Newsletter 3017 May 2010
One of the highest First Aid courses in the world
With most other teams reporting about the summit pushes that are currently happening despite the short weather window, the alleged race between two women trying to become the first Finnish female to reach the top of Mount Everest and the high winds, I will spare you any more details about the weather forecasts and the waiting game that is currently being played by all expeditions.
That does not mean that the Himex team is not doing what many of the other teams are doing – namely twiddling their thumbs impatiently. However, our doctor Monica grabbed the opportunity and gave a high altitude lecture to the Sherpas, guides and clients. She touched topics, such as High Altitude Pulmonary and Cerebral Oedema, snow blindness and hypothermia. “It is something I have always wanted to do and I think it is important for everyone to know what to do in case of a medical emergency on the mountain,” she said.
The team got together after breakfast and as nobody seemed to have a full agenda on that day, most members, Sherpas and guides attended.
The lecture was mainly directed to the Sherpas as part of Himex’s training scheme for their high altitude workers. “The Sherpas spend the longest time on the mountain and they are often on their own with the clients. It is important for them to know how to act in an emergency – be it for a client or a fellow Sherpa,” Russell said.
Even though the HRA clinic is available for everyone and is located right in the centre of base camp, things mostly go wrong on the mountain. “Once a sick climber has received First Aid at high altitude, he has a better chance to get down and be properly treated at base camp,” said Monica.
Picnic on Pumori
Other than getting medical education, the team went for a little outing under the leadership of the “Big Boss” (Russell’s nickname by his staff) a couple of days ago. The clients and some of the Sherpas joined forces and tackled Camp 1 on Pumori, from where they could enjoy a good view of the South Col.
“After we had reached Camp 1, we were all looking forward to our picnic further down. But the weather was not on our side and rather than having a cosy picnic by the lake, we had to pack up quickly as it was too cold,” Russell said.
Such outings provide some entertainment during the long waiting hours and give the climbers the opportunity to blow away the cobwebs. “We have learned to wait and long days are sometimes interrupted by visitors coming to our camp or by little excursions like a picnic by the lake,” Helmut told me by text message.
And so the waiting game continues, however, I hope that the Himex climbers will use this period to relax, reflect or just enjoy having time, which is something we rarely have in our hectic working lives. I can tell you from my own experience as I am already missing the clean air, the tranquillity and beauty of Everest base camp.
But even though I am back in the heat and madness of Kathmandu, I will keep you updated on further developments at the Himex base camp.