|The five ladder crevass|
So the icefall took me five and a half hours to get through to camp 1 which is ok for the first time. Dawa however on his own does it in three! He is a machine and that is carrying a load. Hopefully i will get faster as i get more acclimatised. The first half i was all excited and i thought it was really pretty walking through all the blocks of ice. I thought the ladders were fun and it was an adventure but the second half was just bloody hard work and i couldnt wait for it to be over as i was totally exhausted! You go up 800mt in altitude through all this and it is so winding god knows how far you actually walk. Lets just say it feels a really long way but from the camp it doesnt look so long.
|The icefall and the Lhotse face in the background|
It took us two and a half hours to get to camp 2 from camp 1 which isnt so bad. Camp 1 is at 6100mt and camp 2 is at 6500mt...well our camp is anyway because it is one of the highest. It is not so much up as it is along. It is a really long way along the western cwm and so flat that we didnt bother wearing crampons. It seems like you just dont get closer and there are lots of sherpa carrying loads back and forth. The worst part is you can see the camp from ages away but you cant focus on it or its just depressing as it never seems to get any nearer. I just look up every half an hour so i actually have made a bit of progress! Next time i am listening to my ipod to take my mind off it. For the first hour before the sun hit i was freezing, with primaloft pants, my down jacket and heaps of layers on. I couldnt feel my feet either as they were frozen. However as the sun hit it became hotter and hotter until i just had tights and a light jacket left on and i was still sweating! From the western cwm you can see lhotse, nuptse and the lhotse face to camp 3 on everest. I was very surprised to look up at everest and see that it is mostly rocks and not much snow from this side. It actually looked like a bigger version of what aconcagua looks like from the horcones base camp. There is ice up the lhotse face however and it looks really steep! Willie said that they have to make over one hundred v thread anchors in it to put up the fixed ropes! What a job! The sherpas from the larger expeditions do this and i will be extremely grateful to just clip into these lines and jug up them!! Infact everyone will be i am sure.
We left our loads where dawa already had the tents. Then we hiked a little higher to see dawas neighbour from Thame who was working in the alpine ascents kitchen tent. He stored our sleeping bags in his tent as it would be better for them incase it snowed while we were away. We had a quick cup of tea then headed back down to camp 1. Wow so easy going down! I practically ran most of the way. I saw my friend mike again walking up with his group to stay at camp 2. When we got back after probably only half an hour, we had to pack the tent up and leave it there. Glad to never use that crap tent again! Epic fail nepalese tent....well it did actually survive the night... I met some more folk including a guy called gavin from newcastle australia who was guiding three people from the Uk and they gave us some hot juice before we headed back down the icefall again.
|Dawa descending the icefall|
By this time i was so tired. Dawa kept saying that i had to move faster through certain sections of the icefall but it wasnt possible for me! It was lunchtime now and really hot so dawa just wanted to get to where it is not so dangerous around half way down. I didnt see much of him at the top which meant i did some of the ladders on my own, getting a bit more professional now! One of the crevasses had got bigger since the day before and they had to add another ladder to it. I was amazed looking around to see that the icefall had actually changed in one day and alot of seracs had fallen over to the side of the track. Pretty scarey really. The sherpa dont like the icefall and whenever i ask them what they think is the the worst thing about their job they all say going through the icefall and i can certainly see why.
As we got closer to camp we could relax more and it took around three hours from camp 1 to make it back down to base. By this time i was so hungry for lunch and totally exhausted. I definately had an awesome sleep that night!
So that was the first mission for me up the mountain and it was hard work but amazing at the same time. Everything that mounatineering is i guess. One minute it is absolutely horrible and you wonder why the hell you are there, then the next it is all beautiful views and the achievement of arriving at camp. What a sport! As i have always said, the greater the challenge, the higher the reward. At the same time though it sure can be alot of suffering!
So just back at base now and we have had some bad weather the last few days. Alot of snow and today it is very windy. Dawa wanted to take loads to camp 2 for us the last two nights but hasnt managed to get out of the camp. So i just hang and watch movies. There are three other brazilians at camp now and one is called Cid Ferrari. He is a client and is on the seven summits journey and this will be six. After everest he justs needs to climb carstenez and koscuisko as no one can decide which is the proper summit... Anyhow he is a really cool guy and gave me chocolate for easter yesterday. He also has loads of movies to watch on his laptop and we watched this horrible series last night that gave me nightmares so i am just going to watch fun movies from now on!!
|Lots of snow back at base camp|
So apparently they have now fixed the lhotse face to camp 3 so dawa and i will go up again in the next couple of days. This time i will go all the way to camp 2 and then have a rest day. Then we will move to camp 3 which is 7300mt. Hopefully by then the lines to the south col will be fixed. I want to just go up there and spend around an hour hanging around before coming all the way back down again to base. It will be super windy still as the wind doesnt die down until early may but it will help me acclimatise to try without the supplementary oxygen. At this stage i dont know if i can do it and i wont really know until the day i guess. It will just depend on how i feel at the time, how cold it is, alot of things. We are going to have it there anyhow just incase i need it. Dawa will use it and he is going to use it when we sleep at the south col too. I have no doubt he could do it without as he is so strong but it is more important that he is strong for me on summit day so its safer for him to use it.
Ok well back in Gorek Shep to use the net again. I just had a big steak, chips and vegetable meal to get the power to walk back to base camp! I have to say that all this time above 5000mt is starting to get tiring even when i dont do anything. I will write again after the next trip up the mounatin. Thanks for the support and to all my friends and family....I miss you guys soooo much!!!