15 Jun 12. Day 10 and the mood was tense in the camp at breakfast for the final push of research. One (maybe two) needles and some sticky dots later and it was all over (save for the water in/out measurements). After the end of the research, our leader Andy Brown took to the podium to make one of the biggest announcements of the trip. Everyone was huddled round, eager faced but with the stress visible. Despite the the low atmospheric pressure, one could cut the tension with a knife… The ropes were named for the first attempt at Chachacomani, the big one. Those who had acclimatised best were to remain at high camp to begin an early morning ascent. The rest of the team were banished to base camp, consoling themselves with the challenge of Pata Patani to come the following day, another Andean beast.
For those at base camp, there was a moment of genuine sadness, laced with jealousy, as Kevin, the echocardiographer, took his well earned leave from the group. We wish him a safe trip home. He will be enjoying a beer and a hot shower tonight…
For those remaining, a spectacle like no other was witnessed as John Naylor, delirious on on the extra oxygen down here, gave a masterclass in full body bathing WITHOUT the tiresome need for removing all ones clothing. The manouver began with with a topless press up into the glacial stream to bathe the top half. This was then followed by a t-shirt only deep lunge to cleanse the lower half. Unique I hope you will agree.
In all seriousness spirits in Team 2 remain high with all looking forward to the challenges both Chachachomani and Pata Patani will pose over the coming days.Mike West and Will Smith, Team 2 Book Monitors