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Baruntse and Mera Peak Climb & Trek Expedition Recent News Autumn 2010

Photos in Baruntse slideshow: Tunc Findik. For caption information on these photos, please visit our Barun tse photo gallery.
Baruntse & Mera Peak Autumn 2010: news of our expedition
10 October to 10 November, 2010
"Click Here" for information about our upcoming Baruntse expeditions
 
New Mera Peak Video Clip: Please click here to view an exciting video interview with Dan Mazur describing his ski descent of Mera Peak.

Trip Summary: www.ClimbBaruntse.com : The October - November period features the year's best weather and climbing conditions, and this season was no exception. After a gorgeous trek through the remote Hingku valley, on the third of November, 8 of our team members and 8 top-notch climbing sherpas reached the summit of Baruntse, Nepal's most climbable 7000 metre/23,000 foot high peak with something for everyone, from the beginner to the expert.

This was our 2nd successful Baruntse expedition and our expert leader Dan, who had climbed Baruntse before, and our very strong team of Sherpas, knew how to get our goals accomplished, fix the ropes, manage the porters, how to watch the weather, when to cross the passes, etcetera.

On 23 October our team walked to the top of Mera Peak, the finest "trekking peak" in Nepal with the most stunning views of Everest I have ever seen.

Mera Peak is 6500 metres/21,000 feet high. On 5-7 November, we crossed the incredible Amphu Labtsa pass at 5700 metres/18700 feet high and entered the Khumbu valley at the base of mighty Mount Everest. We congratulate everyone on their great effort.

The final climb to the summit of Baruntse is all done on a snowy ridge. The climbing/walking is not technical, however, the ridge is exposed, and ropes are normally fixed. There is a snow path along the ridge. In a few places there are small 3 metre/10 foot high steep sections that have to be navigated. It is often windy on the upper parts of Baruntse. It is important to have good warm Himalayan clothing and proper boots.

Also, walking to the top of Mera Peak is a very good way to test yourself at high altitude and prepare for Baruntse. The unique thing about our expedition is that it offers two peaks, a high pass crossing, and a grand circuit of the Everest region, all for one low price. Throughout the expedition, we had comfortable tents, delicious food, and good equipment.

Climbing Baruntse is a fine way to get qualified for climbing Everest, Cho Oyu, Lhotse, and Shishapangma. We invite you to join us for our next Baruntse Mera expedition: 12 October - 14 November, 2011 and 2012.

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


 

 

 

 

 

Summit photo of the team. Check out that frightening and massive wind plume guttering off the summit of Lhotse and Everest. Sunset in its final throes over Kusum Kanguru and Malan Phulan.  Sunset showing varying hues of gradation from the expanses of the Tibetan Plateau on the left, the summit of Makalu, world's fifth highest peak, on the right. Sunset streaming its way across Mera Peak and Kusum Kanguru. Team ascending steepening head-wall to second summit. Team walking up toward Baruntse's second summit. Team member preparing to cross the crevasse that demarcates the beginning of the long summit ridge, that's Ama Dablam behind left of centre. Team on the true summit of Baruntse. That's Everest and Lhotse in the clouds behind. Team member walking along corniced summit ridge (Dan Mazur).

8 November, 2010

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi, this is Dan Mazur with a dispatch on the 8th of November for the SummitClimb Mera Peak/Baruntse expedition.

We’re in Chukkung and we have some shocking news. There has been a helicopter crash just below the summit of Ama Dablam during a rescue of 2 climbers. Apparently the 2 climbers were going up the steep north face of Ama Dablam. They got stuck up there. They weren’t able to get back down because the snow was too soft and they couldn’t go up any further because of a lot of crevasses, wind and snow mushrooms.

They called on their mobile phones for a helicopter rescue. The helicopter came up there and one of the climbers was able to crawl inside and be evacuated down to Chukkung. The helicopter went up again to rescue the 2nd climber and crashed. It was one of the specialty B2 Euro high altitude helicopters. It’s a brand new helicopter that’s out and able to reach those high elevations because these climbers were above 6500 metres. In the previous years it would have never been possible to try to rescue someone at that elevation.

Since the crash happened a few hours ago (on the 7th of November) there has been a constant stream of helicopter traffic, as we believe they are looking for survivors. Apparently one climber is still up there in a bivouac with a mobile phone and fading batteries.

