Sep 17, 2012

Advanced Base Camp Hilton / Hyatt / Four Seasons / W …….

I know that I can be a bit of a diva… and there is something to be said about creature comforts on a mountain… maintaining a degree of comfort (while pretending to be ‘roughing it’ and suffering terribly in blogs!) is something that I’ve managed to achieve over the past few expeditions. The Alpenglow Advanced Base Camp at 5600m takes luxury to a whole new level…. Our ‘ABC’ is base camp on steroids. I have never quite seen anything like it and it could quite easily become my very comfortable ‘home away from home’.  It’s bizarre to think that I’m actually nearly 6 kilometers ‘above’ my actual home… and enjoying similar comforts even though the nearest we are to ‘civilization’ is a 10 day walk away!

Makalu’s steep face dominates the Advanced Base Camp skyline – and is absolutely massive. In spite of the creature comforts it would be absolutely impossible to forget why you’re here! The mountain face looks almost blue-grey against the clear-blue sky.  The rocky terrain for our camp has been carved into the landscape by the glacial activities thousands of years ago, leaving trails of scree and moraine in its wake.

Our Camp is made up of our individual (gigantic!) Salewa tents (covering real estate that would easily make it into triple figures were it in Central London!).  The tents are clustered around our main ‘mess’ tent where we take our absolutely delicious meals (we had pizza yesterday!!).  There is also an impressive toilet tent - well constructed and fairly secure (thanks to some strategically placed boulders) and an equally impressive ‘shower’ which would rival the water pressure in many homes but with slightly more ‘baltic’ temperatures!

The ‘piece de resistance’ of our little luxury camp is the ‘Hang Out Tent’ (which we are looking to rename to something that better captures its sheer excessive ‘OTT-ness’ (over the top-ness) – a giant yellow dome tent complete with carpet, lounge pillows, an ‘internet’ table (where I’m currently perched!), screen where we can watch movies, heater…. And, last but not least, a giant pink ‘bean-bag’ like chair… Awesome. Life is tough up here… seriously!! Sometimes it even gets cold!!

This fantastic set up will no doubt will feel more and more like The Hilton as the expedition progresses and as we are faced with much more difficult conditions higher up the mountain. Until then, I will continue to revel in these creature comforts and enjoy my afternoon latte and biscotti with sheer, unadulterated pleasure.


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