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Apr 062013
 
Final Steps to Everest Base Camp

Final Steps to Everest Base Camp

It was a good week for all those heading towards Mt. Everest. The weather was fine and reports from Base Camp included cold and snow – both good news after the dry and dangerous 2012 season.

In 2012, salve I posted this for the April 8th Weekend update:

In Nepal, Everest Base Camp received a few inches of fresh snow throughout the week but there are reports that Everest proper is pretty dry which will make the climbing a bit more difficult with crampons on rock. But we have heard these reports before only to find the route above the South Col fully snow covered.

Well, those reports were spot on with little snow the winter of 2011/12. That combined with high winds created a missile zone of flying rocks that injured many Sherpas. It was one of the most dangerous seasons on record.

The difficult weather of 2012 conspired to squeeze all summit efforts into 4 days instead of the normal 8 to 12 thus creating the massive traffic jams at the bottlenecks. However, those crowds had nothing to do with the deaths of 10 climbers on both sides.  You can read my recap of last year at this link.

Thankfully, it looks like 2013 will be quite different.

With more snow, the rocks are cemented in place and less likely to tumble downhill hitting climbers. It is easier for the Sherpas to place anchors for ropes and generally easier for climbers to gain traction with their crampons. Let’s hope this is the case and 2013 will be a safe season for all.

The blogs were active as trekkers used the high speed Internet available in Namche. As they trekked higher, there were fewer posts with less pictures as the connection went from slow to absent. Those with satellite phones are saving their minutes.

The excitement grows for both trekkers and climbers as they reach the higher altitudes of the Khumbu. Almost everyone flew into Lukla at 9,250 feet. The next milestone was Namche Bazaar at 11,300′ then Tengboche (12,683′), Periche (13,907′) and finally Gorak Shep (16,924′). It took most teams 10 days to reach Base Camp at 17,500 feet.

The 38 mile trek is designed to allow the climber’s bodies to gently adjust to the higher altitude through creating more red bloods cells and adapting the body’s chemistry. But even with this, they will feel the real effects of altitude once they settle in at Base Camp.

A few teams have already arrived at Base Camp including the Dave Hahn lead RMI team and Wally Berg’s team.

IMG’s Eric Simonson reports on progress of fixing the rope in the Icefall:

Jangbu reports that the Icefall doctors have now opened the route up the Icefall, and tomorrow the IMG sherpas will be heading up to claim campsites at Camp 1 and Camp 2. Good news!

Teams climbing from Tibet are still waiting for the Nepal/China boarder to open. This is more or less a normal occurrence with the Chinese often changing dates, but for now it looks to be open between April 8th and the 10th. Some north side teams, like Adventure Peaks, are trekking in the Khumbu to get a jump on their acclimatization during the wait.

This weekend is a unique time for Everest climbers. They are finishing up their trek but shifting their thoughts to the climb ahead. For most teams, they have trekkers with them, so reaching Everest Base Camp becomes their ‘summit’. Bonds are made between the groups so saying goodbye is always tough.

The first order of business upon arriving in Base Camp is to find your personal tent and get your gear sorted. This means taking out your sleeping bag, and maybe an additional pad. Putting up pictures of important people in your tent. Changing into some clean clothes from the dusty trek. Perhaps making a quick call home to let everyone know that you have arrived.

For the next few days, most people will rest, drink and eat. They will makes short walks around camp, perhaps to the edge of the Icefall. Some will take a quick skills review on a nearby ropes course the Sherpas set up on the glacier. But overall, it is a time to prepare mind and body for the next part of climbing Mt. Everest.

Climb On!
Alan
Memories are Everything


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  5 Responses to “Everest 2013: Weekend Update April 7”

  1.  

    thanks Alan, love reading your posts. takes me right back to the Khumbu

  2.  

    Just finished work,its 06.03 am in London and I’ve just enjoyed another excellent blog Alan. Thank you Sir, And yes Kate you are not alone in visiting this daily,good innit? And echo the best wishes by Bashar to the Jordanian teams and the Saudi young lady. What a cool name “Arabs with Altitude”

  3.  

    I see I am not alone in the daily visits to your blogs. After trekking so many times in my imagination, helped by the wonderful written word and photos I feel to know all the villages and stops along the way.Some of the tours round EBC and Axe’s tour round NBC last year show us just how comfortable some of the expeditions can be, together with all the gadgets and IT gear they have managed to take along with them. Looking up at Everest and the spindrift must be awesome,I get a tightness in my stomach just thinking about it. Cheers Kate

  4.  

    This is so exciting! Your blog is wonderful, I visit quite often. Thanks for keeping such accurate, up to date information! I love it!

  5.  

    As always Alan you reporting is comprehensive and its a delight to read. This is the second year I am following your reporting and I look forward to your posts daly with excitement.

    There are two groups that I am following this year. A Jordanian group that are Trekking to the EBC under the slogan “From the lowest Point to the Highest Point” in the aid of the Hussien Cancer Foundation. Its a group of 20 Jordanian Trekkers led by Mostafa Salameh who summited Everest in 2008 as the first Jordanian to do so.

    The second group has more ambitious plans to go all the way to the summit. They are part of the Alpine Ascents International Team 2 and are climbing in aid of charity under the slogan “Arabs with Altitude”.

    One additional thing to highlight this year is the attempt by a Saudi female with AAI Team 1 Raha Moharrak. She already has a number of the 7 Summits under her belt. Should she accomplish her mission to ascend Everest she will be the First Saudi female to do so and the Second Arab Female to accomplish this amazing feat. I wish them all the best of luck and safe ascent and descent.

    Keep up the good work and I hope you know you have many followers from all around the world to your good work and good cause.

    Namaste,

    Bashar