Sunday, May 27, 2012
My client reached the summit at 6:26 am with the help of a great team of Sherpas. She is the second Bangledeshi woman to summit, the first summiting just 7 days before her. I had sent Wasfia out ahead of me by about 2 hours because i have generally faster then her on all parts of the mountain and wanted us to reach the summit at the approximate same time. She left at at about 8 pm and was moving up with a line of about 30 climbers who left at that same time. I left at 9:45 pm with Phurba who was carrying extra oxygen to cache at the Balcony for the descent. As I started to climb I was not feeling 100%, at first I thought it was just the fact that I was now approaching 36 hours at the South Col, most of that time without using supplemental O2. I had decided upon recieving an updated forecast on the 24th that the better summit window was on the 26th with substantially less wind and therefore less danger for the team. My original plan was for,the 25th. The extra day at the South Col required us to scramble and negotiate with other teams to make sure we had enough O2 for the team to have for the rest day at South Col. It was a blessing in a way because our Camp 3 was at the lower end and we had covered almost 1100m in reaching the Col(camp4). it required a lot of effort and would have given Wasfia only about 6 hours rest before heading for the summit. Doable, but less wind is always better.
I have never been to Nepal or on a major mountain when I have not had,what for a lack of a better term, I would call gastronomical distress. Unfortunately that happened while waiting at the South Col. If you have ever had to run to the bathroom with urgency, imagine doing that with a down suit on and gasping for breath at 8000m. It came upon me on the morning of the 25th. To be honest I did not think it was a big deal. At first I thought it was just nerves, by the 4th time I realized I might have a problem and realizing that the summit push was in about 6 hours I decided to be proactive and take an Imodium. I am not a big fan of drugs but I was thinking about the added consequence of having to use the facilities on the summit push with a harness on and steep angles. I always tell people when they have a G.I. Issue to,let it run for the first 24-36 hours. It is unpleasant but the nasty bugs want to get out and they will do it one
way or another. Not following my own strategy of letting your system run when something nasty wants to get out backfired on me. As I was moving up the mountain I started to having a gagging feeling and quickly took off my mask. I vomited, which was a direct result of the Bactria wanting out. This started me coughing for the next hour, and I was moving slow. I was not catching up to the rest of the team and not feeling well. The vomiting and coughing continued as I continued up towards the balcony. I think I will call it voughmiting. I estimate I was about 20 minutes below the balcony and I had very large voughmiting spell where I spit up some blood most likely from a blood vessel in my throat. But this voughmitting spell also left me feeling dizzy and faint. It was at this point I recognized the Bacteria had won the day and was going to come out of me one way or another. I made decision to turn around and descend so that I did not become a statistic. i had passed four dead climbers on the way, which reinforced my thought process of objective versus subjective hazards. Objective hazards being those that you cannot control. I could not control the Bactria raging through my system and had to give way to it in much the same way as giving way to an avalanche. The climbers that had died on the way had at some point passed a threshold of what they could control. I did not want to reach that point. I had told the team prior to us leaving my definition of a mountaineer. "It is someone who has the strength and ability to climb the mountain safely to the top and return with your team without outside assistance and have enough in reserve to help others if needed". I was not fitting that criteria and that guided my decision. It sucks, to have the one 24 hour period when you want to be absolutely healthy and have it go wrong, but shit happens. :-)
You would think that being in the Death Zone, that nothing would really survive. Apparently that is not true.The South Col is littered with trash (although it is cleaner then it used to be). There is feces everywhere. I always say climbers talk about three things on expedition, what goes in, what goes out, and what goes in/out. On the South Col there is a lot of what comes out. The place where you get your snow and ice(what goes in) to make water is always in the path of some wind. You can boil your water but even that is no guarantee that will purify all the wind blown particles. Apparently this is what happened to me and a few others this year. The only real long term solution is for everyone to use WAG bags like on Denali but that is not a process that is being enforced yet here in Nepal.
I thought about staying another day and trying again but I realized I would not have been able to recover enough or have the bacteria get out of my system quickly enough to be able to do it safely. Still visiting the facilities on a regular basis here at BC(too much information?)
