Mt. Everest Expedition: Team Leaving the South Col

Posted by: | May 20, 2011
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 26,000'

12:01 a.m. (Nepalese Time) - Team leaving the South Col


These guys are my supermen.  It’s now down to a handful of hours.  With all that has happened over the course of this expedition, success shows itself in many ways.

Summit or not these guys rock.

In a couple of days, when Dave, Linden, Kaji, Dawa, Yubarj and Tsering are back down here at Base Camp feeling good and all equipment removed from the mountain, that will be a huge success.

As they leave the South Col they start on kind of rolling terrain with some good-sized crevasses.  In the past the fixed line didn’t normally start till you got the first steep part, the Triangular face.  So some kind of markings like the sticks with flags were great but if it was hard ice everywhere you had a difficult time placing them.  GPS is sure an improvement but electronics can have some problems in the cold and one more thing to mess with.  The last few years the teams have made it a point to put a rope line to follow in this area for low-to-no visibility occasions.

As they start up it’s a constant mix of adjusting straps, pace, oxygen masks, gloves, ice axes and more.
While you hope you hit the clothing options right, it may be necessary to pull over and make the quick change so as to not sweat bullets or need to move to quick to stay warm.  And what about the other teams?  Are they in front, going at a pace that does not work for you?  Can you unclip from the rope and make a pass safely?  Is your oxygen mask clogging up and not allowing freedom of ambient air movement?  Is the wind now picking up and I need to put on some form of eye protection to keep from getting the dreaded frozen cornea?  Now that I have put on the eye protection is it all fogged up?  Better to see the terrain and risk the freezing?  How are my toes, what is going on with my hands?  Head to toe self survey, constantly observing my every move.  What are my thoughts, am I keeping focused?  How is my partner?  Where is my partner?  Are my Sherpa OK?  Do they have my next bottle of oxygen?  My oxygen!

Do I still have enough to get me to the Balcony (27,500 ft), the next location that I will expect to hear radio communication from the team?  And first semi-flat place for a short break and a oxygen bottle change.

That should take between three and four hours from now.  So hang in there, I promise as soon as I hear, you will too.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

On The Map

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