Jeff Glasbrenner climbing a mountain

Reflections from
base camp

May 3, 2016 - We’re here.

A couple weeks ago, my team and I arrived at Mount Everest base camp. Many may not realize this, but just getting here is a journey of its own.

The trek

On April 3, we landed in Lukla, Nepal. From there, we embarked on a nine-day hike to Everest base camp. The hike wasn’t easy, but we saw some fantastic things and met some amazing people along the way. The people of Nepal are incredibly strong, proud and positive. They work hard without pause. We saw men and women in their seventies carrying heavy loads uphill, wearing only sandals on their feet. Locals even held traditional ceremonies for our group to wish us safe passage up the mountain.

This hike also let us see firsthand the effects of last year’s earthquake. It was a very sobering experience, and somehow, it made me even more focused on what lies ahead. I know now, more than ever, to enjoy and respect every step of this process.

Getting ready to climb

Now that we’ve arrived at base camp, it’s time for final preparations.

One of the most important things is taking care of my body — ensuring I rest and eat enough is key, and even more important is staying hydrated. That’s difficult to do here — I drink about four liters of water a day, and I’m still somewhat dehydrated. I have to monitor my vitals closely to be sure I’m adjusting to the altitude (base camp is about 17,600 feet above sea level). The altitude makes all activity more difficult — even just walking around takes a good amount of effort.

We’ve also been training — we just completed four days of technical skills on an icefall, where we practiced fixed line movement, rappelling, and using an ascender to move vertically. Of those on my team, I have the least mountaineering experience.

Practice makes perfect

Next, we start the first of three climbing “rotations”, which means we’ll climb up portions of the mountain and then return to base camp to rest and rehydrate before attempting a full summit. This is meant to stress-test our bodies and enable us to climb higher.

We’ll climb up to Camp One (at 19,500 feet), spend a night, head to Camp Two (21,300 feet) for two nights, and then on toward Camp Three (23,700 feet). We’ll complete this trip twice more before we’re ready for the full climb. Patience is certainly necessary here.

My positivity and enthusiasm for this adventure truly stem from my support system — my family and friends, and everyone following along with me on this journey. Thank you.

To the top!