Sunday, 27 May 2012

Back in Base Camp!

This morning was really hard work both physically and mentally.

Nobody seemed to have slept well, whether this was because we were over tired or the anticipation of going through the ice fall once more. Especially as Adele, who had summited Lhotse the same day as us, had already gone down to BC the previous day, and warned us of how unstable the ice had become and that parts had been re-routed. All kinds of thoughts sprang to mind - so you climb the highest mountain in the world and them get crushed in an avalanche! Needless to say we took it very gently through the ice fall (perhaps not the best tactic but our legs literally wouldn't carry us quickly). Although it took an hour and a half longer than usual it was with great relief that reached our tents in one piece - well almost!

Muggins here is going to have a scar to remember his ascent by!

We had reached the edge of the ice fall and the morraine on which Everest Base Camp is situated where we always take our crampons off as our camp is about a 15 minute walk away over the rocks. Normally I put my crampons under the lid of my rucksack but today it was too full. I couldn't put them on the outside as I had my sleeping bag dangling off the front of it. (Not very professional I know but my pack was overflowing). So I was tired and lazy and thought, oh well it's not far I'll carry them in my hand. Well of course the inevitable happened I slipped about 20 m from the HRA tent and put a nice puncture wound in the palm of my right hand! It's about a 1 cm wide so I suspect it's about a 1 cm deep.

Rachel one of the doctors patched me up within about three minutes of it happening which is probably momentarily faster than a NHS walk in centre! So apart from feeling a right charlie (no change there then) my hand is fine with no numbness or tingling and fully fuctional (the last parts really for my Dad).

The afternoon was spent showering and packing. It's strange but now all I want to do is be back home and see the family (obviously don't tell them that or I'll be fleeced for something or other or probably three!).

The odd thing is it is only now that the enormity of what we have achieved is sinking in. I suspect a lot is to do with that we are now safely off the mountain and previously we were just mentally and physically too exhausted to think about anything except moving down hill.

I'm hoping to do the Camp Three to Four and summit blog tomorrow evening - 37 hours without sleep.


  1. Glad you are back in BC safe and sound Ian. It has been very exciting following your blog and your position on the map as you made it up the hill and back down. We are very pleased for you that you have achieved what you set out to do.

    I hope you have the summit photo - as well as the crampon puncture wound, to remind you of the trip!

  2. Congratulations Ian. Your blogs have been very infortmative and we have also been watching your GPS signals as you climbed the mountain. Very glad you achieved your dream and are back down on one piece. The wound will heal, but the memory will not fade.

    Klaus & Ang.

    1. Dear Klaus and Angela,

      Thank you do much for your kind comments over the last 9 weeks. It was great to meet you and I'm glad you've enjoyed the blog and following our progress.

      Best wishes


  3. Ian,
    Trust the wound heals up neatly and quickly.

    Thanks for your blog, tweets and SPOT locator - which attracted some following here in Ireland eg from a posting on Cian's Ireland to Everest Facebook site
    "Mark Quinn · 6 mutual friends
    That's amazing stuff! If you click terrain you can literally watch Ian climbing Everest, is bewildering sometimes. That's my evening sorted. Looking forward to good news of Cian's success and safe arrival back to South Col.
    24 May at 18:26 · Like"

    Watching your SPOT locator signals was totally absorbing, even if I did not know if your were with or near Cian.

    Safe home

    Donal O'Brolchain - Cian's Dad

    1. Dear Donal,

      Thankfully I don't think it's going to be a big scar, certainly not one I can brag about in the pub!

      I am really pleased so many people found the Spot2 so useful. I'd originally purchased it for my family to see where I was following one day, two years ago when I didn't contact them after descending from Camp Three on the north side by myself and not contacting them for 48 hours (I still haven't been forgiven!).

      I'm just pleased it worked so well. My youngest daughter had a party in her room at Uni whilst I know Warner's followers were apparently counting the last ten minutes down: 10, 9, 8, 7 etc. Little did they know that Warner had already summited 40 minutes earlier like Cian!

      Kind regards