September 13, 2006 First Two Days in the Khumbu Icefall
Our late monsoon weather continues to be reliable, comfortable and favorable to making progress above Base Camp. We still see rain or snow every day at Base Camp, but there seems to be no significant accumulation up high and the periods of precipitation are short lived. The only weather complaint we have is extremely hot temperatures when the sun is out.
We have had our climbing team members in the Khumbu Icefall each of the last two days and, of course, our Sherpa team continues to work hard up there as well. I can say now, after the climbers fourth night of living at Base Camp that we are in an upward groove. The Icefall Route is more developed and improved each day and the team members are moving up for conditioning and become familiar with the characteristics of the Icefall for this season.
Yesterday, Michael Boni ventured into the icefall with his climbing Sherpa guide Danu. Danu has worked for Berg Adventures many times in the past, and he has been a climbing partner of mine in the Himalaya since 1990. He and Michael hit it off right away because of the Canadian connection. Michael was fascinated and impressed to learn that Danu had worked on the first Canadian Expedition to Everest in 1982. He was even more surprised when after he told Danu that he lived in White Rock, BC, Danu said, “I’ve been to White Rock, do you know Susan and Bill Foster?” Danu has spent several summers in Western Canada working and climbing with his good friends there.
Today, Dave Hahn, Jimmy, Rob and Kit took off for a trip through the Icefall at 5 AM, right behind the Sherpas. About an hour later Bryce Brown, our other Canadian climber, took off with Danu. I stayed at Base and monitored radio reports from the teams throughout the morning. There was light snow for most of the time, but temperatures were very warm after 8:00 AM. The two climbing member teams were impressed with the work the Sherpas had completed and were still completing in the upper icefall. After crossing over numerous short ladder spans in the lower and middle sections of the icefall they were impressed to see the guys hauling new ladders for work up higher on the 4 ladder vertical section near the top of the icefall proper. Even today after Dave’s group reached Camp I, Ang Nima and company fixed ladders across crevasses above Camp I in the area we call the Nuptse Wall, because it is below the East Face of Nuptse.
Meanwhile our two icefall groups turned back for a 1:00 PM lunch at Base Camp. Kit proudly told me that they had done a sub 8 hour round trip to Camp I not bad for the first Icefall foray. Michael and the Sherpas met today’s climbers as they came into camp with fresh cold juice from Shyam’s kitchen..