Welcome to The Quest for Everest 2013

This website will document Saskatchewan climber Steve Whittington's journey to the summit of Mt Everest in 2013, which begins March 21. Steve has over 40 summits under his belt, including 4 of the 7 summits of the world.

To start at the beginning of Steve's quest, click here »

Being Home

It was our last night in Kathmandu. Todd had jumped on a flight the day before and Daniel and I were out with Brett Jones, Director of Disaster Risk Reduction in Kathmandu for the US embassy. We had meet her, her mother, and other embassy trekkers at Lobouche on our way back up to base camp after resting down low before our final summit push.  Living in Kathmandu she knew places to go and had taken us to a little 2nd story patio bar in Thamel near the Kathmandu Guest House where we were staying.  The space was tight and lively but the roof retracted giving an open feeling to the confined space.   The bar was full of western trekkers, climbers, and expats – the usual scene we had been immersed in since flying back from Lukla.  At one point in the evening...

Summit Reflections Part II

A warm rain falls into the courtyard at the Kathmandu Guest House.  Flowers line the railing that circles around the perimeter and the floor consists of neatly manicured soft green grass, outlined by curved stone edging.  Birds chirp,  a monkey three stories up stops his meandering on a ledge, sits down and stares at me.  I pause in my reflections, take off my sanduk sandals  and walk barefoot across the cool grass with my eyes closed absorbing the sensation.  For days up high in the cold I had dreamed of grass between my toes.  As I walk around the cool blades massage my bare tired feet.  It is not how I had imaged, the sensation is more than I remembered.  I gaze across the courtyard and once again begin to drift back to that day. It did not take...

Summit Reflections – Part One

It is Sunday May 26th as I write this.  It has been nine days since 7:00 am May 17th when I stood on top of the world. It is a nice morning in Kathmandu. The sun is hidden by a grey featureless sky, but the air is warm and humid and my body after all these days still just wants to bathe in thick, moist air.  There remain whispers of frost bite scabs on my face and my finger tips are numb, but that day seems so long ago. Yesterday we moved from the Yak and Yeti to the Kathmandu Guest House.  The Guest house has a laid back vibe with trekkers and travellers that know nothing of the mountain, while the Yak and Yeti is the mecca of the Western climbing scene in Kathmandu buzzing with excitement. Everest hangs thick in the air of the restaurant and lobby as...

Day 50; Purgatory –Hurry up and Wait

On May 7th the walk from Pheriche to Lobuche was easy for Daniel and me.  We remembered 36 days prior how difficult it had been for us the first time.  We arrived to stay and rest at Lobuche early.  While we were encouraged by how easy the trek up to 16,000 feet was, now having arrived early in the day we looked around the lodge wondering what to do. On May 2nd we had climbed down from Camp II to Everest Base Camp (EBC) having completed our second full rotation up high which included one night at Camp III on the cold Lhotse face without oxygen.  We arrived for lunch at base camp tired, aching, and in need of rest and healing.  Daniel had a bad cough, my throat was raw to breathe and swallow, plus my ankles were worked.  Todd was just in need of R &R....

Waiting for the Weather Window

Our climbers are all resting at Base Camp and at lower altitudes waiting for their “Weather Window” to make their summit attempt. We’ve got a great meteorologist who is sending us detailed weather reports daily so that we can select the best time to make our attempt. From Todd: I have been sitting on the glacier for about a week now, going a little stir crazy. My teammates went down to recovery at a lower altitude, I stayed with the cook. We will be making our summit bid soon. The Sherpas will be fixing the lines to the summit and hopefully the winds will die down. It will take about a week to get to the top and down. Day One: EBC to Camp 2 will take about 8-10 hrs. Day Two: rest. Day Three: Camp 2 up Lhotse to Camp 3. We will then go on oxygen 1L to sleep...

Camp III: Knocking on Heaven’s Door

One hundred feet, you can walk it in a minute or two on a beach at sea level. Heck you could crawl one hundred feet in five minutes across the hot sand in warm, moist, thick air. But one hundred feet over 24,000 feet is a very significant number, as it is only one hundred feet that Camp III is from the fabled death zone, perched on a ledge at 24,500. Camp III on April 30th was our destination for the night where we were to sleep without the aid of supplementary O2 . Our day began as usual, cold (-24 Celsius) at 6:00 am. We shivered through a light breakfast and tried to warm up our hands so we could tie our boots and put on our climbing harnesses. Our Sherpa team left shortly after breakfast to establish camp ahead of us. We struck out just before 8:00 am. Our...

Camp II

Just below the Lhotse face on a tortured jumbled moraine, at around 21,500 feet, sits a collection of tents that climbers in the Western Cwm refer to as Camp II.  To get there you march up the valley of silence 2000 feet from Camp I, crossing several crevasses bridged by narrow aluminum ladders. If you do not leave early in the morning by 9:00 am you are marching through a reflector oven of high altitude rays.  To combat the sun we slathered on SPF 110, but my nose still burnt.   Our team is on the front end of the climb so we had the Western Cwm to ourselves.  The entire morning we saw no Western Climbers and only two groups of Sherpa’s coming down after carrying to Camp II. We were carrying as well.  My 50 liter pack has never been so abused.  The...