Paul Pottinger’s Adventures from the Top of the World

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No-Go on Lobuche

Everest 2015  •  April 12

Well, this happens to the best of us.  Believe me.

We moved up to Lobuche High Camp, about 1,100 feet above base camp, as planned after lunch.  Fun hike, way easier than the first time we made this same trip for acclimatization.  Camp was already set up by our amazing Sherpa team, and we settled in easily for a few hours of planned sleep before an alpine start.  It was cold, but we were more than prepared.  AND, we were treated to an incredible luxury: Snacks and dinner served to us right in our own tent!  Blake and I could hardly believe it.  Felt like climbing Kilimanjaro.   We were prepared to move to the cook tent to eat, but they insisted that it was easier for them to serve us in our tents.  Toasty warm in sleeping bags, with hot chocolate and popcorn and sherpa stew… we were ready for the summit assault and a 2:30 AM wakeup call.

LBC looking fine in white as we prepare to head up.
LBC looking fine in white as we prepare to head up.
Justin, Andy, and Kim head up for some chin-up competition.
Justin, Andy, and Kim engage in some chin-up competition on the rocks above LBC.
Siva and Blake turn this into a spectator sport.
Siva and Blake turn this into a spectator sport.
Kim rocks, literally.
Kim rocks, literally.
Justin comes in next, doing corncobs effortlessly...
Justin comes in next, doing corncobs effortlessly…
And the undisputed winner: ANDY
And the undisputed winner: ANDY
This guy is an animal.  A feral but kind-hearted animal.
This guy is an animal. A feral but kind-hearted animal.
Always happy, never tired, how does he do it?
Always happy, never tired, how does he do it?

There was a rumor of a small precip system moving though late in the evening, which might brush us a bit, but that is not unusual for this part of the world.  However, the weather deities had a different idea, and we got spanked with continuous snowfall starting before midnight and continuing through the next day.  This would have made for a miserable summit attempt, and one with a low chance of success.  Plus, no view from the top!  All of us agreed with our guides that descending to LBC was the better part of valor, and we did this after caching our technical gear at high camp, in anticipation of another attempt very soon once conditions are more favorable.

Ama Dablam looks on... she brooks no fools.
Ama Dablam looks on… she brooks no fools.
Phinjo pulls into LHC.
Phinjo pulls into LHC.
So does Fatima.
So does Fatima.
And Siva...
And Siva…
And Kim...
And Kim…
And yours truly.
And yours truly.
Ready to dig in and wait for the starting bell...
Ready to dig in and wait for the starting bell…
YES WE ARE GREAT
YES WE ARE GREAT
Next morning, LHC looked like this.... ALL THIS WHITE STUFF MAKES US ANGRY!
Next morning, LHC looked like this…. ALL THIS WHITE STUFF MAKES US ANGRY!
Well, not that angry.
Well, not that angry.
DSC00849
Girding our loins for the drop back to LBC.
I am ready for the sweet comforts of LBC.
I am ready for the sweet comforts of LBC.
Andy gives the Durka Durka sign....
Andy gives the Durka Durka sign….
And Justin reciprocates.  This means we are ready to roll.  Now where are Siva & LC?
And Justin reciprocates. This means we are ready to roll. Now where are Siva & LC?
Ahhh....
Ahhh….
Blake unleashes his inner beast.
Blake unleashes his inner beast.

There is a certain MOIST misery to LBC, and we are all eager to get back up there and climb this sucker once and for all.  Meantime, there are laughs in the dining tent, new friends to meet from other sub-groups climbing with IMG, and movies to watch on my computer.

Here we explain the luxuries of life at LBC… Best in 4K.

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