Wednesday, May 26, 2010

More Photos from Up High!

Wahoo! Everyone is very excited (and exhausted) right now in Base Camp. Its
hard to believe that we made it, all of us. Reality is slowly sinking in. Up
till now we have been just too tired to really appreciate what just
happened! Everyone worked very hard for this goal. Its just simply amazing.
So we have attached some more photos from the summit push. A more few
details. Watching the weather forecasts closely, we made a decision to go up
to Camp 3 on the 21st. Simply perfect day, no wind, everyone moving well to
a small chopped out perch at 24,000 ft. on the Lhotse Face. Beautiful sunset
later, then super cold weather. Next morning looked perfect so off we went
to Camp 4 at 26,00ft., starting very early. Along the way we had to climb
the Yellow Band and the Geneva Spur. These are quite challenging at this
altitude. Quite a few people moved up to high camp on the same schedule as
us. Probably close to 80 people. It's a big mountain though, so people get
scattered quickly. So again, a very good day to move up. Into Camp 4 around
noon, so we had some time to rest, rehydrate and recover some. Then the wind
kicked in quite strong. Over the next few hours we were on the fence if we
would wait till the 24th to go as there were huge streamers of wind and
blowing snow coming off the top and through the South Col. Both Bill and I
were seriously worried about conditions...then the wind just stopped about
an hour before we had planned to leave for the summit. Remarkable and lucky!
So we continued to prepare and were off at 8.30pm on the 22nd for the top.
Yep, that's 8.30pm the day before! A long hard, cold night of climbing up
across the South Col, up the Triangle Face towards the Balcony. It's a night
of fighting personal fears, freezing cold and simply watching a small
headlight beam in front of you. It seems to take forever up to the Balcony
at close to 28,000ft. This is really our first stop in the dark to change
out our first Oxygen bottle. We had a total of 11 sherpa climbing with us,
carrying extra Oxygen which makes life up here safer, warmer and for most of
us...even possible! So from the Balcony we started up the difficult rock
climbing/scrambling towards the South Summit. This is where it slooowllly
got light, then we watched one of the most amazing sunrises over Tibet. We
had been climbing almost 8 hours at this point and those first rays of sun
felt simply amazing! So we now were in good position, winds were still light
and everyone was still moving well. AT the South Summit we again change out
our Oxygen so we have plenty for the climb over from the South Summit to the
Main Summit of Everest. This next section is where the famous "Hillary Step"
is. It's a very narrow, exposed ridge with quite interesting climbing at
well over 28,500 ft. now. After the Hillary Step, it's a slow climbing
traverse up and over to the main summit. Yahoo, we had all made it! As well
as our whole Sherpa team. That's 18 of us total! Top of our planet! The
winds were now blowing maybe 20 mph and it was farily cold, but still more
or less perfect weather for the summit! We spent almost an hour taking
pictures and enjoying the outstanding views all around us! SO then the long
descent begins. Quite a lot of cloud and wind moved in as we reached the
Balcony. This is where we loaned one of our sherpas, Gombu, to help another
climber with possible Cerebral Edema and who was having some troubles (later
this went well and he was evacuated from Camp 2). This climber was not in
our group. Anyways, quite a sporty descent and night as the winds and snow
continued till the next morning. So we had found the small window to summit
in. Not all teams are so lucky!

Now we are in Base Camp and packing everything as tomorrow there will not be
a camp here! Everything is getting loaded into barrils, onto Yaks for the 3
day descent back to Lukla where our equipment will be transferred to
Kathmandu. We have scheduled 2 charter helicopters for the flight out
leaving tomorrow morning. So it will be quite a shock to go from Base Camp
directly to Kathmandu in 1 day! But I can safely say that everyone is very
much looking forward to being back to civilization and everything that
holds! Although Kathmandus more of a transition back. So enjoy the photos,
more stories soon! And then Everest 2011.....

Scott Woolums Reporting from Everest Base Camp

Oh yes and some photos from the descent!

Your only halfway on the summit! Sometime the descent can be quite
challenging. We had some high winds and snow as we left Camp 4, then things
continued to improve. Enjoy!


Everest Summit 2010!

Yahoo! We are all back safe in Base Camp after a very successful summit on
May 23rd, 2010. We will keep this short as lots going on here in Base Camp.
But we wanted to get out the news that 7 members and 11 sherpa summited at
just after 9am in very good weather. Just a light wind, clear skys and
amazing views! We spent well over 30 mins. On top before starting down to
the South Col. Before getting back near the Balcony, we were caught by the
afternoon convective clouds with higher winds and snow with low visibility.
Back in Camp 4 it continued to snow and blow hard all night. More or less
shuting the mountain down, although we did hear a group made the summit in
poor conditions. Crazy weather, from super good to whiteout and blowing.
Anyways, were here in Base Camp, everyone is doing very well. No injuries,
no frostbite, no worries!

Lots more photos and stories on the way! Yahoo!

Scott Woolums reporting from Everest Base Camp.