We meet as usual in the dome tent and Sonam the camp manager confirms the team is all well and fine and made it to Camp 1, they had planed to reach Camp 2 but turned back when the weather turned.
Straight after breakfast were informed today’s ‘rest day’ and in fact every rest day in Nims camp is an ‘active rest’ day and we are sent off to get our back back, crampons, ascenders and abseiling equipment. We set off into the Kumbu Icefall at a lower down point that the climbing entry point and soon find ourselves in a small valley with ice rising to 20 to 30m either side of us.
The Elite Exped team have set up a training circuit for us consisting of a short ladder crossing, a 20m climb using our ascender up a near vertical ice wall and then a traverse across the top and abseil down the other side, the Elite Sherpa team run us through the course again and again picking up on every fault, every wrong step, every time someone mixes up the safety clips - the Elite Exped is by any stretch of the imagination an all star cast of world record breaking and accomplished climbers who as a team probably have an experience and knowledge base second to none but its made clear to us they aren’t babysitters and aren’t here to do it for us, we’re expected to be self sufficient and know the mountain protocol and skills, what we do get from Elite Exped though is the best mountain rescue team in the world, if the sh*t hits the fan and we need rescuing these guys will be the ones to do it!
After lunch we go through some more training on fitting crampons quickly, correct knots to us, double checking all our equipment is correct and fitted to our individual systems properly, once we start the climb up the mountain from base camp there will be no opportunity to fix anything so with military precision we run through the tasks making sure everyone knows what they are doing and are confident at it.
The Base Camp doctors pop in for a coffee and to say hello, hopefully we wont have need of them but its good to know they are here and just a few minutes from our camp in base camp, were told two people have been airlifted out of base camp with Covid so to be extra vigilant and stay away from other people as much as we can - just when thoughts of the real world and Covid were subsiding it catches up with us, fingers crossed this is as far as it will come into our camp.
We end the day with a more light hearted movie and head off to bed, everyone feeling drained by the days activities.