New Day… New Bathroom Tent

May 5

It was COLD and snowy last night, our tents buried in snow and the sound of avalanche all around us. Our team would NOT be the one breaking new trail in the morning, as the conditions were unstable.

I am so relieved. I had major stress dreams, tossed and turned, was cold, and my hips and knees woke me up every hour to switch position. My 46 yr old body doesn’t absorb tent life like my 30 yr old body used to. When did that happen? Ha!

I woke tired and drained today. We are at 21K feet, so of course everything takes more breath and effort. I’ve discovered that “cold to the bone” feeling is my kryptonite; the only thing that knocks my positive, nothing can stop me, attitude. I started thinking about how much more we have left in this rotation, and then added the 5-6 days for summit push… higher and colder. I need to NOT think about that and concentrate on RIGHT NOW, nothing more than the next step (which is mustering the courage to leave the just under body temperature in my sleeping bag, and get out to pee.)

After a frigid snowy night, the sun hit our tents around 7:30 am. It quickly warmed. All the inside frost, from condensation, started to drip, then quickly evaporate. The inside temp increased quickly as well. What was this feeling of life and renewed energy? I could feel all my doubts literally melting away. Pull it together Buchanan… YOU CAN DO THIS!

We took advantage of this sunny “snow day”! Led by Mua’ Dib, some of us built a new bathroom tent (previous one was some sort of death trap). A friendly snowball fight ensued, including a competition to hit a little 10” wide window in one of the dining tents. There was a lot of laughter and even a couple dance videos made (short flash mobs due to limited O2).

We also took turns practicing the restroom in our full down suits. We have these adorable “rainbow” zippers over our back ends, which are meant for relieving ourselves. It is NOT easy to maneuver, especially in the 2nd case.

(BTW: yes, I discuss #1 and #2 situations A LOT. But is an ongoing topic of discussion and mitigation. I want to keep it real people, so enjoy the journey!)

Anyhow, keeping your suit out of the way, then holding the flap while trying to figure out how to wipe properly from the rear, then getting your rainbow zipped back up fully. And what about all this on a fixed line on the Lhotse Face? There is so much going on! Definitely have a mild case of “Fear of the Rear”! I must become the master of the rainbow! Practice practice practice

A few other CTSS team members rolled in. Other companies rolled in. “Covid appropriate” distanced “Hello’s” were exchanged. Then the usual cloud and chill rolled in around 2 pm and we retreated to our tents to nap, read, journal, or listen to music, until dinner. We also prepared our gear tomorrow’s EARLIER (we discovered another team of 25 was departing the same time we planned. Therefor, we will now leave earlier to avoid traffic jams. Earlier… yeah, my favorite thing, NOT!) departure to tag camp 3, straight up hill!

About the author : Kim

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