Wednesday, April 12, 2017

We top out Kala Patar and view EBC!

Hello from Gorak Shep!  Today is Wednesday the 12th (I inadvertently called yesterday Wednesday).  We awoke in Lobouche this morning after both enjoying a very good night’s sleep.  I awoke about 3:15 am to find Anders sleeping on the ground in our tiny little room as his bed had broke during the night—he didn’t appear to be any worse for wear and I must have had a great sleep because I never heard any of it!  In any event I went back to sleep to finally get up about 6:45 am.

Breakfast was eggs and bacon and off we went for an easy hike up valley to Gorak Shep (the views were great again, as well as the weather).  We left at 9am on the nose and it took us 2:07 to cover the 2.9 miles.  I recorded just 950 vertical feet of ascent and a modest 190 of descent.  Despite the altitude, this seemed quite easy this morning.

After a quick lunch of noodles, we set off to climb to the summit of Kala Patar, a “smallish” mountain that stands some 18,192 feet.  Despite being dwarfed by some the largest peaks in the world, which are its neighbors, it was a good test for us, and about three quarters of the team made it.

The initial climb was up a relatively steep slope and as we gained altitude the terrain became rockier and more difficult.  The wind picked up to 30 mph or so and combined with a 35-degree ambient temperature the conditions were bracing, to say the least.

I stayed on it the whole way to the summit and when I arrived there I joined John, Brent, and Anders as well as a couple of other teammates.  Anders and I stood on the top of the summit together and hugged and posed for pictures.  I know its not Everest, but these things are still pretty emotional for me.

On the summit:

EBC is visible in the lower left.  Everest is the big black wall.  The South Col to the right of it.:

Some other teammates joined us and I shot some video, which I imagine will be amazing.  That’s because the views, were amazing!  We looked down on Everest Base Camp sprawled astride the Khumbu glacier as it snaked below the massive wall of Nuptse.  At the top of the glacier we could see the Khumbu Ice Fall (which is part of the glacier) as it rose steeply above EBC and between the far side of Nuptse and the massive West Shoulder of Everest.  High above EBC, where the West Shoulder approached one of the flanks of Pumori, we could see the enormous hanging glacier that had released during the earthquake two years ago causing carnage in base camp and killing 16 people.

Off course, we could also see the brooding black West Face of Everest towering thousands of feet above everything else.  To the right of that we could clearly see the South Col, which sits between the southeast ridge of Everest and Lhotse (which we could also see once again) and from which, if all goes well, Anders will launch his summit bid in 3-4 weeks.

I’ll say it again, the views are incredible here and it was an emotional climb for me—summiting with Anders and seeing what the mightiest mountain on our planet looks like up close and personal.

Stat-wise, the second climb of the day covered 2.7 miles and took 2:36.  We gained about 1,500 vertical feet and topped out on the summit of Kala Patar at 18,192 feet.

Great day today.

Tomorrow—Everest Base Camp!

1 comment:

Kara Christofferson said...

this is awesome dad! so proud of you guys!