Climbers continue to stream into Kathmandu from all around theworld. I updated the expedition count and can already identify over150 named climbers just on the south side and over 50 on the north.
But the true number could easily exceed 350 total on both sides. Toput this in context, in 2009, we saw about 400 total summits and sadly,5 deaths. Nearly 500 summits set a single season record in 2007.
First order of business is for teams to gather and meet at theirhotels in Kathmandu. They usually spend a few days waiting on late bagsand/or members before flying to Lukla to start the trek to BC.
Sherpas are already at base camp reserving their spots and buildingwalls. As strange as it sounds, teams wall off their camps to preventpeople from wandering through. There is a lot of foot (and yak) trafficin base camp. There are also many special tents to be constructed.Kitchen tents are usually four to six foot high stone wall withdraping tarp providing the roof.
Early reports coming from base camp speak of heavy snow, which is normal for late winter at that elevation. Peak Freaks report:
More snow has fallen this time than last year (sameperiod). There is new snow on Everest at present. We had thunderstorm,hailstone in Kathmandu 2 weeks ago and up in the mountains there wasfresh snowfall. There was snowfall up to Namche which remained forabout a day (snow melted quite quickly once the skies cleared and thesnow melted rapidly). Again 2 days ago we had thunderstorm in Kathmandu(windy conditions & scattered rains in the valley). Up in Khumbuthere was fresh snowfall again which came down as far as Namche. Thereis fresh snow up in mountains (the snowline has come down). Now,however, everything is clear and sunny weather up in the Khumbu.
IMG writes of sending tons of gear to BC and the anticipated cooperation amongst teams:
Goodnews, our shipment of oxygen cylinders has now arrived in Nepal andcleared customs. Just getting them halfway round the world requiresspecial documentation and packing, since they are considered dangerousgoods for flying by the FAA and the airlines. These high techaluminum/carbon fiber composite cylinders were tested, valved, andfilled in California, then specially packed for their long journey. And since the yaks do not read the warning labels, our Sherpas will bewrapping them in additional foam to protect the cylinders for the tripto Everest Base Camp!
Among the loads is a large quantity of climbing rope (severalthousand meters or a few miles!), which we have purchased on behalf ofa group of the Everest operators. We hope to work together this yearwith as many other climbers as possible, to get a good route fixed upthe mountain. Prior to sending the rope up to Khumbu, our Sherpasstripped it off the spools and stacked it into bags, so it is easy todeploy without kinking.
As usual, the early season flights from Kathmandu to Lukla aresuffering weather delays. This week flights have been delayed for thepast four days. Not a huge concern becasue most teams build a fewweather days into the schedule but it can be frustrating for climberswanting to get out of noisy Kathmandu and onto the trail.
Another story is lost luggage. Once again we are reminded to never check bags via London Heathrow per this Blog of Day from Lei Wang.
Arnette is a speaker, mountaineer and Alzheimer's Advocate. You can read more on his site