Camp 2 – Summit Rotation (May 9 – 15)

 

Camp 2

Camp 2

As I began this blog I established a few self-imposed rules: first, no drama or stories of blood and guts, and second, no complaining.  Thankfully there were few instances when I imposed the “blood and guts rule,” but when describing Camp 2 I have found myself writing several drafts of posts before satisfying the “no complaining rule.”

I found Camp 2 a particularly difficult place, and it was a mixed blessing that we spent so many unplanned days there on our summit rotation.  I will be careful not to break my “no complaining rule” as I pick up the narrative of the summit rotation, but recognize in advance that it might be a close call.

Bread Loaves

Bread Loaves

The factors that make Camp 2 difficult start in the Icefall and the stretch of climbing above Camp 1.  Climbing in the Khumbu Icefall does not allow for the steady, methodical pace that lends itself to a sustained 9-to-12 hour day.  Rather the Icefall is an all out sprint through some emotionally draining terrain that leaves many climbers spent.  Then there is the long push up and down the “bread loaves” and the Valley of Silence (remember the Tea Pot post?) before arriving to Camp 2.  In other words, most climbers show up to Camp 2 already pretty worn out and not feeling their best.

Camp 2, also known as Advanced Base Camp, provides precious little for rejuvenation.  It just is a challenging place, especially for the Camp 2 staff that is tasked with providing prodigious amounts of food and water for the climbers.  No one gets off easy at Camp 2.

Camp 2 Cook Tent

Camp 2 Cook Tent

Our original plan was to climb from Base Camp to Camp 2 on May 9th, rest one day and then push higher on our summit bid.  This plan brought us back early from our “drop-back” in Namche Baazar and the comforts of heated blankets and ordering meals from a menu (but I am not complaining).  However, when we arrived to Camp 2, the weather reports had changed to include high winds at the summit so we settled in for a better forecast and more favorable conditions.  Pretty much each day we would prepare to climb the next day only to receive an updated weather report in the evening and decide to wait “one more day” before pushing higher.  This went on for 6 days and it was challenging.

Chipping Ice for Water

Chipping Ice for Water

The upside to our delay was that we were spending time at 21,000 ft and gaining a more solid base of acclimatization to the thin air.  I know it was very beneficial for me.  And the views, especially at dusk, were simply heavenly.

Camp 2 at Dusk

Camp 2 at Dusk

I could provide some additional descriptions but will yield instead to my no complaining rule.  Let’s just say that we were settled in at Camp 2 for nearly a week waiting for an improvement in the weather and that no one went hungry or thirsty thanks to the hard work of our Camp 2 team.

  9 comments for “Camp 2 – Summit Rotation (May 9 – 15)

  1. Tim Murphy
    May 28, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    Congratulations! Reaching the summit must have been amazing. Great work! Reading through all your posts has been very inspirational. I can’t wait to see more of the pictures and hear about it when you return home. Stay safe!

  2. Brian
    May 27, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    You’re pics and commentary has been excellent so far. I’ll never climb Everest – but love to live it vicariously through blogs like yours – and the nitty- gritty details bring the story to life.
    Don’t sanitize the reporting of your adventure to satisfy two arbitrary rules you created. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us.

  3. May 27, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    So happ to hear you are back safe and sound at home!

    • james.lumberg@me.com
      May 27, 2016 at 6:07 pm

      Thank you, Patty! Looking forward to seeing you next week. Have a great weekend!

  4. Staci Colovos
    May 27, 2016 at 10:40 am

    I can’t even begin to imagine the undertaking to support life at that elevation for a week in inclement weather. Your immune system must have been working overtime. How you managed each morning, as you prepared with hope to summit to instead learn that you must endure another day in a tent, not to go CRAZY is beyond me. I would have certainly caved, broke, and COMPLAINED. Once again, you show us that you have a quality of endurance that most do not, me included.

  5. David bialecki
    May 27, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Amazing pics please post more and as lynn posted it would be nice to hear the good and more so the bad to get a real insight to life on everest

  6. Brenda Murphy
    May 27, 2016 at 9:06 am

    The pictures have been breathtaking. Thank you for sharing your adventure with all of us. I hope more dialogue and pictures are forthcoming.

  7. Art Muir
    May 27, 2016 at 7:46 am

    You just addressed exactly what we all wondered about as we read day after day that you were stuck at camp 2 waiting for a window. Thanks.

  8. Lyn
    May 27, 2016 at 7:43 am

    We want to know the good and the bad so we can get more of a total experience. Make us feel like we were there. From our chairs, of course.

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