News release: 12 May, Runway repairs
|Our trusty Sherpa porters returned at 7 this morning to complete the
runway repairs, they really are an astonishingly hard working bunch,
probably 4 or 5 tons of earth was moved onto our new improved runway.
The soil here is a very light material which turns to very fine dust
when it is dry. I can only hope that as our flights are all going to be
early morning that it will be slightly damp or Angelo is going to
collect quite a mouthful of dust as I accelerate down the runway.
We have about 400 m of strip. We have 'improved' about 250m, by which
time both Angelo and I should be airborne. The remaining 150 m at the
far end of the strip is the part in best condition and is plenty of
space to stop in an emergency. We will try a couple of flights
Check out the weather reports on this site. It looks as though we might
have a short window of opportunity for an attempt on Everest in four of
five days time, winds forecast are 10 - 15 m/s which is within our
limits, and the humidity looks good (high humidity = lots of cloud).
Angelo has been speaking with his contact at North side base camp and
apparently their asessment of the forecast is similar to ours and
climbers are beginning to ascend to Advance base camp with a view to
summiting around the 16 or 17th. This particuar weather window is not a
big one, the jetstream only briefly dips to the North so our timing will
have to be right.
This evening I tried out our Gamow bag. This is a very simple device
which has saved numerous people's lives when threatened with altitude
related conditions such as AMS or Acute Mountain Sickness. All it is is
a cylinder made out of the same sort of stuff as an inflatable boat, but
with a sort of leakproof zip. Put the patient inside and pump the foot
pump and the apparent altitude inside the bag will decrease the more you
pump. With a vario inside I was taken down 500 metres in a matter of
seconds, Oscar, our Doctor didn't think it wise for me to go down any
more, but we proved it works. Some people would undoubtedly find it
rather claustrophobic, the two 'windows', if they can be called that are
tiny, but an incredibly simple device for saving lives.