This morning we continued our technical climbing practice in the lower Khumbu Ice Fall and then returned to base camp for a late lunch. The remainder of the day was spent relaxing in camp. Since base camp is such a central part of the expedition experience, I thought it might be interesting to provide a quick overview of our camp.
To begin, Everest Base Camp is a collection of camps located on the outer edge of the Khumbu Glacier just below the Ice Fall. The snow and ice from Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse flow to create the Ice Fall (center of picture) and then flow down valley to form the Khumbu Glacier (bottom of picture). It takes about 45 minutes to walk the length of Everest Base Camp. If you look carefully in the picture above tents are visible along the lower edge of the glacier.
Our base camp is located in the lower section of Everest Base Camp and is made up of a collection of tents. The picture above is a panorama of our entire camp. The yellow tents on the left-hand side of the image are tents for our Sherpa team. Then there are six large tents in the center of the image. Moving from left to right the tents are: 1. Sherpa Dining Tent 2. Sherpa Cook Tent 3. Climbing Team Cook Tent 4. Supply Tent 5. Climbing Team Dining Tent 6. Communications Tent. The orange and white tents on the right side of the image are climbing team personal tents.
Climbing team meals are prepared in the Climbing Team Cook Tent. The kitchen staff delivers high quality, nutritious and healthy meals. The food is outstanding and in abundant proportions. Notice the oven in the background of the image. I have no idea how the oven arrived to base camp, but we certainly enjoy the cakes and other baked goods that are created nearly every day.
The Climbing Team Dining Tent is the center of camp. Whenever the climbing team is not on the mountain, we enjoy three square meals a day and fresh snacks are always available. No one goes hungry around here. There is a gas heater in the dining tent that keeps us warm in the morning and evening. At night we set up a projector and watch movies. It is a great set up for being at 17,500 feet.
The communications tent is the technology center of our camp. We have access (most of the time) to WiFi and maintain all of the communications equipment that keep climbers and Sherpa connected anywhere on the mountain. Once we begin our climbing rotations the communications tent will be a hub of activity connecting all the climbers, guides and Sherpa with our sophisticated weather forecast service and keeping everyone posted on the team’s progress. All of this is powered by a combination of solar energy and, when necessary, a gas generator.
Finally, each team member has a personal 3-person tent that is home whenever we are in base camp. The tents are made more comfortable with a thick mattress for sleeping. Higher on the mountain team members share 2-person tents. In addition, there is a shower tent (which you are now well acquainted with and toilet tents that I will spare you a description).
That is our base camp. We are comfortable, well fed, and able to stay healthy and connected here. We are planning to leave base camp for a partial climb in the Ice Fall on April 19 and move to Camp 1 on April 20.