While I am writing this I am lying in my tent which is engulfed in a huge cloud and I can hardly see the tent next to mine. But despite this latest fog at base camp, the weather has improved hugely over the past two days and we are planning to summit on 4th and 5th October. The weather forecast from the different parts of the world (Belgium, Switzerland, USA, Portugal and Austria) seem to agree that the worst of the precipitation is over and that we should have a few good days for the summit attempt. However, it is not only the weather forecasts that agree. “On Wednesday, a new Sherpa month has started and this means a change in the weather,” said Phurba Tashi, our Sirdar. And he was absolutely right – on Wednesday morning, we all woke up to brilliant sunshine feeling hopeful for a new weather window.
On Thursday, our Sherpa team climbed up to Camp II and Camp III and they were happy to find all the tents again. In previous years, many teams lost a lot of equipment, which they had stored in tents that were buried in deep snow and were never found again. “I have good news – both camps are still standing even though all five tents in Camp III are broken,” Phurba Tashi told our guide Adrian. The Sherpas worked very hard again, breaking trail and re-opening the route for many other climbers. “They had to re-fix 400m of rope as the route between Camp II and Camp III was avalanched and the rope that had already been fixed could not be found,” he continued.
While the Sherpas are working on the mountain, many other teams are also getting ready to go for the top in the next few days and if the weather holds, it will probably be quite busy up there. A Spanish team is already on its way and the numerous Italians, French, Chinese, Americans and international teams are getting ready to start soon.
But even though the weather is looking promising and dry, it will certainly be windy and cold on 4th October, which could be a problem for a summit attempt without the use of supplementary oxygen. “The winds could be up to 30km/h, which could be too windy and cold without oxygen,” Russell told me. The current plan for me is to go up to Camp 4 at 7,400m and see whether the temperatures are tolerable enough to attempt the summit without supplementary oxygen. However, if I feel that it would be too cold I will not use oxygen to go to the top again as I was there more or less exactly one year ago.
A lot can happen between now and 4th October, however, I am still hopeful and I would like to thank everyone who is following my little expedition and is sending me strength and support through all their lovely messages – it means a lot to me! I would also like to thank the French down producer Valandre (www.valandre.com) for equipping me with a super warm sleeping bag, a fluffy down jacket and a down suit, Lowa (www.lowa.de) for the great boots that are getting me up and down the mountain and keeping my feet warm and Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner (www.gerlinde-kaltenbrunner.de) and Ralf Dujmovits (www.amical.de) for giving me a great new pair of Adidas glacier glasses and super warm Sir Joseph down mittens. And I would like to thank my fantastic family for supporting me and letting me go on these expeditions!
I will be in touch again, once we are back at base camp but in the meantime, you can also check www.himalayanexperience.com for short updates.