Everest 2012: North Side Arrivals And Training In BC

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This has been a week for the Everest climbers to get settled in Base Camp and start their training for the climb ahead. Most are still getting acclimated to the altitude and life on the mountain and while they’re enjoying a little down time for now, it will be time to get focused on the climb itself.

Most of the news that I’ve reported over the past week has been about the arrival of teams at BC on the South Side of the mountain. Those teams make a classic 8-10 day trek through the Khumbu Valley, which not only aids in acclimatization but also immerses them in the culture of Nepal. But now teams have started to make their way to Base Camp on the North Side as well, and while they are focused on training too, their journey is a very different one. Most of those climbers fly or drive to Tibet and can then make their way to BC by car, skipping out on the long trek in the process.

One of the teams that is now en route to BC on the Tibetan side of the mountain is the 7 Summits Club. The group left Kathmandu for Lhasa, Tibet by plane yesterday and they should be now driving to camp. That usually takes a few days just to allow for some acclimatization, so expect updates from the North Side to begin over the weekend.

Similarly, expect updates from the Altitude Junkies to begin soon as well. They departed Kathmandu for Tibet on Tuesday, but are making the journey overland. With that in mind, they are likely to arrive in BC this weekend as well and will start the work of taking on the world’s highest mountain.

Also en route to North Side Base Camp is Grant Rawlinson, who is in Tinbri Tibet today. Reading Grant’s blog posts over the past few days will give you a good idea of what it is like on the road in Tibet and heading towards Everest. He shares plenty of pictures from the journey as well, which helps to set the stage remarkably well.

Meanwhile, on the South Side the climbers are now squarely focused on acclimatizing and training. For instance, the Peak Freaks are off to Kala Pattar today for a trek at altitude and an overnight stay above 5545 meters (18,192 ft). Team leader Tim Rippel says that most of the groups have now arrived in Base Camp, which means the leaders will sit down together in the next few days and hammer out a plan on how to share resources for fixing ropes, establishing camps and so on. Once that plan is complete, they’ll start to make their first forays through the dangerous Khumbu Icefall.  (See video below!)

The IMG team spent the day training on Lobuche yesterday and the climbers were all introduced to their personal Sherpas. Everyone is reportedly feeling very good and are eager to get underway. They are expected to move up to high camp on Lobuche today and then complete their acclimatization climb tomorrow before proceeding back to EBC.

As you can tell, most everyone is in a bit of a holding pattern right now. Their bodies need to adjust to the altitude and the climbers are working on honing their skills. I suspect we will see the first teams start to head up to Camp 1 early next week and the real process of the Everest climb will begin.

Kraig Becker