We’re shocked by this. Our condolences go out to the pilot and co-pilot of the helicopter. We’re all going to keep you updated as we find out more. Thank you very much. Bye, bye. back to top

 
 
 
Hanne and Lakpa Nuru on the way to camp 2. Looking down from first Baruntse summit at c2 in the sunlit saddle. Looking down on 'Panch Pokhari', known as the beautiful five lakes sacred to Hindu pilgrims and across to Mount Chamlang. Looking up at the first of Baruntse's many summits. One of the beautiful five lakes known locally as 'Panch Pokhari'. These are sacred lakes to Hindi pilgrims and incredibly beautiful. We trekked past them today on the way to Amphu Labtsa high camp.Sangay Sherpa early on a chilly summit morning leaving camp. Team climbing up. In lower left of photo that's basecamp on the blue lake. Thorsten walking up the final hill to Amphu Labtsa high camp with one of the five lakes and a satellite peak of Chamlang in the background. Cooks prepare morning tea, steam rising from green tent in Amphu Labtsa high camp (Dan Mazur).

7 November, 2010

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi, this is Adrian Wilson from Sydney, Australia with a dispatch on the 7th of November for the SummitClimb Mera Peak/Baruntse expedition.

As you may have heard from previous dispatches, the expedition has been split into 2 groups at the moment. I’m with the 2nd group that summited Baruntse on the 3rd of November. Since this is the 1st dispatch that has been made from this group I thought I’d say a couple of things about summit day.

On summit day we were woken at 1:30 a.m. in camp 2 and told that the weather conditions looked good and that we were going to make our summit attempt. It was very cold, but there was very little wind and perfectly clear skies and all of the stars were bright and clear.

We made our way up towards the summit. Sunrise was very beautiful. We all got a lot of great photographs. As we got higher the winds did pick up and by the time we made it to the final 2 pitches up to the actual summit the winds were very high. However, everybody in our group, 7 members, did make it to the summit of Baruntse and the weather did permit us to stay on the summit for at least 20-30 minutes each. We were all very pleased.

We proceeded down to camp 2, spent the night in camp 2, then down to Baruntse basecamp. Since then we proceeded to the Amphu Laptsa high camp. Yesterday we crossed the Amphu Laptsa pass. That was a big highlight of the trip also with spectacular snow formations and quite a challenging rappel and climb down a steep snow slope into a beautiful valley. There were spectacular views of Mt Everest, Lhotse and Lhotse Shar.

Last night we spent the evening at camp in Chukkung where I’m dispatching right now. We’re just preparing to proceed down to Pangboche. It’s beautiful weather with very few cloud and quite warm as we head lower. Tonight we will camp in Pangboche before proceeding down to Namche Bazaar tomorrow. back to top

 

 

Maya Sherpa checking out the teardrop shaped crystal clear blue lake below Kusum Kanguru in the Baruntse valley. It looks like it might have been made by a meteorite. Wat do you think? Our first glimpse into the Baruntse valley. That's massive Mount Chamlang behind and the trekkers camp of Kongme Dingma just visible on the valley floor below. Members enjoying the sunshine beneath beautiful Peak 43 (Dan Mazur).

5 November, 2010

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi, this is Dan Mazur with a dispatch on the 5th of November for the SummitClimb Mera Peak/Baruntse expedition.

We’re down near the village of Chukkung at 4900 metres. It’s a beautiful morning at 9:33 a.m. We’re camped in a big grassy plateau with views of Lobuche, Cholatse, and all the high mountains around us. It’s really warm and comfortable.

We crossed the famous Amphu Laptsa Pass yesterday. It was incredibly beautiful and very challenging. Everybody made it over safely, all of our members, sherpas and porters.

We split the team into 2 groups. The next team will be crossing the Amphu Laptsa Pass the day after tomorrow and this group will head down to Lukla to fly back to Kathmandu.

Thank you so much for following our expedition. We wish you all the best. Bye, bye. back to top

  

 

Nuptse, Everest, Lhotose, Lhotse Shar and Island Peak seen from the top of the Amphu Labtsa pass. Abseiling down the Amphu Labtsa pass. Look closely to see the to climbers standing in the middle of the Amphu Labtsa glacier (Dan Mazur).

3 November, 2010 - Team Summits!

Update 6:

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi, this is another dispatch for November 3rd. It’s 7:07 p.m. local time.

