Daily Dispatches

Title: Dick Morse - Lhotse Expedition 2010- Daily Dispatch

Dick Morse - Lhotse Expedition 2010- Daily Dispatch

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I got my flights changed and will be back home on May 24th.


May 21st, 2010:
My climb is over today.  Our flight got our morning and before lunch time I was back in Kathmandu.  Mingmar and I got back.  Ngima and our bags did not.  They remained in Lukla as flights were stopped due to high winds after the morning flights.  Ngima and our bags did get out the next day and we are all back in Kathmandu.


May 20th, 2010:
It was a shorter walk today from Namche to Lukla.  After descending the trail below Namche down to the river it became quite warm.  From that point on to Lukla we all suffered a bit in the warmer conditions. 
I was a little sore from the previous days walk so my pace was not too quick.  We got to Lukla around 2 PM.  The flights were still coming in and out at Lukla and continued until nearly 5 PM.  There had not been any flights to Lukla during the two previous days.  Fortunately they were able to catch up today.


May 19th, 2010:
After breakfast we started our walk back to Lukla.  Today we went from base camp all the way back to Namche.  It was a long day with only one stop for lunch and a couple short breaks.  I got to Namche just before dark at 7 PM.  A hot shower and a real bed made a good finish to a long day.


May 18th, 2010:
I packed up my gear today.  I also got a shower and clean clothes.  We will start our trek back to Lukla tomorrow.


May 17th, 2010:
After some good sleep it was easier to get packed up and ready to move this morning.  One of the worst parts about ending a climb is that you have all of your gear to carry back to base camp.  For me that meant about 35 kg in my pack.  The Sherpa’s have much more weight than that.  We left camp 2 around 10 AM and arrived back at base camp at 2 PM.  This was another tough day.  On our kitchen staff met me near the last ladder in the icefall and carried my pack the rest of the way.  That was a big help!


May 16th, 2010:
We did not get moving very early this morning.  It was nearly noon before we had gotten packed up and headed down to camp 2.  I don’t think any of us slept very well.  My progress down the Lhotse face was slow.  I was still very tired from the previous day’s ordeal.  Once off the face I had Mingmar and Ngima go on to camp 2.  I moved along slowly to camp at least an hour behind them.  At camp 2 we were able to get rehydrated and ate quite a bit.   We finally were able to get some good sleep.


May 15th, 2010:
Mingmar got up to camp 3 ~ 6:30 AM this morning.  Ngima and I had some tea and rice pudding before packing up to leave.  By 7:30 AM we were on our way up the Lhotse Face towards our camp 4.  Progress was very slow due to many climbers moving up the mountain.  Mingmar, Ngima and I were all using oxygen.  I had my regulator set and 1 liter per minute.  Just below the Yellow Band I had my regulator turned up to 1 ½ liter per minute.  I was feeling the effect of little sleep last night.  With the crowded conditions moving up the fixed line we made few stops.  We just tried to keep our place in line moving up the face.  It was fairly sunny and the wind continued through the day at a fairly moderate clip.

After the Yellow Band and near the start of the Geneva Spur our fixed line split off from the line leading on up to Everest camp 4.  By 2:30 PM were at our camp 4 for Lhotse.  The sight was not good.  Several other groups of climbers were working to repair their tents after all of the high winds.  Our tent was completely destroyed.   All of the poles were bent or broken.  Much of the fly and tent shell was torn (actually shredded).  For the next couple hours we dug drifted snow off the remains of our tent.  We tried to come up with a way to stay at camp four and have a chance for a summit attempt.  Unfortunately we had no good options left.  By 6 PM we had the tent remains packed up along with all of our oxygen that had been brought up for our summit try.  We headed back down to camp 3.
Our progress back down was very slow.  I was exhausted at this point and really held Mingmar and Ngima up on our way back down.  It was dark by the time we got below the yellow band which made progress even slower.  I don’t remember very many times on other climbs where I was more tired.  Several times I just wanted to lie down and sleep.  Fortunately Mingmar and Ngima kept pushing me along.  We finally got back to camp 3 around 10 PM.  We climbed back into the tents and quickly went to sleep.


May 14th, 2010:
After a good nights sleep we headed on up to camp 3.  Ngima and I left around 7:30 AM while Mingmar remained at camp 2.  The plan is for Ngima to stay at camp 3 tonight.  Tomorrow morning Mingmar will catch us at camp 2 and move up to camp 4 with us. 
When we arrived at camp 3 we found the tents in poor shape.  They were partially7 buried by drifting snow.  There were also a couple broken poles.  It took several hours of digging and minor repairs to make them usable.  The tent Ngima and I were using was only dug out partially.  We were afraid that digging it out completely might result in a broken pole.  The wind continued through the night and blew snow back over the tent leaving us buried about the same in the morning, as we had found the tent when we first camp back up to camp 3.  I got very little sleep during the night.


