CTSS EBC Puja

May 7

Another early 3 am wake up. It’s always miserable packing up your frost covered sleeping bag and pads in the cold dark. We separated our gear bags into 3 destinations:

  1. Camp 1
  2. Staying at Camp 2

OR

3. Coming back down to basecamp in our packs

After some luke warm porridge and instant coffee, we started our journey back down to basecamp. We moved at a quick pace so I felt warm enough. The sky started to lightened around 4:45 am. It was GORGEOUS! Snow covered mountains surrounded us, and the sliver of the moon escorted us back down to Camp 1.

We took a quick break for water and adjust layers. Next up was traveling back through the Khumbu Ice Fall, so we needed to have everything ready to go. We started so early to miss the climber “traffic” moving up the mountain, as well as get through the Ice Fall before the heat and danger of the sun. At 5:30 am, the only people sharing our path were the Sherpas and porters hauling loads up and down. They are ALL fast and efficient, so the wait at ladders/repel/ascend spots was fast.

Our team moves so well together now. I am so very proud of all the work each of us did BEFORE we even got here. We are all skilled and the work has payed off.

We finally met up other climbers face to face, about 1/2 way down the icefall. The sun was up and temps rose quickly. We pass people wearing full Gortex (which you never wear in these conditions. There is no wind, and the sun is hot. Gortex will make a little individual sauna, and drain and dehydrate you). We pass people that are not in good enough physical shape, or do not have technical skills. They are struggling to just get up the lower half of the Khumbu.

I wonder what their goals are? To the top? Just to camp 1 or 2? My feelings are split: On one side, good for them for living out a life long dream to hike up Everest as far as they can go. But on the other side: They are putting themselves, AND the guides they hired in DANGER. And if our tram has to wait for them to get through a difficult section, they put US in danger. ONE of the gentlemen we passed, at approx 18K ft, not far out of base camp, was already on oxygen! WHAT? (For reference: we will not get on oxygen until 24K ft). He and his 2 climbing Sherpa were caught in a collapse. They are ok, but this is what I am talking about. My mind just wanders to what some people are thinking. I guess they are thinking Everest is easy. I will be sure to ask next time we cross paths NOT in the Ice Fall.

Anyhow, we arrived back in Everest Base Camp around 10 am! SO GOOD TO BE HOME! It felt warm and alive!

A big breakfast awaited us, followed by naps, showers, unpacking and a BIG EXHALE!

Our final rotation is complete. Now we rest, take care our ourselves and mentally prepare to go back up, higher and farther, for EVEREST SUMMIT PUSH!

I definitely need time to recover! Love this team, love our guides, love this opportunity!

About the author : Kim

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