Acclimatization process closed
Dispatch: 26.04.07 Everest Base
At 9'o clock in the morning Pertemba comes in and informs me about a fatal
accident of another team's Sherpa in the Lhotse face. There are no further
details, it supposed to be a team from Italy with no radios. Dawa compares that
with a tourist bus-driver's accident...I am not sure about it.
27.04.07 Everest Base Camp 5300m
The sky is overcast and it is windy, all our Sherpas remain in their tents. Who
sets out had to return half way. Part of the way has been destroyed that night.
Middays the icefall will be secured again.
29. 04.07 Camp 2 6500m
Second acclimatization turn. 5 o'clock in the morning I set out. From the start
I fail. In order to cut short I take a small frozen lake, just a slop. But in
fact that slop is not frozen and I break in with both of my shoes. I feel the
ice water at my feet. Return or continue?? As soon as I am through the icefall
the sun will come and it will get warmer. On the other hand three more hours to
go. I rush forward and continue. I am lucky, after 6 hours I am in camp 2.
30.04.07 Camp 2 6500m
Rest day. Dawa and I go towards the Lhotse face. Huge clouds in the lower
Western CWM let us return. Middays contrary to one's expectation it gets sunny
01.05.07 Everest Camp 2 6500m
Ascent to camp 2 in the Lhotse face. Dawa and I set out at 7 o'clock. The sun
disguises behind the Lhotse face. Strong gusts of wind blow from the Lhotse.
Until the face it slowly ascents, the access is almost vertical. Some ropes hang
down. Hooking in the ascender, pushing up, looking for footing with the climbing
irons, pushing through the knees and so forth....That is our job for the next
hours. Above us there are five climbers. It hails snow and chunks of ice. Not
nice but we achieve the ascent well. After 4 hours we reach the lower camp 3 on
7100 meters. We have finished the acclimatization goal. No clouds blocks the
view on the Pumori and the Cho-Oyu. After a short rest we descent to camp 2.
02.05.07 Everest Base Camp 5300m
Acclimatization closed. I leave the camp at 7 o'clock, it had snowed a bit. I am
alone. Not until the icefall I meet ascending climbers. It is extremely hot and
cloudless, anyhow my drinking pack defrosts far later down. At 10 o'clock I am
back in the Base Camp. Breakfast and a hot cup of water for washings. Luxury.
Later on I hear that IMG will go for a summit push in on week. This is finally
the spirit needed. I have to rest at least 3 days to be ready for my try. In the
best case scenario in 10 days it all could be done. Thanks for all your wishes
All the best Dirk
Earlier: 20.04.07 Everest Base Camp
Camp 2 needs further transports to be carried. We again take a climb to the
Pumori. I feel very well acclimatized, I am able to climb fast, now it is
getting time to check out my abilities in the icefall.
21.04.07 Everest Base Camp 5300m
Our team commences to check out the icefall today. I rest here, too often I
have been confronted with the icefall the last years. Instead I carry stones
to manifest the platform for my tent. The sun eats away the icy underground,
left and right streams flow along at noon, it is unbearable hot inside the
tent. Tomorrow I want to climb up to camp 1, but later it starts snowing.
22.04.07 Everest Base Camp 5300m
It stops snowing around 10 p.m.. In the morning all Sherpas are still in the
tent, nobody climbs up. It makes no sense to dig into the icefall, weather
conditions between camp 1 and 2 are unclear. We delay the ascent about one
23.04.07 Camp 1 6100m
I start at five in the morning. Light shoes, light climbing irons,
light-grey underwear, fleece overall, fleece top, Gore-Tex trousers and
jacket, harness and ice equipment, this had stood the test. I wear a
waterskin under the jacket, no need to stop for drinking. I am on my way.
The icefall is still jagged, the trek proceeds through immense crevasse and
ice towers. Not knowing that everything flows and is instable, one could
enjoy the scenery. After three hours I reach the upper end of the icefall.
The valley of silence ends at the enormous Lhotse-face, where I have to take
the south col. Today I continue one hour further in the direct sun. I am in
camp 1. My progress is as last year - a good sign.
24.04.07 Camp 2 6500m
I feel good, thus I decide to climb up to camp 2. T wo other climbers join.
Like last year the first hour I zick-zack down the crevasse and out of the
crevasse, harassingly slow camp 1 disappears. I need two hours to camp 2. On
top 20 minutes further tough ascent to our tents.
Later on we need to establish an ice platform, heavy work in 6500m. There is
no better acclimatization.
25.04.07 Everest Basislager 5300m
After that enormous work I descend to the base camp. Three hours later the
first acclimatization phase is finalized. After some rest days the next tour
will be to camp 3 at the Lhotse face up to 7300m.
