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Shishapangma Climb & Trek Expedition Recent News autumn

Photos in Shisha Pangma slideshow: Dan Mazur and Sean Burch. For caption information on these photos, please visit our Shishapangma gallery.
Shishapangma Autumn: news of our expedition
1 September to 8 October
"Click Here" for information about our upcoming Shishapangma expeditions

Trip Summary: www.ShishaPangmaClimb.com : Our team was blessed with brilliant weather this season. All 6 of our members and both of our Sherpas reached the summit. Dan, our veteran leader did a great job of organizing everything so all of us could reach the summit. Also, our trekking member joined us for the walk to advanced basecamp and even walked all of the way to the "half camp". This was our second successful Shisha expedition.

We had a training day and practiced our fixed rope technique on some small ice cliffs near to camp half. Our skillful cooks prepared delicious meals and we had a comfortable individual tent for each member in ABC.

Shishapangma is not a particularly difficult climb. The horizontal distances between camps are challenging, and the walking is done on snowy trails.

There is nothing steep on Shishapangma where you would be suspended from a rope. Shishapangma is much less visited than her sister peak; Cho Oyu. We had a comfortable basecamp with delicious food and an individual tent per member.

Shishapangma is the lowest of the world's fourteen 8000 metre / 26,000 foot high mountains. Climbing Shishapangma is considered to be one of the best ways to get qualified for climbing Everest. Our next climb is 1 September to

8 October, 2011 and 2012. It is also possible to combine Shishapangma with Cho Oyu, by tacking on 15 days after climbing Cho Oyu first. Welcome to our team!

Dispatches: Please click one of the links below to go directly to that dispatch or just scroll down.


3 October

Update - whole team down safe in ABC:

All members and staff are now in ABC. Everyone is well. Our yaks have arrived and we are ready to go down to basecamp tomorrow. It was great to be back in advanced basecamp and eat some of our cook Kipa's delicious fresh home cooked food, and have hot showers, clean laundry, etcetera. Still, all of us are excited to be returning to Kathmandu and back home.

It snowed hard on and off all day. We pray the other teams on the mountain are okay. We heard many of them have come down to await better weather.

We also heard Andrew and Neil reached the main summit and we are very happy for them. Congratulations and good job. Thanks to everyone for following our expedition!! back to top



Team on the north summit. Clockwise from foreground: Jangbu, Gyelzen, Karten, Alejandro, Haris, Bart, and Richard. Team working their way past the gendarme (Dan Mazur). Team making final approach to the summit. Team working their way through rock-band number 2. Bart and Karsten coming down from camp half in a snowstorm. Bart is on the left in red. Climbing towards final rock-band and Richard is in the lead (Dan Mazur).

Earlier:

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi, this is Dan Mazur with a Shishapangma dispatch for the 3rd of October and it’s 3:15 a.m. Nepal time (even though we’re in Tibet).

Everybody is down safe. Dan is down with Bart and Karsten in half camp, which is at 5850 metres/19,200 feet. It’s snowing very hard. It looks like a big winter storm has come in. We just went outside and secured the camp and brought everything inside the tents in case of a big accumulation of snow.

The rest of the team is down in ABC. The yaks are coming this afternoon, so we’re kind of under pressure to get out of here. Hopefully we won’t be blocked by a lot of snow.

Wish us luck. Thanks for listening. Bye, bye. back to top

2 October

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi, this is Dan Mazur with a Shishapangma dispatch for the 2nd of October and it’s 11:30 a.m. Nepal time (even though we’re in Tibet).

We’ve got quite a lot to talk about. It’s not all good.

First of all, yesterday we got back to our camp 3 at about 1:00 p.m. It was a hard job getting back. Sometimes the hardest part of the mountain is not climbing to the top, it’s getting back down. All of our team members and all of our sherpas made it to the top safely.

On the way down just above camp 3, one of our members, Mr. Bart Dirven, collapsed and was unable to get up. So we gave him supplemental oxygen at a very high rate of flow and got him down to camp 3. We decided that we better keep going down and not to stay in camp 3 because that might be considered the ‘death zone’ up there. Our entire team moved down to camp 2 at 6900 metres/22,635 feet.

It was an epic journey down for Bart. We had both sherpas, Jangu and Gyalje, doing a great job, as well as Dan working together with the entire team to get everyone down safely.

Everyone made it back to camp 2 by 6:00 p.m. except for Bart, who didn’t reach camp 2 until about 1:00 this morning, working together with the team trying to escort him down. He was having difficulty walking and collapsing quite frequently. We kept oxygen on him at a very high rate of flow. We think that Bart is suffering from severe exhaustion. He seems to have some altitude related symptoms. For example, he decided to leave his ice axe and his crampons somewhere on the mountain around midnight.

So we got Bart back to the camp and he seems to be doing better now. We have filled him up with lots of food and fluids.

Right now the team is working together really well moving down to camp 1. Hopefully some of us will be able to return to half camp, crossing the Shishapangma icefall this afternoon and maybe even make it down to ABC.

Right now Bart is being short-roped down the mountain by Dan with the sherpas in close proximity. We’re treating it as a full on rescue. We think Bart will be okay though.

Our prayers go out to everybody. A huge storm blew in this morning on to the summit starting at about 7:00 a.m., with massive high winds and a giant wind cloud. Now the upper mountain is completely obscured by clouds and snow.

We hope everybody is okay up there. Andrew and Neal are up there along with the Spanish and French team, so we hope they’re doing okay.

Thank you. Bye, bye. back to top

 

 

Alejandro prepares to step onto rock-band number 2 towards the summit. Camp 2 with a storm behind. Cho Oyu on the left side, low in the clouds is Everest, second from the right, seen from Shisha Pangma summit. Cho Oyu seen from Shishapangma summit. Jangbu, our superstar sherpa, watching the back of the team during the ascent making sure everyone is okay (Dan Mazur).

1 October

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi this is Dan Mazur with a Shishapangma dispatch for Thursday the 1st of October and it’s 9:30 a.m. Nepal time (even though we’re in Tibet).

Our entire team is on the north summit of Shishapangma. We’ve got Bart Dirven from Holland, Haris Kiriakais from Greece, Alejandro Fernandez Riba from Spain, Richard Pierse from Ireland, Karsten Koenig from Germany, Dan Mazur from England and the United States, Gyalje Sherpa and Jangbu Sherpa from Nepal.

Congratulations to the team! There is no wind right now. It’s sunny. The temperature is about -5 degrees Celsius and it’s a beautiful morning. We can see Everest, Cho Oyu, Kangchenjunga, and Makalu. We think we can see Manaslu and Dhaulagiri. We can also see Langtang Lirung.

We’re going to have a little snack and drink some water, then head down. I hope we have a safe journey down. Thanks for following our expedition. Take good care. Bye, bye. back to top

 

Coming down the head wall from camp 3 (Haris and team). Haris watches Alejandro and Bart making the last few steps to the summit. Just below the summit viewing east to Cho Oyu, Kangchenjunga, Everest and Makalu. Looking west from the summit. We think that's Dhaulagiri and Manaslu in the distance (Dan Mazur).

