After nearly 3 weeks touring the Khumbu we finally arrived at Everest Base Camp yesterday in rather snowy conditions. The acclimatisation schedule seems to have worked a treat and everyone has had a great 1st night. Today has been a day of unpacking bags and boxes and discovering what we all sent out in the freight nearly 8 weeks ago - our Base Camp equivalent of an Easter egg hunt. Talking of which, we had mini easter eggs and chocolate selection boxes (Hello Kitty for the girls and Toy Story for the boys - which had all travelled better than expected).
The ascent of Pokalde a few days ago was a great success and everyone reached the summit in under 2 hours from the Kongma La. It was nice to have great views and be able to chill at just over 5,800m for ages taking in the panorama. Back down at the Kongma La camp (around 5,450m) Jen's artistic flair came to light when she decided to stamp out 'The Big E 2011' in 20 foot long letters on the frozen lake. Personally I would have preferred 'elmtreelodge-keswick.co.uk - vacancies available but book early to avoid disappointment' - but it would perhaps have taken up too much space.
EBC is quite a sprawling area and from the first tents we had to keep going for another 20 mins or so before we got to our camp. The whole site is an amazing area on a rubble covered glacier with another pristine glacier dropping down from the Western Cwm. Tomorrow we'll be venturing in to the Khumbu Icefall - which apparently is in great condition this year with the widest span across a crevasse being 3 ladders connected together.
The following day our intention is to pop up to Camp 1 (around 6,000m). When I say 'pop up' - it could take anywhere between 3 and 8 hours depending on how quickly folk can move in the increasingly rarefied atmosphere, how everyone takes to the ladder crossings and how much traffic there is. To put it in to perspective the Sherps tend to go to C1 in around 2 hours!
All being well we'll be at C1 for 1 or 2 nights and then on up to C2 (6,400m) for a night.
So we'll be off the air for a few days but hopefully will have some photos to send soon. We'll try and keep you all updated as much as possible but when it comes to summit push time we may go quiet for a while. Partly because we'll be on the hill (!) but also because we are aware that there are other teams out there who are following our progress (and therefore our weather forecasting as well). It would be somewhat silly on our part to shout from the tree tops (tent tops?) about our summit attempt to only find that it then made for a congested few days.
That's about all for now ... Tim and Co
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