It was snowing pretty hard when I woke up at 6:00 (after going to sleep about 7:00 last night) but since then it has cleared a lot and we're even enjoying some weak sun. I for one am drinking nice cups of dudh chia (milk tea) and looking forward to a nice pancake breakfast. We have yet to see any movement at all from Dr. Bryce's tent.
I have talked to Willi and Lakpa at Camp IV this morning. They were up early getting the camp packed up and ready to move down to Camp II today. The team is feeling much better after a good night's sleep with oxygen. A team of Sherpas has already left Camp II and will arrive at the South Col any time now to help ferry loads down to Camp II. In a few short hours Camp IV will no longer exist.
Here at Base Camp we are very happy they are getting an early start. We are the official "worriers," and we have reports both from our weather reports and from Radio Nepal about a big weather front coming and bringing lots of snow. The monsoon in getting closer, but this is not the monsoon but rather a strong weather system that will come and then pass by. We would sure like to see the team down and off the Lhotse Face before the snow starts. We don't need anyone to get avalanched at this point. After they get to Camp II snow is no problem.
Tomorrow we will switch our worries from avalanches to fear of seracs collapsing as they come down through the Icefall. After that they are on their own with the hazards of beer consumption and Mt. Everest whisky.
So from here at Base Camp, we're glad the team is mostly down safe and we're looking forward to seeing them down here in the "lowlands" again.
Namaste to all,
Ellie Henke, Alpine Ascents International Base Camp Manager & Bryce Brown (when he wakes up), Expedition Doctor, MountainZone.com Correspondents