Into the Khumbu Icefall
16th April Into the Khumbu Icefall.
Following a few leisurely ‘training ‘ days in the lower icefall close to camp it we time for our first early morning start. The team assembled wearily in the Mess tent at 04.30hrs. We had asked the kitchen for a’ light’ breakfast and were rewarded with yoghurt, porridge, toast and omelettes – quite a challenge in the pre dawn hours.
We walked past the tents of several sleeping expeditions on the trail through Base Camp. After a brief stop to put on harnesses and crampons we entered the Icefall as dawn was breaking at 05.30hrs. Temperatures were sub zero, but as there was no significant wind it did not feel too cold. We climbed steadily for almost three hours crossing several small frozen glacial pools, negotiating a few aluminium ladders spanning crevasses, and climbing some short steep sections of ice. This was a new environment for some of the team but we all did very well with the ladder crossings and steep climbs. There was a little added excitement in the form of a snow avalanche from the slopes of Nuptse which billowed into an impressive cloud of ice crystals before dispersing into the valley below us.
As this was planned to be a ‘short’ training climb we turned around at 08.00hrs having covered approx 40% of the distance to Camp One. We were back at the foot of the icefall by 09.30hrs, and enjoying ‘second breakfast’ in Base camp by 10.00hrs. We aim to go higher into the icefall on the 17th before possibly moving to Camp one on the 18th or 19th.