May 13th, 2010:
We are up at 4 AM this morning.  After some tea and breakfast we are on our way up through the icefall by 5:30 AM.  We were at camp 2 by 11:15 AM.  We had fairly stiff winds most of the way up.  After arriving at camp 2 the winds seemed to drop a bit and also seemed lighter up higher of the mountain.  Maybe we will get lucky with the forecast!


May 12th, 2010:
Today is our last rest day before heading up to camp 2.  We packed up some food and remaining gear for our summit try.  The weather is still sunny and windy.  It looks very windy up high.  We try to rest most of the day, get dinner early and to bed early.


May 11th, 2010:
After breakfast this morning I hiked up to Puma Ri advanced base camp (~19,000 feet).  I was back for lunch.  We are still planning to go up on the 13th for our summit attempt.  Still sunny and windy!


May 10th, 2010:
Again we remain at base camp.  It is still sunny with light to moderate winds.  The forecast for up high on the mountains is for continued high winds until the 22nd or 23rd.  There is a slight chance for a brief drop in the winds around the 15th to the 178th.  At this point we are planning to go back up on the 13th.


May 9th, 2010:
Today Mingmar and Ngima talked with the Russian climbers at base camp.  They had gotten within 150 meters of the summit on Lhotse before they had to turn back.  One of their climbers had become ill – probably Cerebral Edema.  Before they were able to get back to camp 4 he had died.  They apparently had bee climbing without oxygen.  They had cut open our duffel bag in our tent at camp 4 in search of oxygen, mask and regulator.  All we had at the camp was our oxygen.  We had not taken the masks or regulators up there yet.
At base camp it is sunny with some wind, but it looks very windy up higher.


May 8th, 2010:
Resting at base camp and watching the weather.  Mingmar got a radio call from Kame (another Peak Promotion Sherpa).  While descending from Everest camp 4 he saw a body tied off the fixed line just below our camp 4 on Lhotse.  We were not sure, but more than likely it was one of the Russian climbers trying to climb Lhotse.
I also found out that while Mingmar was digging out a tent platform at Lhotse camp 4 he had a close call.  Snow that he had dug out of the steep slope gave way while he was standing on it.  Fortunately he had changed from using a shovel to his ice axe and was able to arrest his slide on the Lhotse Face.  If he had still been using the shovel he would not have been able to stop a long fall down the face.


May 7th, 2010:
Today Mingmar and Nigma returned to base camp shortly after noon.  The weather forecast is for high winds starting tonight and continuing for several days.  We will watch the forecasts for a weather window to climb. 


May 6th , 2010:
Mingmar, Nigma and another Sherpa got up to camp 4 with very heavy loads.  They carried all of the oxygen up from camp 2 to camp 3.  Than they picked up rope and hardware left at camp 3 to fix the route up to camp 4.  From camp 3 they followed the Everest route fixed line up past the Yellow Band.  About two thirds of the way between the Yellow Band and the Geneva Spur they started fixing about 200 meters of line up to Lhotse camp 4.  All went well and they were able to set up camp 4 and than return to camp 2 for the night.


May 5th, 2010:
Mingmar, Nigma and another Sherpa went up to camp 2.  The weather this morning was cloudy with snow showers, but light winds.  Hopefully the winds will stay low and snowfall light for the next few days.   I continue to stay at base camp.


May 4th, 2010:
My Sherpa’s and I are resting at base camp.  Mingmar is not a lot better, but has decided that he and Nigma will go back up to work on the route to camp 4 tomorrow.  I will continue to stay at base camp to rest for our summit push.  Mingmar has been able to recruit a Sherpa from another team to help carry rope and hardware up to camp 4.  They will also carry our oxygen up to camp 4 depending on the weather.


May 3rd, 2010:
Rest day at base camp.  Light winds and snow flurries in the afternoon.  Mingmar talked with the HRA doctors and they confirmed that he had Bronchitis.  He will continue the antibiotics and also use a nasal spray to help him breath better at night.  According to Peter Hackett (one of the two HRA doctors here at base camp now) a large percentage of climbers here have some degree of Bronchitis.  You just have to live with the cough and try you best to keep your sinus clear at night and avoid breathing through your mouth, unless you enjoy a really sore throat in the morning.


May 2nd, 2010:
When we woke up this morning it was still very windy and snowing.  We decided quickly that there was no chance of going up to establish camp 4 this morning.  Our only option was to go down to avoid using up food supplies at camp 3.  There was about six to eight inches of new snow with more falling.  We packed up and headed down by 9 AM.  Descending in white out conditions made progress slow, but we got back to camp 2 around 11 AM.  Visibility remained very poor all the way to camp 2.  We left our sleeping gear at camp 2 and took a short break before continuing on down to base camp.  Even in the icefall the visibility remained poor until just above base camp.  We were back at base camp by 2 PMwhere there were 3 to 4 inches of new snow and flurries continued through the afternoon.


May 1st, 2010:
We all moved up to camp 3 today.  Mingmar did not seem to be doing any worse today.  This was my first time up to camp 3 this year.  At the start of the face we had lots of spindrift while crossing the ber