30 September

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi this is Dan Mazur with a Shishapangma dispatch for Wednesday the 30th of September and it’s 5:43 p.m. Nepal time (even though we’re in Tibet).

Our team is in camp 3, the high camp on Shishapangma. The elevation here is 7434 metres/24,384 feet, according to the Thuraya GPS elevation.

Our plan is to get up tonight at around 11:00 p.m., have breakfast and start walking by around 1:00 a.m. in the morning. We hope that the weather is good. Today the weather was spotty. There were clouds and wind, it was hot and sunny, and it got cold. Currently the temperature is -5 degrees Celsius with a 5 km/hour wind.

We did run into Annalee and Hanne from Sweden, as well as Edmond from Germany and Tashi. They summited today, so we congratulate them!

We’re looking forward to good luck tonight. Wish us luck and we’ll keep you posted. Thank you very much. Bye, bye. back to top

 
 
 
Gyelzen helps Karsten tie in to the rope just below the summit (Gyelzen in yellow, Bart abseiling below). Gyelzen spreads his carry load in camp 3 at 7434 metres. Haris, Richard and Alejandro in camp 1. Juanito, arguably currently worlds most famous 8000 metre climber, with Tolo and Mario just down from the central summit, but not to the main summit. Nick Rice, America's 2nd most prolific 8000 metre climber, in the icefall. Richard supervising the team's ascent to camp 3 (Dan Mazur).

29 September

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi this is Dan Mazur with a second Shishapangma dispatch for Tuesday the 29th of September and the local time is 4:30 p.m. Nepal time (even though we’re in Tibet).

The entire team is at camp 2 at 6901 metres/22,635 feet. Everybody is doing well. We walked up here today, which took around 4 hours. The weather conditions are calm with no wind to speak of. The temperatures are about 5-10 degrees Celsius. When the sun comes out it gets a little hotter. Currently there is kind of a medium cloud that is sort of hanging around. It’s not snowing to speak of.

We have a couple of news items:

First of all, we heard our Cho Oyu team summited! We’d like to congratulate them and send our special thanks to the leader, Mr. Arnold Coster for doing such a great job. We’d also like to thank the 4 leaders-in-training for all of their great help getting the team up to the summit and back down safely. Congratulations to those members who summited and for those who weren’t able to summit, you guys tried hard, did a great job and the mountain will still be there if you want to come back and give it another go.

Another news item is we saw the Chinese and Tibetan team coming down today. Apparently they summited early this morning. Congratulations to them! You guys did a great job up there.

Our plan is to leave after breakfast tomorrow and go up to camp 3. I think it’s around 7300 metres/24,000 feet, but we’ll give you a more exact reading. In the middle of tomorrow night we hope to go for the summit.

Thanks for following our expedition. All the best to everyone. We’d like to send a special hello out to all of our loved ones, friends, family, sponsors and colleagues at home. Thanks a lot and we’ll be sending in another dispatch soon. Bye. back to top


Shishapangma with clouds seen from ABC. French camp 1 (Dan Mazur).

...

Earlier - 

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi this is Dan Mazur with a Shishapangma dispatch for Tuesday the 29th of September and the local time is 7:40 a.m.

We’re all up here in camp 1 at 6357 metres/20,850 feet drinking tea and the sun just hit the tents. Everyone is doing well.

Our plan is to go up to camp 2 today. We’re working our way up towards the high camp at camp 3. We hope to try for the summit on the 1st of October, probably leaving in the early morning hours.

Yesterday we saw a group of Spanish and an American coming down. They tried to get to the main (true) summit of Shishapangma. That’s 7 metres higher than what’s called the central summit. They ran into some difficult conditions and weren’t able to get there. They did say that the ropes are good, the Tibetans have done a great job fixing ropes up to the central summit, and the route is in really good shape up to the central summit, so we’re looking forward to that.

We’ll keep you posted. Bye for now. back to top


Chumey, our Tibetan camp manager and Dan in Shishapangma ABC (Richard Pierse). Famous Swedish climbers Johanna and Annelee descending fixed ropes from camp 3 with Edmund Spoden and Tashi Sherpa (Dan Mazur).

27 September

Today is a very big day for us all here in Shishapangma advanced basecamp.

Tomorrow we plan to begin our journey to the summit, leaving early, heading up and over the moraine to camp 1, 2, 3, and for the top of the mountain herself, hopefully on the 1st of October. Has anyone heard what the weather will be like on and around 1 October? We are curious to know, so please send an email or ring if you do. Thank you very much.

Getting back to today's events, First of all, we heard our SummitClimb Cho Oyu team is about to summit and we are extremely excited for them and we are praying for the safe ascent and descent of the mountain.

Secondly, here on Shishapangma, five people are going for the summit as we speak, Juanito (arguably the best 8000 metre climber alive today), Tolo, Mario, Nick, and a sherpa whose name we are trying to learn. We have watched them closely all day long through our binoculars and observed them making good progress since early in the morning. We heard they were going for the main summit and planned to put some fixed ropes along the way. Apparently they planned to make a traverse from the big gendarme rock (of which there is a good photo on our website), veering left, diagonally across to the main summit, avoiding the central summit altogether.

Then, we heard they changed their plans sometime during the middle of the day today due to unfavourable conditions, and chose rather to climb the ropes the excellent Tibetan Climbing Team skillfully fixed yesterday to the central summit, then traverse along the spiny ridge top, double corniced in places, fixing rope as they went, towards the main summit, following the ridgeline of the summit massif itself.

Last we heard they were on their way to the summit along this ridge. However, beginning to leak in around lunch time and solidified by 2:00 pm, a massive cloud has engulfed the upper mountain and dropped down even to the 7000 metre/23,000 foot mark and it looks like it could be quite a maelstrom of wind, snow, and cold inside that enourmous cloud.

I am emailing several photos just taken so you can get an idea of the cloud's ominous appearance. We can only imagine what’s going on at the moment and let us pray for the safe return of our friends and colleagues.

Thank you very much. Wish us luck. Bye for now. back to top

Shishapangma with clouds seen from ABC telephoto (Dan Mazur).

25 September

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi this is Dan Mazur with a Shishapangma dispatch for Friday the 25th of September and the local time is 9:10 p.m.

We’ve all just walked down to advanced basecamp from camp 2, which is at 6901 metres/22,600 feet. We had a long walk today and an okay night up in camp 2 acclimatizing. Karsten spent the night in camp 1 together with Tsewang.

It was a long walk down today. It snowed quite a bit on the way down and it’s good to be back in ABC. We’re going to have some rest for a few days. I’ll try to send you some photos so you can look at what we saw up there. Thanks for following our expedition. Bye for now. back to top

 

Climbing up to camp 1 on the head-wall above the Shishapangma ice-fall. Karsten and Tsewang crossing the Shishapangma ice-fall headed for ABC. Looking down at camp 1 from above. View looking up at camp 2 at 6901 metres/22,635 feet (Dan Mazur).

