Day 12: Snowing at Base Camp

Last night was quite cold and I could not rest well again. I’ve been fighting with the pillow (plastic piece of crap I purchased in Kathmandu) and my neck still hurts. I also filled a one little pee bottle and since it was -4C in the tent I stopped drinking, thus I woke up dehydrated. I had little headache and my skin is dry now. My SPO2 and heart rate are not good, but I’m not too concerned for now. The pain on my neck really bothers me, but I don’t want to take any medication yet. Headache on forefront is normally associated with dehydration, which I fixed in about one hour after I woke up. Pain on the base of the skull or the neck can be altitude related, and if I take ibuprofen now I won’t be able to understand if I already have issues to acclimatize. I’ve walked for about an hour and stretched for thirty minutes, but still the pain does not go away. Today is very cold, it was snowing for few hours, and my muscles are contracting and bothering me everywhere. I need better sleep and more stretching or I’ll have issues on back and knees during the climb. It’s a pity my friend and sponsor Fabien Rabeau from International Sport Expertise is not here to help me out with physio. He did a fantastic job getting me acclimatized with hipoxic sessions before I left Dubai. He would be priceless here, we are all sore. My ITV on my bad leg (left) is really tight and I already hear clicks in that knee. I must work hard these days on recovering elasticity there and fixing my neck.

Before going to sleep I managed to call my girlfriend using my spanish SIM card which fortunately roams here. I can not use it much and I must keep it for emergencies, otherwise I’ll get disconnected by Vodafone. She is OK but she has pain everywhere after taking a bad fall in a wadi while doing hiking and via ferrata in Oman with some friends. I hope you heal soon Preciosa, you have lots of people that love you and your friends will take care of you while I’m away.

The lack of wind and snow today after our warm weather yesterday is a good sign. Phil (our expedition leader) is very optimistic about the possibility of an early summit this season. The snow will make the ascent easier and safe. Today that black giant wall on the North Face is covered in white, and it’s very cloudy up there. No windy at all though. We’ll get weather reports weekly before May the 1st, when these will be delivered on a daily basis. We are so lucky that we managed to get the internet connection to work! All the other teams must be freaking out by seeing our two Wi-Fi networks, Altitude Junkies & The Boss. For now we’re going to keep the secret on how we managed to get this to work, but once again all friends Phil have in china, after expending seven year in Lasha as resident teacher for the climbing school, are priceless.

The guys from the team who got stuck in Tingri are still missing. I feel sorry for them… having to spend more nights in hell is not a good start for their expedition. On the positive side of the things, the girl who got bitten by the dog finally managed to get the shots without crossing the border, and shell be able to join her team with all the remaining shots that she can self-administer considering she is a doctor.

On the large Chinese camp there is a small group of Yaks leaving to the glacier, meaning they are starting to provision high camps.

Our Base Camp set up is awesome. Almost everything is brand new, and it feels very luxurious. We have 18 three man tents, each climber and Sherpa has his/her own, with a comfy green carpet, a large foam mattress and led lamp. There are two big domes filled with reclinable chairs, one for chatting and socializing and the other one for relaxing and being quiet. One more dome is Phil’s office and he is sleeping there. Then we have two tents with separate toilet and solar-gas propelled shower. They feel quite clean and luxurious , with sit toilet and warm water in a bucket at all times of the day, towel, soap, sanitizer, and a even air freshener. One big tent with all this commodities for boys and a separate one for the three girls in the expedition. And they have flushable toilet! The rest of the large tents are double the size, huge. One dinning room for us, and one for the Sherpas. One kitchen for us and one for the Sherpas. One storage tent where we can leave anything we don’t need to have at hand, making our personal tent super spacious. We also have a comms/entertainment tent with large projector, four laptops, two wireless high speed internet connections, and charging station for our personal appliances. Everything is powered both with a solar panel system, and two small Honda generators that have been tweaked for good performance at high altitude.

For dinner we’ve had delicious steak and the cooks and Tibetan assistants deliver top class service, so it feel like we are eating in a restaurant rated in the Michelin guide 😛

Tomorrow we have our Puja. We have three Lamas coming from the Rongbuk monastery, the one with the highest elevation in the World, to start around 8am. Phil want us to be very focused on it, since this is a extremely important religious ritual for the Sherpas, and if they don’t feel OK with the Puja there will be no success for any of us.

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