Thursday, January 10, 2013

Some Better News From Camp 2

Randy just called to let me know his is doing much better, thank God!   If you read my last blog entry, you know that his oxygen level had dropped pretty low.  I now know a lot more about this then I ever needed to before, but "healthy" oxygen levels are between about 96 and 99%.  That level drops in higher altitudes, but they want to see measurements over 80%. Anders' oxygen level is at 98% right now, so he seems to be acclimatizing incredibly well so far.  But last night, Randy's level had dropped to 58%, and he and Anders monitored it all night to make sure it was on the rise.

The good news is that right now it is 75%.  "Plan B" if his oxygen didn't rise during the night was for Randy to go back to Base Camp today.

You know Randy is a "stat" guy, so I'll record this for his future reference:

Time               Oxygen Saturation
8pm                        58%
11:30pm                 62%
2:30am                   63%
5:00am                   64%
7:00am                   65%
8:30am                   71%
10:00am                 75%

This morning the team had a meeting to review all the options for the next few days. They take into account the health and stamina of all the climbers, and the updated weather forecast.  They all feel (the guides, Randy and Anders, and the doctor who happens to be one of the climbing partners), that Randy is fine, and there is no need for him to descend to Base Camp.  Mother Nature, though, is throwing a bit of a curve, and on Sunday (the 13th), they are expected to get a foot of snow.  Then it will snow for a few days.  There previous "summit window" plan had been Jan 13th - 15th.

So here's the updated plan:

  • The three stellar guides (including the junior guide who has never been this high before) took off with 100 pounds each to move the gear up to Camp 3!  Then they'll backtrack to Camp 2.
  • The rest of the team will have a much needed rest day at Camp 2.
  • They will all move to Camp 3 (19,200ft) tomorrow with much lighter loads.  This is the Highest Camp, from which they attempt summit.
  • Looks like they will move the Summit Day up and try to summit on Saturday, Jan 12th, to beat the snow
  • Very likely not all of the team will attempt the summit.  This will be a "game day" decision
As you might imagine, I just had a very frank talk with Randy about whether he should summit.  I'm happy to say, he is being very reasonable and practical about this.  He is so happy to be there with Anders.  He feels great that he's overcome a number of obstacles and climbed higher than ever before.  He knows that altitude can effect anyone, no matter how fit, prepared, and strong-willed they are - all of which he we all know he is!  And he would never want to hold the team back if he felt he couldn't ascend as quickly as the rest of them.  He is thrilled that Anders is coping so well, but like any loving parent, I know he would in a minute forgo his chance to summit if he thought Anders could!  So if it ends up he has to sit at Camp 3 while part of the teams attempts the 12 hour roundtrip summit, he is okay with that.  

Now, you all know Randy, so I'm not completely counting out a call tomorrow telling me he's planning to try.  His lead guide, Ty, told him that he's summited with climbers who were at 80% oxygen that were "a wreck", and others in the 60's who were fine.  So, it all remains to be seen, plus the weather can always take a turn and plans can change.  All I know is that, like Randy, I am breathing a bit easier today!  






1 comment:

michael stricklin said...

All good new except for impending snow....hope the Gods slow it down...now is the time to create that snow deity...as in antiquity...and let her do her good work!