Good Morning All!
Today is our second day of rest from the upper parts of the mountain. Several of the Air Force team walked down to Gorak Shep to access Internet and upload photos (check out the Facebook page!).
Our first “rotation” on the upper part of the mountain went very well. All six of the USAF 7 Summits climbers made it to Camp 2 (~21,100ft) and a few went up to the base of the Lhotse Face for a little extra exercise (22,000ft).
Temps up at Camp 1 and Camp 2 were pretty nuts! Climbing from 1 to 2 at 6:15am, before the sun hit, was chilly- windchill easily into the negative teens. The cold air bit at any exposed skin and froze around our covered faces. But as soon as the sun hit the snow covered slopes that surrounded us, temps jumped and it was UV radiation rather than frostnip we had to worry about.
It was a sign of our team’s strength that we all slept well and maintained our appetites at Camp 2. I have high hopes (ha!) for how we’ll do at Camp 3 in a few days. Speaking of that- here is our tentative plan:
May 1 & 2: Rest in EBC (Many of our guys have lost a good deal of weight, so using this time to eat, sleep, and hopefully get rid of dry irritating Khumbu Cough).
May 3rd: Climb through icefall to Camp 2 (skipping Camp 1 bc we are feeling strong)
May 4th: Rest at Camp 2
May 5th: Climb Lhotse Face to Camp 3 (~24,000ft). Will be uncomfortable to sleep/eat, so just staying one night). May 6th: Descend to Camp 2
May 7th: Everest Base Camp
May 8th-12th: Rest Days
May 13-???: Wait for good summit weather window. Once we get the green light, we will likely go Camp 2, Rest @2, Camp 3, Camp 4 (short stay using oxygen), leave in evening (9-10pm) for summit (9-10hr to the top)!
Hmm, what else to say?!
I think the hardest part for me right now is dealing with the boredom/repetition. Going to bed cold, waking up cold, eating the same foods, and thinking “There is a lot more of this between now and the summit push!” Luckily this team of American Airmen is awesome. It makes me smile to unfurl the Stars and Stripes each morning and see it flapping above the rock and ice. Meals are always lively as we tell stories and joke around constantly. If it wasn’t for the camaraderie, we’d probably lose out minds and focus.
It’s been interesting to live without news and daily information from home and around the globe. It is actually kinda nice- we get to focus on the mountain, the huge challenge above us, and keeping our personal ties strong. But I know each of us also miss family, friends, and other loved ones. Many conversations center around what we’ll each do when this long adventure is over. I’ve got warm oceans/lakes/rivers, fly fishing, and maybe a little trip to Vegas on my mind. Plus, it’ll be nice to get back into the cockpit and fly!
Thanks to all of you that are following this historic climb and to those of you sending your support and best wishes. We have been on this expedition for over a month and the home stretch is quickly approaching. We wish we could send more photos/updates, but with the great help of Col (ret) Rob Suminsby and Maj Mark Uberuaga, plus the support of the AF Safety Center, AF Public Affairs, and AF Recruiting, the exciting story of this climb is reaching across the United States and beyond. I think that as the Top of the World gets closer, things will get even more exciting. You can bet the six of us are looking forward to it!
Blue Skies to you all.
-Maj Rob Marshall
“Climb High, Fly Low”
Early Morning Photo of Everest from Camp 2 Walking to Camp 1 (black pyramid on left)
Panorama from Today: Using Rest Day to Boulder on Side of Khumbu Glacier
Capt Ackles descending a 3-part ladder in the Khumbu Icefall. I had to keep moving while taking the photo- too risky to stop in this location.