Bruce called tonight and said they were back from their excursion to Lobuche Peak (elev. 20,075 feet), which they were able to summit. As he explained in the last post, they climbed Lobuche, whose base camp is about a half-day's walk from Everest base camp, instead of going back and forth through the ice fall so many times, in order to alleviate some of the danger there. Apparently there was a collapse in the ice fall the other morning that wiped out the route, and the "ice doctors" had to go back in and re-do it. This happens quite regularly, Bruce assures me, but the less time he spends in there the happier I'll be. They are apparently going to rest a couple of days at Everest base camp and then climb Lobuche Peak again, but this time they will spend the night on the summit as part of their acclimation process. He did say the view from the summit of Lobuche was amazing -- a fantastic view of Everest, as well as Lhotse, Nuptse, Makalu, Pumori,Cho Oyu, and Ama Dablam. I can't wait to see the pictures -- Bruce must be in heaven!
He still has a cough, but says half the team does also, and nobody seems to be very worried about it, including Bruce. There's still quite a bit of time before they really have to get serious about summiting, and he seems to be acclimating just fine in spite of it, so I'm choosing not to fret.
He said he spent the morning "leveling out his tent base." He said at first glance the base camp at Everest looks like it's all rock, but it's a glacier, and it tends to melt and shift under the tent, which makes sleeping uncomfortable after a while, so he worked on that this morning. In the afternoon, they were going to practice on a ladder course that the sherpas have set up to get some practice crossing crevasses on ladders. Have you seen them do this on TV? They walk across these metal ladders -- sometimes several ladders lashed together -- with a whole lot of NOTHING underneath them, with crampons (i.e. spiky things that could make a person trip) on their feet. You couldn't pay me enough . . .
I discovered that one of the Himex guides is putting Everest newsletters on the Himex website. If you want to read those, click here.