Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Base Camp Life

Right now we are stuck at base camp for an indeterminate length of time due to the weather being a bit fickle right now. So I thought I would write about daily life in Base Camp. I typically wake up when light starts hitting my tent at about 6 am. I get up out of my warm sleeping bag, and walk to the cook tent where Bashir, Sayad, and DeeDar are waking up and boiling about 10 gallons of water for the day. They fill up two big thermos'. One for hot drinks and drinking water, the other for the wash water. Sayad is starting to mix flour and water to make chapatis for breakfast, and Bashir starts setting up the dining tent for the breakfast meal. Our breakfast is typically, porridge, eggs, and chapati's. Quite a nourishing breakfast. Typically on a weather day we hang out in the dining tent starting at about 8:30am. And ending as we each come up with something to entertain ourselves. Yesterday it was moving my tent platform with the help of Chhiring. We have to move our tents about once a week, due to the glacier melting out from underneath us. The glacier melts about 5-6 inches a day, so after about a week our tents our sitting atop a pile of ice and rock that is about 2 feet higher then the surrounding area. And the edges are drooping over the edge of the ice pillar. We try and stop this by piling rocks and gravel around the edges of the tents so that the solar heat does not directly affect our platforms But it does not help all that much. So we repostion our platforms on a regular basis. It only takes about two hours to make a good solid platform. You chip out ice with your ice ax and move rocks and gravel with a shovel and your back. I had good training hauling rocks at an early age so it is fairly familiar.

Then it is a break for lunch at about 12:30pm typically pokara or samosa's which are tasty. Then it is figuring out what we will do for the afternoon. Yesterday, a group hiked over to Broad Peak Base Camp to socialize, while I stayed here to sort some stuff out for a summit attempt if the weather ever breaks. But ended up entertaining a group of french trekkers, climbers from Broad Peak, and several climbers from the camp. It seems everyone is a little restless waiting for weather and the big question on everyone's mind is what will happen with the weather. I also provided some photo's of the route to a french journalist, who knows my pics might end up in a french climbing magazine.

So my afternoon was full of visits and updates on what is happening on other mountains. Then it was dinner, which was pizza with hand made dough made by Sayad. Delicious. Then there was a rumour that our cook, DeeDar was going to turn out dining tent into a disco for the evening. But it ended up being a rumour. The party was held at the serbian tent with porters playing music on home made drums. Typ;ically we might have amovie nite where 8-15 people crowd into a cook or dining tent and we all watch a movie off a computer.

That is typical day in Base Camp as we wait for the weather to break.

Climb Hard, Climb high, Come Home