I am incredibly happy for Wasfia and I know the happiness she is feeing right now on accomplishing an incredibly tough goal. This climbing season has taught me a lot about teamwork, trusting your judgement, and recognizing the contributions of everyone on the mountain. The rescues that have been done are amazing and getting someone who is injured off the mountain in hours rather then days is incredible.
Thanks to everyone for your support!
Thursday, May 24, 2012
This is Amy, Chris's sister again. I heard from Chris this morning. They are waiting one more day for a summit due to high winds (25 mph) and crowds. Winds at 25mph can really zap energy and put you at risk for frost bite, so they are going to hang out in their tents and attempt a summit early on Saturday morning (May 26th). Another factor is that there are about 140 people up at camp 4 (south col) and about 100 are attempting tonight. Hopefully tomorrow will be a bit less crowded.
Please send safe thoughts his way and I will post when I hear from him again, which may not be until Monday the 28th.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
This is Amy, Chris's sister again. I heard from Chris this morning and he sounded really good. They are on their way to Camp 4 which is also known as south col. The plan is to summit in the early morning of Friday May 25th. He said that the weather window looked good so please keep your good thoughts coming for more good weather! He said that there are only 70 people trying to summit this time, so hopefully that will help with some of the traffic issues you may have read about earlier this week when over 200 people were attempting a summit.
Please send safe thoughts to all who are attempting and I will post when I hear more. It could be a couple days, so not to worry if you don't hear anything in the next couple days.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
This is Amy, Chris's sister with a quick update. He called today from camp 2 and was on his way to Camp 3. The goal is to depart for the summit around 9pm on May 24th and to summit by 7am on May 25th. He sounded good! Send him and everyone else safe thoughts!
Sunday, May 20, 2012
We will leave Base camp tonight and ascend to C2. We will take a rest day there and then move up to camp 3 early, then onto South Col(24th) the next morning. We will rest and hydrate at the south col until approx 7-9 pm then leave for the summit to try and watch the sunrise as we ascend to the summit.
After summiting we will descend to the South Col rest and the next morning descend to C2. we will clean the mountain of our equipment on the way down. We will rest at C2 and then leave early in the morning for BC. If all goes according to plan we should be back in Base camp on the 27th or 28th. Which is when you will hear from me. Although i will call my family from the camps after safely descending.
Please keep us in your thoughts
Climb hard, Climb High, Come Home,
Thursday, May 17, 2012
We are working on keeping our acclimatization intact by hiking up to Pumori BC and heading to the Shep for email. We are running out movies to watch at BC and I have depleted my store of books to read.
It was a tough call to make to postpone going for the summit. I had to weigh multiple factors, weather, speed of clients, crowding (there were over 200 people on the lines to Camp 3 this morning), rope fixing (the lines are not into the summit yet, although reported,to have reached the balcony) all of those things have contributed to the decision.
This brings me to the sad fact that a post climb Thailand Trip will not happen for the first time ever for me onager an 8000m attempt...Although my office still firmly believes that I am on a beach there rather then actually climbing a mountain. Or maybe that is just Adam.....
Everest BC (really)
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Thursday, May 3, 2012
We are going to head directly to Camp 2 leaving at 3 am in the morning. the goal is to get through the ice fall by 7:30 am and be in Camp 1 by 8:30 am. Then we will continue onto Camp 2
The goal is to be there by 11 am. The reason for leaving that early is that is the time the ice fall is the most stable.
The weather has been windy the last 5 days stripping most of the snow off the upper mountain. That appears to be changing over the next 5 days with higher level convection coming in from the Jet stream causing snow to fall on the upper mountain which makes the Lhotse face a little more stable and less subject to rock fall. The route to C3 has been changed in the last two days because of the winds and rock fall. The new route is a little longer in distance but it is much safer given the condition of the mountain. the route to the South Col has not been established yet for this year. The goal is to have it established by May 7th, then If possible the route to the summit by May 11th. The route fixing is done by a collaboration of the teams on Everest with each team committing man power for carrying ropes, fixing the route (rope guns), and other supplies like oxygen, tents and food. It is really amazing how the teams work together at this phase of the expedition.
