Yesterday team 7 Summits left Base Camp for the first time to move for the night up to the intermediate base camp (IBC) at 5800 meters (approx 19,000 feet). Under the new expedition concept developed by Abramov over the past two years, the group moved in lock step, slowly to the destination. The new concept is part of Abramov's safety first initiative, to ensure that no one is lost on the mountain, and should an unfortunate accident occur, guides, sherpas, and team members are around to help.
The team left after breakfast yesterday at 11:30 local time, with everyone arriving around 18:00, just before dinner. The slow pace was designed to keep everyone together and allow everyone to arrive fresh and without any major altitude issues.
Having been in Alex's Everest program in 2005, I noticed immediately the improvement in IBC services; new tents, heated dining facilities, electricity, and toilet tents. I must say that I dreaded always going through IBC, because it was always cold and the accomodation, spartan. It was a shock to come back to IBC and see that although the camp had shifted 50 meters up the glacier, almost a world of difference exists in the services there.
We had a grand dinner, and sat around the table discussing in comfort various topics; cutting the ropes on our least favorite teammates seemed to come up quite often :) ... Some in the group played cards and others quietly drank tea until approximately 22:00 when we turned out the lights and cut off the heaters.
Fully hydrated and well fed, the team slept through the night until the sun hit our tents at around 09:00 today. Again a great meal was prepared and we packed our things and returned to Base Camp. The team left IBC at 10:00 and we wound our way back down the East Rongbuk Glacier descending 600 meters over 12 kilometers under blue skies. Just past the Yak camp where the East Rongbuk meets the main Rongbuk glacier, we had wonderful views again of Pumori and Everest's North Face. A giant Lenticular Cloud had formed over Everest's peak, causing pause and photographs to be taken.
We are now back in Base Camp, having just finished a late lunch, everyone queueing for the showers. We will have the next three nights here to complete stage 1 of the acclimatisation process in the expedition. Afterwards, our plan is to head up to Advanced Base Camp and spend 1 night there and return. While I would love to share the rest of our plans with you, I want to make sure everyone knows that there must be some flexibility in expedition planning, therefore I will only communicate 3-4 days of plans in advance.
Another small announcement is that Alex and the 7 Summits corporation have agreed to support the charity Global H2O, a global clean water initiative. The charity, Global H2O, was founded in 2009 and raises money to create sustainable clean water sources and sanitation facilities for those in need. The first project was completed in February of this year, bringing clean water to over 1500 people in Uganda. The charity is looking for support globally either via fundraising, volunteers, donations, or corporate sponsorship. You can find out more atwww.globalh2o.org.
Other than that, everything is running smoothely here and the spirits are high.
All the best from Everest Base Camp, Tibet, China,
(on behalf of the 7 Summits team)