Posted by: Yury Pritzker | April 27, 2009

Update from Yury at Base Camp

I am back to  BC since yesterday. On Apr 22 at 4 am we started through the ice flow for the first time. After a fast breakfast and 2 minutes of Puja ( went to the altar and a Sherpa did fast prayers) we got our crampons on and started our first climbing day. It was a nice night, not cold, I was wearing thin gloves and a soft shell over a base layer only.

There was a bunch of climbers on the ice fall before us and it was very nice to see their headlamps all over the ice fall. After 40 min we encountered our first ladder. It was not so bad at all. The ice fall is spectacular, like nothing I have seen before. We had a pretty good pace and got to the camp 1 in 5 h, which is pretty good time. At the top portion the altitude was letting itself be known, and it was pretty hard. Camp 1 is at 6100m.

The day at camp 1 was hard, it was very hot inside the tent, but nowhere go. The first have of the night was not that easy also, but the I slept relatively well. In the morning of the 23rd we went to Camp 3. Forgot to mention that the view when you reach camp 1 is so spectacular and so familiar from books and descriptions, but sill so different. Western Cwm is in front and Everest And Lhotse seem like you can touch them with your hand. Pumori sits as a huge guard closing the view behind.

It took us less then 3 h to reach Camp 2 at 6400m. Camp 2 is similar to base camp, sitting on top of the Khumbu Glacier, partially covered with a moraine. It is quite big and it took us at least 30 min to get through the whole camp to were our spot was, near the top of the camp.

I was feeling pretty good. Camp 2 is 2 h from the Lhotse Face, where people can be seen climbing to Camp 3 as small dots. It is visible how steep the Lhotse face is, with ice shining all over its face. It is so close now that the summit of Everest is not visible any longer; only its south face hangs over the camp. This south face was first climbed by our Base Camp Manger – Pertemba Sherpa in 1975.

It is so interesting to hear his stories at our supper and then see that face and appreciate their effort. The day was spent resting and breathing, drinking and peeing –  This is what it is all about :).  The first night went relatively well. We have a dining tent at Camp 2, and a cook. My oxygen saturation at Camp 2 was pretty low, near 70, however my morning pulse was around 75 which is really good.

The next day (24) was a rest day. The second night was not as good as the first. Do not know why but in the morning of 25th I was not 100%. However I thought it would be better if I start moving and breathing harder to get more oxygen into the system. My Sherpa Thuktan and I went up to the Lhotse face and in 1.5h reached 6600m. It was not bad but when we came back to Camp 2 by lunch time, I was not feeling good. As my father always tells me to think before doing the next step, I sat and was thinking hard for the next 2 min. Conclusion was to go down.

We went to camp 1 and reached it in 1.5 hours. As soon as we reached Camp 1, I was much better, got some appetite and the night went very well. By the way it was the right decision as of this night it got very windy at Camp 2, and people did not sleep much there.

On the morning of the 26th at 7:30 we started to base camp through the ice fall, but this time during the day time so I again can appreciate its beauty, and danger. We were taking a bunch of pictures and Thuktan took over my camera and was shooting videos from every corner, so now I have a video proof me crossing multiple ladders. He got the hang of it and was having fun. At many places on Ice Fall you can here Sherpas chanting (praying) and moving fast.

When you go down it is hard to believe how big the Ice Fall is and how we managed to climb it. It took us less then 3 h to get to the BC. The air here at BC is so thick now, we hardly have any trouble breathing here. I will be here for the next 3-4 days taking the oxygen at 5300m and recuperating.

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