23 September

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi, this is Dan Mazur calling in a dispatch for Wednesday the 23rd of September at about 6:00 p.m.

Today we climbed to camp 1 at just below 6400 metres/21,000 feet. We had excellent weather with lots of bright sunshine in the morning and just a few scattered clouds. The temperature was about 10 to 15 degrees Celsius. The views of the Himalaya have been amazing.

Tomorrow we’re going to camp 2 and sleeping there. Then we’ll come back down to ABC for a rest before our summit push.

Now I’m going to give over the phone to Mr. Bart Dirven, who’s going to finish the dispatch in the Dutch language (please click the audio link above).

Thanks for following our expedition. Bye for now. back to top

 

Bart and Karsten crossing the Shishapangma ice-fall, Richard and Alejandro below. Camp 1 at 6357 metres/20,850 feet on the Shishapangma glacier. Camp 2 at 6901 metres/22,635 feet. That's one of the 7000 metre/23,000 foot satellite peaks of Shishapangma in the background. Climbing up to camp 2 on the head-wall above camp 1 (Dan Mazur).

22 September

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi this is a Shishapangma dispatch for Tuesday the 22nd of September and the local time is 7:00 p.m. (Nepal time, even though we’re in Tibet).

Our entire team is up in camp half at about 5850 metres/19,200 feet. We’re on our way up the mountain. We plan to go up to camp 1 tomorrow and camp 2 the next day and see how high we can get and do some acclimatizing. Then we’ll come down and rest to get ready for the summit attempt.

Everyone is doing well. I’m going to pass the phone to Dr. Zaharias Kiriakakis and he is going to make the dispatch for today in the Greek language (please listen to the audio link above). back to top

 

Alejandro, Dolma (our basecamp ama), Hanne and Annalee (two of Sweden's most famous women climbers) and Richard in ABC. Alejandro ready to go for the summit. Kinga (super famous Polish woman) and Andrew (super famous Australian), our new basecamp friends. We use the pulse oximetre to assist in detection of possible altitude illness (Dan Mazur).

19 September

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hello, this is Dan Mazur the leader of the SummitClimb Shishapangma expedition calling in a dispatch for 19 September and it’s 6:11 p.m. Nepal time (even though we’re in Tibet).

The team woke up in camp 1 at 6400 metres/21,000 feet this morning. Some of the team members, along with Jangbu Sherpa, climbed above camp 1 trying to reach camp 2. All team members returned to half camp and had lunch and tea. Then we walked down to ABC, which is where we are now.

We plan to rest here for the next 2 days and then head back up the mountain. The weather has been incredible. Thank you for following our expedition. All members are doing well. Bye for now. back to top

 

Bart crossing the upper Shishapangma river just before ABC. Bart sitting in half camp watching climbers begin to cross the Shishapangma ice-fall. Alejandro Fernandez Riba climbing the big ice-wall during our training session. Bart Dirven climbs the big ice-wall during our training session (Dan Mazur).

18 September

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hello, this is Dan Mazur the leader of the SummitClimb Shishapangma expedition calling in a dispatch for September 17th and September 18th.

On September 17th the team carried a load and made a deposit at camp 1 at 6200 metres/20,300 feet then returned to camp half. Marcus, our trekker, enjoyed the day in camp half then descended to ABC.

On September 18th the team moved up to camp 1. 4 tents are set up there. The team is securely in place in camp 1 and plans to return to camp half and ABC on the 19th. Marcus is safe in basecamp. Everybody is doing well. Thank you very much. Bye, bye. back to top


Karsten Koenig nearing ABC. Our camp half at the edge of the Shishapangma ice field (Dan Mazur).

16 September

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hello, this is Alejandro Fernandez for the SummitClimb Shishapangma expedition on the 16th of September at 4:30 p.m.

We are now in the half camp at 5829 metres/19,200 feet and the weather is very nice. Although we thought some clouds and maybe some bad weather were coming, it turned out to be nice today.

Today we have been training on the glacier. That means we’ve been testing the equipment, making sure we have everything necessary for climbing, and doing some training on the techniques for fixed rope ascending. All of the team except for Karsten has been participating. That means Dan from the US/UK, Haris from Greece, Bart from the Netherlands, Richard from Ireland, and of course me from Spain.

Our initial plan for tomorrow is to try to get to camp 1 and set up the tents and the rest of camp. Now I’m going to say something in Spanish (please click the audio link).

I hope this message finds you very well wherever you are. I think we’re having a great expedition and I hope it continues going well. Bye. Ciao. back to top


Richard ascends the ice-wall during training. Alejandro is following behind him. Haris climbing the ice-wall during our training session. Bart prepares to ascend the ropes next (Dan Mazur).

15 September

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Greetings, this is Richard Pierse for the SummitClimb Shishapangma expedition on the 15th of September at 5:50 p.m.

We are at half camp at about 5829 metres/19,200 feet right next to the Shishapangma glacier. Today we trekked up from advance basecamp, including myself, Dan, Alejandro, Bart, Haris, and Jangbu. Karsten and Marcus are at ABC (advanced basecamp).

Tomorrow we hope to do some glacier practice and plan to go to camp 1 the following day. Of course, this all depends on the weather. Speaking of which, our weather pattern is clear skies with no wind, however, the temperatures are dropping fast well below 0 C. And now, just a few words in Irish before I sign off (please click the audio link). back to top

 

Team setting up camp 1 at 6400 metres/21,000 feet (Bart Dirven). Richard checks out some of the cool trinkets for sale by some of our local Tibetan nomads from Selung Village (Dan Mazur). Tibetan nomad couple from Selung Village in ABC, along with our kitchen assistant Tsewang, who has been teaching us all Tibetan. Tashik delek (Dan Mazur)!

14 September

Welcome to our dispatch for 14 September for the Summit Climb Shishapangma expedition.

Last night our good doctor Haris went to examine the fallen climber and confirmed that he has two broken ribs. The only thing for it is to go back to Kathmandu as the recovery process can take 1 month and at ABC (5600 metres/18,400 feet) it is too high of a place to recover. So, the climber and his team left at 5:30 a.m. this morning to walk down very slowly. We will miss them as they were very nice people.

Today we had a rest day in ABC with the entire team including all sherpas and staff. It’s our first full rest day. After bed tea and a delicious breakfast, our sherpas and Tibetan staff requested to hold a prayer ceremony to honour the gods and bring good omens to our expedition and everyone around. Several staff from other expeditions attended and we invited all of the neighbouring teams as well.

The ceremony is called a ‘puja’. The sherpas had us bring our gear to a tall rock alter they made facing the mountain. Then they put butter on our kit.

