The Climbing Begins! To Advanced Basecamp.
- Walk to interim camp (5,800 m / 19,000 feet). The walk is a 2,000 foot (600 m) ascent that lies halfway between Chinese basecamp and ABC. Interim camp leads us to the penitents or "ice pilgrims" as depicted in this photo:and this video:
- Camp at interim camp and explore the area. As I mentioned previously while at Chinese basecamp, the reason we stop is to acclimatize gradually. Each step requires some rest but also some activity. Sitting in a tent the entire time makes for a stale and lazy climber. We need to get out, help with simple chores, explore the area and stay relatively active.
- Rest and acclimatize more at interim camp. Again, can't get enough acclimatization. If we run up the mountain then bad things can happen - most notably HAPE (high altitude pulmonary edema) and/or HACE (high altitude cerebral edema). More on those two outcomes later. For now, we take our time at interim camp and adapt to the hypoxic environment.
- Walk to ABC (6,400 m / 21,000 feet). The 2,000 foot (600 m) ascent takes us up to the staging area for our climb. Advanced basecamp is where we complete extensive training as a group to ensure all members are ready to climb. We also organize our supplies for this camp as well as higher camps. Everyone lends a hand and we all make this time as productive and hassle-free for the group to maximize our chances higher up. Not only do we train, organize, and acclimatize, we also rest. Not much rest but enough to make sure we are not knackered for the next few weeks. We stay at ABC for at least 3 days without ascending - provided all goes well. At this point, the stage is set for our climb. Here is a great video by John Kazanas who posted his ABC video just prior to his summit push: