The Peak Freaks Team is back in Base Camp after a few days rest at lower (and richer) air. The weather pattern is looking hopeful for the next couple days and the Sherpas have managed to fixed ropes all the way to South Col (Camp 4) and oxygen, stoves and tents are awaiting the Peak Freaks team when they arrive. The plan is to have climbers ascend to either Camp 1 or 2 depending on individual comfort, then rest for a day or so and ascend upwards hoping to get to Camp 3 within a couple days.
Tim, the team leader gave his quest talk, the one about what is really important in a climb. He focused on remaining resolute in each climbers responsibility to the safety of the guides, their fellow climbers, themselves, the Sherpas and Peak Freaks and to remember that family and friends are on this climb as well every step of the way and they are trusting each of the climbers to come home alive and intact. He also used some visual aids, suffice it to say having seen them myself, they are effective in making sure you understand the consequences of risky behavior on the mountain.
Unfortunately, the news was not all good. One of the team's support had to be evacuated by helicopter to a hospital in Kathmandu for severe stomach ulcers which required a transfusion and intense re-hydration becuase he had not been eating or drinking. One of the challenges in this part of the world is that Sherpas hear about going to a western medical team or hospital and dying. They have only lead a simple sustanance farming life and do not yet understand how western medical care can save lives. The Sherpas in their world often have not seen a car, a city or bright lights unless via a movie or the internet.
The impact of not understanding is often a fear to admitting an ailment. True to the Sherpas incredible loyalties, even in being evacuated the Sherpa was most distressed not about himself but about not completing his committments and bringing home an income this year to his family and to letting down the Peak Freaks Team in his absence. Tim, the trip leader true to his nature assured him neither was happening. Great guy. The kind you want in your corner.
The other sad news is the loss of a non-Peak Freaks climber. An experienced mountaineer who had successfully summitted six of the seven continental summits as he was near Camp 3. The Peak Freaks Sherpas have been busy as they were also involved in the recovery mission. The unfortunate reality is that not everyone gets to summit and not everyone gets to come home and tell their story.
But with the weather improving, the route is in place and the climbers are getting excited. This is where dreams sometime come true.