As you read this, I am attempting to summit Everest.

Via the North Face.

Without. Oxygen.

This is the first in a series posts dispatched from the slopes of Mt. Everest, leading to his planned ascent on or about May 19th.

April 19, 2010:

Teammates,

Sorry for the delay in getting the first dispatch out, but we just got our internet working. We arrived at Everest Base Camp (Northside) on Friday morning. It had been a long 8 day trip from Kathmandu across Tibet and we are glad to be here. To say that transportation, lodging and food had been “poor” while in Tibet would be a gross understatement. The physical/ natural beauty of Tibet is truly awe inspiring, but infrastructure is nonexistent. We mostly slept in our sleeping bags and had been eating steamed cabbage, mushrooms and some type of meat…(I haven’t seen a cat since entering the country, but that is just an observation, of course…).

We arrived in Kathmandu (elevation 4,429’) on Thursday, April 8th and spent three days getting all of our climbing paperwork, permits and China (Tibet) visas squared away. We also did a day of mountain biking in the Himalayan foothills which was challenging, to say the least. Kathmandu is a typical 3rd world city: overcrowded, too many cars, too much smog, trash, poverty etc, but it still manages to have enough 1st world services that make it truly enjoyable to spend a few days exploring.

We left Kathmandu on Sunday and took a bus along the Friendship Highway to Kodari, Nepal where we passed through Nepalese customs, walked across The Friendship Bridge into China (Tibet) and spent the night in Zhangmu, on the Nepal- Tibet border (elevation 7,874’). We woke up the following day and drove to Nyalam, Tibet (elevation 12,303’). Due to the severe changes in elevation, we were forced to spend 2 days in Nyalam hiking the surrounding hills and allowing our bodies to acclimatize.

We awoke early Wednesday morning and drove to Tingri, Tibet (elevation 14,108’) crossing the main Himalayan range and driving over the Lalung La (elevation 16,896’) where the views of Cho Oyu (6thtallest mountain the world), Shishapangma (14th tallest mountain the world) and the Tibetan plateau were spectacular. An hour outside of Tingri, we saw Everest for the first time. Even though it is situated amongst the tallest mountains in the world, Everest still towers above. Unlike after the winning goal of an athletic contest when the athletes and fans scream, yell and cheer, we could only stare in silence at Chomolungma (Tibetan name for Mt. Everest meaning “Goddess Mother of the Earth”) and the sheer immense size of it.

After 2 days in Tingri, more cabbage, more day hikes and more acclimatization, we arrived early Friday afternoon into Base Camp (BC; elevation 16’896’). We have spent the last few days acclimatizing on the hills that surround base camp as well as doing a day hike to the Rongbuk Monastery (approx 4 miles away from BC). We will continue to acclimatize and then begin our initial ascent of the mountain.

Our current plan is to depart BC on Wednesday and hike to Advanced Base Camp (ABC- a 12 mile climb to 20,997’) where we will spend three- four days acclimatizing. We will then depart ABC and climb to the North Col/ Camp 1 (elevation 23,031’) where we will stay for at least three nights prior to returning to ABC for 1-2 more nights and then all the way back to BC. We will then eat, sleep and physically and mentally recover and then prepare for the first 5- 7 day window of good (read “good enough”) weather to make our summit attempt (anytime between the 2nd and 4th week of May, we hope).

I have attached a few photos of the trip so far, in case you were interested. I will send my next dispatch as time, climbing schedule and internet availability permits. I hope everyone is doing (1) well… and (2) “One More!”

Regards,

Eric

“I will not spend my days in trying to prolong them… I will use my time.” – Jack London

Update:

Second Dispatach – The Avalanche

Third Dispatch – Nec Aspera Terrent

Fourth Dispatch - Toughness is a Relative Term

Fifth Dispatch – Preparing for the Final Assault

Sixth Dispatch – Reaching the Summit

 




Posted by Eric Kapitulik in Marine Corps, Travel
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  • George Gruber

    Eric, Hello from San Antonio TX. We’re following your climb and are in awe. Go Eric Go!

  • Rick Woodcock

    Eric,
    I completed my first blue-water crossing today, including 10 days in the Bermuda triangle with everything from gayls to glass in a 45′ sailboat. It was a great adventure, but pales in comparison to what you are about to undertake. Rock-on dude! We are all pulling for you. …cant wait to get your next update.
    Rick Woodcock,
    CTO, USNI

  • Susan

    I’m watching too Eric! Hope the weather holds for your ascent. Fly Safe!

  • http://www.militarymedalsguide.com/ Grunt4Life

    I’m a retired Marine and my days of these type of physical adventures are in my past. I want to let you know that I, and I suspect many others,enjoy reading accounts of your exploits!

    Semper Fi!

  • http://www.dobox.com/ Bruce

    I’m watching too Eric! Hope the weather holds for your ascent. Fly Safe!

  • Ovid Holmes

    Eric. I met you at the memorial for the men who died in that accident back in ’99. I was with 1st Force in the ’60′s. What a tremendous tribute to those men who died , the mere effort alone. Success in this effort depends, to a large degree, on luck.

    A definition of luck that I like is this:” Luck-when preparation and opportunity meet.”

    At this moment, I just read that you have completed the ascent. Fantastic. Ovid Holmes, FRA#74

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