Everest Tibet and Lhakpa Ri North Col expedition climbing news spring 2010
Everest Tibet and Lhakpa Ri North Col expedition climbing news spring 2010
30 March to 6 June, 2010
Hi, this is Dan calling in a dispatch for the 26th and 27th of May for the SummitClimb Everest Tibet team. I tried to make an earlier dispatch, but was interrupted by some kindly people coming near my tent trying to sell Cokes or something in the early morning hours. I’m calling in this dispatch from 6400 metre/21,000 foot advanced basecamp.
We had a very long summit day, which for some didn’t finish until even the early morning hours of the 26th of May. It was extremely difficult and challenging and even sad.
The team was exhausted in the morning. They slept in a bit up there in the high camp 3 at 8300 metres/27,200 feet. Then they packed up their things and tried to clean up the camp. The camp looked like an enourmous car park on an early Morning after a busy car-boot sale all Saturday and Sunday. So basically camp 3 was trashed.
We got some more oxygen for the members and the sherpas, who were very tired. We had to carry all of our things down the mountain. We left in the afternoon from camp 3 and hiked through every kind of weather you could imagine, except for rain of course. It was beautiful and sunny at times with amazing views while we skirted around the vast Himalayan ridges above camp 2 and traversed the big faces. Wind came in and a blizzard started blowing.
We made it down to camp 2, which was completely abandoned. All of our tents and equipment had been removed by our sherpas working busily down below. Camp 2 again looked like an enourmous car park after a car boot sale, completely trashed. In several instances we saw teams that had left their entire camp behind, including standing tents. I’ll have to say that some of our members were a bit astounded when they started calculating the value of some of this equipment that had been left up there because it was too difficult to carry down.
We kept ascending through camp 2. We picked up some more oxygen for those that needed it in camp 2, which our sherpas had kindly arranged to have ready for us. We carried on down climbing through camp 2 at 7800 metres/25,600 feet with all of us still using oxygen. It helps us feel less tired and do the work that we need to do up there, especially after a long period of time at altitude.
We climbed down through the night past camp 2. It was midnight and then it became the early morning hours of the 27th of May. We were still cruising down camp 2 which extends in a long ridge from about 7500 metres-7800 metres. It was getting dark and then completely dark. Then a huge blizzard came up and started ripping across the ridge. It became difficult to walk.
Fortunately and thankfully most of the rope had recently been replaced by the Tibetan climbing team. They had done a great job and it was really nice because the rope was getting really frayed before, so it was nice to see that brand new rope. In fact, we were sort of coming down this ridge and we hit a spot we weren’t quite familiar with. There were no tents and we were looking at this new climbing rope thinking, ‘are we on the right route because we don’t remember any climbing rope here.’ Fortunately the moon came up and the wind dropped just a little bit. We could see the moon rise over the Rongbuk mountains and Cholatse, looking out towards Pumori and Cho Oyu. We all agreed it was probably one of the most stunning views of our lives with nearly a full moon glowing across all of this.
We made it down to the North Col and camp 1 at 2:00 in the morning. It was so good to be down there in the early morning hours of the 27th. Kipa, our cook, was still awake on the North Col and he was amazing. He gave us endless cups of tea, rounds of water, juice, and even prepared a light dinner. We crawled into the tents feeling like we had really accomplished something, but extremely exhausted and still stunned from the last couple of days events, feeling very humble indeed.
We woke up on the morning of the 27th a little later in the morning and hung about in the tents. In fact, the sherpas had to chuck us out because they wanted to take the tents down, so at about 2:00 in the afternoon we made our final descent down the Cho La pass from the North Col face and ropes, together with our sherpas with incredibly overloaded backpacks. Our sherpas took such good care of us. They even wanted to carry our sleeping bags and all of our extra bits and pieces. Their backpacks were quite heavy, huge and it was very humbling to watch them. We tried to help them the whole way down.
We got back down at about 5:30 at night and reached advanced basecamp and had a massive incredibly good dinner prepared by our excellent cook Samdien. We crawled into bed and collapsed. That’s the end of the dispatch. Thank you for listening. Bye, bye. back to top
Thorbjorn reaches camp 3 (Dan Mazur). Phurba and Fiko in camp 3, summit behind (Dan Mazur). Team leaving camp 1 for the final summit push (Mark Delstanche). Team on their way up the 2nd Step (David O'Brien).
It is with our deepest regrets that we report the passing of Peter Kinloch, who was a bright spark in our team, and he is missed very much. Peter summited Everest at 1:18 p.m. on 25 May and passed away at 3:00 a.m. on 26 May. At this very sad moment, we send our sincere condolences, thoughts and prayers, to his family, loved ones, friends, and colleagues. back to top
Team 2 summits
Hi, it’s the 25th of May and this is a dispatch for the Everest Tibet SummitClimb expedition.
We got a call at 1:18 p.m. David was on the summit with 5 members and 4 sherpas. It was extremely windy and sunny. The other members who have been here all went down today, so everybody seems like they are doing okay so far. We will keep you posted. Thank you very much. Bye, bye.
Names of summiters:
- David O'Brien - UK
- John Kazanas - Australia
- Ms. Elizabeth Tertil - Canada
- Thorbjørn Lundsgaard - Norway
- Peter Kinloch - UK
- Enrique Rodriguez - USA
- Lhakpa Sherpa Lama
- Phurba Sherpa
- Jangbu Sherpa (Senior)
- Gyalje Sherpa
- Jangbu Sherpa (Naked) back to top
Team 1 summits! Team 2 going for the summit tonight.
Hi, this is a dispatch for the 24th of May for the SummitClimb Everest Tibet team. It’s 7:52 p.m. Tibet time.
Our team is up in camp 3 at 8300 metres/27,200 feet. We’ve got some great news to report. Laval, Mark, and Gavin summited in the mid-morning together with Thile Sherpa. Fiko and Jangbu Sherpa summited about 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon. Everybody is down safely.
Our other group of 10 members is up in the high camp and we’re going for the summit tonight at 11:00 p.m. Tibet time. Nick is safely down in ABC. He’s doing well and we’re going to miss him. What a great guy. We’re sorry he’s not with us.
Wish us all the best of luck. The weather was spotty today. There was lots of snow in the morning and it was windy. Right now the sun has popped out. It’s still fairly breezy. We can see the summit. There’s wind blowing up there, but we’re hoping the wind dies tonight in time for our big summit attempt with those 10 members and 6 sherpas. So wish us luck and we’ll keep you posted. Thank you very much. Bye, bye.
Thile halfway up the 2nd step (Gavin Vickers).
This is a dispatch for the 24th of May for the SummitClimb Everest Tibet team. I’m calling you from camp 2 around 7800 metres/25,600 feet.
The current conditions are very gray skies and overcast. There are very light winds and it snowed quite a bit through the night. The temperature is pretty warm, not too bad and the time here is about 7:30 a.m. We’re just waking up.
Yesterday was a tough day for our team. We climbed up from the North Col. It was a long climb up with about 800 vertical metres. One of our members, Nick, decided that he did not want to continue so he went down with Kipa Sherpa to the North Col. I talked to him last night on the radio and he’s doing okay. He’s down on the North Col and he plans to descend to advanced basecamp today.
The rest of the team is up here. We’ve got 4 members up in the high camp together with 2 sherpas. They tried for the summit last night. We haven’t heard the outcome of their summit attempt yet. I did have the radio on all night and I did here some communication between the team members and sherpas, including a radio call saying they had reached the 2nd step. I haven’t heard any other radio calls since then, but we’re listening and waiting for them to call in. As soon as they do, we’ll let you know.
Our team plans to go up to the high camp today, weather permitting. It’s been pretty busy on this side of the mountain during this weather window.
Yesterday our team of 4 members and 2 sherpas called in to say that there weren’t any tent sites available. They discussed with some of the other teams up there the situation who were kind enough to let them use their tents, so they didn’t have to put up any tents. So that’s good. In exchange, some of the other teams asked if they could give some of their members to us so we can help them reach the top on their 2nd summit bid. Apparently some of their members were trying to get to the summit, reached the 2nd step, went for their fresh bottle of oxygen and realized the bottle was empty. So they had to go back down. Can you imagine that? I do recall our local Kathmandu agent checking all of the bottles for us, so hopefully all of our oxygen bottles have oxygen in them.
We’ll keep you informed as things progress up here. We wish all of team members and sherpas the best of luck. Also we also wish all of the other teams the best of luck as well.
It’s pretty cloudy, so we’re not totally sure what today’s weather is going to bring, but at least the wind is not blowing too hard right now. We’ll keep you informed. Thank you very much. Bye, bye. back to top
Big storm blasts Pumori, scene from the miracle highway on the trek out (Dan Mazur). Camp 3 with the summit behind (Frank Irnich). Frank at camp 3 (Peter Kinloch). Looking down at camp 3 from above. snowy Khumbu valley, Pumori, and Cho Oyu behind (Dan Mazur). Thorbjorn and David descending into camp 2 (Dan Mazur). Thorbjorn climbing up to camp 2 with the North Col in the background (Dan Mazur).
