With a spell of good weather, capsule cold and dry, look teams on both sides of Everest moved to the higher camps as part of their acclimatization programs. Looks like a good decision as Saturday night, heavy snow was reported returning to Base Camp.
Eric Simonson, IMG, notes that the jet stream is south of Everest thus reducing the high winds for a while. However, the jet is the primary source of the year-round high winds on the summit.
A few teams are still in Base Camp or even trekking in. This is normal as it is a long season and there is plenty of time. Alpine Ascents, for example, has been at Base Camp spending a lot of time practicing skills at the foot of the Khumbu Icefall. They leave today for a five day rotation to Camp 2.
Also climbers for Lhotse tend to arrive a bit later than Everest climbers. They usually require less time. So all in all Base Camp is a very busy place with people coming and going.
Timing the acclimatization schedule can be tricky. Many teams finish up by May 1 after their rotation to Camp 3 on the South. Then they return to EBC or go back down to the villages in the Upper Khumbu to rest in the oxygen rich air.
The traditional summit weather window starts around mid May. However, in past few years, the weather has turned bad around May 1 with snow and wind, so it is to be ready and wait than to risk being locked out.
Garrett Madison, AAI, is looking to do a double 8000m climb of Everest then immediately go to Lhotse. This has become popular recently with climbers successfully knocking them off in one push:
This year there will be a few climbers aiming to complete the Everest Lhotse peak to peak climb. Both International Mountain Guides and Adventure Consultants have 1 climber each (& 1 guide for AC) that are planning to attempt the peak to peak climb, and there may be a few other ambitious climbers out there as well who are planning for both 8000 meter peaks. Our team has several climbers interested but none yet committed, as of now all of our climbers and guides are solely on the Everest climbing permit. I will be following closely over the next 6 weeks to see if the climbers aiming to complete this climb are successful!
Pool Table on the North
With the fixed line now well above the North Col, the Sherpas are extremely busy carrying tents, and fuel to establish the high camps, specifically the most important one at the North Col. Adventure Peaks climbed to Advanced Base Camp on the North.
Robert Kay, with Altitude Junkies, posted this schedule for their team:
We leave for interim base camp (IBC) on the 21st, will spend a night there and then walk the rest of the way to advance base camp (ABC) the next day. The elevation jump is about 4,000′ so it is safer to do it in two days verses one the first time. We will then spend about a week at ABC doing one or two “touch and goes” to camp 1 at 23,000′ after which we return to BC for a week or so to rebuild our strength. Then, depending on the weather, we will either go for the summit or make another rotation to ABC.
Seemingly comfortable to take their time the 7 Summits Club posted pictures of setting up a pool table, compete with marble slates, to their Base Camp. Remember, you can drive to the Chinese Base Camp, but still this has to be the first time for a pool table.
A common point of discussion is the trash left on Everest by the climbers. Asian Trekking has had a cash for trash program for many years to bring down used oxygen bottles and other trash primarily left by expeditions many, many years ago. Today, most expeditions work hard to practice clean climbing. Part of every Nepalese team permit is a $14,000 trash deposit.
Tim Rippel notes how they manage human waste:
Our human waste is collected in biodegradable individual bags from C2 on up, we highly discourage human waste anywhere on the mountain and have been promoting this responsibility to other teams for years. They eventually got on board and tried all kinds of procedures to try and find something better but the biodegradable kitchen bags are the trick. No chemicals, no plastic to burn and proven to start to break down in less than 10 days. They can be bought at Walmart, a bag of 40 for $3.99. Pretty simple…
So while the south side is pretty good, the North needs a huge amount of work.
The echoes from the Boston Marathon attack and subsequent events continues to impact some climbers. Mike Chambers, from Boston made this post:
After a beautiful climb of Lobuche we returned to Everest Base Camp on Tuesday to disappointing news about the Boston Marathon. It’s difficult to get news up here and impossible to distinguish between rumor and fact but painfully we put the pieces together. Being the only person from the Boston area I think it hit me harder than most and I was crippled with a sense of longing.. Longing for my family, my beautiful fiancé, my dogs, my college friends, everything that I think of when I hear of Boston. Making matters worse was the fact that we’ve had a considerable amount of downtime over the past few days; time for the mind to wander. Why is it that it takes an incident like this for us to be reminded of the important things in life? For the past few days my mind has been thousands of miles away from Mt. Everest in a cozy family room 45 minutes south of Boston. But it can’t stay there; tomorrow we leave Base Camp for our first rotation on Everest and now it’s time to get refocused.
Memories are Everything