The Tibetans put bowls of water and barley flour (tsampa) along the alter, as well as beer, whiskey, apples, and baked treats.

A large pole is inserted into the top of the stone alter and then prayer flags are stretched across the camp in three directions. Chumey, our Tibetan kitchen assistant, wrote all of the members and staff names on a prayer scarf which he then tied atop the main prayer pole, then he sat in the lotus position before the alter, and chanted Tibetan prayers and tossed rice and tsampa into the air. At certain moments during the ceremony, our team members stood and also tossed their own rice and tsampa, shouting "Lasso".

After the third and final tossing of the rice and barley, the sherpas and Tibetans circulated amongst the group, sharing small caps of whiskey and throwing whiskey into the sky. Then they passed delicious dishes of baked treats amongst the group. Everyone shared more beer and tea, and then the sherpas and Tibetans linked arms and broke into a Tibetan dance like a sort of "can-can" line before the alter. 

Finally we joined together in our dining tent and had an amazing lunch.

After all the morning’s activities, feasting and drinking, we retreated to our individual tents, and, to be honest with you, we collapsed into a dream filled sleep!

Later in the day, we were joined by Marcus Lauterbach, our trekking member, so we are all together now. Thanks for following our www.ShishapangmaExpedition.com at www.SummitClimbNews.com .

Tomorrow, we plan to walk to half-camp and spend several days sleeping and working up there. Our goal is to complete a section of ice climbing practice with the entire team, then explore the upper reaches of the Shishapangma glacier, and walk up to camp 1, and, if we feel well enough, perhaps sleep in camp 1. The thing is, during that time, we won’t have access to the internet and won’t be able to send in dispatches, our sincere apologies, but in several days we will return to ABC and plan to send you all of the latest photos and dispatches at that time. We think there will be some cool up close photos of ice climbing and the route to camp 1. However, in the interim, we will attempt to telephone in short dispatches via voice-mail.

See you soon, thanks for following our team!! back to top

 


Chumey and Jangbu stretching the prayer flags across camp. Chumey writes team names on a prayer scarf while Jangbu holds. Gyalzen applies butter to Bart's rucksack. Gyalzen offering Karsten some treats freshly baked for the occasion. Karsten taking a sacred sip and sprinkling some to the gods, while Richard, Haris and Bart look on. Tibetan and sherpa team singing and dancing (Dan Mazur).

13 September

Hello and welcome to our www.ShishaPangmaExpedition.com .

Today we rose and enjoyed our tea and breakfast. Then, Haris, Alejandro, and Richard decided to hoof it up to "Camp Half" with the sherpas, while Bart, Karsten, and Dan chose to remain in ABC and relax, taking hot showers and getting shaved and doing laundry in the 17 degree C warm sunshine with no wind and perfect visibility, no clouds.

About 9:45 a.m., a member of a neighboring team walked into camp to say their team member was injured. We went over to check it out and found him laying against a boulder in the team's adjoining ABC.

Apparently he had been walking, carrying a fully loaded rucksack, along the Shishapangma glacier-moraine trail when he came upon one of the many loose sections, stumbled and fell, striking his side hard against a large sharp boulder. He said he heard a crack as he landed.

We examined him and he seemed to have quite a bit of pain in his side and said that he felt a "clicking" each time he attempted to breath. He said whenever he coughed he had severe pain, but was not coughing up blood, nor did he have any blood in his urine. We assumed a broken rib and urged an immediate evacuation, because he was still able to walk. Who knows if he could still walk in 12, let alone 24 hours? He said he wanted to wait until he was really sure his ribs were broken, before going down. He said that climbing Shishapangma was the most important thing in the world to him and he was holding out hope that there might be some way he could recover.

We called our very polite, friendly, kind doctor Haris on the radio (who was at that very moment walking across the plateau at 5950 metres/19,500 feet with sherpa Gyalzen) and Haris said he would examine the fallen climber when he returned this evening. He asked if the climber's vital signs were stable, and the team's radio spokesman said they were, so that bodes well.

We will keep you up to date as soon as we know more! Best wishes from all of us at www.SummitCimb.com. back to top

 

Upper part of Mount Shishapangma at sunset. The route to the summit follows the left hand ridge. Shishapangma Glacier with ice pilgrims and Mount Shishapangma in all her majesty seen from the ridge at 5950 metres/19,500 feet. Fallen climber with apparent broken ribs taking his own blood pressure. Team relaxing over a delicious lunch in our very comfortable dining tent (Dan Mazur).

12 September

Hi there. Thanks for following our www.ShishapangmaExpedition.com .

Today we were up early after "bed tea" for another one of our expert cook Kipa's satisfying breakfasts of porridge, pancakes, toast, omelettes, ham, and fresh fruit with tea, drinking chocolate and coffee.

The team had a busy morning, reviewing each member's personal climbing equipment, making sure their crampons fit their boots perfectly, that everything was in order on their harness, including ascender, descender, belay device, ice axe, and slings.

With six members from six different nations, there are always different ways of doing things and that makes these kinds of expeditions much more interesting and a learning experience for everyone. After reviewing our equipment, we packed our rucksacks with approximately 1/2 of the total weight of all of the personal stuff we will need on the mountain and headed up the hill. We plan to bring the other half up in a day or so.

We wandered along the Shishapangma moraine and passed yesterday's highpoint. We continued along, traversing some well-dodgy and rather rugged mud cliffs, with a fair amount of boulder hopping. The entire way we followed an, at-times, difficult to follow track marked by the occasional rock cairn or stone sentinel.

Finally, at 3:45 we ran into our two pro-sherpas: Gyelzen and Jangbu, who had no difficulty at all persuading us to drop our loads behind a boulder on a flat plateau above the Shishapangma glacier. The sherpas told us that our chosen "camp half" was another 90 minutes away, at the base of the crossing point for the Shishapangma Glacier. So we loaded the contents of our sacks into the kit-bags we had brought specifically for the purpose and locked them up tight.

We noticed an obvious path heading up slope above us, travelling toward ABC, although appearing to cross an obvious scree hill. We headed in that direction and before climbing the hill, filled our water bottles in a stream draining a high snowfield. After crossing the stream we stumbled upon a massive rubbish-tip, strewn with hundred of blue glass bottles, rusty tins, and ancient dried food envelopes.

On one side of the tip we found many metres of 7mm steel strapping. Not sure what this could have been for, except for tea-packing cases? Obviously a very involved cleanup effort is in order at this location near "camp half" at 5860 metres/19,200 feet. Anyone interested in joining in?

So, after viewing this despicable scene of environmental degradation, we followed the obvious track up the hill, reached a plateau and traversed at the level of 5950 metres/19,500 feet for about an hour. The weather was clear and sunny, the best yet, winds being only mild, and temps hovering around the 10-15 degree C mark. We marched along this high plateau and the footing was excellent, with many flat shale rocks pressed into the mud. We crossed a few occasional rivulets, following stone markers placed every 200 metres or so, which led us down to a secret lake, hidden just above advanced basecamp. A steep scree slope drops into one side of the lake and a grassy marsh forms a crescent round the other side.

