12 Aug 2020 Peak Climbing Nepal
Nowhere does trekking get freakish like Nepal. Its unique topography, mixed landform, and inflated mountains provide innumerable destinations to tramp for. Separated by rolling hills, rocks, and snow peaks, Himalaya provides ample places to trek for.
Amidst all, the most audacious and spine-chilling tramp is the climb to Everest summit from the campsite. Trek from Everest Base Camp to Summit never ceases to amaze hikers with its natural allure and wilderness. Mountaineers will get to witness sky-scraping mountains perching quietly above the clouds.
The glaciated terrains and chasm make it feel like another world where even a gentle wind is audible. But as incredible as it is, the trek is no small feat. After base camp, each trail looks nothing but fantasy with the truth getting harder to accept.
The abyss and rocks are unbelievably tough to maneuver en route, before even reaching Camp I. Within seconds after scrambling up Khumbu Glacier, trekkers will realize that the 23 km trail to Mount Everest excluding acclimatization is a never-ending journey.
Mountaineers will not just resist the precipitous climb on the expedition but also hypoxemia, sub-zero temperature, and bitter cold. Wet avalanche and rockfall loom around the corner, causing threats to the survival of every trekker.
If that wasn’t enough already, the mountaineer even has to face the low atmospheric pressure. The continuous battle against low oxygen and summit fever lasts until the climbers don’t descend to the base camp and into the valley below.
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For any newcomer or trained, traversing Everest Base Camp to Summit is a heart-stoppingly excursion right from the start. Steppe cliff, graveled trail with cobblers, and rising hills make the trek strenuous for climbers starting from Lukla.
Those who want to dock the ascend past Sherpa town and Tengboche hire a charter up to the campsite. This rakes them an additional two weeks for acclimation before heading on the real adventure. However, the strain doesn’t get any less as the ascent above is still abrasive and severe.
Climb from the lower camp through glaciers and open crack is too much work. Thus, it shouldn’t be laughed off and rather taken seriously. Ascending Khumbu Glacier is one of the toughest climbs while heading up to Camp I.
From here on, the trek gets intense with high possibilities of wet slides, low oxygen, and snowfall. Altitude sickness becomes a prime concern of every single person after reaching an elevation of 5,910 meters.
It’s the key reason why most climbers choose to spend as much time as possible on the camp for acclimation. Trailblazing Sherpa set up the ladders over the crevasse and put fixed rope for mountaineers to climb Camp II.
The camp is set up at an altitude of 22,145 feet where the climate is pretty nasty so you have to be cautious here. Trek to Camp III is equally tough or even more as climbers have to mount. Thereby trekkers have to be more careful while traversing through the glaciers and ice-covered walls.
The lane on the way to the summit passes the yellow band and Geneva Spur, rising towards South Col. It lies at 8,016 meters between Lhotse and Everest where the weather is awful. The area is known as a death zone so the climber walks hard and fast to get off the slope and reach the mountain.
Climbers get off the peak before dawn on the south side of Everest with a vertical climb. After getting to the Balcony at 27,500 feet, mountaineers change the trail to the west up the sheer cliff over Hillary Step and finally get through to the summit.
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Though it initially commences from Lukla, trek to Mt. Everest just picks the pace from the base camp. Most trekkers simply make it to the campsite rested at 5,364 meters and don’t proceed ahead given the unprecedented hurdles.Oxygen level drops steadily after base camp so nearly every climbers take a time off to adapt to the weather and avoid mountain sickness. Everest Base Camp is stretched almost 68.7 km up to Summit including short treks for acclimatization.
The hike from base camp runs on snow terrain and rocks leading all the way to Camp I. It passes through Khumbu Icefall sited at the foot of the Western Cwm at an altitude of 5,486 meters.
Khumbu Icefall is a 2,000-foot moving glacier full of a deep crevasse, and seracs. Mountaineers cross the deep crack over aluminum ladders and use metal shanks to climb the ice cap. On the top of the glacier perches Camp I acting as a weigh station to the Western Cwm and Camp II.
As a flat U-shaped glacial valley at the end of Lhotse, Cwm is a perfect spot to set up the camp. After Camp 1, the trail gains an elevation of 795 meters to reach Camp 2 but initially, it moves on a linear snowy trail.
Although it’s just 3 miles up the camp, mountaineers still have to be careful. The temperature is relatively high in the gully so there is a greater chance of slow snowslide during the daytime. The central section has plenty of crevasses some of which are crossed on ladders while the rest conceals itself with a thin layer of snow serving as a bridge.
After climbing Camp 2, trekkers spend an entire day trying to get used to the temperature at high altitudes. Scrambling Camp III doesn’t involve greater technical difficulties but you have to look out for ice walls.
Trekker’s make their way through a western flank to Lhotse face where the Camp 3 comes to rest. The face is a steep rock wall of hard-packed ice.
Both Camp II and Camp III are climbed twice for acclimation which has trekkers cover a total distance of 32 km.
The trail from Camp III to Camp IV is just 1.2 miles long but the journey is strenuous with steep climbs on hard ice. Climbers are attached to fixed lines and harness all the time to ascend the last camp. Camp IV stretches 923 meters on a precipitous rock to arrive at the summit.
