Newsletter 811 April 2010
First Sherpas arrive at Camp 2
I have just received a phone call from Himex guide, Adrian Ballinger. He was very excited to have finally arrived at base camp and said that everyone was well and happy to have settled down in their new home.
The Icefall Doctors (the Sherpas who fix the Khumbu Icefall every year) have finished setting up the route through this maze of huge ice blocks, and according to Adrian it seems a little bit longer this year. However, the good thing is that the crevasses are smaller and the Sherpas were able to use shorter ladders. This will make walking through the icefall less stressful for the climbers as it can be quite distressing if the ladders are too long and start bending underneath your crampons.
Five of the Himex Sherpas have already gone up to Camp 2 and started setting up the tents there. Camp 2 is on the bottom of the Lhotse face and in order to get there, the climbers have to walk through the Western Cwm - a huge flat bowl, where temperatures can soar to about 30C during the day. The climbers normally try to walk through the Cwm early in the morning in order to escape the heat of the day.
The team will now rest and do some acclimatisation walks over the course of the next few days, before they head back down to do their acclimatisation climb on Lobuje Peak. On Thursday, they will attend the Puja - a Buddhist ceremony, which is very important for the Sherpas as moving up the mountain without it would mean bad luck. During this ceremony, which can take up to a couple of hours, a Lama from a local monastery prays and blesses the climbers and their climbing gear. You might have seen Himalayan climbers wearing dozens of red, orange or yellow strings around their necks, which sometimes looks like a bit of a mess. These strings are also blessed by the Lama and they have become an essential part of the jewellery collection of every Himalayan climber.
At base camp, there are also a few small Chortens (Buddhist monuments) and I remember from last year that whenever the Sherpas were tackling the icefall they would go and pray at these Chorten for a few minutes.
I hope that I will be getting more updates from Adrian in the next few days but up until then I hope you will enjoy getting to know more members of our team.