13 May 2008: This morning I had some hot water, but no food...
This morning I had some hot water, but no food. I had virtually no sleep last night. No matter which way I tried to sleep my head ended up being downhill. It was like trying to sleep on a large ball. The tent was partially full of oxygen bottles, tents and our packs. On top of that I was in the middle with Ngima sliding against me form the uphill side. Next time up the extra gear will be gone and hopefully the Sherpa’s can get the tent leveled out better.
Our plan was to go all the way down to base camp today. Having eaten no food for 24 hours and still recovering from diarrhea I had my doubts about getting all the way down to base camp. Never-the-less we left our perch at camp three at 6:30 AM. Outside there were many climbers slowly progressing up the fixed lines. It was still snowing and windy, but looked like it was starting to clear up. The temperature was in the single digits making it quite cold with the wind.
Ngima and I piled our clothes on and than put our crampons on in the door of our tent than we clipped into a fixed line which leads to the main up / down lines. Once on the main fixed lines we managed traffic to get started down. At the first rappel we had to wait about fifteen minutes while climbers coming up cleared one of the fixed lines so we could go down. After that we had few delays thanks to the many folks that would move over to allow us a clear line going down.
Fortunately the snow stopped and we had only light wind as we made our way closer to camp two. We arrived at camp two at 9:30 AM. I still had hope of stopping at camp two for the night, but Ngima wanted to get back to base camp. By 10:30 AM we headed on down. To say I was slow would be an understatement. It was all I could do to make the 6,400 foot descent. Lucky for me
Pemba (camp two cook) came part way up the ice fall to bring some hot and cold drinks, which helped get me down.
Back at base camp I drank lots of liquids and had my first meal in over thirty hours. Now I will have several rest days prior to our summit attempt.