I’m in my tent at ABC (Advanced Base Camp), the sun is out, it’s very warm but there’s a light snowfall. The last couple of days we have had quite a bit of snowfall. Two days ago, Aboul and Doug made a trip up to the North Cool and slept there one night. The next morning they went half way from the North Col, Camp 1 to Camp 2 then all the way back down to ABC yesterday. So they had a good trip and I was very pleased for Doug because he had a little bit of a sickness off and on, but he did a great job yesterday and for him every step higher is an altitude record because he hasn’t climbed this big of a mountain before. So he did really well and he’s feeling really good today and resting. The same for Aboul. Of course Aboul is very strong and summited before on the south side, the same year I did so he had no difficulty either.
I thought I would give you my impressions of Aboul, our Russian teammate who I really like. So for the last several days before they went up, he would come into the dining tent every morning and would say to me “Bill, today Aboul , (and he always talks in the third person)… Bill, today, Aboul go up North Col, (then whistles- that means I go up to Camp 2), and then Aboul Come down.” Then he laughs really hard. That’s about the extent of the communication. And whenever you ask him questions about anything the typical answer you get back is , “Bill, Aboul normal, normal” We haven’t been able to figure out what “normal” means, maybe it means ok, but I think it is just the answer he gives when he doesn’t understand us. So he’s a great teammate we love to have him around, as well as Doug.
As far as my plans, I have been waiting for the opportunity to make my push to the summit. Right now while I think camp 3 has been set which is good, however we still have problems with the Chinese fixing lines to the summit, that hasn’t happened yet although the team is here at ABC. My desire is to move right from here for a 4 day push to the summit from ABC up to the summit in a 4 day push and that’s what I would like to do however I can’t do that until there are lines to the summit. So today I guess, I call him the big boss of the Chinese team, is coming up to ABC and Mingma is going to have a pow-wow with him. They have been pressing my case for the double summit to get the lines fixed but so far I am not sure how impressed the Chinese are with my particular situation. So the meeting today and the outcome will hopefully be positive, and in a day or so I will start my 4 day push straight up to the summit and back. If on the other hand there is going to be a significant delay in fixing the lines, that won’t be possible and I will have to figure out another plan and that plan will have to be wrapped around whatever line fixing plans the Chinese come up with. It would at least involve a trip for me up the North Col and beyond, and I would come back down to ABC and rest. There is even the possibility of having to go down to Chinese base camp to allow my body to recover if we are going to be here more than a week or so. So anyway, that’s the situation, still hoping for a double summit but a lot depends on what we find out today when we meet with the Chinese and I will for sure post that later. I plan to get a shower today and a shower at ABC means washing your hands, face and hair with soap and water, and shaving. That’s my plan for later in the day. Alright, that’s it, I will report back probably tonight or tomorrow what we learn from the Chinese. Bye”