2 May - Summit Attempt then Khare Base Camp
|The Big Day. We arose at 0200 to a
temperature of -24 deg C in the tent. Frost was everywhere inside. Mick
got his jacket, leggings and harness on first, then I struggled into
mine followed by the boots at the tent entrance. It was then outside and
onto the ice to fit crampons and gaiters, then a final arrangement of my
rucksack. By now my hands and feet had taken a big plunge in temperature
.... they were bloody cold!
(photo: Sunrise over Mt Everest, the centre peak with a wind/spindrift plume)
|It was a slow process for everyone
to fit their equipment, and it was 0330 by the time we were roped-up and
ready to leave.
(photo: Progressing slowly up the snow/ice - Everest, still with the plume)
|(Unfortunately, Nyrea would not be
making a summit attempt on Mera Peak. She had been suffering from a bad chesty cough
for some days, and Mick thought the attempt would be too much for her
(photo: The way ahead - still uphill)
|It became apparent soon after
starting out, that we were in for a tough few hours. The snow on the
glacier was deep, which made progress very slow as the crampons
continually balled up. (It was essential for crampons, though, as we
kept crossing ice on the steeper slopes. It would have been impractical
to keep removing and fitting them for different conditions.)
(photo: The slope had become more steep)
|The initial section of the Mera La
was a gentle incline, but then we turned right and started up the steep
snow slopes. That’s when the progress really slowed down. It was 5
steps then rest, not only the snow depth, but only having about 50%
oxygen in the air to breathe was taking its toll.
(photo: Mountains of Tibet can be seen in the far distance)
|Sunrise brought our first view of Mt
Everest ...... and what a view. Stunning mountain range, clear blue sky
and the whiteness of snow made it look fantastic. The whole range
stretching into Tibet could be seen.
(photo: View north ...... not sure of the mountain names)
|Photographs over, it was onwards and
upwards under the control of our Sherpa guide at the lead rope position.
By now Scott, Bec and Daryn had returned to High Base Camp, the
conditions and thin air taking its toll. But things were not looking
good for the 5 that remained. We eventually crossed the crest of the
ridge and Mera Peak (Central) came into view, our goal ..... but ‘mega’
disappointment! Mick, having consulted the remaining guides, decided
that the distance still to cover would take too long. We had to turn
round now to ensure we had sufficient time to get back to High Camp,
then onward to Base Camp at Khare. I was really deflated ..... sensible
decision I know, but to be so close after 17 days yet out of reach!
(photo: Mera Peak can be seen on the crest of the hill)
|So, after difficulty descending
through snow, we were back at High Camp at about 1230 for a bowl of hot
soup. I was completely and utterly exhausted and had never felt so
physically tired in all my life; the down side was that we still had a
further 3 hours plus of tough going over the Mera la then down to Khare
(photo: Mera Peak ....... but sadly out of reach!)
|It was 1630 when we arrived at Khare, having left High Camp at 1300. The journey down was a real struggle, made worse by a couple of falls on the steep snow-covered rocky path. Partly due to being in plastic boots, partly to do with being physically drained. Anyway, it was straight into my sleeping bag on arrival at camp ....... and there I stayed until the following morning. I was too tired to eat or drink, even though the food was brought round the tents, although I did eat half a chocolate bar in the middle of the night!|
|Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4||Day 5||Day 6||Day 7|
|Day 8||Day 9||Day 10||Day 11||Day 12||Day 13||Day 14|
|Day 16||Day 18/20|
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