Another good week on Everest with teams settling into base camp onboth sides of the mountain. Alpine Ascents was the last large team toarrive at south BC on Wednesday. They spent their time adjusting to thehigh altitudes of over 17,000'. Teams conducted their Pujas and evenpracticed some ladder walking skills before the real thing.
The Sherpas were extremely busy ferrying supplies as high as camp 2 in the Western Cwm on the south.
A few teams are now at camp 1 or camp 2.
The Icefall seems to be in normal shape for this time of year. Thereare a reported 30 ladders with the longest being only two lashedtogether to span a crevasse. Usually there are 40 or more and some thatare much longer, sometimes up to five tied together!
Teams are in the early stages of the acclimatization process. Byclimbing high and returning to sleep low, they are forcing their bodiesto produce additional red blood cells. These cells carry oxygen totheir muscles. Without these additional cells, climbers would not havethe energy to survive at the highest altitudes. Of course this processtakes time and cannot be rushed. I put together the following animationof the south Col route shows the overall process of climbing Everest. It may take a few moments to load.
One dispatch this week caught my eye. For as much as we hear aboutthe beauty of the trek to BC, there is always a concern with stayinghealthy. Alison Levine with the AAI team made this comment:
Almost everyone on the climbing team has battled severerespiratory infections or GI problems (aka "the runs and the barfs") atsome point during the trek in to BC. Some members are still quite ill.Up until two days ago, there were three out of nine of us who hadremained healthy the entire time, but yesterday Vanessa (a collegestudent and our youngest teammember) contracted a horrible cold or somekind of flu. It wasn't much of a surprise to the rest of us as she hadbeen hiking at 17,000' in 20-degree weather wearing a short-sleevedt-shirt while the rest of us were in warm jackets and hats. If anyonereading this has access to the administration at Princeton, please urgethem to add a Common Sense 101 class to the curriculum. And make itmandatory.
This is another reason climbers take few days upon their arrival at BC - to rest and recover from the trek.
Finally, a look at the numbers. The north has 32 teams and the southhas 22 expeditions with 224 climbing permits issued. This is slightlylower on the south than the last two years when China effectivelyclosed Everest. There were 29 teams in 2009 and 36 in 2008. Thisaccording to the Nepal Industrial Department, Ministry of Tourism andCivil Aviation.
This next week will be quite busy with climbers going to camp 2 foras much as three nights. This is when they really feel like they arefar away since there is limited communications. But the views areincredible.