Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Storms & Parties On Everest

Photo: Greg Healey Collection

Our first challenge of the trip arrived on Saturday night with gale force winds battering the North Col. Our final team of three completing their acclimatisation had a fun night holding their tents down sat fully dressed in their sleeping bags ready to make a quick exit. In the morning light it was found that five of the ten tents were damaged, but we got off lightly compared to some of the other teams whose tents had completely disappeared towards Nepal. Our Sherpas were quickly on the scene with spare tents and it looks like our preparations haven't been disrupted too much.

For me the the descent to ABC a couple of days earlier had gone well only taking 18 minutes to descend the fixed lines. However my efforts have been put well and truly in the shade with the arrival of Ueli Steck fresh from speed ascents of Cho Oyu and Shishapangma. After the formalities of a quick jaunt up Everest he's away to Broad Peak in the Karakoram.

You can find out more about Ueli Steck and what he's up to at

The whole team are now back at Base Camp waiting for a lull in the winds and celebrating Heather's birthday. Unfortunately Stephen has had to return to Kathmandu due to illness, but there is a slight chance he may get the all clear and be able to return in time for our summit bid. Many of the European weather forecasts are predicting a brief opportunity window of oppurtunity around the 15th - 17th May, but we're staying put as there is still a risk of 60mph gusts and the Chinese rope fixing team are still at ABC with the fixed lines only extending to 8200m.

A couple of nights ago was the infamous Russian 7 Summits Club base camp party, now a yearly event. The Russian based company put on a superb spread of food, beer and vodka for all teams at BC followed by a firework display. Unsurprisingly the main topic of conversation was the weather!

Early this morning our nine Sherpas reached 8300m to establish our Camp 3, the spring board to the summit. For us and all the other teams it's now the waiting game trying to keep busy in Base Camp.