Everest 2008: Icefall Update

Kevin Crossing Ladder
A dispatch on the Peak Freak’s page for their Everest 2008 Expedition gives us a bit of an update on what’s happening in the Khumbu Icefall as the Doctors go to work on preparing a path for the climbers.

According to one of the docs, as of today, they’ve installed 900m of rope and seven ladders in the Icefall as they make steady progress at finding their way through the area that is considered the most dangerous on the mountain. For those unfamiliar with the region, the Icefalls occur at the head of the Khumbu Glacier, which moves at such speeds, estimates are 3-4 feet per day, that large gaps open up between the chunks of ice as they break away from the glacier itself. Located at roughly 18,000 feet, the Icefall is just past Base Camp and is especially dangerous because the huge seracs have been known to collapse unexpectedly.

To get to the mountain, and the camps beyond, climbers have to work there way through a path build by the Ice Doctors. The path is constructed with rope that the teams can clip into while they walk across the open chasms on ladders that are laid in place. Throughout the season, the shifting ice will cause the ladders to collapse from time to time, and the Doctors have to continually maintain and repair their route.

In other news from Peak Freaks, they remain the only team in BC at this time, and they report that as of now, no one has taken their communications gear from them. They believe that they may be in camp before anyone expected them to be however, and are operating under the assumption that their sat phones will be confiscated when the soldiers arrive. They also warn trekkers in the region that if you bring cameras, both still and video, you’ll be asked to put them aside as well. It seems the ban on communications and photos/video doesn’t just apply to climbers.

Kraig Becker

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