I stepped off the plane and saw them! The high, snow‑covered mountains of the Himalaya. We had flown into the village of Lukla in Nepal. I wouldn’t see Mount Everest until the next day. When I did, I had to look up to the sky. That is where I’d see the summit.
I was part of an expedition to Mount Everest. I was here because our planet is changing. Right now, we’re seeing dramatic climate changes. We don’t fully understand them. Especially in extreme places like high mountains. We don’t have a lot of data for such places.
Here, the glaciers provide water to millions of people. They also feed rivers that flow to parts of Asia where billions of people live. Warmer temperatures are causing the glaciers to melt too quickly. We want to know more about this. So, we collected samples of ice, snow, rocks, and water. We also set up weather stations along the way.
The Lukla airport is high in the Himalaya.
Before we collected samples or data, we needed to test our equipment in the extreme weather. We also needed to work with our Sherpa climbing team, the key to our success. Sherpas are Tibetan people living in the Himalaya. They are known for helping climbers.
The base camp manager and I set up a survey station for 3-D mapping.
Sherpa team members attended a ceremony for the safety of our team before a climb.
Crampons on boots and ice axes help with the climbing.
To travel through the steep snow and ice slopes, we needed special ice climbing equipment. Crampons, or metal spikes, stick out the bottom and front of our boots. They help your footing on slippery ice slopes. Ice axes help, too. You swing the axe into the ice and pull yourself up! Our route up Everest put our skills to the test.
Each member of the team learned to use the ice climbing tools.