Richard's blog: Everest climbing strategy
I had a great meeting with my sherpa team yesterday - Pema, Sonam and Mingma and I also had a meeting with Jagged Globe team leader David Hamilton. Both were very productive.
Deciding on a climbing strategy on Everest is not always a straightforward easy decision, especially on this expedition when climbing without supplementary oxygen. I have had a strategy in my mind for some time, but there’s often so many factors to consider once you arrive at Base Camp. How well you have acclimatised already, conditions on the mountain this season etc. Every conversation and discussion I have had with David and the sherpas I have allowed to contribute positively to my strategy, even if at the time the conversations have been tough. Ultimately I believe my strategy is better as a result of everything. I’ll be on a different itinerary to any of the other commercial climbing teams and I’ll be climbing with a small team.
Richard has been deep in discussions at Everest Base Camp
The sherpas agree with my strategy and think that its a good one. Normally they don't like spending a lot of time above the Icefall (I was expecting a bit of debate to be honest) however they are fully supportive of my plan. I have the utmost confidence in my ability and my team.
Gareth, my cameraman will climb to Camp 2 and maybe Camp 3 with me. He's training and working with Sonam who will film high on the mountain.
Cameraman Gareth with Richard and Pema on Pokalde.
Obviously this is weather dependent, but below is my climbing strategy. This might make interesting reading for some, for others you may well be bored for this bit! Ha!
Richard’s climbing strategy on Everest:
21st - Puja ceremony
22nd - Climb to Camp 1 (6,000m / 19,685ft)
23rd - Climb to Camp 2 (6,400m / 21,000ft) then descend to Base Camp (5,350m / 17,553ft)
24th - Rest
25th - Rest
26th - Climb to Camp 2 (6,400m / 21,000ft)
27th - Rest
28th - Climb to start of Lhotse Face (around 6700m / 21,982) descend to Camp 2 (6,400m / 21,000ft)
29th - Climb to Camp 3 (7,300m / 23,950ft) descend to Camp 2 (6,400m / 21,000ft)
30th - Climb to Camp 3 / Sleep (7,300m / 23,950ft)
1st - Descend to Camp 2 (6,400m / 21,000ft)
2nd - Rest
3rd - Climb to Camp 3 / Sleep (7,300m / 23,950ft)
4th - Climb to Yellow Band on Lhotse Face (Around 7,800m / 25,591ft) descend to Camp 2 (6,400m / 21,000ft)
5th - Rest
6th - Climb to Camp 3 / Sleep (7,300m / 23,950ft)
7th - Climb to South Col Camp, also known as Camp 4 (7,950m / 26,083ft) descend to Camp 3 (7,300m / 23,950ft)
8th - Descend to Camp 2 (6,400m / 21,000ft)
9th - Rest
10th - Climb to Camp 3 (7,300m / 23,950ft)
11th - Climb to South Col (maybe balcony 8,443m / 27,700ft) Full Data
Collection, descend to Camp 2 (6,400m / 21,000ft)
12th - Descend to Base Camp (5,350m / 17,553ft)
13th - Rest
14th - Full Data Collection
15th - Rest
16th - Rest
17th - Rest
18th - Rest
19th - Climb to Camp 2 (6,400m / 21,000ft) until summit push.
Just so you know, these (give or take the odd few metres) are the elevations on Everest of camps and key points:
5,350m / 17,553ft
Khumbu Icefall : 5500m – 6,100m / 18,043ft – 20,013ft.
Camp 1 (Valley of Silence)
6,000m / 19,685ft
Camp 2 (Western Cwm)
6,400m / 21,000ft
Camp 3 (Lhotse Wall)
7,200m-7,300m (it sprawls over a wide altitude range)
23,622 – 23,950ft
Camp 4/South Col
7,950m / 26,083ft
Balcony: 8,443m / 27,700ft
South Summit: 8,749m / 28,704ft
Summit of Everest
8,848m / 29,029ft
The summit of Everest is sometimes written as 8,850m – the Chinese survey put it higher and after last year’s earthquake, it probably is. Nevertheless, the official height remains 8,848m even though we have seen it given in itineraries as 8,850m.
Here’s some up to date pictures of Damian fitting autonomic electrodes on me in our Project Everest Cynllun tent/hub!
The thing around my neck is called a 'Runga'. It was given to me by the Lama as a blessing and for good fortune on my climb. Pema sewed it up for me to wear. He has one too. By the way, Pema is 32 and this will be his 13th summit of Everest!
It's super cold here today. I am going into my tent now to warm up. It normally gets pretty cold around 4pm here when the sun drops.
The Project Everest Cynllun team tent
I have a puja ceremony tomorrow, which is a traditional blessing for climbers and their gear. I had one in 2011 when I last climbed Everest and it’s a special day. Then, it’s on to my first rotation. Almost game time!
Main Pic at top of page: Richard's sherpa climbing team - Pema, Mingma, Sonam and Pem Chiri Sirdar.