What’s taking so long??
The reason mountains take weeks, even months to climb is because you have to go through a process called acclimatization – where the body gets used to the lack of oxygen in the air. (I wrote about this process a few blogs ago).
In order to acclimatize, very basically, you go up and down, each time going up a little higher than the last, until you are ready to go for the summit.
Here’s a rough outline of how we plan to do it.
After arriving at base camp and taking a few rest days we will hike to a near by mountain, Pumori. We’ll spend one night at the advanced base camp there (5,800m). Then the following day head back down to Everest base camp and rest for a day or two.
Then we will go to Camp One (5,800m), stay one night and come back down to base camp and rest.
A few days later we will go back to Camp One, stay one night, continue to Camp Two (6,400m) the next day, stay one night and then come back down to base camp and rest.
A few days later we will go back to Camp One, stay one night, continue to Camp Two (6,400m) the next day, stay one night, continue to Camp Three (7,400m) the next day, stay one night and then come back down to base camp and rest.
By the time we have done this it will be the end of April/beg of May. Once we have been as high as Camp Three our acclimatization should be pretty good and next we head down even lower than base camp, probably back to Pangboche (3,900m) where we will rest for about a week. This allows our bodies to recover really well.
We’ll monitor the weather closely and when it looks good we’ll head back to base camp and make a summit attempt (staying one night in each camp on the way up). Depending on the weather an attempt could be made as early as the 15th May or as late as the 24th May.
This is why Everest takes about 10wks to climb..
Almost 2wks to trek to base camp.
Around 4-6wks to acclimatize.
A week to summit.
A week to trek back out.
This time plan may change but it gives you a rough idea of our schedule for the next couple of months and an understanding of why it takes so long!!