The climbs on Everest have officially begun! After arriving in Base Camp last week most of the teams spent the first few days getting settled in and working on their technical skills. With those important duties out of the way, and Puja ceremonies complete, the climbers have now started to cross through the Khumbu Icefall and make their way up to Camp 1 as part of their first acclimatization rotation. The long haul up the Big Hill has started.
The Peak Freaks made their first foray up the South Col today and reached Camp 1in good shape this morning. Unlike most climbers, who simply go up and “touch” C1 on their first go, the team will actually spend the night there and proceed up to Camp 2 tomorrow before heading back down to Base Camp. By all indications, the team is feeling good and climbing well.
Kenton Cool also made his way up to Camp 1 today getting an early start at 3:30 AM local time in order to haul gear to the first waypoint. It took him less than 4 hours to move through the icefall and up the slope, which is an impressive time for the first trip of the season. He’s back in BC now and reports that the team will hold its Puja Ceremony tomorrow.
The WMS Everest Experience team made the trek to Camp 1 yesterday and then up to C2 today, which puts them a bit ahead of the pack. They were scheduled to drop gear and have lunch in Camp 2, then spend a few hours acclimatizing before proceed back to C1 for another overnight. That will make for a very successful acclimatization rotation for them as well.
Ian Ridley should have climbed up to Camp 1 today as well. He spent Sunday practicing the precarious techniques needed to make his way through the icefall and reports great success in that regard. Yesterday he attended his Puja Ceremony, which he goes into with nice detail on his blog, and with that out of the way, he and the rest of his crew are now free to start up the mountain.
Not everyone is going up to Camp 1 however. The Himex squad prefers to limit the number of crossing of the icefall as much as possible, so they’ve spent the past few days acclimatizing on Lobuche East. The entire team summited that training peak and are now on their way back to Base Camp, where they’ll rest for a few days before starting their first haul up to Camp 2.
It seems that most of the teams feel like they are ahead of schedule at the moment and they are progressing very nicely. Apparently tomorrow the leaders of the various expeditions will sit down for their planning meeting, at which time they’ll work out a cooperative schedule for how they’ll share their Sherpas for fixing ropes up the mountain and setting up the high camps. This pooled resource approach has worked very well the past few seasons and will ensure that everyone works together in the most efficient manner. I’m sure we’ll learn more about the schedule after that meeting takes place.
Meanwhile, enjoy this great video from Kenton Cool that covers the trek to Base Camp. More news soon.
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