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Everest Time!

as i said in ph4red's journal, i am an everest junkie. and i have been, before it was popular with Krakauer's Into Thin Air and IMAX's Everest. the internet has made it much easier to follow the teams every year. i was listening in that tragic year when Rob Hall and Scott Fischer lost their lives, along with 13 others. and then when Beck Weathers rose from the dead and stumbled into camp to everyone's amazement... the incredible helicopter attempt to rescue him. i listened to Wally Berg from the summit in '97, eager to descend - "I don't really like it up here too much." i heard the call in May, 1999 when Eric Simonson's expedition discovered Mallory's body. and i read, sadly, last year when over 40 climbers passed the dying David Sharp without even attempting a rescue. i'm with Hillary - things are definitely changing on the mountain...sometimes for the worse.
anyway, here is this year's expedition list!
luck, health, victory and safety to all :)

in light of the beginning of everest season,
it isn't a direct climb. people don't spend a few days at base camp and then head up the mountain. generally there are several trips up and down. climbers usually spend about 8 weeks on everest and only about 3 of those are spent climbing. it takes a lot of time and a lot of up and down to acclimate. usually it goes something like this: base camp to camp I for a day and back to base camp for two or three days, base camp to camp II for a couple of days and back to base camp for a few days, base camp to camp II for a couple of days, camp II to camp III for a day and back to base camp, back up and on to summit bid.


photo by Alpine Ascents


the most common route: South Col
base camp (17,600 ft)

Ice8000 at Base Camp

having spent two months in the foothills of the Himalayas, the trek to base camp is my dream trip. it leaves from Kathmandu at about 4,380 feet, through the Sagamartha National Park, across suspension bridges to Namche Bazaar, to Thyangboche monastery at 12,887 feet - here there are spectacular views of Ama Dablam, Everest, and Lhotse!
once at base camp, climbers settle in, sharing their hopes and fears and making new friends from around the world. there is no real view of the mountain here, but the avalanches are often heard. some climbers complain about the party atmosphere of base camp... especially older ones who climbed when there was no real base camp. but, i think when it is possible you are spending your last days alive, enjoy!


The Khumbu Icefall


The Caudwell Xtreme Everest team, 2007

first challenge from base camp and the most dangerous area of the mountain. the ice is constantly shifting from below and above. each one of these crevasses this climber is on can collapse at any moment and the next day the route through will be completely different.


Camp I (19,500 ft)



next is the Western Cwm, or Valley of Silence (because it is cut off from the wind), where, despite the snow, the sun beats down and the temperature has been known to reach 100. panting in the thin air, climbers often end up with sun burned tongues. climbers rope themselves together because of the many crevasses. the sound of the ice cracking deep down under the ground often keep climbers awake at night. here is where climbers get their first view of the peak and rest at camp I or hike another 3 hours to camp II. most climbers return to base camp for a couple of days from here.


camp II (21,300 ft)


Byron Smith, 2000 (6 of the 7 summits completed!)


at the end of the Western Cwm and the foot of the Lhotse Face. the wind is often harsh enough to tear apart tents. the last place to get a cooked meal. from here on out it is instant food.


camp III (23,500 ft)


Todd Burleson's tent


up the Lhotse Face, a 3700 foot wall of ice, and over the Yellow Band and the Geneva Spur.
the camp is nearly balanced on an ice platform. climbers have lost their lives stepping out of their tents. sherpas won't stay here, but instead move ahead to camp IV.

camp IV (26,300 ft) in the Death Zone


Alpine Ascents


time for oxygen, ropes and rappelling.
the last camp before summit bids. freezing and windy, it isn't a place for much rest. the camp is littered with remnants of past climbers - tents, oxygen bottles and bodies. summit bids begin around midnight toward The Balcony. a late start will ruin the summit. climbers should make summit by noon.

South Summit (28,700 feet)


Photo by Daniel Mazur of Roman Giutashvili


make or break. though the summit is just 310 feet away, this is a major turn around point. arriving too late, weather not good, losing strength.... any number of factors. those struck with summit fever and lack of oxygen sometimes make a major mistake to push on. they think only of bagging the summit and not the time it will take for descent. the descent death toll is high. the south summit is the most exposed and dangerous portion of the summit bid, with snow and extreme winds.


