In March 2006, Paul Adler and Fiona Adler left for their attempt to climb Mount Everest.
We posted live updates here throughout our climb,
as well as during the final stages of our preparation.
We hope that this helped our friends, family and other interested
parties to experience the adventure with us along the way.
Our current projects are
www.myeverest.com and www.powerdiary.com.au
Key Facts About Mount
8,850 metres or 29,028 feet
Australia's tallest mountain Mt Kosciusko,
is 2,228 metres)
Number of climbers:
figures are hard to come by, it seems that
around 2,100 people world-wide have summitted Mount Everest
(including guides and Sherpas).
Roughly 150 people
made it to the summit in each of the 2004
and 2005 seasons - however, many of these
were guides and Sherpas who had summitted
previously. It's estimated that around
70 of these would be first-time Everest
climbers. (This is thought to be from
around 200 climbers that attempt the
mountain each year.)
Mount Everest is located in the Himalayan
ranges in Nepal - on the border of Tibet,
There are basically two routes up Mount
Everest - the North Side, from which the
climb leaves from Tibet, and the South Side
which is from Nepal.
In some ways, the
North side is logistically easier as it is
possible to drive vehicles to base camp and
you don't have to go through the ice fall.
However it involves spending longer periods
of time at higher altitudes and the route is
more exposed to the wind.
We'll be climbing on the South Side - the
same way Hilary did when he first climbed
it. The route up from this side is
Image kindly provided by Alan Arnette from www.alanarnette.com
Click here for a good explanation of the
route and various camps.
As most people imagine, the weather on Mount
Everest is extreme and often pushes the
boundaries of what humans can endure - despite
having the most up-to-date gear. It is not
uncommon for temperatures on the summit to
fall below minus 50 degrees Celsius.
However it is really the wind which causes
most problems. On the summit, this can
vary between almost negligible to over 60
knots. High winds impact the
temperature, visibility and generally make
On Everest, climbers
generally wait at base camp for a weather
forecast indicating around 4-5 days of clear weather
(known as the "weather window") before
making their summit bid.
Click here to see our section on Oxygen at
Commonly Asked Questions
about our trip to Mount Everest
What training are you doing?
Click here for a description of our training
and our thinking behind it.
Are you doing any training for altitude?
You can't really "train for altitude" as the
effects only last a short time. It is
important to have prior experience at high
altitudes though. Both of us have
climbed to just over 7000 metres twice without
any unusual effects and we believe we have
an understanding of how our bodies react to
the lack of oxygen and the acclimatisation
To acclimatise, you
need to expose the body to the higher
altitude (and lower oxygen levels) and allow
it time to adjust before moving higher.
The only other way
is to use a specially designed "altitude tent" that
simulates the reduced oxygen environment. We have
no personal experience with these systems
but the simulated altitude is relatively low
(approximately 3000 metres) and the effects
are only short-lived (maybe a couple of
weeks). For these reasons, altitude
tents are not commonly used by mountaineers,
but are more suited for giving an extra edge
to athletes with events near where they use
the tents (you may recall a mention of these
in Lance Armstrong's books).
When are you going?
We are leaving at 1am on March 21st 2006 and expect
to return sometime early June.
How long will it take to climb?
This is a very common question and the
answer depends on where you consider the
climb to start from.
From when we arrive
in Kathmandu, we will take 2 days to get
organised and then we will fly into the
mountains (to Lukla). However this
depends on whether the flights are going as
they are often delayed due to weather.
From here it will take us around 10 days to
trek into base camp (including rest days for acclimatisation).
Once at base camp,
we'll need to rest further, and then we'll
begin our "acclimatisation rounds".
These will involve a program such as climbing to camp 1, staying
the night, then returning to rest.
Then climbing to camp 2, returning and so on
up to camp 3. (For more information on
this, see our description on Acclimatisation
under the Oxygen section.) Once we
have finished this and feel fine, we'll be
ready to climb. This should be by the
start of May.
Once we leave from
base camp for the summit, it should take us
around 4 days to get to the top and 2 to get
back to base camp.
When would you expect to be summitting?
Common dates for summitting have been around
May 10 and 12 however in recent seasons, the
best times for summitting have been much
later (even early June). At this
stage, it is unclear whether this is a trend
or an abnormality, so like most climbers, we
intend to be "ready" for a weather window in
early May, but also prepared to wait for
Are you using oxygen?
Yes - like almost all climbers going above
8,000 metres, we intend to use supplemental
oxygen - see oxygen section here.
There are only around 100 climbers who have
ever summitted Everest without supplemental
Are you in a guided party?
Due to the extensive logistics involved in
attempting a climb of Everest, as well as
the way the climbing permit pricing works,
almost everyone will be climbing with a
party of some sort.
research, we have selected to climb with
International Mountain Guides (IMG).
IMG have an excellent reputation and have
been running Everest expeditions for many
years now. They will handle the
massive amount of logistics associated with
the climb and will have a
competent manager at base camp. Unlike
most other expeditions though, with IMG, each
climber essentially climbs independently - which is
a feature that we liked. This way we
will be able to climb when we are ready and
won't be rushed to meet a team's schedule,
or conversely, our climb won't be delayed if
other climbers aren't ready to move on.
In addition, we had
the option of hiring western guides, local
guides or having no guides at all.
