THE EXPEDITION

GENERAL VIEW_



Climbing the highest mountain in the world is the dream of almost all mountaineers. The Everest embodies the very symbol of achievement and it always will be the top mountain to climb.

Climbing Everest requires a careful planning of logistics but essentially a level of resources that allow you to be flexible in the mountain and self-sufficient as a team. It is important to work with other people and show solidarity, it is important not to rely on other teams to climb up the mountain, for that peace and security there is the help of experienced guides and sherpas.

The following information provides details of our expedition to Mount Everest and the level of support we can expect to receive. It will be our guide for the ascent and it will help us plan it, but not only to us but to all those mountaineers who want to plan their route to the top through the Tibetan path.


LEADERSHIP/GUIDES_


Provided that we have started a challenge of high performance, we have trusted experienced guides. It is very important for us to have the complete knowledge of the mountain by a group leader, and it also is a vital element in safety. When selecting the suitable guide, we do not only seek to make sure that he/she has the right qualifications, but we also pay attention to the professional background regarding alpinism in high heights. The experience is an essential requirement to climb the mountain, but from our point of view it is also important to make sure that our guide has the temperament, the right attitude and personality that fits in with the character, ability, individual performance and so on of each person that comprise the team of the expedition. Only in this way, the success rate will be high, and also to make the experience as enjoyable as possible.

For this ascent we will have Dan Mazan, who has numerous confirmed ascents to Everest, and for whom the security is the primary factor in expeditions. We also have on our team the support of a Nepalese Sherpa, who as Dan, has more than 15 confirmed ascents and we will rely on him especially above 7000m.


THE TEAM_


LThe team for the expeditions to Everest is composed of a leader/guide and are supported by a team of Sherpas’ climbers. This number always depends on the number of members who make up the team. In our case, we will be two, Pepe and Pablo. Usually, all the agencies or organizers of expeditions of this kind always provide the highest degree of Sherpa’s support as possible and above all in the Everest.

The task of these sherpas is to control the habitability of the camps, from the base to the last ones set in the ascent, in addition to the supplies and support in the mountain, which allows the team members to delegate certain tasks and focus on the ascent.

Within the team of Sherpas there are two key pieces; the chef and his assistant. They are responsible for feeding and nourishing the entire team. They pay special attention to the diet in the mountain trying to be as nutritious as possible, because at these altitudes is very easy to be sick due to the food. In addition, they know what they have to prepare on the basis of daily planning, that is to say, we do not need the same caloric intake during a day of ascension or during a day of acclimatization. The chef is a key part of the hierarchy of the team.

Finally but not less important is the Sherpa’s staff. In many cases, it is an option with an extra cost, as their function in addition to being guides is to walk with you to the top, helping you in every way possible, looking after you and if necessary carrying some weight to make the ascent easier. Of course, knowing that there is a person with experience like these sherpas calm you down and give confidence to climb since there is someone that can help in case of a problem. This person walks with you from the base camp up to the top and back.


REQUIRED EXPERIENCE_


Any person requesting an expedition to Everest must be fully familiar with the mountaineering techniques and have a proven experience in high-altitude (6,000m. and above). In spite of that we will use fixed ropes to be used when appropriate, the expedition members should have the ability to scale in adverse conditions, improvise on the ice, open routes through glaciers… in short, make their way to the top, or backwards looking for a safe path.

It is very important and we require all members to take into account that they are part of a team. As such, we want to remark that mountaineers should observe and participate in every expedition meeting and especially in the planning of every day, being common almost daily between guides and sherpas and which will develop the strategy of the next day/days. It is important that the team act as a mutual support in each phase of the expedition. In the mountains and above all on Everest, the union is strength.


