Camp 1 ready - 6150 m 9/3/2015 3:09:11 PM

IMG_1523_thumb_Leiri1_22042010.jpgMika took off on the 20th April to higher altitudes with some other Asia Trekking’s climbers and Timo stayed in BC to recover from cough. Mika was accompanied by two Sherpas and a 16-year old Indian boy Arjun, who aims to be the youngest Indian ever summited Everest and third youngest ever.  

We departed at 5 am and the climb proceeded along an icefall, which has three parts; beginning, Popcorn and blue ice. Popcorn means that part where ice blocks are popcorn-shape like (diameter 1-5 m) and which can be rather unstable, because lower parts are usually only tens of centimeters wide and therefore poorly attached to the glacier. The sun reaches these parts of the glacier at 10.30 and after that the risk of collapse grows. On the other hand there is always a risk. Right on the popcorn, we heard sound of collapse and avalanche. There was no danger for us, but the sound made us to focus 100 % on getting forward. We reached the top of the icefall at 8.30 am and camp 1 at 9. After a brief break we started setting up tents and cooking. Sherpas are able to carry very respectable amount of stuff, double of the amount I can carry, but they are not often blessed with cooking skills. We saw Everest and Lhotse routes from that point and it was confusing that Lhotse wall did not seem very steep, more like walkable and not a blue ice wall, which steepness is 60%.  

We retired early and that night we experienced strong mountain winds for the first time (30 knots/s). Our tent made horrifying noise. I was glad that the tent was attached to the snow with half meter aluminium anchors. We had radio contact to bc in the morning and according to the weather forecast the wind got milder. We took off and climbed nearly to camp 2 at 6352 m. After reaching day’s objective, it was time descend. Air is so thin that even descending does not go very quickly. We left camp 1 as it was.  

Upper part of the icefall was even fun when it was possible to slide down at certain points. However, all the fun was away and we got more serious when we saw that one big serac had collapsed. It had left such marks that we shut up and proceeded as fast as possible through that area. We heard afterwards that the serac had not caused any damage to any climbers.   We walked down the lower part of the icefall in a very hot weather, but almost all tiring experiences were away after nourishing meal at base camp. I think that we have to put more emphasis on getting enough nutrition in the future. Timo ascended to camp 1 on 21th and I will follow the day after. The following day we will continue to camp 2. That climb lasts for two days and we plan to go to see the Lhotse wall. According to the original schedule, the route to the camp 3 will be ready today.  

And then some information on ’fauna’. There are two dogs at higher altitudes of the Everest; one, called Mellary, on the northern side and one, Hillary, here on Nepalese side of Everest. Hillary is the particular dog I saw during our last Puja. He lives in Himalaya Rescue Association’s camp and accompanies fellow climbers even up to camp 2, where he has his own bowl and food. I was told that Hillary’s pawns have adjusted to climbing; he is very skilled and can climb to c2 without any help, but routes are not always those ice doctors recommend. Hillary’s audition is excellent, he hears glacier’s movements and simply refuses to go to areas, which he thinks can collapse or are dangerous in other way.  

This blog will hopefully be updated around the 26th April. After that we have only one climb up to the next camp where continue acclimatization. At that point we aim at climbing to 6800 m.  

Everything is going well. Regards!
Mika Pitkämäki
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