Hello. Today is May 22nd and this is Elizabeth Tertil reporting from the North Col for the SummitClimb Everest Tibet expedition.
Today is the first day of our final push for the summit. We have been divided into 2 groups. 4 of our members are already in camp 2. That would be Mark, Laval, Gavin and Fiko with a couple of sherpas.
The majority of our group is at the North Col. We arrived today safely. It’s a beautiful day. There is no wind, it’s sunny and warm. All of the members, staff, sherpas and cooks seems to be in very good spirits.
Tomorrow we are planning to go to camp 2. Unfortunately this year camp 2 is quite high. Therefore we are going to have to gain a significant amount of elevation, which is quite hard at this altitude. Some of our members will be going on oxygen, but of course that is a personal choice.
Unfortunately one of our members, Eli Hall, had to go down because he wasn’t feeling very well. He will be missed by all of us.
Our plan after camp we reach camp 2 tomorrow is to go to camp 3, which will be a much shorter day. Finally on the night of the 24th, we will begin our final push for the summit, so we will be summiting on the morning of May 25th.
It appears that we have a nice weather window with the full moon being on the 27th. It kind of seems that the weather is always more stable around the full moon. It’s been very quiet with no wind for the past 24 hours and relative warmth, so we are all keeping our fingers crossed hoping that we will have a beautiful summit morning.
Yesterday a lot of other expeditions went up from ABC because we’ve all been sitting and waiting for the good weather. So there are a lot of people presently in camp 2 and camp 3 waiting to go for the summit. We all wish them good luck. A few words in Polish now (please click the audio link above to listen). Thanks, bye. back to top
Gavin Vickers on the summit of Mt Everest. Laval with his airlines flag on summit (Mark Delstanche). Laval with his family names on paper on summit (Mark Delstanche).
This is Stan Snigir reporting in for the SummitClimb North Col and Everest Tibet expedition from ABC, elevation 6400 metres/21,300 feet. It’s about noon local time.
The weather is sunny and a little breezy. We were all hoping for nicer weather today. We have 2 teams going for the summit: summit team 1 at the North Col right now and summit team 2 here in ABC. We’re hoping for a little break in the wind so summit team 1 can move on further and summit team 2 can move up to the North Col. Everybody is in a holding pattern except me.
I’m concluding my North Col expedition and going down back to the luxuries of modern society, as well as my wife Jessica, who I miss very much. Today’s programme is very simple. I start walking towards BC, then to Kathmandu and on home.
Everybody is feeling okay. People are healthy and in good spirits.
I just want to add that on May 18th I summited the North Col. It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’d like to thank Asu, the leader, who was a really big help. I spent the night there. It wasn’t too bad, except I didn’t really get any sleep, which was a little tough. We got safely down the next day and I got a full rest day before getting ready to go home today.
Scaling the North Col at 7000 metres/23,000 feet has made me understand the enormity of the task for the other members who are actually going for the summit. I wish them all good luck and to be safe so they can come back to their family and friends. It’s a really tough job, but someone has to do it. Thanks, bye. back to top
A line of climbers making their way up the snow slope at 7200 metres (Gordon Hopper). Visit to the Tibetan camp with the sponsors signs (Dan Mazur). Lakpa Gyelu waving to the camera on his way up the snow slope between camps 1 and 2 (Gordon Hopper). Climbers ascending the headwall towards North Col at 6600 metres (Thorbjorn Lundsgaard).
This is a dispatch for the 20th of May for the SummitClimb Everest Tibet expedition.
It has been a very difficult and challenging last few days for our team. We’d like to congratulate the Tibetan and Chinese team for fixing the route to the summit of Mount Everest and for getting a lot of their members on the top safely. Job well done! Thank you very much.
Some other teams also summited. We heard some Taiwanese made the summit and today we met a Polish person named Magdalena who reached the summit on the 18th. Big congratulations!
Also, we’d like to inform you that 5 of our members and 2 of our sherpas are on the North Col and have been there for several days. They are trying to move to camp 2, but it’s been too windy and difficult to go up. Other teams have tried to go up to camp 2 and turned around. They’re hoping they can go in the morning.
The other 11 members of our team are safe and well in ABC. They hope to go to the North Col in the morning weather permitting and start their summit attempt, together with the remaining 8 sherpas who carried a load today up to the North Col.
We’re hoping to get some good news on the weather. We heard that the wind may drop through the 21st-25th. We’ve been checking multiple weather sources in India and Tibet and really casting about for as much weather information as we can get. It seems that the forecasts are a bit unstable, but we hope that we’ll be able to find a window so all members and sherpas can summit in safety.
We’ll let you know how things are progressing. Thank you very much. Bye, bye. back to top
Big and small. Gavin and Jordan Romero (Eli Hall). Gavin showing his sponsor's flag (Laval St. Germain). Mallory-Irvine memorial. May god rest their souls, teach us humility, and inspire us in their memory (Dan Mazur). Russian party (Gavin Vickers).
All 11 members are departing basecamp today and heading for intermediate camp. Then we will move up to ABC, the North Col, camp 2, camp 3, and god willing, the summit. Please pray for us and wish us luck, patience, and strength. Also, many many thanks to James Redeker from Canadian North Airlines for his weather advice!!! back to top
Inside the old Rongbuk Monastery (Gavin Vickers). Heather puts in a good word and a few steps for Canada at the upper Rongbuk Monastery (Gavin Vickers). The team running through aerobic exercises in Shegar (David O'Brien). Jimba, Heather, and Max hamming for the cameras in their Chinese military uniforms (Gavin Vickers).
1) ABC Trek Team update:
Well yesterday Reg Heitchue, Elizabeth Warren-Boulton, and Brian Bartell came down to BC from ABC. Congratulations to you three on a job very well done!!! We fed them a massive dinner and heard their great stories of battling winds and cold and toughing it out in ABC. Impressive! Today we had a wander down to the teahouses and did souvenir shopping, ate momos, drank tea, bought carpets, and generally enjoyed the low altitude life of the Tibetan plateau, on our three intrepid adventurers last day in basecamp.
There were beautiful views of Everest throughout the day, an amazing backdrop for our fun follies of the day. Tomorrow in the early morning they will depart for the one day drive to Kathmandu, reaching the comforts of their Nepalese hotel the same night. It has been nice getting to know them, we will regret their departure and they will be missed!!
2) North Col Team update:
We spoke to Asu, our Chinese North Col leader in ABC. Everyone is doing fine. Its currently snowing up there. He and Stan plan to go for the north col on Tuesday 18 May. Tom is coming back down to interim camp. We wish them all of the best!3) Everest Expedition update:
Yes, we are still here in BC, along with all of the other teams.
5 of our members who stayed in basecamp for 10 days went up to IBC today. It may have been more out of shear boredom and frustration with staying in basecamp than for any particular reason.
We aren’t really sure because the latest installment in the ongoing weather forecast saga has us all looking to the 23-24 of May as the ultimate window towards which all climbers will strive. All teams are still in basecamp and want to reach the summit during this brief lull in the mighty winds which have been pummeling basecamp.
In our last few days here on this 5200 metre gravelly plain, we have wandered through whipping winds and dust moats all around the place, making a point to visit most of the other teams.
We popped by the Australian/South African team and 5 minutes turned into 5 hours as the stories unwound. Everyone was amazed that we could understand what they were saying and didn’t even need a translator. We invited the British team down to the teahouses and monastery, in order to sample the Tibetan version of eggs, chips, and brown sauce. Stomach teasers!!!! We popped in on the Tibetans, who seemed to have never had any visitors in their lavish dining tent, repleat with gilded carved wooden settees, upholstered benches, gold decorated sideboards, a laquerware shrine, quilted appliqué ceilings, a 3 metre stove, with a gratis snacks and drink buffet. We were all stunned and amazed as the Tibetan hospitality unfolded. One guest at the party turned out to be large format photographer, and showed us his massive camera which was a massive 70cm by 70cm by 70cm box on a tripod, complete with bellows, hood, lens, and the same size film negative plates. He wants to photograph the ice pilgrims and we want to see those photos. Sounds amazing.
Today the Shegar crew returned in force, all ten of em. Here is their story:
"Ahhh the delights of Shegar: 400 count Egyptian cotton sheets, as many duvets as can be piled on the over sized beds, plump pillows and the endless hot water. Shut the door on the ensuite bathroom and run a bath with the Turkish steam effect to clean away dust filled base camp lungs.
And the food, endless piles of fried chicken, chili chicken, chili cabbage, steamed buns filled with meaty delights, and Irish Stew; all cooked by a team of delightful chefs overseen by head chef Yule Brenner. Ten very skinny people eating till we could eat no more at every sitting.
After the initial rest, eat, sleep, eat, eat, eat period some exercise was called for.
