This week starts like last week – teams trekking or driving to base camp. So far, the season has no big surprises, just what we like this early. There has been a bit more precipitation than normal, but that could be, um, well it could just be the weather 🙂
As the #Everest2018 season continues, some teams are doing a first round of acclimatization on nearby Lobuche East. This is known as a “trekking peak” but is still 6,119 m/20,075 ft. A few teams will actually camp out on the small area at the east summit. Almost no one will make the final climb to the true summit as it is heavily corniced and this is about acclimating so not worth the risk. But there are amazing views of Everest no matter where you stop.
Camps in the Cwm
Teams at EBC are beginning to establish camps in the Western Cwm. Sherpas tried to go up today, Monday 9 April 2018 but were stopped by a small collapse of ladders crossing a crevasse near the Football Field. The crevasse is quite wide and will require four ladders lashed together to cross it. More work for the Icefall Doctors. This is quite usual, especially early in the season but will be a common occurrence throughout depending on how stable the ice is around the route.
Meanwhile, the Adventure Consultants team were blessed by the new Lama in Pangboche. As you know, Lama Geshe, who has blessed thousands, recently passed away and Lama Ngawang Paljor is now performing the ceremonies. They described his style as very different than the always smiling and laughing, easy going Lama Geshe:
We entered a small well lit, would-be very sunny (if it wasn’t all grey cloud) room where every inch of every wall and ceiling space was covered in colourful Bhuddist painting. If it wasn’t painted dragons, doves, fruit, flowers, clouds, sea-shells, concentric circles, more flowers, and carved and painted “borders” then it was individual glass cabinets with small statues of a variety of bhuddas (also colourful including a big blue bhudda!). Right up my alley, and lots to admire.
Although the Lama Ngawang Paljor didn’t smile a whole lot he certainly gave us an elegant and very genuine blessing. He prayed and blessed us with the passion of a professional caring for our bodily and spiritual well-being. We departed with Shrundi strings around our necks to wear for the expedition duration, also blessed to help keep us safe.
More Climbers to Watch
I keep adding, what I think, are somewhat unique climbs this spring season on Everest. One common factor in both of these stories is that some might consider them “disabled” and not allow them on Everest. They would strongly disagree.
Boyan Petrov is a young, strong and ever more popular climber from Bulgaria. His mountaineering CV is quite impressive with summits of 10 of the 14 8000ers except for Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu and Shishapangma – all sans O’s. As I was descending on K2, he was going up only 8 days after nabbing Broad Peak in 2014. I knew by the way he spoke and handled himself, he was something special. Petrov is a diabetic and a cancer survivor. He will be climbing from the Tibet side of Everest with no supplemental oxygen or Sherpa support.
Another story unfolding is the speed record for the 7 Summits by Australian Steve Plain. He wants to complete all seven in four months breaking the current record of 126 days. He is doing both the Messner and Bass list of the 7 meaning both Kosciuszko and Carstensz Pyramid.
He is another amazing story as in 2014 he broke his neck in a surfing accident and spent four months in a halo brace. He sustained multiple fractures to the C2, C3 & C7 vertebra, contorted spinal cord, ruptured disc, dissected arterial artery, torn ligaments and more. He is raising money for both Surf Life Saving and Spinal Cure whom he credits for saving his life and helping him recover.
He as completed six of the seven peaks including an amazing effort on Denali last week where he and fellow climber Jon Gupta summited via the West Buttress route in 20 hours from the 14,000 foot camp. Not only is this an amazingly fast time but also well before the real season starts due to hard winds and extreme cold – down to -45C!.
He needs to summit Everest before 22 May to seal the record. They are climbing from the Nepal side. Jon is getting quite a name for himself going with climbers seeking to achieve unique goals. Last year he guided UK’s Mollie Hughes to summit Everest making her the youngest woman and first English woman to summit Everest from both sides.
I added a new list to the sidebar of climbers to watch. Hope this is helpful but I will be following and reporting on them throughout the entire season.
Memories are Everything