Last night was windy and humid, as if wanting to bid our friends a not so fond farewell. However, at 7:00 am., when the expedition was due to set off, the Sun took control and the task in hand no longer seemed so daunting.

The member of the team who was most raring to go was Nacho, without a doubt. He knows that he is in good shape, that he has prepared and trained well, and he is keen to put himself to the test; so convinced is he of succeeding.

Asier was all smiles as well, in keeping with his character. However, I still say to him “Don’t have any doubts, you’re ready!”and by the smile on his face I realise that this is exactly what he wants to hear.

Ferrán … seems more sombre, pensive. In his particular case, it makes no difference what I say to him. Until he gets up there and sees how he feels … What I have no doubts whatsoever about is that the decision for him to go back down to lower altitude was the right thing to do. He feels better than he did, but will this be enough? I think so, but he is still not sure.

And as for Edurne… she wasn’t in a very good mood. She doesn’t like getting up early, but that was not the real reason why: the fact is that she is tense and she can’t stand being tense. However, I have gotten to know her a little more now and I am sure that she will buck up when she gets to the icefall.

At 10:40 am. Asier rang us to tell us that they had made it to camp 1 without any problems. I reminded them, as I always do, that the most important thing is to drink, eat and get a little rest. And Edurne? I was right, she was charming, all smiles, physically in great shape and joking around with the others. Everything is going according to plan.

By 14:00 they had already made it to camp 2. Their ascent went well, with no major problems, so I am delighted for them. However, I would have preferred them to have got up a little earlier and not to have passed through the Valley of Silence whilst it was so hot.

As we expected, the tents were almost fully intact (just one of the poles had broken which has now been replaced with a spare) and so were our Sherpas. But it appears that the scene which greeted them was horrific: they told us that around twenty tents are now unusable. How important has making the decision to go up and firmly secure the tents when we did turned out to be!!! More than one person here might say “How lucky are these guys!”. I, on the other hand, think “How good are these guys!!”, seeing as they realised how important it was to go up and do this job in time!!” As I read somewhere recently (I’m sorry but I can’t remember who the author was): “you’re either lucky, or you’re not, but you make your own good luck”.

Now that they have all met up at camp 2 (the Sherpas have done their job at camp 3 without any problems), they are resting and settling into the routines of a camp at altitude. This time things are somewhat easier due to the excellent infrastructure which they have Ngati to thank for. Ngati himself is apparently feeling better now (“Thank you, sir. That medicine is very good”; “Ngati strong!”). I for one, however, am not yet completely convinced.

Here at base camp we have been busy doing other things. We normally use the days when the guys are not here to get a shower, do some washing etc. so that we can spread things out a bit and we don’t overburden our helpers at the camp.

A tense calm, therefore. We are also waiting to hear what Vitor says – to see if he confirms the forecast that we have for clouds but not much wind.

Pablo Díaz-Munio

Expedition Doctor for the 14+1 Challenge