We begin week three with climbers adjusting to life at base camp. As a reminder that Nepal is one of the most susceptible countries on earth for earthquakes, a minor 3.2 magnitude earthquake was felt in Kathmandu on Saturday night.
A key to being successful on Everest is to stay active – even on rest days. It’s often labeled with the oxymoron “active rest day.” While it’s tempting to lie in the tent, on a comfy pad, perhaps an interesting book on the Kindle or listening to music, it’s much better to have a good breakfast, brush your teeth and get out there. One of the most popular activities on the Nepal side it to take a few hours to hike to one of the lower camps on nearby Pumori. The activity keeps your blood circulating and aids in the production of red blood cells plus the other chemical changes associated with the acclimatization process. Alpine Ascent‘s leader, Ben Jones made this comment “Pumori Basecamp. We gained about 600ft or so on our first group hike after arriving to Basecamp on the 10th.”
Pumori is rarely climbed as there is significant avalanche danger on the upper slopes, however this past winter Alex Txikon, Ali Sadpara, Pemba Bhote Sherpa and Nuri Sherpa summited the 23,419’/7138m mountain which is equivalent to Camp 3 on the Lhotse Face. Most Everest climbers go to Pumori base camp, Camp 1 and occasionally Camp 2 where you are rewarded with spectacular views of both the Southeast Ridge and Northeast Ridges of Everest along with the entire Western Cwm, Lhotse and Nuptse. It’s a bit long but an excellent investment for conditioning and photography. This is one of dozens of pictures I took in 2015 from C2.
While the members aka members take daily hikes and adjust to base camp life, Sherpas are now busy ferrying gear to the lower camps in the cwm. Most south side teams are following the same process. This update from Satori:
Update on our spring Himalaya teams. On the Tibet side our Everest North Side team and Cho Oyu team have reached Tingri and went on a 3 hour acclimation hike with this great view of Cho Oyu in the distance. On the Nepal side, the Everest South and Lhotse teams are at Everest Base Camp, will spend today getting settled in and then begin some acclimation work and rotations. The Sherpa team is busy putting in the higher camps
Over on the north side, a couple of teams are now at base camp but most are still underway. This update from Seven Summits Treks’ Arnold Coster and a picture of “beautiful” Tingri, “Wandering in Tingri. Today is a rest/acclimatisation day.” Tingri is a sad tiny town about 40 miles from Everest at 14,107’/4,300m.
Almost any trip to climb an 8000 meter peak in Tibet finds it way through Tingri. Similar to saying about flying Delta Airlines in the US – all routes go through Atlanta! I remember going there in 1998 on my way to Cho Oyu. We crossed from Nepal into Tibet through the border town of Zhangmu, then spent additional acclimatization nights at Nyalam and Tingri accompanied by short hikes to the local peaks. The villages were a step back in time. The buildings were made of mud and stone. The economy was primarily based on trading and agriculture. Electricity was as rare as was the telephone service. However in Tingri, the poorest of the three villages, China had a military base set up complete with trucks and satellite dishes. The only 2 miles of paved road for hundreds of miles served as an airplane landing strip back then.
The Furtenbach Adventures team has arrived at base camp on the Tibet side. Their guide, Rupert Hauer, posted this nice shot of base camp with Everest looking behind. Without a doubt, you get the best views of Everest from the north side as it is unobstructed unlike on the Nepal side where is is difficult to get a clear view other than from high on Pumori or Kala Patar for example.
In the race to provide the most luxury on the north side, it seems to be a battle between 7 Summits Club and their two-room cabana tent for each member and Furtenbach Adventures and their world-highest sauna. Yes, they actually shipped a sauna to base camp. Remember, trucks haul anything in so there is no limit to what outfitters can provide, except for the fine line from the sublime to the ridiculous! Video courtesy of Michale Lutz.
Memories are Everything