Valerio Massimo Everest Expedition 2009

Me on the summit of Cho Oyu with Everest in the background

The Icefall looms…

April 15th, 2009 by Valerio

Hello to all from EBC.


Well all plans are made to be changed…  After yesterday’s intention to group everyone according to likely speed, the guides changed the plan so that each team has a relatively even balance of faster and slower climbers.  Also, yesterday afternoon saw people lobbying to keep themselves in (often National) groups, and to be fair in the main they are pre-expedition groups of friends as well – the three Norwegians together, the four Japanese together, the three South Africans together, and so on.  There is also one climber who needed to be in the team leaving first because….he has to get back to Everest Base Camp in time for his mother to arrive and climb another side peak with him! (he jokes she has more mountain experience than him, no doubt he is being modest but she sounds formidable…).  Given it is our first training peak and we are not high on the mountain, it doesn’t really matter and it is good idea to mix it up a bit.


So now the first team to leave had been renamed ‘Team C’, followed by ‘Team B’ the next day, with ‘Team A’ going down last, partly to remove any perception of ‘tiering’ according to ability.  One piece of good news is that one of the three Norwegians is currently recovering well from a severe bout of Acute Mountain Sickness – it was so bad he had to be put on oxygen at Base Camp and then descend to a lower altitude where he remains.  However, we are all very pleased to hear that he has recovered enough not to miss out on this first proper acclimatisation sortie – so well done on getting better!  He is due to join his fellow countrymen on the first team going down tomorrow.


I am in the same team as Chris Macklin, who I’ve climbed with since Lukla, the three South Africans Robby, Gilad and John (who are hilarious) and Christophe Vandevelde, the double-iron man competitor who I flew to Kathmandu with, so we should have fun while we acclimatise.


Speaking of double-iron man stuff, my ‘impossible to get hold of’ energy gels which Alix sent arrived by Yak yesterday.  These are the ‘EFS’ gels and powders that Christophe has with him and recommended as we chatted on the plane to Nepal.  So from deepest Wales, via the man in the white van called Zavi, via Russell’s business partner in Kathmandu, via a flight to Lukla and then via Yak up the Khumbu glacier, a large 15kg box improbably arrived and was deposited outside my tent.  Thank you to Alix and Chuuldim for getting it to me!


Tomorrow we will spend our first day in the infamous Khumbu Icefall in order to start getting used to the ladders, refresh our ice-climbing techniques, and get a generally better feel for this formidable obstacle.  The following day we will descend to Lobuche Base Camp for the four day climbing round-trip.


But for now, I am sorting my gear in the sun and resting ahead of the next 5 days of back-to-back activity.


Until the next post!

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