So long Dirk
Earlier: April 13-15: 13.04.07 Everest BC 5300m
Our team is almost completed. Meagan Mc Graph (Canada), Paul, Stephan
Giesecke (USA), Attila Jelinko (Hungary), Ravi Chan Dran Pharumalingam
(Malaysia), Rudolf Praschl-Bircher (Austria), Martin Byrn (Ireland) will
arrive in the next days. The dining tent is fully booked, many things to
talk, no boredom.
14.04.07 Everest BC 5300m
Puja ceremony will be on 19.04. There is no better day before. Either new
moon or no lucky day. After breakfast Ravi and I are climbing to Pumori up
to 5600m to camp 1. The summit pyramide is white, so does the Lothsewall. I
have been at the BC for one week and got 1 hours training in the altitude of
5500m. This should be enough preparation for the icefall.
15.04.07 Everest BC 5300m
The expedition manager are meeting at the HRA-clinic. Patemba is joining me.
He is the BC Manager. Together with Sirdar Lhakpa he is leading out
expedition. Each team is exchanging radio frequences, tomorrow Sherpas of
IMG will assure the Lhotsewall to camp 3. Directly after Puja we will be in
the situation to complete acclimatisation. So long, Dirk
09.04.07 Everest base camp
After breakfast Dawa and I stroll around the base camp. We saw a first Puja
ceremony for the British expedition. They carry lots of equipment and
devices. Among it an ergometer which shall be positioned on 8000m. On the
summit arterial blood shall be extracted from a leg and immediately brought
to the lab by a Sherpa. Legend said more than one million dollar expedition
costs. No resources left for other emergency cases that huge is the
expedition team, despite 40 doctors on board! All big commercial teams
are present: IMG, Mountain Madness, Alpine ascents, to name only a few. The
teams slowly gather together the next days. Groups of base camp trekers
frequently appear in order to get the spirit of the base camp for a few
days. The icefall will not be part of their journey.
Later we level a platform for
Dawa's bakery. While we swing spades and pickaxe we are met by the trekers
with disbelief. Ravi from Malaysia drops in, followed by the others the next
10.04.07 Everest base camp 5300m
Slightly cloudy with snowfalls. When it stops I ascend half way to Gorak
Shep to an altitude of 5.500m. Among huge clouds I see the everest summit
pyramid, the Lhotse wall and the south col. More than 3000m in altitude to
conquer. Later it again snows. We try to get Dawa's projector running, but it
fails, too much energy needed. Neither the gene rator nor batteries could
provide the necessary performance, thus no cinema in the bakery.
11.04.07 Everest base camp 5300m
We see that the nepal military flies in some Koreans with a huge Russian
helicopter. They want to be part of the Puja fotoshooting of one of the
expeditions. One hour later when the pilot returns no Koreans are left for
pickup. The pilot has to take some extra round. The tourists suffer from lack
of oxygen and do not manage to walk upright. No further comment needed.
It snows the whole day. The
wind comes and leaves. We are busy with the failing electronic equipment.
The icefall supposed to be in
a desolate conditions I will try not to pass him to often.
So long, Dirk.
Earlier: Base Camp: I have reached the base camp on Saturday. Like
last year the cooking tent is the first established. I helped establishing
my tent. The ice has to be leveled in order to get a straight platform. At
first the ice needed to be cleared to spread stones thereon.
Weather conditions are firstly beautiful, then it is
thuderstorming with snow.
The night was cold but I slept well. I stay in my sleeping
back until the sun warms up the tent. For breakfast I have omelets and toast.
I then keep on helping leveling the platforms for the tents. We expect next
Ravi Chant from Malaysia. Not until all climbers reach the base camp there
will be no Puja ceremony. Without the Puja ceremony no climber will get
through the Khumbu Icefall.
All the best Dirk
April 1, 2007 Tengbouche
The audience at Rimpoche is impressing. He is 73 years old and one of the
most important Buddhistic authority. He has to send its monks abroad and is
not always content with the schools here. Thus repatriates' discipline
suffers from cities' influence. The familarization with the life in Khumbu
is getting more and more difficult. He thinks that loss of discipline is
responsible for anew fire in the monastery. Thanks to the strong snowfall
the monastery was not destroyed a second time.
I ask him what he thinks of us climbers who risk their and their Sherpa's
lifes. He thinks of the classical dilemma: On one hand this is a job maker
for Sherpas and on the other hand they have no choice in contrast to the
climber. That is why it is important to get them altern atives to provide
them a fair choice. In principle Sherpas live from the tourism. I get my
Kata back, a blessed line and sanctified spices. Ingest daily the blessings
April 2 ,2007
Today it is my doughter Lara's birthday. I wake up early to get her before
school. A quarter to seven I can start. The soil is hardly frozen. The
descent is getting more a slalom thru the mug, left by hundreds of Yaks.
