We’ve done the hike from Camp 2 to Camp 3 before as part of our rotation climb to get acclimatised so I know what to expect and that it’s not too long (relatively) and we leave camp 2 and make good progress across the Western Cwm towards the base of the Lhotse Face, for some reason I remember this section as being less steep but today it feels vertical! My legs ache quite quickly and I ding in for a long slog up the hill.
The sun is out in force and I’m glad we decided against summit suits for this section, we work our way upwards out of Camp 2, across ladders and crevasses and eventually arrive at the bergshrund, the vertical wall at the base of the Lhotse face. As we had been walking up I’d seen quite a bit of traffic trying to climb the bergshrund so was glad to arrive to see this has thinned out and I was able to get cracking almost straight away on the climb up and surprised myself by making fairly light work of the climb and pulling myself up and onto the bottom of the Lhotse face in seemingly no time and clipping myself into the first of the ropes that are all the way up the face on the 50 degree pitch of blue ice which in some places rises to probably 80+ degrees and is just a relentless attack on your legs!
Camp 3 sits about halfway up the route on the face and when it finally comes into view it’s a massive relief, Nims is waiting in camp shouting out tent allocations as we arrive and I collapse into mine wondering if I’ll have enough energy for the next section, Mingma David brings me a bowl of ramen noodles and I manage a few spoonfuls but not much more than that. I share a tent with Marta and Mingma David, the three of us cramped into the small yellow tent with our backpacks, sleeping bags and then oxygen canisters are also shoved in and on top of us and we slip the masks over our faces as we lie down to try and sleep, the extra oxygen to breath a welcome boost to our lungs.
Mingma David will keep watch over us during the night to make sure we don't get into any breathing difficulties and we keep our masks on