Pre breakfast boot camp aerobics with Frank the Physio caused much hilarity with the hotel staff, particularly the Golden Gate move. Post breakfast walk to Shegar central for a few hours screen staring in the smoke filled internet café or a meditative commune with the monks in the delightful monastery. Then afternoon basketball, ruled by Janet the undisputed Queen of the hoop. If you're on Janet's team you win, every time. The aggression levels peaked on the third day, with some well placed elbows on cheek bones, and John stretchered off with a bruised toe. All smiles and hand shakes to finish and off to the bar for some celebratory beers. Ah the hardships of Everest climbing." back to top
ABC seen from slightly above. Large camp eh (Dan Mazur)?
Lots of news: Much reduced winds and pleasantly warm here in basecamp. North Col ABC Trek team called to say they reached ABC well. Everyone is fine. One member said they are not sure they want to climb up to the North Col. More on that later. They said it is cold and windy in ABC but spirits are high.
All of our Sherpas set off this morning for ABC. First group of members leaves tomorrow morning for interim camp. Shegar members plan to return tomorrow afternoon. Things are happening up here in Tibet!!! back to top
Well hello every one. Greetings to all of our Summit Climb news readers.
This is the dispatch for 11-12 May. Our north col ABC trek group called and they are in interim camp preparing to move into advanced basecamp in the morning. Everyone is doing well. They are going to have ABC nearly to themselves and they have a massive support staff of sherpas, Tibetans, and their own personal Chinese guide, the amazing Asu.
On the big Mount Everest, high winds have been buffeting the mountain since 8 May. Almost everyone has retreated to basecamp and below. Things are not looking good for an early summit this year. Much of our team is down in the village of Shegar, at 4011 metres, enjoying warm sunshine and green plants, and cotton sheets, hot showers, fresh linens, terry towels, and table cloths. Up here in 5200 metre basecamp winds keep howling and spinning around the place. Teams meet up for parties and discussions about the weather. The Russian team erected an enourmous dome tent that weighs one ton, then threw a huge party. All of the teams came over and drank all of the Russian's tea, sprite, and coca-cola, and everyone laughed and told stories and jokes into the wee hours. A ping pong championship tournament ensued and low and behold the winner is temba sherpa, the Russian's electrical engineer who keeps all of their myriad generators and lights and machines running. The British team had a birthday party for one of their members and some Australians crashed it with tasteless jokes about Eton.
Everyone is excited about the weather. As we are camped under Everest, we can see what the weather is doing up there every second of every day. And; Please let me inform you, it is not a pretty site. There is a two kilometre wind plume blowing from the top and according to several of the seven "Everest Weather" websites we are currently watching, the wind is cooking along up there at 138 kilometres/ hour. Exposed flesh would probably freeze solid in a minute or less up there right now, and you would not be able to stand up, just crawl along on your hands and knees. Needless to say, pretty much all teams have left ABC. Which is a good thing as we have heard that quite a few tents in ABC have fallen down and/or blown away. Luckily we have been rotating through our sherpa staff up and down to ABC and they are keeping everything tied down and lashed in place. Plus our North col and ABC trek group are going to be calling ABC home for the next week or so, courtesy of our hardworking staff.
The big topic for all Everest climbers is the weather. Well, the 7 websites all agree that around the 15th of May the wind is going to drop for a few hours, hopefully allowing the Tibetans to move up and work above 8300 metres and fix the rope. However, the seven websites say that on the 22nd of may the wind is going to drop for a few days, perhaps for, as long as, up to the 25th of May. So, lets just watch, but one can imagine that on the 21st of May a "conga-line" will form of all people who can still walk and aspire to climb Everest, and everyone for miles around will try ascending Everest on those days. I don't think it will be a riot or melee or mob scene, as this year everyone has commented on how polite the teams are and how everyone is trying to get along. Not like in previous years when some teams had a more "buccaneering" attitude, complete with rope cutting, etcetera. No, it will probably be more like an orderly climb on a busy day on Mont Blanc, when several hundred people go up and down to the summit.
Anyway, its all conjecture from yours truly at basecamp, as the wind swirls around and hammers at the tents. Here in basecamp at 5200 metres, tents regularly are collapsing in the wind, and have to be re-buoyed and rocked down. The craziest story we are all talking about was yesterday when someone was taking a shower in a small shower-tent in one of the tents and a swirling wind-rotor or "dust-devil" mini-tornado was cycloning around one of the camps and lifted the shower tent up into the air about 6 metres, and complete with the person's towel and clothing, the tent was cast far to the side like some kind of candy wrapper. Spectators were so stunned and embarrassed to witness the denuding of the showeree, they were speechless and only able to stare in amazement for a few moments. Eventually someone did find a blanket to wrap around the hapless (and freezing) victim who shall we say was turned a deeper shade of crimson red than any had heretofor thought possible from the cold and embarrassment. This kind of story helps us all pass the time while reading our books and powering through the three lavish meals our excellent cooks can prepare each day with the constant drone of food, tea, sprite, and coca cola resupply trucks coming up from the nearby village below. From all of us here in basecamp, patiently waiting for the next weather window. Yours sincerely, Dan back to top
Fiko at 7200 metres on acclimatisation walk to the top of the snow slope above North col (Peter Kinloch). Pasang Sherpa and Janet taking a break at 7200 metres on the snow slope to camp 2 (Dan Mazur). Laval St Germain after returning to the North col from 8300 metres. Good job (Dan Mazur)! North col camp after a snowy night of May 6-7 (Dan Mazur).
Dear Summit Climb News Readers. Thanks for following the news about our Mount Everest North side Climb from Tibet, as well as Advanced Basecamp Trek and North Col Climb.
Well, its been a very busy and productive last few days.
On 7 May, most of our team descended from advanced basecamp to basecamp, as they had achieved their goal of climbing a little above the North col to reach a high point near camp 2 and get ready for summitting Mount Everest and as acclimatized as possible before the summit attempt.
A group of us had just climbed up to the North col from ABC on 6 may, so we awoke early to check the weather and it sure was perfect. No wind, a golden sunrise with 4 cm of new snow on a gorgeous rosy-sunrise morning. On what might be considered the best day so far of the trip, Janet, Fiko, Frank, Peter, Enrique, Dan, and Pasang set out to explore the upper reaches of the mountain and the way to camp 2.
We walked on the well padded trail through soft snow in glowing morning, following about 50 sherpas who had layed the trail at about 2 am in their quest to carry loads of oxygen cylinders and tents up to camp 3. Our group of 7 made it up the snow slope, pulling on the well-anchored nylon ropes to the 7500 metre level before clouds started to swirl carried by a bit of breeze.
The views up here are big and stunning with big looks down into the great couloir, onto the Lho la, over to Pumori and Shishapangma and Cho Oyu, and even deep into the valley where Hillary and Tenzing's Everest basecamp lies.
As we descended the snow slope, conditions whited out and we had to feel our way carefully along the ridge, but it was not that bad and all of us felt like today was a great day out. Especially for team member Laval St. Germain who slept in camp 2 and walked to camp 3. What a great effort!
On 8 May, our little party packed up the North col camp, then climbed back down the North col in mild winds and some clouds and we made our way back down to the advanced basecamp. Upon arrival we relaxed around the dining table and had a sumptuous meal, then retreated to our tents for some well deserved r and r.
On 9 May, we walked back down Everest's stunning 24 kilometre long 'golden highway' stopping at interim camp for tea and lunch, then continuing on down to basecamp arriving in time to meet the Summit Climb North Col climbers and ABC trekkers. We had a fun time hanging around with our combined team, telling stories, jokes, and hearing tales of the drive in from Lhasa and up from Kathmandu, as part of the team flew into Lhasa and the others drove from Kathmandu.
On 10 May, 4 members of our little North col group set off in a landcruiser to the 4100 metre village of Shegar for an acclimatization rest. The North col-ABC trek group's yaks came and they packed up and headed up to interim camp. We wish them well and hope they will have a great trip, they seem like a nice group and it seems they will have a great time.
One of their members, Anthony Dokas, decided to return to Kathmandu and we wish him a good trip. He will be missed!!!
The latest talk has been about the weather, as its too windy on the summit to climb Everest now. However, we did see the larger Chinese-Tibetan team leave BC today with around 30 people in their party.
That is good because they aim to fix the ropes to the summit in the next few days!!!
Well, thanks for following our expeditions and treks. Take good care and all of the best and wish us luck!!!! back to top
View of Everest from SummitClimb base camp at 5200 metres (Frank Irnich). Team ready for departure to Shegar for rest days. Look at the massive wind plume coming from summit of Everest (Dan Mazur). Photo taken from East Rongbuk. The large peak is obviously Pumori. Can you name the others (Dan Mazur)?
Hi, this is Dan Mazur, the leader of the SummitClimb Everest Tibet expedition calling in a dispatch on 6 May at about 8:00 p.m.
Wow, it’s been a long day. I’m on the North Col with the team. Today David, John, Jangbu, Lakpa, Elizabeth, Gordon, and Laval went up to camp 2 at about 7600 metres/25,000 feet to get acclimatized. It was a beautiful day, especially in the morning, with no winds. There was lots of new snow, maybe about 30 centimetres.
A big group of 20 sherpas broke the trail and pulled out the old ropes, so it was super safe. This afternoon a big storm came in with a lot more snow and wind, so they went back down to basecamp.
