"Well by now you probably have heard the news. The Chinese have finally summit Everest from the North with the Olympic Torch. This means that all the climbing restrictions that had been in place on the south side have now been lifted. In short we are allowed to go and climb the mountain WOOHOO.
It was about 6am yesterday that I woke to the drone of a small jet circling the mountain. Now this is not normal so at once we knew some thing was happening. The plane circled the mountain for around 2hrs and then the news came through. At 9.16am China had got the Olympic torch as well as 21 climbers to the summit. The news was greeted with relief here at base camp; one could see the climbers visible perk up after an enforced period of rest due to the restrictions imposed by the Chinese.
So where does that leave us now?? Well we are a little behind time but its nothing too bad to be honest. Ran and Rob spent about a week resting down the valley and both have come back looking fit and well. We are now looking at going back up the mountain with our camp 3 acclimatization cycle. This will mean spending 4 or 5 days above base camp again letting our bodies get used to the ever increasing altitude. Then, all being well we will have 3 or 4 days rest before we start thinking about a summit push.
So the last few days have been action packed with people playing cards, scrabble (which Ran is pretty good at) and lots of monopoly (there have been a few harsh words over this one!!). Despite the longer than normal rest period we have all kept busy and the time has shot past. I for one can't believe that we are going back on the hill tomorrow.
A few days back the ITN film crew arrived; these were the same boys I worked with when I climbed the North Face of the Eiger last year with Ran. It was great to see them again and good to see that they were travelling light as ever. They had over £7000 of excess baggage with them that ran to 14 porter loads!!!!!! They do however have a complete editing suit set up in a tent and managed their 1st live broadcast last night so well done them
Yesterday was fun, Rob, Ran and myself all went into the icefall with Dave and Liz with a view to get a few shots for the Telegraph newspaper. Liz got us all to dress in our down suits (a little warm I must say) oxygen masks and hats etc in order to show readers what we will be wearing on summit day. As we were doing this a heap of Sherpas on their way down from camp 2 passed us, they couldn't believe their eyes. However as it's all in aid of a great cause none of us really minded, all the laughs and smiles. It was a great way to spend a few hours apart from the fact I got sun burnt, so if anyone out there wants to sponsor me for sun cream and or moisturiser in future then please get in touch!!!!"
UKClimbing.com related articles.
Climbing with Sir Ranulph Fiennes - Part One: HERE
Climbing with Sir Ran Fiennes - The North Face of the Eiger: HERE