Image courtesy of Brad Clement

From: Tonya Riggs
Annapurna IV Base Camp, September 22, 2008

Annapurna IV - Home Sweet Home!

We are finally here at the bottom of Annapurna - a place we call Annapurna IV Base Camp! Now we rest for a couple of days and organize gear for our ascent up the mountain.

It took 20 porters, two climbing sherpas, one cook, one assistant cook and one Liaison Officer to get us to this point. The porters carried heavy loads on their backs, as much as 120 pounds (54 kg) but we try to keep them closer to 75-80 pounds (34-36 kg) each. They carried the gear, tents, food, cooking supplies, and clothing. They are strong and can hike with these heavy loads as fast or faster than us and we are only carrying 10-15 pounds (4.5-6.8 kg).

Everyone has now left except for Brad and I, two climbing sherpas, and our cook staff. It is a bit eerie to be left all alone and far away from the comforts of home. We now go to the toilet in the great outdoors (of course we dig a very deep hole for this purpose to be environmentally responsible). On some of the larger and more crowded mountains, like Everest, teams are required to carry their feces out in large barrels so as to keep the landscape clean. It is also important that we carry out all of our trash too. If this is not done, the camps will not be suitable for future teams to enjoy.

Our source of power and energy comes from either burning kerosene fuel or solar power. The kerosene is quite heavy to carry but it is needed because with it our food is prepared at base camp. When we are climbing the mountain, we will use small stoves that run on canisters of white gas to cook our food. The batteries of our laptop, camera, video, satellite phone, and I-pod are charged with solar energy. We have several solar panels with us. Now we must only hope for clear skies and lots of sunshine to give us great energy.

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Postcards from the Field: Annapurna

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