Posted by: Yury Pritzker | April 18, 2009

At Base Camp

We came into base camp yesterday at 3pm. It is an amazing place.

Completely different then I was imagining it. It is on a very uneven glacier. The Small hills of ice from 2 to 7 m hight rising everywere. Some ice is covered with stones. Tents big and small are everywere. Our camp is at the top of base camp at crampon point. Thaat means we do not need to walk before we put our crampons on and start to climb the ice fall Ice fall is huge much bigger that I imagined. We can see tiny figures of people moving up and down. Sherpas say that it is much safer this year.

Our community tent is a very long high tent that is 10 m long and we can easely walk there. There is a long set of tables in the middle and high chairs on both sides. The  floor is cover by carpet. There are always thermoses with hot tea and milk tea on the table.  We are very cautious about hygiene so we have a bucket of hot water outside of the dining tent so we can wash hands before eating.

Forgot to mention that there is a gas heater in the corner and last night it was very warm inside the tent even though we were wearing warm clothes.  Before dinner was served we were given hot moist towels to wipe our hands. We all have individual tents that are 3 person tents. The floor of the tent is covered with foam mats and we also have a thick mattress.

The most amazing thing is a light that goes to every tent and hangs from the tent ceiling. It lights the tent very well and all this comes from solar power. I put all my three huge duffle bags inside and still have plenty of room.

It’s noon now, and the sun is shining strong. I use my new battery powered trimmer to trim my beard, which has grown very much since I left home. It has been 19 days since we left and we are only at the base camp. All my previous expeditions would be over by this time. I can feel that this is a very different one.

We all talked about different strategy for acclimatization. Camp I is ready and sherpas are building Camp II. It will not be ready by the middle of the next week.  We will be having Puga ceremony on April 20, and after that we can go up.

There are two tactics for acclimatization: two trips up or three trips up before the summit bid. Not sure what I would do yet. Today I talked to my personal Sherpa. His name is Thuktan. He is 40 years old, summited Everest 6 times and also climbed many other peaks here. He is a little shy and will see how it goes. I slept not bad today. Waking up many times. It is expectd at ths altidude – 5350m. The next nights will be better. My oxygen saturation this morning was 78 and pulse was 67 which is very good as far as I am concerned. No headaches so far.

Yesterday was a big meeting with all the leaders of all expeditions present. According to Dawa Steven Sherpa (our leader) it went very well. Most of the big operators are on this side of the Everest because the Chnq (?) is closed their side. All decided to contribute Sherpas and equipment, so we hope that the entire mountain will be fixed up to the summit by the end of this month. This is very good news because it will open opportunity for them to climb earlier. They also decided to put two routes ( ropes): one up and one down to reduce the possibility of bottlenecks.

Love you all!

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