Walking to the downhill edge of the lake, you can sit quietly and watch the winds trifle and play with all of the tents of the various teams in ABC.

After sitting and marveling for 15 minutes, we strolled along a bucolic stream and arrived in our ABC at 5:45 p.m. Kipa and Chumey greeted us with hot lemon drinks and fresh fruit. After changing into more comfortable clothing, we enjoyed an enourmous tea of home baked pizza, pasta, fresh green beans, russian-salad, mashed potatoes, and warm bowls of tinned fruit.

Well friends, thanks for following www.SummitClimbNews.com. back to top

Jangbu sifting through an enourmous trash dump at 5850 metres/19,200 feet (Dan Mazur). 

 

ABC on a grassy rocky moraine beside Shishapangma Lake and glacier at 5610 metres/18,400 feet. You can see Mount Shishapangma in all of her glory in the background (Dan Mazur).

11 September

Hello Summit Climb news readers. Thanks for following our Shishapangma expedition.

Today we woke to tea brought to our tents, and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast. Skies were cloudy in the morning and we could not see much of the mountain.

After breakfast we walked up the lateral moraine beside the Shishapangma glacier and tried to see if we could reach "camp half". It's a very long walk on moraines before one needs to cross the Shishapangma glacier and climb up to camp 1, therefore we plan to set up tents at "camp half" in order to better acclimatize and break what would normally be a very long day into two more reasonable ones. At least, until we get acclimated, that is.

By noon we had reached a large plateau in the moraine, and we figured it would take us an hour to cross, and that we had gone far enough. So we descended back to ABC for a delicious lunch of cheese pockets, salad, stir-fried veggies, sardines, and baked beans. After lunch we hung out in the tents, relaxed, played cards, told stories, and napped.

Today winds were light, with temperatures ranging from 5 to 18 degrees C.

Thanks for following our www.ClimbShishapangma.com . back to top


Zaharias Kiriakakis, aka: Haris, flies the Greek flag proudly next to his tent in ABC. Walking up beside the ice pilgrims in the Shishapangma glacier at 5667 metres/18,587 feet (Dan Mazur).

10 September

Hello everyone, thanks for following the news about our Shishapangma expedition.

We awoke early to our miracle-working cook Kipa bringing us hot tea whilst still in our sleeping bags. During the night, snow fell, and there was a dusting all about under grey skies. Everyone seemed to feel better, so during our yummy breakfast, we all agreed we would move up to ABC.

Slowly our little interim camp was packed onto the backs of the yaks. The woman yak driver who had felt poorly last night seemed to feeling much better, so our little caravan set out into the green hills above the Shishapangma river.

We walked across hill and dale, and spotted occasional old campsites, and masses of unique alpine plants fed by the monsoon moisture. Truly this was an amazingly beautiful walk through the higher reaches of the Tibetan plateau. We were all feeling the altitude now, so really took our time with lots of rest breaks perched atop boulders.

Rounding a bend we caught site of our ABC nestled in a moraine valley beside a stunning glacial lake fed by the massive terminus of the Shishapangma glacier with its frozen parade of giant ice pilgrims.

We are now comfortable in our tents in ABC at 5610 metres/18,400 feet. We are blessed with some great staff and superb equipment and especially soaking up the pleasures of one spacious sleeping tent for each member, so you can really spread out!!

Thanks for following our Shishapangma climb. More news tomorrow!!!! back to top

 

Haris, our team doctor, checking this Tibetan woman who was herding our yaks up to interim camp for pulmonary oedema with his oximetre. Her husband never saw this machine before. It turned out the woman was okay. Richard and Karsten checking out a wild nettle plant at 5500 metres. The plants up here are amazingly beautiful and tiny. Shisha basecamp team photo. Ttop row: Rrichard, Alejandro, Bart, Karsten, Tsewang, Jangbu, Chumay, Gyelzen. Bottom: Haris, Kipa. Haris, Richard, Bart and Alejandro drinking tea and resting in our just being set up camp ABC. Directly above the table you can see a peak jutting out of the clouds, a 7000 metre satellite peak of Shisha Pangma (Dan Mazur).

9 September

Hello Himalaya News Readers. Thanks for following our Shishapangma expedition.

Today we awoke early, and had a quick breakfast while many helpful yak drivers took down the dining tent around us. We got all 20 of our yaks loaded and even tied on the Alpine Ascents ski bag from Olympia, Washington. We packed all of our tents and gear and negotiated the cost of the yak transport, and then we headed up valley, across the grassy rolling hills of the Tibetan Plateau, and entered a gorge, where we found a comfortable bench the size of a football pitch upon which to set up a small impromptu "interim camp" at 5346 metres/17,534 feet.

Skies were grey and it was a long walk with some elevation gain and a couple of members were feeling the altitude, so they took a little diamox (acetylzolamide) and drank lots of hot drinks.

One of our yak drivers, a woman from the local village, pointed to her chest and made the motions of breathing difficulty, so our doctor Haris checked her out for pulmonary oedema using his pulse oximetre, but found none. Her husband thought the entire event was a great novelty and could not stop laughing. Just to be on the safe side, Doc Haris gave her half of a diamox tab and instructed her to drink a lot of water. We learned this is her first trip up the valley this year.

Our amazing cook Kipa fixed us a very delicious dinner and we went to bed early, to the sound of snowflakes dusting the tents and tinkling yak bells all around us. back to top

 


Loading the Alpine Ascents Olympia, Washington ski bag on the yak in basecamp. Yak stepping out from basecamp with the Alpine Ascents ski bag. Team dines alfresco on the terrace at 5346 metre/17,534 foot high interim camp. Typical lunch of broccoli, toasted cheese sandwich, sauteed shallots, fried chicken, chips and russian salad (cole slaw) (Dan Mazur).

8 September

Hello SummitClimb news readers. Thanks for following the dispatches about our autumn 2009 Shishapangma expedition.

Well, today was an official rest day in 4998 metre/16,000 foot high basecamp. That altitude is from the Thuraya GPS satellite system.

We awoke to sunshine and light clouds with warm temperatures in the 5-10 C degree range, and no wind, although it did drop below freezing during the night, as evidenced by the heavy frost on the tents and solar panels in the morning. We also woke up to the Tibetan kitchen staff bringing fresh coffee and tea to our tents at 7:00 a.m. Then we had a wash and made it to our comfortable dining tent for a delicious breakfast of omelettes, ham, cheese, fresh paratha, porridge and juice.

After breakfast we walked up the hill and wandered around in the foothills above base camp, where we were treated to great views and saw many large Himalayan hares springing about. Our high point was 5247 metres/17,200 feet; again according to the Thuraya satellite GPS.

