Yesterday we arrived at Gorak Shep and after a few hours of rest we met up with David Hamilton our Jagged Globe 2011 Everest team leader. I had met David in Antarctica on Mount Vinson so it was great to catch up with him again, also for Steve to meet him too. Everyone got on really well and we had a really good chat yesterday about how the team is getting on at the moment and our summit strategy.
It was great to speak with David, I feel very confident that we have the very best advice. Heâ€™s incredibly experienced. David is leading Jagged Globeâ€™s 15th Everest expedition and this will be his 6th expedition to Everest, having previously summited in 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2009.
We have come up with a strategy that we all agree on and that we have all bought in to and I do feel really confident being part of team Jagged Globe. Having great logistics on the mountain means we have got the very best chance of making the summit, however the realisation of talking through the attempt yesterday made me pretty nervous to be honest. We always knew we would be cutting it fine and that it was going to be difficult to get from the North Pole back over here but the reality is something quite different.
The main team are leaving tomorrow morning for a final trip up to camp 3 and when they get back down for that they are ready to rock and roll. They have been here for 3 weeks so we are a long way behind from all the teams on the mountain.
It looks like we are going to run a similar schedule to what the Jagged Globe team have been running on the mountain, except we are going to do it over half the timeframe which is obviously putting ourselves under a lot of pressure.
We had 2 options really â€“ We could either really cane it and try and be ready at the same time as them but risk burning ourselves out and becoming ill with altitude.
The second option is a more conservative approach aiming for a window end of the season but the problem with that is that we are putting all our eggs into one basket and should anything happen from food poisoning to bad weather, we have missed the opportunity, so we came to the conclusion to run a similar programme to what the team have done except we will half the rest days and do it over half the timeframe.
Steve and I will be running a completely separate itinerary to the rest of the team. We will be moving up the mountain independently with one of the head Sherpas. We hope that when we are ready to summit we will do so with David Hamilton as well but we will be moving completely separate to the rest of the team but using the same logistics throughout the mountain.
The news from the mountain is that the Khumbu Icefall, which is a notoriously dangerous part of the climb (The icefall is at the head of the Khumbu Glacier at 5,486 metres and is one of the most dangerous stages of the South Col route to Everest's summit) is pretty compressed this year which means there are not as many crevasses and ladder crossings which is good for us.
The bad news is that the temperatures are warming drastically so we should see a fair amount of movement in the next few weeks. Just walking up from Gorak Shep you can hear avalanches cracking all the time all around, none dangerous towards us though, in fact just as I am talking to you now a massive one has gone off somewhere, not near though!
Itâ€™s gonna be really tough. I am confident that we have the very best chance of making the summit being part of Team Jagged Globe. The realisation of the task ahead though is pretty sobering having such a short time to acclimatise to be ready for a potential summit window at the end of May but itâ€™s great to have the support of David Hamilton and Andy Chapman (our assistant leader) and our amazing Sherpa team.
Steve is in good spirits heâ€™s looking really strong. Both of us are acclimatising well. We have had a few long days now so we will be making the most of the next few days at base camp just resting, eating, allowing our bodies to catch up.
Dai camera is also in good spirits. We were joking that Dai has aged about 20 years in the last 4 days! but nevertheless he arrived in base camp in good spirits and got some good footage too.
Wow that was a long one! Speak to you all soon from Everest Base Camp. Rich.