Base Camp 20th

I am sitting here listening to all the small streams running through base camp. An hour ago they were frozen solid. My tent will go from 0 degrees at night to 100 degrees during the day. It is like a sauna without the steam. Human Corning Ware – out of the freezer and into the oven.

For some reason I did not sleep well last night. There is no rhyme or reason. You climb into your bag and once you get it warmed up it usually feels cozy. Especially when it is snowing like yesterday. But the minute you can’t sleep it feels like being trapped. High altitude tents are sometimes referred to as “mummy bags” ostensibly because of their tapered shape. I think it is because if you have ever been stuck in one you feel trapped. It could also be because they are the transport container of choice when a climber is closer to mummyhood than moving independently.

So you lay there wishing for daylight and freedom from the cold. These are the dark hours of doubt when you wonder what you were thinking. Amazingly enough the sun always comes up. Sooner or later the “I can’t lay here any longer” overcomes the dread of facing the cold. For me it usually is sooner. I wander around hating the people I hear still comfortably sleeping in their tents. The upside is I get to have a cup of hot coffee with the cook and mess boy – the two hardest working people on the mountain.

Today was cleaning day at casa Bud. I try to keep things somewhat organized although it probably looks like chaos to anyone else. I hate searching for stuff so I keep all electronics in one place, snacks another, gear for up high somewhere else. Anything that can get wet if it snows stays in the front yard. Maybe that is the red neck in me. Some people drag all there stuff in with them. I would worry it would shift in the night and I would have to cut myself out with my multi-tool (southwest corner in mesh pocket!) Maybe they worry about someone stealing their stuff. That is the advantage of having old junk – no one would steal mine. Sometimes I think they feel sorry for me in their new $1,500 high altitude boots. The difference – I know mine work and I got ten toes to prove it. I nearly cried when I couldn’t find my high altitude gloves for the trip. I had to buy a new pair and they were $160! My wife kept saying “Bud that is $16 a finger”. Yea, but my old ones worked just fine. I have to admit these were pretty nice when I got them. They have a pocket for hand warmers and a nice soft felt patch on the thumb for nose wiping. What will they think of next? Of course with an oxygen mask on you don’t do a whole lot of nose wiping anyway.

Going to do a little hiking after the snow melts. I need to get some additional exercise but everything here carries a measure of risk. One of my team mates slipped and bashed his knee a few days ago and we worried he might have to go home but he has recovered well. Not everyone has been as lucky. The skies were buzzing with evac flights again this morning.