While all of us are struggling with the heat of midsummer; the Lhotse Everest 2013 expedition team describes Camp2 as ‘Spring has still not arrived’!
Climbers approaching Nuptse Corner just ahead of Camp1
Today morning, the team started from camp1 location at 7.30am. The route between camp1 and camp2 was more walk than climb. The camp 2 (6500m) is located in upper western cwm. The central section is cut by huge lateral crevasses which restrict the entrance into the upper Western Cwm. Many long ladders are used to cross the crevasses. The snow-covered, bowl-shaped slopes surrounding the Western Cwm reflect the solar radiation, warming the valley basin despite its high elevation. Some of the most difficult days on Everest are in the Western Cwm, when on a sunny windless day it is desperately hot, and has been known to reach temperatures up to 35 – 40°C.
Mt. Lhotse (center) and Mt. Everest (Left) overlooking the Western Cwm
The team reached Camp2 at 12.30pm. They pitched tents, and called basecamp and back home through radio sets and satellite phone. The route up north to the summit of Lhotse, a high rising Lhotse face encompassing yellow band and the camp3 site below it, was clearly visible throughout journey from camp1 to camp2. Due to the recent snowfall the entire basin is covered with a foot deep fresh, soft snow, making it difficult to walk on. Barring few places where there is a danger of hidden crevasses, the route is fixed with fixed ropes and few horizontal ladders to cross the crevasses, the route is free walk.
Towards the end of the day the conditions were bit overcast with slight snowfall. The team had early dinner at 6.30pm in a common tent pitched by sherpas and were into their sleeping bags before 7.30pm. Tomorrow morning the team will go down to basecamp and will stay there until their next movement on the mountain.
Camp 1 Stay
Today morning the team had early breakfast and prepared themselves for the movement of the day. They put on inner layer of woolen thermals. Intermediate layer on top of it and finally wind stoppers. Like a seasoned mountaineer they were ready in no time with their snow shoes and harness on. Everyone wore helmet and clamped headlamp on top of it. Ashish and Bhushan clamped Go-Pro cameras on their helmets. Finally with their backpacks on all of them proceeded towards the chorten. Few essence sticks along withjunifersticks were burning leaving their fragrance in the air.The team prayed to the Goddess Sagarmatha for the success. Warm hugs were exchanged with the fellow team members.
The team started at 5.30am from EBC through Khumbu towards Camp1. Roughly in half an hour they were into the core of Khumbu icefall, where they put on the crampons on their climbing shoes. Pulling the straps of crampons in chilling cold must have been an experience. Walking on the crisp layer of superficial snow was comfortable but the team knew that this pleasure would not remain for long. As the day progressed the superficial layer of the snow started melting exposing the soft fresh snow beneath. Climbing on the soft snow was pretty tiring as the team had to put an extra effort to stamp on each step before moving ahead. Crossing the ladders one after another and progressing pitch by pitch they reached to 5850M at 8.30am.
It was almost three hours since they started. The team stopped for a quick bite. After having boiled eggs which they carried from the basecamp, sip of lukewarm water from their thermos was refreshing. Soon they had to rush ahead because of the danger of movements of the icefall and risk of avalanches coming down the Lhola face. After this point the climb was not stiff but the team had gained some altitude by then which was making the further movement strenuous. This section was tricky as crevasses grow deeper and wider. Also, because of the recent snowfall there was danger of hidden crevasses en route. Although the entire route in this section is fixed with safety ropes, one has to be attentive all the times and pass the safety carabiner through these ropes. Many Sherpas have lost their lives in this section due to carelessness. Since they failed to snap their carabiners inside rope, a little mistake while crossing wide crevasse over the ladder pushed them miles below the surface, towards the end of narrowing crevasses.
Carefully and steadily the team reached to the camp 1 site at 10am, where they pitched tents. They cooked noodles using butane burners.
At 6100M, Camp1 of the Mt. Everest through South-East ridge is located above Khumbu icefall and at the base of western cwm (also called as valley of silence). Camp1 is very unstable and dangerous place and climbers do not prefer to stay here. It is very narrow section surrounded by high raising walls of Nuptse corner on one side and Everest shoulder on the other. This will be the only night spent in the expedition on Camp1. In further movements, the team will skip this camp and will directly go to Camp2.
Tomorrow morning the team will start early. Will touch camp2 and return to BaseCamp. This is an essential phase in climbing the mountain called as acclimatization.
23 April -2013 -Few More photographs shared from Everest basecamp
Earlier this month, movement in the Khumbu icefall captured from the BaseCamp. The climbers set out for the climbing through icefall at the dawn and the route is seen as chain of headlamps progressing slowly but steadily.
Due to harsh weather conditions, today the team is held at Base Camp and they have plan to move up the mountain tomorrow i.e. 24th April. After continuous snowfall for past few days, they are hoping for the favorable weather conditions during tomorrow’s movement.