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11.4.2009 More waiting

The coordinates of the Everest southern basecamp: N 28.00449, E 86.85642

Weather: At night it was around -14C and in the morning at sunset we get above zero very quickly. Highest measured temperature today was =23C in the sun. Immediately with clouds or wind the temperature drops drastically.

Today was a second sunny and warm day in a row. The route through Khumbu ice fall is getting ready as we speak and we expect it to be ready tomorrow or day after tomorrow. The life in basecamp follows already now certain routines. Dawn comes around 5am and sun starts to shine into our camp around 8am (breakfast time). Breakfast includes usually chapati or toast and eggs as well as corn flakes or muesli. This is served with ample black tee, coffee or hot chocolate. During the morning we have made friends with other expeditions or improved our own camp. Past few days we have prepared and packed equipment to be carried to Camp1. Lunch time is at 13:00 and today the cook made us ground beef steak, French fries, pickles, fried tomatoes and fresh vegetables and fruits. During the afternoon we built a stone patio where we can sit in a sunshine and have meetings.

The biggest problems with health in basecamp are related to the altitude and acclimatisation. The issues with the acclimatisation will go away in 2-4 days time and the related flu and possible respiratory infections in one weeks time. After these the most frequent issues are stomach problems related to bad hygiene and contaminated drinking water as well as Khumbu cough. The stomach problems are familiar to all travellers but Khumbu cough is present only in high altitudes. This cough is caused by a very dry and cold mountain air. Respiratory system gets irritated, mucus doesn't come off the throat and the pounding cough doesn't settle down at all. In the worst case the coughing is so hard that the patient may break ribs during coughing. The best medicine is prevention since cough medicines do not provide much relief. During tough ascents the respiratory rate can be up to 60/min and breathing through nose is not effective anymore. Nose humidifies the inhaled air and while breathing via mouth this doesn't happen. Breathing through a cloth placed in front of the mouth may provide some relief. While sleeping it may help if the sleeping bag forms a separate compartment in front of the face which holds moist air from the breathing. As mentioned already cough medicines do not help in Khumbu cough. Salmeterol and asthma corticosteroids may provide some relief though. Some expedition members have had slight cough symptoms, however not serious enough to affect working ability.

All is well!