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Author Topic: Everest Summit Day Story 2005 POST 1 OF 2  (Read 5706 times)

Mountain John

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Everest Summit Day Story 2005 POST 1 OF 2
« on: Jul 9 2008, 16:54 »

Hey Harry,

Since you are forever my summit-mate, I thought I'd share my Everest story with your viewers.  WHAT IS INTERESTING IS THAT RECENT DEVELOPMENTS HAVE SHED ADDITIONAL LIGHT, SO I HAVE UPDATED MY EVEREST SUMMIT DAY STORY WITH NEW INFORMATION THAT -----NOW----- SEEMS MORE RELEVANT. Original story is 2005 and updated is CAPITAL LETTERS.

This explains some of the crazy events that happened that summit day.

Updated information will be entirely in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS

Everest 2005 Expedition
It was quite remarkable to get the opportunity to climb Mount Everest and to reach the summit was a feat I never thought I would accomplish, until I decided to try.

Death in Expedition
First, let me briefly address the death in our expedition.  One of our team members that I had spent 6 weeks with (as we prepared our bodies for the climb), died after he summitted.  We were all shocked and in disbelief that Marko did not return from the summit.  What happened was that this was looking to be a bad weather year on Everest and as of May 18, no expeditions had any members that had summitted.  A small window of decent weather was forecast May 19-21 and many expeditions were sending up partial teams, as we were all worried this might be the only chance to summit.  Our leader did not send our teams up, but for a while, he allowed members to go up.  I was going to go up, and even grabbed a 2-way radio, and was walking to my tent to pack, but was talked out of it by Alex, the expedition leader, and Harry K.  Alex allowed the 2 Slovenians to go up, as they were a strong 2-person team.  The problem was they did not stay together, by their choice.  Marko summitted by himself and had oxygen problems less than one hour from the summit, on his way down.  He sat down, fell asleep, and never woke up.  Over a week later, on my way to the summit, I saw him lying on his back, his arms frozen in the air.

Terrorist Attack
And yes, we also had an injury in the first week, as we were heading up to base camp.  The Maoists are rebels that called for a transportation strike.  We were able to join a big convoy, led by an army tank, to break the strike and drive through Nepal to the border of Tibet (China).  But Alex (our leader) and a team member were 15 minutes behind us, in a taxi, trying to catch up with us.  The Maoist threw 3 grenades, and one landed in the taxi, injuring one of our team members.  This ended his trip, but Alex was okay and joined us later.

Start of Expedition
I arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal on April 3.  We spent several days there, organizing.  Then the trip to base camp, in Tibet (China), took about 6 days.  Then we spent the next 6 weeks partially climbing Everest, and acclimating, so our bodies would slowly adjust to these extreme high elevations.

Elevations of Camps
To give you an idea how high Everest and the Himalaya Range is, here is a chart of the elevations of the camps (rounded off), and also elevations of 7 other mountains that I have climbed.

..14,494  Mt. Whitney, Highest Mtn in the continental United States
..14,793  Mt. Wilhelm, Highest Mountain in Oceania (1 of 3 versions)
..16,066  Vinson Massif, Highest Mountain in Antarctica
17,000  Everest Base Camp
..18,510  Mt. Elbrus, Highest Mountain in Europe
19,000  IBC (Intermediate Base Camp)
..19,340  Kilimanjaro, Highest Mountain in Africa
..20,320  Mt. McKinley, Highest Mountain in North America
21,000  ABC (Advance Base Camp)
..22,840  Aconcagua, Highest Mtn in So. America & high pt in world, outside of Everest Himalayas
23,000  North Col (Highcamp 1)
25,000  Highcamp 2 (oxygen strongly recommended)
27,000  Highcamp 3 (oxygen required by mortals)
29,028  Mt. Everest, Highest Mountain in the world

So, from Base Camp, I climbed to about 22,000 feet, and then went down to Base Camp.  Then I climbed to about 24,300 feet), spending 3 nights at North Col. Then, again, I went down to Base Camp.  Then I climbed up to Advance Base Camp, 21,000 feet, and waited for a break in the weather.  Now....

The Final Four Days and Summit Day
I was assigned to Team 2, as we were all English speaking.  Team 1, mainly Russian, had left and we were supposed to leave the day after them.  But a very bad weather forecast for our original planned summit day (May 31) made us decide to leave ABC Camp one day later, and now make the summit day June 1.  I insisted on this.

