Day 20 – It’s really windy for a rescue.

Home / Adventure / Day 20 – It’s really windy for a rescue.

The day started with an unexpected update on one of our teammates, Gavin, who had injured himself on the ribs prior to the arrival into Camp 2 and as his condition hadn’t improved an evacuation via helicopter would be the best solution. Both Dorjee and Mike had been up since 5:30am trying to find a suitable place in the glacier that the helicopter could land.

By 8am, we were all awaiting breakfast and it was colder and windier than yesterday. We were all nervous as if the helicopter would be unable to land, Gavin would have had to endure a very painful and complicated descend. Fingers crossing that the winds would lessen and the rescue could be completed.

By 9:30am, a window opened up, and we saw an amazing and skillful pilot trying to make a landing. Unfortunately the winds picked up heavily and the pilot had no option but just to leave the spot. He had gone down to Base Camp and refuel for one more shot.

Dorjee, Mike and Gavin awaiting the helicopter
Dorjee, Mike and Gavin awaiting the helicopter

By 10am, the sounds of the helicopter flying back got all of us outside and provide moral support. It was an amazing sight to witness as the winds were so strong but the incredible precise skills of the pilot made a dangerous landing possible.

Rescue1 Rescue2

Our dear teammate Gavin was placed on the helicopter and flown back to Kathmandu for the appropriate medical assistance. Both Mike and Dorjee seemed exhausted, but they were determined in taking us on our 2nd acclimating walk.

Both Lydia and Paul had left earlier down to Base Camp, so it was only Mark, Danny, Brian and I left of the team.

As we left close to 11:30am, the winds had picked up severely strong. I made the mistake of not having the right clothing and my stubborn mind felt I would be able to keep myself warm. Though at least my big gloves helped keeping my hands warm, the rest of my body had to suffer a little bit. Seeing the rays of sun gave me hope that the weather would get better, but at the end by the time we got closer to the Lhotse wall, getting my puffy jacket restarted the heat on my body. BIG lesson for me! Forget about predicting on the weather and simply keeping the body warm.

As we all returned exhausted, a big afternoon nap and lots of hot liquids were a must to compensate my silly decision. We came to find out that the temperature had been hovering around -20 and -30 specially due to the wind chill factor, which is kindly referred as the Beijing express.

Tomorrow will be our descent into Base Camp for around 3 days of rest before returning to our 2nd rotation and heading up to camp 3.

I got to meet 2 of our amazing Sherpa masters, who were uncoiling the climbing rope that would be placed on the wall of Lhotse into Camp 3.

D20 Sherpa Rope

As part of the better organization of expedition teams @ Everest, each large group has to provide 2 expert climbing Sherpa’s who’d help rope up all the way from the base of the Lhotse wall into the summit of Mt. Everest. Exciting yet scary to see the process unfolding.

Our start time to descend into Base Camp would be 4am, so by 7pm, I was inside my sleeping bag cuddling my hot bottle of water.

Treat of the day: The safe rescue and departure of Gavin.