Climbing Mount Everest Week 5 - Postcard from base camp
The last 10 days since my last blog have been great!
We finally reached Everest Base Camp at 5365m, which is our home for most of the remaining 5-6 weeks.
At this altitude, there's only about 50% of the oxygen compared to sea-level, but as we took our time getting here, it’s hardly noticeable - apart from when we try something a bit more strenuous and lose our breath pretty easily.
Everest Base Camp, or EBC as we call it, is like a little village.
My expedition was the first to arrive here about a week ago but since then people have been streaming in: climbers, trekkers, sherpas, etc. some by foot, some by yak and others by helicopter.
My team has great facilities.
Each member of the team has a small tent all to themselves and we share a mess tent, in which our sherpas keep us well fed.
Most of the food is pretty normal: porridge, eggs and toast for breakfast; potatoes, beans, yak meat and tuna for lunch and dinner.
Funnily, it seems the sherpas call all fish tuna.
We also have access to showers, internet access and are able to wash clothes while at EBC.
However, the satellite based internet access costs US$100 per 10Mb, which means no surfing the web, but just sending the blogs out and relying on family and friends sending text messages for major news events around the world.
The weather has been pretty good to us.
The nights can be very cold and often bring a bit of snow, but especially the mornings are warm when the sun hits the camp.
Afternoons tend to be pretty cloudy, which means that especially late afternoons many are wearing down pants and jackets.
I keep resisting, telling myself that I'm from Finland and used to this...well, it doesn't always work and some evenings I've also had to rely on down pants.
Our acclimatisation process i.e. getting our bodies used to the lower oxygen levels high up on the mountains is also going well.
We spent the last few days climbing Lobuche, a +6000m mountain, which was challenging at times and reminded us that we need to climb almost another 3000m to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
My acclimatization has gone well and I feel strong.
Several of my team members have had little problems with altitude sickness or other illnesses such as the famous Khumbu cough, flu etc., but so far I've managed to avoid all of the problems and I hope that continues.
Next we start our rotations on Mount Everest itself.
We have four camps on the mountain: Camp 1, Camp 2 (also known as Advanced Base Camp), Camp 3 and Camp 4.
To acclimatize ourselves, we'll climb from EBC to Camp 2, descent to sleep at Camp 1 before returning to EBC, then climb from EBC via Camp 1 and Camp 2 to Camp 3, before returning to EBC.
It's a long process, but necessary to get us ready to push for the summit, at 8850m.
Each rotation on the mountain requires us to pass the notorious Khumbu Icefall, a long stretch of crevasses, requiring us to cross them using ladders tied to each other.
So far, the news from the Icefall Doctors, a group of sherpas that are responsible for setting the ladders in place, is good, but on Everest things can change quickly.
Right now if we stay healthy, the weather stays good and there are no negative surprises in our acclimatization process, we should start our summit push around May 7th.
However, based on history, we'll have many surprises ahead of us.
Oh, and keep your fingers crossed for me to have good luck on the mountain!
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