ACCLIMATIZATION_


In order to ensure that all members of an expedition acclimatize well and maximize their chances of success, the expedition to Everest lasts generally between 8 and 10 weeks. In our case, and as we mentioned before, we have shortened our expedition to 6 weeks. The adaptation to the altitude takes time and is the key to guaranteeing the top, so it is advisable to comply with the usual timelines, even when using supplemental oxygen in the final stages. The height at the base camp is 5,200m, and there the oxygen level is half that at sea level. At the summit of Mount Everest, it is only one third, that is why a full program of acclimatization is integrated into the itinerary, which consists of regulated height gains, followed by descent and rest. Finally, and before the final climbing to the summit of Everest (8.850m), there will be the opportunity if the situation requires it to go down with all the equipment to one of the many tea houses located under the base camp to relax physically and mentally and prepare the most difficult stage of the expedition, the ascent to the summit.


SAFETY AND CONDUCT IN THE ESCALATION_


Although many people have climbed Mount Everest, the mountain and its potential hazards have not diminished, there are many risks to be taken into account. For example, reaching the summit at the end of the day can be a fatal error and that is why the guides ensure that the reasonable times are respected. The goal of any expedition is to arrive at the summit. However, this should never be at the expense of the security. In the mountains the safety rules in the decision-making and will be based on the judgment and experience of the guide, that is why he is considered the leader and a key piece in this or any other expedition.

The guide will not be alone in any case, he will always have the support and advice of the organizing agency that will be with us via satellite phone, providing climatological and technical data, and advice at every phase of the expedition so that everything turns out well. The expedition is planned in the most thorough and careful as possible in order to achieve the objective of the summit, but never at the expense of unnecessary risks, since the integrity of every member of the team is a priority.

The Everest or any other mountain will still be there to climb it and enjoy. There will always be another opportunity, another time to achieve the summit but for that, we must return safe and sound. Sometimes taking a step back is the first step to success and to achieve the objectives established. If the mountain gives us the opportunity to climb it and we get to the top, it will be an achievement that we will share with all over the world and will be for us one of the most enriching experiences that we will enjoy throughout our lives.


ITINERARY OF THE EXPEDITION_


Our expedition is scheduled according to the south/southwest side or Nepalese side. This kind of expeditions are scheduled normally at 60 days because it is advisable to acclimate well and to have days of time margin to be ready, but in our case, because of work reasons and to economise the adventure to the maximum we have reduced the journey to 43 days.

The South Col path begins at the south of the Everest, in Nepal. The expedition onestep2everest will travel by helicopter to Lukla (2800m) from Kathmandu and we start with the trekking that takes us to the base camp (5350m). Before arriving at the base camp we will cross through Namche Bazaar, Tengboche, Dingbocheto arrive at what will be our home the following 36 days, the base camp. We will spend between six and eight days, which will allow us to acclimate to the altitude and thus prevent the mountain sickness. The equipment and supplies are moved by yaks and porters to the Base Camp in the Khumbu Glacier.

The team of onestep2everest will spend two or three days in the Base Camp, acclimating to the altitude before starting the period of ups and downs to the upper camps. During this time, the Sherpas of the expedition and also ourselves we will take advantage of the opportunity to put ropes and ladders in the Khumbu Ice Waterfall if necessary. Cracks and unstable blocks of ice make the ice waterfall one of the most dangerous stretches in the route. The highest number of accidents takes place at this stretch, so in order to reduce the danger, the ascent usually begins before dawn when the low temperatures keep fixed the blocks of ice. Above the glacier is the Base Camp I or Advanced Base Camp, at an altitude of 6065m.

From Camp I to Camp II, we will cross the well-known Western Cwm or Silence Valley to the wall at the base of Lhotse, where the Campo II is set at 6550m of altitude. The Western Cwm is a glacial valley that goes up slightly, but it has large cross cracks that preclude direct access to higher levels of the valley. Then we will cross to get to the base of Nuptse and pass through a corridor known as the "corner of the Nuptse", to finally get to Camp II.

