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A note from the freezer
6/Apr
David writes,

Nothing much happened today. Just another day in the freezer at basecamp Rongbuk. Woke up to minus conditions (about -6 on a good day) – just like your freezer unit at home. The hard bit is realising it’s time to get up and out from a warm sleeping bag and into the cold. The sun hits camp only at about 8:30am so pretty frigid until then. Even when the sun shines, the bitter wind makes it feel a lot colder. Yesterday, i washed some socks and clothing but they never dried – the wind froze them into sheets of stiff fabric before the water had time to evaporate. Had to pluck small icicles from the ends of the ‘dripping’ clothes. Eventually, I stretched them in between the inner and outer layers of my tent to get them ‘ freeze-dried’. Today, the weather up on Everest is ugly and the wind colder than a witch’s tit. The tents here are taking a nice whipping from the wind as it either piles up the East Rongbuk (late morning) or down from the mountain (after lunch). Most times, it comes in from everywhere. Basecamp Khumbu in 1998 is tropical by comparison.

Typical basecamp garb are thermal underwear, down jacket and fleece trousers. Your unprotected moments come when you have to unzip to have a big dump in the communal toilet hole 20 metres away from the tents. Wonderful… gives ‘ freezing your ass off’ a whole new meaning.

Meals are eaten quickly since it is unlikely that the food will stay warm before you finish. Breakfast is usually some sort of porridge or muesli, chapatttis and fried eggs. It’s not possible to have them sunny side up since the freeze-thaw cycle breaks the thin membrane which separates the yolks from the whites. You learn something new everyday here at Rongbuk.

Both Roz and I have some mild throat bug so we’ll see how we feel about going up the Big Hill again tomorrow. My disabled ankle has been holding up so hope we can do a better time to Intermediate Camp when we go. If we do go, it’ll be for a few more days including maybe a night at Advance Base Camp (ABC) at 6500m. As for Beng, not sure, because he seems deep in sleep here in the comms tent.

Until, then, greetings from the Freezer.

Ciao,
David


Gil writes,

Ola,

Paciencia eh a palavra de ordem por aqui no Campo Base. Estah frio e venta muito, com rajadas, acho, de mais de 70km/h. Fora das barracas nem pensar, por isso o negocio e inventar o que fazer dentro. Passamos o dia lendo, ouvindo musica (quando o barulho do vento chacoalhando a barraca deixa) ou conversando. Para escalar o Everest nao basta apenas a forca fisica e a aptidao necessaria, eh preciso tambem muita paciencia e auto controle. Ontem pela manha o dia estava formidavel, consegui tomar um “banho” (mais ou menos) e lavar roupas, mas hoje……Amanha a programacao eh ir para o Campo Base Avancado (ABC), espero que o tempo melhore, pois a jornada eh longa e dura.
Ontem e hoje o maximo que andamos foi da barraca que dormimos para a barraca refeitorio, o que nao dah mais de 30m.

Gil

We need to repack those essential heavy stuff from Everest BC for the yaks to carry up to ABC. Here, David (left) and Beng Cheong (right) repacking the drums with goodies (mainly high altitude food). Roz, the dark guy behind David wonders where the rendang had gone.

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