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.