I will try to do a weekend update each Sunday while on Everest/Lhotse. This update is all about the weather. We arrived at Everest Base Camp on Monday, store April 13 to heavy snow, and overcast skies – and that is the story of the week. Each day brought cold temps and culminated with a very gusty night last night, April 18th. But today, Sunday, the 19th, we are enjoying mild temps, a gentle breeze and clear blue skies.
The impact of all this weather is that no teams have been able to establish camps in the Western Cwm – Camp 1 and 2. Plans were also stopped when a four ladder traverse half way through the Khumbu Icefall collapsed or became unsteady enough to turn back 80 Sherpas on Friday.
This is not all that unusual but did capture some attention as the Icefall Doctors had spent considerable time finding a new route away from the West Shoulder of Everest and that hanging ice cliff that took 16 lives last year.
In that spirit, April 18th was a day of remembrance throughout Everest Base Camp as no teams went into the Icefall to honor those who died last year. It was a peaceful and somber day here.
The time is being well spent waiting for better conditions as most teams have picked their favorite spot near EBC to set up a few ladders and rappel stations so everyone, including Sherpas, can tune techniques and work on skills.
Communications continued to be a challenge ranging from slow to not working. EverestLink, when it worked, was excellent, but there were days when it simply refused to connect. For yet another season, the cell phone provider, Ncell, was spotty at requiring people to gather around “cell phone rock” to get a signal. Also, some teams noted their Bgan satellite modems could not connect for the second year in a row.
There seems to be fewer individuals and expeditions posting updates this year. I’m not sure of the reason other than the intense media scrutiny around Everest – rarely positive. There are many journalists here, all with cameras and video equipment asking for interviews from both foreigners and Sherpas.
Also this week saw many Pujas, including our own. The sounds of Lamas praying, Sherpas singing and everyone dancing filled the airwaves of Base Camp almost every day, regardless of the weather.
Just so everyone does not become overconfident with today’s excellent weather, a small avalanche off Pumori, which guards EBC to the Northwest, this morning reminded everyone that the mountains are deadly and we all need to mind our steps.
Over on the North side, several teams have arrived at Chinese Base Camp and a few have already started moving higher to spend time at Advanced Base Camp. There have been similar reports of heavy snow on that side, but similar to the south, not enough to stop progress entirely.
OK, look for the activity to really pick up this next week, assuming good weather, with team after team establishing the camps in the Cwm. The Icefall is said to have some difficult sections that include steep ice walls, some with ladders and some without. Its time for the real climbing to begin.
Memories are Everything
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Be safe Alan , Karen and Jim
Be safe Alan , Karen and Jim
Thank you so much for the updates! Stay safe in the coming days as the real climbing begins!
Excellent photos Alan and a good “capture” of the mood on the mountain given how weather, the inevitable post-2014 media scrutiny and others circumstances have effected both the objective conditions there and people’s mindset otherwise,
Be safe my friend, best to all,