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Everest ABC

Our 2010 Project Himalaya Everest Expedition 8848m dispatches

We acclimatize at Everest ABC

23 April - Everest ABC 6350m

Waking up we were all a bit groggy from the big gain in altitude. We have climbed 1200m/4000ft in two days and need to rest a day or two to recover. You can not feel perfect up here, the actual altitude at ABC is 6350m/21,000ft and your body simply cannot adapt perfectly to this altitude. So while in some ways we are getting stronger, we are also at a place where we will constantly lose a little weight. It seems that the highest altitude our bodies can feel comfortable at is around 5600m, the altitude of both Cho Oyu and Shishapangma ABC's. This is why we must return to base camp after a stint on the mountain.

It is tricky though as you can feel OK at ABC but you are deteriorating unnoticeably.

Our camp in on a glacier, ice several hundred metres think, but the top part is covered by a layer of stones around 10cm thick. So we are on a carpet of stones.

Bali was a star, helping around camp as I fine-tuned. First we tidied the electrics, putting the batteries in the kitchen where they will be warmer, and tidied the wiring a little. Then we got the base station going, which had a minor fault with the antenna so we put up the spare, and now it works perfectly, both our base camp radio and the ABC radio not even needing full power to communicate (and there is no line of site).

dining at ABC

Our dining and kitchen area, warmer that way - Jamie
Fernando is checking his oxygen saturation with our pulse-oximeter, Barry is opposite.

the sherpa crew

The crew, a mix of sherpas from both our teams - Jamie
L-R starting with Karma in the turquoise jacket, Dayula, Nawang Geden, Nima Guirman, Kaji (Dayula's brother) and Pemba Kitar

Project Himalaya Everest ABC

We are this side of the ditch. Rubble, rock, snow and ice, this is 6350m after all - Jamie

24 April - Everest ABC

We woke up again feeling groggy, but mostly that clears after half an hour. Sleeping more once the sun hits...

This is how tough it is up here, today the team took a walk downhill, to help acclimatize - yes down for around a 300m drop in altitude, to laze on warm rocks, then climb back up to camp. We are still not ready to go higher than ABC.

Eric is feeling the best. It is not that he is just tough, he is also adapting to the altitude the best, and has an incredible base fitness. He is still in awe of the sherpas though, asking how many expeditions they have been on.

The sherpas did their first load carry to North Col, carrying tents for our two teams. Although this is the first load carry, they have been working continuously since arriving at ABC. First was the huge job of making level spots for the dining, kitchen and storage tents, then the members tents. Then there is the general setting up, making a kitchen bench out of rocks, side benches which we put a mattress over. They have also constructed our toilet and stone puja place. So working continuously, and ably supported by the Tibetan crew of four up here.

Dorje

Dorje has worked with us on virtually every expedition I have been on in Tibet - Jamie

25 April - Everest ABC

I am totally in awe of our crew this evening, our Tibetan kitchen hands and general helpers. They wake up before the sun hits (and it hits just before 6am) and work all day. The first job is, with the cook, feeding the sherpa team. They either have tea and snacks if they are working around camp, or tea and noodle soup or tsampa if they are climbing. Then they help the cook prepare breakfast for us, and afterwards doing the dishes. Then it is time to fetch some ice which means taking a pick axe or heavy duty REI ice axe and smashing this into an ice face then picking up the pieces in a white sack. There is no running water here.

After the lunch dishes they go pick up some more ice and keep the stoves running continuously, there are plenty of other odd jobs, finding the supplies for dinner in the drums, yesterday a couple of them carried up some supplies to the crampon point (an hour towards North Col), then returned, then two more took up juice and biscuits for the returning members. Today they just have to feed the sherpa team who have carried a load to North Col, dirdo...

During dinner they first feed the members with the sherpas serving the food, then once we have had dessert then they feed the sherpas, dishing out what they have cooked, and serving seconds making sure nobody can possibly go hungry. Lastly they eat themselves. And then have to do the dishes from everybody. They won't finish until 10pm...

And all for $9 a day.

Dayula eating dirdo

Dayula eating Dirdo, basically cooked flour with a thin spicy sauce, Barry looks on - Jamie

Kaji and dirdo

And Kaji eats the same. It is real workers food - Jamie

Eric Kapitulik

Eric, always warm in his thick Feathered friends jacket - Jamie

Karma Sherpa

Karma Sherpa - Jamie

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