Packing up and leaving Base Camp
Final team photo with Dasona and Mingma. Photo Mary Adler.
Paul and Mary on a log bridge over the river that comes out of the Khumbu Glacier near Dugla. Photo Fiona Adler.
Local Time: 19:30, May 26
Weather: Fine in the morning, then overcast and raining in the afternoon, now 6C
Hi Everyone, It's Paul here. Yesterday we packed up most of our gear, gave lots of stuff to our Sherpas, and got three bags ready for porters to carry to Lukla. This morning we finished packing the stuff we would need for the trek out.
We have walked for most of the day and are now here in the White Yak lodge in Pheriche, having just eaten dinner. This lodge has a real toilet, which although I will appreciate it, I think Mary and Fiona will more!
Saying thanks to Danuru
Yesterday I sought out Danuru, the Sherpa who gave me his oxygen just below the South Summit. Quite a crowd quickly assembled, and in front of most of the Sherpa team I acknowleged how super strong I thought he was and thanked him from the bottom of my heart. I told everyone that I know first hand how difficult it is to be on oxygen one minute and then without it a minute later. His unselfish gesture resulting in him being without oxygen, resolved for me what was quickly beoming a very bad situation. I gave him a big tip, which he gratefully accepted.
Our Camp Beds
On the advice of Mike Curtain from Melbourne, we took camp beds to base camp with us. These beds are canvas stretched around a metal frame and steel legs. They even have a spring suspension system. They were extremely comfortable to sleep on, especially as the ice melts underneath your tent, making for a very uneven bed. We were the envy of several people at base camp. We gave these beds to our Sherpas and Mary gave hers to the cook, Pemba. They were extremely excited to receive these!
This morning we packed a small amount of clothes, sleeping bags, rain gear, said our goodbyes and headed off with Mingma and Dasona. Shortly afterwards, they said that they would have to go ahead. This was a subtle way of saying that we weren’t walking fast enough as they had a lot further to go than us. We gave them a good tip, exchanged email addresses & said our final goodbyes. They then strode off at a very fast rate.
After parting with Dasona and Mingma we headed towards Lobuche. The path winds its way over the moraine from the Khumbu Glacier, so it's very uneven and difficult to walk on. You have to be careful not to sprain an ankle. We reached Gorak Shep in a little under two hours, had a short rest and then headed onto Lobuche for lunch. Lunch was at the Eco Lodge, which is a place I highly recommend to anyone who is in Lobuche. I had pizza which was fantastic. We met some of the Asian Trekking team, including Doug & Julia, who we had got to know in Camp 2.
After Lobuche, the path is much easier to travel on, however you are still on the moraine of the Khumbu Glacier. At the foot of the glacier is the memorial chortens to climbers who have lost their lives. We noticed that there is a large new one adorned with prayer flags for Sean Egan who unfortunately lost his life last year attempting to become the oldest Canadian to summit Everest.
This point marks the end of the Khumbu Glacier. There is a steep drop as you decend down the terminal moraine to Dugla. We continued past Dugla down further to the valley floor below, some 600m. This was difficult for all of us, as it's a steep decent and Fiona and my toes are still sore from all the decending we have done in the past few days. Getting to the flat valley was a relief, and it was a gentle few kilometers to Pheriche.
After Lobuche we started to see green grass, Juniper bushes, moss and small purple flowers (Mary thinks they look like Primulas??). We haven't seen any living plants for months so this was really great. I can't communicate how much I miss seeing plants, because I don't really understand why. I am not a green thumb or avid gardener. I am sure as we head down further we should see all the fields of potatoes.
Thanks for everyone's kind messages about my efforts. I have read them all and I can tell you they are much appreciated. Thanks for the message from the Premier of Victoria.
Both Fiona and I will give detailed accounts of our trip when we get home, along with what happpened on summit night, lots more photos, and tips & suggestions for anyone wanting to climb Everest. If you are thinking of climbing Everest, stay tuned.
Kirk Benson - Yes the Sherpas do use oxygen, and they have state of the art gear. Despite all our training the Sherpas are so much stronger than us, although I would say that as you get higher, the difference is less. Below C3, the Sherpas make you look like an untrained, unfit person. However if you measure their blood oxygen saturation their's was the same as ours or often worse. This whole topic was the source of many discussions amongst the team and I would like to write more about this at a later point if you are interested, Kirk. Remind me!
Hi June Yes, I remember you. Thanks for your support.