Okay, I went over the final preparations and went over my gear, knowing the smallest details could make the difference.

May 29, ABC to North Col (Camp 1)
For the most part, this day was uneventful.  We didn't leave until about noon.  It took about 4.5 hours to climb the wall (see picture).  I surprisingly felt great and was even ahead of my Sherpa for awhile.  At the top of the wall, I met James, our teammate, the only (primarily) English speaking member that was on Team 1.  He aborted his summit attempt and was coming down.  He made it up to Camp 2 before coming down.  We wished each other good luck, hugged, and went our ways.

May 30, North Col to Camp 2
I was the last to leave camp (except for Alex, the leader) but quickly caught up with Robert and Lorenzo, team members.  Robert was using oxygen and Lorenzo was not.  I decided to start using my oxygen at this point as Alex and others advised me to.  It is not required, but using it at this point saves your energy and keeps you fresh for the next day.

Then I quickly passed Lorenzo and Robert.  I was surprised Lorenzo, a climber in excellent shape, was climbing slowly with Robert, but like I said, he was not using oxygen.  And then, there is no rush at this point,  Then shortly, I passed Nate, another team member, and his Sherpa.  Harry, another member on the team, stayed ahead of me as, he was moving quickly.  I felt EXCELLENT and was again ahead of my Sherpa (not using oxygen).  How could this be?  I was almost worried that he was behind me, but of course, he would not get too far behind and could catch up whenever he wanted.  I thanked God for making me feel this good.  It was a fairly tough day climbing up to 25,000 feet, but I didn't even need to take any breaks.  First, it was a long and steep snow embankment, and the sun shone brightly.  Then we took our crampons off and scrambled up a rocky ridge, and it got cold and windy.  At this point, I saw Karo coming down (from Team 1) as he had summitted that morning!!  We hugged and high-fived.  The rest of Team 1 decided to stay at Camp 3.  Alex and Harry K were already at Camp 2 when I arrived, as they moved up quickly.  I heard Lorenzo arrive, and then Nate.  It was easy to know when Nate was around, as he had a hacking cough.  Oh, late in the day, when Robert arrived, Alex came over to my tent and ordered the extra Sherpa out, as Robert wanted to trade personal Sherpas, because they were not getting along.

May 31, Camp 2 to Camp 3
I woke up fairly early and my sherpa, Renji, started making water for tea.  I got all ready and jumped out of my tent.  I was surprised everyone else was still in their tents.  But then, it was very cold, cloudy and windy.......bad weather.  I was completely freezing, and I was a little worried this weather might be a problem.  I wanted to go up!  Lorenzo stuck his head out of his tent and said we were told to wait, but I should talk to Alex.  I went to Alex and Dymitry's tent, clapping my hands and "yahooing".  Alex said we can go up, and I should let everyone know.  Wahoo!!

My Sherpa, Renji, and I were the first ones to head up the rocky snowy ridge.  Within a half hour, we saw Nikolay, the senior guide, coming down from Camp 3, and he looked pretty beat.  The weather improved a little.  We continued up and soon needed to put on our crampons.  At this point, Lorenzo and Harry caught up with us, as well as George, another well known climber (7-time Everest summitter).  Again, I felt awesome and climbed fairly quick, leading the team for a while.  I had no idea why I felt so good at 26,000 feet.  But, everyday since ABC Camp, I made sure I drank my 4 liters (4 quarts) of water.  I was sure this helped.  We all climbed up together and arrived at Camp 3 together, at a reasonable time.  Since we were the first ones there, I figured I would get a good tent.  I followed my sherpa to a tent, but as it turns out, it was the closest tent, but not the best!

AT HIGHCAMP, THERE WERE ONLY 4 MEMBER TENTS IN ALEX'S 7 SUMMITS-CLUB EXPEDITION AS THE WINDS CAN DESTROY ANY UNNECESSARY TENTS.  THERE WERE TWO TENTS HIGHER UP IN THE CAMPSITE THAT WERE ASSIGNED TO 1) HARRY & NATE AND 2) ALEX & DYMITRY (RUSSIAN).  THE BOTTOM OF THESE TENTS WERE ENTIRELY ON SOLID GROUND, SO AS TO MAKE THEM STURDY.

