Click for site home
The Blog on alanarnette.com
Climbing the World to End Alzheimer's
Apr 182012
 
A ladder, but THE ladder

As expected several teams spent the night at Camp 1. This was their first full climb through the Icefall, across the ladders and on the fixed ropes for an extended period. For most climbers, it would have taken 4 to 6 hours, some longer and a few didn’t make it. But this is all part of the process of acclimatization and they will get more comfortable as the season progresses.

Once again, Adventure Consultants give us a good overview:

After much anticipation, acclimatization and training the main team completed their first trip from BC to C1 in the early hours of this morning. We departed BC at about 2.15am and by 8.00am we had completed the arduous journey through the icy treacherous realm of the Khumbu Icefall.

Teams climb in the wee morning hours for several reasons: the ice is more stable when it is the coldest thus safer and second it is not as hot, obviously. While you think the climbers are always freezing, it is often the reverse with the sun’s rays beating down on climbers heating them up and accelerating an already dehydrated situation. So climbing when the sun is not directly overhead is always best.

Kenton Cool gives us a first person report on the Icefall condition this year. read the complete report on his Facebook Page:

The path through the ice fall is super fast this year, I was moving through with Roger and Mollie who are sharing base camp with Keith and Me.  Although I have climbed alone through the icefall in the past its safer with other people and with Keith sick down valley this seemed like a good plan.  We all made great progress …

Camp 1 is still a camp under construction, in a week’s time there will be 100+ tents erected there but this morning there were less than a dozen.  It took a little while for me to find the dump of equipment that the Sherpas left as they moved through to Camp 2 but once I had found it Roger and I were hard at work erecting a tent.  This wasn’t super easy due to a stiff breeze blowing and cold temps on the poor fingers but we managed it and pegged it down with some snow stakes.

The trip back down to Base Camp wasn’t quite so nice, the sun had come up over the West Flank of Everest and was beating down on us all.  Its amazing how the temps can go from minus 15 to about plus 30 in the space of 30 minutes or so.  Down jackets were quickly shed in an attempt to stay cool, I even though about stripping down to my bare chest but I wasn’t sure if this would go down well with my Sherpa friends so out of respect my thermal stayed on.  After almost 3 hours of descending in what felt like a furnace we all popped out of the bottom and made our weary way back to the tents.

Base Camp Luxuries or Necessities

Of all the expeditions, Himex (Russell Birce) is the only one I know who uses a professional writer, with them at base camp, to write their blogs. The result is a professional piece. Today’s post by Billi Bierling, who is also a climber and attempting Nuptse this year, wrote about the Himex base camp.

Their camp has become a tourist attraction of sorts after all the publicity during the Everest Beyond the Limits television series. I did a complete post on the camp and an interview with Russell a couple of months ago but Billie gives us an inside look at their 2012 encampment. She starts with:

While the Everest climbers are acclimatising on Lobuje East having all summited the peak in the past two days, life at Everest base camp goes on. “We have a lot of little jobs to do and now is the best time to do them as the camp is empty,” Russell said. As I am writing this sitting in front of the White Pod gazing at Everest’s West Shoulder and Nuptse towering above us, the Sherpas are busy cleaning and organising the camp. “I don’t think I have ever seen such clean toilets in a camp,” said Nancy, a trekker from Arizona. “It makes going about your daily business much more pleasant.”

Lobuche

Speaking of Lobuche Peak, Mike Monez who is attempting three 8000m peaks in one push (Everest, Lhotse and Cho Oyu) posted some great pictures from his acclimatization climb of nearby Lobuchw Peak ~20K with the IMG team. For those looking for a Himalayan climb that is not Everest but with incredible views, this is one to consider.

Weather

OK, so teams are at C1 and some will spend a night or 2 (or 4) at Camp 2 near the base of the Lhotse face. This is the beginning of the serious acclimatization process and will continue for another two to three weeks.

The weather continues to be good up there. This is more of the normal pattern with a nice late April then horrible early May before the window in mid May for the summit attempts. So everyone is on schedule and doing well. Today the Climbing Sidars and guides will meet to discuss fixing the Lhotse Face. Expect Camp 3 to be established over the next 7 days. But it is a tremendous amount of hard work and anything can happen.

Climb On!
Alan
Memories are everything

Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the U.S. $2 trillion over the next decade. (source: UsAgainstAlzheimer's)
Alzheimer's disease is the only cause of death among the top 10 in the United States that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed

  8 Responses to “Everest 2012: Teams into the Western Cwm”

  1. Should have said: Thanks for the plug of LAST MAN ON THE MOUNTAIN. (Where are my marketing skills this morning? Jeesh!)

  2. Alan! Thanks for the plug. Be safe and have a great climb! JJ

  3. Namaste Alan. I really enjoy your blog and have been an avid reader for several years now. Congratulations on your success in 2011 – I was rooting for you all the way from Vinson to Kosciuszko and am full of respect for you and your achievements.

    I have also climbed with Billi and not only is she a great writer but much more besides. I’ve fond memories of swapping stories, listening to music together and even just dancing in the Indian Himalaya. She is also one of the strongest people I know and every day I was, and remain, inspired by her *tremendous* reserves of energy.

    From sea-level in Singapore,
    Angela

  4. Thanks so much for the updates. Problem being I wake up all night long looking for the next snippet of news. I can feel the chill in my spine and can hear the clank clank of the crampons on the ladders. Be safe all! Jnel

  5. Many thanks for your blog and all the efforts you give to keep
    Us updated everyday Alan!

    Many thanks again

    Cheers

    From the Alps

    Switzerland

  6. Thank s for all that daily news…and the expeditions links.I met billie twice in Nepal in 2010 and it s fun to found her via your blog.

    Impressive work you are doing anyway Alan

    Antoine

  7. Another great blog, thanks Alan. As I have said before you précis the events brilliantly and I feel confident that I haven’t missed anything of great significant .On reading about Kenton’s activities it pushes home how difficult these expeditions are for the novice,I am not sure about having a professional writer at base, surely the gut wrenching experiences of first hand experience must lack something when transcribed by another unless it’s fiction added. I have just read The Women of K2 by Jennifer Jordan.She writes well but cannot possibly know how they felt at certain moments in time.As you say it will be a professional piece, ready for publication I suppose. Who am I to criticise .Cheers Kate

    • Thanks Kate. I know Billie well and she is extremely objective in her writing given she has climbed Everest before. But as with most of these blogs, you will get a full, unfiltered story from individuals up there not from the commercial outfits pursing their marketing agenda. BTW, take a read of The Last Man on the Mountain by Jennifer Jordan – great historical read. Off to do some climbing of my own now …