Edurne, Nacho and Asier have remained further up the mountain. Today they got up a little earlier than usual and we spoke soon afterwards. They are feeling the cold a little, but have had a good night’s sleep.

The plan for today is as follows: Pasang, Mingma and Nacho will go up to camp 3 whilst Edurne, Asier, Ngati and Jambu will do some walking in the surrounding area. Ferrán, however, has come back to base camp feeling weak and having lost his voice.

Throughout the morning we have been in frequent radio contact as each group reported any incidents. There was hardly anything to report and by midday everybody had done what was required of them. In fact, Nacho told us that the ascent up to camp 3 had been easier than they had expected and that they had prepared the “cots” for the two tents which will have to be put up there. They subsequently stored the cots, securing and marking them correctly.
 Ferrán made it safely back to base camp. He confirmed that there had been an enormous avalanche which had started on Nuptse, and had wiped out the ladder on four stretches of the ice fall. We had heard the avalanche but had not seen anything. He’s rather tired and has lost his voice, but he is in better shape than I expected. He had a cup of his beloved “milky tea”, took a hot shower, put on some warm clothes and then I had a look at him. As I suspected, he made the ascent with an infection of the trachea and this has now got worse and he also has laryngitis, which is very common at this altitude. However, he hasn’t got a temperature and hasn’t had a temperature at any point. In fact, he assures me that he felt strong when he was up at camp 3. I have prescribed the following treatment: rest, anti-inflammatories, hot sugary drinks and sweets which will stimulate salivation.

Edurne and Asier sounded in good spirits at camp 2. However, Edurne is a little angry as her oxygen saturation reading is 65%. I don’t think that this can be correct and I am not worried by it; yesterday it was 85% and today her pulse is still 56 bpm. She felt fine and was in a good mood … until she measured her oxygen saturation. The machine needs new batteries, or they have done something wrong, or she was still digesting her food, or they are not telling me the truth … it could be any of these things. Both Asier and Nachos’ readings were fine when they got back to camp 2, in spite of their exertions. However, Jambu still has a cough and Ngati’s oxygen saturation is still low (65%)..

Tomorrow we will all meet at base camp and it will be time to measure parameters and analyse the situation in order to make strategic decisions, taking into account the weather forecasts of course. I have already told them that I am not ruling out suggesting that they come back down to lower altitude in order to improve their oxygen saturations so that they are more comfortable. We shall see!


By Pablo Díaz-Munio

for the Expedition Challenge 14+1