Training at Basecamp

The latest from RMI guide, Chad Peele…

April 11, 2010
17,575 ft.

We woke up to yet another beautiful and sunny day at Everest Base Camp. The team is still settling into the increased altitude and we are slowly ramping up our activity level in preparation for moving through the Khumbu Ice Fall. Today, we focused on ladder training as we will have numerous ladders bridging gaping crevasses and seracs between Basecamp and Camp One. Dave Hahn and Leif Whittaker decided to go for a short hike into the icefall to do their ladder practice while the rest of the team stayed in camp and created a simulated course. We rigged several ladders over the glacial rocks to simulate the icefall in which we practiced walking up and down the shaky ladders. For starters, we began in our trekking shoes stepping from rung to rung getting used to the shake and wobble of the aluminum ladders. Once everyone felt comfortable with this, we put on our stiff 8,000 meter boots and ran the course again. After this, we continued our progression and added roped hand lines while wearing crampons which best replicates the actual movement during icefall travel. With the addition of hand lines, we were able to steepen the ladder grade for both uphill and downhill travel and even practiced several “emergency” scenarios. One scenario involved stopping mid crossing and kneeling down on the ladder rungs to re-attach a crampon that had “accidentally” popped off. Although this was not a very likely scenario, it had the advantage of addressing a “possibility” while increasing confidence and agility.

Everyone did a great job showing skill and balance and we are all looking forward to moving higher onto the mountain.

Chad Peele

Wendy on a ladder in the Khumbu Icefalls - Everest 2009

Wendy on a ladder in the Khumbu Icefalls - Everest 2009

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About Wendy Booker

In June of 1998, this 55 year old mother of three was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS after experiencing balance problems, blurred vision and numbness on her left side. When first diagnosed, Wendy was devastated. But it took very little time for her to transform anguish into inspiration. She immediately turned her hobby of casual running into a continuous pursuit and has now completed nine marathons.

Mountain climbing became the next conquest. Wendy learned about a team of mountain climbers with Multiple Sclerosis who were attempting to climb Mt. McKinley (Denali) in Alaska. With no previous climbing experience, she dedicated a year to hard training and set off with them in 2002. Although weather conditions prohibited the team from completing, Wendy attempted the summit again in 2004 on her own and she succeeded!

The feeling of accomplishment she experienced propelled her next aspiration: to climb the highest mountain on each continent. Just five years later, Wendy Booker has successfully reached the top of six of The Seven Summits – Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. McKinley, Mt. Elbrus, Mt. Aconcagua, Mt. Vinson Massif and Mt. Kosciuszko. Mt. Everest, the highest mountain on earth, still awaits for 2010.


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