Hi Chris and Bridge, Thanks for everything.
Paul - I think Jim's story is one of the really great ones to come out from this expedition. He had so much to overcome, and that fact that he got to the top is just fantastic.
QECVI students - not sure about proof of summit. I think that if it was disputed you would then have to show photos but mainly it's based on other people seeing you there.
Sean, I'll let Fiona answer the questions when she next does an update.
Karlyne, Fiona says Massage please. Do you deliver!?
Hi Manon, None of us got frostbite and you need about 3600 litres of oxygen to go from C4 to the summit and back. This is 2-5 bottles depending on their size. Our duffel bags are big - almost 1.5 metres long.
Bye for now,
PS Mary thanked a whole lot of people last night, but didn't include Tim, who had to port the site from one web host to another, when the first one changed their security policies, stopping us from updating it. I had developed the site, and hadn't thought to leave documentation on how to set it up on a host, so Tim had to figure it all out himself!
Posted by: Livia, Mallorca on May 27, 2006 01:21 AM AEST
I reiterate the congratulations. Well done!
Posted by: Paul & Michael on May 27, 2006 01:50 AM AEST
Thank you for all the updates,I know Jim had a rough going for a while,however Jim is a strong man and being a firefighter,firefighters won't give up.My sister Michelle is very proud of Jim. I know she is very thankful that you all were part of her life and Jim's, Be safe and have a wonderful life.
Posted by: Cas,London on May 27, 2006 01:52 AM AEST
Well done guys. However my thoughts are currently with the other Australian on the North of Everest Lincoln Hall. He was reported dead above the second step last night after having summited earlier, but was found alive by climbers ascending this morning. A massive rescue operation is taking place as i write involving many wonderful sherpas and climbers ( including a Dr. waiting at the North Col should they make it there )
Fingers crossed that the rescue is a success and that all of them will be down safe soon
Posted by: Ram A. on May 27, 2006 02:06 AM AEST
Paul, that was a commendable thing you did for Danuru. Good on you, mate! It is such selflessness that these Sherpas seem to possess that we all can learn from. What a fine line there is between living and dying up there.
Posted by: Chuck, Connecticut, USA on May 27, 2006 02:57 AM AEST
Thank you Paul and Fiona for taking the time to submit such wonderfully written updates. Next to "Into Thin Air", your accounts are the most informative articles I've read on climbing Mt. Everest. I cannot wait to read your detailed accounts when you finally write them. I have Fiona's summit picture on my work bulletin board to give me inspiration during the day.
Now that youve both climbed on Mt. Everest, you both are ready for the most difficut and joyous task you will ever face, raising a family! With the support your family has shown you throughout your journey, I know you will be as successful as you both have been climbing Mt. Everest.
Posted by: MC - Vancouver, Washington, USA on May 27, 2006 03:54 AM AEST
Hello to Fiona, Paul and Mary
I can imagine that it is a great effort, packing up all of your belongings at BC in preparation for the trek out. I am so glad you mentioned the Sherpas as sometimes they are the unsung heros. I know they sacrifice much and consequently have saved many lives. What a nice gesture to give your camp beds to Dasona, Mingma and the cook! Hope you are sleeping well at night for the last few days of the trek out. MC
"What do you dream as you stand on top of the mountain? I dream of the next mountain in the distance." mc
Posted by: Martin McGarvey on May 27, 2006 04:50 AM AEST
Thanks for sharing your experiences with us all, loved your site. Can I tap into your experiences and ask Paul what glove combination you used high up?. I am doing an 8000er in August and have OR Alti Mits, but am unsure what liner or inner glove works well and has enough room for warmers etc .
Posted by: Donavan on May 27, 2006 05:00 AM AEST
It must feel good to be headed home! I look forward to reading much more about your advenures!
Stay vigilant--no twisted ankles, please! ;-)
Burbank, California, USA
Posted by: Valerie & Rummy Apollo Bay Victoria Australia on May 27, 2006 07:58 AM AEST
You two are as photogenic today as you were before you even set foot on your journey. You have the most brilliant smiles. I'm sure they come from the heart. Cheers--Valerie
Posted by: Lea Lea on May 27, 2006 10:19 AM AEST
Hi Paul and Fiona,
Glad to hear all is good. Hope the thick air is still giving you the high to keep walking for only a couple more days! Its been fantastic being able to follow your journey. Hope to be able to spend a weekend down at BG to catch up and for you to revitalise.
