Follow the Yellow Brick Road


You can go about planning an expedition to summit a mountain like Everest in several ways.  While there are different schools of thought, all focus on one main objective: How best to deal with Everest’s massive height and consequently, the effects of altitude on your body.  Put simply, the air has less oxygen the higher you climb.  While your body reacts to an increase in altitude by producing more red blood cells to carry more oxygen to your organs, this process can take a day or more.  More importantly, the ability to produce red blood cells declines quickly at very high elevations.  Combined with the fact that the body needs more oxygen when conducting strenuous activity, it should come as no surprise that any climbing activity at high elevation puts a serious strain on the body’s capacity to adapt.


Above 6000m, it is commonly believed to be impossible to acclimatize to the altitude as the body begins to deteriorate and is unable to adapt and recover from injuries.  Elevations above 8000m are referred to as “The Death Zone” because the body stops performing as it should and major systems begin shutting down.  Altitude-related life-threatening conditions can develop quickly.


For these reasons, most mountaineering teams employ a simple climbing strategy: Climb high; sleep low.


As you view my tentative itinerary below, you will note the amount of time spent resting at Everest base camp in comparison with time spent higher on the mountain.  Bear in mind that this itinerary is only meant to give you, at best, an approximate idea of where I will be in Nepal at any give time.  In truth, everything will turn on the weather and what my body is telling me.


Wednedsay, April 4 – Arrival in Kathmandu (1300m).

Tuesday, April 10 – Fly to Lukla (2860m). Trek to Phakding (2650 m).

Wednesday, April 11 – Trek to Namche Bazaar (3450m).

Thursday, April 12 – Rest and acclimatize in Namche.

Friday, April 13 – Trek to Pangboche (3750m).

Saturday, April 14 – Trek to Pheriche (4250m).

Sunday, April 15 – Trek to Dugla (4600m).

Monday, April 16 – Trek to Lobuche (4900m).

Tuesday, April 17 – Trek to Gorak Shep (5150m).

Wednesday, April 18 – Trek to Everest basecamp (EBC) (5360m).

Thursday, April 19 – Rest and training day in EBC.

Friday, April 20 – Rest and training day in EBC.

Saturday, April 21 – Trek to Mt Pumori basecamp (5300m) and sleep there.

Sunday, April 22 – Trek to Mt Pumori advanced basecamp (5700m); return to EBC.

Monday, April 23 – Rest in EBC.

Tuesday, April 24 – Trek to the top of Kala Pattar (5500m); return to EBC.

Wednesday, April 25 – Rest in EBC.

Thursday, April 26 – Climb to Camp 1 (5950m); sleep there.

Friday, April 27 – Climb to Camp 2 (6400m); return to Camp 1 and sleep there.

Saturday, April 28 – Return to EBC.

Sunday, April 29 – Rest in EBC.

Monday, April 30 – Rest in EBC.

Tuesday, May 1 – Climb to Camp 1; sleep there.

Wednesday, May 2 – Climb to Camp 2; sleep there.

Thursday, May 3 – Rest in Camp 2.

Friday, May 4 – Explore route to Camp 3 (7150m), return to Camp 2; sleep there.

Saturday, May 5 – Return to EBC.

Sunday, May 6 – Rest in EBC.

Monday, May 7 – Rest in EBC.

Tuesday, May 8 – Climb to Camp 1; sleep there.

Wednesday, May 9 – Climb to Camp 2; sleep there.

Thursday, May 10 – Rest in Camp 2.

Friday, May 11 – Climb to Camp 3; sleep there.

Saturday, May 12 – Descend to Camp 1 or Camp 2; sleep there.

Sunday, May 13 – Return to EBC.

Monday, May 14 – Rest in EBC or descend to a lower village.

Tuesday, May 15 – Return to EBC from lower village. Rest in EBC.

Wednesday, May 16 – Climb to Camp 1; sleep there.

Thursday, May 17 – Climb to Camp 2; sleep there.

Friday, May 18 – Climb to Camp 3; sleep there.

Saturday, May 19 – Climb to camp 4 (7925m); sleep there.

Sunday, May 20 – Summit attempt.

Monday, May 21 – Return to Camp 2; sleep there.

Tuesday, May 22 – Return to EBC.

Wednesday, May 23 – Rest in EBC.

Thursday, May 24 – Second summit attempt (if needed): Climb to Camp 2; sleep there.

Friday, May 25 – Climb to Camp 3; sleep there.

Saturday, May 26 – Climb to Camp 4; sleep there.

Sunday, May 27 – Summit attempt.

Monday, May 28 – Return to Camp 2.

Tuesday, May 29 – Return to EBC.

Wednesday, May 30 – Pack up EBC.

Thursday, May 31 – Trek down to Pheriche.

Friday, June 1 – Trek down to Pangboche.

Saturday, June 2 – Trek to Namche.

Sunday, June 3 – Trek to Lukla.

Monday, June 4 or Tuesday, June 5 – Flight to Kathmandu.

