Sunday, May 12, 2013

Go time.

A cup of coffee. A cup of patience.

May 12, 2013
Rest Day at EBC

I set out this morning to visit a friend at the Jagged Globe camp on the other side of EBC.  Along the way I found my progress bogged down by a film crew which in turn was bogged down by an elderly man making slow progress just ahead of them. I told myself to just accept the pace and enjoy the sunny morning, but the man in front was going sooooooooo slow that I just had to pass. Easing onto a narrow shoulder on the right, I skipped past the crew offering various greetings and apologies. But the space on the right disappeared just as I was about to overtake the man. Leaping awkwardly, I managed to get in front of him while only modestly cutting the man off. At this point I heard a voice shout “Cut” and I looked back to recognize David Breshears in the film crew and Reinhold Messner as the man I had just passed. 

The word around EBC is that two Hollywood movies are being filmed here. One is a reenactment of the 1996 Everest Tragedy, the other tells the tale of George Mallory’s fatal Everest attempt. I cannot substantiate either of these rumors. There is a third, and possibly related, rumor that actor Tom Cruise will be arriving here on May 20 to either 1. film a series of scenes for one of these features. 2. open a Church of Scientology outpost. Or 3. both of the above. No one talks much about the Reinhold Messner feature, which we know to be in production since he long ago insulted most of us by claiming that climbing Everest with the aid of anything more than aspirin is “cheating”. Our cat-like indifference toward him is an expression of our contempt, which we maintain until such time he actually walks into a camp and the occupants set about boot-licking shamelessly. 

It snowed last night, degrading conditions for our Team 1 departure from EBC. The launch was scratched at 3:00 a.m. and everyone went back to bed. After today’s sunny weather that snow will have settled considerably making it possible to reschedule the start of our first summit attempt tonight. If all goes well this team will summit on May 17. At this point Ty and I are still on Team 2, scheduled for a May 16 departure from EBC and a May 20 summit target. That is only four days from now, but most of us are already going a little crazy with all the idle time on our hands. Each morning we throw rocks down onto the frozen glacial pond in the center of our camp. Sometimes there is an arbitrary target. More recently we do not even bother with that. We are throwing rocks at ice and something about that creates a soothing sensation in our brains. By late afternoon the ice melts enough for all the rocks to sink through to the bottom. The pond refreezes overnight, and we start the next day with a clean unblemished ice surface. 

At night we gather in the movie tent with the Sherpas to watch a feature film. Though there is an external heater for this tent, it is so woefully inadequate that we usually do not bother to fire it up.  Bundled in parkas, our breath visible in the projector light, we settle in like chicks in a nest. Last night we watched The 300, the grizzly tale of 300 Spartan Fighters who stood up against the invading forces of may thousands of Persians. The dismemberment was on a scale that could make the first ten minutes of Saving Private Ryan look like an after school special. It was a real crowd pleaser, especially among the Sherpa who do not see much of that kind of thing this far up the valley. Regrets abound. 

It seems like so very long ago that i left home. Spring has happened without me. There have been Birthdays and Holidays. Appliances have broken and been repaired. The tabs have expired on my car. Now the pull of home starts to exert considerable gravity. I miss my family, my work, my town. But for the next two weeks I must do all I can to push that back and focus on what I came here for. There will be many years to enjoy those things that make up a comfortable life. But how I manage my mental game in the days ahead will determine whether that life will include a summit photo on Everest. 

May 13, 2013
Rest Day EBC

The best possible news! The weather window we have been targeting for a May 20 summit has taken shape with the jet stream now migrating to the north of Everest. This has both broadened the window and improved the quality of it. The peak of Everest should see very low winds for the period of May 17-24. Such a generous window should allow teams to make their summit bids in an orderly fashion, as opposed to last year when most of EBC tried to shoe-horn into just 2 days. Our team leaders have spoken with other expeditions to get a feel for when they will be sending their climbers up, so we may avoid the crowds, and decided to move our Team 2 summit bid up to May 19. We leave EBC in 2 days. This will be my last post until returning from the summit. 
If all goes according to plan, I should reach the summit of Everest at 5:00 a.m. on May 19 (give or take an hour). That would translate into about 6:00 p.m. PST on May 18 (Bellingham date and time). 
There is a group of 6 U.S. Air Force climbers that are part of our Team 2 Summit Group. Among the various cool technologies they bring with them is a GPS tracker that will post their progress up Everest in real time. As I am typically on pace with these climbers Readers may find it interesting to follow along at 
A special thanks to those of you who have written in comments of encouragement and positive wishes. I feel as though we are climbing this mountain together!
A big shout out to my friends at Meridian Middle School!
My love and thanks to Lin, Trevor, Chase, Mom, Jack, and Don for your support, understanding, and belief in me. 


