No doubt most people reading this will have heard about the 'fight' on Everest - I'll come to that in a minute.
On a personal note our team is going strong. We've done our first trip up to camp 2 (6,400m) to acclimatise. Its been amazing! The journey up to camp 2 begins with the famous Khumbu Icefall - like a frozen section of white water rapids spilling over from the Western Cwm. Each year a group of sherpas negotiate the safest passage through the icefall, past huge ice blocks and over deep crevasses. It took us 4 hours to get through the icefall, and then suddenly the terrain flattens out to reveal an enormous, snowy valley - the Western Cwm. Camp 1 is at the start of the Cwm. We spent two days and nights there to acclimatise (6,000m), basking in the sun, staring up at Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse, and eating huge quantities of food that we'd lugged up through the icefall. The Western Cwm was every bit as beautiful as I had hoped.
After camp 1 we made the one and a half hour trudge up to camp 2 (6,400m). Camp 2 has a permanent mess tent set up and even a cook who lives there for a few weeks every year! We spent two days there playing cards and stuffing our faces with chips and pizza (as best you can at that altitude!). It's a hard life! On our second day there we made the one hour climb to the base of the Lhotse Face for further acclimatisation. Next time we go up the mountain we'll be climbing the Lhotse Face for real. I can't wait!
Meanwhile a friend of mine, Jon Griffith, was climbing on the Lhotse Face with Ueli Steck and Simone Moro, making a film about their attempt on a new route. As they climbed past Sherpas who were fixing ropes to the face, the Sherpas became very angry that they had been passed. Jon and his climbing partners were later attacked down at camp 2 and were lucky to escape back down to base camp. The report on UK climbing seems fair... http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=68020 This all happened at the other end of camp 2 whilst we were staying there, but we had no idea what was going on (camp2 is about half a mile long and we were at opposite ends of camp). Luckily it doesn't seem to have affected us, and relations between the Sherpas on our team and our team members are as good as ever, but I'm so sad for Jon that his expedition has come to an end in this bizarre way.
Aside of all this commotion everything is going well for us. We're back down at base camp for a couple of days resting and then we'll set out again with intention of getting a bit higher on the mountain now our bodies are getting used to the lack of oxygen. Hopefully next time I blog we'll have made it up the Lhotse Face to camp 3. And then all being well the following time we go up will be the big one!