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May 252011
 

Alan on the summit of Everest, 5:00AM May 21, 2011

I am back in Lukla on our 3rd of 3 days trek from Everest Base Camp. This is an important time for me to process any Himalaya experience. I love walking the Khumbu trails, sharing them with the Yak trains going to or return from Everest Base Camp; seeing the porters with loads taller than they are and of course, the mountains.

The weather has been perfect and I am hopeful to fly out of Lukla on Thursday (tomorrow) morning to catch my Friday flight home. I am trekking with Jay and Mirjam and thoroughly enjoying their company. The vast majority of the rest of the IMG team is either home or in transit. Some took the $7500 helicopter ride from BC to Kathmandu! IMG had 37 Everest summits this year including Sherpas.

We stopped by to see Lama Geshi again yesterday. He seemed so happy that people he had blessed going up would stop after their summit to say hello. The old Lama’s big hands were warm, his smile crisp, eyes dark and clear; and his laugh deep and genuine as he called me “Ellen” for “Alan”. I was so pleased to see him back in his old form.

As I walked the dirt trails, I was thinking of how I can somehow repay in a tiny way your kindness and support for me as I climb the 7 Summits this year. I am forever grateful for every donation to your choice of Alzheimer’s non-profit. I hope to get a tally when I get home. But another thought was to try to share my Everest experience through a Q&A on this Blog. Just post a question in the comment section and I will do my best to answer it. If you prefer something less public, send me an email at climbing@alanarnette.com. Remember I am still in transit and will answer as quickly as possible.

Obviously, I am not a professional climber, mountain guide, Alzheimer’s specialists or physician so some topics I am not qualified to respond to and other resources are better suited for those topics. But I am glad to share my experiences as I have for the last decade through my site.

To get things started, Paul Adler asked a poignant question about my Everest performance: “I would love to know what you attribute your fast times this year compared with past attempts? Was it comparatively good health?

Paul, I was thinking a lot about this and can identify four areas. Obviously these are my thoughts and don’t apply to everyone.

PACE: Thanks to advice from many people (John Dahlem) and my own experience of pushing too hard and succumbing to the pressure of the guide clock; this year I climbed at a pace I was comfortable with. IMG never put any pressure on me to meet climb times between camps and Kami’s favorite word was “slowly”. Obviously I knew that I needed to be able to go fast through dangerous sections or if the weather turned but allowing my body to acclimatize naturally was a huge advantage and I did not waste energy competing against the clock or other climbers.

Also when I got sick, I gave myself permission to be sick and get well. This was critical in that I did not stress over schedules and got the necessary rest, food and hydration my body so desperately needed. As my friend Brad Jackson commented, it was better that it happened early in the expeditions than later. Allowing myself to recover allowed me to enter the final acclimatization rotations strong.

A final factor in pace was that I employed every trick and technique I new throughout the expedition from sleeping to gear to eating, drinking, foot placement (simple, small steps), clothing layers, attitude, who I hung out with, etc. One proof of how it worked was that I never lost my appetite, rare for me.

PREPARATION: My fitness was at a different level than on the previous attempts even though I was 9 years older. In the previous 18 months, I climbed over 30 14,000 Colorado and California mountains with 30-50lb packs. Also climbed Vinson and Aconcagua in the prior 4 months. I lost about 10 pounds before coming to EBC then lost another 15 pounds in the early expedition time; which was a bit too much.

It is said you have to be in the best shape of your life to climb Everest. Well, I thought I was before but now know I had to be in Everest shape to climb Everest.

Paul, you had a hand in this one through thinking through the best way to climb Everest. For example, I always stayed at Camp 1 around 19,500′ on each rotation based on your suggestion. The standard program is to stay there once, but I found by staying there each rotation, I was able to manage my energy more evenly and not wear myself out trying to go from BC to C2 in one big push. Also, I pushed the envelope a bit by staying at Camp 2 three nights instead of the normal two on the first rotation.

Reviewing my own prior performance, I changed my supplemental oxygen plan. I was very glad that IMG used the TopOut mask instead of the old Posix one that leaked 50% of the air. Also, I used an extra bottle of oxygen on the final summit push from the South Col. These two factors, mask and O’s, allowed me to climb using 4lpm flow from Col to Summit and back instead of a leaky 2lpm in my previous climbs – this was a huge difference.