Now there’s a second wave of us up here at the North Col with a lot of people. I think there are 13 of us including sherpas and members. We’re going to get up really early and check the weather. Things are looking good. We’re going to try to head up to camp 2 for acclimatization.
I just called Asu, our Chinese leader, and the North Col and ABC trek teams have arrived in basecamp today. They are getting settled in and will stay there for 3-4 days to get used to the altitude, eat and drink well, do some hikes, and then slowly work their way up the valley towards advanced basecamp. So we’re looking forward to seeing them.
I can’t really think of anything else I should say right now. I’m kind of out of breath. Wish us well. We’re hoping for good weather. There have been a lot of conflicting weather forecasts. We’ve been really checking the different sources and forecasts carefully. Arnold Coster has also sent us a great weather forecast, so we’ve been looking at that one. Thanks Arnold!
We’re hoping we get a couple of days of good weather. That’s all we need to get up to camp 2, so wish us well and we’ll talk to you soon. Bye. back to top
Team sorting gear on a nice afternoon on the Nnorth col, our two rows of tents clearly shown (Frank Irnich). Team reaches bottom of North col headwall at 6500 metres on a storm retreat day. Left to right - Dan, Phurba, Frank, David, Eli, and Torby (Peter Kinloch). Sherpa team crossing the last ladder, just below the North col (Frank Irnich). Dan and Jangbu coming down onto the flats at 6575 metres (Frank Irnich).
Monday 3rd May:
After breakfast Dan Mazur sent two Sherpas from the North Col to look after the tents at Camp 2. The weather is extremely friendly in the morning after this heavy snow storm on Sunday. After spending one and a half days at Camp 2 Mark arrived safely back at the North Col. Dan Mazur asked Frank to open the world's highest physiotherapy practice so he could look after Jangbu because he has experienced a few days of back pain. Also, John endured a tough night at North Col camp and received treatment on a light neck strain.
In the afternoon Dan and David were proved correct in their predictions as the weather deteriorated.
Tuesday 4th May:
All members woke up ready to try again to reach the North Col camp. It was decided to split the group, with one team heading up to the North Col camp today and the other hoping to go tomorrow. Gordon, Elizabeth, Laval, John, Torbian and David, along with three Sherpas set off from ABC at 11:30.
Gavin, Eli and Mark departed for some rest at base camp after their attempts to reach Camp 2. The weather was grey and cloudy but with virtually no wind as the groups set off. Enrique, Peter, Frank, Fiko, Janet and Nick rested in preparation of a possible attempt to climb up to North Col camp tomorrow.
The Sherpas also enjoyed their unscheduled day of rest!
Wednesday 5th May:
The remaining members at ABC woke to find that snow had been falling for most of the night. David also reported that the North Col team had postponed their attempt of Camp 2 due to the snow fall. There was still virtually no wind but the decision was taken to wait and see if the weather improved before moving on to their respective camps. Whilst waiting at ABC the cooks ensured that morale stayed high by serving up yet more excellent meals! All day singing came from the kitchen as the team members repaired a radio to listen to news from the outside world.
Best wishes, Frank and Peter from the Tibet Everest Team back to top
On the new route up the north col at 6850 metres. Team on the rope from top to bottom- Elizabeth, Peter, Gordon, Torby, Nick, Jimba, Lakpa Gyeluk (Frank Irnich). ABC on a sunny morning with wind from Everest summit (Peter Kinloch).
Hi, this is Janet Bull reporting for the SummitClimb Everest Tibet expedition on Monday morning, May 3rd.
The team is back in ABC having come down from the North Col/camp 1 during a wild snow storm yesterday. Up on the North Col the wind was gusting, which means that several tents were ripped apart. One tent from another team actually flew down to the bottom of the col.
This morning at ABC it is sunny and there is about 6-8 inches of new snow on the ground. Early in the day the team was treated with a view of the moon setting over the North Col. It was very beautiful.
Hopefully in a day or 2 we will again return to the North Col and pick up where we left off, trying to progress to camp 2. Overall everyone is well.
Hi to all who are following our dispatches. Hopefully you are enjoying them. Hi also to Ally and Brian. Have a good day! back to top
Frank Irnich, physiotherapist, massaging torso of Jangbu Sherpa, who had been complaining of pain in legs and who we thought might have pinched nerve(Peter Kinloch). Practicing with O2 equipment in ABC. From left to right, Fiko, Frank, and Gordon (Peter Kinloch).
Hi, this is Nick Crosland calling in for the Everest Tibet expedition from the North Col at 7000 metres/23,000 feet. Today is May 1st and it’s 8:00 p.m.
We have staggered the group slightly because camp 2 can only have 6 tents at the current moment. We had 4 members come up to the North Col on the 29th, 6 on the 30th, and the remaining 5 came up on the 1st.
The weather has been excellent so far. We’ve had a little wind and snow. The route is slightly different due to the avalanche and is more difficult, but seems easier because it’s our 2nd time coming up here.
We’ve had one member make it up to camp 2 on the 30th, Laval. Unfortunately, Eli, who had the stove, wasn’t able to make it up, so Laval was a bit dehydrated and came back down today. We had 2 more members go to camp 2 today and tomorrow 5 more will go up. The remaining will go up the following day and hopefully sleep there a day or 2 and hike up to camp 3, depending on how everyone feels.
The food here has been excellent thanks to our awesome cook, Kipa Sherpa. We’ve had delicious noodles, chicken and all kinds of tasty things that have kept up everyone’s moral.
There have been lots of new people up here at camp 1 from other teams, which is quite exciting. Thanks for following along our expedition. Bye. back to top
Hi, this is Dan Mazur the leader for the SummitClimb Everest Tibet expedition with a dispatch for the 29th of April.
The team is all comfortable in ABC. 4 members went up to the North Col to get a head start on acclimatization trips to camp 2. Our sherpas have carried many loads up there. We’ve got lots of oxygen, food, epi gas, stoves, equipment and everything up there.
Things are looking good. The weather’s been great. We had a little snow last night, but today the weather has been really perfect. There’s not much wind. It’s warm and there are a few puffy clouds.
We’d like to say best of luck to Jesse Hall and Dan Marino who left our trip and we’re really going to miss them. They are a couple of great guys and we’re sorry that they’re no longer with us. They’ve gone back to Kathmandu.
In addition, we located Lopsang, the Tibetan climber out on the glacier yesterday at 6200 metres and he called Sweden to the summit climbers he was with on Everest in 2006 when he froze his fingers. That was Martin Letzter and Olaf Sundström. They have generously sent funds to Lopsang as kind of a summit bonus and also to show their regret that he froze his fingers. So we passed Losang the very generous amount of money that Martin and Olaf gave yesterday. We took some photos and, as one of his Tibetan climbing colleagues said, it was Lopsang’s lucky day yesterday.
We’re all up here resting and hopefully all of us are going to go for the North Col tomorrow and on up to camp 2. We’ll spend a couple of nights and get acclimatized. Our sherpas have been working so hard and have really impressed the group we have this year.
Our Chinese leader, Asu, has gone down to Tingri. He’s going to meet the Nroth Col team and the Everest ABC trekkers and slowly help them come up to basecamp, ABC, and on to the North Col.
Another update we have is the route to the North Col has been moved and climbs away from the original spot where there was the tragedy a few days ago. Some ice fell down and there was a horrible accident, so it’s really good that the Tibetan climbers have moved the route.
Thanks for following our expedition. Bye. back to top
Psang and Lobsang (left) at 6200 metres telephoning Martin Letzter in Sweden (Dan Mazur). Pumori, Khumbu Valley, Lingtren, Khumbutse, and Lho-la, seen from above (Peter Kinloch). Lobsang counting his summit bonus payed by Martin Letzter (Dan Mazur). Lobsang showing the fingers he lost on Everest summit in 2006. What a tragedy (Dan Mazur).
Hi, this is Elizabeth Tertil calling in a dispatch from advanced basecamp for the days of 27-28 April for the SummitClimb Everest Tibet expedition.
We stayed for 3 days at basecamp, which included showering, laundry, going to the tea houses, catching up on the internet and eating and sleeping a lot. We set off for our 2nd trip up the mountain on Tuesday April 27th. We were all in good spirits enjoying beautiful views of Pumori and the surrounding glacier. We also saw many Himalayan grouse and blue mountain sheep, but no snow leopards yet. We’ll keep looking for them.
After a rather chilly night at IBC we had magnificent views of Everest on a very still morning. However, some serious clouds blew in and by the afternoon it was cold, windy and snowing lightly. This did not prevent our having a very pleasant walk among the numerous ice pilgrims on either side of the pass.
After arrival at ABC, we were greeted with warm drinks and resuscitated with noodle soup. We had a good supper and retired for the night. Last night was crystal clear and cold with a very bright full moon.
Thursday April 29th was another beautiful, clear windless morning. Several of our team members are going to the North Col. The rest will follow tomorrow. The plan is to spend several nights in camp 1, then go to camp 2 at 7800 metres and perhaps camp 3 at 8300 metres.
