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 Alpine Ascents Everest 2012: First Rotation

We just returned from our first rotation up on Mount Everest.  We were up at our Camp 1 and Camp 2 for a total of four nights.  We went on an acclimatization hike above our Camp 2 and had marvelous views of Everest, Lhotse, and Nuptse!  Team members did very well and acclimatized well.  Yesterday we descended down from Camp 2 to base camp through the Khumbu Icefall.  Everyone is now resting in base camp and enjoying the thicker air and great meals here in base. 

 

The weather was beautiful up and down the Khumbu Icefall today. At the top of the Icefall the climbers had a leisurely morning before taking an acclimatization hike up the Western Cwm. Everyone enjoyed a nice meal in our Camp 2 dining tent and they will be heading to bed soon so that they will be fresh for an early morning trip back down the Icefall to Base Camp.

Down at the base of the Icefall we have been taking advantage of the beautiful weather as well. Laundry was at the top of the list, followed by some showers, and then we went to work polishing up camp for the team’s arrival tomorrow afternoon. We also set up a slack line, a sort of thin balance beam made from climbers webbing. It’s a nice way to take a break from the camp chores J

The climbing team moved up to Camp 2 today, also know as Advanced Base Camp. The camp sits higher than any point in North America at 21,000 feet. The team will spend two nights in Camp 2 acclimatizing before descending back to Base Camp to recover from their first rotation. From the radio calls it sounds as though everyone is doing well and enjoying their time on the mountain. We look forward to seeing them back here in Base Camp soon for some well deserved rest and relaxation!!

The team had their first alpine start Monday morning so that they could begin their ascent to Camp 1. The day began with banging pots and pans and various other methods for waking sleeping climbers out of their warm down bags at 2:00 am. After making a cold and groggy trek to the dining tent, they were greeted with hot drinks, maple walnut oatmeal, cinnamon French toast and crème, and crispy bacon to get their day started off right. Everyone finalized their packing and excitedly headed for the Khumbu Ice Fall with glowing headlamps, but only after stopping by the Alpine Ascents Puja. The Sherpa lit a fire made from Juniper, producing smoke which cleanses the climbers as they pass by. Each climber stops to throw three small handfuls of rice as an offering to Everest for a safe passage through the mountains before heading off. Their headlamps slowly glided between boulders and ice seracs to the start of the ice fall. From Base Camp, we were able to follow their path through the clear night as they climbed towards their new camp. Everyone made it to camp in good form and will spend the rest of the day enjoying hot drinks and rest.

The team spent most of the day today relaxing in Camp 1. They took a small acclimatization hike up the Western Cwm and filled the remainder of the day with more eating, reading and lounging.

We took advantage of our free time here in Base Camp to actually get out of camp for the first time in over a week!! We ventured off toward Pumori Camp 1 which sits northwest of Everest Base Camp at 18,500 feet and gives spectacular views of the Khumbu Ice Fall and the surrounding mountains. The trail was lined with lovely little boulder that we were able to scramble up. Climbers always need to get their fix


Today we made our first foray into the Khumbu Icefall. We climbed
approximately 1/3 of the way up and crossed the first ladder, then
returned back to camp. Everyone did an excellent job today, and we
enjoyed the afternoon in base camp preparing for our first rotation on the mountain. Tomorrow we plan to depart at 3 AM for Camp 1. Our plan is to spend 2 nights at Camp 1 and 2 nights at Camp 2, then return to base camp. We are excited to begin climbing Everest!
 

Earlier:

 

Today we practiced more fixed line training in the lower Khumbu Icefall involving rappelling, ascending vertical ice, ladder crossings, etc. We sorted through our snack food in preparation for 5 days of climbing above base camp. We had some light snow in the afternoon, then clearing before sunset. Tomorrow we plan to go for a short hike in the Khumbu Icefall and then return to camp for another night here in base.

Earlier:

Yesterday we arrived at Everest Base Camp! Walking into camp we had our first good view of the summit . We had our first team meeting at base camp in our Mountain Hardwear Space Station tent . We enjoyed a nice dinner then awoke to clear skies today, and organized our gear in camp. We can look up into the Khumbu Icefall from camp and view the route we will climb to Camp 1 after a few days here acclimatizing and reviewing climbing techniques. Everyone is doing well and we are very excited to be here!

Earlier:

Our hike from Kumjung to Deboche was accompanied by lots of sunshine and good spirits. Before arriving at Deboche, our final destination for the day, we stopped at a monastery in Tengboche, where some of the group members stayed for a ceremony conducted by the monks. The team was especially excited to stop at a bakery just outside the monastery walls, where we all enjoyed the best baked goods of the trip. Fresh baked banana bread, rum chocolate cake, and apple pie were among the favorites. Those who attended the ceremony at the monastery ditched their shoes at the door and sat back as the monks lit incense and chanted in unison, surrounded by elaborately decorated statues and vibrantly colorful wall paintings. From there we hiked down to our cozy tea house for the night where we had dinner, played card games, and as always, enjoyed plenty of hot drinks.

Khumjung to Deboche

 

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