Took a walk to Gorak Shep today and tried without success to fly my 1.2m parafoil kite in the mud flats next to the lodges. But the wind did not agree with me and after repeatedly crashing the kite into various yak dung paddies, I ended up inside the Buddha Lodge common room where I am enjoying an especially strong data connection on my laptop. So strong – I couldn’t resist uploading some pictures of my first trip to Camp I and Camp II to facebook and also to picassa.
The full write-up was posted yesterday but I didn’t have the bandwidth at base camp to post anything more than one low-resolution photo.
Speaking of parafoils, rumor has it that someone is going to try to paraglide off the summit this year and fly all the way to sea level. What a way to descend! Have not heard of any other stunts (for lack of a better word) except for a Father:Daughter team from Atlanta climbing with RMI. The daughter is 16 and this is something like her fifth out of the seven summits. Not sure how I feel about that. It’s kind of like giving a 16 year old a Lamborghini.
In other news, exciting day today at EBC. I actually washed my face. Oh, there was also an attempted helicopter rescue at Camp I. While we watched the helicopter from BC, it looked like a speck against the ice fall and it just seemed to make circles. You can’t see Camp I from BC, but I just talked to a trekker who climbed Kalapathar earlier today and who watched the attempted rescue with binoculars. The trekker told me that the helicopter never set down because of the high winds at Camp I.
I thought there was a new policy against helicopters trying to land at upper camps because of the risk/altitude and potential for abuse by people who don’t want to go down the ice fall, but I guess not. I’ve also heard that helicopter rescue fees (which need to be guaranteed before dispatch) have doubled to about $8,000. And that’s just base camp! We also saw some head lamps coming down the ice fall late last night… apparently only done in emergencies. That’s all I know, but I might stop at Everest ER on my way back and see if I can get any more details. I heard that last week two guys on Russel Bryce’s team bailed and went out by helicopter. Unconfirmed though….
Back to the pics – the full album with captions is on https://picasaweb.google.com/wolpin – a few favorites are below at high resolution. Cheers, Seth