A close family friend of mine passed away a year ago today while I was climbing Mt. Everest. I didn't find out until two days later though when we were back at Base Camp having just slept a night at Camp 1. I was in Gorak Shep (the closest "village" near Base Camp that offers food and slow/expensive internet) trying to enjoy some basic luxuries. It was a hard day for me, but it was interesting to go back and read my diary entry of April 20th, the day he died. Please excuse the horrible grammar and poor writing. Here goes: "OMG, what a boring day. The weather outside was a windy whiteout, so Kevin and I just stayed in the tent. Had lunch at noon. Napped. Did some card memorization. Tried to learn how to do mental square roots. Failed. Anyways, Kevin cooked all our water, haha. Then we cooked our meals. I had Spag Bol - pretty yummy I must say, for a boil-in-a-bag - and a minestrone soup to start. I set up this sweet rig with my boot laces to hold up my iphone above our heads while we lay and watch. We watched "Inception." Went to bed at 9ish.
Ok, so the 20th was today. Thus far, it's been a waiting game. It's beautifully clear outside but the winds (which were forecasted for 30mph) are around 70mph. No joke. Hurricane style. It's a good thing our tent is last in the row, we get all the protection. Someone's campsite north of us got demolished. Jagged Globe's site, which is next to us, is gonna be gone by the end of the day for sure. IMG apparently went up to C2 already but turned around. The wind is crazy, and snow hits your face diagonally - it hurts. Reminds me of that one day on Mt. Rainier when we had to build our camp by walking backwards to avoid being slapped in the face by the sleet and snow. I can see the beautiful Lhotse Face and what I think is the South Col. The Western Cym is awesome. The rock faces on the sides are so inspiring; like a painting. Anyways, it's 9am. I was just outside taking pics, cutting snow blocks for snow walls, helping the Sherpas tie down the tents, then came back inside. Hopefully we get to go up to C2 or at least part way up. So Kevin asked if we could climb up a bit but Anjel, our guide, said no. I asked again around 2:30pm since the winds had died down slightly and he said yes! Finally something to do. I would have been so pissed having to just waste this climbing cycle. Luckily Kevin and I got to trek up 150 meters (a little more than 1/2 way to C2). It was just us in the Western Cym. The sun was on our backs and the trail was ours. Amazing. No one was there. We crossed some MASSIVE crevasses. Fewer than the Ice Fall, but deeper and more awe-inspiring. The rock color of Nuptse on our right was brown, black, and yellow. Reminded me of a painting in that famous Talkeetna, Alaska pizzeria. We got up to this one crevasse which was 5 ladders strung together! Banana ladders. We opted to take the 15 minute walk around them (too windy). Scary but cool. We carried on for a bit longer, then sat for 15 minutes to breathe in the 6150 meter air (higher than Denali). It was beautiful - the best was that it was only us. No. One. Else.
We headed back down, which took about 30 minutes, and then cooked our meals. I had Chili Macaroni (which was again, super yumz), Kevin had some mediocre Penne Veggie Sausage thing. Then boiled some warm water for our sleeping bags. That's the key to sleeping well. Warm water bottles. Then bed at 8pm. Started getting windy again. Did some memory training just before it got dark. Anjel told us we would go up an hour if the weather was better in the morning."
New video coming soon!