A unpleasant cold wind soughs thru the valley. A tightrope walk between
shivering and sweating. It takes me 3 hours to the Lodge in Pheriche. I am
at the altitude of 4.200 m. After all the same than Base camp of Aconcagua.
I meet a compatant of my team. He is from Malaysia, summited the Everest
last year from Tibet and lost one finger. This does not stop him from
ascending again from Nepal.
Later I listen out of boredom a speech of the Periche Clinic regarding
altitude sickness. New doctor, old speech, nothing new. The scouts join.
They will accomodate base camp in two weeks.
April 3, 2007
Unfortunately I got a nasty cold. No wonder the Lodges are full of sick
persons. I change accommodation to the other side of the hill to Dingboche.
The owner of the Lodge in Pheriche also owns the Lodge in Dingboche and gets
me there fast. Here it is much more sunny and the wind does not sough that
much. I plan to ascent a bit more and it seems to work. Above me there are
ascending climbers. I close on at the summit of 5050 m. It's Dave Hahn and
his clients on acclimazation. I descent again to Dingboche.
The night was a bit colder,
but comfortable with my warm sleeping back. The altitude provides no problems,
thus I decide to climb up to Khumjung. I get my obligatory prayer shawl, the
kata. Sherab wishes me all the best for the rise. Then I climb down to the
village. I miss some magnesium to get rid of muscle cramps. There are none in
the pharmacy but I find some in a small grocery. Now I continuously climb up,
after 1 hour I see the Everest again. The summit tops everything, unimpressed
from all what happened.
I lodge in the Khumjung
Hotel. 10 minutes later I am on my way again; last years training up to 4300m.
I do well, I am ok so far. Back in the hotel I meet Dawa again. He desires an
early summit to dedicate to the Everest-Marathon.....
At 3 pm the sky tightens. The
village befogs. I see 15 yellow tents. British scout group camps here. Scouts
do not sleep in hotels. Five of them eye the Everest. They cut themselves
bolds to demonstrate the length of their expedition. They discuss
acclimatization process for hours.
I sleep well this night,
although sleeping back still too thick.
All the best Dirk
2007: Dirk Stephan returns to Everest to attempt the mountain from the Nepal
side of the mountain. Dirk will again be joining the
the Asian Trekking team. " Last year I
made it up to the southcol, where I abandoned the final push because the
weather was too tough for me, and I was not willing to take the risk. On
this day, the famous Apa Sherpa made his 16th summit, as others who were
willing to take more risk or just were stronger than me also did it. This
will be my third trip to Everest Ė also a time for reflection and thinking
things over. I am looking forward to see friends in the Khumbu and above
I do not see many things, which I could
have done better last year to succeed, however it is the experience which
counts. Last year I descended the upper Lhotse face completely alone,
putting my trail into the fresh untouched snow, had a terrific view over to
Cho Oyu and back up to the south summit of everest. On this day I left the
southcol at 5am, descended down to BC where I arrived at 2 PM. The next day
I marched out to Namche and the next day I arrived in Lhukla and two days
later I was safe at home. However- never say goodbye to Khumbu.... Dirk
Base Camp - 17,500 feet (5350
This is a
picture of the popular South Col Route up Mt. Everest. Base camp is located
at 17,500 feet. This is where climbers begin their true trip up the
mountain. This is also where support staff often remain to monitor the
expeditions and provide medical assistance when necessary. Many organizations
offer hiking trips which just go to base camp as the trip is not technically
challenging (though you must be very fit).
camp, climbers typically train and acclimate (permitting the body to adjust to
the decreased oxygen in the air) by traveling and bringing supplies back and
forth through the often treacherous Khumbu Icefall. This training and
recuperation continues throughout the climb, with the final summit push often
being the only time to climbers do not go back and forth between camps to
train, bring supplies, and recuperate for the next push.
is in constant motion. It contains enormous ice seracs, often larger than
houses, which dangle precariously over the climbers heads, threatening to fall
at any moment without warning, as the climbers cross endless crevasses and
listen to continuous ice creaking below. This often acts as a testing ground
to judge if less experienced climbers will be capable of continuing. The
Icefall is located between 17,500 and 19,500 feet.
Camp I -
Icefall, the climbers arrive at Camp I, which is located at 19,500 feet.