Hillary Step (28,840 feet)


Photo by Vernon Tejas


a 70 foot staircase of rocks that many believe to be the most technically challenging part of the climb. they say the same climb at sea level would not be difficult, but with lack of oxygen and exhaustion, it is quite difficult to navigate. because the Step is traversed by fixed ropes, only one climber can climb at a time. depending on the amount of climbers that arrive at the Step at the same time, this can leave others below subject to frost bite and hypothermia as they stand waiting.


Summit (29,028 ft)

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as i said in <lj user="ph4red">'s journal, i am an everest junkie. and i have been, before it was popular with Krakauer's <em>Into Thin Air</em> and IMAX's <em>Everest</em>. the internet has made it much easier to follow the teams every year. i was listening in that tragic year when Rob Hall and Scott Fischer lost their lives, along with 13 others. and then when Beck Weathers rose from the dead and stumbled into camp to everyone's amazement... the incredible helicopter attempt to rescue him. i listened to Wally Berg from the summit in '97, eager to descend - "I don't really like it up here too much." i heard the call in May, 1999 when Eric Simonson's expedition discovered Mallory's body. and i read, sadly, last year when over 40 climbers passed the dying David Sharp without even attempting a rescue. i'm with Hillary - things are definitely changing on the mountain...sometimes for the worse.
anyway, <a href="http://www.mounteverest.net/page/explist.htm" target="_blank">here is this year's expedition list!</a>
luck, health, victory and safety to all :)

in light of the beginning of everest season, <lj-cut text="i thought i would share the journey i vicariously take every year . . .">
it isn't a direct climb. people don't spend a few days at base camp and then head up the mountain. generally there are several trips up and down. climbers usually spend about 8 weeks on everest and only about 3 of those are spent climbing. it takes a lot of time and a lot of up and down to acclimate. usually it goes something like this: base camp to camp I for a day and back to base camp for two or three days, base camp to camp II for a couple of days and back to base camp for a few days, base camp to camp II for a couple of days, camp II to camp III for a day and back to base camp, back up and on to summit bid.

<center><img src="http://www.alanarnette.com/images/everestroutemap.jpg" border="1">
<em>photo by Alpine Ascents</em></center>

the most common route: South Col
<strong>base camp (17,600 ft)</strong>
<center><a href="http://www.ice8000.com/index.php" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.ice8000.com/c_images/c_content/184/cms_img_Image_1-0-0.jpeg" border="1"><br><em>Ice8000 at Base Camp</em></a></center>
having spent two months in the foothills of the Himalayas, the trek to base camp is my dream trip. it leaves from Kathmandu at about 4,380 feet, through the Sagamartha National Park, across suspension bridges to Namche Bazaar, to <a href="http://www.tengboche.org/" target="_blank">Thyangboche monastery</a> at 12,887 feet - here there are spectacular views of Ama Dablam, Everest, and Lhotse!
once at base camp, climbers settle in, sharing their hopes and fears and making new friends from around the world. there is no real view of the mountain here, but the avalanches are often heard. some climbers complain about the party atmosphere of base camp... especially older ones who climbed when there was no real base camp. but, i think when it is possible you are spending your last days alive, enjoy!
<p>
<strong>The Khumbu Icefall</strong>
<center><img src="http://www.xtreme-everest.co.uk/images/news/uploads/XE_00698_L.jpg" border="1">
<a href="http://www.xtreme-everest.co.uk/news_main.php?tag=Everest2007" target="_blank"><em>The Caudwell Xtreme Everest team, 2007</em></a></center>
first challenge from base camp and the most dangerous area of the mountain. the ice is constantly shifting from below and above. each one of these crevasses this climber is on can collapse at any moment and the next day the route through will be completely different.
<p>
<strong>Camp I (19,500 ft)</strong>
<center><a href="http://web.mac.com/davehalton/iWeb/EnergyWorx.co.uk/Dave%20Halton.html"><img src="http://homepage.mac.com/davehalton/.cv/davehalton/Sites/.Pictures/Photo%20Album%20Pictures/2004-06-12%2010.28.12%20-0700/Image-western%20Cwm.jpg-thumb_269_202.jpg"></a><br></center>
next is the Western Cwm, or Valley of Silence (because it is cut off from the wind), where, despite the snow, the sun beats down and the temperature has been known to reach 100. panting in the thin air, climbers often end up with sun burned tongues. climbers rope themselves together because of the many crevasses. the sound of the ice cracking deep down under the ground often keep climbers awake at night. here is where climbers get their first view of the peak and rest at camp I or hike another 3 hours to camp II. most climbers return to base camp for a couple of days from here.
<p>
<strong>camp II (21,300 ft)</strong><br>
<center><a href="http://www.byronsmith.ca/everest2000/index.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.byronsmith.ca/everest2000/gallery/console/images/climb_21.jpg" border="1"><br><em>Byron Smith, 2000 (6 of the 7 summits completed!)</em></a></center>
<br>at the end of the Western Cwm and the foot of the Lhotse Face. the wind is often harsh enough to tear apart tents. the last place to get a cooked meal. from here on out it is instant food.
<p>
<strong>camp III (23,500 ft)</strong><br>
<center><a href="http://www.alpineascents.com/guides.asp#bio" target="_blank"><img src="http://classic.mountainzone.com/everest/98/photos/classic/c3-2.jpg" border="1"><br><em>Todd Burleson's tent</em></a></center><br>
up the Lhotse Face, a 3700 foot wall of ice, and over the Yellow Band and the Geneva Spur.
the camp is nearly balanced on an ice platform. climbers have lost their lives stepping out of their tents. sherpas won't stay here, but instead move ahead to camp IV.

