October 12, 2006 Happy Birthday Jimmy!
From the very beginning of the expedition we have been speculating what we would be doing when October 12th, Jimmy Chin’s 33rd birthday came around: Would we be on the summit? Would we be on our way home? Hanging out at Base Camp?
I am happy to say that even though this expedition is not over; Jimmy’s birthday came on a day that will represent the team’s preparedness and commitment on this climb. Today they moved to Camp II ready to stay until it is time to ‘pull the trigger” and move up for our summit attempt
The day began, for Jimmy and everyone else at 4:00AM. Our wake up call happened and there was little loitering after that. Packs were already packed and the team was ready for an early start into the Icefall. We met for breakfast in climbing suits and boots, with the crampons and packs parked outside the dining tent.
Jimmy has been one of our most enthusiastic members when it comes to breakfast (and all meals for that matter). His egg sandwiches are constructed with care and precision, although they are normally consumed rapidly. This morning Jimmy’s attention to his Birthday Egg Sandwich was typically energetic and did not at all indicate that it was about 4:15 in the morning. You will remember that big cooler of fresh meat that arrived from our butcher in Kathmandu a few days ago. There is still plenty of fresh bacon, so Jimmy’s creation today consisted of lots of the bacon, two fried eggs, cheddar cheese and two pieces of toast.
In an uncharacteristically hesitant moment about 3/4 of the way through his creation Jimmy began to slow. Could this be? Jimmy kept reassuring us, “I know this route, I can ‘send’ this egg sandwich”. It was a good try, but in the end I have to report that he ate the bacon and cheese and left part of the egg and toast.
No matter, the team had a great trip through the Icefall and at our normal resting point called the “dome”, Kit, (who after 4 days of steak for lunch and dinner actually asked for chicken at dinner last night!) unwrapped the second half of her egg sandwich and enjoyed it.
Now I just spoke with the team at Camp II. No one is feeling deprived of protein and everyone is settled down for a night's rest back at 21,000 feet (6400m). Dasona and the Sherpa crew have finished stocking the Col. The winds are high, but the team is in position and will benefit from at least two nights rest at Camp II before moving up. Jimmy, our Birthday Boy, and the rest of the team will be set to go, if the winds drop.