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After arriving on March 19th and spending a few days in Kathmandu, Nepal we fly into the small town of Lukla where we begin our trek into base camp (4,600 meters). Before beginning the ten day trek up the Khumbu valley and into base camp we load most of our gear onto yaks.
From Base Camp to Camp to Camp 1 (5,900m) there is a trail about half the way which turns into a mess of talus and scree with some large boulders mixed in. The latter part of the day is essentially spent boulder hopping. Camp 1 (C1) sits on a lower shoulder of the southwest ridge and the tent spots are limited to large flat rocks and the like.
Camp 1 to Camp 2 (6,100m) is along a gnarly horizontal ridge with all sorts of rock formations that need to be negotiated. A lot of up and down and over and around rock, ice, and snow can just about sum this day up. After climbing a 150 foot tower of mixed rock and ice known as the Yellow Tower, we reach Camp 2 on a narrow, little ledge.
Camp 2 to Camp 3 (6,400m) involves the surmounting of the Gray Tower. Very similar to the Yellow Tower, the Gray Tower confronts us the moment we step out of our tents. Just pass the Gray Tower is Mushroom Ridge, which is a leisurely section of the climb where it flattens out and an old snow cave sometimes offers shelter from the elements.
Camp 3 to Summit (6,856m or 22,493 feet) begins just pass Mushroom Ridge and goes up along the Dablam or “jewel box”. There are a few bergshrunds the require some route finding to get either through them or around them. The route then enters the fluted snowfields at about a 60 degree angle that lead us to the summit.
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