The 3th May 2018: So far, so good
Everything is proceeding as planned. After two nights at Camp 2 and four days of rest at Base Camp, we set out for a second round of acclimatisation. First step Camp 2. Suffering more and more from the heat, I was the only one to leave before the sun came up ‒ except for our Sherpas, of course. They set out at 5:00 a.m. to carry supplies up to Camp 3. Our cook, Chandra, who knows me well, had my breakfast ready at 6:00 a.m. Perfect. Left at 6:30 a.m. I did the gorgeous ascent up to Camp 1 by myself, taking my time. Lovely.
Not wanting to traverse the death-trap couloir between Camps 1 and 2 by myself ‒ it is known for falling rock and is extremely dangerous ‒ I ended up waiting for the first members of our team to arrive: Sergey, Marco and Noel.
My night at Camp 2 went smoothly and the morning was beautiful and sunny again. I asked NaDorjee to wake me at 5:00 for a 6:00 a.m. departure ... while everyone else waited for the sun to get out of their sleeping bags. Just my luck: I was rewarded with a glacially cold morning. After six hours of ascent, we arrived at Camp 3. The location is different to last year and a bit lower at 6,900 m. We had to build platforms and set up the tents before settling in. This first night at almost 7,000 m is never pleasant! This year was the same ‒ I had trouble sleeping and quite the headache. And NaDorjee is a bit sick and coughing a lot. Early in the morning, the Sherpas left for a drop-off about 400 m shy of Camp 4 and I left with Marco to push past 7,000 m. My acclimatisation is still not great. After reaching the top of the serac and feeling like I might vomit, I let Marco carry on and stayed behind to go at my pace. Returned to the tents around noon. Fantastic afternoon lounging around my tent drinking tea and snacking. The weather forecasts are contradictory. Some are expecting a big snowfall and prefer to return to Camp 2. Having received different information, I decided to stay at Camp 3 for my second night as planned and head down in the morning. The night was clear, but frigid. I was wise to stay. My descent in the morning was full of glorious sunshine. We all met up at Base Camp, super motivated to push on to the summit as soon as possible, but the weather had different plans. Winds in excess of 100 km/h have come to party at 7,500 m for the next several days. Patience, patience and more patience. The high-altitude ground rules still apply.