We just finished a delicious dinner of chicken and fresh vegetables. Oh my gosh, the cooks did an amazing job.

All of the Baruntse members and sherpas have come down safely to camp 2 after a really tough day. A couple of the members and sherpas even made it back to basecamp.

The rest of the team crossed the Baruntse Valley and are now at Amphu Laptsa high camp at 5650 metres. We’re comfortably perched in our tents.

Tomorrow morning all 10 of us, 6 sherpas and 15 porters are going to cross the Amphu Laptsa pass and drop down into Chukkung. We are so looking forward to it. The weather is great and it’s really clear tonight with no wind or clouds. It was a gorgeous day for walking and it looks like tomorrow is going to be another one.

Thanks for following us and please stay tuned. Thank you. Bye, bye. back to top

Update 5:

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hello, this is Felix Berg calling in for the Baruntse expedition. Today is November 3rd. We managed to reach the summit of Baruntse with 8 members and 8 sherpas. I’m back down to basecamp now after a long day. We will call in with some more information soon. Bye, bye. back to top

Baruntse basecamp from above with Mount Baruntse and the West Col seen in the distance. 

Update 4:

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi, this is another dispatch for November 3rd. The time is 1:20 in the afternoon.

All 8 members and all 8 sherpas have reached the summit of Baruntse! We congratulate them. They said the conditions are good. The snow is good and the wind is light. They are on their way down and they expect to sleep in camp 2 or perhaps camp 1 and they should be back in basecamp tomorrow. Thank you very much for following the expedition and we’ll keep you updated. Bye, bye. back to top

Update 3:

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi, this is a dispatch about today’s helicopter operation on the 3rd of November.

At about 8:00 a.m. this morning Erik Whitehorn and Mitch Cocorinis flew out. They weren’t feeling well. Luckily they had really good insurance and we had made arrangements with our office in Kathmandu, so a B3 helicopter flew in and picked them up.

Luckily we also found a porter from another team that had frozen his hands really badly and was wandering around basecamp. We’re not really sure what happened or why the other group wasn’t taking care of him, but luckily we were able to fit him into that helicopter. He had really bad frozen hands and big frostbite blisters, which needed immediate medical attention. We did not want to delay at all in getting him to a doctor. He’s in Kathmandu now, together with Erik and Mitch thanks to the brilliant speedy efforts from our office in Kathmandu. We really appreciate that.

Today was a beautiful day for flying with no clouds or wind, just gorgeous warm sun on newly fallen snow from the last couple of days. So they must have had an incredible flight. Thank you very much. Bye, bye. back to top

 
 
From the summit of Baruntse, Nuptse's ridge on right and Cho Oyu in centre. From the summit, Ama Dablam on the right, Tawoche, Cholatse and Lobuche in the centre, behind are peaks in the Gokyo region. 

Update 2:

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi, this is the second dispatch for the 3rd of November. It is 10:50 a.m. Nepal time.

The Baruntse team is about 1 hour below the summit. They are just nearing the section where the famous sherpa, Chhewang Nima Sherpa, passed away. May God rest his soul. It appears that he was standing on an overhanging cornice lip, which broke off while he was standing on it. We’re not sure if he was roped. Apparently 2 sherpas went up there from another team. He was one and there was another gentleman. Only one came back. We’re not sure if he was roped or if the rope broke. What a tragic situation.

Right now our team is almost at the summit and they are experiencing really good conditions. There is solid snow pack and light winds. It’s very sunny with no clouds and perfect weather for a summit day. We wish them the best on this next section of the climb and we hope that they are very safe.

It appears that all of the other teams that were trying to climb Baruntse turned around. We’re not sure why. We hope to have more information for you soon.

Coincidentally, our Ama Dablam team just called on the radio. We have really good reception with our excellent walkie talkie radios we’re using here. We were able to speak to the Ama Dablam team led by Max Kausch. They are on the summit right now! They said there were some light winds, but good snow conditions and it was very safe. We felt really fortunate to speak to them.

The remainder of our Baruntse team will walk to Amphu Laptsa high camp today at 5650 metres in preparation for crossing the famous Amphu Laptsa Pass tomorrow. We have 13 members, 7 sherpas and 15 porters. So wish us all the best. We’ll keep you posted when the Baruntse team summits. We will let you know and pray for their safety. Thank you very much. Bye, bye. back to top

Update 1:

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi, this is Dan Mazur with a dispatch on the 3rd of November for the SummitClimb Mera Peak/Baruntse expedition. I’m calling at 7:00 a.m. Nepal time.