All the best to my children. I’m thinking of you all of the time. (Short Polish dispatch follows). back to top
Peter Kinloch descending the big ladder just below the North col in a bad snowstorm (Frank Irnich). Sherpa team crossing a crevasse we dubbed - 'Nick's crevasse' at around 6800 metres (Frank Irnich).
Today began with a lazy, but huge breakfast. Then we checked email and hung out with friends from other teams and told stories, then had a huge delicious lunch of fresh vegetables, potatoes, salad, fresh meat, fresh fruit, cakes, tea, sprite, and coke.
After lunch our satphones and mobile phones began ringing wildly, and our Sherpa Pasang, who has been with us in basecamp and was out visiting other bc teams when he heard, stormed into camp with an announcement. Apparently there was an accident today on the face of the North Col. An avalanche swept down and may have torn out some ropes and may have killed one or more climbers. There may have been sherpas involved in the accident as well. Oh my god, this is horrible news. None of our team members were involved in the accident as all are at basecamp. We are not sure if any of our Sherpas were involved in the accident (God Forbid), but from what we heard, this unfortunate accident occurred to a team from a different company. Our sincere condolences to the team and its members and sherpas. We are very sorry to hear this and will be going up the mountain tomorrow and will tell you more as soon as we find out. back to top
Lakpa Gyeluk Sherpa belays Gordon Hopper across the lone ladder at 6950 metres in the North Col (Chang-La). (Elizabeth Tertil). Kongma bird (Himalayan snow pheasant) at 5400 metres by the side of the trail. These birds are protected (Gordon Hopper).
Today the team rested in basecamp and it was Anzac day. We payed tribute to the Australia New Zealand Army Corps, may God rest their souls.
Our team celebrated by toasting the Anzacs, singing songs, telling stories, speaking loudly, gesticulating wildly, and visiting other teams with members from Australia and New Zealand. Each afternoon of our rest period, big billowy clouds from Nepal have poured over the top of Mount Everest, and it looks quite stormy on the mountain. Some of our members stayed up late to watch DVDs and craved popcorn. The wind has gusted from time to time, but no snow has fallen on basecamp. back to top
Team photo taken on 24 April. This was on the occasion of Sri, Roland, and Carl's departure. They will be missed (Frank Irnich). Advanced basecamp at 6397 metres seen from a distance. Oour camp is on the left with a large yellow and adjacent green tent (Gordon Hopper).
Thursday 22nd April - After a second windy night up at North Col camp the team was feeling acclimatized and ready to make the journey down to ABC. Our sherpas took down much of the camp and some tents were left up and used to cache personal and group equipment in advance of the team's return in a few days' time. With the gear locked up at the camp the process of descending the fixed ropes of the North Col started at about 09:30. By 12:15 the last team members had left camp on their way towards ABC. The SummitClimb team had been the first to arrive and stay at the North Col camp and met other teams making their way up the headwall for the first time. The weather was clear allowing for excellent views of Everest. After clearing the famous ladder that covers crevasses at 6950m the team made quick progress and by 15:00 everyone was back at ABC and were rewarded with hamburgers and apple pie by the excellent cooks. Mark, Laval and Gavin decided after lunch to press on to interim base camp, whilst the rest of the team enjoyed a restful afternoon in preparation for a busy day tomorrow.
Friday 23rd April - Another windy night in ABC didn't dampen spirits amongst the team. One or two team members were feeling tired but the group on the whole was strong and were looking forward to arriving at base camp for a few days' rest. Despite a little wind the conditions were perfect and with the majority of the team having left ABC by 11:00 it was another great day on Everest with plenty of daylight hours to enjoy the journey to base camp.
Dan Marino had decided to stay for a rest at ABC today and Mark, Laval, and Gavin completed their shorter journey from interim base camp in the morning.
Once again the team's excellent cooks had a surprise waiting for everyone at interim base camp. After traversing past incredible ice pinnacles a huge lunch at interim base camp allowed the group to digest the magnificent views they had enjoyed on the first leg of the journey. On the way down from interim base camp everyone was able to enjoy close up views of Himalayan Grouse as they ran across the path and provided entertainment for the team members. Since last following the path up to ABC the glaciers have started to melt ensuring that the views of the route had changed significantly in the past week. Between 17:00 and 19:30 the team arrived at base camp and were able to enjoy the luxurious surroundings they had left a week earlier.
Saturday 24th April - Despite a windy night the team slept very well at the lower altitude of 5200m. Today was the first full rest day and after a huge breakfast the process of washing clothes, resting weary feet, reading, listening to music, eating, rehydrating and joking with teammates began.
Behind the tents Everest could be seen in all its beauty whilst the relative quiet at base camp ensured that the team was able to enjoy a good rest.
Today was also the day that the group said farewell to Sri, Roland and Carl, who would be travelling home after their involvement in the Everest Tibet expedition came to an end. It was sad to see the three team members leave and their presence will be missed for the remainder of the expedition. The whole team ensured that they received a fitting send off and we hope to meet up with our friends again in the future. Later in the afternoon Dan Marino arrived at base camp, feeling well and ready to enjoy his rest period too.
During the evening time, with temperatures in the dining tent falling, David and Laval developed an ingenious counter-balance door system that performed brilliantly to keep the heat in and was met with rapturous applause from the rest of the team! Once again the cooks excelled themselves and the team settled down to enjoy another night of deep sleep!
Best wishes, Peter Kinloch. back to top
Ice climbing practice at ABC (Sri Llakshmi Sharma with Peter Kinloch's camera). Sherpa team carrying our high altitude kitchen on the face of the Chang-la (North-Col) at 6700 metres, on the way to camp 1 (Fikret (Fiko) Karacic).
Hi this is a dispatch for the SummitClimb Everest Tibet expedition. The time is 7:15 p.m., local Tibet time.
I’m calling you from the top of the North Col. The elevation is about 7000 metres/23,000 feet up here. The North Col is also known as the Chang La.
Today we got up and had breakfast made by our amazing cook up here on the North Col, Kipa Sherpa. Everybody had kind of a rough first night up here at 7000 metres, which was to be expected. Then we kind of greeted the sun and stretched our legs a bit.
It was really windy last night. We talked to ABC on the radio and heard it was super windy down there. Our big dining tent was partially blown down. We need to go look at that, but they were able to repair it, so that’s good.
After a delicious lunch a group of members decided they were ready to go down and that one night was enough for them. That was Roland, Sri and the 2 brothers led by our amazing Chinese guide, Asu.
A group of us hiked up towards camp 2 to check out the route. It was super windy up there. It was really quite amazing conditions with the high winds and we had to wear our down suits. Meanwhile, our sherpas who are with us strung up a bunch of prayer flags all over the camp.
I just wanted to let you know that we’re the only team up here on the North Col. I don’t know where everybody is, but we’re the only team. Tomorrow we’re headed back down to ABC. Then we’ll go back down to basecamp for a couple days of well deserved rest after this acclimatization mission.
Everyone has done so well acclimatizing and we’re really proud of them. Thanks for listening to our dispatches and take care. Bye, bye. back to top
Sherpa team digging tent platforms on the North-col (Chang-la) at 7000 metre high camp 1 (Fikret (Fiko) Karacic). Team member Fiko at 6900 metres on the Nnorth-col (Chang-la) face, traversing a crevassed section, on the way to camp 1 (Gordon Hopper).
Hi, this is a dispatch for the SummitClimb Everest Tibet and North Col expedition for the 19th and 20th of April.
On the 19th we had a big prayer ceremony with all of the sherpas, kitchen boys and members in ABC. We strung up a bunch of prayer flags, burned incense and made a cake shaped like Mount Everest, which we ate. There were 2 lamas that did a lot of praying. We had a bunch of singing and dancing by the sherpas and Tibetan kitchen boys. A lot of drinks were passed around like Coke, Sprite and tea. Then we went to bed early.
We got up early on the morning of the 20th and hiked up to the North Col, where I’m calling you from right now. It’s at about 7000 metres/23,000 feet. It was snowy and windy. Everybody is in their tents. We have our awesome cook up here, Kipa Sherpa, who is cooking us food and filling our water bottles, so we’re comfortable here in our camp 1.
Carl didn’t come up to the North Col. He’s trying to shake a cold. Fiko went down from the North Col. He figured it was high enough for him, so dropped a load and went back down to ABC.
We’ll update you tomorrow. Wish us all the best. Thank you very much. Bye, bye. back to top
Hello, this is Srilakshmi Sharma from the Everest Tibet & North Col SummitClimb expedition. We are all huddled in the mess tent staying out of the cold. This is the 18th of April and we’re at 6400 metres/21,000 feet in advanced basecamp. Hurray! It really feels like we’re an expedition now.
We came up from interim camp a couple of days ago. The route was just beautiful. There was snow high up on the pass at about 6000 metres/19,700 feet. We’ve had sunny days and snowy, blustery evenings. It’s probably about 0 to -5 degrees Celsius outside right now.
