Everest Route

Disclaimer: The above displayed route leading through the Khumbu Icefall can deviate depending on the different conditions each season.

The climbing begins immediately out of base camp as we enter the famous icefall. Speed is of the essence in this section and we climb through the icefall continuously until reaching the safety of the cwm near camp one. The route will have aluminum ladders stretching over the larger crevasses and there will be fixed rope in place, all the way from where the ice blocks start to become intricate until the end of the icefall. The climb from base camp to camp one takes between 4-8 hours.

Camp one sits in the lower half of the Western Cwm surrounded by the West Ridge of Everest and Nuptse on either side. The route continues along the center of the cwm on a moderate glacier where fixed rope and ladders will be in place over the few large crevasses that dissect the trail that continues to camp two. This is one of the shortest days on the mountain and takes between 2-4 hours. Most climbers skip the night at camp one on their second rotation up the cwm and climb directly from base camp to camp two.

Camp two is located on a moraine at the foot of the West Ridge, just short of the Southwest Face. We place our campsite slightly lower than the majority of the other teams as the higher campsite is very exposed and receives strong winds, damaging the tents. Our camp two cook, kitchen and dining tent are in place here for the whole duration of the expedition. The route continues up upper half of the cwm before increasing in steepness as we start to climb the Lhotse Face. We climb an average 45 degree angle slope using fixed ropes before arriving at camp three. The climb from camp two to camp three takes between 3-6 hours.

Camp three is placed in the middle of the campsite that runs from 7,000m (22,965ft) to 7,400m (24,280ft) as we find this area somewhat less exposed to the wind than the upper reaches of this campsite. The tents are placed on ledges that have been cut into the slopes and we are always cautious about our movements around this camp. The route continues up the Lhoste Face using fixed ropes and turns left and we cross the Yellow Band before we continue on snow before arriving at the Geneva Spur. We traverse the Spur and continue to camp four that is located on the South Col at 7,950 meters (26,085ft). The climb from camp three to camp four takes between 6-10 hours.

Summit day will start late evening and the route heads up an easily angled couloir leading to the halfway point of the summit ascent, the balcony. From the balcony we access the Southeast Ridge and continue climbing to the South Summit before tackling the Hillary Step, which lies 40 vertical meters below the summit. The climb from camp four to the summit takes between 8-12 hours with 3-4 hours for the descent to camp four.

Photo credit: Phil Crampton - Everest from Pumori camp one.

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