The team of 8 members and 8 sherpas is heading for the summit. They left at 2:00 this morning. So far they are doing okay. It’s a bit windy up there, but the conditions seem to be all right. They’re moving very slowly and carefully, fixing extra ropes, extra ice screws and extra snow bars as they go. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. We will keep you updated. We think they have another 3-4 hours to go before they reach the summit and we wish them all the best. Thanks for following. Bye, bye. back to top

 

 

 

Two leaders in training, having just packed up in camp 1 preparing to head up the mountain to camp 2. Our leader in training from Australia, preparing to head up the mountain after breakfast. Members on descent in the West Col couloir. Team making final ascent of Baruntse's second summit. That's Baruntse basecamp, the lake and the peak behind him. Our last goodbye to basecamp. We cleaned it up very well. The remaining tents will be packed out by the porters, when they show up! Pink sunrise over Ama Dablam range. Team heading up the hill to camp 2. Team resting just below Baruntse's second summit, Makalu behind. In camp 2 at 6420 metres. Team member takes the last few steps to the true summit of Baruntse (Dan Mazur). 

2 November, 2010

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi, this is Dan Mazur with a dispatch on the 2nd of November for the SummitClimb Mera Peak/Baruntse expedition.

On the first of November the weather cleared around midday, the clouds lifted, it stopped snowing and blue skies came out. Everyone came out of their tents and was very happy and excited. 6 members went down together with 2 sherpas. The rest of the team stayed put. It was very windy in the afternoon although the skies were blue.

On the 2nd of November the wind settled and stopped. The skies were still very blue. 3 members went down together with 2 sherpas. The other members decided to move up to camp 2 and perhaps try the route to climb to the summit, but we’ll be very watchful of avalanche conditions. Thank you very much. Bye, bye. back to top

 

 

Tents lined up, that's Dave down at the end. Camp 1 at breakfast time. The mountains behind are sub-peaks of Baruntse.Members on descent in the West Col couloir. Team making final ascent of Baruntse's second summit (Dan Mazur - 2009).

31 October, 2010

Hello, this is Stefan Kuntz from Germany reporting for the SummitClimb Baruntse expedition .Today is October 31st. Happy Halloween to everybody.

We came here to camp 1 yesterday at 6143 metres/20,150 feet. We’re trying to get to the summit of Baruntse in the next couple of days. A couple of people are down in basecamp, but most of the members are up here. Everybody is fine and healthy. At the moment we’re having bad luck with the weather. There’s a snow storm outside, so we are sitting around in the kitchen, drinking tea and speaking to each other. The plan for the next couple of days is to walk to camp 2 tomorrow and try for the summit the day after. Thanks for following the news. Now I’ll do a dispatch in German (please click the audio link above). back to top

29 October, 2010

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi, this is Dan Mazur with a dispatch on the 29th of October for the SummitClimb Mera Peak/Baruntse expedition.

I’m calling you from camp 1 located at the top of the West Col at 6143 metres/20,150 feet high. The weather up here is very calm, no clouds, and quite warm. The time is 6:42 at night.

Today we had an especially important day for our expedition, as 3 of our sherpas were able to reach the summit. The sherpas were Jangbu Sherpa, Lakpa Gyalmu Sherpa, and Palden Sherpa. It was extremely tough going through soft snow and ours was the first team this season to reach the summit of Baruntse, if not the first team of the year, which bears researching.

Tomorrow all of our members will be coming up here from basecamp and sleeping a night at camp 1 and then moving on up to camp 2 at 6514 metres/21,365 feet. The day after tomorrow on November 1st we plan to make a group ascent of Baruntse. The route is looking good. Our team fixed an additional 700 metres of rope, 15 snow bars, and 6 ice screws today. We just need to top off the route with an additional 100 metres of rope and 5 or 6 more snow bars. Then things should be looking good.

We plan to be extremely safe and safety conscious. There was some difficulty with avalanches earlier in the year. Our thoughts go out to Chhewang Nima Sherpa, who lost his life about a week ago on the 23rd of October. We’re not sure of the circumstances of that. He fell off or there was an avalanche or a combination of the two. His client and friend immediately took a helicopter off to Kathmandu so we were unable to get more information. God bless him.

