Sunday, May 2, 2010

Basecamp to IBC (interim base camp) to ABC (advanced base camp)

So off we all went for our 7 hour hike from BC to IBC gaining some 2,000 ft. in elevation. The hike was through several valleys and up and down many hills all with a slight gain. In the beginning it was neat because you were looking at Everest from the West side so you could see the North Col up along on the left with the South ridge and the glacier below it on the right. When climbing a mountain it is always nice to see as much of it as you can. As we bore to the left of Changste, history started to come into play as this was the very route Mallory and Irvine had taken on their ill fated attempts to summit Everest in the 20’s. It was rumored that each man had over 2 tons of gear and 300 people for each of their climbs. How time has changed everything. We have also heard that there is an expedition that has already been here for 5 weeks looking for Irvine’s body and camera. We spoke with them and they feel that they have already pinpointed the body and will be going to retrieve it soon. Julio and I just might be here for some amazing history! A couple of hours into the hike my stomach decided to enact revenge on me. I guess all the altitude gain had finally met its match. As I was walking all of a sudden I looked up and saw my shmoo meter. You know the one. On the left it says you’re ok for a while. In the middle it gives you 10 minutes and on the right it says find a rock now. Well the needle was bouncing off the right so I quickly looked for the biggest rock near me and took care of business. Wow that was close. Unfortunately for me it happened 5 more times on the way to IBC. I’ll spare you the details but just imagine walking on a billygoat trail with most stones the size of footballs. I’ll leave it to your imagination of the afternoon I had. By the time I reached IBC I was a little worse for the wear and was ready to hit the sack or so I thought. We had a nice spaghetti dinner and Julio and I were roommates. As we put our heads to our makeshift pillows all this clanging became clear. We were sleeping amongst the yaks who all wear bells of various tones to signify their ownership and seniority. It was so loud and funny that I broke out my video camera that couldn’t capture a picture but you get to hear all the sound and our laughter. Strangely enough it sounded much like the chime I have outside my bedroom window at home. The next morning was an adventure because I told Julio that I refused to carry my backpack any more when we have all these yak herders around us. He liked the idea too and we both agreed that we weren’t really breaking any climbing rules! So it was then that I announced to all the yak herders that we would pay to have them carry our packs. I swear I thought we were in Pamplona with the number of the kids that ran over to want to carry our packs. So for $60 we got our packs carried for the next 6 hours and we didn’t have to carry anything!!! It was also at this time I took a Diamox. I had never climbed this high without taking one (18,000ft) and we were about to climb another 2,000 ft. so I figured what the hell. An hour into what was to be a 7-8 hour hike my body started to shut down. I was drinking enough water as noticed by my urine and my head was clear and not dizzy so I wasn’t sure what the heck was going on. I walked for another ½ hour and then sat down and said I wasn’t going any further. This isn’t like me at all but I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I told Lapka Gelu that I was going to go back to BC and then come back tomorrow. He came up with a better idea of getting a tent and food and we would camp out here and move to ABC tomorrow. I said great. So off he went. I figured I would just keep walking slowly with my backpack carrier and see where it would get us. During this time my shmoo meter began to arrive with the arrow pointed hard right. What the hell was going on. I surely hope that I didn’t pick up a bug because at this time Lapsong already had a sinus infection and Fanuru was not far behind him. So I continued walking till Lapka Gelu showed up with all the gear. He asked me how I was doing and I said I felt weak and had the big D. He then looked at me and said in his pretty good english “You need to use a Mars bar for diarrhea”. Now I know I am in altitude and sometimes things sound strange so I asked him “ So if I am to use the Mars bar, am I to eat it or place it?” We then both started to laugh and he said eat it because Mars bars stop diarrhea. Now we all have learned something new for the day but I’d have to tell you I was a little nervous. After the Mars bar and several other food items I felt fine. In all the confusion I forgot one of the most basic rules of climbing which is nutrition. With my stomach full and eating 200 calories every ½ hour I made it to ABC in 6 hours. Julio made it in 5. There was a point towards the end when Lapka Gelu kept telling me one more turn and we are there. This pissed me off to no end so I bet him an Everest beer that if camp wasn’t on the next corner the beer was mine. Of course this time he was right. I should have known. As we made it into ABC and walked into our dining tent and saw Fanuru, Lopsang and Julio sitting there, they all jumped up as they were surprised to see us. It was nice to have made it and cover the 4,000 vertical in 2 days. Julio was so happy to see us he demanded a man hug on the spot. More later.


  1. way to power through, bro...who knew the power of the mars bar...hilarious!

  2. I didn't know that about Mars bars (which are milky ways here). Was he playing with you? Lhakpa Gelu does have a sense of humor...hmmm.

  3. I laughed so hard my smoo meter went off :-)