November 1, 2010
IMG leader Mark Allen reports from the 4600m (15,088ft) Ama Dablam Base Camp, that the team is doing well. Panuru and Ang Pasang returned to BC after fixing on the upper mountain and it sounds like the route is in good shape. Mark reports that “the Main Lama from Pangboche came up and gave our climbing team an extreme blessing for our puja ceremony. The climbing Sherpas erected several rows of prayer flags that are intended to give us safe climbing. Then, it snowed over night up to 4″ in Base Camp, forcing us to take another rest day!”
Many of you have asked about the new “cell phone service on Everest” that has been in the news lately. We sent Mark out with a new data network card for the laptop to experiment with, and a GSM cell phone as well. So far it seems to be working OK, but at Lobuche BC there was no cell service, so we needed the satellite phone. At Ama Dablam BC they have to walk about 200m out of camp to hit the cell tower. My impression is that the sat phones will still be needed by expeditions to provide redundancy, as the cell service is still spotty in the upper valley.
The weather is now looking good, and everyone is excited. The current plan is to move up to Camp 1 on November 2. They will send the gear duffels up to 17700ft on yaks, from where they will ferry the loads up to C1 (5750m, 18860ft). The next day the team will head up onto the ridge towards Camp 2 for more technical training and acclimatization, then descend back to BC for a couple more rest days, before heading back up for the summit bid.
We’ll keep you posted!