Saturday, September 26, 2015

The return to Basecamp

I woke up comfortably at base camp this morning instead of at camp 4 with freezing fingers preparing to climb to the summit.

Our summit attempt went according to plan ... we left base camp and climbed to camp 2, spent the night, then climbed to camp 3.   Both days of climbing were unbearably hot.  I wore a wool tshirt and slathered sunscreen on every hour to avoid a burn.  I found myself fantasizing that there would be a Slurpee machine at camp 3.  There wasn't. Just wind-blown snow slopes and more blazing sun.

As our team climbed to camp 3 our amazing Sherpa team was climbing to camp 4 to fix the route and establish camp.  Unfortunately just before camp they encountered unstable, deep, sugary snow that wouldn't support snow pickets.  Shortly after they decided to turn around a snow bridge broke sending one Sherpa into a crevasse.  He was excavated and sustained a recoverable shoulder injury.

With high winds forecasted, the safest thing was for all of to descend back to base camp, where now the only topic of conversation is how to safely get around that monster crevasse, which is buttressed on one side by ice cliffs and yawns into an ever widening abyss on the other.

Some Sherpa from another team will climb up to inspect it tomorrow.  Until we know more, we're all waiting patiently.

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