Mt Everest Expedition 2012
By Marty Schmidt, Em's Power Cookies fan
Hello Everyone, Namaste from Everest Base Camp. It is the 2nd of May, 2012 and I am sitting in our comfortable home away from home of Peak Freaks standards where we have green carpet, great dining tables, hot showers, the ability to washing clothes…….all the conveniences of any home on this earth. For our place at this moment, we have one of the most beautiful views in the world…..looking up the Khumbu Ice Fall towards Mt Everest, flanked by Pumori and Nuptse, a stunning 360 degree view.
For the past week our team have been working hard up the ice fall to camp 1, then slept 4 nights at camp 2 while pushing our minds and bodies towards camp 3 at 7,200 meters. This was the test that we needed to accomplish before coming back to BC to get a complete rest before making our final ascent to the summit of Mt Everest, Sargamatha, “ The Goddess Mother of this Earth”.
The ice fall to camp 1 has been challenging, more this year than other years. At the very height of coming into camp 1, on the left hand side which comprises the West Ridge, lays large Seracs which have been calving off ever since we arrived in early April. This section is forever changing every time we climb through it. Our team has been hitting the timing just right and making it through with no one getting caught. We all know that we have to get through this part two more times, once up and one more time down. The next section of the climb is through the beautiful Western Cwm, the Valley of Silence, from camp 1 to camp 2 at 6400 meters. A few days ago there was one of the largest avalanches that has happened in this area since Western climbers have been coming here, from the early 1950’s. It launched off the huge North Face of Nuptse, from it’s summit area and came thundering down to the Cwm, washing across the whole valley and up the other side. Amazingly only 2 people were affected by this natural disaster. One person was knocked down but was able to continue climbing to camp 2 and the other person was blown multiple meters by the blast into a crevasse, landing 20 meters into this deep cave. I was on my way to camp 1 to get some gear and with several other climbers we were able to help rescue this person, taking about 1.5 hours to extract him and Sked him to where a chopper could pick him up and fly him to Kathmandu. We hear that his is doing alright now.
Next, we climbed to 7,200 meter to camp 3 on the Lhotse headwall. This climbing is straight forward in many ways at a consistent angle for close to 700 meters. Unfortunately , this year, we did not get the winter snows that should have come and made this entire wall solid with blue ice and many stones exposed. These stones are the issue right now, already hurting several people from other teams. We made it to this high point and returned back to camp 2 safely. What we are discussing now around all the camps is the safety for climbers heading to the upper slopes. One hand, this is mountaineering, we have always had these situations while heading towards the summits of this planet. On the other head, there are a lot of commercial expeditions with climbers that may feel that they are way out of the comfort zone and may wish to return home safely without heading to the summit. We are just past the midpoint of our expedition and our Peak Freak team is looking good for our summit bid around the 15th of May. Unfortunately we have lost a few clients due to sickness and not acclimatizing well and we all send our very best to them and sad to see them go. This is also the big 8000 meter realm and not everyone on this earth is meant to stand on these summits. They gave their very best shot and they took the step forward and tried to understand this realm, this is what counts in the long run of life…..get out there and take a step into the unknown……do your best whatever you wish to do and you will know that you are truly living.
Living at 5,300 meters is magical and peaceful. Most of the team went down to Pheriche, 4,200 meters, to rest for a week or so until we give them a call to come up for the summit bid when the weather is right and the fixed lines are in. I will head down valley tomorrow to deliver this email to Denali so he can send it out to you all. Just wanted to say thanks for following this great adventure upon the world’s highest mountain. Looking forward to sending more words to you all with this adventure and many more that follow this one. Like with Kilimanjaro with the Katz family in June and my wonderful West Rib of Denali expedition following Kilimanjaro. I also wanted to send my very best to my sister Doris from NYC for a wonderful Birthday on the 4th of May, thinking of you sis. And one more thought, to my Dad, who is stuck in bed for 8 weeks with a busted up knee, he is 86 years old and retired only last year and never took a day off work for sickness……..incredible. Heal well Dad, thinking of you and sending all my best from the slopes of Mt Everest.
Thanks again everyone, cheers, Marty.
PS, thanks again to my sponsors…..Macpac, Oasis Sun, La Sportiva, Intel, San Disk, Black Diamond, Annies, Em’s Bars and Cookies, MSR, Life Force.
Published by Emily M. on Thursday, May 10, 2012 in In the Media. Comments: 0
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