It was clear and cold this morning. The guys with WMS (Wilderness Medical Society) got up at 3 AM this morning. My plan was to get up at 4 AM, breakfast at 4:30 AM and leave at 5 AM. One of the kitchen helpers woke me up at 3 AM and I was not able to get back to sleep, but I did rest until 4 AM. I heard the WMS leaving a little before 4:30 AM.
I dressed a little warmer for this trip up to Camp II, wearing fairly heavy long underwear top and bottom this time. I went down to the dinning tent at 4:30 AM and had porridge and tea with Lakpa my climbing Sherpa). There was no hurry to get up to Camp II today so we finally left at 5:15 AM. I struggled a bit at first getting my pace and breathing adjusted. This always seems to be the case for me when climbing or hiking. Wearing a buff over your mouth and nose takes some getting used to at 17,500 ft. You want lots of air and the buff limits it a bit. On the positive side the buff allows you to breathe warmer and moister air. This is much easier on your throat and lungs which results in less coughing due to the cold dry air at these altitudes. Eventually after 15 to 20 minutes I got settled into a rhythm and was moving consistently along.
Lakpa and I passed a few folks, but mainly got passed by Sherpa’s carrying loads up the mountain. We caught up with the WMS climbers about 2/3 of the way up the Icefall. We reached Camp I at 9:30 AM. It had been very windy and cold in the upper portion of the Icefall. Getting into sunshine was welcome for the cold fingers.
Just above Camp I we took our first real break. It was still windy and there was little protection, even in a low spot between a couple crevasses. We got up to Camp II at 12:45 PM. This was by no means my best time up to Camp II, but it was much better than my first time up this year. When we got to Camp II we got hot drinks and then I moved into my tent. The cook helper brought me soup and another hot drink in my tent. Peak Promotion’s Indian group (12 climbers) just came down from Camp III and with all of us in Camp II at the same time there is not enough room for all of us in the dinning tent. The Indian group will head back to EBC after breakfast tomorrow. For dinner tonight we will stagger our use of the dinning tent. I rested in my tent the remainder of the day.