We are now over half way through this year’s Everest trip, and of course you have not heard much from us. We are not a blog, and frankly I spend most of my time working on the expedition…..and not talking about it. Besides so many members are writing their own blog in any case.
I daresay the main news is that yesterday we completed our acclimatization on Pumori. When I say completed this process, I mean that the Sherpas carried the last loads off the mountain from C2 yesterday. The last of the members were back at BC the day before, but I do not consider and expedition complete until everyone is back safe to BC. As I have already mentioned it was a bit of an experiment to climb Pumori instead of Lobuche for acclimatization. We established C1, which is where many Everest climbers do day walks during the season, this we never stayed in and only used the tent to store equipment in, just to save carrying boots and crampons and the like up and down from BC. The route went into a small gully before going up an easy snow ramp, and then followed a series rock buttresses and short scree slopes until reaching a straight forward snow slope to the main arete leading up to C2. This soon lead into a steep ice tower that we needed to traverse around on steep hard ice. This lead to a short 7m vertical ice wall to drop into the bottom of a large crevasse. C2 was located on the bottom of this crevasse on a small snow ledge. It took us 3 days to make the route from C1 to C2 as well as carry enough rope to get to C3. Of course there was another vertical ice wall to climb out of the crevasse onto an easy snow slope that lead to yet another 4m vertical ice wall that gave us access to an easy snow covered ledge. We followed this ledge before heading up another steep ice section that gave us access to another ledge that took us to some large easy slopes, but knee deep snow in the center of the face. But this proved to be of no avail as all of these easy slopes were cut off from the upper slopes by large crevasses. So we had to return from this sortie, recovering our ropes, and return to the original snow ledge. This took us a full day of work with very little progress. The following day we again went to our high point and traversed even further right before climbing a short 3m overhanging ice section that lead to a steep snow slope that got us high on the mountain. Another short snow ledge and another short steep snow slope brought us to the skyline ridge, which is the border between Nepal and Tibet. A short drop of about 25m took us to a prominent col and a flat area where we could make C3. On 01 May at 13.00 Phura Namgel and Nima Tenzing from Himex managed to fix rope to the summit. Dawa Stephen and Nanga Dorgee from Asian Trekking also reached the summit at the same time. (I have known Dawa for many years and when he asked if the two of them could use our route, I agreed and was able to get the required permissions for these two Sherpas to climb). On 02 May at 12.48 Mark Woodward, Stephan Keck, Martin Hewitt and Tenjing Tashi reached the summit, and at 13.46 Ian Hocking reached the summit. Everyone returned to BC the following day, but we had to leave some equipment at C2, so it was only yesterday that we were able to return and collect this.
We are now ready to head to C2 on Everest and proceed to the summit when rope fixing has been completed and weather allows.