Sunday, April 11, 2010

Today I started climbing Mount Everest! Since I have been at basecamp for 3 days, it is now time to begin acclimating to the higher elevations. A climb of Mount Everest generally takes 4-6 weeks upon arrival at basecamp. The reason for this is that I have to allow the body time to create more red blood cells. These are the body’s cells that carry oxygen. As you can imagine the higher in elevation one goes there is less oxygen to breath. Therefore, to overcome this, I can further my acclimatization by climbing high and sleeping low. So today I ventured onto the lower portions of Everest, at around 18,200’, and have returned to basecamp for 2 days of rest.

The most notorious portion of the climbing route on the South side of Everest is the Khumbu Icefall. This is a two-mile long maze of jumbled ice blocks, crevasses, and seracs as big as a house. These crevasses, sometimes 20 feet wide and 150 feet deep, are overcome by aluminum ladders lashed end to end and then placed horizontal to span the enormous openings in the glacier. The Icefall is the first obstacle that must be overcome if I am to attain the higher reaches of Mount Everest.

The object of today’s little climb was to get to the first couple of ladders and work on the skills necessary to cross these frightening fissures with confidence and speed. The confidence needed to cross these wide gaps is easily understandable but why the speed? The Khumbu Icefall moves downhill at around 3 – 4 feet per day. The crevasses instantly get wider, and the enormous blocks of ice can collapse without warning. Once the sun hits the icefall the glacial movement accelerates. Since I will need to cross through the icefall 6 times in total, I must be fast and efficient. So most of the climbing on this portion of Everest is done at night for obvious reasons.

Please enjoy the pictures taken of me crossing a few of the crevasses in the lower icefall. Again, thank you to everyone who has remembered me in prayer. Words cannot express my gratitude.

In a few days I will venture all the way through the icefall and sleep at Camp 1. This will begin my first of several rotations up the mountain. Hopefully, if all goes well I will also push on to Camp 2 located at approximately 21,500’. I may be out of contact for a few days because carrying the computer, DSL modem and other technology stuff higher on the mountain is just too cumbersome. However, I will be able to call my wife via satellite phone and she can post an update on our progress. Thanks for following along as I attempt to stand on the highest point on Earth.


Diana said...

I like that you get to post pictures, but these are not my favorite. :) These are probably the easiest "ladders" too. :( Yet, I love seeing your face and seeing that you are safe.
We are praying for your safety, health, safety, success and SAFETY!
Love you!
Diana & Alexander

Diana said...

One more thing... I know you are FULLY capable. "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!"
Still praying,

Anonymous said...

What's up Ben, love the updates man. Happy Sunday and good luck!

Travis E

Gavin Attwood said...

Great pictures Ben. Taking in Mt Morrison today, carrying heavy. We'll be talking about you!

Mom said...

Wow - what awesome pictures (again!). And how exciting to be able to travel along with you. Thanks for the graphic detail - it helps us as we pray. We have no doubt at all that you are capable of this climb as your confidence and hope remain in Christ. We thank God you are sheltered safely under the wings of the Almighty and are tucked away in the cleft of the Rock of all ages! We love you and are praying continually!

Mom and Dad

Josie said...

WOW! What more can a person say .
Can't wait to see more photos the higher you get.
May you stay HEALTHY, SAFE, and STRONG.

Prayers for a safe summit
Josie and Randy

Jeni said...


The Doctor said...

Wish I could be there to make sure you guys all stay healthy, but thanks for keeping us posted. Keep up the whistles and jokes, Ben!
By the way, have you had a good cup of joseph?

glenda said...

Ben, I am a friend Tiffany,,we worked together in Arlington. Thank you for this opportunity to sort of be with you on this journey. I offer blessings to you and your partners in this venture. Do not separate yourself from the blessings af all willing to give them.What a wonderful adventure. Peace amd courage to you,,glenda

Sister said...

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!!!
Those crevasses are a little too extreme for me. They are all you, Brother! I'm excited and enjoying the updates. Thinking of you often!
Sister pie!

Anonymous said...

Yo Stucklefresh! Love seeing your pics and hearing your descriptive updates! The weather looks like it's been favorable so far. You have some gorgeous pictures! Have taken a picture into the crevass yet? That might be kinda trippy. :) Anyway, I'm still praying for you - and able to do so more specifically as I'm able to read your updates.

PS ROM rock school has 32-35 students! Should be a good year! :)