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12.5.2009 Fresh and snowy winterlike weather

Timo on ladder
Heikki on Khumbu
Welcome "home"
Six day high camp visit of Timo and Heikki was over when it was time to return to basecamp. On mother's day afternoon we started to descent from C2 to C1. Our plan was to continue further to basecamp. However, more and more dark and quickly moving clouds were seen in the sky just after midday. At first the weather seemed to be ok but after descending the rock section a few hundred meters down to the glacier, wind increased and it was snowing like back home in good days. Because we hadn't rope with us due to easy section between C2 and C1, it was a bit a guess to walk between crevasses. Now snow had hidden crevasses but fortunately there was a sherpa coming down and we desided to use him as 'mine sweeper'. He was hesitant about the route as well but we pointed out the direction and gave him a 10 meters advance hoping that he will not drop into a crevasse. Following sherpa's steps we soon saw a bamboo stick with a small red flag through our goggles and we were on the route again. The way down to C1 went quickly and crevasses were crossed safely.

Once at C1 wind was still strong and we were instructed to put down one tent so that the huge amount of equipment which had been carried up to mountain would also come back down little by little. The tent was covered with snow and ice all around and it required some patience to pack it. None of climbers seemed to move in the snow storm. Heikki and me thought that this kind of 'ranger weather' fits us well or at least there is no reason to complain about hot weather. However, we decided to stay at C1 overnight and continue in the following morning down to basecamp. After melting snow and eating it was nice to have a good sleep while Himalaya's night got dark and wind played its own iPod music.

In the morning wind was weaker and it was time to pass Khumbu icefall once again. Luckily enough a few Sherpas had gone through the route and we had a good path downwards. Of course fixed ropes were helping us to follow the route. It felt like at home when it was snowing and for a long time it was below zero at daytime. We reached basecamp just before lunch and it was nice to shake hads with other guys who have been waiting summit weather for a long time already. Forecasts are promising more snow and hard wind for coming days, so the nerve game is continuing.

All is well!