We feel very lucky for the ascent today and we’re going to be super careful as we ascend the peak over the next few days. Luckily, the weather forecasts all show that there is a big high pressure above us. We expect extremely calm, warm and clear weather for the next 4-5 days. So wish us luck and stay tuned. Thank you very much. All the best. back to top

 

Making the final walk into camp 1 at 6120metres. Jangbu is carrying a flat stone on his head so our cooks can put the stove on it. Team members climbing the last snow pitch to the west col. Our team heading up to the upper snow pitch of the west col. Camp 1 with a view looking up toward camp 2 behind. Jangbu and Arnold atop the West Col, Baruntse behind. Maya Sherpa atop the West Col, Baruntse behind (Dan Mazur).

28 October, 2010

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi, this is Jason Snell from Perth, Australia reporting for the SummitClimb Baruntse expedition from basecamp at 5450 metres/17,900 feet. Today is October 28th.

On October 27th it was a member’s rest day at basecamp. The morning and early afternoon were filled with a traditional Sherpa blessing of the climbing equipment and asking the gods for safe passage. There was also dancing and drinking of whiskey. All of the members remain very positive and are looking forward to developments over the coming days.

On October the 28th most of the members carried their climbing equipment up to the ‘guillotine’, which is located at 5800 metres/19,000 feet at the base of the glacier and leads up to camp 1 and beyond. Some continued to camp 1. The weather today has been fantastic with clear blue skies, great views and a cool wind.

The group has developed very well together and hopefully this will help us all over the coming days as the demands increase both physically and mentally. I’m sure every member would love to give you their regards to each and every one of you. I’m going to give mine to my wife, son and daughter. Thank you. back to top

 

 

Ama Dablam and numerous other peaks seen from West Col, looking west at sunset. Arnold Coster in the first rocky pitch of the West Col. Team ascending West Col while 2nd part of team watches (Dan Mazur).
27 October, 2010

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hello, this is Lars Wegge from basecamp.

We’re here in a beautiful valley below Baruntse at about 5500 metres above sea level. We arrived here in basecamp yesterday and today we are having a rest day. It’s definitely getting more and more beautiful and pristine day after day. Nobody lives here in this valley except lower down. Up here it is totally remote.

The snow conditions on Baruntse, towering about 1800 metres over us, is uncertain. No teams have summited this year yet, but we hope to get up there tomorrow for our first taste. Some of us are coughing a little, but no one is suffering seriously from the altitude.

Today was a highlight. The sherpas arranged a beautiful puja religious ceremony which ended up with dancing to tunes from mobile phones. All of us are happy and positive.

Thanks for following us. Now Mr. Lars Ronnevig will do a dispatch in real Norwegian (please click the audio link above to listen). back to top

 Baruntse basecamp from above with Mount Baruntse and the West Col seen in the distance (Dan Mazur).

Mera Peak Ski Descent - Interview with Dan Mazur

Mike Browder interviews Dan Mazur - reporting in live (click here to listen)

Hello, this is Mike Browder from Chamonix, leader of the Mera Peak/Baruntse SummitClimb expedition with a special dispatch for October 23rd. I’m going to interview Dan Mazur, who skied from the summit of Mera Peak yesterday.

Mike: So Dan, what’s like to ski Mera Peak anyway?

Dan: Thank you Mike. I just would have to say that skiing down from the summit of Mera Peak, which is 6500 metres/21,450 feet high, is one of the most amazing things that I’ve ever done in Nepal. It was an incredible experience with great weather and great snow. It was very challenging and super exciting.

Mike: What were the conditions like? Was it the same from top to bottom?

Dan: Oh yeah, the snow conditions. They were really quite variable. On top it was fairly wind blown up there. It was kind of a windy day. Then as I got further down into this high valley that dominates Mera Peak, the snow got a lot better and it was actually quite powdery and really fun. There were occasional slight wind layers there, but it really wasn’t too bad. Once I got to the lower part of the mountain there was nice soft and turnable snow. When I got lower to the very bottom I got into a shadowy area down around 5200 metres/17,000 feet I decided I would take off my skies just to be safe.

Mike: What was the snow angle like? Were there any particularly dangerous elements or was it all pretty much crusiing from top to bottom?

