Sunday, March 1, 2009

Train, Train, Train - The Little Engine That Could

260 m - 24 days and counting! The training for Everest continues both physically and mentally. In regards to the latter, a significant challenge that awaits all climbers headed up Everest via the South Col route in Nepal is the Icefall of the Khumbu Glacier. Crossing the Icefall occurs very early in the climb yet the task is daunting. Glaciers are notorious for hosting crevasses, openings in the ice flow of variable size, both in width and depth. In order to make our way through this particular icefall, multiple ladder crossings will be present spanning these dark chasms. The ladders are maintained on a daily basis by several Sherpas known appropriately as "The Icefall Doctors." Without their due diligence and expertise, the odds of success for any expedition, not to mention the level of safety, would dramatically decrease.

To practice for this upcoming challenge I have been crossing my twenty foot aluminum extension ladder stretched across snowdrifts in my backyard. Ten foot aluminum ladder sections will be used in the Khumbu. It may sound easy yet these ladder crossings will be at all angles and at variable lengths, sometimes having multiple ladders lashed together with rope to span a large crevasse. Add to this the fact that we'll be wearing crampons which makes walking on the ladders a bit more 'fun.' With barely 3 weeks left until departure the logistics of reviewing gear continues as the packing will soon commence.

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