Stage 3 – Waiting at EBC
Mountains teach us patience; we can’t fight the weather and must wait till we get the nod from the higher forces; Satya had cautioned me long ago, knowing my impulsive and restless nature. During my pre-Everest training phase I had already climbed many summits in Europe and Andes and had my fair share of ‘patience’ in the mountains. Yet the waiting days on Everest were at a completely different level.
This season the weather forecasts from various agencies around the world, to which Satya had privy through his network of contacts and friends, have been offering conflicting reports. Some matched one day and then they didn’t while another matched on another day and then didn’t. There was general confusion at EBC as every team wanted a better prediction. The weather gods played with our aspirations as high winds kept the mountain above C4 (South Col) unreachable for the team of Sherpas who would fix rope to the summit. Generally the summit rope is fixed before 10th May, after which summit attempts are made but this year the summit rope was only fixed on 15th May amidst severe wind conditions.
During our waiting period of nearly three weeks, I ate well and kept myself hydrated, and walked around the camp befriending other climbing teams, getting to know the motivation and dreams that drove them on Everest. The EBC was often engulfed in thick fog and we had several days of heavy snow. Many climbers had gone down to recuperate, all the way to Deboche or Namche. We didn’t go down though as Satya believed it’s better to stay put at EBC. I also did several long walks around EBC, read books, watched movies and kept my spirits high.
Meanwhile, my instructor from Greece, Archodis , visited me to EBC and gave me lots of courage and joy along with the delicious Greek sweets my family sent to me. Having wifi at EBC was a great relief so I could send reports and images to my FB page and could keep in touch with my friends and followers. I was overwhelmed by the messages I got from unknown people who encouraged me and egged me on. So far away from home I missed my family yet they all seemed near me.
Finally the waiting was over on 16th May. The day for the final push had arrived!