Dan: Great question Mike. Thank you. The slope angle I’d say was around 20 degrees. I would describe it as intermediate terrain. One of the unique features of Mera Peak was there were a few crevasses up there that I had to ski around, so I had to really be careful and keep a good lookout. Another thing is that we hiked up the route  earlier that morning, the same route I would ski down, so I kind of remembered and made some mental markers and kept good track of the crevasses that I’d have to look out for on the way down.

Mike: Did you find it difficult to breathe while you were skiing downhill or was it pretty easy?

Dan: Oh my gosh, that’s a great question. Yes, it was really tough to breathe on the way down. I had to stop and catch my breath because when you’re skiing around above 20,000 feet/6500 metres, wow, there’s just not a lot of air to breathe. Another thing though that was really a surprise was it was quite cold when we got to the top and I had all of my down clothing on. When I started skiing down I immediately got really warm and I had to take off all of those layers. I was skiing down while my friends were hiking down. My friends were all these heavy thick layers and I was skiing down in just windshell gore-tex and really enjoying that.

Mike: It sounded like you hiked up? You didn’t have to skin up or how did your skiis get to the top of the hill?

Dan: I must say that I’m deeply indebted to our incredibly strong sherpas who carried my boards all the way to the top and I’m kind of embarrassed because as a old school back country skier I know that you’re supposed to carry your own equipment and skin up. But hey, we’re in Nepal. There’s a lot of really friendly, skillful sherpas around and they’re super strong, so I can’t really can’t complain. My boards were carried to the top for me.

Mike: How many metres or feet did you ski down then?

Dan: I started skiing down at 6500 metres and I took out my skiis at around 5500 metres, so I skied a 100 metres/3300 feet of vertical terrain. It was a long descent. It really took me a longtime. I stopped in the middle for about a half hour. I had to stop a lot to catch my breath. It took me a few hours, not including breaks.

Mike: Let me ask you about equipment. What equipment did you use to ski and do you think me, as a snow boarder, I could have done the mountain?

Dan: Thanks Mike, that’s a good question. I used light weight all mountain powder skiis. These happen to be made by K2. They were a test ski from Vashon Island that I received from my friend Rainer Eckhart. I used Scarpa mountain alpine touring boots. So I was not telemark skiing, I was skiing down in downhill style. As a snow boarder, I think it would have been excellent. In fact, as a snow boarder you would have been able to go further down the mountain than I did because snowboarding is so good in variable snow conditions. I think you would have loved it. As a snow boarder, I think you would have especially loved having the sherpas carry your snow board to the top for you.

Mike: Would you recommend this? Was it fun? It sounds like it was a blast to me.

Dan: I would definitely recommend this to people that love high adventure, mountain skiing in the Himalaya, mountain snowboarding, people that love Nepal, and love going to remote areas because it took a week to get to the base of the mountain. Now we’re going on into some other valleys, so I just think it’s an all out great adventure with really fun skiing on a super high altitude mountain with amazing views of Mount Everest. What an incredible special thing to be able to be skiing down a mountain looking straight over at Mt Everest a few kilometers away.

Mike: What did you do when you were finished? Did you celebrate?

Dan: Oh yeah Mike, that’s a great question. We had kind of a ski party down in basecamp with some really delicious food excellently prepared by our awesome cooks with things like vegetables, pasta, delicious steaks for the meat eaters, and lots of hot drinks. It was a great fun time reliving the day’s memory around the table in basecamp. That was just a really fun way to wind up the day. Also, we descended to quite a low elevation to 5200 metres/17,000 feet where the air is so much thicker and easy to breathe.

Mike: Thank you very much Dan. This was Mike Browder with the Mera Peak/Baruntse expedition. This was a special dispatch interviewing Dan Mazur who skied down Mera Peak yesterday. Thank you very much. back to top


Mera Peak as seen from the Mera La trail and climbers visible on the lower section.

26 October, 2010

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hello, this is Lars Levo from the SummitClimb Baruntse expedition. Today is the 26th of October.

At the moment we’re hanging around about 4-5 hours from Baruntse basecamp. Everybody is feeling well. We’re walking towards our main target of Baruntse. From here we can see Everest, as well as awesome peaks around us, like Peak 41. Now I’ll say a few words in Finnish (Please click the audio link above). back to top

 

Baruntse basecamp visible across the lake. In the distance across the valley at the base of the large peak is the small glacier wherein lies the Amphu Labtsa pass. Large peak on right is Ama Dablam, then to the left is Ombigaichen, then to the left is the famous Mingbo La, the flowing glacier. Team walking along the twisty, turny Baruntse river. This is a very beautiful trek. Makalu seen at sunset across the West Col (Dan Mazur).
25 October, 2010

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Good morning, this is Jens Rabbels with a dispatch on the 25th of October for the SummitClimb Mera Peak/Baruntse expedition.

