I am writing this from the warmth of my tent at Everest Base. This morning began with a 3:30am wake-up and a 5 am departure from our camp 2 which is at an elevation of 21,500 feet. Getting up and having to motivate at such early hours is a key part of our scheduling when climbing Mount Everest. We travel during the early morning hours when it is the coldest and when the mountain slopes are the most dormant for safe passage. Our decent this morning had us leaving our camp 2 and arriving back to our base camp at 17,600 ft. The thicker air and accommodations here are a welcome sight then what our living arrangements are above.
Our first acclimatization rotation was climbing 20,000 foot Lobuche Peak and our second acclimatization rotation would be ascending up and through the Khumbu Ice Fall and then spending two nights at both our camp 1 (19,600 ft) and our camp 2 (21,500ft). On 4/24 we made our way up and through the Khumbu Ice Fall, probably one of the greatest single challenges that we had yet to face on this expedition. The Khumbu Ice Fall is a river of ice that cascades over the steep drops in elevation of rock that contours below, it is in constant movement and the route changes daily. The “ice doctors” are seasoned Sherpas that have made it a career to make the necessary changes to the route as it shifts throughout the season. They “fix” rope throughout the entire 2,000 ft matrix of ice and snow and adhere ladders across deep crevasses.
Camp 1 is positioned well above the Ice Fall and is situated in lateral groupings among the many large glacial outcroppings of the upper Khumbu glacier. This is the entrance to the Western Cwm and is flanked laterally by both Nuptse to the right and Everest to the left. Our camp 2 is located all the way up the Western Cwm and is positioned on glacial moraine just below the Lhotse face.
We spent a total of two nights at camp 1 and camp 2. Adjusting to the thinning air and colder temperatures were the focus and in doing so, we are constantly being subjected to the harsh environment in which we have chosen.