Monday, May 19, 2008

19 May: Camp III - 23,600'

The team is safe and warm at Camp III, where they made it in great time today. They woke up at Camp II early in the morning and left at about 7am and rolled into Camp III several hours later. As discussed in previous dispatches, the team departs Camp II, continues 400 vertical feet up to the top of the camp ground area via a narrow gulley path. At the top of the camp, the team continues across the upper regions of the Khumbu Glacier to a snow ramp at the base of a giant bergschrund. From there, the team attaches to the fixed ropes and ascends the Lhotse Face which is initially 70 degrees and gradually falls off to a more gradual 45 degrees before finally reaching Camp III, perched on the side of the Face and carved into the ice.

Our team arrived at Camp III in early afternoon and without the comfort of a main dining tent, most time that high is spent curled up in a sleeping bag. The biggest responsibilities are to stay clipped to the fixed lines when outside the tent, and to eat as much as you can. Often times, you can't eat anything, in all seriousness. It's almost like a pinch-your-nose-and-shovel-it-down. Because of that, we have packed a bunch of our most favorite foods in small quantities that are super-easy to eat: hot chocolate, cider, beef jerky, soup, MRE packets that you just boil in water and can chow down on. The point being that we need energy for higher on the mountain, and there's really only one way to get it. Shovel it in, buddy.

We have started using oxygen and will continue using it until we are right back at Camp III after the summit. Ahh... oxygen. Nourishing oxygen. Providing us with energy and the ability to proceed at a regular pace once we leave Camp III, we initially set at 2 liters per-minute and can adjust from there.

The plan is to depart Camp III tomorrow early again around 7am, and will hopefully arrive at the South Col by early afternoon. All going well, we will only spend a few hours before kicking off the summit bid that evening.

Overall, everyone is in high spirits and feeling good.

See also:
Up to Camp III:

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