Once we are in Camp II, we climb the north face of Lhotse by a stretch prepared with fixed ropes up to Camp III, situated on a platform at 7400m. From there, there are 600 meters up to Camp IV on the South Col, at 8000m. From Camp III to Camp IV we must overcome two other challenges: the Geneva Spur and the Yellow Band. The Geneva Spur is a projection of black rock that the ropes installed in the path help and facilitate the passage. The Yellow Band is a section interleaved of marble, phyllite, and shale that requires about 100 m of rope to pass through it.

Once in the South Col or Camp IV, we will be in the death area. At this altitude, we only have two or three days of resistance at last to attempt the assault on the top. Clear weather and little wind are of great importance when deciding to make an attempt to climb to the top. If the weather is not favourable these days, we will have to descend, even if necessary, to the Base Camp.

Once in the South Col or Camp IV, we will be in the death area. At this altitude, we only have two or three days of resistance at last to attempt the assault on the top. Clear weather and little wind are of great importance when deciding to make an attempt to climb to the top. If the weather is not favourable these days, we will have to descend, even if necessary, to the Base Camp.

From Camp IV and being sure that climatic conditions are good, we will begin the ascent at around 22:00h, hoping to reach the top in 10 or 12 hours. First, we will reach the Balcony at 8400m, a small platform on which we can rest while watching the sunrise. Continuing along the ridge, we will find some imposing rock steps that force us to penetrate in the snow, which can reach up to the waist, which represents a significant risk of avalanche. At an altitude of 8750 meters above sea level, a small formation the size of a bureau consisting of ice and snow mark the south summit.

From the South Summit, we will walk along the south-east ridge, known as the "Voyage of the Cornice", where the snow covers rocks, a risky stretch since it is very exposed since a false step would mean a fall into the space, either to the left (with a fall of 2400m by the southwest hillside) or to the right (3050m free fall through the Kangshung side). At the end of this journey is the imposing rock wall of 12m high called the "Step of Hillary" at a height of 8760m.

After this, the rest of the climbing to the top is comparatively simpler and easier, with a moderate slope covered in snow, but we must not be overconfident, as we will be very exposed to strong winds and an unstable surface of snow and rocks. Once overcome all these obstacles we finally can say that we are in the "Top of the World". Once we get to the top, we will only have about twenty minutes, since it is necessary to descend to Camp III or Camp II before nightfall and minimize risks.


 

The approximate day-to-day program will be the following:

_ Day 1 to 4: arrival to Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel.
_ Day 5: a bit of tourism and organization of Visas for Nepal
_ Day 6: Kathmandu (1400m), Helicopter Flight to Lukla (2800m)
_ Day 7: Start of the trekking from Lukla (2800m) to Phakding (2610m) 4 hours walking
_ Day 8: Phakding (2610m) - Namche Bazzar (3440m) 7 hours walking
_ Day 9: Namche Bazzar (3440m) - Tengboche (4000 m) 6 hours walking
_ Day 10: Tengboche (4000 m) - Dingboche (4530m) 6 hours walking
_ Day 11: Dingboche(4530m) - Base camp (5365m) 7 hours walking
_ Day 12 to 16: checking the equipment and material, training and acclimatization
_ Day 17: trek to Camp I (5950m)
_ Day 18: Trek to Camp II (6550m)
_ Day 19 to 37: ascent to the summit (8850m)
_ Day 38: descent and rest day at Camp I (5950m)
_ Day 39: descent to Base Camp (5350m)
_ Day 40: rest day in Base Camp and collection
_ Day 41: back to Kathmandu
_ Day 42 to 43: days of leisure and take flights back to Spain
 

Recommended equipment:

• Ice axes
• Crampons
• Technical boots for extreme cold
• Special suit for temperatures of -30º C
• Special sleeping bag
• Harnesses
• Jumar/Ascend
• 3 x tape slings
• 2 x carabiners
• Descend/rappel system
• Prussic loop
• Technical clothing for lower stages of ascent
• 5-6 oxygen bottles + regulator