Text by Tetsuhiko Endo

Alpine-style climbing is a preparation game. Gear must be checked and re-checked, camps must be made and stocked on different levels of a mountain, the body must acclimatize to altitude and the mind must steel itself against cold, fatigue and fear.

No one knows this better than the men and women preparing make summit bids on Everest. Ed Viesturs and the First Ascent team have spent the better part of a month preparing themselves for the climbing they will do over the next week. Tomorrow, they will leave basecamp and trek directly to camp two where they will rest for a day before continuing on to Camp Three. They plan to arrive at Camp Four (High Camp) on the afternoon of the 11th, then start for the summit on the night of the 12th.

If all goes well it will be an Everest sunrise. But that is a big “if” on the tallest mountain in the world. “The mountain decides, ultimately, whether we reach the summit or not,” Viesturs said on his blog. For his sake, let’s hope the mountain is feeling charitable.

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