From Base Camp the real work begins. The trek turns into a climb weather gets real from here up and the Ice falls.
Day 14 Pumori Base camp. We went the opposite direction from the Ice Falls to climb with the entire team up Pumori. In the movie Everest Guy Cotter was communicating with Adventure Consultants Base camp when there were still people on the summit. He shared his story first hand that day. I was slow going up and felt the new altitude. Everyone made it up and down without any problems and I had a good night sleep since there was no more baby watch. I also got my first cold from staying up the night before. That night at dinner we had a birthday party for Grand kid still don’t know its name but so relieved he is here and everyone’s healthy.
Day 15 Playground: Late breakfast while Rob, Lydia, and Sherpa set up ropes and ladders. We practiced rappel and ice climbing, and then we worked the course at first with light gear and then added heavy gloves and pack that made it substantially harder. It was a good shake down and test for our skills and gear.
Day 16 Climbed up and down through ice falls. Our plan is to climb to the first ladder about half way and then turn around and return to Base camp. We leave in the dark and return before the sun hits and ice gets unstable. No crowds or lines at hard pitches. This prepares us for the next day to C1.
Sad news as we lose another team member. Bernard at dinner gave a touching talk that his expedition was over and that he found his Everest at 5500 meters. He was doing great and during the high passes started having problems with the altitude. Bernard is 73 and led the pack at lower altitudes and I thought he would never wear down. Sad night, plus now I am the oldest of the group. Our team is very mature with an average age 50, most have over half of the 7 summits under their belts and half it is their second attempt on Everest, and like me have stories of previous attempts that came up short.
Lesson to Grandson:
We lost another team member. Bernard was the oldest member of the team at 73 now leaving me with that title. Finally my grandchild has a name: Ford White DiMeola. I told Bernard about writing my lessons to grandchild and asked him if he could pass along some of his wisdom. His response:
Don’t let anyone tell you what your limits are. Until you push yourself you will never know, and everyone’s expectations will leave you short of your maximum potential. My Everest is 5500 meters and I found this on my own without anyone telling me I can’t.