Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Return to Base Camp

We set off from Camp Two at 5.30am and walked down the Westen Cwm. It was a beautiful clear morning and we had the glacier to ourselves. In the distance the sun was rising over on Pumori whilst a cool wind drove against our backs having swept down the icy Lhotse face. It was one of those mornings to savour and well worth the discomfort of such an early start.

An hour earlier we had packed away and damp and ice rimmed sleeping bags, deflated our thermarests and tidied up our tents. All this just in case they get hit by an avalanche. Apparently it's easier to find your belongings if they are in stuff sacs.

We made it down to Camp One in about an hour and left our walking poles in the one tent we have remaining there and donned our helmets.

I was beginning to wonder were all the Sherpas where as by this stage we hadn't passed any which I thought odd. I needn't have fretted as within 45 minutes there was a steady stream of them slowly but surely making their way up through the ice fall.
Photo of a triple ladder spanning a deep crevasse (top). A subsequent avalanche changed the route. I was standing on a snow bridge when I took it (not for long though!).
We made it back to BC in a little over 3 hours and once again Adam had prepared a cooked breakfast for us.

David announced that we would be here for at least six days perhaps up to ten or twelve depending upon how the rope fixing and supply of Camp Four go. It also depends upon a suitable weather window. We do have the option of going down to one of the lower villages to enjoy some richer oxygenated air but I think most of us are going to stay here.

It's just below 5500m so our bodies shouldn't deteriorate and we are pretty well acclimatised to this height. Secondly Adam's food is much better than in the lodges.

We will make day trips to ensure we don't get 'bed sores' just lying around in BC.

Indeed after some much needed washing tomorrow I'm popping down to Gorak Shep to get some good Internet access and to perhaps add a couple of books to my Kindle.

David has said that we don't need to go back up to Camp Three before our summit bid as he would rather we all get as strong as possible ready for the 'toughest five days of your life!'.

Two or three days I know I can cope with. Five without adequate food and rehydration - well we will have to see.

So that leaves me with a bit of a quandary - how am I going to keep you interested in my endeavours when the next week or so is going to be spent here at BC? Suggestions please!

Personally I'm glad of the rest period as hopefully it'll allow me to get over my stomach bug.

Scary as it sounds the next time we venture up through the icefall we will hopefully be on our way to the summit!


  1. The obvious suggestion is "watch Top Gun".

    1. Thanks Helen. The guys seem to be more into Spartacus at the moment!

  2. Paul, wimborne, Dorset UK8 May 2012 at 20:35

    Ian, have been following this brilliant blog from the start; trekked into EBC late on Sun 22/4, then left on Wed 24th/4. Came looking for you,met adam in the E.R tent who said you were at Camp2; Keep the blog going,stay safe,words cant express the enormity or the rugged beauty of the Khumbu. Looking forward to your summit day reports.total respect.

    1. Paul, thank you so much for coming to try and find me when you visited BC. Really appreciate it. Sorry we were up in Camp Two. Glad you like the blog and it's great to have so much support.