Climbing Everest - ABC to North Col (Camp 1)
The image above does not really show the route but it does provide some perspective on the general locations of each camp or geographically important point on the climb. Provided we are ready, we press on at about 18 days for our first functional day hike to Camp 1 on the North Col (7,000 m / 23,000 feet). Here is a picture of Camp 1 from above, courtesy of Everest News:
|North Col camp (aka Camp 1) from above (picture courtesy of Everest News).
Camp 1 is higher than any peak in North America. In fact, ABC is higher than Denali (20,322 feet or 6,194 m) so before today's hike, I would have been higher at ABC than I have ever been before. The day hike to the North Col, Camp 1 takes us up to a point where we can begin to acclimatize to higher altitudes and lower oxygen levels. How do we get up to this camp? Easy, sort of. We climb the North Col wall (photos courtesy of Mark Horrell) with a few relatively steep points to get from ABC to Camp 1 located on the North Col. Here is the wall:
See those little dots? Those are climbers all lined up to get to the top of the wall. Those lines are what makes Everest a complicated climb - not because of technical difficulty but because of congestion. The traffic jam down here is less of a problem than higher up.
Here is where the little dots tend to cluster:
All it takes is one slow person who does not let others pass to hold up the whole show.
At this point in the climb, I am now higher than any training altitude I had at home. Remember, I am simulating the low oxygen environment using the Hypoxico device. All my workouts take place at 22,000 feet or lower so Camp 1 provides a new experience for me at 23,000 feet. The North Col camp is a typical high alpine camp filled with tents on a bumpy glaciated surface. Here is a great picture of the camp in 2008: