Just more than two weeks into a quest to climb the world’s tallest peak, everything is going according to plan for Fort Collins mountaineer Jim Davidson.
“Doing good,” Davidson told 9NEWS on Friday. “My stomach’s a little upset, but it seems to be under control. Training feels great. Acclimatization feels really great.”
It is Davidson’s second attempt to reach the summit of Mount Everest – the first, in 2015, was aborted after a powerful earthquake devastated the region, unleashing avalanches that killed more than 20 climbers and destroyed critical sections of the route.
Davidson was at Camp One, located at an elevation above 20,000 feet, when the earthquake hit on April 25, 2015.
On Friday, he was still in the midst of the long trek toward the mountain itself. But he’d already reached an elevation higher than any point in Colorado.
Overall, Davidson said his experience so far in 2017 has been less troublesome than what he faced in the early days of his attempt two years ago.
“Things are running much better, I think, for me personally,” he said by satellite phone. “I was sicker then and that made it much less fun and everything.”
It also helps to have the experience of two years ago.
“You know what's going to happen,” he said.
Davidson has been climbing for more than three decades and has been on high-altitude expeditions all over the world. In 2009, he successfully summited Cho Oyu, the sixth-highest mountain the world at an elevation of 26,864.
Everest has been a dream for decades.
This time around, Davidson said he decided to think of the effort not as one 65-day push to reach the summit of Everest but as three distinct steps.
The first – a roughly two-week trek deep into the Himalayas to the Lobuche base camp. Davidson was nearing the end of that portion of his effort on Friday, preparing to cross Cho-La Pass on the way to the camp below a mountain called Lobuche East, a 20,161-foot peak.
There, he will rendezvous with other members of his team from International Mountain Guides.
The second step, which will take three or four days: to climb Lobuche East to its false summit – the true summit is super dangerous, and the goal is to get acclimatized to 20,000 feet, not necessarily to bag a peak.
And the third will be the five weeks spent actually attempting to reach the summit of Everest, something he hopes to accomplish in May.
Thinking now about what day that could happen is impossible.
“It’s way too early,” Davidson said.
Still ahead are multiple rotations up to high mountain camps and back to Everest base camp that will be necessary before he and the fellow climbers on his team can launch a push for the summit.
“There's going to be some rough days ahead,” Davidson said. “There'll be stomach issues. There'll be altitude issues. There’ll be some weather. But so far it’s running really smooth."
Editor’s note: 9Wants to Know investigative reporter Kevin Vaughan is following Jim Davidson’s effort to climb Mount Everest and will be providing periodic updates on his progress. Vaughan and Davidson are co-authors of the New York Times Best Seller “The Ledge,” which examines a 1992 climbing accident on Mount Rainier that killed Davidson’s best friend and left him facing a seemingly impossible fight to save himself.
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