The Khumbu Icefall – 2,000 feet of moving ice – serves as the gateway to almost all routes on Everest’s south side. It is incredible to think that the early Swiss and British expeditions made this ascent in leather boots with nails for crampons and trees for ladders.
Today we made our entry into the ice fall.
The weather has been mixed the last few days with clear mornings, cloudy afternoons and some snow squalls. It has been very noisy at Base Camp with snow and rock avalanches on all sides. I don't remember this much activity before. It is extremely rare for even the snow blast to reach BC but it is exciting nonetheless. The Khumbu Icefall dominates our view at BC. Everyone looks at it with apprehension and anticipation. It truly is the gateway to Everest.
We left at a very reasonable 9:00am intending to go only halfway up.
The lower part of the icefall is a gradual incline of maybe 5 to 10 degrees. There are no ladders for almost 700’. But the route undulates like a wild dragon and you begin to feel the altitude since this is the first time above Base Camp.
Everyone did well and soon we were at our first ladder. I am pleased that the icefall seems slightly safer this year with fewer large seracs towering over the route and also fewer large crevasses - at least up to the area called the popcorn.
Everyone enjoyed taking pictures of their feet on a ladder and making their first crossings. As the clouds moved in we retreated to BC for a well deserved lunch.
I uploaded a video of me crossing one of the ladders. You can find it under expeditions videos on the right side of the main dispatch page. I hope it gives you a feel for crossing the ladders without upsetting your stomach!
Another rest day tomorrow.
Remember: Memories are Everything