Spent most of the day basking in its warmth and reading the book of the 1924 (Mallory-Irvine) British expedition.
At dinner Hugues told us on his attempt on Chomolungma a year ago, a twenty-nine year old member of his group had seemed fine, but when he didn't show up for the second breakfast at base camp they had found him dead in his tent.
Advanced base camp
A large group of Korean and Arun Trekking Sherpas climbed to the North col quite quickly fixing ropes. They are the first to reach it this year.
David took advantage of the calm weather to put his tent up on the North Col.
Near the top of the walk.
When I returned, Pemba had arrived with the 13 yaks, to everyone's relief.
I met most of Brice's climbers including an Australian guide. They put on their climbing belts, so I asked them if they were going up the fixed ropes: no, their boss hadn't given them permission.
Most of the large groups have already roped off areas at Camp 1 on the North Col. David had accidently put his tent up in the area claimed by the Indians, and their Sherpas had taken it down. [But the Indians are a friendly lot and made their Sherpas put it back up again.]
The Sherpas won't go up the mountain without having the puja.
I told Pemba that I hoped that this year's puja would be better than the last two, which had not enabled us to reach a summit, but he told me that the puja's purpose was to appease the gods so that they would not be angry with us. Since nothing bad had happened to us, they had been effective.
Several groups had their pujas today, and the Sherpas competed on who could get the longest run of prayer flags. Ours stretched across a small gulley, but another group ran their flags half way up a cliff.
Ang Babu, who had spent ten years training in a monastery, led the puja
After the puja: Chandra (cook), Pemba, Kancha, and the kitchen boy.
Normally on 8000m peaks, the large groups arrange to fix the ropes together and the smaller groups pay them for the use of the ropes, with part of the money going towards the cost of the ropes and part going to the Sherpas who actually put the ropes up. [The commercial groups promise their clients fixed ropes.] Today Russell Brice called a meeting to arrange this, but it broke up inconclusively with the Sherpas accusing him of pocketing the money intended last year for the Sherpas.
I went for a walk to about 300m below the camp and back again. When I returned, some of the guides from the commercial groups were teaching their clients how to climb on the glacier near our tents.
The Sherpas from the various groups had their own meeting to arrange the setting up of the fixed ropes, thereby cutting Russell Brice out.
During night it had snowed.
Although there are occasional snow storms, the winds cause the most problems on Chomolungma. Day after day the weather looks fine, but there is a plume on the top of Chomolungma indicating high winds. There are only a few days per year without high winds on the summit, and on many days the summit is in the jet stream. Up to the North Col the route is fairly sheltered, but above it is impossible to move when it is windy.
Today there were high winds and new snow, and so no one went up to the North
After breakfast, Hugues and Maryse went down to base camp.
Tomorrow I plan to go up the North Col and sleep there.