I guess we were getting lazy, or had been working to hard with very little oxygen to breath. For some reason I had thought a rest day at 5000m would be good for our bodies and Laura had agreed!
We slept in until 10, had a breakfast of Nutella on plain tortilla wraps and just loafed. Oatmeal was getting very difficult to force down at this stage, and with only sugar to add, nothing made it close to desirable. Could have used some peanut butter, nuts, or dried fruit however these had either not been available or were way to expensive. Made water, and over the course of the day I would finish my second book of the trip – a highly recommended Pulitzer winner, All the Light We Cannot See. Laura worked on her journal and loafed equally hard.
Around 1 we set about clearing the site below for our climbing friend group and made a lunch of Lipton Soup. They and the larger group we had hiked with to this point arrived around this time and prepared to follow-in our steps toward reacclimatizing at this higher elevation. Eat, sleep, and prepare for the days to come. At this camp we also began to take number 2’s into a bag as there were no longer outhouses and for the sake of our human wastes. From this point onward we would need to carry all of our waste in either a provided white (regular refuse) or orange/red (smellier) provided (very official) plastic shopping bag. Laura was quite used to this squatting, however I felt it more of a challenge and it is due to this one requirement that I find mountain climbing less desirable than my more accustomed canoeing. While I should not complain to greatly over this one missed comfort, it was not just the squatting requirement but also the gusting wind (up to 80km) bursts and chilly air that made this effort undesirable. If you have ever squatted in a wind tunnel, on frosty morning, with limited protection from prying eyes I think you will understand, however only on this mountain did I feel so exposed. Other groups had brought toilet seats on tri-pods, where as we had to act like Neanderthals. Enough said on that matter.
The other groups brought with them news of recent weather updates. Our understood timeline was formalizing itself, with the 6th and 7th being the best window for summitting. We were now at 5000m, the summit remained 1900 metres and typically 5 days walking with 2 days of rest above. Our best window for success was over the next two days with the remainder of the week either bad weather or unknown.