PERSONAL SHERPA: This should be no surprise to anyone who has been reading along. Kami (Ang Chhiring Sherpa – Pangboche) was a perfect match for me. At age 46 with 12 Everest summits, K2, Cho Oyu, Ama Dablam, and many other climbs, he had the maturity, experience and personality I needed. We spent time getting to know each other with local climbs, shared tents, meals and became friends. He understood the importance of this climb to me in spite of the culture and language difference. His gentle touch yet strong focus was what the Doctor ordered. He inspired confidence as did many of the IMG Personal Sherpas.

PURPOSE: In looking back at my other climbs, I hit my mental wall way before my physical wall and quit too soon. I never understood how much reserves my body really had. Again, many people talk about mental toughness but a simple note one time from Clive Jones, a climbing friend, and discussing directly with Jim Davidson, a dear climbing friend, about his Rainier tragedy (www.speakingofadventure.com) showed me how far one can push their body if the mind is willing. So in the last few years, I have been working on mental toughness. When the time came on Everest to push my body, my mind was willing.

But the biggest difference was the inspiration and motivation that came from watching my mom struggle with Alzheimer’s. She did it with class, dignity and humor. She never let on how much it hurt. Her strength and courage kept me going every time I felt weak – physically or mentally. In addition, knowing that there are millions going through the same struggle inspired me knowing that all of you were watching me. I simply could not let you down. So perhaps the pace went a little quicker.

OK, not all my answers will be this verbose but please send them in. I hope I can add some value back to like you have to me.

Climb On!
Alan
Memories are Everything

Alzheimer's Fact: One in eight older Americans has Alzheimer's disease. (source: Alzheimer Association)
Alzheimer's disease is the only cause of death among the top 10 in the United States that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed

  64 Responses to “Everest 2011 – Your Questions”

  1. Thank you Nick. I am climbing KIlimanjaro on Spetember 11, 2011 with IMG. I think there are still spots available! Kosi will be my last (#8) of the 7 Summits and probably near the end of November or early December. I need to finish before December 9th to meet my goal of all in one year. My climb of Carystensz will drive the Kosi schedule. Yes, visiting with Lama Geshi on the way out was a perfect end to my climb, thanks.

  2. Hi Alan , a huge congratulations to you on your achievment.I would like to know when you will be attempting (walking) Kosciosco ? and when you will be climbing Kili this year ?It was fantastic that you revisited Lam Geshi on your way down , very nice thought , and lastly , i , with ALOT of other people think that your post are the best on line this year and the previous years. Good luck getting to your family and hope to meet you either in Aus or on your Kili trip.

    Regards Nik

  3. Awesome photo!

  4. Hello Alan,
    is it true that people steal a lot there? I’ve heard that other climbers steal gear and such things. If that is true, what did you do to protect your things?
    Congrats, you must feel like the luckiest man on the planet

    • Hi Chris,
      Yes stealing is a growing problem on Everest especially on the North side. On the south it is not uncommon to have POSIX oxygen bottles stolen from the South Col. I climbed with IMG and they use their own design for oxygen bottles which eliminates or reduces potentail thief. To protect things, we always had Sherpas at almost every camp to monitor who came and went – this was one advantage of going with a large team with lot’s of resources.

  5. Het Alan
    Massive congrats on your achievement.
    My question is around mental strength as you mention this in one of your updates. What do you do to gain that mental strength? I will be climbing everest in 3 years and will take all advise I can get.
    Thanks

    • Hi Linda, yes, I think mental toughness is as critical as physical. I went for midnight climbs in difficult weather during training, some people run or cycle in cold rain. Anything that makes you uncomfortable, while being safe, tests you mentally not to give up. As my friend Jim says, it tempers you. When you exercise push 5 more than your goal and don;t give up – always go that little bit more each time. After a while it will become second nature. good luck!

  6. Hi Alan,
    Congratulations on your summit. I enjoy your commentary. That photo taken from Lohtse on your summit day is just amazing. It’s great to see that different perspective which you normally don’t see (especially the vast Kangshung Face)! Can you say where you were when that photo was taken? Probably a fair way down by then. And any other comments on the spread of people? Quite a few on the South Summit at that point.
    Allan

    • Thanks Allan. My friend Simon summited Lhotse on May 21 as we were summiting Everest and took that picture, it is amazing. We could both see one another headlamps climbing higher throughout the night but he took a picture and I didn’t! Allan, as you note, the right side (east) is the Kangshung face and is in Tibet. It is 11,000′ high and was first climbed in 1983. We took the skyline (SE ridge) from the Balcony to the South Summit, across the Cornice Traverse, up the Hillary Step to the Summit and retraced back. Maybe I can annotate this picture when I get home and repost.

