Tough sleeping at our new elevation of 17,200 feet. Even walking to the latrine or shower makes me breathless! This is standard, and should be expected… For whatever reason, I did not have this issue when at the same elevation on Aconcagua, but who knows what other factors may be at play here. I certainly “feel” well, and there are no warning signs.
Today we played on the ice. The Khumbu glacier falls steeply down from the great Western Cwm (where it is properly called the “icefall”) and then consolidates into great waves of solid blue ice that flow down valley for miles. This moraine is a lovely training ground for us, because it is totally safe and right next to camp.
Our trusty guides—western and Sherpa—showed us some fine points of technique that will make us both safe and efficient when ascending the icefall and the Lhotse face above that. All of that is at least a week away, but we wanted to get ready for our next training experience on Lobuche peak in a few days from now. Ascending and rappelling fixed lines in the ice is always fun—and tiring.
BUT, before any further mountaineering happens, we first need the blessing of a Buddhist Lama in an elaborate ceremony called a Puja, which is scheduled for tomorrow morning.
posted: May 8, 2015
Paul Pottinger’s Adventures from the Top of the World