Newsletter 3 Karsang5 May 2004
Basecamp - Team Karsang
n the face of high winds, 80+km/h on the mountain, the Himex team made the tactical decision to return to base camp. There is no way that we can work on the mountain with the current weather forecast. We are much better off down here at BC where the air is thicker and warmer. Here at BC we are much more comfortable, for example the tea we get each morning in bed (bed-tea) is some 10 degrees warmer. In just a few days the changes in the members' health is noticeable because of the environment, the rest and the comforts. As noted in earlier dispatches, it is the building of these energy reserves that is paramount to our success on a summit bid.
Our routine here is very different to the that of our everyday lives. Most of us are accustomed to running out of time through excessive demands on our time. Here we have an excess of time and a lack of things to do;- we are challenged in a different way. I am confident that the team members are rising to this challenge of nothing to do. We are aided in this challenge by the set-up that Russell has provided. We have a state-of-the-art shower and toilet tent. All members have enjoyed a reviving hot shower. The cooks are excellent and they do not mind if members wish to help in the preparation of special meals. The local Yakmen have a bar that is warm and well stocked, they make us feel very welcome there. We have returned the favour in the form of some relief dentistry (an extraction under local anaesthetic) for one of the bar owners. Today a special package was delivered from ABC containing Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble and other board games; our lives have become better still.
In case you think that our lives are rather too salubrious for an expedition, ponder the thought of -15 degrees inside your tent each night, your pee-bottle freezing, winds so strong that you can't sleep anyway and the mountain contstantly reminding you of your purpose here.
Before I go, I will bring you all up to date with the progress that we have made on the mountain to the point when the winds forced our retreat to BC. The Sherpas have been working head of the members on the mountain establishing the route and camps. To date they have established camp 1 7100m, camp 2 7500m and camp 3 7900m. The Sheraps have made load carries three times to camp 2 and two times to camp 3. There are fixed ropes established to camp 3. They also have spent time with recuperating with us at BC. Today the Sherpas returned to ABC in the hope that further progress can be made if the winds reduce.
Almost all members have now spent one night at the North Col - Camp 1. It is preferable that we spend a night at camp 2 before we make our summit bid.
We are all fit, healthy and happy.