Everest & Me
Everest! Everest! Everest! is what is I hear in all my heart all the time since June 2012. What is this call from the Mountain? I don’t know. I can’t tell. It is an unknown mysterious call which I hear every single day. It seems like Everest is just aware of my existence. No matter where I am geographically Everest literally communicates with me. It’s just EVIDENT. And only the ones who are close to me can relate to what I’m saying & of course the ones who have experienced a similar kind of a feeling can relate to it. I can literally FEEL the Mountain, every bit of it. I can just reach out and touch it. YES I CAN JUST REACH OUT AND TOUCH IT. At the beginning I used to doubt the call, usual questions of doubt & distrust prevailed in my mind & it actually took me a while to actually become fully aware of the call. And since then the calling has only became more & more LOUDER & CLEARER. And I’ve decided to go in pursuit of this unknown yet KNOWN calling. I’M READY.
- Fly to Lukla from Kathmandu.
- Trek from Lukla to Everest Base Camp.
- Training at the Base camp – Ice Craft, Snow Craft, Ladder Crossing, Proper usage of Oxygen regulators,
A Revision of Do’s & Don’ts on the mountain.
- Climb up to Camp 1, Camp 2, Camp 3, and descend down to the base camp. This is a ritual practiced on the mountains to ensure that we’re giving enough & more time for our body to get acclimatized.
- After Proper & Sufficient Acclimatization, climbers begin to stay on the higher camps (Camp 1, Camp 2 & Camp 3).
- By now The “Summit Window”, would’ve been announced and the climbers will start climbing towards the Summit.
- The stretch from Camp 4 to the tip of Mt.Everest is famously known as the Death Zone. Climbers typically have only a maximum of 2-3 days that they can endure at this altitude for making the Summit bids.
- From Camp 4 climbers begin their summit push around midnight with hopes of reaching the summit within 10–12 hours. Climbers first reach “The Balcony”, at 27,600 feet, a small platform where they can rest and gaze a few peaks in the early light of dawn. Later they reach a small table sized dome of Ice & Snow marks “The South Summit”. As a task of final challenge climbers will have to climb a 40ft rock wall famously known as “The Hillary Step”, (named after Sir. Edmund Hillary), at 28,740 feet. Once above the Hillary step, it is comparatively an easy climb to the Top with moderately angled slopes.
- Climbers usually spend less than half an hour on the summit to allow time to descend to camp 4 before darkness sets in and also taking into consideration the limitations of a Bottled Oxygen.
Climbers will spend a couple of weeks in Base Camp, acclimatizing to the altitude. During that time, Sherpa’s and some expedition climbers will set up ropes and ladders in the treacherous Khumbu Icefall. Crevasses and shifting blocks of ice make the icefall one of the most dangerous sections of the route. Many climbers and Sherpas have been killed in this section. To reduce the hazard, climbers will usually begin their ascent well before dawn, when the freezing temperatures glue ice blocks in place. Above the icefall is Camp I at 6,065 metres (19,900 ft).
From Camp I, climbers make their way up the Western Cwm to the base of the Lhotse face, where Camp II or Advanced Base Camp (ABC) is established at 6,500 m (21,300 ft). The Western Cwm is a flat, gently rising glacial valley, marked by huge lateral crevasses in the centre, which prevent direct access to the upper reaches of the Cwm. Climbers are forced to cross on the far right near the base of Nuptse to a small passageway known as the “Nuptse corner”. The Western Cwm is also called the “Valley of Silence” as the topography of the area generally cuts off wind from the climbing route. The high altitude and a clear, windless day can make the Western Cwm unbearably hot for climbers.
From ABC, climbers ascend the Lhotse face on fixed ropes up to Camp III, located on a small ledge at 7,470 m (24,500 ft). From there, it is another 500 meters to Camp IV on the South Col at 7,920 m (26,000 ft). From Camp III to Camp IV, climbers are faced with two additional challenges: The Geneva Spur and The Yellow Band. The Geneva Spur is an anvil shaped rib of black rock named by the 1952 Swiss expedition. Fixed ropes assist climbers in scrambling over this snow covered rock band. The Yellow Band is a section of inter layered marble, phyllite, and semischist, which also requires about 100 meters of rope for traversing it.