Depending on the type of expedition, Camp I will either be stocked by the
climbers as they ascend and descend the Icefall, or by Sherpas in advance.
between Camp I and Camp II is known as the Western Cwm. As the climbers reach
Camp II at 21,000 feet, they may be temporarily out of sight of their support
at Base camp. Nonetheless, modern communication devises permit the parties to
stay in contact.
Camp II -
climbers leave Camp II, they travel towards the Lhotse face (Lhotse is a
27,920 foot mountain bordering Everest). The Lhotse face is a steep, shiny
icy wall. Though not technically extremely difficult, one misstep or slip
could mean a climber's life. Indeed, many climbers have lost their lives
through such mishaps.
Camp III -
23,700 feet (7200 meters)
To reach Camp
III, climbers must negotiate the Lhotse Face. Climbing a sheer wall of ice
demands skill, strength and stamina. It is so steep and treacherous that many
Sherpas move directly from Camp II to Camp IV on the South Col, refusing to
stay on the Lhotse Face.
Camp IV -
26,300 feet (8000 meters)
As youíre leaving C4Öitís a
little bit of a down slope, with the uphill side to the left. There are
typically snow on the ledges to walk down on, interspersed with rock, along
with some fixed rope. The problem with the rope is that the anchors are bad,
and thereís not much holding the rope and a fall could be serious. Fortunately
itís not too steep, but there is a ton of exposure and people are usually
tired when walking down from camp. The rock is a little down sloping to the
right as well, and with crampons on, it can be bit tricky with any kind of
wind. Thereís a little short slope on reliable snow which leads to the top of
the Geneva Spur, and the wind pressure gradient across the spur can increase
there as youíre getting set up for the rappel. Wearing an oxygen mask here can
create some footing issues during the rappel, because itís impossible to see
over the mask and down to the feet. For that reason, some people choose to
leave Camp 4 without gas, as itís easier to keep moving down the Spur when
itís important to see all the small rock steps and where the old feet are
going. Navigating down through all of the spaghetti of fixed ropes is a bit of
a challenge, especially with mush for brains at that point. One lands on some
lower ledges which arenít so steep, where fixed ropes through here are solid.
At this point, itís just a matter of staying upright, and usually, the wind
has died significantly after dropping off the Spur. The route turns hard to
the left onto the snowfield that leads to the top of the Yellow Bands.
which is at 26,300 on the Lhotse face, is typically the climbers' first
overnight stay in the Death Zone. The Death Zone is above 26,000 feet.
Though there is nothing magical about that altitude, it is at this altitude
that most human bodies lose all ability to acclimate. Accordingly, the body
slowly begins to deteriorate and die - thus, the name "Death Zone." The
longer a climber stays at this altitude, the more likely illness (HACE - high
altitude cerebral edema - or HAPE - high altitude pulmonary edema) or death
will occur. Most climbers will use oxygen to climb and sleep at this altitude
and above. Generally, Sherpas refuse to sleep on the Lhotse face and will
travel to either Camp II or Camp IV.
Camp IV is
located at 26,300 feet. This is the final major camp for the summit push. It
is at this point that the climbers make their final preparations. It is also
a haven for worn-out climbers on their exhausting descent from summit attempts
(both successful and not). Sherpas or other climbers will often wait here
with supplies and hot tea for returning climbers.
From Camp IV,
climbers will push through the Balcony, at 27,500 feet, to the Hillary Step at
28,800 feet. The Hillary Step, an over 70 foot rock step, is named after Sir.
Edmond Hillary, who in 1953, along with Tenzing Norgay, became the first
people to summit Everest. The Hillary Step, which is climbed with fixed
ropes, often becomes a bottleneck as only one climber can climb at a time.
Though the Hillary Step would not be difficult at sea level for experienced
climbers, at Everest's altitude, it is considered the most technically
challenging aspect of the climb.
29,028 feet (8848 meters)
climbers ascend the Hillary Step, they slowly and laboriously proceed to the
summit at 29,028 feet. The summit sits at the top of the world. Though not
the closest place to the sun due to the earth's curve, it is the highest peak
on earth. Due to the decreased air pressure, the summit contains less than
one third the oxygen as at sea level. If dropped off on the summit directly
from sea level (impossible in reality), a person would die within minutes.
Typically, climbers achieving the great summit will take pictures, gain their
composure, briefly enjoy the view, then return to Camp IV as quickly as
possible. The risk of staying at the summit and the exhaustion from
achieving the summit is too great to permit climbers to fully enjoy the great
accomplishment at that moment.
readers of this page know, the return trip can be even more dangerous than the
climb to the summit.
Pictures from Enrique
Guallart-Furio web site http://ww2.encis.es/avent/
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