Now we had another major problem: All the other people were a potential danger for us. We can’t wait up there as we would start to get frostbite pretty quickly. So how will we avoid climbing with all the other mountaineers? The solution was simple! So far, the fixed ropes had not been installed. That means that the commercial expeditions won’t be able to make an attempt at the summit yet. The so-called “fixing team,” ten Sherpas, were planning to set-up the fixed ropes to the summit on May 18th. A lucky coincidence for us. It was the best and warmest day of this good weather stretch and we decided to ascend with them.
On May 16, we had a comfortable 3.5 hours climb up to Camp 2. We spent a cozy afternoon and got a good night of sleep at Camp 2 (6,400 meters or 21,000 feet above sea level). We took it easy in the morning. We waited for the sun to rise and then we had toast, coffee, cornflakes, and Tenji couldn’t skip the Zampa. It’s a flour dough that gets kneaded into a mash. Very nutritious, but not on my meal plan!
At about 8.30am, we were ready to take off. After 2.5 hours we were in Camp 3. This place, where we had stayed only about a week ago, was in chaos. An icy avalanche had become loose in the early morning and many of the tents, including ours, were buried underneath. Fortunately we hadn’t stayed in Camp 3 overnight! Otherwise we probably wouldn’t be anymore, but be buried under ice and snow instead. As if by a miracle, only one Sherpa was injured and otherwise no one was affected. But most of the tents were gone! Tenji and Dendi, who was traveling with us, stopped. Dendi hat to bring oxygen bottles from the tents and Tenji wanted to help him. But now they had to find the bottles underneath the ice first.
I decided to continue on and said good bye. That way, I could set up the tent in Camp 4 before it would start snowing again in the afternoon. The Lhotse crest was hot. I was glad that I decided to carry my down suit in my backpack. Most people decide to continue the climb from Camp 2 in their down suits though I’m not sure why you would want to climb in a down suit in this heat. I reached South Col feeling comfortable, not too hot. I set up camp and started melting ice immediately so that we can drink a lot once Tenji gets here. Tenji arrived fairly late at around 5pm. The weather was perfectly windstill and it seemed fairly warm to us. Definitely much warmer than the last time we were up here.