Blogging is something that takes time, effort, and honestly, money. Let me tell you about the Internet situation at Everest Nepal basecamp. For starters, I have my Delorme, inReach SE, the company was recently bought by Garmin so look for some really interesting products next year from that collaboration. I’m thinking some sort of heart rate uploads during an activity, so that you can see how hard I am really working in real time via satellite. I would pay for that. Anyway, I paid $300 for my inReach SE, and this go around I am paying $65 a month for unlimited tweets and text messages instead of $35 a month for 40 tweets and texts. It uses GPS satellites to determine location and then uses Iridium satellites for communication, which means true global coverage compared to most satellite communications which use one or two satellites in geostationary orbit. Iridium has a constellation of something like 70 satellites in low earth orbit, so eventually even if I am in a crevasse or a canyon one will travel overhead and my text will get out. So that’s my primary mode of communication. It also does live tracking, which I will use when I am actually on Mt. Everest traveling between camps and of course the summit push.
Next up is satellite Internet at basecamp, however it goes at like $10 per hour, so it’s expensive, although the speeds seem to be reasonable. All of the Asian Trekking Sherpas have unlimited access to this as part of their employment perks.
Then is Everest Link, which is a great idea, and one which someone is making thousands of dollars off of. It costs $50/1GB of data or $30/500MB. Still rather expensive, also, it’s a little congested at times as probably 70% of western climbers seem to be using it every time I walk into a dining tent. One guy blew through 4GB uploading all his iPhone pictures to iCloud (and I’m not sure it was on purpose) and another through 1GB in two days. Needless to say despite spending thousands of dollars to be here this option doesn’t really excite me either. The nice thing is it works in basecamp, and that means I don’t have to leave my tent, and how much is that worth?
Finally, is the budget option, Ncell 3G. I paid about $33 for 10GB of data good for 90 days, the only problem is that the tower is in Gorek Shep and there is a minimum 30 minute walk to get within 3G range. There is EDGE reception in basecamp, but that doesn't allow data transfer. I use a little USB stick on my computer, so I can access the Internet from my computer. It is actually the fastest connection of them all, but again, it requires a short walk down the valley.
Back on to the Everest climbing bit. Here is a short day by day recap of everything so far:
April 11: Arrive Kathmandu.
April 12th: Day in Kathmandu.
April 13th: Fly to Lukla, hike to Namche Bazar Camp de Base lodge at 11,300 feet.
April 14th: Day hike to Everest View Hotel and stay in Namche again.
April 15th: Come down with diarrhea in the night and spend another day in Namche.
April 16th: Thank God for antibiotics! I walk about 12 miles to Dingboche at 14,100 ft. and stay at the Snow Lion Lodge.
April 17th: Hike another 10 miles to Everest basecamp. While it went well, going form 11,300 feet to 17,300 feet is incredibly ambitious. Two of my Sherpa friends that live in Kumjung elevation 12,000 feet said that they would even get sick ascending that fast. But… I have a lot of experience at these altitudes and I wanted to push it a bit to see how my body reacted.
April 18th: It didn’t react particularly well.
April 19th: Nope, not really feeling that great at all, but surprisingly feeling okay. Certainly below average, but no need to go to a hospital or take drugs.
April 20th: The day I was supposed to arrive in basecamp I had a big headache, which for me is the sign that things are bad, so I hiked down to Dingboche and spend the night.
April 21st: I felt so good I wanted to go for a run. My headache was totally gone and my sinuses felt much better. I hiked in the afternoon up to Louche at 16,100 feet.
April 22nd: I hiked back to basecamp to “feel” like part of the action.
April 23rd: I hiked up to Pumori camp 1 at 18,550 feet in 94 minutes and back down in 41 minutes. I took some pictures and video and that is what I will leave you with below.
April 24th: Hung around basecamp, pretty uneventful.
April 25th: Another day trying to be healthy at basecamp.
April 26th: Headed up the mountain at 3 AM with Sandoop, Nwang, Cristof and Andrej. It took just over seven hours from our basecamp to camp 1 and 6 hours exactly from the time we put crampons on until we reached camp 1.
April 27th: Headed up to camp 2, ate lunch there and hung out for nearly three hours, then headed back to camp 1, and the vast majority of this was hiked (climbed if you must) alone.
April 28th: Woke up at 5 AM, was walking down the mountain by 5:45 or so, alone again, and got back to our basecamp around 8:45, for a solo descent through the Khumbu icefall.
April 29th: Hike to Gorek Shep to use cheap Ncell Internet. Also have quite the cough and some pain on my left side chest over the heart between two ribs, it hurts to take a deep breath, which is what we do up here all the time.
I'm going to set a few more blog posts for the coming days.