Thursday, January 23, 2014

News from Camp One:

Here's a little bit more info about last day and a half:

Early yesterday morning (Wednesday) Randy's tent mate, Bissel, woke him up to say he wasn't feeling well, had talked to the guides, and had decided to head back down the mountain.  He had started to have chest pains during the night.  So one of the guides, Mike King, escorted Bissel down to Base Camp.  There, the doctors checked him out and determined he was suffering from HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema).  They hoped to helicopter him from Base Camp down the mountain, since HAPE can be very serious, but it was too windy for a chopper.   So they transported him by mule the rest of the way down . Randy thought Bissel should be fine since he is now in Mendoza getting the emergency medical attention that HAPE requires.   He said that Bissel (at 52) was a much more experienced mountaineer than he is, but the reality is that no one can predict when their body just can't handle the extreme altitude.  So thankfully Bissel was smart enough to recognize that he needed to descend and get help.

After Mike and Bissel left, the rest of the team did a very windy carry to Camp Two at 18,000 ft.  They carted a bunch of gear up, stowed it, and hiked back down to sleep at Camp One.  Randy felt pretty good during the hike which took about 6 hours in total.  His only complaint is a mild bout of indigestion, but he attributed that to some pretty unappetizing Indian lentil dish from the night before, and by the time I talked to him tonight, he was feeling better.

He now has a new tent mate, another climber coincidently named Randy (also in his 50's), who had been sharing a tent with his two sisters.  The two Randy's have spent a great deal of time yesterday and today hunkered down in their tent as they wait for the battering winds to die down.  They're passing the time with backgammon, books, rummy and naps.   Last night the winds were "just screaming" according to Randy, and they had to get up twice because the wind snapped their guide rope.  The guide rope is extremely important as it keeps their tent from flying off the mountain.  Randy described his new roommate as the "Kung Fu" of camping, and said thank God he was able to ingeniously repair the rope in the middle of the night, while Randy (our Randy that is) laid in the back of the tent to keep it from going airborne.  I realize as I'm writing this that the Randy and the new Randy thing is going to get a little confusing! Who's on first.....?

So here's the plan.  Hopefully tomorrow the weather gods will be kind and the winds will have abated somewhat.  If so, they plan to move everything to Camp 2 (Friday), rest a day there (Saturday), climb up to Camp Three (Sunday) and potentially attempt a summit on Monday.  Randy is planning to use a porter again for both carry days, as are a few other members of his team.  They had 7 "weather days" built into their schedule, and so far they have used 5 of them.  So they really need to catch a break and make some progress up the mountain.  You can see below how the wind forecast looks for the week, still blustery the next couple days, but ebbing a bit by Sunday.  Actually Tuesday looks like the best summit day, but Randy said that head guide JJ doesn't think they should wait that long if they get a chance on Monday.  They only have so many days they can wait around, with a set amount of food and inability to stay at those altitudes indefinitely.

Good news is that the 3rd guide Mike is rejoining them in their ascent to Camp Two tomorrow.  Randy said that will be really helpful, as Camp Two will be crowded with all the teams that are waiting for wind to die down, meaning they will probably have to dig out an area for their tent sites when they arrive.  Other good news is Randy continues to feel pretty good and strong and is staying in a positive frame of mind!  So time will tell if they get a chance to try to summit!

1 comment:

Dave said...

No mention of Bocce after this, Russia, and Kona ?