Everest – Rotation #1

Even though there are only roughly 12,000ft from Base Camp to the summit of Everest, one cannot just simply off and go for the summit in one day, especially when just getting to Base Camp.  There is a rule in high altitude mountaineering that starting at 10,000ft one should not ascend more than 3000ft in 3 days (so 1000ft per day or 3000ft in one day and take 2 days rest).  There is an excellent article explaining altitude effects on the body in lay terms (found here); I encourage all of you to read it first if you have any questions about the need for slower acclimatization, and the reasoning behind the ‘rotations’ on the mountain.

There are three rotations on the south side of Everest:

Rotation #1: Base Camp to Camp #2 (Advanced Base Camp – 21,325ft), back to Base Camp and rest for a week or so

Rotation #2: Base Camp to lower Camp #3 (around 23,000ft), back to Base Camp and descend to lower elevations (at least down to 12,500ft)

Rotation #3: Base Camp to summit and back.

Here is a map showing individual camps which may explain everything better:

everest-south-route-big

Our first rotation was to start tomorrow.  First day would take us through the Khumbu Icefall to camp 1 (19,900ft).  We would spend 2 nights there and move to camp 2 (21,325ft).  We would spend one night at camp 2 and come back straight to Base Camp the following day.  We would take about a week rest at Base Camp to regain strength and to further acclimatize to the thin air.  Read on to find out my experiences with the first rotation!

DAY 22

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