      Most of the climbers you see are below the South Summit in the Slabs area since that was the only bottle neck on my day. You can see one lone climber near the bottom of the ridge. Note the down-climb required from the South Summit, that was a surprise to me! Not bad, actually felt good to go down hill after 1,000′ up from the Balcony. Above the Hilary Step, it was not quite a clean climbing line as I had envisioned. There was still a bit of up and down and the true summit did not come into view until very late in this section.

  7. Hello Allan.
    First, thanks for all the work you have done over the years to put one of the best website/blog/information source on Everest and climbing big mountains. And I am truly amazed that you take the time to answer all the questions posted! Also, I have to say that following a little “dot” on Goggle maps while you were on your summit push was kind of exicting…
    “- Look honey, Allan is already at the balcony!!”
    “- What?” (The wife has no clue what the hell am I talking about).
    Congratulations again on your summit. Just a quick question: What about the 3G network on the mountain this year?
    Be safe, enjoy your memories!
    Martin

    • Hi Martin, Believe it or not my SPOT “dot” was a source of party entertainment in some circles last Friday night! The 3G network was so, so. The data never really worked from my computer but the voice was not bad. The coverage is still very spotty throughout the Khumbu so sometimes I could get it at Base Camp and other not. Also made calls from Camp 1 but not above. Did not try above Camp 3.

  8. Hey Alan,
    congratulations!
    What do you think about the Hillary Step? At sea level it looks ridiculous, but that high.. I think I would wet my pants ;)
    Was it hard? And are you going to upload more photos when you are back?
    Thanks,
    Fabian

    • Ho Fabin. Thanks! The Hilary Step, was easier than I had envisioned. It was 40′ of near vertical rock but there were lots of foot placements in the rock or snow. Also the fixed line helped :) The Sherpas had done a nice job of clearing out the old ropes so that was not an issue this year. The big surprise was that little move at the top around a large boulder. I had to straddle it while staying clipped in; the exposure to the West was thousands of feet. I don’t have a lot of pictures (my only regret) from above the Balcony due to the cold and winds that required me to focus on the climb and staying warm. Once on the summit, we got a few shots that I will upload soon.

  9. Congratulations Alan!

    Your Blog was something I was looking forward to every morning. I still have hope that someday I will make it at least to Everest Base Camp… But it’s a long way from Germany!!

    You are really an inspiration.

    Helene

  10. Hi Alan.. well done ! great effort ! one question… I read that HA acclimatization last a year or more so why do HA climbers like yourself and many others who climb all the time have to go through the very very time consuming rotation and acclimatization period over and over again ?

    • Hi Graham, High altitude acclimatization only last about 2 to 3 weeks thus the need to repeat the process. Basically your body adds and/or subtracts red blood cells to carry oxygen to muscles on as needed basis so once I get back to Colorado, my body will immediately adjust to 5000′ instead of 17,500 (Everest Base Camp) for example.

  11. Hi Alan,

    Congratulations on your successful summit.Have been following your blog for quite some time now.you deserve it!

    Wanted to ask a question.

    How tough it is for someone with no climbing experience but some amount of experience in trekking just to reach at the base camp? Is there any special preparation if someone wants to trek just till the base camp from kathmandu?

    • Hi Snehal, Reaching Everest Base Camp is very straight forward for anyone in good physical shape. Thousands make the trek each year. I have a page that may help you at http://www.alanarnette.com/alan/ebcfaq.php If you get a chance to go, jump on it. The area is beautiful and the people are special. You don’t have to climb Everest to enjoy the Khumbu.

  12. Congrats Alan!!!

    • Thanks Zach. All, Zach was on my team and summitted in style a week earlier than we did.

  13. Wonderful, what an awesome cause. I lost a very close Aunt to the disease. Please tell me you are going to write a book about your journey. It would be as easy as taking your blogs to print. Climb on – look forward to Denali.

    • Hi Tony, thanks. Many people have suggested a book. Perhaps after I finish the 7 Summits this year, raise $1M for Alzheimer’s research and help raise worldwide awareness! Maybe a series of short stories would work? Thanks for the vote of confidence.

