This morning I woke up to this email from Elsa….I don’t even need to edit a thing, as I can hear her while reading it….and so will you…
Crossing the Khumbu falls for the first time....fun, pretty, hard, very hard and scary as hell.
We started at 4 am, as we didn’t want to get caught behind a long line of other climbers. Lots of jackets, gloves( not enough) hats, water, harnesses rattling with every step we take, helmets and hats, and off we went. Headlamps shining bright, it’s not long before I open my mouth and said, I wanna put my crampons in. It’s slippery as heck, and a little bit further I realize why the actually have a point where you put them in, as the section up to there is a combo of ice , rocks and scree.
It seems as soon as we clipped into the line things started getting serious and hard. Not 20 minutes into it, my calves started a combo of cramping and just utter fatigue...I did my fair share of trying to ignore it, complaining, forcing everyone to stop and of cause cussing. It seems that the route went steep, very steep immediately. Where we had to use the junmar it seems like a bit of a relief on my calves. Many hours later we stopped to refuel again, and I’m telling Karma( one of the serpas, that my hands are really sore. Gloves off , brutal rubbing and he shows me the first signs of frostbite. My fingers were going black. Luckily I complain quickly which really helped. No permanent damage, hand warmers in the gloves and we moved again.
Turning around and coming down was a combo of extreme exhaustion, fun and fear. We were about halfway down, stopping in a “safe” place to refuel, when we heard the rumbling of an avalanche. It’s like slow mo...we look up towards the sound, Thomas had his phone and the serpas started running... well I’m smart enough to know when they run , it would be best to follow suit. Nothing got to us, actually the only thing that got to us was the urgency to get out of the glacier area as fast as we can. ( Thomas has video, let’s see if signal is strong enough to download).
Here are some other realizations I’ve made over the last week...
Spam is food! The excitement that Dan and I show when we see those triangles of deep pink meat is hilarious! There is only that much rice , noodles and ( half raw ) potato’s you can eat. We have a great chance of getting diabetes, with all the cookies and candy we eat. Eating here is a huge chore, with no appetite and the foods that we are presented with, but hunger don’t discriminate . Tea is a staple, and I dream of meat.
We have two rest days before we cross the Khumbu falls again, on our way to camp 2.
Today is the warmest day, we’ve had so far, sky is blue and it seems like everyone is moving in slow mo, just enjoying the Vit D. It has been snowing everyday, which can put you in a somber mood.
Breakfast is served shortly and then I’m gonna treat myself to a shower.... will let you know how that goes. Oh, seeing that I pee in my red( for danger) nalgene, at night, I now know that I pee 24oz at a time. Wish I brought a bigger one as it is very cold to empty at night.