The morning skies were full of clouds and rain as I woke up without an alarm before the bed tea arrived at 5:30 a.m. After being up here for 3 weeks, sleeping is quite easy as you no longer have to worry about breathing hard just by getting up in your tent in the middle of the night. Everything was broken down and ready to be shipped downhill by the time I finished with my washing water and got out of my tent. Laxmi needed to get a few things in order before we left, so it was a late departure at 7:30 a.m. The only thing on today’s agenda was retrieving the pressure transducer, which monitored the lake level, and walk down on the terminal moraine to see any changes and see how the lake lowering project was going.
I was quite impressed at the work being done at the outlet. There must have been at least 30-40 people chiseling bricks, moving them to where the gate will be constructed, or working on the rebar to be placed in the concrete. Laxmi told me that the Army camp goes through 30-40 kg of rice per day… that’s a lot of work! It seemed as though the project was making good progress, which was great to see. I’ll be anxious to see the finished product the next time I get back to Imja, which is planned for May 2017. After taking a brief break at the outlet, we made our way back down to Chukung. This time without the flood, the journey was quite quick! I was thankful because my legs were exhausted from the last 4 days work and especially from yesterday. Laxmi joked that I should be tired after my work on the glacier, especially in the cold weather yesterday. It seems like the cold weather is here to stay for a while. I guess at 5000 m the high hovers somewhere around 40 when the sun is blocked by the clouds – not like the warm summer temperatures I get to look forward to when I get back to Austin!
When we got to Chukung I realized I forgot to pull the laser range finder out of the equipment bag, which meant there was little I would be able to measure on Lhotse Glacier. I was slightly relieved as I told Laxmi I really could use a day of rest. Tomorrow morning we’ll hit the ground running and get on the glacier. It seems like Alton and I both identified the same starting point of the Lhotse flood, which was a nice confirmation. Hopefully, we can be on the glacier for 4-5 hours of rainless weather before we turn around and start heading downhill. The only bummer about today’s rest day is the lack of internet! I was very much looking forward to reconnecting, but I guess I’ll have to wait one more day. Tomorrow should be a good one, especially with some fresh legs and a bit more oxygen!