Thursday, April 27, 2017

Talked to Anders last night at C2....i prepare to leave ebc

Garrett arranged a nice surprise last night as i was able to talk via radio to Anders up at C2, around 21,500 feet.  He sounded in great spirits and his voice was clear and strong.  We chatted for a while and he told me about his trip from ebc to C2 yesterday.  It took about 10, 10 and a half hours as it was a bit more crowded early, in the lower Ice Fall.  They were delayed a bit and it was quite cold.  They were prepared for the cold of course and things eventually got moving more quickly.

Overall, a pretty smooth trip through the Ice Fall (their third of six, but who's counting?).  It was a lot of work of course and all four of them took naps up at C2.  When I talked to them last night (about 7:30 pm local) they were about to get a quick bite to eat and go back to sleep for the night.  Today will be an easy day for them, with probably a short (2 hours) hike up by C2 and then tomorrow they will climb the Lhotse Face for the first time and do a short visit to C3 before returning to C2 for the night.  They rest up at C2 and then return to ebc on My 1st, Anders' 31st birthday....not your typical celebration for sure!

Anders will get our sat phone today so hopefully we can get some updates from him over the next few days as well....

Meanwhile back at ebc, i got up about 6 and packed up all my belongings in my two big duffels.  i put my big puffy jacket and sleeping pad in Anders tent as he had brought his with him up to Camp 2 and this way he could leave them there for the next rotation.  I had a little bittersweet reaction as the reality of my imminent departure became more starkly real.  I'm going to miss my "little" buddy!

Anyways, breakfast here shortly and then I'm off on what will no doubt be a memorable helicopter ride down the Khumbu.  Hopefully, my next update will be from Katmandu.

Onward and Upward (or Downward in my case)!

This pic from their first rotation:

This is from yesterday morning as they prepared to leave for C2 around 3:30 am:

Anders and team successfully transit to Camp Two

I haven't heard any of the details yet, but I did just hear that Anders and team successfully made it all the way from EBC to Camp Two and that they had done so by our lunch (1 pm) or perhaps earlier.  I'll update with more details when i hear them.

My helicopter to Katmandu is scheduled for about 9am in the morning.  I'll probably get there a little after noon as we have to take on a fuel a couple of times on the way down--the helicopter needs to be really light to get this high so it will have limited fuel when it picks me up.  My flight out to the states is scheduled for 4/30 so with any luck, I'll have a day in Katmandu on the 29th.

After breakfast, I went out for a solo hike as all the guides/climbers were resting from their rotations and the sherpas were moving loads up the mountain.  I elected to climb up on the lower slopes of Pumori and did a modest rock scramble along with some normal trekking.  I was on the trail for a total of 2:41 and traveled 2.3 miles, climbing and descending a modest 630 feet.  I was just interested in getting a little exercise after two rest days and was also quite careful in the scramble.  The climb gave me some outstanding views of the SouthEast Ridge of Everest as well as the South Summit and the Summit proper.  Looks pretty steep....(I'll post some more pictures later).

more later.....

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Anders starts 2nd Rotation

Anders and i had a nice afternoon yesterday.  We hung out, exchanged pictures and videos from our trip so far, and attended to some organizing activities for his next rotation.  I prepared a little camera kit so the he could take over use of my Sony a7rii for his 2nd and Summit rotations.  I'm also going to leave a couple pieces of my gear to help with his management of gear at multiple locations on the mountain.

He and the other three climbers in his group were up about 2:30 am and i got up and joined them for a little bit.  i had trouble sleeping, probably due to his rotation and also thinking about my logistics as i prepare to leave Everest.  We could see the lights of other climbers already up on the Ice Fall, even at that early hour.  We said good byes and I hugged the guys.  They went off to breakfast and started climbing around 3:30, and with any luck they should be to Camp 2 by noon (about 5 hours from the time of this post).

It's a beautiful morning to climb.  Clear, quite cold (which is good for Ice Fall stability), and light wind.  I'll update on their progress as I hear about it.

