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The long march from Kathmandu to Tengboche
The early morning starts at 5.30 am with a cup of tea, but after 2 or 3 hours it will be time to stop for a breakfast of porridge, bacon, and eggs. There will be time, too, to swim or just lie back and watch the birds and butterflies drift by. Later, you will head off again, sometimes crossing foaming torrents or swift-flowing rivers on terrifying rope bridges, before making camp in the early afternoon.

Preparing to leave Base Camp and journey up the Khumbu Glacier
For 2 days, your team will plot and plan; sort out tents, ropes, cookers, pitons, and karabiners; organise your food and work out the right amount of fuel, check the equipment of your Sherpas, and sign on a band of porters, of whom about half are women, as you get ready to set off on your journey up the Khumbu Glacier to Base Camp.

On the way up the Khumbu Glacier
When you all awaken the next morning and peep out of your tents, the world has turned white. Some of the porters have no snow glasses – will they get snow blind if they carry on?
Maybe you will pick up handfuls of snow and throw it around in excitement like Sir Edmund Hillary did – just to see it twinkle in the soft morning sun!
The climb up the Khumbu Valley is steeper and the snow is almost a foot thick. The sun shines brightly and the glare is very intense. The porters without snow glasses are squinting painfully in the strong light. You make camp in a grassy dip beside the Khumbu Glacier as those without snow glasses struggle into camp with lowered heads and swollen, weepy eyes.

Finding a way through the Khumbu Icefall
Even before your small team reaches the foot of the icefall, there are shaky ice bridges to cross, narrow cracks in the ice that you must wriggle through, and lines of steps to cut with your ice axe up steep ice walls. A steep, icy corner is named 'Mike's Horror' after your team mate, who leads you successfully up it. You are relieved to cross a great crevasse by a slender ice bridge and then cut steps and handholds up the remaining 20 feet of vertical crevasse wall. At last, holding on like grim death, you finally stretch one arm over the icy lip of the crevasse, drive your ice axe into good snow and wriggle your way over the edge. Your team names this part 'Hillary's Horror' after your efforts!

Third day the Khumbu Icefall
It is bitterly cold when you wake in the morning; thank goodness you have double sleeping bags! You cook your breakfast on a small stove inside and, because you fear frostbite, you wait for the sun to strike your tents before moving outside.
You all tie on your crampons and rope up before surveying the way ahead. You view it with trepidation. It looks extremely difficult – the ice blocks are even bigger, they are enormous ... square-cut with cliffs 30 metres high! You must try to climb between them, clambering over the shattered ice at their feet and staying clear of overhanging bulges, which are known to split from their sides. The thin air makes you pant hard, and when you find a place that seems free of danger you sit down for a rest. One of your team mates is not acclimatising well and is finding it very hard going.

Making your way up the Western Cwm
The next day dawns fine and clear. For the first time Tenzing, the leader of all the expedition Sherpas, ropes up and joins your lead party as you go ahead to complete the route to the site of the Swiss Camp IV. A couple of other climbers will follow behind with some laden Sherpas. The sun heats up and, as its rays reflect from every snowy slope, the Western Cwm becomes an absolute inferno! The combination of heat, altitude, and deep snow make it very tiring work. After a long, hot battle, you finally climb the last slope to the Swiss Camp IV, where a pile of snow-covered boxes and bags greets your eyes. Eagerly, you dig out the Swiss rations – they are quite luxurious compared with your normal mundane food!

Camping at the South Col
Soon it is your team's turn to stay at Camp VIII at the South Col, where the wind whines and screeches relentlessly hour after hour. It is so fierce that your small pyramid tent cracks like a rifle range! It grows worse, if that is possible, and you fear that it must surely be wrenched from the mountain, leaving you exposed and unprotected among the ice and boulders. You are jammed in tight with no room to stretch out; just turning over results in a spasm of panting. Whenever your head touches the tent walls, your brain feels as though it is under a pneumatic drill! Even wearing all your down clothing, the icy cold seeps into your bones. I wonder if a terrible sense of fear and loneliness will dominate your thoughts, as it did Hillary's that night at Camp VIII 50 years ago.
Throughout the endless night, you keep looking at your watch, wondering if it has broken, the hands move so slowly! Finally, at 4 am, you strike a match and read the temperature, -25ºC, and still pitch black. You nudge Tenzing, who begins to light the primus stove, and the tent starts to warm up a little.

The first summit party returns
The first summit party has come back, having been the first to reach the South Summit of Everest, the highest anyone has ever climbed; they head off down the mountain from Camp VIII without oxygen equipment. One of the climbers is in a bad way. He crumples and falls flat on the snow, drags himself to his feet, takes a few tottering steps, and crashes again. You watch in shock, and hurriedly prepare a set of oxygen equipment for him. He is now on his hands and knees, and, with the oxygen turned on, slowly gets to his feet and very slowly moves up the Geneva Spur again. At the top of the slope, he collapses again. John Hunt decides to go down with him, and they rope up and head off. You worry that they may not make it down alive.

Everest and Tenzing begin their summit attempt
After 4 hours' sleep, you wake, miserable with cold, and your boots are frozen solid! At 4 am there are signs of the early morning light, and as you peer out of the tent Tenzing points out Tengboche Monastery 4572 metres below. Your preparations are slow at -27°C, but you eat well and drink plenty of liquid. Finally, the heat of the primus stove softens up your boots enough to pull them on. You both wear every piece of clothing you have, layers of woollen down and windproof clothing, gloves, socks, and high altitude boots. You tuck your camera carefully down under your clothes. At 6.30 am you both crawl out of the tent into the snow, hoist your 13.6 kg of oxygen equipment onto your backs, connect up your masks, and turn on the valves ... a few good deep breathes and you are ready to go. It is -25ºC. You pick up your ice axe and ropes. This is it ... this is the day you make the final push to the summit of Mt Everest, the highest mountain in the world. Will you get there?

Up the Hillary Step to the summit
Ahead looms a great rock step – you hope this will not stop you now! To climb the 12.2 metres (40 feet) of rock at 8839 metres is a big challenge. Clinging to the rock on the right is a great big cornice that has broken away just a little from the rock to leave a narrow crack – could you squeeze in? Will it break away under your pressure?
Will you be like Sir Edmund Hillary and decide to squeeze into the gap and wriggle your way up bit by bit, jamming your crampons into the ice behind you and using every little handhold you find?
The ice holds and, puffing for breath, you pull yourself out of the crack onto the top of the rock face! You have made it! For the first time you feel confident that you are really going to get to the summit!
Tenzing climbs up beside you, panting for breath. With no time to waste, you are off again, cutting steps, looking anxiously for signs of the summit. There, over on the right, is a snowy dome – it must be the summit! Next moment, you move onto a flattish exposed area of snow with nothing but space in every direction ... Tenzing joins you ... and you both look around in wonderment!
You offer a handshake, but Tenzing throws his arms around you in a mighty hug and you hug him back. As Tenzing raises the flags he had strapped to his ice axe, you take a photo, a photo that will become cemented in our memories.