Acclimatization is the name of the game right now. Everyone is in pretty good humour. We’re all together. Tom left for sunnier times back to the UK after a successful trip to the North Col. The cooks have worked overtime to make this a really great little setup for us all.
We have outlined our plan for the next couple of days. We are going to head up to the North Col in a couple of day’s time. The last two days we have been getting our stuff together, learning about fixed lines, training, and ice climbing. We’ve also got to know some of our neighbours with Chinese camp up the road and a group of Italian who are planning to climb Everest in 3 weeks. We’ve been averting the occasional yak stampede through the camp and have our own delegated ‘yak whisperer’. We have also been to our yak herder’s tents and hung out with some of the locals.
That’s it for today. Over and out. Thanks, bye. back to top
Jimba Sherpa labeling our 200 bottles of oxygen before our sherpa team carries them up the mountain from ABC up to higher camps (Dan Mazur). Yak drivers meet in basecamp while Asu films them (Samdien). Yaks being loaded in basecamp (Samdien). Our trusty and loyal kitchen assistant Tsering, who hails from Pasum Shang (Samdien).
Hi this is Tom Javrin calling in for the SummitClimb North Col 2010 trip. I’m leaving my report now because I’m heading down from ABC to basecamp.
I left the group about 6 days ago to do an accelerated acclimatization due to me needing to get a flight home to the UK on the 18th. It was quite hard work to acclimatize with 2 days in each camp.
Yesterday the goal was to get up to the North Col and back with Jimpa and Thile, my 2 sherpas. We managed to do it, so that was a fantastic ending for me on this trip and personally a really great achievement.
It’s been an amazing 2 ½ weeks for me. I’m going to be sad to go home, but I am ready for some creature comforts. The other part of the trip that’s been fantastic has been meeting the other members. They’re a great group of people and they all deserve to get to whatever their objective might be, either the North Col or the summit. I wish them a very safe climb. Thanks. Bye. back to top
Norbu from Chun Zom cutting glacial ice to be melted into drinking water in 6400 metre ABC (Samdien). Samdien and Norbu loading rice sacks with ice chunks to be carried over to the ABC kitchen.Personal water bottles awaiting filling from group thermos flasks in the mammoth daily task of keeping the team hydrated at 6400 metre ABC. Team in heated ABC dining tent before breakfast (Samdien).15 April, 2010
Hi this is Dan calling for SummitClimb and SummitTrek. Today’s date is the 15th of April and the time is 20 minutes past 11:00 a.m. Tibet time.
I’m calling you from interim basecamp at 5800 metres/19,000 feet. The weather is very sunny, there is no wind and the temperature is around freezing.
Right now I’m sitting on top of a high rock moraine looking down at our camp about 50 metres below me. I can see a lot of ice pilgrims, glacier all around me and as I look out to the left, I can see some other interim camps and herds of yaks working their way up towards advanced basecamp.
First of all, I wanted to mention that everyone in our team is okay. We heard there was an earthquake about 250 kilometres to the northwest of us, perhaps over on the Qinghai/Tibet border. We’d like to send our condolences to everyone who was affected by the earthquake. We did not feel the effects of the earthquake here. Everyone on our team is okay.
I’d like to just mention what we did on previous days as well.
On the 12th of April Alex Welles, our ABC trekking member left the team and went back to Kathmandu and we miss him very much. It was great to have him around. What an interesting person and he will be missed. We wish him all the best in his journey back home.
On the 12th of April we walked up to interim basecamp. It took 4 hours for some, but everyone arrived safely. We came to our comfortable camp among the ice pilgrims at 5800 metres/19,000 feet and had a delicious dinner.
On the 13th we rested in interim basecamp. Some of us took some acclimatization hikes around on the local ridges and explored the terrain. It’s gorgeous up here, especially with the dusting of new snow. We saw many birds swarming around and watched herds of yaks walking by. It’s quite a picturesque area being high in these mountains on this amazing East Rongbuk Glacier.
On the 14th, we took another rest day to get used to the high 5800 metres/19,000 feet elevation. Some of us wandered around amongst the moraine. We explored a little bit towards the Far East Rongbuk. Our interim basecamp was located right at the junction of the Far East Rongbuk Glacier and the East Rongbuk Glacier.
This morning on the 15th, as I’m calling you, we’re heading up towards advanced basecamp. Most of our team is going. 1 or 2 of our members aren’t feeling quite so well, so are going to stay and rest in interim camp. The rest of us are walking up towards advanced basecamp. It’s a big day hiking along the moraines of the East Rongbuk Glacier. We’ll be taking our time. It probably takes about 4-8 hours to walk up there, depending. The elevation up there is quite high at 6400 metres/21,000 feet. We’re looking forward to reconnecting with one of our members, Tom Javrin and his 2 sherpas, Thile Sherpa and Sano Jangbu Sherpa, and hearing how their progress is going trying to reach the North Col.
Our team will be resting up in advanced basecamp for another 3-5 days. We’ll be practicing ice climbing and we may try to make an ascent on to the North Col.
So wish us well and thanks for following our expedition at SummitClimb and SummitTrek. This is Dan Mazur signing off. All of the best for now. Cheers. Bye, bye. back to top
Yaks moving along trail to ABC below Everest (Gordon Hopper). 5800 metre interim camp located on Rongbuk Glacier taken on a snowy morning. Photo shows 'ice pilgrims' towering above camp (Samdien). Enrique Rodriguez ((E-Rod) showing off his 'el-diablo' cap in interim camp. (Samdien). Team packing up 5800 metre interim camp preparing to make the walk to 6400 metres (Samdien).11 April, 2010
Hi there www.SummitClimbNews.com readers. Hope all is well? I am writing from our new China Mobile Communications tent in basecamp. The world's largest mobile phone company, in all of their wisdom, has put up a mobile phone tower down at the lower Rongbuk Monastery. So, if you are positioned correctly and have the right sim card installed in your phone/ mobile device, you can make and receive telephone calls, send and receive sms/text messages, browse the internet, as well as send and receive emails from right here in basecamp. Our team's basecamp is located about 500 metres directly east of the Sandy Irvine Memorial, may God rest his soul. Between us and the Rongbuk Monastery lies a 7 metre high low gravel hill. We have discovered that this hill blocks clear mobile reception from pretty much everywhere in our basecamp, but if you stand atop the hill, you can get a good signal. So, using our ingenuity ("smart like tractor, strong like bull" or was that "strong like tractor, smart like bull") we have erected one of our sleeping tents on top of the hill and this has become our 'China Mobile Tent' so we can have more of a clear shot at the Rongbuk Mobile Tower. That way, instead of standing atop the hill shivering in the wind trying to use a phone or surf the internet on a laptop, we can sit inside a comfortable, warm, windproof tent and communicate with the outside world. So far, so good, it seems to be working as its 22:43 pm on a windy night and I am in the China Mobile Communications Tent sending you this email.
Today was a very busy day for our team. It was our last rest day in basecamp during this first climbing cycle. The weather started off cloudy with a cloud cap on everest and clouds to the north, above Tingri. The wind was mild in the morning, then everest eventually cleared and the wind in basecamp picked up to about 20 km/hr. The temps varied between -3c and +18c throughout the day.
Right after breakfast, people put their names on the roster for the hot shower list and the Tibetan kitchen staff worked admirably to make sure everyone got as much hot water as they wanted so all of us can feel super clean before heading up the mountain.
Assistant leader David Obrien, and Leader in training Gavin Vickers got stuck into making the high altitude medical kits, with the help of Doctor Shree Lakshmi Sharma. We got everything in the kits dialed for pretty much every emergency we could foresee coming up in the next few weeks, and will be carrying these kits with us as we move up the mountain. We also prepared our emergency medical oxygen supplies for interim camp, together with Jimba Sherpa. Next, we got out the walkie talkie radios and tested them and prepared extra battery packs. Gavin worked with our Chinese leader Asu to fine tune the electronics, charging, and lighting systems. David developed a shopping list for our next shipment from Lhasa, probably in a weeks time. The list includes things like batteries, lamps, petrol, plasters, motor oil, prayer flags, electrical tape, incense, etcetera.
Jimba Sherpa has spearheaded a campaign to beautify and organize basecamp and we sorted out all of the massive piles of equipment and materials that had been dropped by various trucks, yaks, and motorbikes during the last week into a very organized system into our new giant Tibetan storage tent, which we are very proud of, as its made of strips of handspun and handloomed local yak wool kind of burlappy type material sewn together and stretched over a tubular steel frame. We built a new stone patio in between the kitchen, store, and dining tents, so we can have dining 'al fresco a la terrace' when the sun is out and the wind is down. Basecamp already is looking much better and we look forward to making further improvements to what is to be our HQ for two months.
Samdien our Tibetan cook prepared an amazing delicious lunch with all kinds of yummy vegetable sidedishes and a delectable pork stirfry. We celebrated the warm day with cans of coke, sprite, and beer, all followed by fresh bananas for dessert. Where did they get these???
After lunch, several small teams of members formed up to explore the surrounding hillsides and two of the groups were excited to run across bluesheep herds roaming the hills. At this rate, one cant help but wonder if it might only be a matter of time till someone spots a big wildcat stalking the sheep.
