Gorak Shep [16,962ft]
Apr 29, 2002
It started snowing yesterday afternoon and never stopped. Snowed in again. The lodge is packed. A very cold game of strip poker, ultimate frisbee and sledding using the lunch tables are all ideas proposed and not acted upon. Cards are played. Two English guys spend all morning making a monopoly set only to find out at lunch that the owner has one. This is my first real attempt at keeping a daily journal - diligent I am not. I am one full week behind in the journal. I do procrastinate, but by the end of the day I'm only 3 days behind in the journal.
At noon the fire goes out. "There will be no more fire until 4pm", we're told. "They are bringing it up from Periche." "Yaks are bringing up firewood?", someone asks. Not quite. This is Nepal - people are carrying up loads of dried yak dung for us to burn. Periche is the nearest place that is warm enough to dry the stuff. Speaking of dung, the toilet here may be the worst I've ever seen. You get used to toilets that are just big pits. This one however has a mountain of shit that comes right up to the hole in the floor. When asked about it the owners tells us "What can I do. I can't shovel it away. It's frozen solid." A frozen mountain of shit - lovely.
On Chukung I ran into an American couple, told them "Maybe the clouds will clear up for you" and it did. I ran into them again today and they were amazed. "right after you said it, boom, perfectly clear." I like being a miracle worker.
Among the snowed in people are a meteorology professor from a university in London and one of his PhD students. They are leading a project to put a weather station at 25,000 feet on Everest. I worked on a weather project years ago at UC Santa Cruz, so I was curious about their project. The Santa Cruz weather network delivered weather data every second. The Everest project won't have any data, or even know if the thing worked for a year, maybe two. I don't have that kind of patience.
My appetite is slowly going down hill. Lower down, I'd eat two overflowing plates of rice and potato curry. Now I'm not even finishing one. Tomorrow, snow or no snow, I'm heading to base camp so that I can start heading down.