November 6, 2015
Advance Base Camp
Namaste Family & Friends:
Yesterday, we moved up to Advance Base Camp near Burke-Khang. The move across the Ngozumpa Glacier and up the Guanara Glacier was long and difficult. The entire trip took about 9 hours. We were all tired when we arrived at Advance Base Camp.
The move began with a rappel (descent) from our Base Camp to the bottom of the Ngozumpa Glacier. The descent was so far, it was like rappelling down the side of a 15-story office building. Once we got on the glacier, we had to trek from one side of the glacier to the other, a distance of over 1 mile. This involved climbing around, up and over giant boulders, some the size of a house. Upon reaching the other side of the Ngozumpa Glacier, we reached the Guanara Glacier, which leads to our mountain. At that point, we had to climb all the way back up the side of the glacier, so we could travel up the Gokyo Valley above the Guanara Glacier, instead of in the glacier.
We all thought the trek up the glacier would never end. But, we arrived at Advance Base Camp in the early evening. It was extremely cold, so we hunkered down in our tents, had a rice dinner and tried to stay warm through the night.
I knew the Gokyo Valley, which is surrounded by towering peaks, was magnificent, but nothing prepared me for this stunning beauty. We can all see Burke-Khang right outside our tents, and it beckons our approach. Today is a rest day, and tomorrow we will answer that call.
Tomorrow, we will trek about 3 hours to the foot of Burke-Khang. Then, the climbing begins with a move up the fixed lines to Camp 1, which is already in place. The vertical move is about 2,500 feet up the steep East Buttress, so it will be another big day
Unfortunately, Kathy’s respiratory infection worsened in the night, and she had to chopper back to Lukla this morning. She put up a valiant fight, and we really admire her and will miss her. An unfortunate by-product of high altitude mountaineering is that illness and injuries heal very slowly. Now, we are 4, plus Garrett and Sid.
Today was a bluebird day, and the forecast is for more of the same for the next few days. We have truly been blessed with good weather for this trip, a first for me in Nepal.
Tomorrow, Garrett and I are being SKYPE interviewed by a Seattle television station (King 5). The report will be aired on the evening news.
I hope you are all doing well. My next report will be an audio report from Camp 1.
ps: check out “Where’ Bill” on my website