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  Mt Everest 2006: Alpine Ascents Everest 2006: Back at Base camp


Back at Base camp: 5400meters

Having had a brief experience of a potential Everest summit night the previous evening, with 40 knot winds, spindrift and fresh snow burning our faces for 90 minutes before retreating, we set off with some intrepidation. The weather forecasts had teased us during the day, and we faced the reality that this may be our only true shot for the team to achieve its dream to summit the world’s highest peak. The earlier winds had died down, stars were clearly visible, and excitation was almost audible as we left at 2000hrs. An almost perfect start saw us reaching the fixed lines on the triangular face at around 2100hrs. The climb was steady, up fairly steep terraine, with nothing but the crunching sound of the freezing snow underfoot and the occasional whistle of deep pressure breathing from our over-exerting lungs. By 01.30 the Balcony had been reached ,the first of many historic landmarks we would pass this evening. A brief turn up of the oxygen saw us reach the South Summit at 0515am. Sunrise had gleened us with the start of a day of magnificent views across the Himalaya and far beyond. A few cold toes were warmed on generous chests of some of the male climbers, a change our oxygen cylinders, and it was time to press on. The “death traverse’ passed uneventfully, despite the concept of a 6000ft. drop on either side with only enough room for one foots’ width. Sun was up now, the views becoming more spectacular by the minute- other 8000m peaks in view, camp 2 looking like a dolls hose below, the Lhotse face looking unintimidating 5000ft. above it. Then the Hillary Step came into view. We traversed towards it along an exposed ridge, through a minefield of old twisted rope- none of which could be trusted with human life. At the base, it looked intimidating to say the least. At sea level, 5 mins would see you to the top safely, but at 28000ft it becomes a complete challenge in itself- thank goodness for our ever-helpful and patient Sherpa companions. Several stumbling moments later, and we’re just below the summit. Personally, as I approached the top of this great megalith of stone, fulfilling a lifelong dream, there was a tear, and I know I wasn’t alone in that feeling. I thought about my supportive family, the sacrifices made to get here, the selfish sport that those on the team love so much. A few steps later, and the team was on the top of the world. The curvature of the earth clearly visible, in perfectly still weather. Prayer flags, pictures of relatives, Lama scarves and blessings across the summit. As I sat on the summit, looking down the north ridge on one side and the south ridge on the other, I felt humbled beyond belief to be there. Our second team arrived shortly after…more dreams realised. An hour on the top alone, and then thoughts turned to the next most important task, that of the descent. Many more nervous moments later, and the South Col once again became visible. A place of devastation the day before, it now looked calm and welcoming. 12 noon saw us back in our tents, counting our blessings from a fantastic summit day. The following day, we continued our descent, finally arriving in the safe hands of Ellie, our camp manager, on 22nd May. No injuries, we all raised a toast to Chomolungma….the trip of our lifetimes. Namaste…Alistair

Dispatch Index

A cold weather, high altitude double boot for extreme conditions The Olympus Mons is the perfect choice for 8000-meter peaks. This super lightweight double boot has a PE thermal insulating inner boot that is coupled with a thermo-reflective outer boot with an integrated gaiter. We used a super insulating lightweight PE outsole to keep the weight down and the TPU midsole is excellent for crampon compatibility and stability on steep terrain. WEIGHT: 39.86 oz • 1130 g LAST: Olympus Mons CONSTRUCTION: Inner: Slip lasted Outer: Board Lasted OUTER BOOT: Cordura® upper lined with dual-density PE micro-cellular thermal insulating closed cell foam and thermo-reflective aluminium facing/ Insulated removable footbed/ Vibram® rubber rand See more here.

 

 




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