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Mt. Everest Expedition: First Rotation Complete

Our first rotation up the hill is completed.  We came down the Icefall this morning in fresh falling snow, which muffled sound, concealed crevasses and greatly reduced traffic.  Normally, after three nights acclimating at Camp One, we’d have gotten up a little earlier and come down a bit sooner in the morning, but daybreak at close to 20,000 ft was a bit different this time around.  We had received a foot of snow in the past 24 hours and listened to avalanches running almost constantly down the steep faces of Nuptse and Everest West Shoulder.  We weren’t terribly anxious to run out and test our luck at finding the path through the icefall, but a few things began to work in our favor.  Although no Sherpas were breaking trail from below on such a day, a few teams at Camp One were more anxious to get down than we were.  We actually contemplated sitting another day to let things settle and improve, but once a few bigger teams had plowed a trail down and a short break in the storm materialized, we decided to capitalize and descend.  We packed and closed our tents up tight and began walking toward Basecamp at around 9:30 AM.  It wasn’t a quick descent, we were quite careful stepping through the concealing powder and onto shaky ladders as the snowstorm returned to make things interesting.  We were all stunned to see that the “horseshoe hotel” had fallen.  This was a massive free-standing cube of glacier which we’d been passing under with a fair amount of trepidation.  It came down all at once… luckily with no one in the vicinity, and we were amazed to see that the massive chunks of debris had fallen in several directions… But they hadn’t bulldozed away the climbing route.  The intervening crevasses had done their work and swallowed up a whole lot of hotel.  The snows kept falling and we kept working our way down in a quiet cloud.  Eventually we came out from under the clouds just as we reached the less hazardous features at the bottom of the Icefall.  We weren’t able to do everything we wanted on this rotation; it certainly would have been nice to have hiked up and touched ABC (Camp 2) but it would have been foolish in the snowstorm, so we mostly sat in our tents yesterday… But that also can lead to good acclimatization when the tents are high enough.

Now we’ll enjoy the relative comforts of Basecamp (although the snowstorm has seemed to follow us down)  First; tables and chairs and food served up by the plateful… Later showers and shaves and the freedom of walking around without worry of crevasses and cliffs.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn


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