by: admin
September 24, 2009

A long overdue update – much has changed since the last update and I am on the cusp of the true summit attempt. over the past week +, we have been going up and down the mountain.

To climb a mountain to the top, you actually climb most of it several times – both to acclimatize to the altitude and to ferry supplies to higher camps. The horrible hill up to camp one is truly horrible now. With several teams coming up and down several times, it has turned into a 45 degree hill of loose scree, rock and sand. Its two steps up and one slide back all the way up past 21,000 feet.

I’ve been up to camp one 3 times now and spent the night – enjoying the thin air. Up from camp one, the real climbing starts and its a hard 8 hour push up to camp two. It’s a constant grind up snow and ice punctuated by two vertical or nearly vertical pushes up ice walls. After coming up a steep snow valley, I gained camp 2 which sits on a level plateau at 7100 meters. I was there with one sherpa for the night and as soon as the sun went down, the thermometer dropped like a rock hitting 20 below. The morning was clear with the most amazing views I’ve ever been privileged to witness. As the sun came up, it bathed the Himalayas for what must have been almost 100 miles in every direction. Shishapangma, another of the fourteen 8000 meter peaks stood out so boldly that it almost looked like I could touch it.

I had a hearty appetite at camp one, joining a woman climber from the Pyrenees in Spain for chorizo, prosciutto, calamari and other Spanish delights. At camp two, my appetite started to disappear because of the extreme altitude. I am grateful for my USANA bars and shakes to stay fueled up at altitude on days where we might burn 8000 calories or more. Even with a depressed appetite, they work awesome. Hygiene has been critical and we have already seen three of team members head down with different ailments. Other intestinal and chest ailments have plagued the team but my health has been perfect.

Now is our final summit push. It’s time to stop talking and start climbing. The days of waiting in advanced base camp are over. Today, we head up to camp one and overnight. the next morning, the long push up to camp two, then overnight. Then the following day, a 4 hour straight up climb to the highest camp – 3- at 7400 meters. We hydrate there, eat if we can and catch a few hours of sleep. Camp 3 is no place to stay long because at that altitude, you body can’t keep up – it just starts to break down no matter what you do. We’ll get up at midnight, get into our down suits and then start climbing no later than 1am on Sunday morning. I plan on being on the summit in 8 hours or less with a maximum turnaround time of 10 hours. After that, its too long at such an extreme altitude and you risk not coming back. I’ll look forward to the culmination of this incredible journey, epic views of Everest and the rest of the Himalayas from the summit at 26,900 ft and a safe return down. The summit is only half way. I’ll be in touch as soon as I summit and make it down safely. I hope you are creating something great! Thanks for all your support, its been amazing!

2 responses to “”

  1. Leslie says:

    Goodluck! Can't wait to see photos.

  2. DaddiO says:

    Namaste, Ridlon.

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