Everest 2003 Expedition
Himalaya - Nepal
29,035 feet 8850m
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I summited Everest on May 21, 2011 and have climbed it three other times- 2002, 2003 and 2008 each time reaching just below the Balcony at about 27,500' (8400 meters) before health, weather or my own judgment caused me to turn back. When not climbing, I cover the Everest season from my home in Colorado as I did for the 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014 Everest seasons. This page is the overview of my 2003 climb.

Not one to give up easy on a very, very difficult goal; I returned to Everest in 2003 after my attempt in '02. I got to 27,200 feet that year before turning back due to a severe cough that made it impossible for me to go on. But I got close enough that I felt I wanted to try again to stand on top of the world. Unfortunately it didn't happen again in 2003. This time my body simple was not willing. I suffered from altitude sickness type symptoms above 23,000 feet and ultimately got to about the same place as 2002 - 27,000' - before turning back.

Please see the dispatches I sent during the 2003 climb.

I am actually OK with these results. While I am disappointed not to have summited, I gave it my best. I pushed myself very hard in 2003. In hindsight, I could have easily turned back earlier in the expedition without shame. But once I realized that my body was not acclimatization properly, I reset my goal to get to the South Col and leave with the team for the summit. Go as high as I could without putting myself or my team in danger and, most importantly, return home safely. So that it exactly what happened.

The description of climb is very similar to last year's so I will keep this short.
Children in the Khumbu
We flew into Lukla from Kathmandu It took about 8 days to trek to base camp stopping in the Sherpa villages to spend the night. Twice we spent a full day resting or taking side climbs for acclimatization. This is always a great part of any trip to Nepal in that you get a chance to meet the Sherpa people in their homes, pass them on the dirt trails and interact with all the great children you see along the way.

Again, I was impressed with the overall quality of the teahouses. They were clean and the food was safe and well prepared. The kids ask for money or candy sometimes but the trend now is to give them a pencil or pen in return for a picture, if anything at all. Most just want to see their picture on a digital camera display!


Once at base camp (BC), we began the process of getting our bodies used to the altitude. This year the schedule was:

- 4 hour climb to the first ladders in the icefall for practice
- Round trip climb to the top of the icefall for acclimatization
- Two nights at Camp 1 at 19,500'
- One night at C1 and two at C2, 21000'. Take two short climbs part-way up the Lhotse Face
Summit ridge of Everest- Three nights at C2 with one night at C3, 23500'
- Rest at BC for six days

- Summit bid:
- Climb from base camp to Camp 2
- Rest day at Camp 2
- Climb to Camp 3 on Lhotse Face
- Climb across Yellow Band & Geneva Spur to South Col, Camp 4
- Rest day at South Col due to high winds on summit
- Leave for summit about 9:30 PM
- Summit attempt, May 21 Arrive back in Camp 4, South Col about 3:00PM (I turned back around 1AM at 27,000)
- Climb back to Camp 2
- Climb back to base camp
Summit route on Everest from South Col
There are detailed accounts of the climb on the 2003 Dispatches

The readers of our web site were an incredible asset to us both years and both Cathy thank you all very much.

Namaste,
Cathy and Alan