Today was spent resting and acclimatising around base camp prior to our ascent. We took the opportunity to take a hike up to a nearby col to the south west which overlooked the camp and would be on the ascent route later that night.
We clambered up to the col with all the same gear on that we would be using for our summit attempt affording us the opportunity to tweak and check that everything was comfortable and working correctly. It was the first outing for my B3 insulated boots so making sure they felt comfortable and that they would not cause me any blisters was important. I checked my insulated hydration bladder was working which it was and made sure my layering set up was warm enough.
We were treated to some sleet and rain as we reached the top of the col a foretaste perhaps of what we might expect on the summit night! As we all posed for some very cold photos I’m sure most of us were thinking along the same lines …. what the hell am I doing here?
After we had all nearly frozen to death on our trip up to the col safely back at base camp we set about having some instructions in the use of crampons, ice-axe and being roped up together at high-altitude.
Bizarrely with no snow actually down in base camp we had to make do with imitating ice-axe arrests while hiking around in our crampons amongst the boulder fields on the camps perimeter. Still we covered the basics, but by the end of it I was still regrettably struggling with which knot to use when tying into my own harness! Not a comforting feeling.
The remainder of the day was spent resting, eating and chatting in our tents. The main topic was of course what to expect during the summit bid that night and how it might go plus how long it could take, and whether we thought we could pull it off successfully.
I felt confident that given good weather and if I avoided any altitude sickness (which I had up until now) then I had a fair chance. I felt fit and strong and had been waiting nearly two years for this opportunity to climb a 6,000’er in the Himalayas, I was determined to give it my all when the time came.
Back in my tent at around 6.00pm I tried to get some sleep but I knew it was going to be a fitful nights sleep at best, I also knew that at 10.30pm my tent would be shaken by the Sherpas and I’d have to wake up ready to pit myself against the mountain. The end game was about to begin!
Check out more photos from my adventures at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jameshandlon/albums