  14. Congratulations Alan! I have always enjoyed your blog, but your work this year is very special. Your ability to share your wonderful descriptions, emotions and feelings really allowed us to feel like we were with you in spirit. I can’t tell you how thrilled we were to see and hear you arrive at the summit (and safely down). Did you feel that having a smaller group at base camp and fewer political issues and dramas (other than significant weather and health issues) helped you to maintain your mental advantage?

    • Hi Tracy, actually the IMG team was quite large however it had sub teams so it never felt huge. There were 37 Everest summits including Sherpas. However, we all got on different schedules so the group I hung out with and eventually climbed with was around 8. I have climbed Everest with teams from 3 to 6 to 13 and found they all have personal dynamic issues, etc. I try to align with positive people who share the same goals and respect for the mountains that I have. But in the end, you have to be responsible for yourself and your own attitude and that can be tough.

  15. hi Allan, thanx so much for all your dispatches. your audios were awesome to hear. so chuffed you cracked the highest point on earth and arrived back safely. your mum would be so proud of you as are the rest of your followers.
    safe journey home. well done mate. Jim .P. Hereford . UK

  16. Thanks for sharing the great insights on your climb Alan, and thanks for the shout out to me! Before, during and after Everst, you have exemplified focus and purpose.

  17. Hi Alan,
    I am so happy that you finally reached the summit! Congrats to you and Kami both. I am wrestling now with what to do with my Dad who just recently has been diagnosed with AD. I surely can relate to your situation with your Mother. I never really knew the kind of confusion, and anxiety this disease can cause. Thank you for your work on raising awareness.
    Since you made it past the balcony, and beyond, my question to you is about the Hiliary Step. You mentioned a few big moves and up you went. I have read on your site that this is a 40ft wall of rock and ice, and lots of old ropes. What is climbing the step really like?
    Good Luck on Denali, I too will be following along, Jim

    • Hi JIm, I am sorry about your Dad, Hang in there. On the Hilary Step, it was easier than I had envisioned. It was 40′ of near vertical rock but there were lots of foot placements in the rock or snow. Also the fixed line helped :) The Sherpas had done a nice job of clearing out the old ropes so that was not an issue this year. The big surprise was that little move at the top around a large boulder. I had to straddle it while staying clipped in; the exposure to the West was thousands of feet.

  18. Alan – well done. Brilliant. I’ve followed your posts for years and I really am delighted for you!
    As you say, the real heroes are the climbing Sherpas. Can you give some insight as to how they view their “job”? e.g. Do they enjoy it? Were there no other opportunities for them? Do they carry out such a dangerous job just to ensure their children do not have to? Are the next generation of heroes coming through – or are the likes of Kami’s children part of the brain drain to KTM? How to they feel at the end of the expedition when their “Western team-mates” they have lived with for weeks on end get a US$7,500 heli back to KTM!? What do they do for the rest of the year (presumably live in KTM?)?

    • Hi Chris, On the Sherpas, yes they are simply amazing; yet still very, very human. I asked Kami your exact question one day (is Everest work or play?) and he was clear that guiding all these mountains for Westerners was a means to an end. They are paid well relative to a country with a US$300 per capita income and that allows them to send their kids to schools in Kathmandu, perhaps build lodges and tea houses or buy yaks for more income. Most of the climbing Sherpas do one big climb in the Spring and Fall and sometimes will work on treks into Tibet in between. Kami has 5 children and one is also a mountain guide for IMG, so the tradition continues and that is not unusual.

  19. Alan,

    Enjoy the warm, humid air of Kathmandu filled with many cocktails and pool-side fun. You deserve it! Again, well done and congratulations! It was exactly one year ago today (May 25) that my wife, Kristine, & I stood on top of Mt Everest and I vividly remember the joy, satisfaction, and sense of accomplishment you must still be feeling. Enjoy it!

    Brandon

  20. Congratulations Alan. Well done.

    I have one question: will you be returning to Everest?

    Obviously not next year (no doubt you’ll want to do something normal, like fishing, after your seven summits!) but further down the line would you want to go back?

    Maybe the question is too soon!!!!

    • Hi Simon, no plans to return to Everest. I have now been to Nepal 8 times and the Khumbu 6, Everest 4; maybe time to climb somewhere else? Then again :)

  21. Hey Alan..great job,again.Cant say that enough!..My question is:You were familiar with route up to the balcony from 3 previous attempts.Was the new ground you covered,South Summit,cornice traverse,Hillary Step,everything you thought it would be?More difficult or less?When you get back to Kathmandu,are you going to personally update Ms. Hawleys record book?Great job again,get home safe!

