I descended from Lobuche base camp (15,800′) to Pheriche (14,000′) on Monday due to finally succumbing to an upper respiratory infection that has been working its way through our camp. I immediately started a Z-Pack and descended to the thicker air, a soft bed and warmer climes of Pheriche to nip this in the bud. It seems to have paid off as I already feel better and the real purpose of my trip remains ahead of me.
The downside is that I didn’t get to climb Lobuche with my team, especially Ben and Clay, who came to climb only Lobuche before returning to their family and work responsibilities. That’s a real disappointment for me, but we’ll have other climbs and summits in our future! I will get to see them both tonight, however, in Pheriche, as they descend toward home and their loved ones, and we’ll celebrate what I expect was their successful climb earlier today. Based on early morning radio traffic it sounded like they were both well on their way to summiting. Psyched for you both.
I will return to Lobuche base camp on Wednesday and then Everest base camp soon thereafter. Assuming, this minor distraction is just that, I will not have lost any ground on my main goal and should get my first rotation on Everest (camps I and II) next week. Much better to get this early in the trip than later and be able to tend to it and get past it quickly and back on track, which seems to be working.
While here in Pheriche on sick leave, I was able to upload some recent photos so please click the link below to view those:
Also, Ben has generously provided me with his Nepali phone, since he is on his way home, and volunteered to update the blog for me since we only have voice and not data access at Everest base camp this season for some reason. So, apologies in advance for the lack of photos and any drop-off in literary quality. 😉 Only joking. I’m sure he’ll be able to convey my hypoxic ramblings better than I can. Seriously, much thanks to Ben for stepping-up to keep everyone informed! And lots of pictures will be posted once I’m back online officially at some point down the road.
In the meantime, I thought I would provide a brief synopsis of the weather we experience/endure at Everest base camp (17,500′). It gets down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit overnight, a bit chilly, and we awaken to frost lining the insides of our tents as our respiration freezes to our tents while we sleep. It warms considerably when the sun finally hits our tents at 7:45am. At this point, a few long-sleeved layers are all that are required to stay warm as the sun’s intensity at this altitude defies the actual air temps. Snow showers arrive daily around 1-2pm and the temperature plummets as these blot out the sun. The temperature really drops around 6:30pm though as the sun sets behind Pumori to our immediate west. Therefore, after dinner and the occasional card game, we all retreat to our tents to warm up and get some rest around 7:30-8pm. This is when books and music are consumed with vigor. So, those early morning hours are crucial to completing the days’ chores/tasks before the weather and temps work against us. Once we start climbing on Everest, we’ll employ alpine starts (3-4am or earlier) to climb when things are nice and solid/frozen as well as safer. Layers and movement will keep us warm (enough) on these early/cold mornings.
That’s about it for now. Working on feeling healthy/strong again and I will be heading up to Lobuche base camp tomorrow and on to Everest base camp soon thereafter. Great friend and literary giant, Ben, will provide updates upon his return home next week and as I approach/complete my first rotation on Everest!