||8,848 metres (29,029
||Mahalangur Himal, Himalaya
||1953 by Sir Edmund Hillary and
In late March and early April, 2008, Dan & Barbara
both age 56, Adam age 25, Alan age 23 and Laura age
20 flew from Toronto to Kathmandu, Nepal.
After some last minute provisioning in Kathmandu, we
flew to Lukla (2,850 meters/9400 feet) where we started
our trek to base camp (5,300 meters/17,400 ft). Over
the next two weeks we hiked along trails cut into the
sides of the mountains where a misplaced step or a nudge
from a yak would lead to a deadly fall. Along the way,
we stayed in teahouses, visited several monasteries
and enjoyed spectacular snow capped mountain vistas.
After reaching base camp, Barbara tore her Achilles
tendon on an acclimatization climb and had to return
to Canada. The rest of the family spent the next month
alternating between climbing to and from camps 1, 2,
3 & 4 and resting in base camp in preparation for
their summit push.
The ascent from base camp to Camp I (5,800 meters/19,000
feet) was through the infamous Khumbu icefall which
is essentially a glacier waterfall. The ice moves about
4 feet per day and with apartment sized ice blocks on
the move, there was always the risk of falling ice.
During the acclimatization process, we passed through
this icefall 6 times.
En route to Camp II (6,000 meters/19,700 feet) we crossed
the “flattish” Western Cwm. We had to climb
around or walk on ladders tied together over seemingly
bottomless crevasses. On sunny days, this area was like
an oven and any exposed skin was quickly burnt.
Camp III (7,200 meters/23,600 feet) was on the head
wall of the Lhotse face - a steep, shiny wall of ice.
Our tents were lashed down and we had to be tied in
or wear crampons when moving around outside our tents.
In 2005 a climber neglected to do this, slipped and
fell off the mountain to his death.
Camp IV was the highest camp located on the South Col
at 8,000 meters/26,200 feet. It is known as the Death
Zone because it lacks sufficient oxygen to sustain life
for long. It was windy and cold and we spent only a
few hours resting in a tent there before beginning our
summit attempt in the wee hours of the morning.
On summit day, the four of us prepared our gear and
oxygen cylinders ready to depart in the dark in a frigid
strong wind for the 12 hour climb to the summit followed
by the 6-8 hour descent (more dangerous descending)
back to Camp IV. Laura had health problems and returned
to Camp IV early in the climb. Dan, Adam and Alan pushed
on across and up very technical steep snow, ice and
rock faces. After ascending the high rocky Hillary Step,
they were on the top of the world (8,848meters/29,029feet).
Laura rested in Camp IV that day and the next day she
and her Sherpa reached the summit.
We made our dream a reality!
Other Everest statistics:
• Everest has been attempted 11,000 times
• 3,000 attempts have been successful (reached
• Success rate is 29%
• 207 climbers have died on Everest
• Fatality rate is 2.05%
• 54 of the summiteers died
• Summit to Fatality rate is 1.82%