We arrived in base camp yesterday, a day ahead of schedule after some hard hiking, and so were looking forward to our first day off since Island Peak. We were immediately after breakfast put to hard work scaling an ice wall donned in crampons and helmets and climbing gear. For some of us, this was our first exposure to ice climbing. For all of us, this was a difficult endeavor at 18,000 feet.
We all took our two turns on the ice wall, improving enough to please our Sherpas and were released to late morning tea and another epic lunch. After our soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, potato salad and spam, we visited the Glacier Works exhibit (GlacierWorks.org). This is a nonprofit led by David Breashears. Here we saw contemporary photos matched with those taken by Mallory (in 1921) and other early explorer photographers. These photographs show the “dramatic loss of ice during the 20th century.” This is concerning because these glaciers are the water supply for the region…..
In the afternoon we received lectures on Avalanches (of which we have heard two this evening!), High Altitude Illnesses like Cerebral and Pulmonary Edema, and Lightning Injuries from our lecturers Dr. Scott McIntosh and Dr. Maria Nemethy (one of the Himalayan Rescue Association doctors from Pheriche). Dr Luann Freer gave us a tour of the Everest ER followed by case studies related to her 10 years experience running the Everest ER; the highest elevation medical clinic in the world with a mission to provide medical services to the seasonal climbers, Sherpas and support staff.
Another great day with more to come tomorrow….sleep well everyone!