2 May 2008: Pemba, Chet and I started our hike back to base camp...
After a relaxing night we prepared to leave Lobuche. We had breakfast at the Eco Lodge and made a few more SAT phone calls. Pemba, Chet and I started our hike back to base camp. Anna continued on down the Khumbu valley to Pheriche.
On our way back to base camp we had helicopter flights low overhead on their way to and from base camp. In such a remote area it seems strange to have military helicopters flying by. We found out after getting back to base camp that these flights were for various Nepal ministers and secretaries of state. The Chinese ambassador was also on one of the flights. They were all dropped off for short inspections to insure that no one was going to interrupt the Chinese efforts to put the Olympic torch on the summit of Everest. With no one allowed above camp two and no route above camp two established it all seems so silly. We are nearly 8,000 feet from the summit on the Nepal side when at our highest point – camp two. Besides the Chinese continue their aerial surveillance every day, so they should know where everyone is.
A very pleasant surprise is that Wongchu (director of Peak Promotion) is now at our camp. He came up on one of the flights today from Kathmandu. Imagine living at about 4,000 feet and being flown directly up to 17,598 feet with no ill effects. That is what Wonchu did today. All the other dignitaries were flown back to Kathmandu after only short stays at base camp. We hope that with Wongchu in our camp our communications will become easier. It would be nice to be able to check email and use our SAT phone in our camp again.
This evening we had several inches of snow at base camp. The forecast for the next few days is for light snow and windy conditions.