    • Hi Doug, Hey thanks for your ongoing comments some of which really made me laugh. The section from the Balcony to the South Summit was significantly harder than I had anticipated The slabs were technical and difficult when I was expecting some form of a snow slope, I got smooth rock – and with crampons at the altitude it as hard. The Traverse was straightforward as was the Hillary Step. More on the Step in another question. Overall it was much steeper than I had thought it would be (duh) from the Balcony to the Summit. Not sure on Ms. Hawley, will see later today and let you know.

  22. Thanks for your answer, very helpful.. Safe trip home Alan..

    I will be following your progress on future climbs..

    Climb on!!!! :)

  23. Many of you have noted in the comments that you have made a contribution to one of our benefactors throughout Everest 2011, I just want to thank you all sincerely that no matter the amount you are helping to make a difference and that is what this is all about. Thank you, thank you. Alan

  24. Alan,

    I’m so happy for you!

    It has been a pleasure following you for the past few years! Thanks for the stories, insights, and photos. You probably don’t remember me, but we had a couple of email exchanges back in 2003 when I was researching a 2004 Everest trekking peaks trip. You were so generous with your time and info and it really helped me in planning the trip.

    My wife’s grandfather is suffering from Alzheimer’s, so I appreciate that you are climbing to raise awareness for this cause!

    So glad you made the summit! Good luck with the remaining Summits.

    Jason

    • Hi Jason, Sherri and Shelagh, thanks for your kind words again. Jason, I absolutely remember you and I hope the baby is doing well. Shelagh, thank you sincerely for your contribution. I am always shocked (and motivated) as I hear of more and more case of Alzheimer’s. Thank you all for keeping me climbing.

  25. Very nice Alan. Safe trip home!

  26. namaste! alot of us i am sure were very concerned when you had the upper respiratory infection at camp three first time. your decisive bounceback indicates that you had some extra PROTEXIA there working with you/for you to make it happen for Alzheimers , Allen ! you know who THAT was ! she was watching you and Kami and making sure her CRAZY son would safely fulfill this CRAZY mission… have a huge western breakfast at Mike’s when back at Katmandu; i am sure you want to just GET HOME already. peace.

  27. You’re the man!

  28. I’ve been following all your climbs since first attempt on everest.. you finally got it.. congratulations on summit and for your foundation. Greetings from Caracas, Venezuela..

  29. Very pleased for you for a successful climb. I’m so glad your hard work and perseverance has paid off. Have loved following along on your always terrific blog and have happily contributed to your Alzheimer’s fundraiser.

  30. Have a safe flight home! I hope you are flying first class: that is what you deserve!

    And thank you for taking questions! I have had one for quite some time now, but didn’t want to ask earlier for fear it and others would change your focus. My question, from a non-climber: why were the climbs done during the night or very early morning? It seems to me the climb would be more difficult, and less safe in the dark, even with head lamps.

    • Hi Karen, thx for following and your comments and positive support. We climb at night because it is when the snow and ice are frozen and solid thus reducing the chance of avalanches or poking through soft snow bridges over crevasses. Actually it is quite peaceful climbing in the dark, it is quiet, the stars are out and if the moon is full, you don’t need headlamps! During the day, the sun can be oppressive at these high altitudes so we avoid it all costs.

  31. Congratulations again. Your dispatches always seemed positive and upbeat. In the audio clips you appeared to be in great health so I just knew you would make it. :-) Like Maury, I was wondering if you would ever climb Everest again?
    You cant do it next year because you have to run your Everest coverage site so I don’t have to do all the work getting news. Thanks again for letting us join you on your journeys.

    • Hi John, Thx, I actually felt very well throughout most of the expedition except for a few days while sick. Everest again????? I still have a sunburned face!!!!! :) No plans or desire at the moment, still enjoying the walk out.

  32. Hi Alan..What can i say only you are inspirational..!!!

    My question is what is the first step to climbing Everest? I’m a regular guy and Everest is my dream! Is it all about getting expierence and just hoping the oppurtunity comes along?

    By the way.. Thank you so much for everything you have done..

    Darren, Ireland..

