Basecamp Life

Life is getting into a rhythm at Everest Base Camp. Report after report note the cold nights and warm days. They will wish for the cold once they get into the heat of the Western Cwm! Over on the north Bill Burke reports heavy snow overnight, view not unusual for the north side. He also said that ABC has not been established on the north. We may see the first summits from the south this year.

Tents are now arranged, even some nice stone lines mark the trails between tents. Radio antennas are up that will allow climbers to stay in contact with their base camps. even the helicopter can land now for a quick evacuation or a dignitary’s visit.

But it is a time of biding time for many while they adjust to the new altitude. Billie Bierling with Himex documented their morning routine:

After breakfast the climbers usually potter around, sort out their climbing gear, read books or send emails via their satellite systems, just to get ready again for lunch. The rest of the day is spent in pretty much the same manner until dinner is served, and even though it may still be really special to get away from the stress and just do nothing, the ‘hanging around’ at base camp can become a mental challenge after a while –but I will tell you more about this later, when I am actually there and the members will have been there for a few weeks.

Another activity is the annual rebuilding of the helicopter pad at base camp. The Finnish team made this update. They leave for camp 1 tomorrow.

Once Puja was finished, we had a tasty lunch before a physical exercise. Under the cloudy sky, we headed to build a helicopter landing field. About 50 people, from all around the base camp, were working hard for creating a chance for an emergency evacuation. The field was made by hammering an ice hilltop to the flat with mine axes and carrying rocks around. At this altitude it didn’t take long to get exhausted but there were all the time three people in a queue, so there were plenty of chances to rest a little bit every now and again. Working for three hours we were ready for dinner.

The Sherpas continue to stock the upper camps with supplies. RMI’s Mark Tucker notes:

Our Sherpa team had great weather for their trip to Camp Two with a big hunk of supplies for the teams nest at that 21,500 ft camp. They started out at 4:00 am this morning and returned to basecamp for lunch, these guys are tough.

A regular climber will take a minimum of four round trips through the Icefall, whereas the Sherpas many take as many as 20!

Simon Moro at Everest Base Camp
Simone Moro at Everest Base Camp

Elite climber, Simone Moro is climbing Everest without supplemental oxygen this year plus looking at a new route on Lhotse. He is making regular posts to his blog and has a nice picture of this year’s base camp.

Another great view is via Peak Freak’s Lucille deBeaudrap’s SPOT tracker. Click the hybrid view to see a dated image of base camp and the zoom into the top of her track. It appears Lucille is doing a fair bit of wandering around EBC! Great shot, thanks for sharing this with us.

Similar to when the Chinese were trying to take the Olympic torch to the summit of Everest, this year, there is a cell phone tower near base camp. The SummitClimb team reports on the details:

I am writing from our new China Mobile Communications tent in basecamp. The world’s largest mobile phone company, in all of their wisdom, has put up a mobile phone tower down at the lower Rongbuk Monastery. So, if you are positioned correctly and have the right sim card installed in your phone/ mobile device, you can make and receive telephone calls, send and receive sms/text messages, browse the internet, as well as send and receive emails from right here in basecamp.

Our team’s basecamp is located about 500 metres directly east of the Sandy Irvine Memorial, may God rest his soul. Between us and the Rongbuk Monastery lies a 7 metre high low gravel hill. We have discovered that this hill blocks clear mobile reception from pretty much everywhere in our basecamp, but if you stand atop the hill, you can get a good signal.

So, using our ingenuity (“smart like tractor, strong like bull” or was that “strong like tractor, smart like bull”) we have erected one of our sleeping tents on top of the hill and this has become our ‘China Mobile Tent’ so we can have more of a clear shot at the Rongbuk Mobile Tower. That way, instead of standing atop the hill shivering in the wind trying to use a phone or surf the internet on a laptop, we can sit inside a comfortable, warm, windproof tent and communicate with the outside world. So far, so good, it seems to be working as its 22:43 pm on a windy night and I am in the China Mobile Communications Tent sending you this email.

It could be quite jammed since 32 teams are expected to be climbing from the north this year. Keep in mind a team could be two people.

A news report was spreading late last night that 13 year-old Jordan Romero was denied a climbing permit in spite of him and his small team already in Tibet and a day away from BC. UPDATE: The spokesperson, Baburam Bhandari, in the referenced Xinhau article is from Nepal where the minimum age to climb Everest is 16. Mr. Bhandari would not have seen an application from Jordan because he is climbing in Tibet, not Nepal. The China Tibet Mountaineering Association (CTMA) issues climbing permits for Tibet. The source of the original article was

Jordan is generating a tremendous amount of press. In a brief email interaction with his father Paul before they left, Paul said he wanted Jordan’s climbing to speak for itself. According to their latest audio dispatch, everyone is doing well after an acclimatization hike to 15,000′ and they are looking to arrive at BC in a few more days.

Personally, I think it is great he has this opportunity and he has parents that enable him to chase his dreams. My concern is around the expedition organization. I just wish they were with a formal team with highly experienced western guides. But they prefer the independent approach, due to money and flexibility, I assume. This is how they already have climbed 6 of the 7 Summits; however as we all know, Everest is in a different league. I wish them safe climbing.

Climb on!


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2 thoughts on “Basecamp Life

  1. Great coverage Alan. First time ive followed the coverage from the start and am quite excited. Hopefully in approximately 6 – 10 years time i’ll be sitting in base camp supplying some blogs 🙂

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