We have been working hard for nearly a week to stay physically but mostly mentally prepared for the massive task that is now upon us! We have taken several hikes part way up the 24,500 foot Pumori in order to stay fit and acclimatized. We ran into Russell Bryce during one of those hikes pictured with us here and with the Big E in the background. Russell is the long-time Everest guide from New Zealand who has become a bit of a celebrity due to his role in the Discovery Channel series "Everest - Beyond the Limits".
As far as our mental preparation, we have been doing our best to keep our sanity in the midst of continued discussions about the constantly changing weather forecasts and rumors about what other teams are planning. Our primary strategy has been to temporarily escape the reality of our setting by watching movies! Some of our recent favorites are The Thomas Crown Affair, As Good As It Gets, and the Big Lebowsky.
However now we can no longer be distracted as the decision has been made to go for the top! We are leaving Base Camp at 3:00 a.m. tomorrow (Tuesday our time), through the icefall en route to Camp 2. There we will rest a day, and contingent upon the weather holding (please keep your fingers crossed) we will continue to move up to Camp 3 and the day after to Camp 4 and the South Col. We will be using supplemental oxygen to sleep at C3 at 24,000 feet and from that point forward all the way to the top. As you can see we have modeled our Russian-made Poisk oxygen masks and found them to be a great fashion accessory! We will check back in to let you know how we are progressing. Meanwhile if you would like to read a further description of the various camps and route ahead please visit: http://www.everybodytoeverest.com/Beyond_Base_Camp.html and click on the map for details.
P.S. Thank you to those of you who have made recent donations to CAF. Remember all new contributions will be made in honor of Heidi Kloos, may she watch over all of us from above!