Wednesday, June 7 – Departure from Nepal.

25 thoughts on “Follow the Yellow Brick Road

  1. Steve Groves on Reply

    Good Luck Sandra, I admire your courage and tenacity. You are awesome, and a big hero of mine. I’ll be following your blog. See you when you return.

  2. Mitch on Reply

    Sandra – you are going to do great! Your site is awesome … and so will you climb. My one advice is to enjoy every moment, which I know you will. It is a once in a lifetime experience that will be you unique to your expedition. Vinson awaits!!
    Take good care,
    Bon chance & bon voyage!

  3. Nicolas Gorse on Reply


    Je suis impressioné et envieux :-)

    Je te souhaite que tout aille le mieux possible !


  4. Gillian on Reply

    I will be following you and cheering you on from Kabul on this new adventure. Reach the highest of all heights…I know that you will make it!! Stay safe and courage. Hugs.

  5. Naveed Noori on Reply

    Best of luck Sandra, Enjoy the trip you are doing really good keep it up.
    Take care

  6. André Dorion on Reply

    Sandra, je te crédite pour l’invention d’un nouveau sport extrême: Extreme Lawyering (Juri-Extrême?). Bonne chance dans tes nouveau projets, et au plaisir d’entendre tes récits dans deux ans!

  7. Christine on Reply

    Tu es admirable c’est le moins qu’on puisse dire. Je te souhaite toutes les meilleures émotions et toute la chance possible. Je te suivrai dans ton projet et j’ai hâte à ton retour! Sois heureuse et prudente.

  8. Dan Hughes on Reply

    Best of luck, Sandra! We’ll be following your adventures with envy.

  9. Rob Saxe on Reply

    Hey Sandra,

    I wish you all the best on your trek. I’ll be following your progress. Can’t wait to hear all about it when you get back home. Don’t forget to get blessed by the Rinpoche of Tengboche on your way up!



  10. Ginny Lyford on Reply

    I will be with you all the way Sandra! I am so impressed with you life and your passions.
    I admire your work with the military too. You are my 2012 Everest Rock Star! Ginny Lyford, Sunriver, Oregon USA

  11. Audrey on Reply


  12. Christine on Reply

    J’ai eu la chance de regarder un documentaire hier soir à TV 5 où j’ai pu voir tout le parcours que tu dois faire et le travail des sherpas. Je peux maintenant comprendre tout le trajet et ton itinéraire. J’espère que tout continue de bien se passer pour toi. Tu es très courageuse! Je sais que tu y arriveras. Bonne suite et visualise ton arrivée, ça aide… À bientôt. Christine

  13. Camille & Real on Reply

    Salut Sandra,

    Nous te suivons. Bravo pour ton courage, tu as l’air a bien aimé çà.
    Bonne chance et continue.
    Nous t’aimons.

    À bientôt.

    Camille & Réal

  14. Simon Mcbedi on Reply

    Do not Shoot anyone !!!!

  15. Louise Le Guerrier (amie de Maman) on Reply

    Nous t’aimons et te suivons à chaque moment. Amitiés et caresses. Louise

  16. Pierre Bédard on Reply

    Bonjour Sandra,
    je t’ai rencontrée avec Sharon à un café sur la rue Bank avant ton départ . M’étant rendu au Camp de Base en mai dernier (ce qui est très très peu en comparaison de l’ascension au sommet), je comprends très bien ce par quoi tu passes. Je t’admire et te souhaite la réussite de ton entreprise, surtout une température clémente au dessus du Camp IV. Au plaisir de te revoir à ton retour.


  17. Christine on Reply

    Je pense à toi presqu’à tous les jours et aujourd’hui je suis contente que tu te reposes. Je t’imagine déjà de retour et glorieuse. Je t’envoies mes meilleures vibrations et surtout ne te décourages pas. Â bientôt, je t’embrasse, Christine

  18. Christine on Reply

    Je viens de voir que tu seras au sommet dimanche!! Tu seras si fière et je t’imagines glorieuse et avec raison. Je pense à toi et lâches pas comme toujours. Tu es une brave de nature!

    Je t’embrasse, Christine

  19. Suzanne on Reply

    Good luck and be safe!

  20. Jolayne16 on Reply

    Good luck on your second attempt. Enjoy the view!!!!

  21. Louise on Reply

    Hi Sandra
    Am completely in awe of you! Will continue following your amazing and inspiring trek. Stay safe and strong. Good luck!
    Louise (Airdrie, AB)

  22. ken white on Reply

    I think I might be in love with you!! You are a very interesting and exciting individual.

  23. Nelson on Reply


    I am anxiously awaiting the book on your trek.

  24. Pablo on Reply

    Mi querida Sandra:
    No sé si viste al yetti en el Everest, pero creo que estuviste a punto de verlo y descansar en la morgue. Te felicito. Creo que tiene a un Dios aparte y a Pablo que iba a la iglesia todos los días para rezar por tu vida.

    Cariños y un abrazo.

    Tu amigo Pablo

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