Some of us spent the rest of the day typing emails, then we moved into the dining tent for a delicious dinner including fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. The after dinner social hour included several of Gavin's more than 200 dvds on Nick's bigscreen computer. So, yes folks, it was SummitClimb/SummitTrek movienight. Believe it or not!
Since arriving in basecamp, all of us are feeling so much more rested, acclimatized, and very ready for tomorrow's 10 day trip up the mountain from here in BC, up to IC, ABC, and the North Col, God willing!! Thanks a lot for following our team and please wish us luck!! back to top
9 April, 2010
Today we started with an early morning breakfast of porridge, toast, omelettes and bacon on a gorgeous sunny day beneath mighty mount Everest towering above us. After breakfast we walked down valley for 1 hour to the old (upper) Rongbuk monastery for a prayer ceremony with all of our members, sherpas, and the monks and nuns stationed there. It is quite an ancient place, and we could really feel the history as we toured the secret caves beneath the floor of the main room. Then we all went outside and beneath
flapping prayer flags, received a blessing from the head lama. With all of the chanting, scarf presenting, rice and tsampa throwing, juniper and incense burning, and Everest right overhead, it really feels like our expedition has finally begun.
Afterward, we trooped down valley for 20 minutes to a little hamlet of "teahouse" tents and picked a particularly large one and everyone went inside. It was quite lavish and warm with carpeting, wall hangings, soft benches, big warm pillows, large tea tables, and a sheep dung fired stove. Tashi and Tschering, the proprietors, treated us thirsty pilgrims to lovely cups of Tibetan tea and even encouraged the brave among us to sample some of their dried sheep meat, which we carved up with a large butcher knife! During tea, our hosts made an impromptu showing of their lovely carpets and we were impressed with the fine quality locally made Tibetan rugs that could be acquired for only 40 euros.
After tea we wandered back up to basecamp and devoured another amazing lunch of salad, chips, green peas, cheese sandwiches, sautéed ham, and peaches for desert. At this rate, how will we lose weight??!! After lunch many members stayed to enjoy hot showers in our brand new shower tent with propane heated water whilst others of us went to visit teams around basecamp.
More and more teams seem to be arriving each day. Nearby us there is an enourmous Tibetan-Chinese group with over 80 members. We spent an hour touring their 10 giant army style tents, some of which were fully carpeted and even had decorative woolen wall curtains and double insulated artistic tapestry ceilings with Tibetan motifs. Our Tibetan-Chinese friends were very kind to us and generously presented us with a generator upon our departure from their camp, so the Summitclimb basecamp will now be even more fully blessed with massive amounts of electricity.
After that visit, we stopped at the camp of some German friends and had the good fortune to be able to sample some delicious apple cider and we were very fortunate to be able to return the favour by assisting with some technical issues they were having with their internet connection, and thanks to one of our member's help (he is a bit of a technical wizard) they were able to send some video files back to Germany for a television programme they are making about their ascent of the Japanese and Hornbein couloirs.
Back at our own camp, in our comfortable insulated and heated mess tent on a chair setup on top of the dining table, Gordon and Elizabeth Hopper were showing a fascinating slideshow on Nick's bigscreen computer about their trek up the Khumbu valley last year with SummitTrek. They had some great photos and during the interesting show we munched on our delicious, fried chicken, fresh green bean, fresh salad, and fresh potato dinner, followed by fresh sliced fruit for dessert.
Well, after such a busy day it was time for bed and well deserved sleep. We plan to rest in basecamp again on 11 and 12 April, and then move up to "interim camp" on 12 April. Thanks for following our expedition and wish us luck!! back to top
Loading yaks in basecamp for the trip up to interim camp, Everest behind (Dan Mazur).
Today we were up early and split into two groups. The first drove to basecamp in two landcruisers and the second took the comfortable bus. It was a long and beautiful drive through the gorgeous Tibetan plateau and into the undulating foothills surrounding Everest.
Our bus slowly lumbered up about 100 switchbacks to climb the 5200 metre Pang La. Just below the Pang La we spotted a herd of around 20 Tibetan gazelles watching us from a grassy knoll. On the top of the pass the wind blew quite strongly and we had to don our down jackets. It was sunny and clear and we could see Kangchenjunga, Makalu, Everest, part of Lhotse including Lhotse Shar, Cho Oyu, and Shishapangma. An incredible treat to view 6 of the world's highest 14 "8000 metre" mountains.
Using our pretty good map of the region, we could trace the Rongbuk River valleys and see the hills between which basecamp was located. The Tibet side of Everest definitely has the best views of Everest and the Nepal-Tibet himalaya one could imagine.
We climbed back into our vehicle and slowly rolled down another 100 switchbacks and through the famed mount Everest tunnel. Exiting the tunnel, we spooked a herd of about 15 bluesheep, and some of them stood on the hillside above the road and watched us lazily while we coasted by. One massive ram had a sweeping full curl of horns upon his head, an imposing site. We motored on down to the Rongbuk Valley and slowly traced our way along the river.
We stopped at the traditional Tibetan village of Tashi-zom and had tea. We checked out the rooms at this comfortable carpet bedecked little café-lodge-hotel and enjoyed friendly exchange of chatter with the locals in Tibetan, English, and Chinese.
Finally we reached the famed Rongbuk Monastery, showed our permits and passports for the umpteenth time and were admitted to the restricted road to basecamp that only expedition vehicles are allowed to traverse. By the way the road is graveled from Tingri for nearly its entire length, much to the contrary that it has been tarmacked. Wrong!
We crossed the alluvial delta that is basecamp, bouncing over cobbles and crossing frozen streams, and pulled up directly in front of our large dining, kitchen, and sleeping tents. Looming in the background, we can see Everest in all of her majesty. Gratefully we extricated ourselves from the vehicles and dove into the dining tent for a much needed delicious meal. After dinner, we sorted ourselves into our individual sleeping tents, and as we dropped off to sleep, reflected upon what a touch of luxury it is to have our own personal sleeping tent that we can spread our stuff out in and that we don’t have to share with anyone. back to top
Leader in training Gavin Vickers and assistant leader David O Brien with Tashi at the party inaugurating the new hotel in Nyalam (Dan Mazur).
Today we took a rest in Tingri. It was a sunny and warm day so we walked up to the viewpoint in the morning and evening for great photos of Everest, Cho Oyu, and Pumori. Some members walked the local hills to 5000 metres. The TMA restaurant served lots of vegetables and the meat eaters went over to the Lhasa hotel for a carnivorous satiation. Some of us worked on emails and internet throughout the day. Asu, our Chinese leader worked to get last minute shopping and organizing accomplished. All members met in the warm and cozy lhasa hotel for a nice cup of tea after dinner, and then we tucked into bed, anticipating our drive up to basecamp tomorrow. back to top
Today we awoke early and after breakfast drove from Nyalam to Tingri. The road is in very good condition and the visibility was clear so we could see a lot. We crossed the 5000 metre/16,400 foot Yakri Shong La pass and saw lovely unobstructed views of mount Shishapangma, 14th highest in the world and the only 8000 metre peak located entirely in Tibet. Finally we have reached the mighty Tibetan plateau and it showed all of its dry high elevation.
Surprisingly there is almost no road traffic, proving the point that Tibet is still nearly closed. So we feel very fortunate to be here. Along the highway, we saw two groups of native wild asses, and a pair of huge Tibetan cranes wading in a pool near the road. This is such a rare siting of a bird that is rapidly approaching extinction. As we zoomed along the smooth ribbon of tarmac in our comfortable bus and land cruisers, donkey carts and Himalayan snow pheasants scooted out of our way. Rounding a corner near Gutsuo town the plateau spread her arms wide and luckily we saw mounts Cho Oyu and Everest in all their glory. Everest stood proud over the highway and we couldn't help but notice an enormous 5-10 kilometre wind plume screaming from the summit. Finally we arrived in dusty and frontier like Tingri town at noon, and we were assigned our rooms at the local inn. While awaiting lunch, the members broke out a football (soccer ball) kindly purchased by David O'Brien and challenged our sherpas to a football match. By the time the lunch bell rang, the members had scored 1 goal and the sherpas 6!! At lunch, we celebrated Gavin Vickers 40th birthday and Shri Lakshmi presented him a pair of tiger embroidered cotton briefs and Gavin went back to his room and much to everyone's dismay, modeled the briefs around the dining room. Shocking!!
After lunch our sherpa team rang from basecamp to say that they and the two trucks had arrived, but where was the truck with our Tibetan and Chinese staff and all of the food and kitchen equipment being brought down from Lhasa? Our sherpas were hungry! In the meantime us members back in Tingri met to work out the schedule of the North Col members and ABC trekkers, then we met with the basecamp translator in order to place our yak order.
