Everest 2012

Apr 29

Dispatch #8

Published at 10:51
Dispatch created from email
We returned on Friday from a couple of days up the mountain. We spent a
night at camp one (6000m) and then moved to camp two (6350m) for a further
two nights. I am really pleased to say it all went really well as it was at
camp two that my expedition in 2011 ended. I was slightly nervous but all
went well and we also managed to take a walk to the bottom of the Lhotse
face (6650m) which is on the way to camp three.

Whilst descending with Matt and Rob, we had a pretty major scare; being
caught in a huge avalanche was an unfortunate end to a really successful
acclimatization cycle.

We were on the descent from camp two to basecamp when a major avalanche
fell from Nuptse, a mountain which towers just above camp one. We had left
camp one half an hour earlier when we heard on the radio “look behind
you!”, a message from basecamp. We turned to see a huge avalanche about a
mile away.

The plume of snow must have been at least 200 meters high and it was
clearly encroaching on us. We had no option but to run briefly in the
opposite direction before clipping into the fixed lines and cowering on our
knees as we felt the cold rush of air that preceded the snow plume. The
snow surrounded us blocking out the sun for around a minute, although it
felt painfully long.

Despite the source being a long way away, due to the magnitude I feared the
large snow cloud would be followed by the deadly blocks of ice that pose
the danger of an avalanche. Fortunately it didn’t. It all sounds dramatic
but where we were we were not in any great danger. Nevertheless, once the
cloud cleared and we dusted ourselves off our thoughts soon turned to those
above. The trail had been busy and camp one had many people around when we
had been there half an hour earlier. It all became a bit of a blur, but
with Rob being a doctor experienced on Everest, he decided to climb back up
as he was certain there would be casualties and fatalities whom he should
help. Matt and I descended alone.

On reaching basecamp I felt exhausted, emotionally more than physically. I
went straight to my tent and couldn’t help crying. I was so sure that
people would have died, so when I headed to see our expedition leader and
found out that there was just one casualty, I was immensely relieved. Rob
assisted the severely injured casualty who was later airlifted off the
mountain, expected to survive. As yet there have been no reported
fatalities, although there may be in the coming days. Our camp has been
totally wiped out but we are all thankful it was only a few tents that we
lost. Had we began our descent half an hour earlier, we would have met the
full force of the avalanche.

It’s great to be back in the comfort of basecamp, with great meals and the
first shower for over a week. Having said that though, you don’t forget for
long that you’re camping on a glacier at 5,500m altitude! It’s about -10 to
-15 Celcius at night but the glacier is gradually melting as it gets
warmer. The base of my tent is melting into a bit hole and the barrel that
is the toilet is gradually falling down the hill; I now have to using my
hands to scramble down to it! Good training though I guess!

I should also mention I’ve been doing some uni work although it’s not all
that easy as some of my pens are freezing whilst others are exploding due
to the low air pressure with the altitude!

Now we have a couple of days resting at basecamp before we head back up the
mountain probably on Tuesday on our way to camp three (7300m) for further
acclimatization. We’ll be looking to come back to basecamp around the 3rdor 4
th May, after which will have a wait until the weather allows for a summit
window, which could be anything from a few days to a few weeks. I hope to
do another blog after the next rotation in a week or so.

Hopefully there are two photos included. One is me drinking (compulsory)
whisky at the puja- a religious ceremony we had on the 18th which asks the
mountain Gods for permission to climb. Another is me crossing a ladder in
the icefall. Fingers crossed they both worked!


  • Report as abuse...
    2023-07-31 08:15:32 larem says: Thanks for sharing this wonderful post, i really like this blog Myeclass Login
  • Report as abuse...
    2012-05-05 13:29:40 Ronny says: excellent progress becky!! i have been anxiously following and I am so proud of you!! keep up the good work and keep your head up :) the summit will be yours xxxx
  • Report as abuse...
    2012-05-02 09:57:38 Richard Bingham says: Sounds Epic. Good Luck!
  • Report as abuse...
    2012-04-30 21:15:45 Diane & Ian (Sweden) says: Wow - what experiences you are having Becky. I am amazed at what you are doing. Thank-you for the photos - they are fantastic, and what wonderful scenery! Stay strong, climb safely, and enjoy your adventure. So glad that you are OK after that scary experience. We are thinking of you and send our love and best wishes.
  • Report as abuse...
    2012-04-30 10:15:37 Shills says: Glad to hear you are safe, what an experience. Good news that you have got past last years sticking point. Good luck for the next stage and stay safe.
  • Report as abuse...
    2012-04-30 09:40:17 Mum & Dad says: Glad to hear all is going so well. Made my heart beat a liitle faster to read about the avalanche-a close call! Enjoy your time at BC and good luck for the next stage up to Camp 3. Remember to look at the moon! I'm right there on your shoulder, with you every step of the way, to the roof of the world. Stay strong and safe my beautiful girl. Missing you soooo much. Say 'Hi' to Matt and Rob. Love you lots,thinking of you all the time, Mum & Dad xxx
  • Report as abuse...
    2012-04-30 09:15:49 Jess and Abdu says: Jess says: Cool photo of you on the ladder, very nice. The sun in the corner makes it look really calm and peacefull, you forget about the wobbly ladder over the deep crevace :-) lovely hot sunny weather in egypt and i've got a few days off to go diving, been nice. I had a dream last night that you had to stop climbing cos you had sand in your eye and because your vision was impaired it was too dangerous to go on, hehe, so stay away from sand!! xxx kisses xxxx
  • Report as abuse...
    2012-04-30 09:05:04 Nikki (Matthews Mum) says: Great blog Becky, I am sure you have overcome quite a few hurdles on this last rotation. It must give you great confidence to have successfully reached and returned from Camp 2 safely and I am sure all who read your update will be moved by your amazing journey. Stay safe and glad Rob, You and Matthew are working well, albeit hard together. Good luck on Rotation to C3.
  • Report as abuse...
    2012-04-29 19:13:04 Kate(Isadora)smith says: Enjoyed your blog and was relieved to see it. I am following quite a few climbers both novice & experienced hence I receive quite a lot of news perhaps more than you.Sad two Sherpa deaths and Cory unwell.Having twittered for over a year now I feel to know you and concerned for you. Pleased you overcame last years point and hope all goes well and you succeed in your challenge. Onwards and upwards as they all say Cheers Kate
  • Report as abuse...
    2012-04-29 16:56:05 Jane Thompson says: Oh wow - scary! But you are being amazing! Good luck for the rest of the climb and for the summit! :D xx
  • Report as abuse...
    2012-04-29 14:27:12 Mike Brennan says: I bet your heart was hammering as that snow cloud was coming, and Lama Geshi's ears would've been burning! Give my best to Rob. Enjoy, enjoy, what will be, will be, just rejoice in the journey.
  • More...

Add Comment

Notify this dispatch to subscribers?