We started the Friday morning from Dingboche to Chukhung with only a 400 meter height gain, so a slow and steady day for us. Arriving at half 11, and all still feeling great after a slow day yesterday in Dingboche. Chukhung was rather small with only a few building and not much around. From Chukhung we walked to Island Peak base-camp, only about a 600 meter height gain to 5080 meter, with lovely views the whole way up over the glacier and Imja Tsho, a lake over 5010 meters that if burst would take 35 minuets to flood the entire Khumbu Valley.
Once at base-camp the climb team, made up of the 3 leaders plus Andy, Louis, Sam and Will, started to sort out their boots, harnesses and crampons for some practice on fixed-lines before their accent the next nay. We were joined by many more Sherpas’ for the cook team and another climbing guide, of whom was only 22 and had climbed Everest 4 times – the first when he was 18, who we had played football against in Khumjung.
A 1:30 breakfast for the climb team who then had to leave at 2:30. We all started the $ hour accent to the snow-line in the dark, of which we walked up faster than expected and had to wait for more sunlight – it was freezing – for about an hour. We got to the snowline, put on our harnesses, crampons and helmets before we were tied together then started on the soft snow.
With the Sherpa guides breaking trail, making it better for us walking up. From the onset we could see the summit and we soon reached the final face, yet, from a distance looked like a small slope was in fact an 85 degree wall of ice. The fixed lines were set at 20 meter intervals with a distance of 180 meters to the ridge-line. The final push took roughly three hours for them reach the ridge and the summit, the first set of us summiting at around a quarter to 9. The going was ever to awfully hard with one having to stop every few steps to take a break. Yet still worth it. The view from the summit was awe inspiring with the greatest views over mountains and the glacier below. The rest, bar Louis, summited over half an hour later as it was just so hard, Louis couldn’t summit as he was close to fainting and had a huge headache so was made to turn back and go down to base-camp. The first summit group started their accent to the bottom of the slope after the second team had all gotten to the ridge. After sitting in the sun at the bottom waiting for the other team to complete their decent down the face, we all started the decent to base-camp all thoroughly proud and exhausted.
At about 9 o’clock the members of the group who had stayed at base-camp walked around the corner, along the glacier, to see if they were able to see the climbers on the summit. But were unfortunate as clouds were around the summit and thus were not able to be seen. They then sat down and played cards for most of the day until Louis returned with a guide. The rest of the climbers returned in two groups, with a large gap between them, then ran out to congratulate them. The rest of the day the climbers spent recalling tails of their 12 hours of climbing that day, telling the others all about it.
On Monday we began our decent to Pangboche, of 1000 meters, with lunch at Dingboche for about an hour, we then passed down back to Khumjung for the last time, with a long day of walking. We were welcomed to a familiar sight of our lodge and staff from the community project.
Looking forward to the rest of the decent to Lukla.
Written by Lhotse.