Good morning Namche! 10 hours of sleep and woke feeling incredible! The lower elevation, warmer temps, and the extra oxygen have made a huge difference with my health. I slept through the night, my soar throat is gone, and no more coughing up….. well anything. The sun was shining, and it was warm (well relatively,) I would say around 35 degrees F or 2 degrees C.
We all gathered around 9 am for breakfast. Although the remaining group was there, we felt the absence of our fellow team members. We are missing Michael and Kenton, who headed back to base camp early this morning. Our three guides Garrett, Conan, and Stewart, who stayed in base camp to keep things organized ( and to probably get some chill time.) Richard, who is back in Santa Fe recovering from a bad case of AMS. And finally, with a heavy heart, I’m sad to say, Randy and Art called their adventure short and flew back to Kathmandu this morning.
Both were great to get to know and a pleasure to climb with. Unfortunately, Everest is an unforgiving place and both suffered the fate of injury and altitude sickness. Art is 73 years old with a heart of a 25 year old and Randy, well Randy has the biggest heart on the team. Once both men decided their climbs were done they stuck around EBC and cheered us home from the Lhotse face.
After breakfast we headed down into town to do some supply shopping and get some lunch. We found a great little patio pizza joint and shared some slices and some laughs. We were all forgetting the last several days of struggle on the Lhotse Face while ignoring what was to come. It was a great afternoon of sunshine, food, and friends.
Later that evening we played cards, told stories, and yes a few of us shared some wine. It was a great day and the team continues to grow in strength, friendship, and unity. We are very close to being ready for the summit push. We have one more day of lounging around, and then it’s back to Everest Basecamp. Where we will need to get serious and prepare for the difficult and dangerous journey ahead.