Dispatch 36 from Everest / May 20, 2012

Anker: Calm before the calm

Two Ascents, Both Seek Summit — Southeast Ridge Team to Focus on Education and Science; West Ridge Team of Anker and Cory Richards to Retrace Route of First American Ascent on West Ridge.

Climb to Be Covered Online Starting March 16 at natgeo.com/oneverest and www.thenorthface.com/everest. Real-time Updates from West Ridge Team to Start April 16 on National Geographic Magazine App for iPad

Today is the third day of Everest ascents for the 2012 season. Camps clang oxygen cylinders as makeshift bells in honor of their Sherpa climbers and members reaching the apex of our planet. We are quite excited for each of the teams and wish for safe passage back to base camp.

With less than 48 hrs to departure the team is readying for an ascent later in the week. We reviewed the medical devices and procedures today and will follow up with the GPS and sampling procedures tomorrow. Then it's game time. A quick and safe passage through the icefall to Camp 2, a day of rest, a short day to 7100m and then onto she South Col and the summit the following day. If everything goes well we will be back in base camp in a week.

As a way to soothe the apprehension of the unknown I recount the food I'll be needing and recheck my harness. There is only one day to have a go at the final 3000 feet of the 12,000 feet above me. Regardless of it being relegated to a trade route it is hard and as we learn today, lethal.

My favorite food is tucked away and my harness and gear rechecked. What might the next week bring? The route is a known entity, and we are hardly pioneers in any sense of the word. Yet the unknown, if we allow it to be part of our motivation, can transport us in our minds to the moments of discovery that define being human. Finding these moments keeps us in the spirit of exploration.

More to come via sat phone…..


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