We chose an alternate route to descend from the hills and walked back along a crystal clear stream through grassland, where we saw many small fish in the pools, and a myriad of birds, including a surprise over-flight by a seagull, of all things. On the mammal front, we saw marmots, and also pikas.

Back in basecamp for a delicious lunch, we met up with some newly arriving climbers, including Edmund Spoden, who Dan met on Mustagata and had no equipment and was kindly loaned everything by Manuel Weber. We also met several climbers from last spring's Cho Oyu expedition.

We spent the afternoon charging batteries with our generator, washing clothes and taking hot showers. The yaks arrived late in the evening and their drivers set up a tent in the evening next to our dining tent, then the yaks laid down all around our tents and it looks like we are camped in some sort of a zoo.

Well, today was a very relaxing day with a bit of exercise and good food. Tomorrow we plan to walk up to interim camp, so thanks for staying in touch and watching the progress of our www.ClimbShishapangma.com expedition! back to top

Amazing views looking down to basecamp, the Shishapangma River and across to the 6600 metre peaks trailing off from the main summit (Dan Mazur).

7 September, 2009

Early in Tingri and said a sad farewell to our Cho Oyu teammates. They are a great group of people and we will miss them very much. It was super fun being able to hang out together all of this way.

We picked up Chumey, our loyal Tibetan kitchen assistant and then all of us piled into two land-cruisers and we drove west, away from dusty Tingri, to the base of the 4900 metre/16,000 foot Lalung La, then left the main friendship highway behind to continue west. Suddenly the road became a rough-shod affair, and our jeeps bumped along from rock to rock and rut to rut. At times, the road disappeared altogether and we found ourselves crossing grassy meadows on pea-sized gravel.

Upon veering off the highway, the Tibetan Plateau came to life and we saw all sorts of new types of vegetation, lush grasslands, many stunning types of birds, even the very rare sight of a majestic Lamergeir bird sitting beside the road eating a rodent, looking ever so much like a massive golden eagle. This bird, though perched, would have easily risen above my knee, and I am 1.9 metres/6’3” inches tall.

After crossing the secured gate into the Shishapangma Core Zone, it felt ever more like we were in a remote wilderness, dotted with tiny Tibetan villages nestled humbly beneath enourmous grassy-rocky hills. Next we traversed the valley floor, and wound our way past the expansive and deep blue Pelku Tso Lake, which lies in all of its enourmity at 4590 metres/15,000 feet.

Turning up a side valley (by the way leaving the "main" highway to sacred Mount Kailash) we followed a crude track to a cluster of tents and were relieved to see our remaining staff of Jangbu, Kipa, and other Tibetan Kitchen assistant Tsewang (all of whom had driven up here with the equipment truck directly from Nyalam to establish this basecamp) waiving and beckoning to us.

We said good-bye to our friendly and patient drivers, and dove into the already set up dining tent for a delicious tea. Then we moved into our comfortable sleeping tents for a rest followed by a delicious lunch.

It’s very beautiful here at 5000 metre/16,000 foot-high basecamp, with a light rain falling, and temperatures around 18 degrees. So far our objective Mount Shishapangma, "Goddess of the Grasslands" has shyly secreted herself behind snow-laden clouds, but we know she will show her face sooner or later. Tomorrow we plan some acclimatization rest and a light hike of a few hours. Thanks for following our expedition! back to top


Beautiful Shishapangma basecamp at 5000 metres with the enourmous crystal clear blue Pelku Tso Lake behind. Hardworking staff weighing yak loads in Shisha basecamp (Dan Mazur).

6 September

Dear SummitClimb news readers,

Yesterday we left Nylam for our journey further up the Tibetan Plateau. Our goal was Tingri, a small Tibetan village at 4300 metres/14,000 feet. The road was in very good condition, almost paved all the way. Just one year ago there was no cover on the road and it was all dirt. Tibet is changing very fast! On the way we drove across a high mountain pas at 5050 metres/16,600 feet. Unfortunately, we did not have a good view. The monsoon is still there, so there are clouds every day.

We all arrived in Tingri at lunch time and enjoyed the nice Chinese food they prepared for us. In the afternoon we just walked in the village and enjoyed being out here.

Our staff did a lot off last minute supply shopping for meat, fuel, some veggies etc.

This is the last place of civilization before we reach our base camps.

All our staff are already in basecamp to setup the kitchen, dining tents, member tents etc., so if we arrive there tomorrow we can take it easy and adjust to the altitude slowly,

Tomorrow the Shishapangma and Cho Oyu team will split up and the dispatches will come from the two different teams afterwards.

That is all for now. We’ll send more news from basecamp.......

Arnold Coster, expedition leader back to top

 

Arnold, Ridlon, Gavin and Jaimie hanging out in front of the TMA restaurant in Tingri.H aris and our team land-cruiser atop the 5050 metre Yakri Shong La Pass. Relaxing round the table in Nyalam. Richard, Bart, Robert, Steven, Christian, and Ridlon Dan Mazur).

3 September

Dear SummitClimb news readers,

We left Kathmandu 12:00 p.m. at night for a bumpy ride to the Tibetan border. All members tried to sleep as much as they could, but on a bumpy road like this it's not easy. At 5:00 a.m. in the morning we couldn't drive any further. A big landslide blocked the road and we had to wait, so we had a different bus meet us on the other side. Finally the other bus showed up and we could drive to Kodari to have breakfast.

At the Chinese border it was the same procedure as usual, with lots of waiting! First you have to exit Nepal, fill a lot of forms and then enter China. They will x-ray your luggage, search it and x-ray it again. It took us a couple hours to get this done.

In Zhangmu, the first town in China, there was a well prepared delicious lunch waiting for us.

After hanging around for a couple hours we finally got the green light to continue the trip to Nylam, our final destination for two nights. There is road work going on between Zhangmu and Nylam, which is why the road is only open a couple of hours per day. On an expedition you need a lot of patience to reach your destination.

Nylam is a small mountain town at 3750 metres/12,300 feet with some simple hotels and basic shops. It’s a nice place for last minute shopping and scenic hiking around town. Today we went for a hike in the surrounding hills to get better acclimatized. We reached about 4000 metres/13,100 feet, which is very good. It will make our drive to Tingri at 4300 metres/14,000 feet a lot easier tomorrow.

All members are doing very well and we have no problems. Everybody is looking forward to reach Tingri tomorrow, so until then, that is all for now.........

Arnold Coster - Expedition Leader back to top


Crossing the washout on foot near Tatopani. Finally we reached Zhangmu in Tibet and boarded our bus. Let's go (Dan Mazur).

2 September

Today started with a delicious breakfast specially prepared for our team meeting at the Beijing Hotel. We had a group orientation and all members were in attendance. We reviewed the procedures for our expedition and the philosophy which we plan to use in climbing www.ChoOyuClimb.com and www.ShishapangmaExpedition.com . It was a nice meeting, and fun to have all of the members together at one table. Everyone seems nice and I think we have a great team.

We plan to leave early tomorrow morning, at 4:00 a.m.

