Camp 1, 19,500′1 Comment
There were high winds last night, probably 50 mph (80Km) almost all night. This morning we did a hike up the Western Cym to about half way to C2 (extra acclimatization) and then returned to C1 to sleep. The crevasses here are huge. You have to cross over these deep cracks either by jumping over them or by ladders. Some you descend into and climb up the other side. Some are hundreds of feet deep. You have to cross aluminum ladders strut by strut in your crampons and only look down to place your crampon points, avoiding looking into the depths of the abyss. It can be intimidating.
Yesterday, Tuesday was something else. I have practically never been so tired as I was reaching C1. We got up at 2:30 am at BC, were out of camp by 3:30. Our mission climbing the famous and very dangerous Khumbu Ice Fall. The Ice Fall is the Khumbu Glacier dropping over a steep section flowing from the Western Cym. It is 2,000’ vertical of blocks of ice, many the size of houses. They are piled together very precipitously and can move anytime. In fact, the glacier is constantly in motion. The route through the Ice fall has to regularly be rerouted. It is extremely steep in many sections, and notoriously scary. We saw one section give way about 30 feet from us. You climb and descend on ladders and ropes, and cross ledges often less than a foot wide. Overhead are huge seracs often leaning like the Tower of Pisa right over your head.
The climbing is tough physically, but in the low oxygen it is amplified. Psychologically, it is full of anticipation. The faster you can get out of there the better, but that is easier said than done. Mike, Louis, Tim, Mayk and Sandtosh got to C2 after 10am, Steve an hour later, and Jason, Eben and myself before noon. Everyone was exhausted. I literally collapsed in my tent and slept for 3 hours. Only food and drink got me back on my feet.