Rotation 2: 2 am start for the Khumbu Ice Fall
LET ROTATION 2 OFFICIALLY BEGIN!!
(Crap, technically it’s our 3rd rotation, counting Lobuche climb, but 2nd time through the Khumbu Ice Fall)
Anyhow, the team set out earlier, 2 am, as to avoid “amateur hour” traffic jams. It paid off! We reduced travel time from 9 hours to 6!! This time, we knew what to expect, worked better as a team and did NOT have to wait for 1+ hrs at vertical fixed line spots for other teams to get through.
(You would be SHOCKED at how many people come to Everest NEVER having repelled, ice climbed, or used an ascender! Mind Blowing)
For me personally, it was a TOTALLY different and pleasant experience NOT BEING IN PAIN FROM A GLUTEN REACTION, like the first rotation.
Route had changed dramatically. I am sure it will every time. More ladders, redirected collapses… I actually liked it better this time. Or maybe that is because we just have it dialed in better.
We rolled into Camp 1 at 9am. It is freezing cold in the dark and shadows, but when the sun finally peaks over the mountains… ITS THE POLAR OPPOSITE and you are on the face of the freaking sun and need to immediately de-layer or will burst into flames. This is why we often travel at night. The last 1.5 hours of our hike was hot, sunny and energy draining, mouth felt like it was filled with sand. But, we pushed through!
Next steps were text book: Eat, Set up tents, nap. Some weather came in, but not hurricane force winds like last time. Early Freeze dried dinner (Shepard’s mashed potatoes and meat).
I had issues sleeping due to issues with inflatable mattress. I brought an excellent lightweight pad with high “R” rating (scale from 1-9, relating temperature rating). I’ve used several times with no issues. But, I woke FREEZING, coming from underneath. I mean freezing. I had to line the bottom on my -40 F bag with what extra down layers I had (jackets and vest). I shivered all night, was miserable and I could not figure out why my pad was so cold.
Update: after investigating later, we figured out the moisture from my breath, blowing it up, had collected over numerous nights, and froze inside my pad. I was sleeping on ice. The pad did not come with a pump (most do), to avoid just this problem. Luckily, a teammate had not made the 2nd rotation (due to asthma) and so I could use that mat. Extremely thankful for that!