NEWSLETTERS - Makalu 2014

The Daily Moraine - Makalu #58 May 2014

Some go up, some stay down

We are now well into our sixth day since we got back from our second rotation and we are all trying to keep ourselves busy with different things. "I go for my daily walk up to crampon point, which is nice as I always meet people up there," said Heidi when she rolled in to ABC just in time for lunch on Tuesday. Stuart spent half the day in the shower, which he said had been his first (and maybe last) this month; Sergey was on the telephone for a long time, and like Heidi, Naoki walked up to crampon point, but stopped at the internet café, which is the place he usually catches a satellite signal. Rene spent a long time having intellectual or political discussions with his fellow climbers and I was still busy chasing all the Makalu climbers and their Sherpas for Miss Elizabeth Hawley and the Himalayan Database. So, even though we feel that time stands still at 5,700m above sea level, life goes on!

Naoki at the internet cafe below crampon point
Naoki at the internet cafe below crampon point

Our kitchen team consisting of Gyanu, Chuti and Dan Bahadur were also using the time to impress us with their cooking and on Tuesday night we were presented with a very pretty and delicious carrot cake for dessert. "This is about one of the best cakes I have eaten on expedition," Stuart said just finishing his second medium-sized piece.

Sergey, Gyanu and the carrot cake
Sergey, Gyanu and the carrot cake

On Wednesday morning, Jacob, Sergey and Rene decided that they had had enough of sitting around at ABC and packed their bags to go up the hill. "A night at Camp 2 is neither of any advantage or disadvantage to the strength and acclimatisation of the climbers," Suzanne explained. "However, it blows away the cobwebs and gives each individual something to do." Sergey, who does not leave crampon point without his skis, had beefed up his skiing boots to make them even warmer. "The golden boy with the golden boots," he said showing off his slick disco inner boots to everyone who was interested.

Sergey and his golden boots
Sergey and his golden boots

The rest of the team spent the day reading, writing, sleeping or visiting our neighbours to watch a movie and we are all excited what the following day will bring. "I guess I will do my usual walk again tomorrow morning," said Heidi, who admitted that in her normal life she would never sit around so much. "I guess this is part of expedition life but it is a hard learning curve, when you are an active person."

Camp 4 established

For the Sherpas, Tuesday and Wednesday were rather busy as they climbed to Camp 2, where they spent one night and then collected tents, sleeping bags, mats, oxygen and other essentials for the climb and carried it to Camp 4 on Wednesday. "It was actually a good day for the Sherpas as the morning was quite calm and they made good time to Camp 4 at 7,700m," Loppsang explained. According to the Sherpas, the route to Camp 4 looks good and the Sherpas were already back at ABC at 4pm after a long day’s work.

For now, we will have to watch the weather and wait first for the precipitation and then for the winds to cease in order to have a good enough window to go to the summit and come back safely. As I am writing this in the warm sunshine at ABC, I am watching the spindrift coming off the summit of Makalu, which means that the winds up there are very strong. And even though it means waiting a little bit longer, it proves that the weather forecast we get from Meteotest in Bern is correct and we are hoping that we can move towards the top around 15th or 16th May.

Billi Bierling, Makalu ABC