Our team of Sherpas left Everest base camp early this morning and climbed to Camp 2, twenty two Sherpas in all. They will rest tomorrow and then 6 of our Sherpas along with 2 from Adventure Consultants team will head up to the South Col high camp (Camp 4), as long as the winds die down, and then begin the final stage of the rope fixing project to the summit of Mount Everest. Our plan is to have the route finished to the summit by May 12th, weather pending. Usually when the first climbers are setting the route to the summit they have to break trail through waist deep snow, and set the anchors and climbing rope along the route. The first stage will be to move to the South Col and establish camp, the second stage will be to fix ropes up the Triangular Face to the Balcony (27,500 ft. / 8333m), and the third stage will be to fix ropes from the Balcony up the South East ridge to the rock bands just below the South Summit of Mount Everest, over the South Summit, and then along the summit ridge to the top of Mount Everest! We hope the weather and route conditions will be favorable for our Sherpas as they work hard to establish the final section of the climbing route to the top of the mountain for our team and all teams on Mount Everest, so that all climbers may have the opportunity to climb safely and efficiently.
Our climbers are all now in Everest base camp and some who took a 4 day rest in Namche are back now so we are all together as we make final preparations for our summit attempt! We are checking our equipment and readying our minds and bodies for this epic challenge, the culmination of our last 6 weeks here in Nepal. In the next couple of days we will be moving up to Camp 2 (our Advanced Base Camp) and from their we will reassess the summit rope fixing progress, the weather forecast, the mountain conditions, and make a final decision on moving up to the higher camps on schedule for our summit attempt!
We are now resting in Mount Everest base camp, waiting for the high winds to die down so that we can begin our summit rotation. All of our members are down in base camp or in Namche resting and recovering from our last rotation when we touched Camp 3 on the Lhotse Face. Our Sherpa team is also resting in Mount Everest base camp and also in Camp 2, waiting as we are for the good weather window to materialize. We are doing base camp chores such as laundry, resetting our tent platforms as the glacier ice melts during the season, and enjoying the occasional hot shower in Everest base camp! The days have been sunny and warm, with a small amount of light snowfall at night. Today we took our breakfast (French toast, fried eggs, bacon, fresh yoghurt, & espresso coffee) outside our dining tent in the morning sun! We are soaking up the stunning views of Mount Everest and the surrounding peaks and preparing ourselves for our final objective in a few days time, when we will depart Everest base camp for our summit rotation, our journey to the top of the world!
We concluded a great ‘second rotation’ today by descending from our Camp 2, known as our Advanced Base Camp, all the way down to our Everest base camp. While on our rotation we spent three nights at our Camp 2, and were very lucky to have great weather. To begin our rotation, we departed our base camp at 4 AM and climbed all the way to Camp 2. Then we took a rest day to recuperate and recover from the big climb, nearly 4,000 ft (1,212m) of vertical gain. After our rest day we planned to climb to our Camp 3 on the Lhotse Face, so we departed our Camp 2 (Advanced Base Camp) at 8 AM and climbed in our down suits to the base of the Lhotse Face, then began our ascent up the steep ice wall on the fixed ropes towards Camp 3, which is situated about halfway up the Lhotse Face at approximately 23,500 ft. (7,121m). The Lhotse Face is notably icier this year and requires good crampon technique! After 5 hours of climbing we reached our Camp 3 and took a long break to rest, hydrate, and eat a few snacks. We also had the privilege of enjoying an amazing view from Camp 3, looking down over Camp 2, the Western CWM, and Camp 1. We then descended the fixed rope designated for rappelling and made good time in our descent, reaching our Camp 2 just an hour later for a late afternoon lunch. It was a very productive rotation in that we accomplished our goal of climbing to Camp 3 to acclimatize and also to familiarize ourselves with the steep and technical terrain of the Lhotse Face.
Our Sherpas have been busy carrying loads of equipment to the South Col high camp (Camp 4) for the final stage of the rope fixing project which involves setting the ropes from the South Col to the Summit of Mount Everest. They have done an exemplary job so far by setting two lines up to Camp 3, one for ascending and one for descending, as well as an additional line above Camp 3 to ease congestion on the route. We have received many compliments regarding how the lines are set in a safe and desirable fashion on the Lhotse Face which makes for efficient climbing. Lines have also been set on the Geneva Spur, the final rock ridge before the South Col, so that climbers can go up and down on separate lines for safety and efficiency. At this time Sherpas have been utilizing these ropes to carry loads of oxygen cylinders, tents, food, and fuel to position at the South Col for the eventual summit attempt on Mount Everest!
According to our weather forecasts, it appears that a major wind event is approaching Mount Everest, probably in the next day or two. Our Sherpas will make good use of tomorrows marginal weather forecast to position additional loads at the South Col high camp, and then see if the following day is appropriate for climbing above 8000 meters. The jet stream will likely cover the Mount Everest region for up to a week and no climbing will take place above 8000 meters during this time, so we are preparing to hold tight and wait for the opportunity when the Jet Stream passes and the winds are calm enough for a summit attempt! Until then we plan to rest and enjoy the amenities of our Everest base camp!
