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The North Face of Nuptse: Willie and Damian Benegas

Dispatch Three


Dispatch Three: Damian brings things up to date......

April 7th: We arrived at BC on the 7th, and slowly, everything is taking shape.  Each of us are trying to create a home out of our tents.  We have turned the 2 meter dome tent into our living/ dining room, complete with a shelf where we keep all of the communication and entertainment equipment.  We have a DVD player, and we brought enough movies for at least two movies a day when we are in camp. It is much lighter to have movies for 6 people than it is to bring books for 6 people.  To the side of the entertainment shelf, we have the box of goodies.  A good chunk of Spanish proscuito, olives, chips and salsa, Argentinean dulce de leche, and even some awesome wine from La Rioja---- O yaa!  We carry products like a good NY Italian deli.

April 8th: Today is a rest day.  We were invited to the puja of the Irish and American team going for Everest.  We will have our own puja tomorrow. Willie and I have been running into so many old friends here. Having been here for 3 summits of Everest in the past, Willie has gained lots of respect from the Sherpas, and he has made many a friend with them as well.

        With a good dinner and some Trapiche wine from Argentina, I sat down with Willie to put down a plan of how we will be keeping busy for the next few weeks.  We are not working, we are not guiding. We are just trying to open a new route on the north face of Nuptse.  We are in for a good Willie and Damian adventure!

         Initially, Willie and I will be working alongside Edurne Pasaban and her team.  They are attempting Lhotse.  This will be her 4th, Ivan Vallejo's 6th, and Jon and Julian's 1st, 8000m summit. We will be establishing and sharing the Lhotse/Everest C1 and C2 with them as our acclimatization process. From there, we will spend one night at C3 of Lhotse/Everest, and then go down to BC for a few days rest.  It is our intent to do a pure alpine ascent of "the Snake Route", on the north face of Nuptse.  We will pick up 5 days worth of food, and start alpine style on the face. Well at least this is our plan..... We will see what happens?

Approaching the snake

April 9th: Today was to be our puja, but Lama Jambu told us that it was a bad day to do it, so instead we decided to do a transport of gear to C1.  This was our first day on the Khumbu Ice Fall.  It is not a good place to take a long rest, when you have building size ice looming over your head. But everything went smoothly.  We all carried a load of some food and all of the tents we will be needing.  It took us 3 1/2 hours due to constantly stopping to film and take photos.  We all returned to BC, feeling strong after a good day of work.  We were almost one of the last teams to arrive at BC this season, and we are one of the first to start working on the higher camps.  And for sure, after today, it was not only the Sherpas carrying heavy loads on their backs.

April 10th: Today, Lama Jambu told us that it was a good day for the puja.  This is a big honor for us, since I have known Lama for almost 5 years, and I have been on many expeditions with him. A retired monk, he is now a world class sherpa, with 6 ascents of Everest.  He also has much other experience with 8000m peaks, with not only walk ups, but some technical climbs as well. He is running a trip on Everest this year with his brother Lhakpa Galyo. Well, we had an awesome puja, with all of the Sherpas from other expeditions coming to wish us good luck on our adventure. Many people come through here, but they all go to the same summit.  This time, we will be different.  All of the Sherpas want us to know that they will be watching us on their way to C2, and wishing us the best.

       After the puja, we spent the rest of the day working on gear and supplies. Life in Everest BC is getting to a normal pace- every day we have lots of social visits.  Our health overall is so-so.  I have been trying to get rid of a cold that I have had since Kathmandu. Edurne woke up today with a big case of the flu. Everyone else feels pretty strong.

April 11th: Today, Willie, Ivan, and Julian left at 8am for C1.  They will sleep there, and do a carry of supplies to C2 tomorrow.  I was still feeling a little sick, and decided to stay behind and take care of my cold.

April 12th: I am feeling much better today, so Edurne, Jon and I are going to C1 to sleep, and will continue on to C2 tomorrow.  We will be taking the last few things up with us, and will finish establishing C2.  While he is up there, Willie is going to help out the Indian and Nepali Army expeditions with some work on the Lhotse face. 

Stay posted for another update coming soon...............

Dispatches

 





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