Berg Adventures International 2003 Everest Expedition

September 25 - Back in the "thick air" of Base Camp

Listen to Audio of Wally's Call (.wav)

It’s the 25th of September and we’re all back down at Base Camp. It was a little touch-and-go last night, I wasn’t really sure if we were going to be able to make this descent through the Icefall.

In the three stormy days we spent at Camp I we rarely got a view up "the Valley of Silence", the Westen Cwm. This morningI spoke with Ang Temba at 8 pm on the radio. We agreed to talk at midnight. And at that time I had to report to him that it was still cloudy and snowing lightly. We checked again at 5 am and I couldn’t really see much except clouds but the snow was very light. But anyway, the Sherpas decided to start uphill and as the morning wore on we were treated to a beautiful view up the Western Cwm as the clouds lifted.

As it turned out, we had quite unsettled weather on our descent through to Base Camp, and really a significant amount of trail breaking. The weather stayed unsettled throughout the descent, and the trailbraking was difficult, but the first clear skies we had seen in days was a great start.David Burger took off from Camp 1 and finally found the buried fixed line and we realized that the only way we were going to make it down was to pull these up and the person leading carried an Ortovox shovel that goes pretty much everywhere with us to dig the anchors out when we got to an anchor. We found an anchor, clipped through to the next strand of fixed lines and began pulling it up through about a foot of new snow that had accumulated in the Icefall through this storm over the last couple of days.

We got back to Base Camp and we were happy to see Leila, Nuptse of course, and the entire crew down here.

I’ve sent some photos back of our Camp 1 kitchen out in the snow. We had great meals up there. Garry Porter did most of the cooking. He’s got an amazing appetite – the guy’s always eating. So we figured it’d be most appropriate that he’s outside working the stove, which he gladly did. We ate very well up there.

Garry did most of the cooking at Camp I. Which was appropriate, because he also had the biggest appetite. AlpineAire Scrambled eggs and Pringles "Spicy Cajun" potato chips were biggest hit.But you know, returning to Base Camp is a totally different deal. Parsang, our cook here, is serving an amazing meal to the group right now and I can hear the merriment next door in the dining tent. He served pizzas tonight. He started with sushi, believe it or not. And if you’re worried about how sushi gets to 17,500 feet in the Khumbu, it is canned tuna. But the seaweed, the rice, the wasabi and all the other dressings are great. And of course David Burger has vegetarian sushi with vegetables inside. And it’s been great.

It’s fun to be back together, to have the entire team here. Brad’s health is back and he’s happy to be with the team again. And here we are at Base Camp.

We’ve got a lot of new snow that needs to settle, more trail that needs to be broken as we move up towards Camp 2, eventually the Lhotse Face and Camp 3. But tonight it’s just good to be back down in the thick air at Base Camp and to all be together.

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