We've elected to use two local guides which
will hopefully give us increased flexibility
while on the mountain (if we are climbing at
different speeds for instance).
Time will tell if
this was the best approach!
Can't anyone climb Everest these days?
I've heard its now very commercial and
there's even shops up there!
Although Mount Everest may be more
accessible than it has ever been before, it
certainly is not a climb to be treated
lightly. There are several mountains
which are regarded by climbers as being more
difficult, but not withstanding this,
Everest certainly ranks amongst the most
difficult of mountains (if not technically,
due to its sheer altitude). Climbers
are advised strongly against attempting
Everest without first having served a
substantial apprenticeship on lower peaks.
The difficulties primarily lie in;
- The Khumbu Icefall - this section
lies just above base camp and consists
of a choppy section of glacier.
There are many crevasses to cross and
some steep sections to climb.
Despite the fact that fixed rope is used
throughout the whole icefall, this section is
notorious for accidents caused by people
falling (although often by people who
decide not to attach to the rope) or
sections of the glacier moving while
climbers are on them
- The Lhotse Wall - this section lies
between camps 2 and 3 and is a long
steep slope. Again, there are
lines fixed along all steep sections but
accidents frequently occur here
- The altitude - no-one really knows
how their body is going to react to
being at such a high altitude. The
lack of oxygen can lead to a variety of
altitude problems and even mild altitude
sickness can include chest problems,
disorientation, nausea, dizzyness, but
worse - it can be a cause of bad
- The weather - on a mountain this
high, the weather can change suddenly
and cause temperatures to plummet,
visibility to be reduced to just a
couple of metres, and winds to make
balance on steep sections difficult.
Frost-bite is a constant concern
anywhere above camp 2
- Fatigue - related to altitude, this
can lead to poor decision-making and
hence susceptibility to weather problems
And no, there are definitely no shops
anywhere on the mountain (except perhaps in
the delusional minds of hungry climbers!).
What will base camp be like?
There will be over 200 people
at base camp - some climbers (including Sherpas and guides), as well as base camp
support staff (medical, cooks, porters,
managers), as well as personal supporters
for various climbers. There will also
be some trekkers which come along with the
expeditions or independently to visit the
famous Everest Base Camp.
Most climbers will
have their own tent and each expedition will
have several larger tents dedicated to
communal activities (mess tent, dining,
communications, etc). To the untrained
eye, this will probably look like a
hotch-potch of different tents with no
organisation, however everyone there will
know exactly whose tent is whose (generally
referring to them by the expedition
companies' name or the nationality of the
Each expedition will
eat most meals together and will invariably
spend time talking, playing cards and
generally hanging out together.
However as base camp is quite spread out and
moving around at altitude is laborious,
communication between teams may be limited
to each team's immediate neighbours.
In fact, it is not uncommon for news about
other teams on the mountain to be gleened
from email or phone calls from friends and
family back home reading web-updates from
How will you wash?
We have heard (and are hoping) that a couple
of "washing tents" are generally set up at
base camp. These will probably be
tents where there are pots of hot water.
Climbers can queue up to use the tent to mix
up some of the hot water with cold and have
a wash. At best, this is only likely
to happen once every couple of weeks though.
Clothes will be washed in cold water.
How will you go to the toilet?
There will definitely be a few "toilet
tents" set up. This will basically the
Nepalese version of a "thunderbox" - except
it is unlikely to have a toilet seat, but
will simply have a hole in the bottom
leading to a container of some sort.
All waste is carried out by the porters at
the end of the climbing season.
At high camps, it is uncomfortable and often
inadvisable to leave your tent at night
should you get the call from nature.
Instead, most people use Pee bottles.
For females this becomes a little tricky -
but still do-able using implements like the
P-Mate (click here for details!).
What food will you be eating?
At base camp and camp 2, most meals will be
prepared for us by the IMG cooks. This
is likely to consist of pretty basic meat
and vegie meals - accompanied by a lot of
rice and some pasta.
food consists of Dal Bhat (lentils and
rice), mild curries, flat breads, and eggs -
so we'll probably be eating a fair bit of
that as well. Drinking tea is also very popular (great
for warmth and to increase fluid
At other camps,
we'll be catering for ourselves and taking
pre-packaged foods from home. We
generally will eat museli bars for
breakfast, pasta for dinner with soups,
noodles, hot chocolate, etc. While we
are walking during the day, we'll have
snacks like museli, fruit and chocolate
bars, dried fruit, salted nuts, lollies,
etc. We'll also be using sports drink
formula and sports gels while climbing to
increase the consumption of calories, salts
How many Australian couples or females
have climbed Everest?
As far we we know, there are no other
Australian couples that have climbed Everest
together (both John and Brigitte Muir have
was the first Australian women to summit
Everest (in 1997) and since then, only one
other has done this (Sue Fear in 2003).
Should we summit successfully, Fiona will be
only the 3rd Australian female to do so.
Of all the people that try, what % make
Of all the people that head to Nepal
intending to attempt Everest, it seems that
around 20-30% of them make the summit.
(These figures are higher if you only
consider the people that actually go on to
make a summit attempt as many pull out
to health, fitness, or acclimatisation problems
before this point.)
What equipment will you be taking?
For details on our gear and equipment, click