THE TWO TENTS LOWER IN THE CAMPSITE WERE ASSIGNED TO 1) LORENZO AND 2) ME.  INTERESTINGLY THOUGH, BOTH OF THESE TENTS WERE HALF ON THE GROUND AND HALF ENTIRELY IN THE AIR!  AMAZING.  THIS MADE IT DIFFICULT TO SLEEP AND GET ORGANIZED.  IN ADDITION, I HAD TO SHARE THE TENT WITH MY SHERPA, RENJI, SO WE REALLY ONLY HAD ONE-FOURTH OF A TENT TO CURL UP INTO, EACH.

This camp is at 27,000 feet, oxygen is needed, so you cannot stay here very long. The plan was to leave for the summit at 1 AM.  I spent the rest of the day preparing my gear, drinking water, and eating, all the while breathing oxygen, trying to keep my energy level high.  The wind was relentless and obstinate, blowing and shaking our tents.  We were just hoping it would recede.

Robert, a team member, never made it to Camp 3, and went down.  His pace was just not fast enough.  Team 1 still consisted of Alex, Harry, Lorenzo, Nate, Dmitry, me, and our sherpas.

June 1, 1 AM, Planned Summit Day
I got all ready as the winds continued to blow.  I was both excited and apprehensive.  It was too cold and windy to go outside our tents to talk, so we talked by radio.  At a little after 1:00 AM, Alex decided it was too windy and stormy to make the summit attempt.  We discussed and agreed.  We will stay at Camp 3.  I just laid there, in my full summit clothes and gear, all night, wondering if this was it.  Is it over?  Will we do down in the morning?  Is my dream to summit Everest over?.........Or maybe wait and try again the next night?  First thing in the morning, it was known.  Alex told us that the team would get another chance that night.  Nate, team member, had decided the weather was too harsh to wait another day, and that he was going down.  Alex, the team leader, also decided to go down.  But his reason was to donate his 3 oxygen bottles to the 4 remaining members of the team, so we could breathe oxygen all day and get another chance.  So it was down to four:  Harry, Lorenzo, Dmitry, and me!

SO NATE DONATED A COUPLE BOTTLES OF OXYGEN AND ALEX GAVE A COUPLE BOTTLES TO THE REMAINING CLIMBERS.  DYMITRY TOLD ME THAT I WOULD GET AT LEAST A HALF BOTTLE.  BUT WHEN I CLIMBED UP TO HIS TENT, HE TOLD ME THERE WAS NOT ENOUGH AND I WOULD NOT GET ANY EXTRA OXYGEN FROM THE OXYGEN BOTTLES THAT NATE AND ALEX DONATED TO THE TEAM.  I GOT NONE, SO I HAD TO RECALCULATE THE FLOW OF OXYGEN FOR THE REST OF THE DAY, SO I WOULD HAVE ENOUGH OXYGEN FOR SUMMIT DAY, THE NEXT DAY.
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Mountain John

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Everest Summit Day Story 2005 POST 2 OF 2
« Reply #1 on: Jul 9 2008, 16:55 »

June 2, 1 AM, SUMMIT DAY
It was still windy, as the winds never did stop from the day before.  But it seemed a little better.  We talked by radio at midnight and decided we are going up, stormy wind or not!  This was the very last chance!  Go up or go down.  I again prepared for the summit assault!

At a little past 1 AM, I put on my crampons and met the team.  We had 4 members and 4 sherpas.  Since it was dark and we were wearing our oxygen masks and headlamps, I could not recognize everybody.  When there were about 5 of us there, we started up.

I was in the lead, but did not seem to have the energy I had the 4 previous days.  I was moving slowly.  I wasn't sure if it was because I didn't get my 4 liters of water the previous day, or maybe not enough oxygen, the altitude, or what.  THE REASON I DID NOT DRINK MY 4 LITERS OF WATER THE PREVIOUS DAY IS THAT WE RAN OUT OF FUEL AND MY SHERPA, RENJI, DID NOT WANT TO LOOK FOR MORE, SO BY THE TIME I GOT THE CHANCE (AND FOUND SOME), IT WAS LATER IN THE DAY.  I was feeling the pressure.  It quickly got extremely steep and I had to put away my ice axe, so I could use both my hands to scramble up what seemed to be a cliff!  I needed to stop so I could drink some water, maybe this will help.  I was worried by my slow pace.  A few climbers passed me, then more.  After about 4.5 hours (see picture), my Sherpa and I reached the top where there was a ridge.  I stopped to rest just below the ridge, so the wind would not be as strong, blowing in my face.  I could not wear my goggles, as it was too dark.  As we climbed along this flat ridge that was steep on both sides, I was still extremely tired, and needed breaks.  I was walking like I was drunk, stumbling along.  It was approaching 5 hours that I was climbing, and I was nowhere near the "second step", the landmark that I was told I should be by 4 hours.  I hadn't even reached the "first step".

