Today our team left Base Camp for Camp II in what will be
this year's final chance to make a summit attempt on Everest. Many other teams
are also departing Base Camp today and heading up the Icefall, as it looks like
there will be a break in the weather this week. A cloud of smoke hung low over Base Camp. Looking around in the pre-dawn light,
it seemed as though all of the chortens (rock altars) at Base Camp were aflame with juniper
branches. Kharma, one of our kitchen boys, lit a small branch at 4:00 a.m. and
said a prayer.
All members of our expedition and film crew were up before the sun, cradling
steaming cups of tea in the kitchen tent, to send off David, Pete, and our
climbing Sherpas (Dorje, Kami, and Dorje). As they disappeared into the rocks
of the glacial moraine of the Khumbu, we could see up to 40 other climbers
trudging slowly toward the base of the Icefall, their hunched back-packed
figures silhouetted against the white of the distant ice blocks.
Although the winds up high are still reaching 70 and 80 knots, we are
hoping that weather reports indicating a break in the pattern by May 21st.
are correct. Ed Viesturs, Dave Carter, Guy Cotter,
Veikka Gustafsson, Tashi Tenzing, and our Sirdar, Jangbu Sherpa will be
heading up to Camp II tomorrow morning. Today, David, Pete and the Sherpas
will be rebuilding our Advance Base Camp (Campt II) which was destroyed two days ago
due to hurricane force winds that hit the camp and flattened some 35 tents.