Even the best laid plans………!

Dear Family & Friends,

It took a serious amount of will power to convince our bodies that getting out of an exceedingly warm and comfortable sleeping bag in the middle of the night to haul 25kgs 700 vertical meters from EBC to C1 was in any was a sensible idea.

After much procrastination, the weather was also looking dodgy, we finally left base camp at 8.45am on April 24th, our pack laden with, mostly, important stuff.

The Khumbu Icefall - not a place to linger...

5 hours later we were back in C1 and proceeded to brew up while settling back into and doing some minor repair work to our tent. (A pole had broken during the strong winds the previous week, but that was hardly worth worrying about when several tents from other groups had disappeared entirely – blown off the mountain and buried somewhere in the icefall…….!)

Allan, Sharon & Matt enjoying a cuppa - al fresco style - in C2

Standing outside our tent I noticed movement to my right and jumped when a black dog appeared next to me. What the…? How on earth it got through the icefall is a mystery, think lots of ladders….., but it looked right at home and was happily running back and forth between C1 and C2. Its attempt at becoming the first canine to summit Everest came to an abrupt end the next morning when it was caught, put on a leash and escorted out of town and down to BC by a bunch of sherpas. (Climbing Everest is a very competitive business.)

Camp 1

Crossing ladder in Western Cwm with C1 and Pumori in background

Matt crossing ladder in icefall

The next couple of days were spent carrying loads to C2 and we had a well-earned rest day there on the 27th. What better place @ 6450m, beneath the mighty South Face of Everest, to enjoy the spectacular Western Cwm while pondering how to get those damn loads up the Lhotse face to C3 and the South Col.

The South Face of Everest - Bonnington's boys climbed this face in 1975.

Matt & Soren in C2 @ 6450m

Matt in C2 with Lhotse face behind

Climbers ascending the Lhotse Face towards C3 - bottom right corner

Matt at the bottom of the Lhotse Face

Soren on the Lhotse Face

Looking down the Western Cwm towards C2 & C1

Climbing the Lhotse Face

At the bottom of the Lhotse Face

We set out on the 28th and while I managed to get my load to C3 @ approx 7200m, Matt was desperately unlucky and hyper extended his right Achilles tendon on the steep blue ice 200m above the base of the Lhotse face and was forced to return to C2.

Looking back up the Western Cwm towards the Lhotse Face

Matt in the icefall

Back in C2 we discussed our options and decided to return to base camp the following morning for a proper medical assessment with the western doctors at HRA – Himalayan Rescue Association.

The prognosis is not encouraging and Matt will decide what to do in the next couple of days.

Matt & Soren

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