At last - a new blog update. Communications and charging facilities have been non-existent for a week. We are now at base camp.
We stayed at Dingboche and Chukkung in the Imja Valley and did a couple of high climbs before making our way to base camp via Gorak Shep where we climbed Kala Pattar.
I have had real difficulty eating the lodge food. Maybe I am too picky but the constant supply of fried pasta, noodles and potatoes all tainted with the smell of burning Yak dung and eaten in the half light, meant that I arrived in base camp in pretty poor shape. On Jagged Globe advice I visited the doctor who said that I had no symptoms of AMS (acute mountain sickness) but I that my reserves were seriously depleted. Fortunately we have a few days rest and the food at base camp is really good. I am feeling better - particularly as normal bodily functions have also returned.
Helen is staying with me at base camp this evening in my 5 man tent (in a 5 season sleeping bag as well). Her oxygen saturation figures are amongst the best in the whole group and though it was a struggle she got to 18,750 ft at the top of Kala Pattar.
Waking up at base camp is surreal. The helicopters starts flying in at around 7 a.m. This morning we had a Puja ceremony - a lot of Buddist chanting followed by throwing tsampa and rice over our shoulders. Helen and I passed on the Chang which is a Tibetan beer made from rice.
The view up the Khumbu icefall is daunting. Our Sherpa team have already been up there establishing camps 1 and 2. My attitude to the summit has changed. It really is a bonus. It may just come along one day but it doesn't pay to think about it. The most important thing is to stay physically and mentally healthy. We have ultra marathon runners, cross country champions, channel swimmers etc in the group. They fall prey to the same illnesses. I am hoping that the "grey old men at the back" saying is true.
Should be able to send some pictures tomorrow after Helen has left for home.
Bye for now.