Location: Base Camp, 5350m
Local Time: April 14, 2007. 18:00
Weather: Fine and clear all day, 15 Celsius
It is Tim here, coming to you from Base Camp.
Last night we headed off to bed at around 8:30. This is not an unusually early bed time. Many people, including the Sherpas, like to head off to bed soon after dinner.
During dinner and throughout the night we heard many avalanches in the surrounding area. There were at least 12 of noticeable severity. Base camp is situated at the end of the Khumbu valley surrounded on three sides by large mountains. The tents are located far enough from the base of each mountain so that it feels secure despite the regular avalanches. The small or distant avalanches sound like a mild thunderstorm rumble. The large or close avalanches are significantly louder, and the specific sounds of the rock and snow tumbling down are more distinct. So far we have observed only one avalanche actually in progress. Usually the avalanche has finished by the time the sound reaches us and we are able to locate the source. In these cases only the snow cloud created by the avalanche remains visible.
Last night we were also frequently reminded that we are sleeping on a moving glacier. Throughout the night there were loud popping and cracking sounds. Sometimes it felt like they were occurring directly outside our tent. Paul reassured me by confirming that they probably are occurring directly outside and this is not an illusion – thanks Paul! As a light sleeper, as I have been while sleeping at high altitudes in the Himalayas, the end result is many interruptions to what otherwise could have been a steady nights sleep.
Base Camp food
Everybody in our group has been very impressed by the food we have been served. Lead by chief cook, Birbal, we have been served a variety of excellent dishes. Last night we had some very tasty chicken, steamed vegetables and coleslaw. For most of us this was the first time we had eaten chicken or tasted fresh vegetables since starting the trek 11 days ago. We were woken up at 7:30am this morning with hot tea delivered to us in our tents. It certainly does not feel that we are camping when we have this level of luxury! The highlight of lunch today was a scrumptious potato salad that was on par, although not as good of course, as the potato salad my wife Inna can make. An incredible achievement considering our surrounds and proximity to food sources.
Today was mainly spent resting and relaxing. In the morning many of us took the opportunity to improve the immediate surrounds of our tents. This consisted of digging small drains and constructing rock patios to prevent water buildup around our tents. I am amazed by how much water is flowing through base camp. The melting of the glacier produces run off that must be channeled to a suitable location. Apparently the run off later in the season can even cause small lakes to develop.
The award for best civil works project goes to our Hungarian friends Atilla and Reni. They have created a stone piazza the size of their tent, complete with a lounge area.
Tomorrow is the final day for Dame and I at base camp before beginning our trek back to Lukla on Monday. We plan to venture further than the 50m radius of the dining tent we managed today. Viewing the ice fall up close will be a priority.
We have two solar panels to charge all of our electronic devices. With the sunny weather we have at the moment it is easy to charge everything.
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Till next time,