Local time: 9 May, 17:45
Location: Base Camp
Weather: Light snow in the morning, but then fine thereafter.
Hi it’s Paul at Everest base camp. Well, after I got down from C2 yesterday, I had a shower and some food and I felt great, so I decided to trek down to Gorak Shep and meet up with the ladies plus 1.
Long Lunch at BC
I stayed for lunch at base camp, as I knew it would be much better than I could get at Gorak Shep. Lunch was a long affair, as almost all of us were together except for Rudi. Someone pulled out some wine and a bottle of Chivas Regal, and before long it was nearing 3pm and I hadn’t left yet. I tore myself away and began the walk down. It didn’t take long and it was really great to get there and see them all.
Meeting the Ladies plus 1
They are a great group who have clearly had a lot of fun together. Cas cracks a lot of jokes to the amusement of all.
Bad weather delays Kalar Patar plans
This morning we woke up and it was very cloudy and snowing lightly, so Kala Patar was not looking good. I radioed base camp and asked if the group could come a day earlier, and Ptemba said that was fine. So we packed up our gear (I noticed that Julia has a hairdryer along with about twice as much stuff as everyone else) and left Gorak Shep a little after 9am. The walk into basecamp was a bit tough for most as some were recovering from tummy upsets, and the altitude was having an effect. But after a few stops for chocolate and water we made it into base camp for lunch.
Getting settled at BC
After lunch everyone settled into their tents, and Cas has even started working on a small rock patio. As I write this most are in their tents having an afternoon nap, although Marg has been up and about.
I have only answered a few messages here. Everyone else is sleeping, but hopefully tomorrow they will be able to. All your messages were beautifully read out by Julia after dinner last night.
Hi Ann, We don’t get out of out tents C3 at night if we can help it.
Hi Jennifer, Yes, I made it to C3. I didn’t sleep too well though.
Hi Shanda, I am pretty sure our friends Chris and Bridget used that water filter last year when they accompanied Fiona and I on the trek in. It worked well.
Hi Steve, The Herald Sun story is right. I did fear for my life. I haven’t ever told the full story of what happened (I was strongly discouraged from doing so at the time by IMG), but I will write about it later. I was not happy with this situation (being prevented from telling the story) and hence it’s one of the many reasons I am not with them this year. And glad of it.
But did I fear for my life? YES, VERY MUCH SO. When I ran out of oxygen (I still don’t know why, but I have a very strong theory, supported by some evidence and also similar things happening to other people), my personal Sherpa had climbed ahead of me and was no-where to be seen, and I couldn’t recover my breath. At first I was cold and panicky – it felt like someone was holding something over my mouth and suffocating me. I was breathing really fast and couldn’t catch my breath. But after a while I started to not care so much, I felt warm, and just wanted to curl up in the snow and go to sleep (I was lying down in the snow). All my muscles and particularly my legs didn’t want to move. After nearly half an hour my Sherpa came down and gave me his oxygen. I came to my senses again and all of a sudden I realized what a predicament I was in. I realized how I had so easily given up on life. My only thoughts were how we were going to get down with only one bottle between the two of us. (If I had been using a different oxygen system than IMG, then I would have had a spare bottle.) Fortunately a super strong IMG Sherpa came along and gave me his bottle, which only had enough oxygen to get me down, but at that point I didn’t care at all. I was so grateful. I got down, but was really wobbly on my feet, and fell over many times back to the South Col.
On the second day I got to nearly the Balcony, but you are right, my legs felt so tired, and I had come so close to death the day before, I realized that this isn’t the place where you push your limits. I had also seen that most of the climbers that day were pretty weak, me included, and I had a bad feeling that someone might need rescuing and there might not be many people capable of helping. Me also included for both sides of the point! So I decided to turn around while I still could and come back another day. So here I am.
I am not upset at what happened with my oxygen, or not making the summit, but I am really upset with the way that IMG reacted and the way that I was treated. That’s all I can say on the topic now.