Chapter II: Top of the World

Gorak Shep was swarming with mountaineers. It was peak season, and there were multiple teams climbing the Everest and Kala Patthar. Kevin thought he'd come to a desolate space, with maybe a few people. But there were tents, people going up and climbing down the mountain every day.

As the new supplies came in for Kevin each day, people got curious. They started to ask questions about his expedition. Soon there would be enough supplies for a year, and the pile was too big to go unnoticed. He had to think of a reasonable explanation. He read a little bit more about Everest on the Internet, and invented a plausibly story. He tested it the first time the topic was brought up:

“Wow, that's a nice stash you got there. Planning to live up here, eh?” said one of the mountaineers.

“Ah, you know, I've got a group of twenty climbers coming in soon,” Kevin replied

“Twenty, you say? Still, it seems too much. What do they plan to do here? Eat themselves to death?” he lauged.

“We're going to stay up here until September or October.”

“Why would you want to do that?”

“Well, you know how the mountain is overcrowded in the fall, and the government set the limits to the number of climbers.”

“Of course. That's why we came now, even though it's much nicer to climb in October. We just couldn't get the license.”

“Exactly. It's booked for the next four years.”

“I still don't understand.”

“Well, we are going to stay up here and then climb the Everest in September. While everyone is still climbing they way up to here and waiting weeks to adjust to the low pressure, we'll already be up here, ready to climb as soon as the weather clears up.”

“I get it now. But, you're willing to spend almost four months here just for that?”

“Well, better wait four months than four years, no?”

Another climber who listened to the conversation just shook his head and murmured “crazy Americans” as he walked away. But some others admired the idea:

“You must be bored to death while waiting for your group to come. Would you like to climb the summit with us in the meantime?”

“Thanks, but I cannot leave now. Maybe when some of my friends arrive,” Kevin said.

“But, don't you get bored? What do you do all day?”

“I just walk around the camp, enjoy the nature.”

Although he spent hours on his computer every day, Kevin wasn't lying. He really did enjoy the outdoors and he has already explored the area around the camp. As the weeks passed by, he got more confident and started to expand his range, going even further into the mountain. He was amazed with pure beauty of the wilderness, untouched by human hand. Often straying off the beaten path, he believed that he was the only human to ever set foot in some areas. But one should never get overconfident in the Himalayas.

One day Kevin walked on the soft, feather-like snow, and started to hear cracks beneath his feet. Those cracks did not sound good at all... be continued...

P.S. I have already completed the first draft for Chapters II and III and have done some polishing. But the text is still rough around the edges. I need to do some heavy editing before I can share it publicly.

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