Newsletter 1921 May 2001
Moving to Camp 3
The expedition is moving as two groups from ABC and the hope is that today we will be reunited at Camp 3. Asmuss and I are climbing with Naoki, Jamie, Owen, Ellen and Kieron. We spent last night at Camp 2, squeezed into two of our tents and two of the Australian Army.
Andy, Marco, Evelyne and Robert are hopping past Camp 2 adding an extra 400 meters to today's climb.
The Sherpas: Phurba and Karsang (Nepal) are pushing from Camp 1 to Camp 4. This will allow them to set up some extra tents and organize the camp for our arrival. Lopsang, Karsang (Tibet) and Dawa will go from Camp 1 to 2. and Chuldim, Danuru and Dorje will go from Camp 1 to 3, then return to sleep at 2. This complicated plan is needed to set ourselves up for success: Oxygen will begin to be used at Camp 3, additional tents need to be set up, all sorts of small peices are being moved around.
Asmuss, the climbers and I set off around 7 a.m. and begin to climb up the long rocky ridge crest. While not technical, this section is strenous and exposed to the weather. We quickly become spread out, passing through the camp sites of a dozen other expeditions. As the day before, Asmuss and I push on rapidly, (climbing the 400 meters in 2:15), hoping to get to Camp 3 early enough to set up more tents. We would love to have everything ready to go, so that the climbers can simply slip into a tent on arrival, hiding from the winds and beginning to recuperate from the effort.
To our surprise, two of the tent platforms we have carved out over the years, have been "stolen" by other teams. Asmuss and I manage to carve away at the slope and within an hour have a tilted platform for a second tent. We set this up as some of our climbers arrive. Five people are shoved into two tents, allowing them to escape the weather and begin to rehydrate and suck on the bottles of Oxygen.
I slide down the rocky face a few feet and begin to dig again, but after an hour, I've barely made a dent, never mind a tent platform, so I slide a bit further down. Now I'm hacking at the frozen remains of a Russian tent. Tuna cans, match books and frozen socks emerge with every other blow of the ice axe. Surely this pile of wind torn nylon can be transformed. But alone, I am too winded and barely make a dent.
Maybe its just a math problem: 5 clients and 2 tents. Get on the radio: "Russ, can we use the American tents 100 meters below us?"
"Checked in with them and that's OK."
"We'll have Andy and his gang stop there and Asmuss and I will descend with all of the needed gear."
Then Marco shows up, ahead of schedule as usual. 6 climbers, in two tents, that are dangling off the edge. Of course, there is a little personality problem, and no one wants to spend the day and night with one person...massage a few egos, beg for help, I know its 7900 meters but can't we all be nice....
Ahhhhh!!!! solved by the arrival of the Sherpas. These guys love to dig. Now we've got a 7 person wrecking crew carving out tent platforms like its a carnival event. The Russian site is torn apart and we put up a tent. Next we move to my other abandoned site and level it off. The mathematics change: 4 tents, 6 climbers and 2 guides. Andy, Robert and Evelyne will stay in the American camp.
We are soon all swaddled in down suits and over stuffed sleeping bags. The afternoon passes slowly, as we all begin to test the Oxygen systems (we had a detailed class in ABC), and "brew" up. The word is passed around: this is our last great chance to fully hydrate and eat. The next two days should be torturous.