Since our last call from Camp 4 after summiting, we safely made it down from the South Col! We were reluctant to allow ourselves to be in much of a celebratory mood at the time of that call considering we still needed to descend from 26,000 feet down the Geneva Spur, the Yellow Band, the Lhotse Face, and finally the last trip through the dangerous Khumbu Icefall (photo of Denise crossing triple ladder over crevasse). On top of that a storm had moved in during the final hours of our descent from the summit leaving several feet of snow on our tents overnight and continued snowfall in the morning during our trip back down to Camp 2. There we spent another night of desperately needed rest before continuing on down through the icefall with heavily loaded packs including empty oxygen cylinders.
And finally yesterday morning, physically and mentally exhausted like we never have been in our lifetimes, the welcome site of our tents at Base Camp came into view. We couldn't take off our crampons and climbing harnesses fast enough and then fell into our sleeping bags for a long nap. We woke up just in time for dinner figuring we would eat and return immediately to our tent to rest our severely overworked bodies. Well, our Sherpa team had a slightly different plan! After an amazing dinner and even a congratulatory cake made by our cook Perba Surki, the wine and beer started to flow! The sounds of American and Sherpa party music filled our dome tent, along with 16 members of our Sherpa staff. Eleven of these guys, an unusually large number for an expedition of our size, had the opportunity to climb to the summit along with us! ...so you better believe celebratory dancing and partying was in order, and our tired bodies had to deliver! It was truly an unforgettable experience bonding with and sharing the excitement and memories of our Everest expedition with these remarkable and genuine Sherpa people who made our success possible. And it has been amazing sharing our experiences with all of you through our blog!
We are now packing our bags and breaking down our Base Camp home for the last month and a half, in anticipation of heading out of this glacier-topped town tomorrow. When we return to the land of hi-speed (non-satellite) internet, we will post some additional photos (and video too) which we know you will enjoy!