Saturday, May 1, 2010

Help! I need oxygen.

Photo 1 – Group shot at Pumori Advanced Base Camp.

Photo 2 – Yours truly at Pumori Advanced Base Camp. Everest is the dark pyramid in the back left side. Nuptse is on the right. Everest Basecamp down below.
Photo 3 – Me trying on the Poisk oxygen mask and the 4 liter (960 liters compressed) oxygen bottle I will use on the summit push. At a 2 liter per minute flow rate (while climbing), one bottle will last for 8 hours. I will have a total of 5 oxygen bottles for my personal use. I will sleep on a ½ liter per minute flow rate. Therefore, one bottle will last for 32 hours. As you can calculate, I have a considerable safety margin built in with my oxygen system.
Another 2 glorious days have passed and I have tried to fill them with fun, time consuming things. Things such as – drinking tea, eating, sudoku, reading books, calling home, walking to and from my tent, making squeaking noises and then hiding from the unsuspecting, small hikes, and laundry. Oh yes. These are the days in which you do not hear about when told of exciting Himalayan adventures. However, these days are necessary. Each day my strength is returning little by little and my appetite is getting bigger (hard to imagine). I am able to mentally focus and, further, keep my mind focused on the looming objective.

The jet stream is still parked over Everest at the moment and the team continues to exercise patience. Our entire expedition is focused upon safety first. No need to be a hero. Our wonderful team of Sherpas carried 20 bottles of oxygen and some tents to our high camp on the South Col (26,000’) today. One more load up to the Col and we are 100% staged for the summit push. The Sherpas will then return to base camp and rest up for the magic day. Our weather forecasts continue to be a bit mixed at the moment. Although, Phil, with all of his Himalayan experience, assures us that positive things are happening concerning the jet stream. It is his job to interpret the weather graphs, charts, and satellite imagery we receive twice daily from our trusty weather source. Therefore, we can see a few more days resting at base camp before the final push. Patiently we will wait and go when we feel the time is right, not when other teams may decide to go and push the limits of safety. It does happen.

Again, thank you so much for keeping my family and I in your prayers. We greatly appreciate it. Please stay tuned as the next, exciting, thrilling, awe-inspiring dispatch will include a photo of me doing laundry.