224m - I have been repeatedly asked, "How long does it take to climb Mount Everest?" The answer is complex. Not only do we spend a lot of time on the mountain itself, just getting to and from it will prove to be an adventure.
The itinerary that follows is a rough guideline and may fluctuate by a day or two: Depart Appleton, Wisconsin (~230m) March 25 traveling through the cities of Detroit, Amsterdam, Delhi with arrival into Kathmandu, Nepal (1,317m) on March 27.
After meeting my teammates and reorganizing the gear once more, we will depart Kathmandu March 31 on a flight to Lukla (2,840m). We will stay in Phakding (2,610m) that night. The trek towards Everest base camp continues for the next 8+ days as we encounter the villages of Namche Bazar (3,440m) on April 1, Khumjung (3,780m) April 2, Tengboche (3,860m) April 4, Dingboche (4,410m) April 5, Lobuche (4,910m) April 6-8, and finally Everest BC (5,140m) on April 10. Everest climbing will occur between April 11 - May 29.
The trek to BC along with the month and a half of climbing up and down Everest's flanks is part of the acclimatization process. Simply put, the body needs to slowly adapt to the thinner air at high altitude. Each step higher means the generation of more red blood cells. This in turn allows us to more efficiently carry oxygen, an increasingly scarce commodity the higher we go.
Sagarmatha (i.e. the name of Mount Everest used by the Sherpa of Nepal. "Sagar" meaning sky and "matha" meaning forehead so when one stands at the top of Everest, you stand with your "head above the clouds.") will ultimately dictate whether we summit or not. The summit is only half the goal as getting home safely to family and friends is truly the prize. Our departure from BC will take place around May 30 following the aforementioned route in reverse. ~76 days and a lot of meters later I will arrive into the Appleton, Wisconsin airport on June 8, 2009. Home sweet home!