Hello from 17,600 feet!
Scott and I arrived at the Mountain Trip Mount Everest Base Camp on the 14th of April after hiking up the Khumbu for nine days. We stayed in Namche Bazaar, Dingboche and Lukla for two nights each, taking advantage of doing some fun “casual” day hikes. This not only helps with acclimatizing, but they enabled us to get amazing views of some of the Himalaya giants including Everest, Makalu and Cho Oyu, as well as many other beautiful rugged peaks and hanging glaciers.
We had great weather until we reached Lobuche, where we woke up to a foot of new snow on a few inches of old rotten crud that is always fun to walk on..! Since then, we’ve had light snow showers and a bit of wind in the afternoons. When the sun comes out in the morning, the snow quickly melts only to be replaced by fresh snow in the evening.
The snow has slowed the progress of rope and ladder fixing in the icefall and above Camp One.
Today the 18th of April is the one year anniversary of the tragic avalanche in the Khumbu Icefall that took 16 Sherpa lives, something about which we are all very conscious and respectful. Trying to avoid a similar accident, the Khumbu Ice Doctors (the Sherpas that maintain the fixed lines and ladders through the icefall) made a route on the right side of the icefall trying to avoid the seracs on the lower slopes of Everest, the side opposite of the one on which the avalanche hit last year.
Out of respect for the fallen Sherpas who worked hard to make it possible for many of us to achieve our dream of climbing Everest, no one is climbing above Base Camp today.
Tomorrow, only the Ice Doctors will climb up, as they affix ropes and replace ladders that might have broken due to the ever shifting ice in the icefall. On the 20th, the plan is for our Sherpas to climb up, carrying loads to establish Camps One and Two. On the 21st or 22nd, Scott and I will head up to spend three to four nights above 21,000 feet to acclimatize. After that first rotation at Camp 1 and 2, we will rest at base camp for a few days before going up to Camp 2 once again before making a day trip to Camp 3 at 23,800 feet.
When not on the mountain, Scott and I spend the days walking around Base Camp socializing and meeting other climbers from around the world. It’s truly an international crowd, with 300+ climbers from around the world. Some days we will climb up to Camp 1 on neighboring Pumori or work on our climbing skills in the lower icefall to prepare for the climb up to Camp 1.
Please check back as we will try to up date the blog as often as possible.
Jacob Schmitz, Everest Base Camp