"First Team" to Camp 2
Dispatch—Day 24: April 19, 2009
Everest Base Camp—17,530 feet (5,343 meters)
N 28º 00.336' E 086º 51.504'
Another beautiful day at Everest Basecamp. The weather so far this season has been really great. We've had traces of snow some nights but most days have been warm, sunny and the climbing conditions have been, as my friends say, 'splitter'.
Dave, Erica and I took advantage of the conditions today and went for an acclimatization hike. We went down the Khumbu, out of Basecamp and towards Pumori, a 23,000-foot [7,000-meter] peak located across the glacier from Nuptse. The trail below Basecamp was moderately busy with climbers, trekkers, porters and yak trains. Hiking the trails around here with Dave is always fun because he invariably runs into some one he knows, usually several people. Today we ran into a British gent who had done some scientific work on several of the artifacts that Dave and team had recovered when they found Mallory's body on the North Ridge of Everest in '99. They had never met face-to-face but had known of each other for a few years. I couldn't think of a more appropriate place for the two to meet.
On our hike we passed through Pumori Basecamp and then walked out across a rocky ridgeline. At a high point on the ridge we were rewarded with spectacular views of Nuptse, Lhotse and Everest. After getting the requisite photos Dave and Erica headed back to camp for lunch while I continued on to Camp 1 on Pumori. From there the views were even more spectacular. I could see all the way from Basecamp, up the icefall, through part of the Western Cwm (although Nuptse blocks most of this), up the Lhotse Face to the South Col and then I could follow parts of the South East Ridge of Everest to the Summit. It was very cool to be able to see almost the entire climbing route. It also gave me a great visual representation of why it takes about two months to climb this mountain. It's a long way from basecamp to the summit!
The rest of the team is doing great as well. Ed and Peter had spent last night at Camp 1 and today they moved up to Camp 2 (Advanced Basecamp). They called on the radio in the morning and reported that all was well and they called again when they had reached ABC. Melissa made her way through the icefall in the early morning hours, climbing her way from Basecamp to Camp 1. Everyone took advantage of the great weather today.
The team is spread out on the mountain for the next few days but that's neither unexpected nor a bad thing on a long expedition. Our schedules will overlap again soon and we'll all be together and that will be great. But for now it's nice to have a little extra room in the dining tent.
- Nat Geo Expeditions