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Everest-Route Testing: Base Camp to Camp 3

Author: Chad Kellogg (1971-2014)

November 19, 2012

April 27th: I decided Tuesday would be a good day for a trial run from Base Camp to Camp 3. I put together a small pack with water, clothing, food, cameras and gloves. The weather was supposed to be marginal, but below the South Col it should not be too extreme. 

I woke up at 5 am and gathered my belongings. The winds were gusty down low and made me question whether I should call it off. I do stand by the decision that you have to try to really find out. So I went to the kitchen and Baburam made me some eggs. I also got a juice box and an apple for lunch. 

At 6:30 am I headed into the Khumbu and toward the Icefall. There were very few folks in the Icefall so I was able to make it to Camp 1 in 2:15 hrs. Moving on, I ran into my friends Seth and Dave between Camp 1 and 2. I rolled into Camp 2 and found that our cook tent was unoccupied so I went to the RMI camp and got 2 cups of water from the cook. We share the same operator, High Altitude Dreams (HAD), so there is no conflict of interest. 

I ate the apple and a Raw Revolution bar to refuel. Moving on I headed to the base of the Lhotse Face where I ran into a friend I had not seen in a decade. Kenton Cool was guiding a group of clients to the Lhotse Face. We talked briefly and I checked with him on the time. I made it to the base of the face in 5 hrs. I was glad to reach the fixed lines so I could switch up muscle groups from lower to upper body. 

The change of pace was welcome! I could move the jumar up 15 strokes before I had to take a literal breather. About 20 anchors up I passed lower Camp 3 and reach my previous highpoint. Two Russian climbers were out of their tents and watching my progress. As I passed their camp, I saw them clip into the fixed lines behind me. The weather began to change rapidly. The snow began to fly and the winds kicked up. I continued on for another 7 anchors topping out on a bulge above the lower camp and above the base of the Geneva Spur. I believe my high point was around 7300 meters. 

I switched from up to down mode in moments. The temps had exceeded the warmth of the clothing I had carried. I soon passed the Russians still heading up. Asking the time I realized it had taken me 7.5 hours from Base Camp 6,000 feet below. I could see Sherpa's above in one piece down suits and goggles. In the future, I will be wearing the same outfit at this elevation during the night on my summit bid. 

I descended as quickly as possible knowing that it would be much warmer on the glacier below the face. I walked toward Camp 2 knowing that I had four hours to make it back to Base Camp. The RMI cook welcomed me in for another cup of hot water. Then I was back into the wind and snow toward Camp 1. Usually I do not wear crampons between 2 and 1 but the new snow and the lack of a defined trail warranted wearing them. 

When I walked past the 40 tents in Camp 1 there was not a soul. The place was a ghost town. I was weaving through the crevasses and fixed lines to reach the top of the Khumbu Icefall. I could see the tents of Base Camp 2,000 ft below. Now I just had to navigate the icefall without incident. I zipped through the 45 fixed ladders and into the dry glacial ribs of the "flats". I had promised Baburam I would be back in time for dinner at 6:30 pm. I popped off the crampons and made it to the cook tent in less than 11.5 hours. 

I was pleased with the effort, but I know that I need to improve on a few of the segments. Now I will take a couple of days of rest. I am headed down to Tengboche to recover from the effort so far. It is important not to get too depleted as you cannot fully recover at Base Camp (17,400 ft). I am feeling healthy and strong at this point. Next week I plan to climb to Camp 2 and then go for a burn from Camp 2 to the South Col. 

Chad Kellogg (1971-2014)

​Chad Kellogg (1971-2014) had been climbing since 1984, starting in his home range, the North Cascades of Washington. Along with two attempts at a speed record on Mt. Everest, he has put up significant first ascents and climbed challenging routes around the world, including the first ascent of 22,015-foot Pangbuk Ri in Nepal, the first ascent of Black Crystal Arete on Kitchatna Spire, Alaska, the first ascent of the SW Ridge of Siguniang in China, and the first ascent of the Medicine Buddha on the South Face of Aconcagua. In February of 2014, he was struck and killed by a rockfall descending a route in Patagonia. We will miss him dearly.