South Col – South East Ridge Route – part 2.
Base Camp up the Ice Fall.
Mt. Everest was first summited by Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and Edmond Hillary with a British expedition in 1953. They took the South Col route which is described on this page. At that time the route had only been attempted twice by Swiss teams in the spring and autumn of 1952.They reached 8500m well above the South Col. Of note, Norgay was with the Swiss thus giving him the experience he used on the British expedition. The Swiss return in 1956 to make the second summit of Everest.
Today, hundreds of climbers from around the world use this route to try to stand on top of the world. It is considered slightly more dangerous than the North Ridge Route due primarily to the instability of the Khumbu Icefall. However some considered it slightly easier than the north due to the absence of the ladders and rock climbing on the steep steps of the North Ridge route.
Base Camp on the lower left with the initial route up the ice fall as seen from Kala Patar. You can only see a small portion of the Khumbu Ice Fall from this angle.
Khumbu Ice Fall to C1.
Lower third of the ice fall as seen from base camp. There is still twice as much to climb at the top of this photo. The route changes each day since the glacier is constantly moving. Lhotse’s summit is peeking out on the top right above the icefall.
What is it like to actually climb the Khumbu Icefall?
First you start before sunrise to minimize the movement of the glacier heating up with sunrise and mid-day heat. This means a 3:00AM wake-up call from the Sherpas. The first time you are probably already awake with anticipation or just because you are still not used to sleeping at 17.500′. You get dressed in all your long underwear, warmth layer and finally Gortex to protect you from the wind. You stuff some food into your pack along with an extra pair of gloves if this is just a quick trip to the top. If it is to camp 1 for the night, add your sleeping bag and maybe some extra layers but not too much.
Eat as much as you can and top off your water bottles (not hydration packs since they freeze) and start heading towards the icefall. Depending on where your base camp is located, this can take 10 to 30 minutes to reach the last flat section before the climbing actually starts. At this point a.k.a. Crampon Point, you put your harness on (checking yours and your partner’s webbing to make sure it is doubled back for safety). Attach your crampons to your boots and you can’t help but look up.
The first section is pretty much a continuous climb that ungulates wildly. Sometimes it is a 60 degree climb, others a more gentle 20 degree. After an hour in a “normal” year you reach the first ladder. For most climbers this is a moment of truth. You can prepare, read, talk and dream about this moment but when it comes time to actually placing your cramponed boot on the first rung of a ladder crossing a crevasse that is 100′ deep … well I think you get the idea.
But you did it. And you do it again and again and again since you will make at least 4 round trips on your summit bid – maybe 6. Your breathing is heavy and labored the first couple of trips up. Maybe from the altitude or maybe from the stress but you breath heavily through your mouth and welcome any stalls up front. Even though there is a thin nylon rope that is attached to your harness with a metal carabineers, you think about falling. Most sections of the Icefall are not knife-edged. They are on large expanses of relatively flat snow and ice. But there are these huge seracs that teeter above you threatening to fall at any moment. And then you hear it – a loud crash. Instinctively you lower your shoulders and raise your arms over your head. You just heard an avalanche in the Icefall or maybe one of those towering seracs falling. More than likely it was off your route since the Icefall Doctors are careful to avoid the South side of the Icefall where most of these crashes happen but you just don’t know.
Climb, more climbing and then you reach a flat section known as the football field. A large area of perfectly flat hard packed snow. Take a break, drink some water, slow your breathing and eat something. Congratulations you are about a third of the way up and it has taken at least two hours. You sit on your pack and enjoy the view. It should be sunrise but you are on the West side of the Icefall and the sun does not hit this are until 9:00 at the earliest. It is cold. If the wind is blowing you feel very cold. Pull up your hood, add a down parka if you have one and focus on eating and drinking. Times up, get going. More of the same for another two or three hours. Sherpas are now returning from the previous day of load carrying to the high camps. You have already been passed like you were standing still by Sherpas making carries to camp 1 and camp 2 earlier in the morning. They had loads that made you feel like a wimp. You struggle with your 20lb load and they scoot pass you with their 60lbs. Your respect for these special people grow not because of their strength but because of their completeness.
It took you five or six hours but you made it to the top. The final section always involves steeper ladders and sharper grades so you suck it in and make the climb. And you are there. A completely flat expanse of snow that reveals the Western Cwm. Oh my God, I made it! camp 1 is another half to full hour from here but you are through the Icefall. You cannot help but stop and look back. Even though you can only see a few hundred yards of the ‘Fall you see every step, every ladder, every climb in your mind.
Congratulations you’ve just climbed the Khumbu Icefall on the South side of Mt. Everest. You on your way to the summit!
* Source : – http://www.alanarnette.com/
** Previous story :
*** see : Mt. Everets web album
Droga pierwszych zdobywców Everestu cz.2.
Droga z obozu bazy przez Ice Fall do C1.
Mapki na początku pokazuje drogę z obozu bazowego, popularnie zwanego BC, poprzez Ice Fall do obozu I zwanego też C1.
Droga ta jest uważana za loteryjną ponieważ warunki atmosferyczne powodują, że lodowiec Khumbu sie zmienia. Wielu uczestników wypraw pokonanie tej drogi porównuje do slalomu z przeszkodami i dużymi zagrożeniami, z których największe to seraki /pokazane na zdjęciu na początku i obok/.
O tym jak loteryjna to droga pisała m.in. Anna Czerwińska w swej książce “Korona Ziemi” Prószyński i S-ka, Warszawa 2000.
Na seraki zwracała też uwagę Martyna Wojciechowska relacjonując Falvit Everest Expedition 2006, przypomnijmy że zdobyła ona jako trzecia Polka Everest (8848 m n.p.m.).
Na najwyższej górze świata stanęła przedpołudniem (czasu lokalnego) w czwartek, 18 maja 2006r.
Prezentowane obok zdjęcie zostało zrobione właśnie w czasie tej wyprawy.
Innym dużym problemem w pokonaniu tej drogi jest pokonywanie wielu szczelin, głębokich i niebezpiecznych.
Pomocne do tego są drabinki, które są zakładane przez specjalną grupę Sherpów, którym przewodzi Icefall doctor. Jest to bardzo odpowiedzialna praca, można dodać jako ciekawostke ze po sezonie wspinaczkowym ta sama ekipa zbiera sprzet, który zostaje dla nich jako “dodatkowa” zapłata.
23 maja o 5:30 Agnieszka Kiela-Pałys stanęła, jako czwarta Polka, na szczycie Świata zdobywając Everest.
O tej wyprawie mozna przeczytać posty :
* Źródło : – http://www.alanarnette.com/
** Zobacz też :
** zapraszam na relacje z wypraw polskich himalaistów.
zapraszam do subskrypcji mego bloga
Filed under: Climbers, Expedition, Himalayas, Routes, Travel | Tagged: Base Camp, Climbers, Edmund Hillary, Everest, Expedition, Kalapatthar, Khumbu glacier, Khumbu Icefall, Lhotse, Nepal, Nuptse, route, South Col, South East Ridge, Tenzing Norgay, Travel, Western Cwm |