Everest 2012

Everest Basecamp

I am currently sitting on a rock outside my tent at base camp, prayer flags are blowing in the wind above my head, I am surrounded from all angles by massive white peaks and the Khumbu icefall is sprawled out in front of me, carving the way to the summit, which elusively hides just out of sight behind the west ridge.

We have been living at base camp for 5 days now and it is definitely starting to feel like home. So far we have had two forays into the icefall. The first was just for a few hours to familiarise ourselves with the terrain. The 2nd trip in, the day before yesterday, we had a load carry to camp one. We took up sleeping bags and mats to enable us to sleep up there on the next trip.

The Khumbu icefall is truly an experience. It’s located at the foot of the Khumbu glacier, where the glacier has hit the more solid rock at the bottom and compressed. Creating a maze of blocks of ice ranging from the size of a small car to a large house. The thing about the icefall is that it is continually moving, potentially up to a meter a day. This means passage through the icefall is one of the more dangerous parts of climbing Everest; as you are negotiating your way through a pretty unstable environment. However this is easy to forget when you are in amongst this beautiful ice world…at least until you hear a big creak and decide to move a little faster…

The route to camp 1 is apparently very fast this year. It took us just over 4 hours to get there on our first visit, where in previous years it could take double this time. Which bodes well for us, less time in the unstable icefall, less time not drinking/refueling and more time to recover at camp.

In a couple of days we will head back up to camp 1 to spend the night and possibly at camp 2 as well, depending on how we are acclimatising. Rest days at base camp are very important to increase acclimatisation and recover from forays on the hill. These days are pretty relaxed affairs at base camp. The biggest decision I have had to make today is whether I should drink tea or coffee at breakfast. However saying that we did have a pretty intense game of monopoly yesterday afternoon…

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