We woke up at 4:30AM, I can’t believe we are up this early to climb Kala Patthar, it even snowed last night, there is at least 3 inches of fresh snow everywhere. We were already to leave at 5AM to begin our climb in the early morning light. The ascent up Kala Patthar makes it’s way up a series of switchbacks before leveling off, as it traverses to the eastern side of the mountain. The trail becomes steep again as we scramble over slippery snow covered boulders to the top, which is marked with prayer flags. We had to stop several times just to get warm and when we reached the top the guys were already there taking photos of the great views of Mt Everest, Nuptse and glimpses of the summit of Lhotse. The sun was rising behind Everest by the time we summited and we celebrated our climb with photos together. This was our Everest ascent at 18,209ft, it is the highest altitude that we (Bob and I) will reach on our trek to Everest Base Camp. It was an easy hike all the way down and arrived back at Gorak Shep around 8:00am in time for breakfast.
We left at 10:30am to complete our trek with a 2 hour hike to Base Camp. We were tired from our climb this morning, but the brilliant blue sky and surrounding views of the majestic mountains made the hike all worthwhile. We arrived at our camp in time for lunch in a big mess tent. Base Camp, 17,650ft, lies just below the Khumbu Ice Fall, a village of tents with hundreds of climbers and Sherpas, camping on the glacier, preparing for the summit of Mt Everest. However, due to the avalanche tragedy on April 18th, where 16 Sherpas lost their lives, the climbing season on Everest has been cancelled in honor of the dead Sherpas. Brad, Kevin and Ake will have to come back another time to complete their attempt to summit Everest. We stayed here two nights listening to the creeking of the ice under us and the constant sounds of avalanches in the distance.