We got up at 4AM and had a quick breakfast so that we could get an early start up the icefall. It had already changed from a few days ago. More of the cravasses had opened up and there were more two section ladders. We all seemed to move a little faster and with more confidence. The biggest change was through the “popcorn” area. We took a short break at the flat between the lower and upper icefall. This was the first time we would enter the upper icefall. This section was very different. The seracs were much larger and the terrain was more gradual. We moved quickly because there was still significant risk. Once at the top the terrain opened up. Nupse was to our right and the west face of Everest was to our left.
We crossed many large cravasses till we came to our new home at camp 1 (19500 ft). We could see Lhotse much more clearly now. We settled into our tents and made some water from snow while Mingmar and Pemba made dinner. In all it took us 7 hours from EBC to get to camp 1. We had a windy night but most of us slept fairly well. After breakfast we got off at 6AM for our climb to camp 2 (21500 ft). We roped up together for the fist time. The terrain was very different from the previous day. It was flat, wide open and broken up by very large cravasses. As we proceeded the large black mass of Everest came into view. We could make out the west ridge and both the north and south summits. We also could now see all of Lhotse including the Lhotse face, Geneva spur and the south col. This was very exciting for now we could almost make out the entire rout. It is very picturesque with a lot of mountaineering history staring you in the face. I felt very blessed to be standing in the western cwm.
We could almost immediately see camp 2 in the distance but it seemed to forever to get there. The scale of things is immense without any real point of reference. We unroped and walked up to camp. It sits on the lateral morain at the foot of Everest. Our camp 2 cooks (Dawa and Karma) were already there and made us tea, Ra Rasoup, tomato soup and hot canned pineapple. We all reclined on the hot black rocks enjoying a nice rest in the sun for two hours. It took 4 hours to get there and only one hour to get back to camp 1. Mark gobbled down the noodle dinner while the rest had trouble at altitude getting it down. It was another windy night. We left camp 1 at 7AM. I ate snickers and drank Ensure for some energy. But what got us back through the icefall mostly was the thought of breakfast back at EBC. The icefall had changed again. We got down in 3 hours. God blessed us with safe travel now 4 times threw the icefall. We rested the rest of the day, made calls to family and enjoyed our accomplishment. In the afternoon we went to the meeting of all the groups lead by Russel Brice (of TV fame) to organize and discuss the plan for getting the rope up the Lhotse face so that we could all climb Everest.Back at camp we met Dick Morse and his wife.
He will be attempting Lhotse again this year with Peak Promotion. They are very nice and we will enjoy having them around. That night we watched The Last King of Scotland in our mess tent after dinner. This was a nice change and distracted us briefly from where we are. We miss you all and till next time.