Monday, May 16, 2016

Mt Everest - Summit Day

Group photo at the summit.

Celebrating my Mt Everest climb 10th year anniversary this May19, let me share these set of pictures during the summit day... FEEL the experience! :)

(from my book Akyat)
Camp 4, South Col, Mt. Everest, ~26000 feet above sea level

The night was cold, windy, unimaginably miserable. Even inside the
tent, the numbing temperature, the piercingly cold wind, the thin air
didn’t allow us to sleep or rest properly. I was still tired from the hike,
and I didn’t seem recharged a bit. The airstream’s constant howling and
whistling demoralized even the veteran climbers among us. Simple acts
like eating or putting on one’s boots became unusually hard and tricky.
Even breathing became difficult.

For seven weeks now, we had been within sight and shadow of Mt.
Everest. My team of four climbers decided to go for the summit rather
than wait for another day. My Sherpa lead guide, two Sherpa videographers
and I were on the final stage of the trip. I told myself, “Tonight’s
the night!” Either I join the ranks of the very select who had reached
the top of Everest or I go back down, defeated but alive.

After a few hours of sleep, we dressed up and put on our gear. At past
8:30 p.m., I stepped out of the tent in full gear. I peed, my last for the
next 20 hours. There was no one outside but me. Most tents were lit
from inside. That meant the other climbers were awake, their torches
switched on. They were all preparing for what was ahead. Or maybe
they were awake but still waiting for better weather.

With the unfavorable wind, all the climbers seemed half-hearted in
aiming for the summit. The conditions were far from ideal: a constant
50 kph wind above 26,000 feet with air temperature of -30°C and sinking
on this dark, starless night. Their indecisiveness was contagious. I
doubted and worried, too.

After another hour of preparing our gear for the climb’s final leg, my
team seemed ready for the assault. Despite the temperature, I couldn’t
feel it from the excitement. Or was it anxiety?

May18,  Arriving at the 'entrance' of the South Col, 4 hours after leaving Camp3,  Wind is blowing so strong threatening a good summit day (w/c will start the same night) 

Clouds coming in, wind getting stronger, nothing to do but stay in the tent.  at 26,000ft -- there's nothing much one can do anyway.

Rest time on low-flow oxygen, preparing water for the big night and day ahead. (Selfie-me leftmost, with Rangdu and Norbu, Pasang still on the way).

This is how camp4 in South Col looked like on a clear weather (this is post summit)

We started 930pm, got lost in the starting rope line for like an hour, and arrived in balcony early morning (May19). This sunrise was taken before arriving at the 'Balcony' (27,600ft).

Exhausted (me in yellow) near Balcony.

Quick rest in Balcony, and off we go!  this is the start of the beautiful but exposed southeast ridge

Higher on the ridge, one can see climbers a bit far from where we were. Imagine the excitement, and a little fear seeing how the wind blows.

South summit (or false summit) - this was actually on the way back, taken from Hillary Step

Doing selfie once in a while to 'capture the moment', beautiful scenery behind me!

11:06am. Right below the summit, at first I didn't notice the summit (the prayer flags looked like remnant clothing), but realizing that Pasang switched-on his video-cam, pointing at us (and noticing others already stopping); -- I felt a sudden relief knowing the hardship was over.  Then hugged the Sherpas in joy.

Group photo at the summit with the climbing Sherpa team (Lakpha Rangdu and Lakpha Norbu)

Waving the Philippine flag at the summit -  WE MADE IT!


zia rafaella said...

i just watched the everest movie and i remembered you po. you did bring pride for our country!!! that was the bravest thing to do i salute you sir!

Anonymous said...

Carstensz Pyramid or Mt.Everest?
Which one was the hardest

Romi Garduce said...

Everest. Carstensz' difficulty is largely on summit day where you climb a huge rock wall (i think it has taken us 8-9hrs 1 way). Everest has lhotse wall, summit day, icefall PLUS the extreme high altitude which made the big difference.

annalie love said...

the last time that i remember you climbing the mount everest was no big deal to me, at that time hindi ko alam kung gaano ang hirap and dangers na pinagdadaanan ng mga climbers to reach the summit until i watched the film everest 2015. si sir romy ang unang pumasok sa isip ko and even searched the net to send this message, now i have a lot of respect for your sir. truly a Filipino pride..10 salutes

Wren Wilbur Tabios said...

Sir have you seen the green boots cave and some bodies along your hike?