Grayson Schaffer hikes from the town of Lukla toward Everest Base Camp. En route, he traces the path of the Everest Ultra, meets top alpinists Ueli Steck and Freddie Wilkinson, and spends time with a Sherpa family.
The second annual Everest Ultra started on April 11th at 17,000 feet and descended nearly forty grueling miles to the town of Lukla. Read More About the Ultramarathon
"My Sherpa Tsiring took me to a nearby town to meet his family. They keep the yaks downstairs and live upstairs in one room. They're subsistence farmers, and Tsiring is the first in his family to be formally educated. He's studying environmental engineering in Kathmandu," says senior editor Grayson Schaffer.
Ueli Steck and Freddie Wilkinson
Freddie and the Machine: Steck (left) and Wilkinson in their stronghold of Pheriche, which also happens to be a major summering ground for nomadic yak herders.
Ramesh Bhattachan, the Alberto Salazar of Nepal, trains the country's top trail runners and is the director of the Everest Ultra.
A Nepalese tailor
A Nepalese tailor sews technical outerwear on the road to Base Camp.
A Nepalese racer
A Nepalese racer carries an orange in each hand as he runs over cobblestone trails, the route for the Everest Ultra.
Steck's cagey about what Himalayan peaks he'll climb this year, but rumors have swirled that he may attempt a speed ascent of Everest's normal Southeast Ridge or even a mind-bending enchainment of Everest, Lhotse, and Nuptse.
Freddie Wilkinson, who recently won the coveted Piolet d'Or for an alpine-style ascent of India's Sasser Kangri II (24,664 ft.) pictured beneath the northeast face of Taboche. The line directly up the center of the triangle is the route pioneered by Jeff Lowe and John Roskelley in 1989.
Next Up: Portraits of the West Ridge Team Members