May 3: Expedition over?

High Adventure Expeditions has gathered our remaining team in Everest basecamp trying to decide how to move forward without any clients. On the climb up the steep and icy Lhotse face, Amit began to develop lots of pain in his upper back. The Lhotse face is the gateway to the upper slopes of Mt Everest— a glimpse of the difficulties to come. As climbers move above camp 3, they will face the same steep and icy slopes with less oxygen, more wind, more cold, and a bulky oxygen rig on top of it.

May 1: over 22,000 feet

It was a great day for upward progress as the wind finally relented. Under clear, sunny skies we left Camp 2 and pushed up the Lhotse face. This face of ice, rock and snow stretches over 3500 feet at angles of 40 to 50 degrees with the occasional steeper bulge. This steep face requires a different climbing technique putting us onto the front points of our crampons— kicking them into the hard blue ice to get purchase. Climbing this face to camp 3 is another one of the obstacles all climbers must conquer on their quest to climb Mt. Everest.

April 30: Resting at Camp 2

We’ve done everything we can to make camp 2 a comfortable place to rest and recuperate as much as one can at 21,300 feet. The mountain, however, is not cooperating as much as it could! We’ve spent two days here trying to rest and recover. The 50 mile per hour winds buffeting the slopes of the South Col haven’t made it as comfortable as we’d like. These high winds are forecast to last for at least another 24 hours before the weather takes a milder turn.

April 28: Camp 2 over 21,000 feet !

We rose early from the tents at camp 1 anxious to reach Camp 2 and 21,000 feet. Situated higher on the mountain, Camp 2 is much more expansive than camps 1, 3 and 4. It generally serves as a form of ‘advanced base camp’ providing some of the luxury that we became accustomed to at basecamp. Again, we have tents for the climbers with a separate, larger tent for us to gather, cook and eat in more comfort. We will stay at camp 2 for several days finding the time to make a trip up to camp 3 as we continue our acclimatization. 

Apr 27: Camp1

It was an early departure from the comforts of basecamp as we rose at 3AM to climb through the icefall to Camp 1 with the Sherpas moving ahead of us to set up the camp. We arrived in good form and settled into Camp 1 to adjust to the altitude. The Sherpas continued on to Camp 2 carrying more of our equipment. Later that morning, the largest avalanche I’ve ever seen came off the face of Nuptse crashing down into the Western Cwm. The blast from the avalanche was strong enough to knock Nima, one of the Sherpas on our expedition, off the route into a crevasse.

Apr 26th- Prepped for progress!

It was a solid day of preparation for moving up the mountain! After bidding farewell to Anna, a Swedish trekker who joined our group for the past several days, we prepared for a climbing day tomorrow. We spent our time in camp organizing gear, clothing, food, snacks and equipment in preparation for our journey up through camp one and even higher on the mountain. With good weather, we will be at it early, moving up through the icefall and onto the glacier to the environs of camp 1 at over 20,000 feet.

Apr 25: Coping with a strange day

Today has been a difficult day in the High Adventure Expeditions base camp as Nawal came to the decision that he will not be climbing Mount Everest this year. This morning, Nawal announced that he has decided to go home. After Nawal made his decision, Dendi worked hard wheeling and dealing and was able to arrange for a helicopter flight back to Lukkla, where Nawal will wait for his flight back to Kathmandu. The rest of us have spent our day coping with this news and his departure.

Apr 24- Camp 1 and back

Today Amit and I took our fist steps above base camp on an acclimatization climb. After reaching our temporary camp one, we enjoyed some fantastic views of Everest’s North col and the Lhotse face before returning to basecamp. Camp one is generally situated around 20,000 feet, just above the icefall so it was an important day for us as we expose our bodies to thinner air.

Basecamp living

Climbing on Mount Everest is a complicated balance of physical and psychological preparation. The extremes in temperature and altitude are matched by the emotional extremes climbers face as they push highter up the mountain. A comfortable basecamp can physically and pschologically prepare us for the difficulties we are sure to face at higher camps.

April 23: Helicopter on rest day?

After a chilly night in camp, -13˚C / 9˚F we woke up to a much needed day of rest and recuperation and stayed around our basecamp. After several days of acclimatization hikes, icefall practice, and camp work, it was time to catch up on laundry and even take showers. While existing in an environment like Everest basecamp, the relaxation of a rest day seems that much more precious. Our Sherpas didn’t have the luxury of a rest day, however, as they completed yet another carry of equipment to camp 2.