My name is David Tait - I'm an NSPCC Trustee and 'charity mountaineer' having now successfully climbed Mount Everest four times - in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011. I climb to raise both awareness and money for the many violated kids - one of whom was I. I hope you follow along, find it interesting, and spread the word. There are many children in our society who know only too well that monsters truly do exist.
Dispatch 14, Everest BC 5250m to Pumori C1 5600m, 25TH April 2013.
My battered and scratched Suunto watch, hanging from the tent ceiling, flashed 05:47. Only my eyes remained uncovered - the rest of my body totally mummified against the overnight -18 degrees. Wearing only Vanessa's blue cashmere "Joseph" scarf around my neck [yes, it conjures quite an image] as a seal against icy sleeping bag ingress, I reached for my iPod. With my feet I rummaged for my socks and pants, bravely kicked off and discarded the previous evening. With much huffing and puffing I redressed without even loosening the noose-like neck of the sleeping bag.
We had been gifted a rare [for this season] beautiful morning - no ground wind, no visible cloud and blazingly intense sunshine. Finally hauling my reluctant body from personal to mess tent I dragged a chair into the sun and sipped a stunningly satisfying cup of coffee. I like being one of, if not the first person to brave the morning chill. I simply love sitting staring up at the beauty of Nuptse, to me the most stunning of mountains, allowing the warmth of the cup to bring my fingers back to life. Having dispensed with this morning's shave my fingers were not quite as wooden as normal - there is nothing quite as shocking to one's constitution as shaving at 6.30am using semi-frozen water in and ambient -15 temperatures.
Russ, over breakfast, described the progress the Sherpas had made in both transferring loads through the Icefall and the construction of Camp 2. Some worthwhile progress had been made, but the loss of 3 Sherpas to a local funeral and the necessity to retain a presence at Lobouche for at least as couple of more days had eaten into both manpower and schedule. We still await the imminent return of both the Lhotse and Nuptse teams from their Lobouche acclimatization. These two teams include 4 Chinese Everest expedition members who are 2/3 days behind the rest of the team - all these separate strands will soon gel together.
The morning's highlight was the news that all the rope is now through the Khumbu icefall and enroute to C2 - there is a desire to have fixed the line/route past C3 [7500m] to the South Col [8000m] by the 30th April - allowing the possibility of summit rope fixing sometime the following 4/5 days. This is a tantalizing prospect for me. Fingers crossed and more news to follow - I hope.
Soon after breakfast we left camp for a 2-hour jaunt to the Camp 1 [5600m] of Pumori [7161m], the dramatic, triangular mountain the backstops Everest Base Camp. With very little to do until Everest C2 is established, I relished the opportunity to stretch both legs and lungs and visit a point famous for truly spectacular Everest views.
I will leave the attached pictures to do much of the talking for me [please see www.davidtait.com] - they are worth a million words. The first picture shows Nuptse [7864m] to the right, Lhotse [8516m] in the centre and Everest [8850m and black] to the left.
The second is a zoom in on the first picture showing the famous but currently icy Lhotse Face, and a tantalizing glimpse of the top of the icefall and the Western Cym that precedes C2 [6400m]
The third show the "reverse" or back of the North Side ascent route. The dip, or platform before the long upward gradient shows the North Col [7000m] followed by the long painful snowy North Ridge leading finally [if one zooms in] to glimpses of the famous 1st, 2nd and third "steps". This was the route I followed in both 2005 and 2007. It was interesting being able to see both conventional routes to the summit from one distant vantage point.
A breathtaking view - one I studied for 30 minutes before racing down to BC for a wash and lunch.
This is the calm before the storm - a time when patience is tested and the weaker individuals crumble. In many ways this hiatus is as challenging as strapping on boots and venturing higher.
However, I know from experience that soon [subject to weather] there will be an explosion of activity. One must now stay in control of the mind - ones greatest ally and covert enemy.