Carlos, Rodrigo and CarlitoEarly morning and the team gathers in the mess tent, slowly equipment is made ready as the climbers go through final preparations for the climb ahead. Breakfast is taken with plenty of cups of coffee and tea; some added warmth against the chill outside. When ready we walk up towards the Puja alter with a fire of juniper and incense burns.
Apa hands the climbers rice to scatter across the alter as an offering. With the gods of the mountain satisfied Rodrigo, Carlos, Carlito, Chris and Deke set off into the Ice Fall. Today they begin their journey to the summit.
Through the pre-dawn gloom we can trace their head torches before finally becoming lost in the labyrinth of the Ice Fall. We return to our tents, monitoring the radio traffic and awaiting the new day. It is not long before the silence is shattered by the sound of a rescue helicopter as it passes above BC and heading up and over the Ice Fall.
Sadly a climber died between C2 and C3 two nights ago and the rescue helicopter has been requested to transport the body back down the valley. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
Deke, Apa and ChrisRadio chatter is busy this morning; it is becoming quite apparent that we are not alone in identifying Saturday as a summit day. With multiple teams clambering up the Ice Fall the sheer volume of traffic is slowing the rate of ascent.
Happily we receive confirmation that both the Brazilian team and Americans have safely passed through and our resting briefly at C1 before crossing the Western Cwm and arriving at C2. Excited chatter keeps breaking through over our frequency, static interference maybe, weather possibly, whatever the reason – it’s a bad day for comms…
Arriving back at BC today from C2 was Sunita, Vikas and Sushma. All were looking tired and in need of some rest but had been able to spend time at altitude and can now await the next window of opportunity for a summit bid.
Bruno also arrived back at BC today, his acclimatisation period at C3 had gone well and more importantly he made good progress without supplemental oxygen towards C4. Having completed this he spent last night at C2 before dropping back down to BC this morning.
That leaves Arjun Vajpai; he has been at C2 for two nights and will be resting there today. Tomorrow, depending on how Arjun is feeling, he will either try and reach C3 before returning to C2 and another nights rest, or he will head straight back down to BC.
Heading Off into the Ice fall