K2 Climb 2016

Blog #38 & 39 : Waiting on the weather… and cake!

Day 38 & 39: Basecamp 5000m

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Another two days ensconced in BC – this time with significantly more snow and wind. A couple of teams have tried to push up the mountain but they’ve all come back within 24 hours with their cold tails between their legs.

The excitement of yesterday was Phurba’s offer to make ‘Sherpa Tea’, which we readily and excitedly took him up on. If anyone has had Sherpa Tea, it’s a lovely milky sweet tea, usually made with butter to give it a lovely thickness to it. From offer to delivery, it took about 2 hours (although it obviously didn’t take him that long to make it). At the same time, we had the Hungarians (David and Ceel) stop by, so we all crowded around expectantly as the flask of Sherpa Tea came round.

It was a lovely muddy red colour as it came out of the the spout, and we waited till everyone had a cup before we all (en mass) took a big gulp. There was a mixture of reactions, ranging from mild surprise, to disgust and I think one person may have actually spat their mouthful out. Phurba hadn’t made it with sugar, he’d made the salted tea version! I just about managed to finish my cup, but most left theirs, and whilst thanking Phurba for making the effort, that if there was a next time, could we have a sweet version – not a salty version!

Tuesday was Pete’s (forty-something!) birthday. Vanessa popped down with a bar of Cadbury’s caramel, which was a very nice gesture, and we had a surprise visit from 3 members of the Korean Team. Without much English (and our Korean is a little rusty!), we managed to deduce that their visit wasn’t a birthday visit, but was a trading mission. Apparently they all think that we Brits live on a diet of Coca Cola and Fresh Bread, and they brought two shopping bags of their own Korean supplies to trade. When we told them that we didn’t have either, and on the bread front, we only ate chapattis like them, they thought that it was very funny.

I could see one of them eyeing up the Laughing Cow cheese triangles that we had on our mess table, so in the end we gave them a wheel of them, several individual packets of instant porridge and some boil in the bag desserts (the ones that we don’t like). They insisted on trading them for some containers of Korean soup (honey pumpkin, and chestnut and blackbean, which whilst we tried to say no thank you (ours are a gift), they said they would be in trouble with their leader if they didn’t do a trade. I’m sure that the guys in the kitchen tent will enjoy the soups.

We were looking forward to cake later to celebrate Pete’s birthday – it was exactly a month ago that we celebrated Paul’s birthday during our rest day at Paiju, and that cake was delicious.Zulfi and the boys had gone all out on preparing a chocolate cake for him (well, a sponge cake with some melted chocolate on top. Fahad had painstakingly done the decoration on the cake, using a carton of condensed cream. We shared the a single can of 8% special brew beer, which was surprisingly tasty (it obviously shows what this amount of time has done to our taste buds!). As we went to bed at about 2000, one could see a couple of stars shining brightly through a few patches in cloud base – certainly a good sign to come for the following day….

 

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More K2 blogs:

Jake’s Blog: Q&A

Just before he left to make his summit attempt, we put to Jake some questions that had been sent in for him via Twitter, Facebook and the K2 2016 newsletter.

Jake’s Blog #34: Back at BC, waiting for a window

Day 34 – Basecamp Rest Day, 5000m

The weather report says that summit winds are 75 knots today. However galling it was to have to come all the way back down the mountain, we definitely made the right decision.

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