The second phase has been completed – they have now reached camp 3! Everything is going well, and as a well-known actor used to say: “I love it when a plan comes together…!”. At 7 am I was already waiting where we keep the radio for Asier to call, even though I knew that it was too early. Last night we agreed that they would wait until 8 o’clock before calling since today was going to be a short day whilst tomorrow, on the other hand, will be much longer. And it was at 8 o’clock that Asier called us. It turns out that they have all slept very well, which is good news. The comfortableness of camp 2, and a little help of the chemical variety, made sure of that but we mustn’t forget that this is also a sign that they have acclimatised correctly – which is more good news!

After breakfast at camp 2, complete with some “Ensure”, they set off. They had a surprise waiting for them in their backpacks: Ngati had prepared lentils for them to eat at camp 3. The guy is amazing, and this just goes to confirm the importance of a good support team, from the guys at the top right down to the guys at the bottom. (I couldn’t actually tell you who is at the top and who is at the bottom).

At 12:10 Edurne called us, all excitedly, to inform us that they had made it to camp 3. I always try to make them take things steadily, and not to race, but despite this they comfortably made it to their destination in 3 hours which represents another good time. I am not so much bothered about how long it has taken them but rather how much it has taken out of them. When I asked them about this, they told me that the going was quick and easy, in spite of the snowfall last night (they only got half the amount of snow that we did). They also said that the amount of people who have gone that way before them actually helps, and that the route has ice steps which makes it easier and even a bit safer. Good stuff!

Our surprise (and there’s always one) is that we have had guests. Someone has apparently slept in our tents. This wouldn’t matter were it not for the lack of respect that these people have shown, seeing as they have rummaged through some of the stuff and have even left some rubbish inside.

To be honest I can’t explain stuff like this. We wouldn’t have a problem with someone who had got into difficulties taking shelter in our quarters, of course we wouldn’t. However, this inexplicable lack of respect – leaving everything in a mess and even leaving rubbish behind – makes it look as if someone wanted to do this on purpose.

Still, we have been lucky in that nothing is apparently missing. Imagine if something was missing – depending on what gear had been taken this could actually compromise the completion of the expedition. Still, as I have said, this wasn’t the case and so we will say no more about it.

Now that they are settled in at the camp, they just need to rest and get their strength back. However, they also need to keep an eye on the sky, and their fingers crossed in the hope that the snow forecast for this afternoon is not very heavy.

Tonight they will be sleeping at 7200m!



Pablo Díaz-Munio

Expedition Doctor for the 14+1 Challenge