At this point, I was starting to think I would not make the summit.  I was moving too slow, and time was now against me.  We were told to turn around after about 9 hours.  That if it takes that long, you need your remaining oxygen for the decent, and if it takes that long to go up, it means it will take you longer to go down.  We were told this is the death zone, and there are no rescues above Camp 3.  Either your feet take you down, or you don't go down.

I was starting to accept the fact that I would not summit.  I started to think, "What am I going to tell everyone?"  I am just not going fast enough.  Now, even worse, when I was unlatching my ascender from the rope, I could not get the strength to unlatch it.  I would try, but after 30 seconds, I would look at my Sherpa, to help.  Without too much difficulty, he was able to unlatch it.  This happened repeatedly.  Am I losing my strength?  Yes, I am.  This is not good.  But I kept moving.  Where would I turn around?  I was never in immediate danger, and I did not have it in me, to just turn around, so I continued.

The route passed a rock that blocked the wind a little.  I sat down.  I decided to turn my oxygen level from 2 liters per minute to 3 liters per minute.  Maybe this will help.  It did.  It helped a lot.  I seemed to move quicker, but I still did not think I would summit.  It was taking too long.

OVER A YEAR LATER, IN DECEMBER 2006, ALEX TOLD ME THAT SOME OF THE OXYGEN REGULATORS WERE DEFECTIVE AND WERE READING INCORRECTLY!  SO ON ONE OF THE HARDEST PARTS OF CLIMBING EVEREST, CLIMBING THE STEEP EMBANKMENT ABOVE HIGHCAMP, 27,500 FEET, MY REGULATOR WAS READING 2 LITERS PER MINUTE, BUT IT WAS ACTUALLY RELEASING ONLY 1 LITER PER MINUTE!  AMAZING.  MOST CLIMBERS CLIMB AT 2 OR 3, EVEN 4 LITERS PER MINUTE.  THIS EXPLAINS WHY I WAS LOSING MY ENERGY AND STRENGTH!  THIS ALSO EXPLAINS WHY I HAD ALMOST A FULL BOTTLE OF OXYGEN LEFT OVER, AFTER I SUMMITTED AND RETURNED TO HIGHCAMP.  I SHOULD HAVE BEEN OUT OF OXYGEN.  IT IS AMAZING THAT I MADE IT THROUGH THAT, AND REACHED THE SUMMIT.

We reached the "first step".  Wow, this is steep.  I climbed up, wondering if this is pointless.  I thought, "I have to come down this too!"  I continued to move on, never letting my Sherpa know my thoughts.  But I wondered what he must think about my pace.  He never showed any doubt either.  My Sherpa spoke very, very little English.  A couple weeks earlier, when it came my turn to choose my Sherpa, I based my choice on strength and experience (he had summitted the previous year).  As it turns out, he was an excellent Sherpa, and had an excellent attitude too, the best.

Determined to make it
Something inside me just kept me going.  Now, it seemed I was gaining strength, as I, myself, was able to unlatch my ascender from the rope.  After the "first step", it flattened out a little and we climbed along this route.   Suddenly, I saw other climbers in front of me, climbing the "second step".  Wow, I have almost caught up!  But I figured the summit was still far off.  Then I looked above the climbers.  There was the summit!!  Wow, it looked so close!  Still several hours away, but now it looked within reach.  Maybe I will make it.  I could swear I heard angels singing "Laaaaaaaaaa".  My pace moved quicker.  No more stops for me!  I started taking bigger steps, almost walking like I was at sea level.  I was still hurting, but now it was easier to ignore any pain in my body.  I pushed, wanting to catch up.

