The 4:30am wake up call was not even needed. Both Mark (my tentmate) and I had been up since 4am packing our bags. At least we wouldn’t have to bring all of our belongings down to base camp but instead just leave the right amount of gear we’d be using during our next passing through Camp 2 which will be during the summit push. Still long ways to go for us, but it was fun to dream about that day.
Breakfast at 5ish, packing 2 liters of water as we’d be descending all the way from Camp 2, through Camp 1, through the fun Khumbu Icefall into “home”. The biggest perk for me was a good hot shower!
We started our descend close to 6am. It was cloudy though the sun seemed to be peeking through. After a snowy slippery patch in which we all slipped, then it was into the main snowy road walking across Western Cwm. Soon enough we were in front of the crevasse right before reaching Camp 1. Fun to repelled down through them. I think I’m secretly developing a fondness for repelling down the big holes. Then our turn to camp 1 for a brief hydrating stop. It was cool to see the large team of our Sherpa’s lead by our Sirdar, he and his team on their way to Camp 2 to help set up the whole infrastructure for us to our summit bid.
This would mean carrying all the oxygen tanks into the various Camp 3 and Camp 4. Set up the infrastructure for Camp 4, and start collaborating with the rest of the team expeditions into arranging the ropes from Camp 3 into the Summit. A HUGE amount of work ahead for these amazing men. (Unfortunately there are no women Sherpa’s helping on this work).
Then it was our turn to head of the Khumbu icefall. I was really surprised on the new number of ladders that had appeared as on a daily basis the icefall will change. Small holes which we had been able to easily cross by jumping were not separated by new ladders. All of us had our system set up while crossing. Coming down through the Icefall was not as scary as I had thought. Coming down through the large vertical ladders I had longed dreaded were now a systematic process for me.
We didn’t encounter as many people as I thought, which made our descend quite easy. Maybe most of the climbers were at Camp 2. The sun started making its powerful way which by the time we reached this spot in the Khumbu called the “Soccer Field” it was a perfect time for some pictures and a quick video.
A little down view from the Khumbu Football field
We all got to base camp by 10:30am. Exhausted but relieved that we all made it back in great shape.
A great welcoming by our Base Camp team and a treat from the kitchen – SUSHI! – And for me Veggie sushi – I’ve climbed all my mountains as a vegetarian and with my Celiac in full force, I’m extremely grateful to the team in this expedition for constantly keeping my stomach quite happy and healthy.
An overdue shower and patiently chasing the now fewer rays of sunlight to help me dry my hair.
An early dinner and then it was time to crash in my tent. As a team we have done really great during our first 2 rotations. Though the weather hasn’t been extremely cooperative to continue the set up in the higher camps. From now on we’ll have to patiently await for our infrastructure to be ready and safe and then for a long weather window that can open up a potential summit.
Though the 2nd rotation was short, I think we all got a little exhausted on the coldness of the environment.
As for me, my cold is only getting worst, so hoping that sleeping it off can help. Else tomorrow, seeing Dr. K will be the activity of the day!
Treat of the day: Back in Base Camp