Thank You Sir May I Have Another

Posted: May 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

Up? Again? Already?  It feels like yesterday we returned from our last rotation on the mountain and we’re already preparing to head up again.  The past three days in Base Camp have been a blur of eating, sleeping, and working on the video dispatches that are supposed to be flowing from our satellite modem on a regular basis.  We’re over a month into this expedition and for the first time in all of my travels I have yet to open a book.  Normally the ample amount of tent time on trips like these offer the perfect opportunity to catch up on all of the reading I have set aside over the previous months.  This time, for some reason, there always seems to be something that needs to be done- immediately.

During our last rotation Kris and I punched up to Camp III at just over 7,000 meters.  Maybe a more accurate description is that we slowly, labored our way up the Lhotse Face to Camp III in stifling heat and under heavy loads.  It sounds dramatic, but the Western CWM/Lhotse Face is one of the hottest places I have ever been.  At one point the thermometer on my watch read 1080.  Combined with the elevation the heat becomes almost unbearable, and once the sun is out, inescapable.  The high altitude environment is one of extremes- bitter cold, searing heat, howling winds, and heavy snow.

Despite this Kris and I were able to make good time and deliver a valuable load of equipment to Camp III.  We sat for several hours on our future tent platform light headed, slightly delirious and took in the view.  For the first time we sat at eye level with many of the mountains around us.  Pumo Ri loomed over Base Camp, Cho Oyu and Gyachung Kang stood proud in the distance, and Nuptse, just to our south, almost looked within reach.  Mt. Everest and Lhotse, however, still rose impressively above us with their summits nowhere in sight.

Tomorrow we head up the mountain for our third and final rotation before our summit push.  It will be the first time we take our skis above Base Camp and it will be Hennie’s first foray into the Ice Fall.  It’s safe to say there’s some nervous anticipation in camp.

There is no question this next rotation is going to be a painful one.  The game plan is to spend a night at Camp III, carry a load to Camp IV at 7,800 meters and ski the Lhotse Face back down.  It will be our first time on skis in over a month but conditions appear to be ripe for a ski descent.  Chris Davenport’s and Neil Beidleman’s ski from Camp III was inspirational and leaves us hungry and motivated to ski the face in its entirety.  Hennie hopes to perform his magic and capture our descent from Camp II.

The entire team is wondering how they will do with the new elevation gains.  As a good friend of mine would say, “We’ll all be experts in a bit.”

  1. Russ McKinley says:

    Just remember to take good care of your teeth! R.

  2. Eric Knoff says:

    Best of Luck Jamie and Kris – it sounds amazing! Stay positive and breathe deep. There is no doubt you guys can do it.

  3. Hettie says:

    Good luck guys! May the weather be good to you!

  4. Jan Hegewald says:

    Jamie! You guys have fun out there. I’ll be watching from Sun Valley.

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