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07 October, 2009

Chandra Kudsia:

Conversation with Mingmar (cont.) – Challenges of the final ascent of Everest

The final ascent of Everest typically starts from Camp 4 (South Col).  As a minimum every climber is accompanied by at least one Sherpa, sometimes two if the climber can afford it.  Sherpas have to carry a load around 20 kg (44 lbs) and that is a lot, starting from an altitude of 26,400 ft and going all the way to the summit at 29,000 ft.  The load consists of one liter of water and 3 to 4, five kg oxygen cylinders.  At that altitude it is possible to consume 1 kg of oxygen per hour.  The climb typically starts at 8:00 pm and goes on non-stop for nearly 12 hours before reaching the summit.  The average climber takes 4 or 5 steps per minute and each step is a big effort.  At every anchor, the Sherpa has to move the safety and jumars to the next section of the fixed rope and at the same time make sure the oxygen supply is flowing well and controls the consumption.   At this altitude a mistake can be fatal.  There was a recent case where a Sherpa did not attach his jumar and slide to his death.  A good Sherpa is a major asset during he final assent.  NO wonder some of the best climber want Mingmar on their team.

Stay tuned for more.


Last day of hiking
Today is also my youngest’s birthday.  Happy Birthday Dev!

After six days of grueling hiking, I looked forward to the last hike from Phakding to Lukla.  I felt great, no issues at all.  It was overcast day withy occasional rain, at time heavy.  When ever I took my jacket or rain pants off, it started to rain immediately.  Nevertheless, there were times when the clouds /fog cleared offering vistas for good photograph.  Everyone in the group seemed to show extra cheer, despite the weather; after all, the trip was coming to an end.  We reached Lukla in better than our anticipated time and we all felt relief.  Susan was the first to raise her hand to high five everyone
Country side-below-Lukla
handra-at-the-'finish-line' Chandra-at-the-'finish-line'


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