We embark on our ascent today, commencing after breakfast. Our journey begins with a glacier walk, leading us halfway into the Khumbu Icefall. This leg of the climb takes us up to an altitude of 5,500 meters, involving the crossing of several ladders to mitigate the primary risks in this area. Subsequently, we return to the base camp to rest.
The subsequent day entails further progress as we tackle the challenging Khumbu Icefall and ascend to Camp 1. Here, we establish our tents, prepare nourishment, and make arrangements for an overnight mountain camping experience. An approximate stay of two nights at Camp 1 is expected before advancing to Camp 2.
Camp 1 sits atop a flat expanse of perpetual snow, characterized by deep clefts and mountainous walls within the Khumbu Icefall. During daylight, the sun's reflection offers warmth and a comforting ambiance. In the night, we're serenaded by the deep, rumbling sounds of crevasses beneath our tents.
Following our stay at Camp 1, we progress onward to Camp 2. Rising early, we're greeted by captivating mountain vistas as we steadily ascend. Our crew readies the tents and prepares meals upon our arrival. A duration of several nights is earmarked for our stay at Camp 2, positioned at the base of the icy Lhotse wall, nestled within a lateral moraine along the western ridge. Though typically characterized by fair weather, occasional dark clouds may roll in from the neighboring low Himalayan valleys. Camp 2, a secure and sheltered site, provides striking views of Lhotse. As a central hub for most expedition organizers, it serves as an essential point for acclimatization and preparations for reaching Camp 3.
After a sufficient acclimatization period at Camp 2, we ascend further to Camp 3. Located adjacent to Mount Lhotse on a modest ledge, Camp 3 requires crossing a glacier to the right before climbing a compact snowfield. Although the climb to Camp 3 is lengthy, it's relatively secure, featuring a couple of short ice cliffs equipped with ropes by our Sherpa climbers. Our sojourn at Camp 3 spans a few nights, vital for proper acclimatization and readiness for the forthcoming ascent to higher altitudes.
Upon completing our stay at Camp 3, we proceed to the next elevation, Camp 4, situated at South Col. This marks the final camp in the Everest expedition. En route, we negotiate two rocky segments – the Yellow Band and Geneva Spur – each outfitted with fixed ropes by our Sherpa climbing team. The Yellow Band consists of inter-layered marble, phyllite (a metamorphic rock), and semi-schist rocks. The Geneva Spur takes the shape of an anvil-like ridge formed from dark rocks. Most climbers reach Camp 4 without supplemental oxygen. From here, only a mere 500 meters remain to the Earth's highest point. Accordingly, we allocate additional nights at Camp 4 before the forthcoming summit attempt.
Following ample days of acclimatization at Camp 3, we embark on the decisive final push for the summit. This phase is both the last and most perilous part of the climb, with formidable wind gusts. Our recommended route to the summit follows the narrow Southeast ridge, a journey lasting approximately 9 to 13 hours. Along this path, we encounter significant landmarks like the Balcony, the Hillary Step, and the south summit before reaching the central plateau. Throughout this route, fixed ropes guide our way, leading to a moderate snow slope culminating in the true summit. This very route was pioneered by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Sherpa in 1953. Attaining the pinnacle of the world fills us with unparalleled joy and pride. Subsequently, our focus shifts to a safe descent back to the base camp.