Summit Success 2018 on the Mt. Everest!
I will tease you a little bit here, and before we come to whether or not the K&P-Team was the first team of Westerners to reach the summit in 2018, let’s talk about procedures.
Usually the teams start their summit attempts from Camp III at 8,300 m during the night between 21:00 and 23:00. Due to strong winds, the team of K&P started late, namely around 01:00. The first 20 minutes of the march follows a snow flank, until one gets to a 10 metres high wall. It is the first obstacle that makes mountaineers breath harder.
Afterwards, one follows a dihedral for quite some time, this is usually the first location that has a tendency to create traffic jams. In the case one encounters a traffic jam here it is very plausible, that one falls asleep while standing! This is a real danger, because it is still night, and humans generally sleep during the night.
At the end of the dihedral one wakls around a small nose and then one arrives on the large connecting ridge, that connects the Fantasy Ridge with the summit of the Everest.
By the way, a good tip for young heroes and heroines: this ridge has never been fully scaled. From here on out, one follows the broad ridge to the „First Step“. Depending on the condition of the snow, one barely even notices the first wall. However, if there is enough snow, one flies (metaphorically speaking of course) over these passages and arrives at the distincitve Mushroom Rock. This is usually the place where we exchange the oxygen bottle.
Then, one descends slightly until one is below the Second Step. In 2017, I stood on the Second Step and I saw an acquaintance, who was travelling with a less expensive agency, arriving shortly after me. I talk to him and in this exact moment and I look down, where I see a Sherpa slipping and fall. Luckily(!), he is caught by the secured ropes and gains back his grip on the wall. I am almost 100% convinced that he wore crampons for the first time there on the Everest.
Then the ascent continues via the Second Step, the first ladder is somewhat steep, the second ladder is a tad wobbly. However, ever since the ladders have been put there, the amount of traffic jams have been drastically lower. Then comes the third and longest ladder, and when one has overcome this one and is in time, one should be able to reach the summit. The rest of the way is a battle with oneself! The broad ridge brings mountaineers above the third wall, that is not very difficult, to the last snow flank. The flank is longer than one would wish for, but one fights and reaches the approximately 100 m long crossing. At the end of this crossing the path leads over a short rockface to the summit ridge.
Summit ridge: today, in 2018, the first Westerners from the northern flank to stand on the summit ridge were Ingrid Schittich, Christoph Gauss and Andreas Neuschmid.
Here, I especially want to give a standing applause to Ingrid, those who know her history, will understand very well why.
However, I do not want to give any less praise to the others and, thereby, I congratulate wholeheardly Christoph Gauss and the mountain guide Andreas Neuschmid. This years motto definitely was: „Everybody deserves to be a small hero!“.