I'm also going to attend to my travel plans this morning.  Hopefully, I'll helicopter down to Katmandu tomorrow morning and travel back to the US on Sunday the 30th.

More later!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Morning Constitutional to Gawk at the Ice Fall

Our lazy day at Base Camp continues.  After a nice breakfast, i spent a little time organizing my tent and duffels (getting ready to leave) and then went for a 90 minute (round trip) walk up to the very beginning of the Ice Fall.  It's a crisp, cool and a bit breezy day.  I took a bunch of pictures with my 10mm and my telezoom.  Here are several of them:

Here is a telephoto view of the top of the Ice Fall with Everest proper peeking around the West Shoulder: 

Same picture but zoomed out to give a little perspective:

And further zoomed out (note the smoother "white space" just to the left and lower than the center point--just over the ridge in the foreground--I'll zoom to it in the picture below):

Here is a 300mm close-up on the "white space" in the above picture--you can see quite a few climbers negotiating an easier section of the Ice Fall (re-look at the above pictures and this should give you some sense of the huge scale we are talking about here):

 Some other climbers a little higher up:

And finally a pulled back panoramic shot:

Onward and upward!

Midnight at Base Camp

Before I update you on yesterday afternoon, I thought I'd share with you a couple of the pics I took last night.  I wanted to shoot EBC under the stars after dinner but a big cloud bank rolled in.  I went to bed and awoke about 12:15 am and peeked out of the tent and saw a clear sky so I scrambled out of the tent and shot a bunch of pics.  There was a lot of light pollution at the camp but I was able to get some good pictures.  Here's a couple:

Back to yesterday.  We really had a nice time hanging around yesterday.  I really like our team and we sat around cracking jokes, telling stories and mostly laughing.

The 2nd climbing team came down and I spent some time talking to Passang Padowa who is Tsewang's father.  He is a quite accomplished climber having summited Everest 19 times.  His brother-in-law, and Tsewang's uncle, Ang Dorje came over and we talked about the Everest route this year and Tsewang's and my walk-about.  Ang is a renowned climber.  He was the lead Sherpa for Rob Hall and Adventure Consultants back in 1996 (Into Thin Air).  He undertook a heroic effort to try to save Rob in the teeth of the storm--ultimately unsuccessful.

Ang has summited Everest 18 times as well.  Pretty heady stuff talking to the two of them!

Anyways, another rest day today for Anders and I.  Anders and team will leave for their second rotation early tomorrow morning (around 3) with the intent of going all the way to Camp 2.  I'll leave here Friday morning for Katmandu unless the weather dictates that I leave tomorrow....

more later! 

Some pictures from Anders' first rotation

Here are a few pictures from Anders and his teammates' first rotation up to Camp Two:

Here Anders puts tension on the two safety ropes as Geoff crosses a crevasse on one of the many ladders on the route:

John crossing a double ladder:

These are the "bread loaves" that stretch for about a mile before the team's arrival at Camp One.  to get past these, the team has to climb down and up about 40 feet.  Very challenging:

More of the bread loaves with the Lhotse Face leading to Camp three in the distance:

Anders eye view of one of his crevasse crossings:

Anders weaving his way through the Ice Fall:

Monday, April 24, 2017

Easy day at Base Camp

An absolutely stunner of a day here at Base Camp.  Brilliant blue skies and you can actually sit outside with just a t-shirt.

Today was another rest day for Anders and team.  Also for me.  I got up around 6am and went to the main tent around 7 and spent my time organizing and charging my various electronic devices.  We had a "lazy" breakfast, just hanging around chatting.  About 10, I went out for an easy hour walk on into the Khumbu Glacier and took some vids/pics for the folks back home.  I also took advantage of the great weather to get a delightful shower in.

I'm just hanging with Anders in the main tent before lunch...easy day, recharging the physical batteries

Anders is going back up on Rotation Two on the 27th and I'm taking a helicopter out on the 28th...

Here are a couple of pics from my stroll today: