By Chris Davenport
MT. EVEREST, Southside Basecamp (May 7) — Namaste and greetings everyone! We are finally back down in Basecamp after our second rotation on the mountain. We did six nights at Camp II, which is at 21,400′ and had excellent weather while we were up there acclimatizing The great thing about Camp II is that you are right up under the Southwest Face and below the Lhotse Face as well, so the views are stunning and you really feel as if you are high on the mountain. While we were there, Neal Beidleman and I had some time to do some skiing, and we took full advantage. While both of us are here as guides for our great client, Ephi, we of course brought along our skis “just in case.” Well, the mountain gods smiled upon us up there, and we were able to make a descent of the Lhotse Face from just above Camp III. This ski descent has only been accomplished a handful of times before, and the conditions that the mountain gave us were truly incredible. If I were to rank it in my lifetime resume of ski descents, it would definitely make the top three, joining perhaps the Messner Couloir on Denali and the East Face of the Matterhorn near the top of the list. (See gallery narrative, above.)
So there we are, what I consider an amazing day of skiing on the world’s highest mountain. Now it’s time to regroup in basecamp for a day, then head down valley to the village of Dingboche, which is several thousand feet lower than basecamp for rest and recovery before we turn around and come right back up for our summit attempt. Of course this all depends on the weather, but if this goes well we should be in position for an attempt at the top between May 17 and 25. Namaste and thanks for reading.