Back at Everest Base Camp. All team members are in good shape; 4 out of 5 of us [Hybrid Team] made it to the top on Friday the 13th. There aren’t enough words to describe all that has happened here. I was fortunate to be the first [on the expedition team] to arrive at the summit and had about 10 minutes of the place to myself.
The weather has since turned nasty. Winds have picked up and IMG team leaders instructed those at the higher camps to descend. As I’ve shared with many of you, the job’s only half done when you’ve made it to the summit–or as far as you can–because you must get down! It’s incredible that I summitted, but more importantly, I am safe. We were fortunate to make it because conditions were deteriorating quickly. It felt like we snuck in just in time. I don’t think there will be any summit attempts the next few days.
I feel, and probably look a lot like a skinny, 17-year old track star. The mountain demands so much from our bodies yet I’m also amazed at how strong the will to live is. I’ll have more to share about this subject along with other tales of extreme cold, the thin air, frostbite and even frozen corneas.
I’ll need another 10-12 days to not only pack my gear, but to recharge myself. I’m sure there’s a nice beer waiting for me at Kathmandu! I might need a couple seeing that I’ll be ahead of the yak carrying my gear.
Finally, many thanks to all who followed and shared this journey with me. Your comments and encouragement have kept me company throughout this quest.
Made it to camp 3 after one rest day. Feeling good. The windstorm a couple of days ago ruined one of the tents, but the sherpas managed to fix or replace it. Base camp got 2-4 inches of new snow. Two days to summit…
Started very early under windy conditions and made it okay to Camp 2. Doesn’t feel like it, but I’m sure all the acclimatizing climbs we’ve done has helped. We’re at 21,000 feet [6,400 meters]. Staying focused in spite of the fatigue…maintain hydration, no over exertion. Headed to Camp 3 in the morning. I’m told the wind was extreme, but all the high camps are okay. If weather and bodies cooperate, Friday should be summit day. Time to rest.
Hope all moms get flowers, chocolates and brunch with family. Hope all the dads and guys finish their chores so moms can take it easy. It’s her day!
As I said earlier, the mountain and the weather dictate all our moves. They tell us when we can move up, go down or stay put. Conditions have changed so it looks like Monday is now our departure date with Friday the 13th being summit day. We’re thinking that we’ll be at EBC on Sunday or even Monday the 15th.
We’ve learned that other climbers reached the summit yesterday. I heard a team from South America made it. Sherpas continue to amaze. Gear and O2 bottles are carried up and then back down again. They add a new dimension to the phrase, “special delivery.” We’re exhausted, but feeling confident. The Sherpas have fixed climbing ropes for the IMG teams so all we have to do is lug ourselves up this hill.
Make sure to check on the IMG site now and then, especially the photos they post. The site can give you other information about the other teams, climbing conditions, etc. etc. During my days to the summit, my messages are likely to be less. Even creating a simple thought burns calories. Writing them down consumes a truck full.
Many thanks to all of you who took time to post comments and encouraging words. They’re appreciated. I can’t individually respond to each comment as you can understand why.
I can’t thank everyone by name, but your well-wishes and prayers for us and the loss of our friend and teammate, Rick Hitch, are deeply appreciated. His spirit is with us, driving us to the top…
Chomolungma [Tibetan for Mt. Everest] looms above us. It’s eery. At sunrise, its peak is the first to touch the sun. It is a huge, black shark fin that hovers over us. The plumes we see are the constant blowing of snow off the summit. The latest forecast shows a jet stream shift with subdued winds. When that happens, we must move quickly to take advantage of that window.
The Llhotse face has been the hardest climb so far. In fact, it has been the most difficult climb I’ve ever done. Summit day will be much harder. It actually got warmer a bit so avalanches are now more common.
The lower part of Khumbu Falls [see photo on April 17 blog below] known as the popcorn section is amazing. It’s a jumble of ice the size of cars, busses, RVs and small buildings. The scarier part has been higher up because of the crevasses that can be 40 feet wide, 200 feet deep. These crevasses can suddenly open, without warning. Walking across and up those ladders are enough to think about.
Our bodies continue to deteriorate and you really feel this at these higher camps. Reaching the summit is a balancing act between a body that’s disintegrating and the circulatory system acclimating. The body burns a ton of calories. I’ve actually lost some muscle mass.
I’ll head out soon for that long trek to the top. As great as it’ll be reaching the summit, making it safely back to EBC [Everest Base Camp] is the REAL success point and the place for all of us to celebrate.
It’s pure folly to think that anyone climbs Mt. Everest for the views, or the thrills, or the bragging rights or because “it’s there.” What’s there is this: the chance to be worthy of your own dreams and no one else’s. For those of us that remain, the real test for that chance has begun. Godspeed.
Back at EBC where the team is resting, recharging, recuperating…I can speak for the rest of Team Hybrid: it feels odd having five in our group.
Early forecast looks like Sunday [May 8] might be departure day for a chance to summit. Next to being focused on our safety for ourselves and each other, it’s safe to say that weather gets a lot of attention. In this game, it always has the last card.
Resting or recharging is a balancing act. You know the feeling. If you rest too long, you won’t feel like getting up [and off the couch]. I think regardless of altitude, the body can be determined to stay at rest. So, my next point is the mental part of this work. The mental discipline is very important. It’s the mind that pushes you to take that extra step, however large or small. You can be in terrific physical shape, but mental hardiness is what helps us stay persistently focused.