Sunday, 17 April 2011

Settling in at Everest BC

Photo: Greg Healey Collection

We made an early morning start from Kathmandu for the drive north to the Friendship Bridge into Tibet. The road traverses some impressive valleys and we saw the unfortunate remains of another Everest team's freight lorry which had fallen off the road. After lunch the border crossing into China was fairly painless but we were forced to spend a night in Zangmu due to a problem with the landcruisers.

Another early start saw us enjoying the recently completed sealed road to Nylam on the edge of the Tibetan plateau. Here we bumped into the Adventure Peaks' Lhakpa Ri team who should be joining us at base camp in a few days when they've completed their acclimatisation. The road now crosses a 5000m pass before descending to the frontier town of Tingri.

The final off road approach from Tingri was fairly cloudy with a few snow showers, but as we arrived at the site of our base camp the weather cleared giving some stunning views of the north face of Everest minus the characteristic plume.

Our base camp is ridiculously luxurious containing a heated mess tent with lighting, a DVD player, carpets, individual sleeping tents with mattresses, and shower facilities. Our whole team of Sherpas, climbers and cooks are now together for the first time numbering some 33 folk! There are around 7 other large teams already in residence and confusion reigns as some teams are on Bejing time while others including ourselves are sticking with Nepalese.

The sun hit our tents at 7:40 today for the start of a very productive day. 105 oxygen bottles were weighed, marked and sealed, 120 man days of food was organised and bagged up, radios were issued and tested, copious amounts of tea were drunk and things are all moving in the right direction. Yak sizzlers for tea followed by the Dark Knight on the TV.