When we woke up this morning we were told that the guide on the North Col, Rob and his Lhakpa Ri group, which is running alongside our expedition for the first month, will not be able to guide his group up Lhakpa Ri as he has not be able to recover from altitude sickness which he got earlier on in the trip.
This meant our guide Stuart was now having to manage both groups. It was therefore decided that the Lhakap Ri group would come up the North Col with us and then, when we were descending back to Base Camp (to rest for our next push up to Camp 2 on Everest) Stuart and Matt would stay up here and guide the other group up Lhakpa Ri.
In preparation for climbing the North Col those of us who didn’t climb up to the base of the head wall yesterday had to walk to the base today. If nothing else just to see what we had let ourselves in for. Those who had climbed up to the head wall yesterday though were given the option to climb the north col today. Helen, Josh Simon and Tim choose to do this.
The trek up to the head wall of the North Col was fairly easy going and started with us walking across boulders and scree before moving on to the East Rhombok glacier which leads up to the base of the North Col. As normal the scenery was not a let down (is it ever out here!), one could easily fill his or her camera up just on the trek to the base of the North Col. Though standing out above everything, to the left of the Rhombok glacier, was the north face of Everest in all its glory with a clear view right up to the summit. It was amazing how close the summit looked, like you could reach out and touch it, but that is still over a month away!
When we returned from the walk to the base of the North Col and were all sitting down in the mess tent for food, we heard the radio splutter into action. Helen one of the few who had decided to climb the North Col was in trouble. It was hard to establish what had happened. Thankfully there were some Sherpas nearby who were load carrying up to Camp 1 and were able to offer assistance to her and help her down the col back to ABC where we were.
It turned out that one of the anchors for the fixed lines which we use when on Everest had snapped and Helen had taken a fall. Luckily it wasn’t anything too serious and she was able to continue on with the trip. Its not very reassuring when an 8 or 9 stone woman breaks a fixed line and you know you’re 12 stone!