Mike Matty's Mt. Everest Journal

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Tuesday–April 3

I received news via text message this morning from Mike.  He is fine but I’m saddened to report that one of his teammates died.  Here’s the actual message:

Back at EBC [Everest Base Camp] rest for a few days…summit rotation. Tragedy on Lhotse 2 days ago…teammate died…good man. We all get to know each other well…together 24/7.  I was with him at the time…I am fine…yes, it rattles you…how can it not? Out of respect to his family, I will not discuss any further.  I know his wife and extend my deepest sympathies to her and the family. That’s all for now.

Note: Mike is one of the seven Hybrid team members

Carlo Centeno–blog editor


Written by mmsummits7

May 3, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Posted in Mountaineering

Camp 3 awaits

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Tuesday–April 26

Weather has a lot to do with our schedule. I say this because a huge system moved in, dumping snow and kicking up some wind.  The rotation to the camps has gone well and the routes are well-marked. We have to keep a close eye on weather. A bad change not only limits your attempt to the top, but your attempts to get down.

Several Sherpas are lugging up additional gear to the higher camps. Most of it being oxygen tanks. Tomorrow will be our last rotation between high camps before we try for the summit.

Heading up to Camp 3 is going to be brutal as we’re not using oxygen yet, though we are more than ready to use the gear. It’s important because it’s part of the acclimatization our bodies must go through.  Never ends. You may wonder how this could be good, but the human body is an amazing thing when given a chance to adapt. It will be a challenging sleepover at Camp 3!

I celebrated a birthday and received not only good wishes, but a real cake!  Get this: vanilla with chocolate frosting. Wasn’t bad at all.  Thank you to those who sent me birthday greetings. No time to think about getting older.

Written by mmsummits7

April 27, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Posted in Mountaineering

Ladders as bridges

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Monday-April 25

I’ve got a little bit of time here to provide details on our trek through the Khumbu Icefall. I learned that we made very good time (about 5.5 hours give or take). The guides say this can be attributed, in part, to the acclimatizing we did on Mt. Lobuche.  It also goes to show how conditioning, good health and an optimistic attitude play into this kind of work.

I don’t mind working on ladders and certainly heights don’t get to me. However, when you see 4 very long aluminum ladders lashed together end to end,  you have to have confidence in the sherpas who chose the route and anchored the ladders.

Primitive Escalator on Everest

I’m reminded that everything here is not immobile just because it’s all frozen solid. The icefall is part of a glacier and its physical characteristics change, even slightly. A small change in the icefall can mean another section of ladder needs to be added or even moved. The walls, pathways and crevasses move all sorts of ways. Safety can’t be overstated.

New meaning to "walking the plank"

We’re getting ready for the next trek up after we recharge and rest up a little bit. I’ll get fitted for my oxygen gear, essentially the mask, which has to fit properly for obvious reasons.  You’d be amazed at the amount of gear the sherpas carry up here, including these O2 tanks.  Overall, I’m doing really well and holding up to the elements.

Written by mmsummits7

April 25, 2011 at 7:34 pm

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No chocolate bunnies here

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Sunday–April 24

Happy Easter!

Got back to base camp and resting for a couple of days. The winds have been high these past few days. They’re enough to slow our progress as noted by the team ahead of us who are making their way to Camp 2.

Our trek through the icefall was arduous taking some 5.5 hours. A careful trek versus a leisurely stroll. All that matters is making it to Camp 1.

There are more details about the winds on the IMG site so make sure to check it out. I think one tent was lost at Camp 2. Fortunately, all the climbers are okay.  More details to follow.

Written by mmsummits7

April 24, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Posted in Mountaineering

Earthquakes before Base Camp

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Sunday–April 17

I spent an additional night in Pheroche just to give my body extra time to beat back this cold.  I think it helped as the congestion is clearing up though I wish at a much faster rate. It’s good to be at Everest Base Camp now; the My Spot Locator shows just how far we’ve come. It also shows how much further we need to go!

Have to tell you that my last night in Pheroche was a little unsettling. I was resting in a building made entirely of stone, and a pretty strong earthquake that you can hear and feel got my attention…..four times! Yes, 4 really good shakes. There aren’t any building codes, by the way. Made me wonder about the ladders and ropes in the icefall in terms of possible rock slides, avalanches or major shifts in the ice.

I missed the Puja (special blessing ceremony), but plan on attending another in a couple of days with other climbers.

The Khumbu Icefall

The icefall is what stands between BC and Camp 1 and will be an extreme test for everyone. I’ll be ready.

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April 18, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Posted in Mountaineering

Minor setback

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Thursday–April 14

I wish someone would invent a cure for the common cold. That’s my setback right now.  Went from our BC (Base Camp) to Mt. Lobuche and worked up to the BC on Lobuche.  Somehow I developed this congestion and all of a sudden a nasty cough followed.  I would’ve summitted Mt. Lobuche, but was concerned about this cough that wouldn’t let up, so I did the smart thing and headed down.  Regrouped at BC and headed down, off the mountain, sort of, (at this point, everthing is on a mountain because of elevation!).

I’m recuperating in the village of Pheroche, probably for the next couple of days. At altitude, your body deteriorates because it takes so much work to recover. Think of all the calories that you need just to maintain body temp. To burn all those calories, you need oxygen and you have to descend to get more of that.

You might feel sad that I didn’t summit Mt. Lobuche, but I didn’t come all this way to do that. I think of these peaks as stepping stones to the biggie. I need to be in shape for Mt. Everest.

Gotta find some chicken soup.

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April 14, 2011 at 1:43 pm

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Welcome to Base Camp

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Sunday–April 10

Doing well at base camp though I remind myself to take it easy. We can really feel the altitude. From my tent to the dining tent is a 20-foot walk, but that walk requires a rest stop. I’m making sure to listen to my body as acclimatization varies from person to person. The body works to adjust to the environment and in this case, the creation of more red blood cells among other things. This site better explains what happens at altitude.

Speaking of dining, the sherpa cooks are great! Breakfast this morning was boiled eggs, bacon and toast.  Last night we had a decent meal of  buffalo, mixed veggies, boiled potatoes and noodles. How ’bout that?  Not bad at all!?

There’s a lot of  “rumbling” here and it happens day and night, causing rock slides and avalanches. When the sun hits a wall, it starts and continues throughout the night. It’s just once the sun sets, there are fewer rumblings.

The icefalls here are huge and imposing. Icefalls are a part or section of a glacier that moves faster and they create high walls and deep crevasses. Icefalls are technically demanding and dangerous. We leave at 3 am to begin our icefall climb. An early start means that the ice stays frozen solid. The first time through takes some 8-9 hours, again, for further acclimatization. The Khumbu Icefall is at the 18,000 foot level [5,000 meters or so].

I’ll head down to Lobuche village today and climb a peak of the same name.

Lobuche Peak

This is all part of the acclimatization process.  We get to gain some altitude but don’t have to do it through the icefall. Too risky. That peak is at 20,000 feet [6,100 meters].

I’ll be out of touch for a few days, but you can visit the IMG site to check on updates. The link to that site is on the right side under PAGES.

I do check on the markets periodically. Seems to be doing very well despite my absence. Maybe I should climb more! LOL.  When you think about it, to be able to get online, even check e-mails, makes it all pretty amazing for all of us here at Everest base camp. I’m told that Sir Hillary had it pretty well too…he had over 400 Sherpas to assist his effort on this mountain!

Written by mmsummits7

April 11, 2011 at 2:22 pm

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