In the afternoon, everyone finished their shopping and packing. Then we had a delicious dinner in a Kathmandu restaurant. However, we received urgent news that the road would be blocked in the morning, so, at the last minute, all plans were changed and we decided to leave at 11:00 p.m. at night on the 2nd of September. We hope to be able to pass the road block in the night, while there is still time to escape any closures...  Thanks for watching our news at www.SummitClimbNews.com ! back to top

1 September

Well we started out today at 6am and climbed up to Kathmandu's sacred and beautiful monkey temple. The views were stunning and the air, pollution free. 10 monks chanted a low throated murmur in front of a massive table of shimmering butter lamps and we felt the heat radiating off of the butter lamp table searing our cheeks. Local men and women walked to the top of the temple to sit cross legged on mats then sang and played musical instruments harmoniously. Pigeons circled the enormous gold white stupa and the beating of their wings punctuated the morning with a thumping percussion and a light dusting of airborne feathers. We walked down the back side of the temple, watched suspiciously by monkey families munching fruit clutched in tiny hands.

Suddenly rounding a corner, we found refuge in the quiet garden of a five-star hotel and enjoyed an amazing breakfast of fresh local foods while seated in comfortable rattan armchairs on a raised dais while a few mosquitoes hummed lazily under a canopy of palm and grapefruit trees.

Back at the hotel, we plunged into our duties of packing the medical kits, sorting and packing the high altitude food, and then the www.LeaderIntraining.com members began the careful task of checking each member's kit very thoroughly.

Gavin and Adam went off with lead climbing sherpa Lakpa to go check the recently arrived basecamp food shipment. Ridlon and Ry took the members on a shopping expedition to buy everything they need from the equipment list at SummitClimb's website.

We visited three of our key charity/non-profit service projects today.

Nima, the child born with no ears is fully enrolled at the deaf school and when we arrived at her classroom, the teacher called Nima to the board so she could practice her skills in reading letters, making word sounds, reading lips and using hand signs. Nima looked amazing, considering last time I had seen her, just 9 months ago, she was dressed in rags and torn sandals, her head was shaved due to lice, and you could count her ribs sticking out. Now she wore a neatly pressed uniform, her cheeks had a rosy glow, her eyes sparkled and her hair was cut in a neat page boy style. The teacher said Nima was one of the best students in the class, with a voracious appetite for learning, and every day made a new discovery about the world, after breaking her chains of poverty and isolation. The teacher asked if it would be possible for her to have surgery to open her ear canals as it seemed such a waste that this brilliant child might live out her entire life and never hear a sound. We took a lot of photos of Nima and plan to email them now. For more, please check out www.ServiceTrek.org .

 
Nima and her teacher conversing in sign language. Nima at the blackboard (Dan Mazur)

Pasang, the boy with rickets and a broken leg, was in fairly rough shape. He lay in his hospital bed quietly reading an English primer when we arrived, right leg encased in a thigh-high stained cast. We asked him how he was feeling and he brightened up and reached under his mattress and pulled out an x-ray for us to look at. He carefully pointed out all of the new metal pins in his leg and showed us the visible line where a new fracture has opened up. Apparently his bones are brittle and the fracture might have developed somehow after the surgery. After starting out slowly, Pasang perked up and a spark came to his eyes while he chatted about his situation in a squeaky voice. I couldn’t help but marvel at how tiny this boy is for a 14 year old. His father came in while we were there and we presented them with the phosphorus tablets kindly given by good people back home who care at www.ServiceTrekMembersFoundation.org . We plan on speaking to Pasang's doctor in the morning, to find out the specific details of his recovery and plans for the next surgeries. It seems there may be many, as new fractures open up and need to be pinned. This boy's condition is very complex and ever changing and we pray for his speedy recovery. We took a lot of photos of Pasang and plan to email them now. For more, please check out www.ServiceTrek.org .

 
Pasang holding the donated phosphorus tablets. Pasang's x-ray showing the pins in his legs. Pasang after surgery in leg cast (Dan Mazur).

Our next foray into trying to help Nepalese people help themselves was a meeting about our 6 year project of rebuilding the Deboche Nunnery with Heather Daniels, an enthusiastic Buddhist scholar. We met at a relaxed second floor café in Thamel and got into the meat of the discussion immediately. We spoke of our friend Marcia MacDonald and how she has been working very hard to tell the story of the last surviving generation of Sherpa nuns in the Khumbu valley, where Everest is located, now in their 70s and 80s. Not only that, but the Deboche Nunnery provides crucial refuge for beleaguered Tibetan nuns. Marcia has carefully and consistently spread the news about plans to rebuild parts of the old nunnery, bring a fresh water line to the kitchen and develop new nun’s quarters and a retreat centre. The idea is to bring new nuns and foreign students of meditation and Buddhism together, as well as breathe life back into this 80 year old convent. A service trek to dig a waterline from a nearby spring to the kitchen is underway during April 2010, and we urge you and all of your friends to join in. Please tell everyone about www.EverestBasecampServiceTrek.org . For even more info, please do check out www.DebocheNunnery.com . It was fascinating to speak to Heather about her studies and time at the nunnery, and future plans, and we are sending Heather's photo now.

Heather Daniels in Kathmandu (Dan Mazur).

Later in the afternoon I was thrilled to visit the new Sherpa Adventure Gear showroom and bed and breakfast and meet with Tsedo Sherpa and her mom. This committed group, spearheaded by Tashi Sherpa, has built an amazing building that looks right into the royal palace, has stunning views of the mountains and a gorgeous bed and breakfast on top, with one of the finest rooftop terraces you will ever see in Kathmandu. What an exciting project and we wish them all of the very best so please check out www.SherpaAdventureGear.com . I am emailing photos from our visit to the new store and b and b. Be sure to check out the grand opening in mid September!!!

Visiting the new Sherpa Adventure Gear store, which is opening in mid-September 2009 (Dan Mazur).

Finally our team met for a delicious dinner at one of Kathmandu's awesome continental style restaurants and I will have to say we were treated to the finest dinner of the entire trip we have had thus far...

New members of www.ChoClimb.com and www.ShishapangmaExpedition.com arrived throughout the day, including: Robert, Christian, Alejandro, Karsten, Marcus, and it looks like everyone is here. Let’s get going!
back to top

31 August

Hi everyone. Thanks for checking out Summit Climb News about Cho Oyu and Shishapangma. This is the dispatch for 31 August.

Today was a full-on beautiful day. A bit of light mist and rain fell in the early morning, it then became very hot and sunny for the entire day; finally a hard rain came at night. Temps varied from 18 to 29 degrees Celsius, and there was no wind. It’s so clean and beautiful and green here. Kathmandu is at its best, with no tourists and many Nepalis staying at home or out of town, so things are quiet and peaceful.

