I am sitting in Dingoboche (4350m) to rest and recover. We spent four nights up at Camp 2 that were kind of tough due to the team all having the Khumbu Cough. It is a dry, hacking cough you get from being exposed to the cold and winds.(not wearing the Cold Avenger Mask)
Our climb to Camp 2 from base camp was done in some very nasty weather. The weather report had stated that there would be the usual afternoon convection and nothing really else of note. Unfortunately it was completely wrong. We left at 3 am in the morning, when I got out of my tent at 2:15 am it was clear night with the stars showing and the moon hanging over Pumori. I went into the dining tent to eat and get suited up for the climb. When I cam back out at 3 am it was snowing, I thought no big deal just a brief flurry. We started climbing up through the ice fall and it was nice having the snow fall and visibility was still good. I got up to C1 and started brewing up some hot water for the rest the team coming in behind me. They arrived a couple of hours later and the conditions were still acceptable. We started off after giving them a rest at about 10:30 am. We got through the ladder section of the snowfield above C1 and I noticied that none you could no longer see the sides of the Western Cwm and that we were walking in a cloud of white. I started breaking trail through the new snow fall and trying to ensure that we were on the trail. The rest of the team following behind. As I looked back at them I realized the snow was playing optical illusions with my eyes and that they seemed to be floating above the snow Then it would get really interesting with a wind gust and they would appear to move 20-30 feet in either direction based on the wind and snow being blown. I can see how pilots can easily get confused flying through the clouds and mistake up for down.
We made it safely to C2 but it took us a looooong time to do so. We rested the next day to allow our bodies to adjust. The following day we took a hike up the mountain to about 6600 m then the next day we went up to 6900m to get our bodies adjusting to the altitude. We then descended to BC and then onto Dingoboche to allow our coughs to heal. It is working. I slept last nite without coughing and feel super strong.
Our plan right now is to return to BC slowly over the next 2-3 days. Rest at Base Camp for 2 days and if the weather gods continue to be kind to us shoot for a summit day between the 21-25th of May.
Our Sherpa Team has made 2 carries to Camp 4 over the last 4 days carrying tents, oxygen, and food to enable us to be in a position to take advantage of the the weather window. I have to salute the hard work that they do day in and day out to make climbing a mountain like Everest possible.
Climb Hard, Climb High, Come Home,