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We establish ABC with only a few minor issues
12 Sept - the advance team to ABC
With the sherpa team arriving earlier than the Lhasa team, some of them went up in advance. Four sherpas, Tawa the cook, Mark and Francis trekked up with a few adventures. The first yaks arrived mid-afternoon but the last only around 10pm, Nepal time. Sometimes it happens like that. The next day the sherpas made toilets and cleared flat areas for our 20 odd tents, not a small job!
14 Sept - the main team to ABC
Packing up base camp is always a big job, even with some work the previous day. All the climbers got away before 9am and only took 5-6 hours to ABC, taking it easy. Luckily one of our dining tents was sent in advance so everyone cosied in with noodle soup and hot drinks when it started to snow.
I (Jamie) stayed back to check that everything was OK with the yaks, setting off 11am, and the sherpas and Tibetans walked with the yaks. The first lot arrived in good time, around 4pm but the last, having dropped a few loads off en route arrived at 8:30pm, after some sherpas headed down with multiple torches to help guide the yaks. Amazingly enough the yaks are quite happy walking with some torch light, even in the snow.
We had a Japanese-style dinner, ie dinner on mats in the dining tent as it was the tables that were dumped en route. Given the altitude jump, almost everyone was surprising cheery with the jokes and insults flying.
It is in tougher conditions that our sherpa team really thrive and rise to any challenge, it doesn't matter how late, how cold, how hard the work is, they just get stuck in without hesitation; inspiring and heartening.
After all that they all slept in the dining tent as they had put up all our tents first. The yak drivers slept in our second kitchen tent.
You have to admire the yaks too, loaded up with 60kgs or more - we have moved over 4 tonnes of gear up to ABC - and while a few young ones threw their loads off, the more experienced yaks are rather stoic. The frame of our table had dug into the back on one, rubbing the hair off and it was bloody, although the skin wasn't properly broken, but it didn't seem to complain.
While our crew are used to yaks, it really is quite an experience to trek with a herd (or fleet) of them loaded up, another day, another experience of the new in our expedition.
15 Sept - ABC
And then the snowballs flew, especially when I (Jamie) was cornered alone!
Yep, it snowed around 5 cms, 2 inches during the night. That is why I slept so well, warm and insulated. James probably had the roughest night, having an attack of the burps that lasted most of the night, at least several a minute, he even timed them in his frustration. Quite bizarre. They have stopped now though.
How is everyone else doing? Amazingly well. There is the odd ticklish throat and productive cough but everyone is still fit and healthy and feeling good.
Pasang Gombu clears the last difficult to get bits of snow off the dining tent - Jamie
The yaks don't get to sleep inside. One has no horns probably because it was dangerous as a youngster - Jamie
Breakfast without the tables (or Jen, who was sleeping
in) - Jamie
15 Sept - Andrew Lock
Serke, our second cook, is still down at base camp with a couple of Tibetan staff as Andrew Lock, Julie and the mythical Gordon should arrive today. They plan of staying two full days at BC then will join us at ABC.