Sunday, April 18, 2010

Back safe fromCamp 2

I have safely returned from my 3 night stay on Mount Everest! On April15th I left basecamp at 5:00 a.m. and climbed through the Khumbu Icefall all the way to Camp 1. Phil and I climb at a similar pace so I never climbed alone. Always safety first! We were the first of our group to arrive at the sight for Camp 1. The views were fantastic. We pitched a few tents at the entrance to the Western Cwm (Welsh word meaning valley) as this was to be our home for the night. I truly felt like I was climbing Mount Everest. Throughout the morning we easily crossed any crevasse we faced and easily scaled every ice cliff. Although, proper thanks must be given to the Icefall Doctors who maintain the route, which is constantly changing with the flow of the Khumbu Glacier. This fact would be recognized on my way down because there was a massive collapse in the Icefall. Thankfully, every climber was safe and accounted for.

Day 2 found me wandering up the Western Cwm all the way to Camp 2 at 21,000’. The view of the Lhotse Face was everything I had imagined, absolutely fantastic. From this vantage point I could just see Everest’s south summit and the famed Hillary Step. I rested for the afternoon and tried to make myself at home and it was home that was on my mind. Even though our food is top notch, nothing compares to my wife’s wonderful cooking and smiling face.

Day 3 was meant to be a rest day so we could further acclimate to the altitude. Camp 2, or Advanced Basecamp is a large area and is actually quite rocky. The constant rock fall from the upper reaches of Mount Everest have thoroughly littered this area. So why camp at this particular spot? Remember we are camped on a glacier that is constantly moving. The actual portion of the glacier that receives the rock fall is safely out of reach. One of the attached pictures is me in my fluffy down suit at Camp 2. Take notice of the rocks at my feet all while on snow and ice. A few of us spent the morning wandering around Camp 2 and tried to breathe in the mountaineering history this sight represents. As soon as the sun dipped behind the beautiful North Face of Nuptse the temperature quickly plummeted to zero degrees and I quickly put on my Mountain Hardwear Absolute Zero down suit. Ahhh, warm again.

Day 4 - This morning was a chilly morning to get out of the sleeping bag and the tent at 21,000’ but I did not want to wait until the sun would hit and warm things up. I had to make my way all the way to basecamp and I wanted to do so before the intense sun prompted the Icefall in to action. So now I sit typing away on the laptop knowing that the entire team has safely descended to basecamp.

A few days of rest and relaxation are on order before we head back up the mountain and try to touch Camp 3. More details on this climbing sortie later. I know that this update may seem to indicate that every step is a dangerous one on Everest. Please remember that for me attaining the summit of Everest is the bonus and not the only reason I came here. I came here to enjoy God’s beautiful creation and to do so as safely as possible. If at any time I feel unsafe or that I am unnecessarily jeopardizing my life I will gladly and willingly retreat. My wife and son are far too important for me to be needlessly reckless. You may wonder, isn’t climbing Mount Everest in the first place needlessly reckless? Well, those thoughts and contemplations are for another time. Thank you all for your continued prayers.