Camp 2 on Mt. Everest is also known as Advanced Base Camp. It is situated in a safe location on a rocky moraine near the base of the Lhotse Face at an elevation of 21,300 ft. Advanced Base Camp is known as a refuge above the Khumbu Icefall and is the first retreat point for climbers returning from the summit and higher camps. Our team has a cook tent and a separate dining tent at Camp 2.
For all of these reasons I approached Camp 2 with high expectations, but before I could embrace any of its comforts I was met by the ghosts of last year. As many know, the 2015 climbing season on Mt. Everest was cut short by earthquakes that ravaged Everest Base Camp. Many teams were forced to abandoned their advanced base camps in a hurried, mass exit following the earthquakes. The route to Camp 2 weaves through debris of the 2015 season – clothes, tents, equipment and food tins from all over the world – that are a stark reminder of the events of last year.
But yet the beauty of the upper Western Cwm prevails and the proximity of Camp 2 to Lhotse (world’s 4th tallest mountain) and Mt. Everest gives a real sense of progress and hopefulness. There is also a deep sense of appreciation that emerges from all that the camp staff does to make Camp 2 a welcoming and safe haven at over 21,000 ft.
I plan to return to Camp 2 in the coming days and knowing the comforts that await will make skipping Camp 1 much easier.