from home' yesterday, we were blessed with delicious pizza and jello for lunch. Afterwards it was a bird bath and shave, both of which felt great. Post-dinner we had another team meeting, this time in the Tiger Dome (aka White Dome). Not only were new climbing teams made but the next 5-6 days were laid out as well. Due to some recent avalanche and serac fall activity in the icefall Russell and our guides have agreed that we will head back down to Lobuche to climb again, yet this time we will go straight from Lobuche BC (4850 m) all the way to just above 6,000 meters where we will sleep for a night in two-man tents secured into snow platforms high on the summit ridge. This trip will condition us further, help improve our technical skills, and of course advance our acclimatization process. The goal: become fast and efficient when we finally step foot on Everest's flanks.

The first team is preparing to leave any minute for Lobuche BC. Tomorrow the team I am on will make the 12 K (~7 mile) trek back to Lobuche BC. The final team will leave on the 24th. If all goes as planned I will be back to Everest BC on the 25th followed by my remaining Everest teammates on the 26th. So we'll be out of touch again for a couple of days. This time I vow NOT to lose my camera! :) As expected, guide Hiro is making good on the 5 beers I owe him for finding it on the first Lobuche climb. A great guy who fully deserves each beer.

Speaking of my camera, I have included a photo taken today of David Tait and myself. Who is David? He is a gifted athlete and climber from England who has summited Everest twice. In fact, in 2007 (with Himalayan Experience) he did a complete traverse of the mountain going up the north side and down the south (this was televised by The Discovery Channel for their series, Everest-Beyond The Limit). He is back to try and summit without supplemental oxygen. Ironically David has assisted me with some hardware for my PDA which has allowed me to share photos with you from the start of this expedition. A big thank you to him as I am truly honored to be on the same team as him.

As I promised after our Puja ceremony on Easter Sunday, I am including a photo of our Sherpa staff. Over the past week they have carried up the mountain almost 2 ton of gear. All to make us more comfortable at camps 1 and 2 to start. The true power horses of the expedition. Without their support the degree of difficulty would be astronomical. Lucky for us, we'll each be partnered uup with these incredible young men. Today Phurba Tashi handed each one of us some barley/rice and a small tied nylon cord, all of which was blessed by a holy lama. The cord is now around my neck and the barley/rice is inside my backpack as both are meant for safe passage through the Khumbu Icefall. Very soon we will make that voyage on our way to camp 2 here on Everest.