A successful first rotation. Everyone is back at base camp after spending 2 nights at Camp 1 and hiking up to Camp 2 (6600m). The next 2 days will be a rest to recoup, before beginning round 2. Base camp is getting busier with more friends and teams arriving on a daily basis. The doctors and staff from the Himalayan Rescue Association joined us for dinner this evening. Climbing is only half the expedition experience...gas bagging and socialising is the other.
After enjoying 2 nights at Camp 2, Margaret, Warren, Chris and Peter are now back at base camp. The Canadians are heading up to Camp 2 today. It's been snowing daily for the last few days, and the forecast is snow for the rest of the week.
We've had a relaxing day at base camp. The Canadian Lhotse team are up at Camp 2, their last rotation for this season. Unfortunately time is tight for them so they are heading back to Kathmandu via heli on the 25th. The rest of the team (Margaret, Warren, Chris and Peter) are preparing for the Camp 3 rotation due to start around Thursday.
The team left at 2am this morning for Camp 2 (6600m). They are still enroute to camp at this moment. They will sleep there and will move onto Camp 3 (7200m) as soon as the lines are fixed. The plan is to sleep at Camp 3 for at least 1 night before dropping back to Camp 2, and then base camp (around Tuesday 30th).
Finally we're at Camp 3 and we're the first team to sleep the night here. It's not exactly pleasant at 7200m on the Lhotse face, but we're here! Everyone reached camp by 2pm (Margaret, Warren, Chris, Peter, Lakpa, Ang Kaji, Dendi and Pasang).
Lakpa left this morning with Margaret, Warren, Chris and Peter to climb to Camp 1. They are sleeping there tonight and will move to Camp 2 tomorrow for the night. They will be back in base camp on Saturday after completing their second rotation.
We left Camp 3 early this morning and we enjoyed the delights of Anil's cooking (at 6600m!) back in Camp 2. After breakfast, we climbed back down and now everyone is back at base camp. That's it, the final rotation is DONE! And now we rest and wait.
The boys finished setting up the 2 C4 and dropped off oxygen loads last week. Our original plan was to head up to C2 tomorrow, on the tail of the Everest summit fixing team (Lhotse is all set), to start our summit bid. However now timing is a tad uncertain given the winds expected during our summit dates. This could mean waiting a few extra days. The team have been resting at base camp for the last week (DVDs, internet and Chris baking her traditional desserts in the kitchen), and are now itching to get moving. Given the high prevalence of gastric bugs lurking in the Khumbu this season, we kept the team at base camp for their rest. At this stage of the game, you can't afford to develop any kind of symptom, not a sniffle, and certainly not loose bowels.
Yesterday we heard unconfirmed bad news that another Sherpa has died. This makes 2 men in a short span of time. The first man a few days ago was a former Tengboche lama and a Phortse local, his death may have been due to natural causes at C3. And now yesterday, a young lad in his late teens. Our guides remember him well as a social happy fellow. Although we have our climbing objectives in mind, moments like these remind us to reflect on our lives, those in it and those who have touched us even if momentarily.
Our team of Lakpa, Margaret, Warren, Chris and Peter reached Camp 2 in good time today. Everyone is feeling strong and healthy, and they are now enjoying the comforts of Camp 2 on the Western cwn plateau. They will spend tomorrow night also at Camp 2 to further facilitate their acclimatisation.