At the bottom of the "second step", I caught up with the last person in a group of about 10 people, all climbing together.  It was Harry, from my team.  This was Harry's second attempt to summit Everest.  I followed him up the very difficult and famous "second step", where many climbers have died.  It is extremely steep, and if you make one mistake, you fall to your death.  At this elevation, you do not think that well.  There are even climber's feet, sticking out of the frozen snow, at the bottom.  Harry seemed to climb reasonably quick, and I climbed right behind him.  At the top of this wall, breathing very heavy, Harry leaned against the snow and motioned me to pass him.  I did, never looking back.  We didn't speak a word.  You must save your energy.  We are trying to survive up here.  Now I wanted to catch up with the rest of that group of climbers.  I climbed as fast as possible.  Shortly after the "third step", another steep rock wall section, I caught up.

It was at this point, I saw a climber that seemed to be taking a break.  I thought, "Wow, is he laying down?  Is he taking a nap?"  It looked weird.  Then I got closer, and I realized it was Marko, my team member that had died a week earlier.  He was lying on his back, both his arms and legs frozen in the air.  It was like he was sitting on this little snow "seat" and then fell over on his back.  His gloves were off and his hands were very white.  His face was exposed and grossly white.  I did not take a picture; let him rest in peace.

Now I was right behind this group of climbers.  They were going too slow for me!  I wanted them to speed up.  It was not an area where I could pass.  I even yelled "come on!" as nicely as I could.  The climbers just ahead of me looked back, but they were just following the climbers ahead of them.  I needed to reach the summit as fast as I could, before bad weather comes in, or I run out of oxygen.  We moved on, now on the open snow face near the summit.  We were close.  Now, just ahead, I saw Dmitry, another team member.  As he passed me, he said he just summitted, and he told me "you strong climber!"  This was his third attempt to summit Everest, and so he finally made it.  I had appreciated his advice earlier in the expedition.

I was still behind this train of climbers when we got to this sheer cliff.  We walk horizontal across this rock wall, in the middle of the wall.  At some places, your crampon boot was half on the rock ledge and half in the air.  I thought "they have to be kidding, is this the best route?"  Of course, I have no choice.  I kept walking.  Then I had to stop many times, as climbers ahead of me were fixing their crampons on their boots, and changing their oxygen bottle.  Obviously, I just had to wait.

Finally, the route changed sharply left and I could pass.  It was still steep and the rock was very slick.  I used my hands quite a bit.  Then I got to the top of this ridge and I could see the top!!  I could see climbers celebrating!  I was maybe 10 or 15 minutes away!  Now we are on ice and snow again.  The tricky part here, is the snow is so frozen, that if you do not get a solid grip with your crampons, and you slip or fall, you will not be able to self arrest with your ice axe, and there was no rope here.  You will slide off a 2,000 foot cliff, on either side.  But I still needed to move fast.  My Sherpa, right behind me like a shadow, nudged me to keep moving, whenever I stopped to catch my breath.

The Summit of Everest
This went fast, and soon I was steps from the summit.  I even made switchbacks, just 10 vertical feet from the summit.  Three, Two, One, and I was on the summit! The top of the World.  Yes, an unbelievable feeling.  I just stood there, realizing I had realized my dream.  Soon I took many pictures, of me, and the view.  The horizon showed that the earth really is round!  We actually spent over 45 minutes on the summit.  I arrived at 11:30 AM, or 9:15 AM Nepal time, which is what 95% of climbers use.  So it took me over 10 hours to make the climb, from Camp 3.

The Climb Down
My legs were extremely tired, as they always get when I push myself so much, on a high altitude climb.  But I knew that 80% of the climbers that die on Everest die on the descent.  So I needed to push myself still.  After about 30 minutes heading down, I passed Harry, who was still heading up.  He was past his time to turn around.  His Sherpa asked me to tell Harry to go down.  I could not do it.  I just asked Harry "Are you okay?" and he nodded yes.  I climbed down as fast as possible, but because I had pushed my legs beyond their limits, I had to stop and rest, fairly often.  My Sherpa was patient and stayed with me.  It took about 5 hours to return to Camp 3.  I had extra oxygen, so I decided to camp at Camp 3 and rest my legs.  Alex, the team leader, was not happy and said I might die if I stay at Camp 3, because of lack of oxygen.  But I knew I had enough oxygen.  My Sherpa saw my exhaustion, and agreed we will stay.  He helped me take off my crampons, and cooked dinner.

WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED WAS THAT I EXPLAINED TO ALEX THAT I HAD EXTRA OXYGEN THAT I DID NOT USE, AND MY LEGS WERE EXHAUSTED.  PLUS I KNEW THAT ON TEAM ONE, 8 OF THE 9 RUSSIANS (ALL EXCEPT KARO) ALSO CAMPED AT HIGHCAMP 3 ON THE WAY DOWN.  AS ALEX AND I DISCUSSED, MY SHERPA, RENJI, ASKED FOR THE RADIO AND THEN TALKED TO ALEX IN THEIR LANGUAGE.  WHEN RENJI HUNG UP, HE TOLD ME THAT WE WILL STAY AT HIGHCAMP 3.  I WAS GRATEFUL FOR THEIR DECISION.

It would have been a quiet night, except that Harry got sick and took almost 12 hours to return to Camp 3, from the summit, and he arrived at midnight.  Harry and his Sherpa could have died.  So, at midnight, the Sherpas threw Harry in my tent and then dragged him out when they realized it was not on flat ground to begin with.  This tore my tent apart, BECAUSE OF THE POOR SETUP OF THE TENT BY THE SHERPAS.  Because Harry could not even move, when they pulled him out, his weight pulled the padding out, and this made all my belongings fly out of my tent.  I was yelling at the Sherpas to stop.  Harry could not even move, because of his exhaustion, so it was not his fault that my belongings and gear were flying out of the tent, and the tent was collapsing! This was insane, as this is the death zone on Everest.  When I ran out to stop my belongings from rolling down the cliff, my exposed hands and fingers froze uncomfortable.  Now the tent anchors were loose on three corners, and since it was on a steep embankment, it was now useless.  It was too cold and windy to even try to repair it.  I collected all my belongings and found a little shelter, but I was basically exposed to the wind and freezing temperatures all night, at 27,000 feet.  Luckily, though, I had plenty of oxygen and kept the flow at a high level.  When morning came, I was too cold to do anything, and the wind was still relentless.  But I asked another climber if I could borrow their tent to organize my belongings, so I could climb down to ABC Camp.  Our tents at Camp 2 and Camp 1 (North Col) were already taken down.  They, of course, let me use their tent and I warmed up.  It took over an hour for my toes to unthaw.  I did not get frostbite, but did get frost nip, which is a mild case.  No discoloration or swelling.  But all the tips of my fingers and toes were numb for 4 weeks, before they healed completely.

Now I had to descend without my personal Sherpa, and now I had no water too.

WHAT HAPPENED WAS THAT ONE OF THE SHERPAS (NOT MINE) TOLD ME THAT ALEX (TEAM LEADER) TOLD HIM THAT I HAD TO DESCEND FROM HIGHCAMP 27,000 FEET TO ABC CAMP 21,000 FEET ALONE WITHOUT MY PERSONAL SHERPA, RENJI.  THIS WAS QUITE STRANGE BECAUSE I PAID $8,000 FOR MY PERSONAL SHERPA AND PERSONAL SHERPAS ARE "YOURS" ANYWHERE ABOVE ABC CAMP 21,000 FEET.  THAT IS THE RULE.  THE ENTIRE EXPEDITION ONLY COST $13,000 AND NORMALLY A PERSONAL SHERPA WOULD COST $6,000 THAT YEAR, BUT I HAD TO PAY $2,000 EXTRA AS I DID NOT MAKE THE REQUEST UNTIL A WEEK BEFORE THE DEPARTURE.

SO NO PERSONAL SHERPA, AND NO STOVE, MEANT NO WATER!

I descended, making good time initially, eating ice from my frozen water bottle.  Then, as I dehydrated, my pace slowed and I did not get to ABC Camp until almost midnight.  Luckily, at the North Col, a Sherpa from another expedition, who was climbing up to bring hot tea to a climber that needed to be rescued, asked me if I wanted a cup of hot tea too.  Oh my God, this was a Godsend.  The best tea I ever had.  A little lower at the bottom of the North Col, Alex sent up Renji, with some hot tea.  The second best tea I ever had.

When I got to ABC Camp, after I was given even more hot tea and food, I felt great and shared my summit day story with the guys in the tent.  I high-fived and hugged Alex, and thanked him ???? for leading the team that led to my successful summit of Mt. Everest, my dream and passion.

John Christiana
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