Practice Run No.3: On the Final Summit Push

In Practice Run No.3by Steve

Camp 2 – Not the Most Comfortable Camp

After a couple of rest days down at BC, I am now heading back up the hill, hopefully for the last time.

Yesterday, Kaljang Dorjee (the Sherpa climbing with me) and I climbed back up to C1 and we slept there the night. The rest of the group were also at C1 on an acclimatisation rotation. This morning, they all headed back down and I continued on to C2 with Kaljang. Kaljang has 11 Everest summits and 6 Ama Dablam summits to his name. So if nothing else, I’m in good company.

The climb from C1 to C2 today was an absolute mission. Previously when we did that section it was just with a light day pack. Today it was with all clothes, food, sleeping equipment and gear necessary for a summit bid. Hauling yourself up vertical sections on fixed ropes is hard enough at the best of times, let alone at ~6000m with a heavy pack on your back.

The camp sites on this hill just keep getting better. C2 is without a doubt the most exposed site I have ever slept in. The camp site is perched on top of this rocky spire with near vertical drops on all sides. There is only space for a few tents on rocky ledges. A few meters to my left and I can peer straight down the main face of Ama Dablam, approximately 1500m vertical drop to the valley floor below. Immediately to my right there is about a 500m vertical drop down the other side of the ridgeline.

My tent site actually isn’t wide enough to fit the tent. The tent is a hexagon shape and one side is hanging off the edge. There is a small hole in the tent floor through which I can peer in to the abyss below. At least the views are pretty good.

Anyway, we won’t be staying here long. It is really only a rest stop before we head for the summit early tomorrow morning. The winds look like they are holding off, at least until tomorrow evening so we should get a good run at it.

Before I left, a good mate reminded me of this one golden rule….

“Getting to the top is optional, getting back down is compulsory”.