Early yesterday morning my Everest team headed out on our first acclimatization rotation up the mountain. We left base camp about 2:00 AM, and climbed by headlight through the Khumbu Icefall.

We reached the mid-point (5727m) around 6:10 AM and hiked into a well-prepared Camp 1 (6059m/19,879ft), after climbing for 8-1/2 hours, at 10:30 AM. The goal is to get to the destination so we can have two full nights of rest before climbing on to Camp 2.

While my tent is cold and my hands are semi cold along with my feet, it is nothing beyond what I am prepared to experience.

So, I’m writing this quick note from Camp 1 near Mt. Everest. As I posted yesterday on Instagram, this trek up was the hardest climb of my 18-year climbing history. It is very windy, but I have recovered well.

The landscape around me is both beautiful and terrifyingly spectacular!

Our guides keep telling us the Khumbu icefall is very tough and it was. In fact, they told us it was tougher this year than most—probably due to the amount of snow that has fallen.

Being Prepared and Having Compassion!

My mantra continues to be compassion—compassion because this is what is being shown to each member of the team by our guides and by you.

Compassion hits a strong note for more Perfect Days because it teaches you to reach out to others who are different than you are. Some may be very weak or have an illness that is terminal. Remember why we started this trek to the top of Mt. Everest. It was not so I could get a photo and a certificate, it was to raise money for cancer awareness and for more people to live.

As I sit here and think about the next hard climb before me, I realize there is a strength growing within me that is stronger than the words “defeat” or “fear.” You may understand what I am saying. Sometimes the longest climb we have is not on land, it is up the side of the mountains in our lives. That climb could be emotional, mental, or physical.

Compassion is needed for yourself and for others. Next time you watch someone struggling alongside you, don’t just think: “I wish you would get on up that mountain!” Instead, reach out and take their heavy backpack and climb with them to the summit. I’ll write more about this next week.

My ability to respond to each message is sketchy, but I have seen many of your personal notes to me. Continue to pray for strength and safety. Love and gratitude to each one of you, and please remember if I can climb to Camp 1 on Mt. Everest in support of @hollingscancercenter and the fight against cancer, you can take the health pledge!

Visit my personal Everyday Everest website to learn more. PLEASE consider donating to this life-giving effort! 

You can track my climb to the top of Mt. Everest! You will notice on www.share.garmin.com my name is Helen Cox! Thanks again for giving! I’ll keep you updated as we push on to the top of Mt. Everest.