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Day 31. Back to Base Camp (October 2, 2010)

Current Position
Date: 2010-10-02 05:15:03
Position Latitude: 28.0056
Position Longitude: 86.8579

A self portrait early morning at Camp 2.Back in base camp - it actually feels good. I am surprised at how tired I am. I continue to carry my own gear and my legs are sore as a result. If anything, I am left with a deep sense of accomplishment. So much of this expedition, for me, has been trying to manage unknowns.

Someone braver than me might feel less fear. However, I have had to spend considerable energy managing my emotions. Now don't get me wrong, there are times when things tick along fairly effortlessly - like hiking from Camp 1 to Camp 2. Most times I've realized however, it is my mind that is my most formidable opponent. I was so worried about climbing down from Camp 3 that I got little sleep. In the end, the trip down was a piece of cake - Chhering and I nearly skipping down the slope to Camp 2.

I wanted to describe a little bit about what it is like at altitude. For me, Camp 3 is my new highest elevation. Honestly, it wasn't that bad. Still, the hike up the Lhotse face was brutal. Each step usually requires a couple of breaths and any extra effort necessitates a full stop and recovery. Your muscles never really feel like they have power or energy. In the tent, a simple quick move can cause shortness of breath - and if you think about it too much - a suffication-like feeling. I choose not to think about it too much.

On the way back through the ice fall, I had another scarey moment (again, I choose not to think about it too much). As I was crossing a ladder, a huge ice pinnacle collapsed about 100 feet away. It fell into another ice chunk and tumbled away. I stopped for a second, smiled at my luck and continued on.

Tshering mentioned that there was a big avalanche near Pumori Camp 1 the day after Passang, Da Tengi and I had been there. 'That was lucky,' Tshering said.

In base camp, I don't feel lucky or not. I am more impressed by the strong competent team that surrounds me.

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