Slept ok, being so exhausted from the climb through the icefall probably helped but I managed to get comfortable and warm in my sleeping bag and get a few good hours sleep, the restorative powers of sleep being very welcome as I start to think about the next hike to Camp 2.
The Sherpas bring us breakfast of cereal and warm milk in our tents at 8.00am and the porters come for our bigger equipment and sleeping bags shorty after to take up ahead of us to Camp 2 (I’m knackered and I’ve just slept, the porters have just ‘run’ up from basecamp through the icefall to collect our stuff to take onwards for us to Camp 2 and will then return to Basecamp , their endurance and fitness is amazing and leaves us in awe!). Most of us are ready by 9am to go and with the cold no one wants to stand around so we start an implying shuffle to move that signifies were ready to go and the Sherpas load their backpacks and we set off, my legs are aching, my breath is short and my fingers are freezing but move we do as I look up at the mountain acknowledging that for the next several hours I just have to pit one foot in front of the other and keep moving upwards.
A few members of the team are struggling a bit and will leave Camp 1 later, it doesn’t matter it’s not about getting there first or last its just about getting there anyway you can.
The hike itself compared to the Khumbu icefall isn’t particularly difficult or technical but at this altitude its a slog and physically hard on the body, we step or jump over crevasse’s as we go, these seemingly becoming normal now without much of a thought about the dangers of disappearing down one anymore (maybe a cursory thought over a few wider ones that I remind myself to commit to the jump over as to not would probably ruin my day rather significantly!), a few are too wide even to long jump over and we tread carefully over aluminium ladders that form the bridge over and then quicker than expected Camp 2 can be seen in the distance, little yellow tents sticking up against the white background, our home for the next few nights and a more substantial ‘advanced’ basecamp that should be more comfortable. It doesn’t look that far but the scale of the mountains is deceiving without any real reference points and its still over two hours further hiking before we slope into the camp and can drop our packs and a warm juice is shoved into our hands as we high five and fist bump each other on todays achievement and arrival into Mt Everest Camp 2 at around 6,600m.
Camp 2 setup is good, we have a dining tent with a heater in the corner and lights, a toilet tent and some amazing views! We find our tent and make an attempt to sort our stuff out which mainly consists of trying to get our sleeping pads and bags out and set up before the severe cold comes in when the sun goes down which makes everything much more difficult , I prep my hat, gloves, buff, jacket, insulated booties - everything I’m going to need to sleep with ready so when I get in my bag I’m not wasting energy trying to get comfortable and stay warm, all done I listen to some music until dinner and try to visualise my resolve, I’m tired from the hike so far but have to try and omit that from my conscious thoughts, its done and no matter how tired I am up to this point that serves no beneficial purpose to helping me for the next stage so best to let it go and reset from here as if this is my day one - my next section is Camp 2 to 3 and no one is going to care if I’m tired or not from climbing from basecamp to camp 2, it doesn’t work like that.
Dinner is a delicious plateful of MoMo’s, a traditional Nepalese dish of Himalayan dumplings with a spicy dipping sauce and everyone tucks in in the dining tent, it turns out the heater is more ornament than use as the Sherpa’s can’t get it to light so we huddle together in the tent, chatting and swapping stories about the day. I’ve got an oxygen saturation monitor with me to check my oxygen level as we go up in altitude, at sea level it would be 99% and levels below 90% can lead to serious deterioration in status and below 70% is life threatening, I slip it on my finger and the display soon comes up with a reading of 53% and pulse of 86bpm - mmm? In typical Yorkshire fashion I quickly take it off, declare it a load of bollocks as I feel fine and presume it will be alright in the morning, I’ll check it again later maybe.
The device wont see the light of day again on this rotation if its just going to give me bad news all the time, not much point in that - I’ll listen to my body and react to that for now.
Mingma David Sherpa briefs us for the next day which will be an active rest day, a short hike up the mountain towards Camp 3 to get a little altitude and recovery time but in the main just spend some time in Camp 2 and rest.
Remy, the South African is a qualified yoga instructor and there’s talk of trying to break the Guinness World record for the highest yoga class ever, sounds fun, we shall see what tomorrow brings and if we have the weather for it!