Rest Day EBC – Day 15

A wall of ice just hanging defying gravity..... But for how long?

A wall of ice just hanging defying gravity….. But for how long?

So today we were supposed to go down to Lobuche Base Camp to begin the two rotations up Lobuche to acclimatize.  We go here rather than through the Khumba Ice Fall to Camp 1 to avoid the trip up and down through the Khumba Ice Fall. The Khumba over the years has claimed 25 deaths because it’s a 2-4 hour climb through an uphill ice field underneath a five story ice cliff that is defying gravity and constantly avalanching. I remember it from 2012. Because you know it will avalanche, you just don’t know when, it’s as Conrad Anker once told me, “a slow dance with death in the ballroom of fate.”   Up unsteady ladders, over wide deep crevices by walking over several ladders taped together, arm roping down steep slopes, scrambling up ice walls, all in crampons and listening carefully to the one sound you pray you don’t hear – the grumbling release of an avalanche.   Because it’s in the middle of the night, you can’t see the giant five story ice wall hanging ominously above you, but you feel it, like a pair of eyes are watching you and saying, “yes, that’s it fool, just a little further and you are mine.” We here at HimEx minimize the number of rotations we go through the Khumba.  So we don’t go to Camp 1 and instead go to the summit of Lobuche, which is an equivalent height.  Only today we aren’t going.  Some of the climbers are still suffering from the altitude, so the Dr. and Russ decided another day here at EBC would be best for them and the team.  So today, glory of all glories, I got a shave.   Wonderful.  This simple joy will last all day.

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