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Everest Summit Push; Lhotse Team Finishes Acclimatization

Two mountaineers navigating a glacier on a Gasherbrum II Expedition
Camp II with the Lhotse Face in the background_0.JPG
The five ladders bound together in the Western Cwm_0.JPG
Lhotse and Everest Crew at dinner at CII_0.JPG

This following blog is courtesy of Billi Bierling, Himalayan Experience:

Everest Summit Push is On

Once again, apologies for not having sent an update for a few days, however, the Lhotse team, including your blogger, has been to Camp II and Camp III and has been away from modern technology for four days. We have just arrived at Base Camp and we are all happy to be back in the luxuries of the White Pod. “The facilities we have at Camp II are still amazing considering it is nestled in the Western Cwm at 6,400m,” said Sissel upon our arrival at base camp this morning.

The Lhotse team, including the two guides Brian and Narly and Nima Sherpa, left for Camp II at 3am on 14 May. The reason why our crew traditionally goes through the Khumbu Icefall so early in the morning is that the huge rock towers and seracs are still nicely frozen at the crack dawn and it is less likely that parts of the icefall collapse during this time of day. “We are making sure that none of our clients and Sherpas are going through the icefall in the afternoon,” Russell said.

After having arrived at Camp II, we had a couple of rest days before we ‘tagged’ Camp III, which our Sherpas had set up in the middle of the Lhotse Face. “It is going to hurt but I am actually quite excited about finally touching the Face,” said Brian when we left Camp II at 4am. What’s new on the Face this year is that the rope-fixing Sherpas of the different teams had fixed an ‘up’ and a ‘down’ rope. “The two 10mm static ropes make it a lot easier when there is a lot of traffic on the Lhotse Face,” Narly explained. And there was quite a lot of traffic when we were climbing the steep face as many Everest teams were striving to reach Camp III or Camp IV at the South Col in order to go for their summit attempt in the next few days. “The weather looks promising and many teams have opted for the weather window of the 20 or 21 May,” said Russell.

And the weather looks also promising enough for the Himalayan Experience Everest team, who is currently on its way to the summit. When we came down from our brief visit to Camp III, Ang Nuru and Chakra, our amazing kitchen team at Camp II, had their hands full as all of a sudden there were eleven more people in the dining tent, waiting to be fed. “It is certainly less boring now but we have a lot to do,” said Chakra, who had been working in these dizzying heights for over one month.

The Lhotse and Everest teams shared the Himalayan Experience camp for two nights and on Wednesday at 5am, both teams left Ang Nuru and Chakra, with the Lhotse team going down to rest and recuperate for their summit attempt, which will probably be around 25 May, and the Everest team going up to Camp III. The two cooks will not be bored though as they are getting ready to cater for the crew of 19 Sherpas, who are on their way to the South Col to support the Everest team on their summit attempt on 20 May.

While I am writing this, the Everest crew has nicely settled into their camp at 7,300m and is resting to tackle the four to six hour trip to the South Col on Thursday before they are attempting to reach the summit on 20 May. “The whole team made it to Camp III in less than five hours and everyone is on good form,” we heard Adrian say over the radio while we were managing the Khumbu Icefall in a rush to make it to Base Camp in time for breakfast.

The Lhotse team is due to stay at Base Camp for about three days before they head back up through the Icefall and go for their summit attempt. “The ropes should be fixed all the way to the summit by 19 May,” Russell explained.

The spare time at Base Camp will give me the chance to keep you updated on how the Everest crew is doing on their summit attempt.