Posts Tagged 'Khumbu Icefalls'

First Rotation

First and foremost Happy 21st Birthday to Alex!  Hope your day is terrific and we will celebrate in style once I return.  I’ll buy!

Resting here back at base after yesterday’s ‘dress rehearsal’ into the ice falls.  Seth and I went half way into the ice stopping at what is referred to as the ‘football field’ (I’m certain only the Americans refer to it as that).  The area is relatively flat (key word relatively) and a safe place in which to have a rest break after nearly 3.5 hours of hard vertical travel.  We were back at camp by about lunch time.  Time enough for me to head over to the medical facilities and get onto a study for the infamous “Khumbu Cough”.  Seems that a good percent of the climbers here at BC come down with a nagging cough that can lead to broken ribs and worse.  I’ve had it every time.  This year there is a medical study taking place and one can only be enrolled when one develops the cough.  Bingo! I’m in.  It is a double blind placebo study of a medication I get to inhale twice daily.  I cough constantly so who knows.

Tomorrow Seth and I will go for our first rotation.  A rotation is when a team leaves base camp and heads for one of the higher camps rotating back to base camp to regain strength and further acclimatization. In the next month we will try to have three rotations. We will once again leave at 4am to avoid the incredible heat once the sun rises and hits the ice fall.  We plan on staying at Camp 1 for three lovely nights.  Its far from life here at BC.

Just a tent, snow, ice and these huge mountains all around.  Besides sleeping and eating, a hike to Camp 2 and back it is not the liveliest spot.

Despite the weight, I plan on carrying my book and a deck of cards.  I’ve already asked Seth if he will help me take advantage of this time to learn to play a better hand of poker.  I think it is a requirement when on an all male team.

That’s it from here. Taking it a day at a time, one foot in front of the other, one cough at a time…

Wendy

Climb On!

Can You Say Ahhhhh

Yesterday was another acclimatization hike.  Seth and I left camp at about 9:30 am heading for Camp 1.  It was a nice hike since the terrain is different from down here in rock and ice.  Above Everest base camp along the Pumo Ri Ridge the landscape is a bit gentler with remnants of edelweiss and fall flowers amongst rocky outcroppings. Sounds so “Sound Of Music” doesn’t it?  Must be the edelweiss since that is the only similarity.  The terrain is steep and getting to that camp at about 19,000 feet was definately work.  I have to admit I am slowly acclimatizing and the hike felt good… well almost.

Not ten feet out base camp I slipped on some ice and went down onto my right knee.  After the initial feeling of passing out I limped into camp threw an ice pack on it, some antiseptic creme, a few bandaids and I think I’ll live.  Damn!  I always seem to take one step forward two steps back.

Tomorrow is dress rehearsal.  We will get up at 3 am, eat something at 3:30, and by 4 make our way into the icefalls.  Seth intends to see how things progress and if further acclimatization hikes are needed from there.  We will go about half way into the falls returning by late morning.  Not sure what I dread more – the ice falls or the 3 am wakeup call.  Either one… its going to hurt!

But today is rest, sunshine and a shower!  It has been over a week, and although it is a little odd to shower in a blue canvas tent with two Sherpa outside adjusting the water temperature and two more filling the water buckets asking you if everything is okay in there, the concept still delights me. Now I sit in my scrumptiously smelling tent with lotions and all that girlie-girl stuff I only break out on shower day.  I am clean, at least the layer closest to my body (as I work my way out the clothes do get dirtier and dirtier, but I won’t think about that).  For now all I can say is ahhhhh – and life certainly feels a little bit brighter way up here in the clouds.

Wendy

Climb On!

Altitude

Yesterday we ventured into the icefalls.  Our goal was to get to the first set of ladders, about an hour and a half of climbing through a labyrinth of ice, water and rock.  Wow did I have memories of last year.   I couldn’t believe that I was back so soon and all the pain and suffering came sweeping back.  It was a hard day for me.  Not certain if it is because I am not yet acclimatized or if I once again have become a tent potato, but yesterday nearly killed me.  I couldn’t catch my breath, find my rhythm, get into the groove… whatever it was it was eluding me.  I crawled back to my tent totally deflated and ready to pack it in.

It snowed last night.  Everest base camp is coated in white, and the rough rocks and jagged edges of this inhospitable world are softened.  The sun is out and the day is warm.  Seth and I are heading out for a hike to stretch the legs and get the lungs working.  I am hopeful for a better day than yesterday.  Guess I should look on the positive side, as Rob reminds me, I did achieve my goal and made it to the ladders, crossed many and returned shortly after the group.  To me it was a miserable experience.  Still this is Everest and misery is part of the territory now what am I going to do about it?

Time to dig in right?  Keep reminding me of that.

Wendy

Oh yes… Climb On!

Up the Lower Khumbu

Mark Tucker writing from Basecamp for RMI…

April 12, 2010
17,575 ft.

Namaste,

Mark Tucker sending you this update from Basecamp.

Our Sherpa team had great weather for their trip to Camp Two with a big hunk of supplies for the teams nest at that 21,500 ft camp. They started out at 4:00 am this morning and retuned to basecamp for lunch, these guys are tough.

The climbing team had a great day with a number of them getting their first taste of the Icefalls terrain and ladders. They went up the lower part, out of objective danger and perfected the techniques required for what will be there job for the up coming weeks. Another group went to the top of Kala Pattar, a near by trekking peak, at over 18,000 ft summiting without supplemental oxygen.

I spent a bunch of calories with about 60 people from many of the teams working on making a helicopter pad out of a glacier. Chopping ice, throwing rocks and moving boulders at 17,500 ft is a great test to see just how acclimatized you are.

Tomorrow Jeff Martin will head down valley starting his journey home to Ashford, WA. Jeff, more than anyone, has made this expedition become what it is, a top notch program, and a team to be proud of. This being my eleventh Everest Expedition I can say with great insight that the effort he has put in the planning and execution of this enterprise is superb. I forced him out onto the lower glacier for a few holes of wiffel golf this evening, it being our Masters Tournament, he opened a can of you know what on me, next time maybe I will whip him. The team wishes him safe travels and a big THANK YOU!

Cheers!


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About Wendy Booker

In June of 1998, this 55 year old mother of three was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS after experiencing balance problems, blurred vision and numbness on her left side. When first diagnosed, Wendy was devastated. But it took very little time for her to transform anguish into inspiration. She immediately turned her hobby of casual running into a continuous pursuit and has now completed nine marathons.

Mountain climbing became the next conquest. Wendy learned about a team of mountain climbers with Multiple Sclerosis who were attempting to climb Mt. McKinley (Denali) in Alaska. With no previous climbing experience, she dedicated a year to hard training and set off with them in 2002. Although weather conditions prohibited the team from completing, Wendy attempted the summit again in 2004 on her own and she succeeded!

The feeling of accomplishment she experienced propelled her next aspiration: to climb the highest mountain on each continent. Just five years later, Wendy Booker has successfully reached the top of six of The Seven Summits – Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. McKinley, Mt. Elbrus, Mt. Aconcagua, Mt. Vinson Massif and Mt. Kosciuszko. Mt. Everest, the highest mountain on earth, still awaits for 2010.