Well, much seems to have happened in the last 24 hours as we continue to try and fatten up and repair here at Base Camp. Firstly, Malcolm and Richard Walker departed at 7am this morning on route to Kathmandu and back to Blighty.
It was very sad to see them go as they have become good friends. Both are stunning characters and have contributed enormously to the success of the expedition so far. Both came with the aim of climbing the North Col which they did in style. As Rich said 'We smashed it', and they did. Anyway, I shall miss them and am slightly green that they will be soaking in a tub at the Hyatt tonight, no doubt with a large glass of something special in hand! Much deserved, in truth.
The other bit of news is that we now know our Summit teams and timings. We have two teams of three who will follow each other up the mountain 24 hours apart. The first team is made up of Hempie, Duffy and Charlie and the second one of the Doc, Rod and me. Rikki, our last member, left this morning with the Walkers as he has been struggling with a nasty chest infection, so he is en route to Zhangmu for heavier air for a few days to try and beat it, before returning for his own summit bid.
The first lot leave Base Camp tomorrow and we'll follow them up the mountain the day after. All our weather experts have confirmed that our window looks sound.
It is mad to think that, God willing, we should have all stood on the top of this Majestic Mountain by a week tomorrow. What a thought!
So this is it. All of our efforts over the last six weeks – the acclimatising, the training, the graft and sweat; all this time away from our homes and loved ones, boils down to this next week and how this mountain and the very variable conditions around her decide to treat us. Whatever, all I know is that we have prepared excellently, we're strong and recharged and have a resourceful team around us so we can only give it our very best shot.
Personally, I'm keen to get cracking. Up, down safely and back to much missed loved ones as seven weeks in a sleeping bag is quite long enough!
I will probably be able to blog once more from Advanced Base Camp but after that Gina, our communications manager, will be posting updates from talking to us on the radio. I have also now got Malcolm’s GPS tracker on me so you will be able to see exactly where we are as we ascend into the heavens.
That is it for now. Sad to see the Walkers go but keen minds and bodies excited about getting back up high again.
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