Saturday, 24 April 2010

Calm before the Storm (plus photos!)

Pretty apprehensive right now- as of tomorrow the team is leaving base camp and heading up onto the hill for five or maybe six days. This could be our last rotation up high before the summit push- so the pressure is on to get it right, i.e. stay fit, acclimatise well and stash gear ready for entering the death zone- you really don’t want to get to camp four and realise you’ve forgotten an inner glove.

So we aim to be back down where the air is thick (base camp) on the 1st or 2nd May, this depends on whether we decide to sleep at camp 3. Sleeping at 3 isn’t necessary this time, but is an option that we are open to depending on how the team feels.

Yesterday we trekked down to Gorak Shep with David, who has unfortunately hung up his climbing boots this time due to not sleeping properly at altitude. Kenton and I are now the only Brits on the team. I am really sad to see David go as he always knew how to drum up everyone’s spirit and quite logically convince you that the summit was within your reach. Now that is gone, something is definitely missing at base camp.

We all left Gorak Shep in our own time- I spent quite a while in the internet café down there (facebook!), then made the trek back to BC alone. It felt good to go at my own pace- I went as fast as possible, as if the faster I went the easier it became to get over losing David from the team.

Within an hour I was back at the trekkers shrine to Everest base camp- it’s a plateau amongst the scree that looks down on BC. It marks the entrance for climbers, and gives the best views for trekkers. Apparently there is an un-written rule that trekkers are not supposed to pass this point, due to spreading coughs and colds that if caught, could potentially ruin a climber’s summit bid.

I almost fell foul of this rule yesterday as I walked straight past the shrine and headed down the track towards camp. I was instantly stopped by a trekking guide, our conversation went something like:

‘Where are you going?’

‘Base camp?’

‘Base camp is for climbers only’

‘Yeah, I know’

‘Trekkers not allowed’

‘Yes, I know’

I carried on walking, and he shouted over: ‘So what are you doing?’ I stopped briefly to say ‘going home!’ before turning and sliding out of sight down the scree towards base camp.

Last night we had a movie night- School of Rock. It was great though computer died before we saw the end- bloody life on an expedition! Tonight hopefully we will have enough luck and battery power to find out whether Jack Black wins his rock tournament, though somehow I think I already know the answer…

So catch up on the 1st or 2nd May, all my love to family and friends- I’ll be thinking of you all whilst I am up there.

Oh, Happy Birthday to Luke for the 24th April. I think you are allowed a Krispey Crème on this occasion!

Bonita x