July 5th, 2018
Another three inches (8 cm) fell on my tent at base camp last night. It melt during the day when the sun warmed everything up, but the snow makes me feel very far from home. My friends are likely talking about how summer “just started” in Seattle, and planning weekend trips to warm, sunny lakes. Yet, I wouldn’t choose to be anywhere else. Although this mountain kingdom is daunting it makes me feel free and alive and happy.
Overall, I am feeling well. I started taking antibiotics three days ago to hopefully stymie some nasal congestion. The cold, dry air always leads to respiratory irritation when I’m climbing big mountains and this time I am determined to stay ahead of it. Because breathing is extra important to me right now. When I climbed Everest the congestion was so bad that I am still shocked by the things that my nose expelled when I blew it. I took pictures. Which I will not share.
In addition to trying to stay healthy, most of the team is preparing to move up the mountain, beginning tomorrow. Despite the snow, Purba led the Sherpa team up the mountain at 4 am carrying heavy packs of gear. For our team of ten climbers and three guides we have 60 tents, 4 miles (6 km) of rope, and stacks of oxygen bottles. It seems like a lot and all of it has to be carried up the mountain on the backs of incredibly strong men. I have had the pleasure of climbing with the same group of Sherpa several times and I am perpetually amazed at their strength and geniality.
I spent a few hours myself in the tent organizing gear and food for our rotation. It feels good to begin the process of preparing, instead of lying around thinking about preparing. I made piles of food and clothes and gear in my tent, carefully considering the weight and utility of each item.
I’m still fighting the overwhelming feeling of climbing K2, but I’m focused on the next step, which is to walk to ABC tomorrow. It’s just a walk, and then the fun begins :)