of Everest by
Basecamp Ronguk Glacier Sept 25, 2001
the first night of our arrival, we realized that the
Tibetan riverbank was inhabited by a pack of roaming
dogs. Three coyote-size domestic mutts would come
through the 17,000 ft. Everest Basecamp at three in
the morning barking their fool heads off — making
tired climbers cranky and grumpy towards the dog pack.
But we all have dogs back home, so come daylight we
are giving away dog treats.
our first scouting hikes up the Rongbuk Glacier
valley, a sweet little, roll-on-her-back,
scratch-my-belly kinda dog started tagging along for a
day hike. Her name became Stir Fry and her brothers
were tagged as Deep Fry and Pan Fry. Only Stir Fry
would accept petting. When the Yak train arrived, the
dogs happily joined in for the two-day hike up to the
2,1000 ft. camp on the East Rongbuk Glacier. The
Tibetan people just ignore the dogs completely, as do
dogs like to sleep on a pile of dried grass, which was
leftover from the yaks’ food supply. In the evening
we place our dinner leftovers on a rock outside the
kitchen tent. The dogs come through in the night to
clean up the scraps.
day, Ed and I were hanging out in basecamp watching
the alpine sun set on Everest when Deep Fry came
racing through camp with a five pound chunk of meat.
Ed got up to see if it was something of ours that the
dog had snatched. Deep Fry was so full from pigging
out on pig that he dropped what was left of a side of
salted pork. No pork is on our menu, so we figured
that our new neighbors up valley, the Hungarian Team,
just got introduced to the Dogs of Everest. After
that, we referred the Hungarians as the “Hungry
our climbing team continued to make progress up the
glaciers of Mt. Everest, one of the dogs would always
be along for the hike. When we moved into the 21,000
ft. camp, Deep Fry and Stir Fry also moved in.
day Gopal and I roped up for a climb through the
crevasses of the Rongbuk Glacier to the base of the
North Col. Deep Fry followed along. We were roped in,
harnessed up, with crampons on and ice axes out as we
watched this dog romp and frolic in the snow around
we reached the 21,500 ft. level of Mt. Everest, the
mountain became very steep. The route wove around
vertical ice cliffs on 65 degree snow ramps for 800m
of climbing, until we reached the North Col at
15th was our first day to tackle this cliff. The goal
was to string up a 200m reel of 8mm Sterling rope. The
slope was about 50 degrees with a 75 degree bulge 150m
up. There are three or four small crevasses where the
glacier meets this cliff, one of which has a ski pole
marking the grave of a fallen climber. This grave is
50 feet from our climbing route and makes a serious
statement about our extreme commitment to this
I approached this cliff, Deep Fry charged ahead to
tackle the first pitch. After 40 ft. the 50 degree
slope defeated him, and he couldn't make any more
progress. He came back down, found a chunk of ice from
an old avalanche and curled up beside it.
the next two days, Gopal and I worked on the face,
installing 200m of rope each day. The dogs traveled to
the foot of the cliff but did not follow us. Finally,
on the fourth day of climbing, the North Col was
we lead the last 200m, our friends, the Hungry People,
arrived after climbing our ropes. We were on an ice
ledge at around 22,700 ft., and who else showed up?
Deep Fry. He had just negotiated 1,800 ft. of
technical ice climbing on the north face of Everest.
Then he decided to take a nap in the sun on the edge
of the ice ledge. We continued our ascent and reached
the North Col in glorious sunshine.
hour later, on the descent, we passed Deep Fry still
sleeping in the same place on the edge of the ledge.
Whistling and calling him, we got no response, so we
left him. We rappelled down our ropes and soon reached
camp at dusk. Our worries about Deep Fry making it
down in the dark were answered later that night when
he raced through camp barking his fool head off.
on the Expedition