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The height of Mount Everest is measured at 29,030 feet since a survey conducted by a team of Indian geodesists. In the years that followed, researchers from different countries ascended the summit following doubt on the reliability of past research.
They applied advanced technologies like Global Positioning System and Laser Measurement Technology for re-survey. In 2010, Chinese authorities and the Nepal Government resolved the long ongoing dispute about what the actual height of Everest is.
Both parties approved the fact that Mount Everest is precisely 8,848 meters tall. Recently, Nepal made history by consigning its team of experts on the summit to get the measurement right. Currently, the work is under process and the findings are to be out soon.
Mount Everest roosts in the Mahalangur Himal sub-range of the Himalayas on a shared border of Nepal and China. On the top, it’s a small rounded vault of snow just about the size of a dining table.
Not more than six people can make it to the top at once, leaving other trekkers stranding at the death zone. This usually happens when a record number of climbers show up in the mountain at the same time.
Since the last few decades, Mount Everest has become a hot ticket for climbers. Since the first successful ascent, hundreds and thousands of trekkers have already been on the mission. Many of them have so far conquered the peak while the few ill-fated couldn’t make it to the top.
These days, the queue on the trail looks more like people waiting to get their order at Starbucks. Trekkers don’t even mind getting stuck at the death zone with the overcrowd lining to get their feet on the top.
The trek route so often witnesses a spike in climbers during fall when the weather is nice and warm. In winter, it’s almost impossible to climb the mountains due to heavy snowfall at the peak.
Inclement weather and fresh snow deposit on the crest triggers an avalanche and icefall which only a few survive. The visibility is poor during winter and thus not many people dare to climb Everest. Monsoon and winter is probably the only time when the route to Mt. Everest is empty.
Trek from Everest Base Camp to Summit is ridiculously challenging for any mountaineer, be the one trained or not. It’s still as formidable and mysterious as it ever was. There’s no way one can guarantee when the weather worsens.
No one can pre-inform the avalanche and neither confirm when the weather gets worse. Acute mountain sickness threatens the life of mountaineers by causing high altitude pulmonary edema and shortness of breath.
Additionally, they even have to overcome the fracture found in a glacier that goes deep down. Some ice sheets are really thin and can split into half therefore trekkers have to follow the instruction of a senior guide.
Altitude sickness along the way from Everest Base Camp to Mount Everest is a foe of every trekker. Climbers who’re trained will also have a hard time escaping the difficulty caused by altitude sickness.
Usually, it starts after the steep climb to the fore of Namche Bazaar. Those who take a flight can also suffer from altitude sickness after reaching the base camp. Hence, the direct flight to areas of high altitude must be avoided as much as possible.
After base camp, the barometric pressure gradually decreases, resulting in less oxygen at the surrounding area. If the trekker failed to adapt to the changing weather after Camp II, the sickness can become fatal.
Standing at an altitude of 7,320 meters, Camp III sees trekkers battling with technical steep routes and icefalls. Immediate exposure to Camp IV which lies at 7,925 meters has mountaineers fighting for every breath they take. That’s the reason, Sherpa ensures that every hiker takes a proper rest before setting off on the death zone.
Sherpas are the guardian angel for climbers ascending Mount Everest. They escort trekkers and clear the way through ice sheets and glaciers along the way to the top. Although they are the ethnic group established in the Himalayas, Sherpas are actually known for guiding mountaineers on the trail to Everest.
They do all the hard work including setting camp, placing anchors, and carrying mountaineering equipment for climbers. The other job that Sherpa’s are liable for is to manage porters and ensure the safety of trekkers.
They surely don’t do it for free being paid big bucks. Sherpa makes anywhere from US$3,500 to US$10,000 and even more depending on manual labor. Sherpas who make it to the higher base camp earn more than the one climbing up to base camp due to the high risk involved.
Most elite members from the clan make, up to US$5,000 in two months by helping mountaineers with the backpack. Those who only do basic stuff like cooking food and putting up the camp earn less as compared to others.
Ensuing the number of trekkers climbing Everest since the last few years, the once unspoiled and pollutant-free place on the earth has become a dumping site now. There is trash everywhere from Base Camp all the way up to the summit.
Trekkers spending a maximum number of days on the trail discards litter and mountaineering equipment behind making the camp look nasty. Empty gas canisters, polyester tents, and scrap are scattered all over, making it look like a junkyard.
Being the world’s tallest peak, Mount Everest endures harsh weather alongside little oxygen in the air. There’s heavy snowfall around the year mostly winter which makes the trek practically impossible to summit.
Therefore, it must be traversed in a prime trekking season that could be autumn or spring. Both seasons have lovely weather that suits trekking Mount Everest. The short window of time to ascend the mountain starts from mid-March when the temperature is warmer with rare snowstorms.
The cost to climb Mount Everest relies heavily on which agency you choose. If you’re signed with a local operator, the service costs somewhere between US$25,000 and $40,000USD. The fare includes a royalty fee of US$11,000 and a pro guide who assists in climbing the peak. Most western companies charge US$65,000 and more to climb the world’s highest mountain as they hire non-native guides adept in clambering mountains.