Following is a dispatch written by Dom a few days after he reached the summit. 25 May 2011
Hi, it’s Dom here, reporting on a group success on Everest. I set off at 10pm on the 20th from camp 3 at 8300 meters for the final summit push. Tensions were running high, would the weather hold? Would I be up to the task? Heads down and climb was the name of the game, gradually progress was made as the hours started to tick past and height gained. The night was clear with stars and a small moon but when the wind picked up it dropped to – 35c. Still we pushed on reaching the first of the major challenges “The 2nd Step” a series of ladders and rock climbing moves with a 1000 ft drop only centimeters to your right!
Once past this obstacle we moved up onto the ridge where we changed our oxygen bottles. The problem was that I had separated from the team and so had no fresh bottle to use. I recall sitting down on the ridge at 8600 meters in freezing conditions feeling very lonely thinking my summit attempt was over. After a short time I saw a light in the distance heading in my direction, it was the rest of my team. Crisis averted, I changed my oxygen regulator over and pushed on.
Over the 3rd step, up the 50 degree summit cone and then traverse right onto the North Face of Everest, tip toeing over small ledges as tiny as 15cms, a real feeling of exposure. Then suddenly my goggles freeze and I can’t see a thing, to top it off one of my crampons comes lose and falls off! It's all going wrong. I stop, take my time to put the crampon back on and then the sun rises to the east behind me, lighting my way for the final stretch to the summit. Up over the rock band and a short climb up the snow dome to finally stand on the summit of Mount Everest.
Exhausting, scary, but ultimately really rewarding!
We are immensely proud of Dom for climbing to the top of the world, something that most of us can only dream of doing. If climbing Everest is a step too far for you, but you want to experience the majesty of this mountain, then why not join our trek to Everest Base Camp in November 2012.