On the South Col, climbers enter the death zone. Climbers typically only have a maximum of two or three days that they can endure at this altitude for making summit bids. Clear weather and low winds are critical factors in deciding whether to make a summit attempt. If weather does not cooperate within these short few days, climbers are forced to descend, many all the way back down to Base Camp.
From Camp IV, climbers will begin their summit push around midnight with hopes of reaching the summit (still another 1,000 meters above) within 10 to 12 hours. Climbers will first reach “The Balcony” at 8,400 m (27,600 ft), a small platform where they can rest and gaze at peaks to the south and east in the early light of dawn. Continuing up the ridge, climbers are then faced with a series of imposing rock steps which usually forces them to the east into waist-deep snow, a serious avalanche hazard. At 8,750 m (28,700 ft), a small table-sized dome of ice and snow marks the South Summit.
From the South Summit, climbers follow the knife-edge southeast ridge along what is known as the “Cornice traverse”, where snow clings to intermittent rock. This is the most exposed section of the climb as a misstep to the left would send one 2,400 m (8,000 ft) down the southwest face, while to the immediate right is the 3,050 m (10,000 ft) Kangshung face. At the end of this traverse is an imposing 12 m (40 ft) rock wall called the “Hillary Step” at 8,760 m (28,740 ft).
After the Hillary Step, climbers also must traverse a loose and rocky section that has a large entanglement of fixed ropes that can be troublesome in bad weather. After this is the long awaited SUMMIT (Top Of The World). Climbers will typically spend less than half an hour at the summit to allow time to descend to Camp IV before darkness sets in, to avoid serious problems with afternoon weather, and also taking into consideration the limitations of Bottled oxygen.
- Mount Everest, also known as Sagarmatha in Nepal and Chomolungma in Tibet/China is the Earth’s highest mountain. It is located in Mahalangur section of Himalayas. Its peak is 8848 meters (29029ft).
- 1841: Sir George Everest, Surveyor General of India from 1830 to 1843, records the location of Everest.
- 1856: The Great Trigonometric Survey Of India (surveyor Andrew Waugh), officially announced Everest, then known as Peak XV as the world’s highest mountain.
- 1865: Peak XV was re-named as Mount Everest to honor Sir George Everest. Surveyor Andrew Waugh was the person who suggested the name Everest. However George Everest was unhappy about this decision as the thought the mountain should be given a local name.
- 1924: June 8th: George Mallory and Andrew Irvine attempt the summit using supplemental oxygen and Irvine’s modified oxygen apparatus. Noel Odell, climbing in support below, catches a glimpse of the climbers at 12:50 pm ascending on the North East Ridge above and they never returned back. Nobody knows what exactly happened to them. During the 1933 expedition, Andrew Irvine’s ice axe was found on the upper slopes of the mountain at about 27,690 feet (8440 meters). Mallory’s remains were found at 26,750 feet (8150 meters), on a line vertically below the ice axe’s location. No evidence of a successful summit bid has been found yet. Despite the lack of hard evidence, the debate on whether they reached the summit of Everest continues to this day.
- 1953: May 26 – First attempt by Evans and Bourdillon from the South Col using closed circuit Oxygen sets .The same day Hunt leads a party of Sherpas from the South Col. Evans and Bourdillon reach the South Summit at 1pm, but are forced to descend due to the lateness of the hour, strong winds, and lack of oxygen.
- 1953: May 29 – Second attempt by Hillary and Tenzing using open-circuit oxygen sets. They leave Camp IX at approximately 27,900 feet (8500 meters) by 6:30 am, and reach the South Summit by 9 AM. After negotiating the 40 feet (12 meter) Hillary Step, they are the first to reach the summit of Everest, reaching the top at 11:30 AM.
- Since then there has been over 5000 ascents to the Top of the world