Acclimatization climb, and return to base camp, 25.04-28.04

25.04.2004 Bad weather

I intended to go up to Camp 1 today and stay for two or three nights. Pemba and Kancha would carry some food and gear up, put the tent up, and then return to ABC. However, by the time we were ready to set off, it was snowing, and so we decided to wait until tomorrow.

26.04.2004 To Camp 1, 7080m/23230ft

Beautiful morning. Pemba says he is too sick to go up to the North Col (he has a very bad cough), and went down to base camp instead. Kancha went up.

Heading up towards the North Col

The route climbs directly through the ice cliffs.

It would have been easier to skirt the ice cliffs on the right as the British did, but that slope is prone to avalanche.

I was tired when I reached the top, and so was happy that Kancha had pitched the tent only about 3 metres from the top of the fixed ropes.

27.04.2004. Climb to 7350m/24100ft and back to Camp 1.

Quite a bit of snow fell in the night. I left late, partly from laziness and partly to allow others to make the tracks.

Camp 1 is in two parts, separated by a nasty crevasse. This is the large upper part. The slopes we climbed to reach it are at right.

The route follows the foreground ridge to the top of the snow (7500m/24600ft) and continues to about half way (7900m/25900ft) to the skyline (northeast) ridge, where it cuts right.

It was windy on the snow ridge and I was climbing quite well --- about 140m/460ft per hour (without oxygen) --- and so, when I got to about 7350m, I decided that was far enough, and returned to my tent at Camp 1.

28/04.2004. To base camp 7080m -> 5170m (23230ft -> 17000ft).

View from my tent at 7am as I was about to set off down. ABC is visible at lower-centre, as are the tracks leading towards the North Col.

I reached ABC in time for breakfast. For some reason, Kancha had also gone down to base camp. (Pasang: "Sherpas have no need to go to base camp.") The kitchen boy had shown signs of pulmonary edema, and had also descended.

I left at 10:30 and reached base camp at 4:30. On the way, I met the four Spanish women on their way up and also Hugues, Maryse, and the Austrians. The Austrians, Greeks, and we share a cook and some tents at base camp.

Pemba had seen the Italian doctor at base camp who had given him an antibiotic, which seemed to be helping his illness. The doctor told the kitchen boy that he needs to go down to Dingri and take oxygen (perhaps he did, but the doctor tells almost everyone that).

I will rest at base camp until I'm ready to go up and make a summit attempt.