Daily Dispatches

Title: Dick Morse - Lhotse Expedition 2012

17th May, 2012 - EBC to Camp II (21,000 ft.)

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17th May, 2012 - EBC to Camp II (21,000 ft.)

It was windy overnight, clear this morning and still windy, but not very cold.  I had wake up tea at 4:30 AM, breakfast at 5 AM and we left EBC a little after 5:30 AM.  I like to head to Camp II when it is light enough to not have to use a headlamp.  By 5 AM there is plenty of light.

I maintained a slow and steady pace up through the icefall.  We got to camp I at 9 AM and took a break to put on sun cream and sun glasses.  After a short time we stopped again to shed some clothes.  
The wind had dropped down when we got to Camp I and we were in the sun.  It warmed p quickly as we started up the Western Cwm.  THz is the third time up to Camp II this season and it was quickly becoming our warmest walk up between Camp I and II.

About one hour above Camp I we were slowly walking towards Camp II in what felt like an oven.  Even with the heat you need to stay covered to avoid sunburn.  We finally got to Camp II at 11:30 AM.  Six hours up to Camp II from EBC is not fast, but better than I thought we would do considering how often I have been sick on this trip.  I expected to take about 7 hours.

Once at Camp II I settled into my tent, I had some drinks and lunch at 1 PM.  We also got word that there was an accident at Camp III.  A large section of ice had broken off and avalanched onto on a number of tents.  Two Sherpa’s were injured in one of the tents hit.  One had a broken arm and leg and the other had head injuries.  A helicopter was called in to evacuate both Sherpa’s.

After lunch I was back to my tent to rest.  With the sun out I had to open up all my vents and I was still too warm.  Some low clouds finally moved into the Western Cwm around 3 PM and the temperature got much more comfortable in my tent.

While I got as much rest as possible this afternoon I also needed to decide if I will go up to Camp III in the morning or rest tomorrow at Camp II.  Lakpa and I talked before dinner about our schedule.  Because of the avalanche / accident at Camp III the team that was going to start fixing the Lhotse route did not move up to Lhotse Camp IV.  They helped move the injured Sherpa’s down the Lhotse face so they could be picked up by the helicopter.  Now they will move back up to Lhotse Cap IV tomorrow and fix the route on the 19th – 20th.  I will stay at Camp II tomorrow and move up to Camp III on the 19th.  We will than move u to Lhotse Camp IV on the 20th and our summit day will be on the 21st.

I also found out the five of our (Peak Promotion) tents were destroyed in the avalanche at Camp III today.  The Indian group and \WMS (total of 19 with several Sherpa’s) are all packed into 6 tents at Camp III tonight.  They will move up to Everest Camp IV tomorrow morning in preparation for their summit attempt starting tomorrow night.  With all of the Peak Promotion climbers moved up to Everest Camp IV, Lakpa and I will have our choice of tent tomorrow night at Camp III.

Pasang (my second Sherpa) will carry a tent and the rest of our oxygen up to our Camp IV tomorrow and then return to Camp II when Lakpa and I move up to Camp III on the 19th.   Then when Lakpa and I move up to Lhotse Camp IV Pasang will join us from Camp II on the 20th.

Lhotse (27,677 ft.) – center / back

Lhotse (27,677 ft.) – center / back