    • Hi Darren, I can only suggest that if you want to climb Everest you need skills and experience to make the climb both safe and enjoyable. Living in Ireland you have some great mountains to train on as well as the Alps. By the way, Mont Blanc was my first “real” climb. So find a qualified guide company or club and take the time to learn the basics, practice and gain experience and create a plan where you climb ever higher mountains before signing up for Everest. Some people try to jump all this but I don’t recommend it if you want to be safe and successful. My Everest FAQ page may be helpful at http://www.alanarnette.com/alan/everestfaq.php Good luck.

  33. Hi Alan, Followed you not just because of this great and heroic adventure you’ve been on but because my mom had Alzheimer’s as well. Lost her in ’99. I know the heartache it brought you and your family. I made the trek last year to EBC (with IMG and John & Ryan Dahlem) and really enjoyed listening to the climbers that year talk about their preparations, plans and past climbing experiences. But what I never heard was talk about the the last day – summit day. Would you mind sharing your summit day experience with us; not only the physical demands but, more significantly, the emotional/mental ones as well? Thanks!
    David

    • Hi David, I posted a recap of my summit day at http://www.alanarnette.com/blog/2011/05/22/everest-summit-recap-more-than-a-summit/ that may give you some insight but I tried to keep my emotions in check for the majority of the summit climb and then fell apart on the summit! I found the climb required 100% concentration as to the technical requirements – clipping in, using the jumar, foot placement, breathing via the mask, keeping goggles clear, managing layers, hydrating and eating. So there was actually a lot to do mentally. But also I tried to stay focused on big picture of time and how I felt. A kind of rule is to summit with 40% in reserve so I was quite aware of how my body was doing. I think I got to the top with about 50%+ so was not worried about getting down safely.

  34. Hi Alan. Thank you for the great memories and information you provided during this Everest climbing season. I followed you all the way to the summit via Spot. I know its too premature but will you be attempting Everest once again in the future? Also, what advice do you give to those aspiring mountaineers that dream of following in your footsteps? Thank you, Namaste.

    • Hi Maury, thanks for all your support as well. Glad the spot worked, hard to know when you use it. I will use it again on all my other climbs. As for advice? Learn the basics, get experience, gain skills, take it seriously and go for it!

  35. Alan…..”Savor” those last few moments in Kathmandu…no one deserves them more than you…a fantastic climb and I appreicate the nice comment regarding “pace” and, as usual, all the wonderful tidbits and hints that you give on being a successful climber…your conditioning program was tough and I am sure that is why you “ran’ up the mountain. I loved your comment too on allowing yourself to be sick…because eveyone gets sick and you had the mental capacity to overcome it. Memories are everything and continue to “climb on” “one step at a time.”
    John
    :)

    • Thanks again John, you and your son were real inspirations to me and I valued your comments along the way. You are so right that climbing any mountain or achieving any goal is a huge amount of mental work. Sorry I didn’t learn that for my first three Everest climbs!! :)

  36. Hi Mark, Everest was climb #3 of the 7 Summits Climb for Alzheimer’s: Memories are Everything. Denali is next, leaving June 26, followed by Elbrus (Russia), Kilimanajaro (Africia), Carstynz Pryamid (Oct/Nov?) and the Kosi (Australia). I will be blogging from all of these and hope you will follow along. Perhaps 2012 will find me visiting Des Moines!

  37. Allen it has been a joy to follow you during this expedition. Thank you for all that you do. You are an inspiration to us all. If you are ever in Des Moines I would love to meet you and hear you speak. My only question for you is what’s next for you?

    Best Wishes

  38. HI Ellen, thanks for all your supportive comments over this climb. I only got a few pictures of me on the summit due to the high winds (40mph) and cold temps (-20F). I will post them soon. The “good” one is part of this post however :)

  39. Hi Liane, First, got a picture for you and the kids. No gripping stories of danger. the Icefall was mellow compared to my previous climbs, fewer ladders and seracs. My oxygen mask did freeze up as was down climbing the Hillary Step causing me to stop breathing at the worst possible moment but Kami used his fist to beat the ice off the intake valve and it was fine. But I don’t recommend stopping breathing at 29,000′ :)

  40. Do you have photos to share? Have a great trip home!
    Ellen

  41. Alan:
    The QE students and I want to know if you had any scary moments along the way? Other climbers we have followed in the past (including Paul Adler!) have had frightening oxygen issues up high or dangerous moments in the Icefall. Any stories? Liane and the QE kids

  42. No questions Alan… Just a big CONGRATULATIONS. I followed every step !!!

  43. Congratulations on your successful summit. You deserve it!! Well done.
    Warmest regards,
    Ronnie.