We've been in a big rush getting back home, and I haven't been able to update for awhile, as I have not had internet access. We woke up this morning at 16,000 feet in a village called Lobuche, and this evening my dad and I arrived back at sea-level in Long Beach! The rest of the team are celebrating in Kathmandu-- my dad and I skipped out on the celebration to make it back in time for my brother Ted's college graduation in New York.
The day after we summitted, we came down from the South Col (camp 4) to camp 2. I was very tired at that point, but glad that we had all made it back safely lower on the mountain. It was amazing how after being to almost 30,000 feet, 20,000-foot camp 2 felt like it was nearly at sea-level!
The day after that, we came back down to base camp, where we received lots of warm hugs and congratulations. We only had one night back at base camp, as the next day (the 20th), we packed up our bags and headed down the valley. Base camp had a strange, empty feeling-- it was sad to leave my little tent that had been my home for the past 2 months!
My dad, Doug, Wim, and I were hoping to get a helicopter out of Lobuche on the 21st to save a little time, but Victor and James decided to walk down to the Lukla airstrip to fly out to Kathmandu on the 23rd. However, even though we awoke on the 21st to a beautiful, clear day in Lobuche, apparently there were clouds lower down the valley, so the helicopter couldn't fly in until the 23rd either. It was kind of hard waiting those two days in Lobuche. We were just an hour away from a hot shower and a big meal, if only those clouds would clear!
Once the helicopter landed in Kathmandu, I was greeted by a mob of journalists and cameramen. I was so surprised! I thought maybe my story would be in the LA paper, but I didn't expect this!
After a shower and a short interview, my dad, Bo, and I said goodbye to Doug, Wim, Omar (who is the first Egyptian to scale Mt. Everest!), and Greg (who is the 11th? South African) and went back to the Kathmandu airport. After nearly 20 hours of travel, my dad and I landed at LAX and were greeted by my family, and some more news people. Now we only have a few hours before we jump back on a plane to go to New York! I am very excited to see my mom and brother though.
Thank you everyone for all of your wonderful comments and your support!!! I will write more about our summit push and what it felt like to summit Mt. Everest when I have a bit more time.