Posted by: Terry and Elaine on May 27, 2006 02:03 PM AEST
Hello Fiona and Paul
We have followed your adventure keenly and are pleased that you have completed the most difficult stages safely. It appears to us that, while there are many challenges, the predominant is to master the body and the mind under the stresses of minimal oxygen supply and fatigue … to make the right decisions at the right time. You both have succeeded to the absolute in this.
Congratulations to you, Fiona, for your decision to proceed to the summit. Congratulations to you Paul for your even more difficult decisions not to push beyond the bounds of reason and good sense. You have both demonstrated the ultimate in mastery of self under the most difficult of circumstances.
Have a safe journey home.
Elaine and Terry
Posted by: Jacqueline Melbourne Australia on May 27, 2006 02:59 PM AEST
Hey Fiona and Paul,
Seems almost sad to think that the journey is finishing...I have been thrilled, scared, nervous, sad and proud reading through each update, especially the past few days.
Looking forward to seeing your faces.
Posted by: pauline wilson on May 27, 2006 04:25 PM AEST
congrats to you both, Fiona I,m Tara's mum, living in Qld, now Tara rang to tell of your acheivment. Proud to have known you once. Havong Trekked in the everest region , wow. I can only imagine the rush, exhaustion, pride and well the wow factor to be among the elite climbers of the planet. again congratulations
Posted by: Liz & Bill Inglis on May 27, 2006 09:23 PM AEST
Paul and Fiona, It has been a privilege to share with you your fantastic adventure. We have been so proud to say to people who mention the Everest climb that we actually know you!! Everything has already been said by your many admirers but despite the disappointment of not summitting for Paul it must have been a superhuman decision to make to descend. Both of you have the strength of character to succeed in whatever the future deals you. Love and hope to see you both at Jan Juc, sea level! Liz and Bill
Posted by: Deb, Ned, and Holly Jordan, Tootgarook, Victoria, Australia. on May 27, 2006 09:38 PM AEST
Oh ... I've just been reading about the happenings on the North side. How truely ghastly.
Paul and Fiona, and Mary, you have made the trek, the climb, the wait, the disappointment and the elation so uplifting; we were concerned - but not alarmed, by what you were attempting and achieving. You did not give us fear and death, although it is there. You gave us an intelligently thought out adventure. All involved - the Sherpa's, IMG, and everyone attached, should be very proud of the integrity of this venture. Thank you for sharing it with us.
Posted by: Mark R -- Mountville PA USA on May 28, 2006 12:50 AM AEST
Hiking out of the Khumbu after an amazing two month adventure, it must be both a relief and a bit sad. You will look back on this period with great satisfaction all the rest of your days, no doubt.
Following along with your daily posts has added a bit of excitement to the Ol' Daily Grind for me! My three kids followed along with me each day. They know of Dad's "Everest Addiction"!
Oh, Fiona, my daughter Molly, 11, has a message for you for reaching the summit : "You rock, Fi!"
Like many have said before, you two have become like friends thru all this. Your honest and open daily updates let us all feel like we were right there with you, from BC all the way up into The Death Zone. And with all the terrible tragedies on the mountain this year (second most deaths in one climbing season since the infamous '96), you two came out safe and sound. We were all praying for you!
If and when you two get to the States again, I'm sure you wouldn't have any trouble finding members of The Adler Army wherever you go. We'd all be thrilled to raise a toast to you.
Can't wait to hear more from both of you once back home -- more details, more drama, more photos. A book might be a good idea.....
God's blessings to you both,
Posted by: Roberta Rees on May 29, 2006 02:35 PM AEST
Hi Paul, Fiona and Mary,
first of all I want to congratulate you Mary for giving us a whole new meaning to 'keeping an eye on the kids!'What a thrill to be able to meet them actually on Everest!! The night they were climbing must has been very gruelling, waiting for their news. The way they have written their diaries has made their ascent and descent seem relatively uneventful....perhaps because they were well prepared physically and mentally for such a challenge. About summitting.....Fiona that was a fantastic effort - I'm sure you were strengthened with even more determination when you knew you had to achieve it for both of you. Paul, such bad luck with the oxygen, such a wise move to go back to camp....and doubtless a huge relief to see your wife descending safely! You have both climbed Everest as a team! Heartiest congratulations!!! Perhaps we shall see you both back in the Bayside area soon. Ready for the next challenge!