Yesterday the weather was good up here , we took some rest in Camp 2. Today we departed Camp 2, our Advanced Base Camp, at 7 AM to climb up the Lhotse Face to Camp 3 at nearly 23,500 ft. (7120m) We donned our Down Suits to stay warm in the early morning before the sun arrived on the Lhotse Face at around 9 AM. Climbing up the steep ice was challenging, but our steel crampons held firm as we made our way up the face to Camp 3.
Upon reaching Camp 3 we took a long break and had a snack before making our way down the Lhotse Face, rappelling the steeper line over the blue ice to the base of the Lhotse Face near the Bergschrund. We then made our way back to Camp 2 for dinner and a restful sleep. Our plan is to either descend tomorrow or take a rest day and descend the following day down to Everest base camp, and then take a long rest before embarking on our summit rotation!
Today our climbing sherpas carried loads to the South Col high camp (Camp 4) in preparation for the final rope fixing to the summit of Mount Everest – Our Rope fixing team fixed the rope upto South Col! . Now that all of the essential equipment is in place for the rope fixing (ropes, ice screws, carabiners, oxygen, etc) we are keeping an eye on the weather for an opportunity to fix the final portion of the route up the Triangular Face to the Balcony (27,500 ft / 8335m), then up the south east ridge and over the rock bands to the south summit, along the summit ridge to the top of the world! Stay tuned for updates from our rope fixing team!
Today we departed Mount Everest base camp at 4 AM and climbed up through the Khumbu Icefall in the pre dawn hours when the ice is solid. Then we had the pleasure of a beautiful sunrise as we ascended up through the Icefall to Camp 1. After reaching Camp 1 we continued up through the Western CWM (valley) to Camp 2, our Advanced Base Camp. It was a long day of climbing, but we are happy to finally have arrived in our Advanced Base Camp on Mount Everest and now looking forward to a rest day tomorrow! Everyone is doing well here on Mount Everest!
Today our Sherpas carried 10 loads of ropes and hardware from Camp 2, our Advanced Base Camp, to the South Col high camp (Camp 4) on Mount Everest. This load carry is approximately 4,500 ft. (1380m) from Camp 2 to Camp 4, and very strenuous day, which involves climbing the steep ice of the Lhotse Face, crossing the rock formation known as the Yellow Band, and then up and over the secondary rock formation known as the Geneva Spur, a ridge line which separates the upper Lhotse Face. Our Sherpas are planning to carry another 10 loads of essential equipment tomorrow, to complete the positioning of gear necessary for the rope fixing project to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
For our 2018 expedition we are using these backpack from Mountain Hardwear. Also, our Mountain Hardwear ‘South Col’ backpacks are utilized by our climbing Sherpa to transport the essential equipment in harsh environment . Furthermore, these backpacks are used for rope fixing all the way to the summit.
Our team of climbers is heading up tonight on our second rotation on Mount Everest to acclimatize. Additionally, they will carry essential equipment to our high camps such as our down suits, mittens, hand warmers, and electric foot warmers in preparation for our summit rotation in a couple weeks time. We have been resting up here in Everest base camp the last few days . We are ready to make our second trip up Everest to climb the Lhotse Face to Camp 3. Our plan is to touch Camp 3 and then return to Camp 2 for the night. We should be back in base camp in 4 or 5 days time.
The goal of this second rotation is to continue building our acclimatization and increase our familiarity with the route . Furthermore, to become more efficient in our climbing through the Khumbu Icefall, Western CWM, and the Lhotse Face which is more icy this year than in previous seasons.
Our rope fixing sherpas are currently in Camp 2 on Mount Everest and will be carrying loads of rope and hardware (ice screws, carabiners, oxygen, etc.) to the South Col high camp (Camp 4) tomorrow and the following day. And, hopefully depositing all essential equipment for the rope fixing project at the South Col. After this load carry they will take a rest and we will evaluate the weather forecast for the final stage of the rope fixing project. Evaluation involves setting the ropes from the South Col high camp (Camp 4) to the summit, a multi day project. We hope for good weather and route conditions for this project to continue moving forward in a timely manner.
All of our climbers are down in Mount Everest base camp at the moment, resting up and preparing for our next rotation up the mountain to acclimatize. We have been taking hot showers, doing laundry, and enjoying many fine meals here in our base camp. Our bodies are responding from the time we recently spent up at the higher camps by building more red blood cells. So that we will be better acclimated the next time we venture up Everest.
The weather has been good, only a little wind on the upper mountain and some daily snow fall in the afternoon, but we dont need to worry. This is the typical weather pattern for Mount Everest during this time of the year. Our Sherpa team is carrying loads up to Camp 2 and will make a carry while also completing the fixing of the ropes to the South Col high camp (Camp 4) in the coming days. Everyone is doing well and enjoying the magnificent views here in Everest base camp. We are hoping for good weather for next steps!