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News from Monday, 28 April 2003

Everything is on schedule
Installing the high camps and carrying loads
Scorching heat during the days in Western Cwm

Since yesterday we are all back in the base camp, recovering from the altitude and the material carries to the high camps:

On April 24, .Tom, Christian, Eckhard, Roland, Frank again went up to camp 2 (C2 - 6300m) in order to deposit enough food and technical material for the further installation of the camps and for the summit bid. Alex had descended from C1 only shortly before and enjoyed a rest day, and Eike had digestion problems caused by a salad... The guys could again pass the Khumbu Icefall without problems, but they had to pay tribute to the heavy packs and the heat in the huge valley of the Western Cwm. Due to the extreme heat, the almost 3 km long way from C1 to C2 is a strenuous part of the descent to Everest. Therefore, preferably we walk at night.

On April 25, Alex went to C2 very early. Eike followed in early afternoon, hoping for some shadow from the clouds. Tom and Christian descended once again from C2 to C1 in the afternoon to fetch more material there. Here they joined Eike and went up again in the dark to C2.

The ascent from C1 to C2 over the first steep ladders and then the long and flat way through Western Cwm was not a fun at all! Frank met the three halfway to take some of the material up! Around 10 pm they all reached C2 (6300 m) and there was even a cup of tea! Then quickly enter the sleeping bags!

Eckhard and Roland departed on April 26 at 6 am for camp 3 (7300 m) in order to push for their acclimatization. Despite the high altitude, the scorching heat of the sun in this huge concave mirror gave them a hard time, as they told on the radio. Nevertheless Roland climbed up to camp 3, Eckhard waited for him at about 7000 m. A little exhausted but happy, they returned in the early afternoon. Alex and Eike simply enjoyed the day in camp 2 and the tremendous scenery: Lhotse (8501m), Nuptse with its huge walls and Everest west face directly behind us, and always the view up to the "South Col" (7986m) ...

South Col (left) and Lhotse, seen from C2
South Col (left) and Lhotse, seen from C2

Eike gives the evening radio call from C2
Eike gives the evening radio call from C2

View from Camp 2 down through the Cwm
View from Camp 2 down through the Cwm

Tom, Frank, and Christian already had two acclimatization nights in C2 and therefore went down to BC again.

Life is hard at this altitude: Everything is hard work, even the "business"... Cooking is tiring. Fortunately here in C2 we have the help of Mingma, our "cook". Usually he has some water ready for tea. Carrying stones to prepare the tent site is heavy labor... We always imagine how hard it will be to climb up to the South Col! Here in C2 it is always too cold or too hot. As soon as the sun disappears, we need the down stuff, and when we are standing in the midday sun, we long for a swimming pool. Only the wind can make things change a little.

After a reasonably slept night, also Roland, Eckhard, Alex, and Eike went down to BC again. The way through the Icefall was without a hitch again - always our biggest concern there!

According to the weather forecast, we will be forced to three rest days due to snowfall now. That's good for us, but if we had fine weather we could do so many things, too: washing the clothes, take a shower(!!!), put the sleeping-bags outside, clean the campe etc. But now we spend the time preferably in the tents, writing diary and thinking about life here at Mount Everest...

Three of our five Sherpas are still in C2: they wanted to go up to C3 today in order to pitch some tents there and deposit material. These guys are increadibly tough and tireless. Without their help transporting the material, climbing Mount Everest would be almost impossible, or it would take a tremendous amount of time longer!

We all hope for the good weather which was promised for Thursday, (up to now, METEONEWS was 98% right!!!), in order to complete camp 3 and possibly dare a first advance to the South Col..

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