We were busy throughout the day, with an early morning leg stretching walk to the gorgeous "Monkey Temple" atop a nearby hill. A fantastic fitness walk with spectacular views and cultural opportunities where we watched monks praying, locals singing and chanting; and lit some candles and spun a few prayer wheels. We had breakfast at a luxury hotel, then a second breakfast at our favourite café with Abi and Raj fromwww.SummitTrek.com . Then we went over to the main store room of www.SummitClimb.com and got down to brass tacks with the Nepal director, Murari and our awesome Superstar climbing Sherpas: Jangbu, Thile, Gyelzen, and Lakpa.

We tore out all of the equipment and packed all of the tents, cookers, gas, oxygen, walkie talkies, and on and on. It was like a marathon packing session and we got a lot done. We broke for a delicious lunch at a European delicatessen, then went back to the office ofwww.SummitClimb.com and really went wild on getting the medical kits ready. We sorted out each type of medication, checked the expiry dates and got things extremely organised.

Our www.LeaderInTraining.com team has really been pulling out all of the stops and to be honest with you I have never met a group of leaders who worked so hard and I am very proud of them. More members came rolling in today and I met Christian, Wiktor, Ridlon, Carin, Bart, Haris and others. We are becoming a team and that is exciting. Our expedition feels like it is really taking shape.

Tonight we went out and had a gourmet Bhutanese meal and sat under a gazebo at a big round table in comfortable chairs. The perfect end to a brilliant day with the www.ChoOyuClimb.com and www.ShishapangmaExpedition.com team.

Oh yes, by the way, I met Grace and Carin from our www.ChoOyuTrek.com team and they seemed very nice and had to-the-point questions. I think they will have a great trek up to the exotic and friendly Tibetan Plateau. Thanks to everyone at www.SummitTrek.com for putting it all together.

Ok www.SummitClimbNews.com readers. Thanks for following our expeditions. Another dispatch will be coming your way tomorrow and please be sure and ask us any questions, discuss comments and ideas in the interim at Info@SummitClimb.com . Thanks!! back to top

A view of Swayambhunath Stupa, the "Monkey Temple". It is the most ancient and enigmatic of all the holy shrines in Kathmandu valley. Swayambhunath's worshippers include Hindus, Vajrayana Buddhists of northern Nepal and Tibet, and the Newari Buddhists of central and southern Nepal. Each morning before dawn, hundreds of pilgrims will ascend the 365 steps that lead up the hill, file past the gilded Vajra (Tibetan: Dorje) and two lions guarding the entrance, and begin a series of clockwise circumambulations of the stupa. On each of the four sides of the main stupa there are a pair of big eyes. These eyes are symbolic of God's all-seeing perspective (Dave Dogruel).

30 August

Hi there Summit Climb News readers. I hope you are well and thanks for following our dispatch for 30 August, 2009, for Cho Oyu and Shishapangma on www.SummitClimbNews.com .

Today was quite a busy day for us as we prepared for our expedition. We awoke in our comfortable hotel and after a fresh morning rain; the sun popped out and dried out the streets of Kathmandu. I love this time of year here as it’s so clean and the city is so well washed. It’s very quiet and peaceful as locals relax and assume a slower pace of life. Also there are very few tourists here so the normally frantic 'Thamel' neighbourhood is nice and calm.

We had a delicious breakfast at our local coffee shop then got to work checking member’s personal equipment and going over the gear list on the SummitClimb.com website.

There are three special members of our www.LeaderInTraining.com programme and they have been working very hard getting us ready for the expedition. They are Adam Dixon from England, Gavin Vickers from Australia, and Ry Fable from Colorado. Also in town are two of our expedition members Richard Pierse from Ireland and Alex Macrae from Aberdeen.

We went around the "Asan" neighbourhood with our kitchen staff and checked food prices and quality at three different shops, and then returned to SummitClimb’s Kathmandu office to make final purchase decisions. Our food lists and cook staff are looking good, so we will be eating very well. Then we went on to review the equipment lists for www.ClimbChoOyu.com and www.ShishapangmaExpedition.com , and sat with the lead sherpa from each team to discuss every item on the list in detail, so we have things perfectly organised.

We are bringing lots of equipment like ropes, tents, radios, medical gear, etcetera, so we are going to be very well prepared. In the evening we met for a delicious dinner at a nearby bistro which serves the most delicious Italian food in a lovely cozy classy atmosphere, then had one nightcap in a nearby pub where we ran into old friends who are in town launching their expeditions to various mountains around Nepal and Tibet.

All of the best for now, thanks for following our news and please stay tuned for more from www.SummitClimbNews.com . back to top

29 August

Well, I am in Bangkok airport waiting for our flight to Kathmandu. It seems to be delayed by 30 minutes. I am with two of the amazing sherpas who work with us, Nima and Tsering. We flew here via Seoul, so it’s been quite a long trip with many stops. However, on the plus side, the flight ticket was the same price as ten years ago, so not sure how they do that. It’s fun to travel with sherpas. They are so patient and see things in a much different light than we do.

I am very excited to be in Kathmandu this afternoon and get settled into our hotel, have a wash, and get caught up with the entire goings on in our Kathmandu SummitClimb and SummitTrek office. We have scheduled a www.LeaderInTraining.com meeting for tomorrow a.m., and I anticipate meeting everyone and getting going on the packing for our climbing expeditions to Cho Oyu and Shishapangma.

We are going to be preparing as well for www.ClimbBaruntse.com which happens 8 October to 14 November and I am looking for a few more people to join me on that exciting trip which includes a free of cost, no charge www.MeraPeakClimb.com . So please tell all of your friends, so you can earn the cash finder's fee we pay for all new members!!!

Also we are going to be working on and checking in with several large charity - non/profit projects we have been fostering, together with www.MountEverestFoundation.org , including www.EverestBasecampServiceTrek.org , the Patale health clinic, the Pokhara orphanage, the Deboche Nunnery, and particularly Pasang the boy with fragile bones, Nima the deaf child, and the burned toes baby we want to bring to Kathmandu on this November's www.ServiceTrek.org . We are looking for just a few more members to join our Service treks this autumn and during spring, so please be sure to tell all of your charity - non/profit minded friends.

Thanks for following all of our climbs and treks and I will send you an update tomorrow!! In case you need me to answer any specific questions or address particular topics in these dispatches, please let me know. Thanks and best trekking and climbing regards! –Dan Mazur back to top

Shishapangma Team Roster:

  • Dan Mazur (leader) - US/UK
  • Bart Dirven - Netherlands
  • Haris Kiriakakis - Greece
  • Dr. Karsten König - Germany
  • Richard Pierse - Ireland
  • Alejandro Fernandez - Spain

Trekkers:

  • Marcus Lauterbach - Germany

Staff:

  • Gyalje Sherpa - Climbing Sherpa
  • Jangbu Sherpa - Climbing Sherpa 
  • Kipa Sherpa - Cook
  • Chumey - Kitchen Assistant back to top
  • Request Info about a trip
  • How to join a team?