To get to Camp One you have to climb through the Khumbu ice fall. The Khumbu ice fall looks like a giant Eton Mess – without the fruit. It is a huge glacier that is full of crevasses, ice and snow. Some of the blocks of ice are the size of buildings.
A team of Nepalese Sherpa’s, called the ice fall doctors, put ladders across the crevasses so that you can cross them.
To be as safe as possible it’s best to climb through the ice fall before the sun hits it because as soon as the sun warms the glacier it begins to expand, contract and move. You don’t want to be in the ice fall when that happens.
So at 4am on the 17th April we left base camp to go to Camp One. The ice fall is something I’ve been nervous about, however we left well before the sun came up and I was totally distracted by how beautiful and amazing it is. I was also focusing on going over the precariously placed ladders that cross the many crevasses, which generally are deeper than the eye can see! (I think my training in jumping in and out of barns and trees when I was little came in very handy here)..
We made good time getting to Camp One and I could certainly feel the altitude gain (we’d gone up to about 5,950m). The rest of the day was spent doing very little lying around in our tents, although it was Stew’s 33rd birthday so we had an amusing half an hour when we made Stew work for his birthday present. He had to earn his clues by doing things like star jumps and sit ups (not easy up there) and his clues eventually lead to his gifts (chocolate, beef jerky, biscuits and a hat!).
The next day we did a small hike about 200m up before returning to a very windy and cold Camp One again for another night. The following morning we were up early to come back down the ice fall for a couple of days well earned rest at base camp.
I’m happy to report the first acclimatization trip went well and I’m feeling good.
The next time we go up we’ll aim to stay a few nights at Camp Two.