The Final Climb
We decided to hike Kala Pathar in the morning so we could watch the sunrise over Everest. We woke up at 4am to clear skies, no moon and -20 degree temperatures. The stars were incredible and looked close enough to touch. We trudged slowly up the side of the mountain stopping every few minutes to catch our breath. We had been warned of the cold and were wearing everything we owned. Lindsey wore: 4 pairs of pants, 2 socks and 6 long underwear tops, a puffy jacket, a puffy vest, rain jacket, gloves, a hat and a sleeping bag. Despite the layers none of us had feeling in our hands or toes.
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The Kala Pathar ascent was as high as any of us had ever been, 18,200ft. FYI there is no air at this elevation and we oxygen breathing people are not really supposed to live this high (unless you are Sherpa). The lack of oxygen made our muscles ache and was compounded by the bitter cold which made breathing excruciating. The climb was straight up for 2 hours, and it was physically one the hardest things any of us have endured. A fellow traveler we met said to us several nights before that “pain is temporary, giving up is forever,” this phrase became our mantra as we kept on, little by little. -Kelsey and Lindsey
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We were the first to summit Kala Pathar that morning! The summit was marked again by prayer flags. The last section was a rock scramble to the peak but we made it just as the sun peeked from behind Mount Everest and slowly turned the 8,000 meter peaks around us a peachy gold with the first fingers of dawn. It was an amazing sight as the sun awakened the Mother Goddess Everest (the Tibetan Name for Everest) and her surrounding giant neighbors. However, our moment of glory at teh summit only lasted a few minutes as we were cold to the bone and had to get down.