Sunday, June 20, 2010
The Summit Push (part 3)
Photo 1 - Yours truly at Camp 3 - 23,500'
Photo 2 - The view from Camp 3. Notice the climber behind on the Lhotse Face. Triangular Face of upper Everest in the far distance.
Photo 3 - The beautiful view down the Western Cwm.
Photo 4 - Vertical ice climbing just above the bergschrund on the Lhotse Face - 21,800'.
It was a little over three hours since I left Camp II and I was the first from our team to make it to Camp III. On my mind most of the previous evening and certainly this morning was what was missing from our tents. I just knew that something would not be how we left it. Upon my arrival I immediately saw what was different. There were quite a few pale yellow and brown spots surrounding our tents. The sides of our tents and the inner vestibules on two of them had been used as a toilet. Can you believe that? Really? No courtesy from this other group that had very poor organizational and logistical support. Now I had to look inside the tents and see if any of our supplies were missing.
It turns out that even though we sent sherpas up to dig out our Camp III tents the previous day, the tents had partially been buried by the wind driven snow overnight. Therefore, I was unable to enter any of the tents upon my arrival, so even though I was tired I set out to try and begin excavating the tents. By this time Phil had arrived at Camp III and joined me in chopping out the bullet proof snow with our ice axes. After clearing the snow from one of the tents I was able to get inside and grab the shovel our sherpas had left up there a few days prior. I also took a quick inventory of our oxygen bottles. Thankfully, none were missing. So other than a few "poopie" marks surrounding our tents, nothing else was out of place.
Over the next 4 hours the rest of the team arrived and settled in for the evening. Eating what little we could force down and masking the retched taste with water melted from the surrounding "clean" ice, we tucked in to our sleeping bags for a fitful night of sleep. The plan was to get up in the freezing cold hours of the early morning and begin the long, slow, arduous climb to Camp IV. I easily fell asleep and began dreaming of a beautiful Everest summit day. This is the life. The stuff dreams are made of.