<strong>camp IV (26,300 ft) in the Death Zone</strong><br>
<center><a href="http://www.alpineascents.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://classic.mountainzone.com/everest/98/photos/classic/scol-2.jpg" border="1"><br><em>Alpine Ascents</em></a></center><br>
time for oxygen, ropes and rappelling.
the last camp before summit bids. freezing and windy, it isn't a place for much rest. the camp is littered with remnants of past climbers - tents, oxygen bottles and bodies. summit bids begin around midnight toward The Balcony. a late start will ruin the summit. climbers should make summit by noon.

<strong>South Summit (28,700 feet)</strong><br>
<center><a href="http://www.k2news.com/dm.htm" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.k2news.com/dimages/roman_making_the_traverse_from_the_south_summit_to_the_hillary_step__by_dan.jpg" border="1"><br><em>Photo by Daniel Mazur of Roman Giutashvili</em></a></center><br>
make or break. though the summit is just 310 feet away, this is a major turn around point. arriving too late, weather not good, losing strength.... any number of factors. those struck with summit fever and lack of oxygen sometimes make a major mistake to push on. they think only of bagging the summit and not the time it will take for descent. the descent death toll is high. the south summit is the most exposed and dangerous portion of the summit bid, with snow and extreme winds.
<p>
<strong>Hillary Step (28,840 feet)</strong><br>
<center><img src="http://climb.mountainzone.com/everest/2002/photos/final/photo13.jpg" border="1"><br><em><a href="http://classic.mountainzone.com/climbing/tejas/" target="_blank">Photo by Vernon Tejas</a></em></center><br>
a 70 foot staircase of rocks that many believe to be the most technically challenging part of the climb. they say the same climb at sea level would not be difficult, but with lack of oxygen and exhaustion, it is quite difficult to navigate. because the Step is traversed by fixed ropes, only one climber can climb at a time. depending on the amount of climbers that arrive at the Step at the same time, this can leave others below subject to frost bite and hypothermia as they stand waiting.
<p>
<strong>Summit (29,028 ft)</strong><br>
<center><img src="http://home.comcast.net/~biggreeneverest/image/obj625geo1232pg1p2.jpg"1"><br>
<em><a href="http://home.comcast.net/~biggreeneverest/MrgnofLuck.html" target="_blank">Greg Vadasdi, 2005</a> (she said yes)</em></center><br>
one step at a time and less than 1/3 sea level oxygen, lucky climbers enjoy a few minutes of victory on the summit before descending. the descent to camp IV is made more difficult by afternoon storms, hypoxia and exhaustion. by now climbers have been climbing 12-15 hours and haven't slept in about 30 hours.</lj-cut>

i don't know why i love Everest season so much. i do know i get excited when teams start arriving. i also find inspiration in their courage, motivation, personal stories and risk. if they can climb Everest, the trivial challenges in my life should be little hills!

"Everest for me, and I believe for the world, is the physical and symbolic manifestation of overcoming odds to achieve a dream" —- Tom Whittaker

<center>
<lj-template name="video">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STFb-aPYYM8</lj-template>

<a href="http://www.quizilla.com/score/display.php?item_id=4698310" target="_blank">Try my Everest quiz! :)</a>

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