  1. Oorah! Safe journey Dave, spring has sprung in the northwest, and a little bird has revealed that Lin is over budget on spring plantings :)….which I am sure will be a welcome sight, along with a cheese burger and chocolate shake!

    1. Hey Mike. Not surprised about the plantings. Flower gardens are her one true joy. More flowers = more joy. She got to let that thing run : )

  2. Climb on Dave. Ed V says getting down is mandatory. We agree. PS stocks are up don't u worry about us..

  3. Dave, I'm sending you all the positive energy I can muster. Be safe.
    Love Auntie Alice

    1. Thanks, Alice. I have the best Aunties in the whole wide world!

  4. Enjoyed the blog together with the photos.The waiting must be difficult, take care Cheers Kate

  5. Thank you for sharing. MIL is a client of yours and forwarded the blogs. Followed you on your Antarctic excursion as well. So many questions not even related to the climb. One can't help but wonder if those making the climb (or even the trek to the region)become somewhat removed from society through this experience. The region seems so magical and spiritual. Cannot wait to read the final blog. Be safe and take care. Watching from Puyallup

  6. As we write this we realize you have set out on your great adventure to the "top of the world." Color us proud!

    Wahoo! So glad Mingma is back - prayer answered.

    Will be waiting for your call from the summit providing, as you said, that the signal is up!

    Our happy feet wil do happy dances upon you and Ty's return. Go Baby Go!

    Our love, Creme de la Creme of wishes, fantastic Karma and heartfelt prayers are with you and Ty every step you take.

    Love, Mom and Dad

  7. Hi Dave

    I realize you are higher on the mountain and without internet but
    I send you my best wishes anyway for steady progress, good weather
    and stable snow & ice. Warmth, the green world and many pleasures
    await your return to the valleys below. God speed. Bruce

  8. Dave, here's to strength, endurance and good luck on this leg of your fantastic journey. Lise and I are praying for you and we'll throw in a "Summit Dance" on Saturday for good measure! Sonia

  9. Dave, I know the time has suddenly stood still while you wait for your ultimate dream to summit Mt Everest. You are a patient man right? before you know it you will be standing on top of Mt Everest with a big smile on your face! I also know you will have a whole lot of us at home doing our HAPPY DANCE for you,Tye and the others. I can't wait to hear that you are standing on the top of Mt Everest!!! Safe climbing! We want you home safe and sound.! Hugs! Dot

  10. Just saw the IMG,Allen Arnette post. You and Ty got it!
    Be safe out there. Chutes and ladders ahead.

  11. CONGRATULATIONS from the land of pAO2 of 100% on room air! Bravo, terrific personal accomplishment. Can't wait to hear the details.

    David and Marian

  12. oH bOY.........there should be some more great blog posts coming up from Dave and the SEVENth ! summit to celebrate.....what a journey.........Yahoo ! bruce

  13. CONGRATULATIONS to you and everyone on your team!!!!!!!!!! I loved reading your blog the last couple months. Thank you for sharing your story. You are an inspiration to me. Enjoy your success!! Seven Summits...AMAZING!


    P.S. Tell Aaron congratulations from a former Rainier glacier skills seminar client he won't remember. I'll always remember Aaron because he carried a watermelon all the way to camp Muir for us to enjoy after our summit.

  14. Your CT and NY fans were cheered to see that you and Ty made it. We've been avidly reading your blog and our prayers have been with you all along. Congratulations! SL :-)

  15. Congratulations Dave and Ty! ! It was fantastic to meet you both and share the first part of your journey with you.
    - trekkers Melora & Sara

  16. Congratulation my Carstenz climbing friend :)
    Get down safe and come to rest in the Dominican Republic at the beach and with a lot of beers !


  17. The June 2013 National Geographic Magazine just out has an article on the perils of climbing Everest with some great pictures and a map ( page 90 ) of the climbing route. There is a shot of the traffic jam at the Hillary Step that Dave talked about. Check out the early morning shot on page 102.


  18. Congratulations Dave!!! We got the great news from Sonia. What a truly monumental feat. I know that your family and loved ones are so proud, and relieved that you are safe.

    Laurie and Ric

  19. Thank you for creating Everest travel blog and write about Everest Expedition. Your blog helps to promote Everest Region in Nepal Himalayas.