Everest – Day 28: Another rest day

April 26 (Friday)

It was another rest day for the group which meant another rest day for me as well.  I felt I was already rested out so I strolled around base camp and took a bunch of pictures.  Here are some:


Mount Pumori in the background (where I acclimatized with Lakpa)


Western shoulder of Everest


A Sherpa carrying loads



Western shoulder of Everest and part of the Icefall


My tent with the view of the western shoulder of Everest and the Icefall

DAY 29



Everest – Day 27: Rest day

April 25 (Thursday)

Today the rest of the team came back from camp 2.  While they were at camp 1 supposedly they got all kinds of snow which prolonged their stay at camp 1 by one night.  They moved up to camp 2 to acclimatize for one night and came back.  Everybody felt great.

It was also another rest day for me. I felt great and the weather was nice so I snapped some pictures around our camp:


My tent with view of the Icefall in the background


My tent with view of the Icefall in the background


My tent with view of the Icefall in the background



DAY 28

Everest – Day 26: Acclimatization

April 24 (Wednesday)

Today I went on another acclimatization hike with Lakpa, this time to camp 1 of Pumori, at about 19,000ft.  That’s about as high as Camp 1 of Everest (at 19,500ft).  I went at my own pace at Lakpa’s patience and I gotta say, I felt fabulous!  I really think that I just needed those couple days of rest and extra acclimatization.  It seems that even though ‘active rest’ worked for the majority of the group, my body just needed good ‘ol bumming around and laying horizontally.

I came back to base camp feeling energized and full of hopes for the rest of the climb!

DAY 27

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:


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

Everest – Day 22: Rotation #1

April 20 (Saturday)

We were supposed to be fully dressed and at breakfast at 3am.  I set my alarm but I didn’t hear it!!  Brien, one of the guides, shook my tent at 02:53am which only gave me 7 minutes to get dressed and get out of the tent… Gaah!!  Not a good start.  We had breakfast and left base camp at 4am.

It didn’t start out really well for me in the Icefall..  I started falling behind although I still had 2 climbers and 2 Sherpas behind me.  It was snowing pretty hard and was a little chilly.  I’m not sure if we were going too fast or maybe I just lacked in physical conditioning, but the Icefall seemed really steep and difficult to climb.  I was breathing very hard and started getting nauseated.  I was going slower and slower and needing to catch my breath after each bigger hill.  Climbers behind me passed me which left only me and my guide.  We finally made it to the ‘football’ field, a little bit further than the place we came to yesterday.  I took a break there and found out from Ben, my guide, that it would take at least 4 more hours to get to camp 1.  I was so nauseated at this point that I couldn’t really keep anything down.  I didn’t actually throw up anything but it sure felt like I would have.  I was also cold, even with my big puffy parka on.  It was snowing really hard and the visibility was very poor.  I figured that if I can’t keep anything down, how will I keep warm??  Food and water is essential to staying warm.  I was going higher and higher, and with more exertion surely I would not start feeling any better.  I decided that I need to turn around before I get any sicker.  I never felt so sick on a mountain before, and never before had an altitude problem, so this really alarmed me.  However, I cherish my well-being and life over anything and decided that I am more important than a pile of rock and ice, no matter how high in the sky it is…  Ben made a quick call on his walkie-talkie and Lakpa Sherpa descended from the group way ahead of us already to take me down to base camp.

I remember looking at the blue ice of the glacier all around me and the huge towers of snow and ice, looking extremely ‘cold’ and inhospitable.  It was foggy all around me and still snowing hard.  The Icefall felt so hostile and forsaken that I felt it is the last place on Earth I would want to get lost in and collapse.  I just really wanted to get the fudge out of there!

Lakpa Rita was extremely patient with me.  He saw that I felt like crap so he strapped my backpack onto his own so I had no weight to carry besides my own.  To this day I am so very thankful for that!  We finally made it down to base camp and I snailed my way over to the clinic (“Everest ER”) to see one of the doctors there.  I was told that it’s just simple altitude sickness and I need more acclimatization.  The doctor instructed me to eat and drink more (which I sorta knew already… but it’s oh-so hard to eat and drink anything at an altitude when there is absolutely no appetite!).  I came back to my tent and layed down.  It snowed all night, and I slept like a baby for full 11 hours.

DAY 23