Everest/First Ascents: Journey to Syangboche

The team gets their first glimpse of Everest as they march to their next staging area, Syangboche

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This spring, superstar mountaineers Ed Viesturs, Dave Hahn, and Peter Whittaker will tackle Everest as the First Ascent team. Joined by some of climbing’s best and brightest young talent, this Eddie Bauer-sponsored group of all-stars will chronicle their trek to the top of the world right here on BACKPACKER.com with daily blog updates, videos, photos, and more.

While the rest of the gang set out in the dark for “production work” up and over the ridge to Khumjung, I followed at a more civilized hour with Erica and Ed Dohring. Father and daughter were both feeling fine after two nights and a rest day living the Namche high life. On this calm and sunny morning, we hiked up to Syangboche, the sometimes-used dirt airstrip five hundred feet directly above Namche. The mountains were big and bright and unobscured by any cloud whatsoever. As we came to the forested ridgecrest separating us from the Khumjung Valley, we were granted a big view of Everest and Lhotse with wind tearing ragged cloud banners from their summits.

We connected up with the early-morning film squad to find the gang over in the Khumjung Bakery. They finished up breakfast and then together we went out for a few more photos, posing amongst the peaks on a fine spring day. Once this was finished, Ed, Erica and I continued with our acclimatization hike, agreeing to meet one and all back down in Namche in the afternoon.

But first we found our way to the deck of the Everest View hotel to enjoy… what else? The Everest view with a couple of plates of French fries at 12,000 plus feet. A humongous brown and gold eagle flew close over our fries on his/her way through the tree tops of the ridge. There were a few other tourists about, but for the most part we’d gotten away from the “crowds” of trekkers and porters on the main trail up-valley.

Our walk was quite leisurely and enjoyable, but it was not without purpose. Rest on a rest day is a great and valuable thing, but light exercise at a slightly higher altitude than one is currently sleeping at is also a great way to prepare for actually moving higher. We’ll do that tomorrow, assuming that everybody has a manageable last night in Namche. But first, folks are back to resting… enjoying last showers and internet access and shopping in the metropolis of Namche Bazar.

—Dave Hahn

The content of this blog has been provided by Born Out There, the First Ascents blog. For more on the expedition, go to
http://blog.firstascent.com. And for more climber footage, watch our video interview with Viesturs, Hahn, Whittaker, and more.

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