Today was a rest day for half the climbers, myself included. The other half would be going to Lobuche base camp a day earlier and climbing that mountain 24hrs before us.
So today was a very typical day at Everest base camp. We were woken up at 7:00, with an hour to get ready and then eating breakfast at 8:00. Between 9:00 and 12:30, we had free time to do whatever we needed to do.
In the mornings the sun is concentrated in the valley and temperatures rise to over 30 Celsius. This can be t-shirt and shorts weather and is a great time to get out the solar panels and charge up batteries and all electronic items.
At 12:30 we head back to the dining tents for lunch. From 13:30 until 18:30 our time is our own again. In the afternoons the temperature drops, as low clouds come up the valley, obscuring the sun, and playing havoc with the solar panels.
It might seem like there is a lot of free time, and even I wonder how I fill the day and still get so little done, but everything takes a lot longer than normal.
For example, if I want to pray I have to wash, which means getting water, which means melting snow, which means getting fuel to heat the snow etc and suddenly a 5-minute prayer takes half an hour!
And this applies to everything we do; from brushing our teeth to washing our clothes…it all takes a lot longer out here.
At 18:30 we head for the dining tent for the last meal of the day. Around 19:45 most of us head to the “white pod” to watch a movie, which is the highlight of my day. Today we watched “Invictus”, a movie about Nelson Mandela and the rugby world cup starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. Or at least we tried to watch it, as the power ran out 1 hour and 9 minutes into the movie.
By the time the show ends, we truly feel we are in the foothills of Everest as the temperature drops to minus 10 or worse and we scurry back to our tents to repeat a similar cycle tomorrow.