Paul Pottinger’s Adventures from the Top of the World

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Hotter than Satan’s Pants

Everest 2015  •  April 19

Yowza, it was very windy last night!  I was up at least every hour, awakened by the buffeting of the tent in very strong gusts.  The tents are built to take it, and are erected with solid technique, so no one got blown away.  In fact, only the toilet tent got blown over, and this was easy to repair in the morning.  Sometimes mother E likes to remind us who is boss.  Duly noted.

What a difference by sunrise: Pure blue skies and calm conditions.  Beautiful day at base camp!

Everest's West Shoulder watches us in EBC.
Everest’s West Shoulder watches us in EBC.

We met our climbing sherpas today, which was exciting.  My “personal” sherpa is named Pasang Kami, and he hails from the nearby town of Phortse, as do many of IMG’s sherpas.  Warm, polite, and experienced.  He has summited Everest six times!  Plus, his brother is climbing with another teammate this season.  His kids are similar ages to mine… clearly, I am in excellent hands.

We meet our climbing Sherpas!  I am happy to climb with Pasang Kami, 6 summits of Everest under his belt already.
We meet our climbing Sherpas! I am happy to climb with Pasang Kami, 6 summits of Everest under his belt already.

We had time for laundry today, which was sorely needed.  Hand washed, and line dried (which works very well in blazing sun and super low humidity).

"Why is the rinse water always gray?"
“Why is the rinse water always gray?”  (Photo: Blake Penson)
Blake makes an excellent valet.
Blake makes an excellent sun valet at Laundry Rock.
Kim labors to improve the tent entry while Blake supervises.  Perfect.  (Photo: Blake Penson)
Kim labors to improve the tent entry while Blake supervises. Perfect. (Photo: Blake Penson)
Just kidding, Blake swings the axe like a trooper.
Just kidding, Blake swings the axe like a trooper.  (Photo: Blake Penson)

One of the IMG guides, Emily, who is also a physician, held a yoga session in the morning, and I was eager to participate.  So much time spent sitting on our duffs here…. Flexibility is good!  I am now one with saluting the sun, downward facing dog, child’s pose, cobra, plank, and several other cool moves.

To stretch our legs, we took a walk in the icy heart of the moraine across from camp.  This is the same place we trained on 4-9-15, but this time we walked up the moraine to the base of the icefall, a spot called crampon point (because that’s where you put on crampons when heading up the icefall).  It was other-worldly and beautiful… and blazing hot!  Ice reflects sunlight from every direction, trying to cook us in our skins.  Fortunately, I keep covered up from head to toe… no room or time for sunburns!

Someone thoughtfully carved this for us in the ice.  Nice.
Someone thoughtfully carved this for us in the ice. Nice.
Like being in a Baked Alaska, for real.  (Photo: Blake Penson)
Like being in a Baked Alaska, for real. (Photo: Blake Penson)
Natural ice sculptures impress us.  So does the heat.  It is scorching in here!
Natural ice sculptures impress us. So does the heat. It is scorching in here!
Phinjo struts his stuff.
Phinjo struts his stuff.
Blake keeps cool under cover.
Blake keeps cool under cover.
Fatima is always stylish.
Fatima is always stylish.
Siva is ready for the sun.
Siva is ready for the sun.
And so am I.
And so am I.
A surprising number of boulders are strewn across the middle of the glacier.
A surprising number of boulders are strewn across the middle of the glacier.
Some of them are HUGE.
Some of them are HUGE.
Choppers are busy overhead today, as they are on all clear days at EBC.
Choppers are busy overhead today, as they are on all clear days at EBC.
We found a tarp, about 500 meters from nearest camp, presumably blown here last night in the windstorm.  We'll give it a nice new home.
We found a tarp, about 500 meters from nearest camp, presumably blown here last night in the windstorm. We’ll give it a nice new home.
Icicles from hell.  (Photo: Blake Penson)
Icicles from hell. (Photo: Blake Penson)
Big ice.  Big fun.
Big ice. Big fun.
We can take the heat!
We can take the heat!
Our objective for the next day: Icefall.  (Photo: Blake Penson)
Our objective for the next day: Icefall. (Photo: Blake Penson)
Heading back to EBC from Crampon Point.  (Photo: Blake Penson)
Heading back to EBC from Crampon Point. (Photo: Blake Penson)

To bed early tonight, then a day hike halfway up the icefall tomorrow to a spot called the Football Field… then right back down to EBC, probably down by noon.

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