NEWSLETTERS - Makalu 2014

The Daily Moraine - Makalu #228 April 2014

Getting ready for the second rotation


After having rested, basked in the sun and done the much-necessary laundry over the past three days, the Himalayan Experience Makalu team is slowly getting ready to go back up the hill. "Three days of rest and recuperation is perfect for the bodies to recover and I think that everyone is ready and fit enough to go up to Camp 3 now," said Doctor Joe after having done a quick check-up with all the climbers. Luckily, our guide Jacob succeeded in catching the much-yearned-for satellite signal about 45 minutes down the hill, which put us back in 'communicado' with the rest of the world allowing us to send updates, emails and receive weather forecasts. "The wind is dying down and we should be quite comfortable on the Makalu La at 7,400 metres," Jacob explained. "However, it's going to be cold up there - around 40 degrees without wind. So, wrap up warmly," he concluded.

While we have been resting, our cook Gyanu and his team have made sure that our tired and hungry bodies are gaining strength again to be ready for the next rotation. "I still cannot believe the amazing food we are being served at 5,700 metres. This is almost like in a five-star hotel," said Heidi scoffing down the delicious lasagne with fresh salad Gyanu and Chuti had prepared for our Saturday lunch. We had been lucky as a helicopter had come to Makalu ABC on Thursday morning, bringing more food supplies, radios and a new satellite system.

Our seven climbing Sherpas had also not been lying idle during our 'holiday period' at ABC, ferrying oxygen, tents, sleeping bags and other essentials up to Camp 2 to make sure that we will be as comfortable as possible. "All the Sherpas are doing well and I am actually quite excited to be climbing Makalu," our Sirdar Lobsang, who has worked for Russell for almost 18 years, told me. "It is also a new mountain for me and I am happy to be climbing here."

So far, the Sherpas of Seven Summit Treks have fixed the line up to 7,200 metres and are even hoping to fix the rope all the way to the summit in the next few days. "Our own Sherpas will climb up to Camp 2 on 30 April and then leave early on 1st May to set up Camp 3 on the Makalu La," Suzanne explained during breakfast. "As the Makalu La is very windy, we cannot leave any tents up there for long as they would either be damaged or blown away." After this second rotation, our bodies should be well enough acclimatised to go for the summit, however, we will need a good and windless weather window for our attempt, which could be around mid-May.

While the team will be acclimatising first at Camp 2 and then at Camp 3, our hardworking crew will make sure that everything will be ready for our return on 1st May. I will try and send an update as soon as we are back down at ABC - so watch the space.

Billi Bierling, Makalu ABC