Everest Base Camp Trek: Team Summits Kala Patar

Posted by: Linden Mallory | March 24, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest BC Trek
Elevation: 16,950'

Leaving Lobuche this morning we continued up the Khumbu Valley towards Everest Base Camp, following a shallow depression between the moraine left by the glacier pushing downwards and the mountains on the other side.  The trail climbed gently, gaining a few hundred feet over the first hour and we all felt good as we walked in the morning sun. Eventually we reached the rock covered Changri Nup Glacier, flowing into the Khumbu Glacier from the west, and we picked our way across it’s rocky surface, climbing up and down through the large gulleys on the surface. After reaching the other side we descended into Gorak Shep, the last village before Base Camp. Sitting in a shallow bowl wedged between the Khumbu and Changri Nup Glaciers and the slopes of Pumori, a large 7000m peak above, Gorak Shep feels a bit like a long lost desolate outpost in the mountains. The tea-houses are notably less luxurious up here and the cold a bit more biting, but when the winds start blowing and the temperatures drop at these altitudes the spartan teahouses begin to feel much more welcoming. 

We stopped at our tea-house in Gorak Shep and had a quick bowl of soup before setting out to climb Kala Patar, a rocky highpoint on one of the ridges above Gorak Shep that offers spectacular views of the mountains. It was warm and calm as we began the climb and the roofs of the teahouses soon shrank away behind us as we climbed higher, replaced by the rolling landscape of rock and ice of the Khumbu Glacier and its’ surrounding peaks. Near 17,500’ the afternoon winds picked up and the periodic gusts whipped past us, quickly dropping the temperatures and causing us to pull on warmer hats, gloves, and jackets. But the winds were not enough to deter us as we scrambled up through the large boulders of the final 200’ to the prayer flagged summit of Kala Patar. In front of us we could see from the summit of Everest all the way down to Base Camp sitting along the Khumbu Glacier at its’ base. Around us the peaks of the Himalayas stretched out in every direction. The skies remained clear, except for the small cloud trailing off of Everest’s summit and the low hanging valley clouds creeping slowly upwards from Namche far below us. Despite the winds it was a beautiful view and we spent a good while up there taking it all in. Finally, as the cold began to creep through our layers, we turned around and made our way down the small and rocky trail back to Gorak Shep.

With the sun starting to set over the mountains, we are back in our tea-house for the evening. The months of training and the days spent acclimatizing on the trail are paying off for the team as we reach these higher elevations. Everyone is handling the challenges of living at these altitudes well and we are looking forward to completing the final portion of our trek into Everest Base Camp tomorrow where we will spend the next two days. The team sends their best to everyone at home.

RMI Guide Linden Mallory

The team climbing Kala Patar with Everest and the  Khumbu Glacier behind. Photo: Linden Mallory The team on Kala Patar with Everest in the background.  Photo: Linden Mallory On the summit of Kala Patar. Photo: Linden Mallory

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Comments

Hi Mommy!  I can’t believe you are on top of the World.  Can you see Richmond from there?  How about the North Pole?  I am so proud of you. Way to go!!!  I love you and can’t wait to see you next week.

Posted by: Sally on 3/25/2012 at 6:36 pm

Congratulations Team Richmond!  You made it!  Each and every one of you absolutely rock!  We are all so proud of you back home.  Soak it all up, and be careful on the way down.

Posted by: Hugh on 3/25/2012 at 6:33 pm

Hey Mom - Christian told me you called. Sorry I missed you. He said that you would reach EBC today - wow. I guess you are there by now. Plant a flag for me.

Thanks for calling. Love you. Christian. Actually, I have a lot more to say, but want to save it until you are back in a tea house.

Posted by: Christian and Thurston on 3/25/2012 at 5:29 am

Hey Janie - Susan and Becky are in awe of your adventure and send their best. Both Margarets are following your progress also! You’re a star! Can’t wait to hear about the glaciers (strange fascination I have)!!! I’m so proud of you! You da bomb!! Take care and hurry home! STAY WARM!

Posted by: Holly on 3/24/2012 at 4:28 pm

Hi mom! i miss u! hope ur having fun! Love u!!

Posted by: Katie Hogan on 3/24/2012 at 2:43 pm

Sounds like you girls are still doing great and conquering the challenges of the trek, altitude, and more spartan accommodations as you get closer to base camp.  The pictures are truly spectacular and thankfully the good weather continues - maybe the prayers with the High Lama are paying off.  Hope your good fortune continues through base camp.

Rainy day here in Richmond.  Juggling kids thru Geranimo lax, having horde of 10-12 year olds on the trampoline and playing hoops in the rain, taking girls (Katie and Isabelle) to Hunger Games, watching UVA lax blow their game against Hopkins with the boys, and sleepover with two 12 year old girls - while not exactly climbing a peak at 18,000 feet at the base of Everest, my odds of getting through with no major fights or injuries/trips to the emergency room are probably lower.

Posted by: Mike Hogan on 3/24/2012 at 2:40 pm

Jane and all,  Amazing to follow your progress. So many great experiences are found in the mountains, so am sending our vibes your way. Enjoy the clarity that comes. Best,  Peter

Posted by: Peter Calvert on 3/24/2012 at 12:03 pm

Mom, Keep up the good work. I’m feeling much better. Thank you for my Birthday presents. Dr. says I can have cake tomorrow. Love Chris

Posted by: Christopher on 3/24/2012 at 12:02 pm

Almost there!  The pictures are amazing - keep them coming.  Make sure Lucy wears her mittens.

Posted by: Carter Sr on 3/24/2012 at 11:54 am

We know how excited you must be to be on the cusp of EBC. you are amazing! Everyone sends their love and best wishes for Base Camp and beyond.  Christian and Thurston the Elder are chauffeuring and chaperoning Thurston the Younger and his GIRL FRIEND on a date tonight - movie and dinner. Go figure, right? I do not think we will go to Shockoe Slip afterwards.  Sweet dreams heroic women.

Posted by: Christian' ThurstonX2 on 3/24/2012 at 11:45 am

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