Story by Melissa Arnot
When this trip started in April, I knew I would have to work exceptionally hard to stay mentally motivated for the goals ahead. As Dave and I flew out of Makalu Base Camp (one of the most amazingly beautiful experiences of my life) I mentally buckled down, knowing that we would land at Everest Base Camp among swarms of people going home.
We did. People have been leaving for the last three days that we have been here. RMI is outfitting our trip, and the set up they have at base camp is as nice as I can imagine. I feel spoiled by all of services, but I have been enjoying it. It is hard to see people leave, but I put on my sunglasses and gently look the other way, knowing that I need to travel in the opposite direction. And tomorrow I will.
As we sit at Base Camp and I look at the icefall and the mountain, it looks like a friend I haven’t seen in a while. I recognize the character in the lines of the glacier, I see the places I have been before and remember the days that I spent there. I am excited to climb this route again; it feels like home. People ask me if it is interesting still, climbing Everest, since I have been here before. It is true, I have been here before, but I haven’t been here now, and that newness is inspiring and exciting.
We will head up to Camp II tomorrow with the best weather forecasts we have seen in the last 40 days. It is very warm over here compared to Makalu, so we will start early to avoid that heat. The next morning we will get up early and make our way to Camp III, high on the Lhotse face. This may be the first time I have ever been on the face with no other climbers around.
If everything goes well, we will go straight to Camp IV at the South Col the next day and plan to start for the summit that night. As long as we feel good and the weather keeps holding strong, we will be trying to summit on the morning of the 30th. After asking around, we haven’t heard of a single other climber planning to be on the mountain that day (from the south side), so we may have the top of the world all to ourselves, that is, if we are lucky enough to get there.
We will check in from our satellite phone along the way. Our packs will be heavy, but our steps will be light, knowing that we have worked so hard over the past month-and-a-half to have a chance to attempt this goal. Once again, it is time to climb.
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