Camp 2 On Yellow Tower
Carl Jumars Up Rock Wall
Robin & Ang Pasong Descend
Team All Safely Back In Base Camp - Summit Results Mixed, But Spirits High
8 Nov, 05 - 13:32
A sudden cold snap and acclimatization issues took their toll during the final summit push.
Team 1, whose composition became Jeff, Carl, Kami & Mark after MG had a bad night & decided to hold back for a day, had first shot @ the Summit on 11/06.
They started in brutal cold, before the sun hit the mountain's face. Somewhere between 1/3 & 1/2 of the way up, Mark (who'd frostbitten his fingers before) realized his hands were beyond cold and he had to turn around. Though suffering minor cold damage, spinning when he did prevented any lasting harm. Kami had to spin with Mark.
Jeff & Carl went on to summit! SEE NOTE FROM CARL BELOW.
Meanwhile, Group 2 decided to close the timing gap with Group 1 by summiting from Camp 2 - a truly audacious move.
By the time Mark returned to Camp 3 w/Kami, Robin, Pat, and Ang Pasong had arrived and were taking a break.
Pat was pretty tired from the difficult climb from Camp 2, and since George and MG were nowhere in sight (and probably out of time for summiting that day) Pat decided to stay at Camp 3 and attempt the summit the following day (11/07).
Ang Pasong and Robin continued on to the summit! Super feat from Camp 2!
Meanwhile, Kami & Mark continued down, running into George and MG below a testy snow bridge about 30 mins below camp.
MG was showing the early signs of cerebral edema - diminished motor skills & general confusion. Didn't help her personality much either. George asked Kami and I to take her down, which we did. George continued to Camp 3.
MG improved continually on the way down & was her own self before we got to Camp 2 (sorry).
After summiting, Ang Pasong and Robin descended all the way back to Camp 2, earning Robin the trip's "Iron Man" designation.
So on November 7, Kami, Ang Pasong, Mark, MG & Robin headed to Base Camp from Camp 2, while Jeff & Carl made the long voyage from Camp 3 to Base Camp.
George and Pat made an early start for the summit.
We were all feeling the effects of the skimpy provisions in the upper camps. Weight considerations (carry weight - not body weight) limited the amount of food we could carry. So we were working very hard, in cold temps, drawing heavily on reserves, burning thousands more calories than we were taking in.
A very key part of the climbing equation is making sure you have the fuel to get down safely.
About 1/3 - 1/2 of the way up, Pat's tank plumb ran dry. He made the hard call that he had to go down - just 'cause. George & Pat made it down to Camp 2 where they stopped for the night.
They left Camp 2 at 8am, and made it down to Base camp at 2:30, where they joined the party in progress.
Everyone is in high spirits, and enjoying each other's company, and the satisfaction of an unparalleled climbing experience.
Tomorrow afternoon we'll descend to Dingboche. The next day we'll head to Lobuche. The following morning we'll climb Kala Pattar, hopefully getting poster-quality views of Everest and the Khumbu Valley. The next morning we'll be picked up by helicopter. We'll drop Pat off in Lukla for his assignation with Lisa, then on to Katmandu and home. Will keep you posted.
NOTE FROM CARL:
What an adventure!
Thanks be that we are all down safe & sound. Congrats to all of us because this is truly a team effort --
To our leaders, George & Jeff for making all the right calls & keeping our safety foremost..
To our Sherpa staff who could not do more for us, especially Pimba, who made sure we ate like royalty (& often).
And to the teammates who embraced the team spirit & especially the "docs" who kept us relatively healthy.
Personally, I thank my wife, Melinda, for supporting me on this journey.
To all family & friends, your thoughts, energy & prayers allowed this dream to come true.
I've been asked several times, "This is fun?"
Truthfully, this was a very hard climb with mostly sleepless nights up high, incredible cold & physical hardship, but topping out & looking eye to eye with Mt Everest and all the surrounding majestic peaks is an experience beyond description. Was it "fun"? You bet.
Looking forward to seeing you all soon.