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Keeping your cool at Everest Camp 3
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May 10, 2004 10: 32 EST
Adventure Consultants, one of the worlds leading high-altitude outfits founded by the legendary mountain guides Rob Hall and Gary Ball currently under the leadership of Guy Cotter, is fielding a guided expedition on the South Side of Everest. With guides, Mike Roberts and Luis Benitez, the team has arrived in C3 and are breathless;

”We are perched here, halfway up the Lhotse face, at 24,000ft. trying to get as comfy as we can at this altitude. We are going to spend one night up here, tossing and turning, and getting used to the new heights because the next time up here, we will be on oxygen and headed for camp 4 and the summit.

Appetites at Camp 3 and above take a trashing. Dinner last night for some consisted of a cup of soup. Others managed an MRE (meal ready to eat) dinner. These are pre-cooked boil in the bag style meals which are easy to prepare and quite tasty.

At Camp 3 space is limited! One has to wrestle with the idiosyncrasies of two tent mates, let alone their own. Are these really three person tents? The two person tents at Camp 2 seem positively luxurious, let alone the individual tents at BC.

What about the concept of going for a casual walk at Camp 3. Forget it! Camp 3 is nothing but an airy icy ledge cut on the flanks of Lhotse, the worlds 4th highest peak. In order to protect yourself from what could be a fall with dire consequences it is necessary to be in full mountaineering gear before leaving the tent. One must wear cramponed boots, and a harness with a safety leash. The safety leash must be clipped into the complex plethora of safety ropes at all times.

So what are the realities of going to the toilet at C3? Option 1: dressed as above mentioned (full mountaineering regalia) one teeters over a previously determined safe crevasse adjacent to camp and performs the necessary duty while still being clipped into a safety rope. Not the preferred option for the feint hearted or those lacking coordination and cold tolerance.

Option 2: Use a zip lock bag in the tent vestibule. Avoids exposure to the cold but poses a challenge for those prone to embarrassment and not yet desensitized to such necessities.

Option 3: Wait until one returns to what was formally considered our primitive camp 2 toilet. On getting back to camp 2 today there was a long line!

Descending the exposed icy slopes of the Lhotse Face today took about three hours in blustery conditions. Fantastic high wind clouds ripped across Everest and Lhotse.”

Be sure to check out the link for ExWeb’s Everest guide with route description. So, who’s writing these dispatches, and for that matter who’s guiding the Adventure Consultants team? The answer to both, is Mike and Luis.

Mike Roberts - New Zealand / USA

Mike is an IFMGA International Guide from New Zealand. He currently lives in Alaska and his experience is vast. He has summitted Mount Everest and led expeditions to Aconcagua in South America, McKinley in Alaska, Vinson Massif in Antarctica, Gasherbrum I & II in Pakistan, Cho Oyu in Tibet and Muztagh Ata in Western China. He has also managed to fit in 14 seasons mountain and ski guiding in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, 10 seasons in Antarctica as a Field Leader / Guide to the USA Antarctic Program, has worked as a Professional Ski Patroller / Avalanche Forecaster and is a qualified Physiotherapist. Add Mike's calm and welcoming personality, and attention to detail to the picture and you have a very personable and experienced Guide and Expedition Leader.

Luis Benitez - USA / Ecuador

Dividing his time over the last decade between designing and running programs for Outward Bound Schools all over the world, and guiding internationally. He has Summited Everest 3 years in a row, the 1st summit acting as a climbing partner to the first blind climber to ever make an ascent of Everest, Erik Whienmayer. His CV also includes filming documentaries in the jungles of Chile, new routes in the Annapurna region of the Himalayas, and numerous other peaks, ascents, and ski descents around the world.

Adventure Consultants, one of the worlds leading outfits founded by the legendary mountain guide Rob Hall is fielding a commercial expedition on the South Side of Everest this spring. They plan on having 3 guides and a maximum of 9 clients. Two of the guides are Mike Roberts and Luis Benitez. Mike Roberts is an Everest summiter and has led expeditions to Aconcagua in South America, McKinley in Alaska, Vinson Massif in Antarctica, Gasherbrum I & II in Pakistan, Cho Oyu in Tibet and Muztagh Ata in Western China. Luis Benitez has also guided around the world and is a 3-time Everest summiter.

Live images of high wind clouds (top), climber in C3, and climbers heading up a ladder provided by Contact 2.0, courtesy of Adventure Consultants.

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