Apr 14-16, 2010

Things are happening fast here. Only three days ago (Apr 14th), we left EBC after an epic stormy night (all night thunder, lightning, snow and wind; so many avalanches that morning following the wind and snow loading; woke up to a 20F cold morning). Now we have just climbed Lobuche, a 6000m-ish peak, and are getting ready to head home (EBC).

The climb schedule was definitely a fast-paced one. The first day (Apr 14th), we hiked 5 hours from EBC to arrive at base camp (~4800m); the next day (Apr 15th) we moved to high camp (~5100m) after lunch. After an early dinner and a few hours’ rest, we got up at 3am this morning and went for the summit! Then we are back to base camp this afternoon already!

Though 6000m peaks are everywhere in Himalaya, this climb is still a serious climb by any standard. For the

~1000m ascent on summit day, two-thirds of the climb requires ascending on fixed rope, with half of that on rock and the top half on snow and ice. If this was in any other region, this climb itself would call a trip already. But here, this is only our first training climb and just gives us a taste of how demanding the Everest climb will be. We are heading back to EBC tomorrow to rest a few days (yah, need to recover fast!) before we get ready for more training climbs on Mt Everest itself, and each of them will involve climbing through Khumbu Icefall.

Let it cough, let it cough!

I think the team is mostly clean of the cold virus by now, but almost everyone has started coughing with various severity. I’m still trying to figure out how to tell apart different kinds of cough, but I guess what most people have here is the so-called Khumbu cough, which results from long exposure to cold dry air at altitude. From what I overheard from the guide’s radio this morning, some other teams are already requesting help on medicine (z-pak) supply!

I’m sleeping with a cough drop in throat as my nightly routine now.