I had a tough evening. Though the NyQuil was a nice way of forcing my sleep, waking up at odd hours to keep hydrating wasn’t too much fun. By 5am we got our wake up call. There had been little winds and no snow during the night. Breakfast at 5:30am and we were ready to venture over the Lhotse wall by 6am.
The light of dawn was gorgeous and as we were about to depart, we could see other teams heading towards the Lhotse wall as well. I guess everyone had been held back by the weather and were eager to catch up.
We kept a great pace and within 1hr we were at the base of the infamous Lhotse Wall. As we decreased into the opening of a big crevasse, there it was the connecting ropes that will continuously run through the rest of the camps. If anything the significance of this start would be that the ropes from here will ultimately be connected all the way into the summit. Not as of yet, but eventually. Though for now, the goal was to keep our heavy breathing while maneuvering the climb into this exposed iced wall.
Getting into the wall was not easy, using the crampons to leverage your balance while allowing the ascender connecting into the rope. And then little by little taking a step at a time on snow, ice, snow, following some old footprints while keeping the breathing going.
We kept a great pace, there was a team ahead of us on the ropes that helped slowed us down. No wind, and the sun slowly making its way up. With this exposed climbing, the view only getting more gorgeous. I was trying to avoid looking at Everest on my left, the South summit view getting closer, though in these type of settings, distance can get extremely distorted.
Maneuvering through slippery ice blocks, more exposed terrain with a little bit of inclined slopes, 2hrs climbing without a break. I’m constantly watching my breathing, looking for signs of headaches to be aware, and then – boom – it hit me! Altitude!
On the beginning of my 3rd hour, a strong feeling of disconnection. My brain felt as if it started floating. This is the same feeling I had back when climbing toward the Summit of Aconcagua in 2014. I started feeling this strange sensation of floating while still attached to the rope, but everything else started taking a surreal look. An out of body experience, while still trying to remain present making sure all my vitals were controlled.
And after climbing through a very tricky spot in which my feet were barely touching this incline sheet of ice, trusting that the razor sharp claws of my crampons can hold my body and balance, while I still felt as floating — the sight of tents! We had arrived to Camp 3! What a relief! This is the last spot in which we’ll be without oxygen. A big milestone!
We sat on a line of formed tents, securing our harness to the ropes of the tens. No way we can walk without any security, so easily to slip and it would be a painful descend through slippery ice.
Pictures were in order and even a fun joking video with Bryan.
Our goal would be to spend 1hr taking in on the air, allowing our bodies to try acclimating to the razor thin air. With the amazing views in front of us this was more of a treat.
Looking at Everest was just simply special for me. This is the closest I’ve ever been and the south summit looked too eerily close. Though I was at 7,200 mts or 23,300ft – about 6,000ft / 2,000mts still long ways away; daring to dream was ok for now.
Looking on the other side to Lhotse, the clouds seemingly so close.
And in front of us, the amazing landscape, as if we were playing in altitude with the rest of the Mountains.
That hour flew fast and it was time for the fun descend. Using all my skills, descending went relatively fast, within 1hr we were out of the Lhotse Wall, happily walking to camp 2. The adrenaline and the altitude had taken all my energy that as we got back on time for lunch, afterwards a well deserved nap. We needed to recover our energy as tomorrow, we’ll have a long journey descending into Base Camp!
As luck would have it, the weather promptly turned into a small snow storm, but for today, so glad we accomplished our objectives. Tomorrow an early 4:30am start will luckily lead us to base camp around 10:30am!
Treat of the day: Making it safely to Camp 3!!!!