Day 15: Loading the yaks with numbers

This morning we had our delicious breakfast, and 62 yaks with their Tibetan porters invaded our Base Camp. So cool! I love animals and these hairy cows look like the’ve be taken out of a Star Wars movie. They seem to be submissive and patient with their owners who load them with 30-40kg each. There will be 30 more joining us on our way to Advance Base Camp, a total of 92 going up. Dorje, our Sherpa Sirdar, told me only 72 will make their way down… I hope I’m lost in translation!

These yaks will carry 140 bottles oxygen. Each 4l bottle contains 960l of compressed oxygen. They weight 3.5kg full and 1.9 empty meaning that the yaks will carry a total load of 490kg of O2 up and 266kg down. Climbers and Sherpas will have a total of 134400l of oxygen, which at 2l/m rate makes a total of 1120h of O2 for all of us, 50h each.

They will carry our gear, gas, tents, food, propane, and a long list of items required at high camps. A total of 3600kg from the Base Camp. These strong animals also need a program to acclimatize. They need to take some rest at Interim Camp (5800m), as we do before moving any higher, all the way to Advance Base Camp (6400m). Both yaks and climbers will make a jump of 1200m in about 24h, so we all expect the man with the hammer to visit us tomorrow night.

The amount of things we carried in trucks to Base Camp from Nepal and other places is Tibet is massive. 72 three man tents, 9 mess tents, 4 domes, 12 reclinable and 22 normal chairs, 30kg of fresh meat in 6 coolers, 45 propane cylinders, 15kg each, 120 gas canisters, 24 cases of beer, 34 boxes of wine…

11 out of our 16 Sherpas are following the Yaks today, and tomorrow they’ll start provisioning high camps.

You only realize about the complexity of an expedition like this when you are part of it and you get to know the people and numbers that will make the dream come true…

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