Today we took it easy after our efforts yesterday and had a rest day in the comforts of base camp.
The big news is that the missing bag finally arrived on the helicopter, much to our relief! In fact we think that everyone is relieved that Paul finally has underwear other than the pair he had on when he left Melbourne!
We also got the SMS working on our Satellite phone today, and it was absolutely fantastic to receive everyone’s messages. Thanks everyone for your well wishes & especially for the update on who won The Block(!) and Vladimir, who climbed on Khan Tengri 15 years ago. We have learnt that we can only send SMS to a few people in Europe, and not to anyone in Australia, as Thuraya don’t have an agreement with any Australian carriers. People outside of Europe can only send to us through the web site.
We tried out the shower tent here – an interesting experience. Basically it’s a stove with a big pot of hot water and you scoop some of this water into a container, add some cold water from a bucket and get to work. Felt great to be clean.
We thought we would tell you a little more about base camp. At first glance there doesn’t seem to be many people & tents here, but because its setup on the mountainous moraine of the glacier, when you walk around you keep seeing more & more. You may be able to make out from the photo we sent earlier that it looks like we are sitting on rock, but actually it’s just a very thin layer of stones and gravel, and underneath it’s all ice. During the day the ice melts and it runs between the rocks in small streams. In fact one even runs right underneath our tent. It’s lucky that they are setup on wooden platforms, otherwise we would be getting very wet!
Food is served at the same times as in Karkara, and they ring a bell to let you know when it’s ready. When you get out of your tent you can see people streaming from all points, all heading towards the large army mess tent where we eat. This tent has 8 tables with bench seats and everyone is assigned a spot when they first arrive to base camp. “This is is where you eat & this is where you will sit.”
No one has got to the summit yet this season. We hope people ahead of us are successful and that they clear ropes. There is a big group of Koreans & British ahead of us, so some of them should get up.
Tomorrow, weather permitting, we will climb up to camp 1 with the rest of our gear, setup our tent and then hopefully we will move up to camp 2 the next day, depending on the weather and how we feel. So tomorrow the climbing will be on in earnest. No more base camp luxuries for us!
Paul & Fiona at base camp.