Paul Pottinger’s Adventures from the Top of the World

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Lobuche High Camp

Everest 2016  •  April 11

Lobuche is a great training peak for a variety of reasons, including elevation, exposure, mixed terrain, and relative safety.  Plus, it is very beautiful!  Last year we had scads of new powder on the route,in fact we had to delay our ascent by a couple of days for this reason.  This year, all is dry, which should make for an icier ascent.

Looks like an auspicious day to move up to high camp. Cholatse looks amazing... but, we are climbing Lobuche today.
Looks like an auspicious day to move up to high camp. Cholatse looks amazing… but, we are climbing Lobuche today.
There she is... Lobuche East. Our objective is the false summit, the white bump onthe right side of the ridge.
There she is… Lobuche East. Our objective is the false summit, the white bump onthe right side of the ridge.
Our sherpa teammates are raring to go.
Our sherpa teammates are raring to go.
Have gimbal, will travel.  (Photo: Justin Merle)
Have gimbal, will travel. (Photo: Justin Merle)

To make the day more “pleasant,” and to enhance our odds of success, we start from high camp, about 1,000 vertical feet higher than base camp.  Moving up takes less than an hour, and affords some beautiful scenery.

Siva makes brisk progress out of LBC in the way to high camp.
Siva makes brisk progress out of LBC in the way to high camp.
We are eager to knock this one off.
We are eager to knock this one off.
LBC gets smaller by the minute.
LBC gets smaller by the minute.

At high camp, we have lots of time to rest and eat and relax and prepare for the 3 AM wakeup call.  Walking by 4 AM, we hope to reach the summit within 6 hours.  Sounds like a lot for just 3,000 feet vertical gain, but we will be on down-slabby rock at night in the cold in our big boots for at least two hours, then on hard ice to the summit.

Emilyo Johnston, AKA Lakhpa Yeti, at LHC.
Emilyo Johnston, AKA Lakhpa Yeti, at LHC.
Eddie savoring LHC.
Eddie savoring LHC.
Chris and Cristiano, conferring at LHC.
Chris and Cristiano, conferring at LHC.
Siva toasts our imminent success.
Siva toasts our imminent success.
Hessians at LHC.
Hessians at LHC.
Here is the photo I promised my lovely mother-in-law, knitter of this custom merino wool hat. THANK YOU, it works wonderfully.
Here is the photo I promised my lovely mother-in-law, knitter of this custom merino wool hat. THANK YOU, it works wonderfully.
LBC looks tiny, far below.
LBC looks tiny, far below.
Our route will take us up these granite slabs for a couple hours, then we will put on crampons and climb the ice on the far right side of the photo.
Our route will take us up these granite slabs for a couple hours, then we will put on crampons and climb the ice on the far right side of the photo.
This small stone chorten marks LHC. We built a snow-person here last year. Not so much this time....
This small stone chorten marks LHC. We built a snow-person here last year. Not so much this time….
The water level in the tarn is at least 10 feet below normal. Edges look like something from the Mojave.
The water level in the tarn is at least 10 feet below normal. Edges look like something from the Mojave.
Ama Dablam bids us good night as we nod off....
Ama Dablam bids us good night as we nod off….

This was also an auspicious day to climb because it is my lovely daughter’s 16th birthday!  Last year, because of the snow storm, we were forced down to LBC and I could call her on the sat phone while watching the red reflex in the eyes of the yaks in the paddock.  This year we are going for the summit on time… I tried to stay awake until 8 PM (7:15 AM Seattle time) but just could not do it.  Instead, I hatched a plan to call her from the summit in a few hours, at the end of her birthday.  Let’s see how it goes…. Miss her and Matthew and Julie very much.

Question of the day: Will this be more fun than last year?

2 thoughts on “Lobuche High Camp

  1. The hat photo, and that it’s keeping you warm. Good job, Jane! Wonderful recount of the blessing ceremony. Can’t wait for the installment. Love you and miss you! xox

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