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The Khumbu Icefall



On April 24th 1953 the team commenced the journey through the Khumbu Icefall up to the Western Cwm. It took several days for the team to establish a route through the great confusion of the Icefall as it pours down from the Western Cwm, grinding and moving its way to the valley below. They had to move slowly through the middle of this tortuous terrain to avoid ice avalanches from the mountain walls on either side.

Once established, the path had to be maintained to allow for a constant succession of men and equipment to be transported up to camp 3 at the base of the Western Cwm. The Icefall is considered one of the most treacherous parts of the Everest ascent.


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Khumbu Glacier

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Khumbu Icefall

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To carry about three tons of stores up the icefall and into the Western Cwm the team employed 34 Sherpa porters, all properly clothed and equipped for high altitude. A member of the team escorted each group through the frightening labyrinth of moving blocks of ice; they fixed ropes and ladders to ease the passage up the steep pitches.


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Up The Icefall

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Sherpa Porters In The Icefall

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Porter In The Khumbu Icefall

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The team pitched Camp 2 half way up the Icefall but later abandoned it because it was so unsafe. As they returned after the mountain had been climbed, the place where the camp had been was a mass of crevasses and blocks of ice.



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Camp 2

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