I left Kathmandu on the 26th March for an extremely long bus ride that took something like 30 hours with a few rest breaks. The bus left us at a place called Tharpu which is at about 1300m. I was riding in the bus with the sherpa crew of Seven Summit Treks, the company owned by Mingma Sherpa which is organising the expedition. We will be a large team of 13 and 13 sherpas. The majority of the team is getting a helicopter to take them most of the way to basecamp. I was the only one from my team on the trek.
At Tharpu I met a small independent team of four. This team shares a basecamp and will probably work together on the mountain but is split into two smaller teams. One team is two Italians, Mario Panzeri and Antonello Martines, and the other team is Pole Pawel Michalsky and Romanian Alex Gavan. Since I was the only one in my team I temporarily joined them for the trek to basecamp.
The trek was quite long and we reached basecamp on 8th April. Basecamp is at 5500m so the trek was pretty long and involved a lot of up and down. I am currently sharing the independent teams’basecamp. The rest of my team was due to helicopter into Ramche at 4450m on the 6th April so they are still acclimatising and should reach basecamp tomorrow or the day after. Also in basecamp right now is an extremely strong team of 9, mainly Russian and led by Alexey Bolotov.
I have been at basecamp for several days now and feel ready to climb to Camp 1, which will be placed at roughly 6200m. Unfortunately, my kit bag with all my climbing equipment has not yet arrived so I have to wait for it. Heavy snow has prevented porters from carrying loads to BC for a couple of days so hopefully now the snow has melted my gear will arrive soon.
Alex and Pawel have been talking to Alexey and have a tentative plan to head up to Camp 1 tomorrow. If my gear arrives in the next hour or so then I will join them but it looks unlikely.
I have attached a picture showing Kangchenjunga fron slightly below basecamp so the whole route is visible.
Updates should be reasonably frequent now that everything at basecamp is set up. Also, thanks to Alex Gavan who is kindly letting me use his laptop and vast array of expensive equipment to send this. Have a look at his website: www.alexgavan.ro