Up the North side of Mt Everest tomorrow!

Edita called on the satellite  phone and wrote for this post today 🙂 She is itching to go (literally itching). She got a slight rash, likely from the laundry soap but seems to be ok :-).  Her spirits are great and other than the slight rash, she is feeling 100%.  Edita wrote…

“The life here at BC is quite comfortable and I think I got used to it quite quickly. The food that Phil provides is quite incredible – I don’t have to pretend that spam tastes good as many climbers from other groups brag about…  We do not eat spam very often here at AJ camp. Each day we had something different so we don’t get bored eating  the same foods.  I just had goode German sausages for lunch! I don’t even eat at home so good…

However, we all know this BC comfortable life is not forever. Today we are packing as we are leaving tomorrow after lunch for our first rotation.  We will sleep over at the interim camp and the following day head for ABC. This morning Phil was demonstrating with the espresso cups the way the oxygen use is planned for each of us during the summit push.

Phil doing demo of oxygen

Phil doing demo of oxygen

We’ll have 6 bottles each and will start using it during the summit push, above the North Cole. Each climber is different, so we may start putting on O’s at different times. Even Sherpas use supplemental oxygen on Everest. The North Side of the mountain is especially cold and  technical, so the chance of climbing to the summit and surviving without using oxygen is very slim even for the strongest climbers.

The plan starting tomorrow is to go up to ABC for a long rotation which may last from 5 to 8 days. After sleeping at the interim camp one night, we go up to ABC. At ABC, we spend three nights acclimatizing before we climb higher, but no more than 7,500 meters. During the first rotation above ABC, we may go half way to the North Cole or if we are strong enough, we will tag the North Cole and go back to ABC. We will rest a day or two, and then do another rotation to the Cole. Tagging the North Cole once (twice if possible) is our aim. We have no plans of staying or sleeping there before our summit push. Phil’s idea is that the longer you stay above 7,000 plus the more your body is drained and weaker. Since we are all using oxygen, this will be sufficient for us in terms of acclimatization. By staying at ABC or at BC, your body is already acclimatizing. So, after the second rotation to the North Cole, we plan to come back to ABC, rest for a day or two, and come back to BC to rest and wait for an early window of summit push.Let’s hope that the weather holds good and we feel strong during this long rotation and that we don’t need to go back for the second rotation to tag the Cole.

Some of the groups here at BC already went to ABC yesterday. They’ve been eager to start climbing. I am seeing another group walking every day up the hill, even though today it was quite windy and cold. Phil’s idea is that we do not need to push ourselves before we are properly acclimatized at BC. Many of people get sick just because they did not take enough time to acclimatize and rest and end up having to leave the expedition. You can also get sick just by trying to push yourself too hard, like walking on such a cold and windy day which is not necessary for your acclimatization. The best way to stay healthy is resting, eating, and staying away from other camps as you may just pick up some virus and get sick and make your teammates sick as well. Your camp site, your tent and your sleeping bag are the best friends during this early stage of acclimatization. Of course, you have to stretch your legs and take a walk or do something like yoga to keep the blood moving. Again, I am not an expert of the best way to acclimatize and climb Mt Everest, but from Phil’s past experience seems to be effective. Let’s hope this will work for our group and that we’ll have a chance for an early summit!”

Join me in hoping that all goes well in this rotation. See the interactive map in the next column to see where exactly they going and exactly how high they will get. Edita promised to send her spot tracker and call or text on her sat phone at some point. I will keep you all posted. Thos who haven’t already, don’t forget to donate a few dollars into the Everest for Sahel campaign. Edita was quite disappointed that there has not been any donations in awhile (please).

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