Apparently we have been assigned 168 yaks. Our equipment is up in basecamp, so lets get a few of those yaks moving towards advanced basecamp (ABC)! A bit later in the day, our Tibetan convoy rang from Shegar to say that someone had smashed their truck's windscreen during the night and they had to get a new one sent over from Shigatse. Finally the Tibet convoy did reach basecamp at 9pm, so our Nepali sherpas and Tibetan and Chinese staff were at last united and all is well. In the evening, after dinner, we walked up the hill above Tingri town and enjoyed the view across the Tibetan plateau toward Everest and Cho Oyu (now in cloud) from the impressive granite monument built to honour Chomolungma Mount Everest. On the way down we strolled through Tingri's one dusty street, and dodged barking dog packs to head for the Lhasa hotel and a delicious cup of tea beside a warm sheep-dung fired stove. Just another "normal" day in Tibet I guess! back to top
This is a spectacular view of Tingri, the last town we stay in before heading to basecamp. In the background you can see Cho Oyu , the world's 6th highest mountain (Tunc Findik).
Today we awoke early at our luxurious new hotel and had breakfast at the Basecamp Restaurant. Then we opened the trucks and removed some warm clothing from our duffles, then repacked the trucks and 5 of our sherpas headed out with the two trucks to make tracks for Tingri and get basecamp setup in advance of the group's arrival. Members went for walks in surrounding hills before lunch and were treated to amazing views of 6000 metre peaks like Chomo Pamari and Dorje Lakpa. Along the ridge lines, several groups of wild Himalayan bluesheep were spotted, a rare treat to see the native wildlife. After dinner at Snowland Restaurant, Tashi, the owner, threw a massive party for us and made a lot of speeches, treated us to a big bonfire, lots of drinks, and the Tibetan nomads performed a ceremonial dance for us, around the crackling blazing fire. All in all, it was a very amazing day and we went to sleep with big smiles on our faces. back to top
Today we awoke very early in Tingri and had breakfast at Hotel Gange at 9am Chinese time. Then we boarded our bus and jeeps and all of us members and sherpas and trucks set off for Nyalam town. The weather was stunning and we were treated to amazing views of the Bote Khosi gorge (grand canyon of the friendship highway) with monstrous cliffs, lush hemlock and fur forests and towering giant icy-rocky mountains high above our heads. Finally we reached Nyalam around noon, and settled into the Snowland Hotel.
We had a delicious lunch at Snowland restaurant. Some of the members decided to go for walks on the surrounding hills. Everyone is excited to be in Tibet and we are wandering around the village, enjoying the rugged open slopes and high snowy mountains looming above.
In the afternoon, our expedition leader David O'Brien met with Tashi, the hotel's owner and he suggested we move to a newer and better hotel, so we did. The new hotel is also called Snowland and it's very nice.
In the late afternoon, clouds rolled in and a wind driven snow blizzard ensued and it was quite humbling, reminding all of us how cold and stormy it can be in Tibet. The storm finally abated and we went to Base Camp restaurant for dinner. After dinner, several of us sat around the woodstove in the resaurant reminiscing about our good fortune in being able to come to Tibet.
The expedition leaders met later in the evening with our climbing sherpa leader Jangbu and we discussed plans and progress. The leaders are Gavin, David, and Dan. Also around the dinner hour our Chinese leader Asu called and we had a long discussion on the phone with Asu and our Tibetan cook Samdien. They have loaded one truck with supplies in Lhasa and are driving it down and plan to meet our sherpas in basecamp on the 6th of April, so that when the team members arrive in basecamp on the 8th, everything will be fully setup. So, in its own very differently organised Tibetan way, everything seems to be coming together. back to top
Greetings SummitClimbNews.com readers. Thanks for following us! Today we met in the lobby of the Beijing Hotel at 3am. We packed the trucks and buses carefully for our trip to Tibet on the friendship highway. We swung past the Annapurna Hotel and picked up the rest of our members and finished loading the bus. Then we began the long drive to Kodari, reaching there around 11am. Fortunately the weather was good and the road was in good shape. The countryside looked unusually dry, evidence of Nepal's drought.
Our sherpas unloaded the bus while the rest of us enjoyed a delicious breakfast in the Mount Kailash hotel. Then all of us members, sherpas and local porters crossed the friendship bridge border into Tibet, reloaded our stuff onto Tibetan trucks and ourselves into Tibetan buses, jeeps and taxis and went up to Zhangmu town. The road was under construction in places so this took a while. We had lunch in Hotel Gange and stayed in the comfortable gange hotel in Zhangmu that night. back to top
Nepal side team group photo at Annapurna Hotel on morning of departure (Dan Mazur).
The Nepal side trekkers flew out to Lukla again this morning. This time they arrived. Yeah! Our Tibet side teams received their permits and visas. Yay! So we will be going to Tibet in the morning. What a relief. Today was an extremely busy day of packing and preparation. We are really relieved to be going to Tibet and with a minimal delay, so we feel very fortunate. Wish us luck! Thank you very much. back to top
Nepal side trek group enjoys breakfast at Hotel Tibet before departure (Dan Mazur).
Today all of our Nepal side expeditions and treks went to the Ktm airport. The climbers were successful and arrived in Lukla and trekked to Phakding.
The trekkers were turned back due to technical problems with their plane. So they spent another night in ktm. We had the briefing for our Tibet side expeditions and treks. Everyone is very excited for the departure. We heard a rumour that we will receive the permit and get our visas for Tibet on 2 April and be able to enter on 3 April. We hope it is true. We spent the day packing, preparing, checking equipment, etcetera. The weather is unusually hot and sunny at the moment. back to top
Gavin wearing his sponsors logo shirt at Flavours Cafe in Boudhnath after Puja ceremony to get our prayer flags based by the high lama. Jimpa Sherpa and Gavin after the prayer flag ceremony on the roof of the Gompa (Dan Mazur).
Today we had our briefing for the Nepal Everest Lhotse expedition, and also for the Everest View Glacier School and Everest Basecamp Trek. It looks like it will be a brilliant team this year. It rained hard and long again this evening. So that is very good for Nepal, cleaning up the air and putting more water in the reservoirs, which have become alarmingly low. In an exciting development Mingma has decided to join Marcia MacDonald on the www.EverestServiceTrek.org , so they will be visiting the nuns at Deboche Convent and developing a new water project, building reconstruction, etc. Thanks for following our news! back to top
Blessing ceremony for our prayer flags at the monastery. Josette checks Nepal side teams luggage at the Annapurna Hotel prior to departure (Dan Mazur).
Today we worked hard on sat phones, walkie-talkies, med kits, high altitude food, and meeting with the teams and leaders. Josette went to the ministry for the permit briefing. They gave her a standing ovation, as she is the only woman leading an Everest expedition this year. It rained hard before dinner. Nepal needs the rain. Hope it does not interfere with our expedition's departure. Thanks for following our news. back to top
Left to right- team leaders Raj, Jjosette, Max preparing the 5 satellite phones our teams will use this spring climbing season (Dan Mazur).
Today we met with all of the leaders of Everest Glacier School, Everest Basecamp trek, Everest Nepal climb, Everest Tibet climb, Lhotse climb, Cho Oyu climb, North Col climb. We reviewed the medical equipment and supplies, and all of the packing lists, we met the members as they arrived and have begun to check their equipment. We had dinner together with the team. A very busy and productive day. back to top
Several of us, Dan and Enrique, met on the Cathay Pacific flight. We had an 8 hour layover in Hong Kong. It was a beautiful cool day and we explored the peak tram, escalators, zoo, and botanical garden.Then on the Dragon Air flight to Kathmandu, we ran into Amer, so that was fun. We arrived in Kathmandu very late at night (11:30 pm). back to top
- Dan Mazur (leader) - US/UK
- David O'Brien (assistant leader) - UK
- Asu (assistant leader) - China
- Gavin Vickers (leader-in-training) - Australia
- Ms. Elizabeth Tertil - Canada
- Ms. Janet Bull - USA
- Mark Delstanche - UK
- Carl Lindstrom - USA
- Thorbjørn Lundsgaard - Norway
- Laval St Germain - Canada
- John Kazanas - Australia
- Peter Kinloch - UK
- Dan Marino - Australia
- Fiko Karacic - Australia
- Gordon Hopper - UK
- Nick Crosland - USA
- Enrique Rodriguez - USA
- Frank Irnich - Germany
- Jesse Hall (basic member) - USA
- Eli Hall (basic member) - USA
North Col May:
- Brian Bartell - USA
- Stan Snigir - USA
- Tom Jorgenson - Denmark
ABC Trek May :
- Ms. Elizabeth Warren-Boulton - USA
- Regis Heitchue - USA
- Anthony Dokas - Australia
North Col Mar-Apr:
- Ms. Srilakshmi Sharma - UK
- Roland Svensson - Sweden
- Thomas Javrin - UK
ABC Trek Mar-Apr:
- Alex Welles - USA
Everest Tibet Staff:
- Lhakpa Sherpa Lama
- Phurba Sherpa
- Ang Babu Sherpa
- Jangbu Sherpa
- Gyalje Sherpa
- Jangbu Sherpa (2)
- Dawa Jangbu Sherpa
- Kipa Sherpa - cook
- Samdien - cook back to top