Our plan will have us at C2 for two nights,then ascend the Lhotse face to C3 for one summit by night. Descend to C2 for 1 more night then descend to BC. After that we might goo down to Dingoboche for a recovery rest for 2-3 nights depending on how we are feeling after this rotation.
Climb arid, Climb High, Come Home,
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Friday, April 20, 2012
Thursday, April 12, 2012
We spent three nights there and lived in relatively luxury. A hotel with an attached bath.
We are now in Degoboche spending a night and from here on in we will be trekking everyday with no rest days until we hit Base Camp. The weather today was cooperative and we had sun and high clouds on our trek and when we got to our lodge it decided that it had enough of being nice to us and started raining. This could present some challenges as we head higher up with snow levels but we have some time for it to clear itself out.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
My priorities have been helping Sam and Raffi get there gear sorted, getting the "nice to have" food items for base camp, making sure our power system is in place, and generally trying to get organized for taking a group of three people up the the south side of Mt. Everest.
I am excited to fly to Lukla tomorrow and escape the craziness that is Kathmandu. I am positive that if someone dropped me into Kathmandu blindfolded i could identify it by the noise and smell. There is a uniqueness to the city that I have not found any where else on the planet, patchouli mingled with rubbish, dust, and diesel exhaust. The sounds create their own rhythm that is either jarring to the senses or you embrace it for what it is. It is the launch pad for major expeditions all over Nepal and Tibet, and truly unique.
Climb Hard, Climb High, Come Home,
Friday, March 23, 2012
4-Apr Wed arrive Kathmandu
5-Apr Thu Kathmandu
6-Apr Fri Kathmandu
7-Apr Sat 1 Kathmandu
8-Apr Sun 2 fly Lukla, trek Phakding
9-Apr Mon 3 trek Namche
10-Apr Tue 4 Namche
11-Apr Wed 5 Trek Tengboche
12-Apr Thu 6 Trek Dingboche
13-Apr Fri 7 Dingboche
14-Apr Sat 8 Trek Lobuche
15-Apr Sun 9 Trek Gorak Shep
16-Apr Mon 10 Trek Everest BC
17-Apr Tue 11 Rest
18-Apr Wed 12 Rest
19-Apr Thu 13 Lobuche East acclimatize
20-Apr Fri 14 Lobuche East acclimatize
21-Apr Sat 15 Skills practice on Lobuche
22-Apr Sun 16 Skills Practice on Lobuche
23-Apr Mon 17 Trek BC
24-Apr Tue 18 Rest
25-Apr Wed 19 Rest
26-Apr Thu 20 BC-C1
27-Apr Fri 21 C1-C2
28-Apr Sat 22 C2
29-Apr Sun 23 C2-BC
30-Apr Mon 24 Rest
1-May Tue 25 Rest
2-May Wed 26 BC-C1
3-May Thu 27 C1-C2
4-May Fri 28 C2-C3
5-May Sat 29 C3-C1
6-May Sun 30 C1-BC
7-May Mon 31 Rest
8-May Tue 32 Rest
9-May Wed 33 Summit Window
10-May Thu 34 Summit Window
11-May Fri 35 Summit Window
12-May Sat 36 Summit Window
13-May Sun 37 Summit Window
14-May Mon 38 Summit Window
15-May Tue 39 Summit Window
16-May Wed 40 Summit Window
17-May Thu 41 Summit Window
18-May Fri 42 Summit Window
19-May Sat 43 Summit Window
20-May Sun 44 Summit Window
21-May Mon 45 Summit Window
22-May Tue 46 Summit Window
23-May Wed 47 Summit Window
24-May Thu 48 Summit Window
25-May Fri 49 Summit Window
26-May Sat 50 Summit Window
27-May Sun 51 Summit Window
28-May Mon 52 BC- Pack
29-May Tue 53 BC-Namache
30-May Wed 54 Namche-Lukla
31-May Thu 55 Flight Lukla-KTM
1-Jun Fri 56 KTM
2-Jun Sat 57 Flight Home
This is the first time in a long time that I am leaving for a climb while gainfully employed, and balancing the needs of the organization with my personal goals has been a challenge, but I have to hand it to my work team. Everyone is supportive and I am thankful for that support. The support they have shown is simply outstanding. It is great to work where people recognize the need for following your passion.