14 Jun 12. Day 9 was met with a quiver of excitement by the team as this was the penultimate day of research. After an excellent breakfast of fritters and jam we began the ascent to high camp. The pace was reasonable up the valley with the local guide looking decidedly bored and in breath, unlike the rest of us! Our own efforts were somewhat overshadowed by the Bolivian porters lapping us several times carrying fridges and various other pieces of rather heavy research kit up the hill, wearing sandals. 25 minutes shy of high camp, we were ushered into groups of four for research processing. Upon reaching the camp we had blood samples taken along with other tests. Taking blood at over 5000 metres has many challenges; cold, pressure changes and vasoconstricted specimens to name a few. However our resident vampires again proved up to the task.
Echocardiograms and various other measurements were also completed in the rather austere surroundings, with the weather fortunately holding out. A few team members ventured onto the glacier, whilst the remainder took the opportunity for some rest at the new altitude.
A dinner of divine soup and bangers and mash was served as the sun languidly eased itself behind the snowy peaks. As the last rays faded the team slowly headed for the warmth of their sleeping bags. Will Smith had the birthday evening he had always dreamed of, tucked up at 7.30pm for a mammoth reading session, including hearing a lovely recital of a modern classic from a tent colleague.Mike West and Will Smith, Team 2 Book Monitors