Climbing instructor Eric Knoff outfits KCC students with helmets, boots, and climbing gear for the school session. Equipment has been donated to the school over the years from equipment companies, organizations, and individuals.
“It’s phenomenal that they were able to get to 28,000 feet [8,530 meters] in what I would basically call clothing you’d wear to walk through the forest,” Anker says. The 1920s leather and hobnail boots, in particular, provided far less warmth than modern climbing boots do.
The Khumbu Climbing Center is located in the remote village of Phortse, as seen from Monjo with Ama Deblam (6,812 meters or 22,349 feet) in the background. Instructors fly from Kathmandu to the town of Lukla, where they hike for three days to reach the school.
Hilaree O’Neill moves through the Khumbu Icefall on the way to Camp 2.
Here Babu and Lakpa trek along the Western Cwm, a U-shaped valley carved out by the Khumbu Glacier. Set between Camps 1 and 2 at around 22,000 feet, this area is littered with giant crevasses. Lakpa, a mountaineering guide, pushed Babu, a professional kayaker, to learn quickly. They didn’t stay at Camp 1, deciding instead to push on to Camp 2.