Yesterday we came from Mera Peak basecamp through a beautiful valley to a small village. The weather is very fine. The members are all doing well. Today we continued towards Baruntse basecamp. Everything is going great.

Now I’m going to give the phone to Marina Krauss to do a dispatch in German (please click the audio link above to listen). back to top

 

 

Amphu Labtsa pass is the small glacier seen at base of the large peak in the distance across the valley. Closeup of Baruntse basecamp across the lake. Lovely camp along the Baruntse River at Rato Oral, which means 'red cave'. Sorry, I cut the top off of Mount Chamlang in the background. Mount Baruntse on golden sunset (Dan Mazur).

24 October, 2010

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi, this is Felix Berg with a dispatch on the 24th of October for the SummitClimb Mera Peak/Baruntse expedition.

We’re sitting here in Mera Peak basecamp at about 5200 metres. Everything is packed up and we are going down the valley to Baruntse basecamp now. We also sent 1 porter with about 30 kilos of rubbish back over to Lukla to keep everything nice and clean here.

The weather is beautiful and we hope it stays like this. Now I’ll do a dispatch for our German speaking members (please click the audio link above to listen). back to top

23 October, 2010

Team summits Mera Peak!

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi, this is Dan Mazur with a dispatch on the 23rd of October for the SummitClimb Mera Peak/Baruntse expedition.

We’re on the central summit of Mera Peak! It’s 9:30 in the morning. It’s a very beautiful sunny day up here. Almost all of the members made it. We’re so proud of them. They did a great job. One of our members, Lars Ronnevig, went to the main summit of Mera Peak with 3 sherpas. That was an amazing thing he did in some very high winds and icy conditions. The rest of us still summited only a few metres below the main summit.

We can see stunning views up here of Cho Oyu, Pumori, Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Everest, Lhotse, Island Peak, the Amphu Labtsa, Baruntse, the west col, Makalu, Chamlang, and all the way over to the east we can see Kangchenjunga. I think Mera Peak has some of the finest views of any mountain in Nepal and particularly excellent views of Mount Everest.

Wish us luck on the way down and thanks for following our expedition. Take care now. Bye, bye. back to top

 

 

 

 

Leader spots from below while a team member climbs the final headwall to the summit and Jangbu, chief sherpa, gives a thumbs up. Members on the summit of Mera Peak with Everest and Lhotse behind. Team member coming back from summiting the main peak. Team members ascending the main summit of Mera Peak on ropes fixed by our strong sherpa team. Climbing on to the Mera summit plateau. Peaks behind include Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Everest, Lhotse, Island Peak, Baruntse, Makalu and Chamlang. Team member shows his style climbing out of the crevasse just below the summit onto the head wall. Waiting for the kitchen to boil more water to fill that big cup in Mera high camp.That's Baruntse, the huge brown mountain in the back left of centre. If you follow the ridge down toward the centre of the photo with your eye, you can see the famous west col about 200 metres high (Dan Mazur).

22 October, 2010

Well, today is a big day for us. Luckily the weather seems to be stabilizing and returning to normal, which means we have sunshine in the morning and clouds and light snow in the afternoon. Today our Mera Peak team of 4, together with our Baruntse team of 22 are heading for Mera Peak high camp at 5700 metres. People are in high spirits and surprisingly, everyone is feeling well enough to proceed to the high camp together with 20 sherpas.

Please wish us luck as tomorrow is our summit day!!! back to top

21 October, 2010

Today we had a rest and training day at Mera Peak basecamp, elevation 5200 metres. We are camped near a lake and after checking each members climbing equipment, we all walked for 40 minutes over to the base of the Mera Glacier, where we found ideal conditions for ice climbing, fixed rope and ascending training. All of the members practiced going up and down the ropes and everyone came back to camp in the afternoon feeling like they had learned something and had a good day out. back to top


 Big windstorm hits Everest in centre of photo.Team practicing ice climbing on the glacier above basecamp. Mera Peak high camp is perched on a gravelly ledge at about 5765 metres/18,900 feet behind a large rock outcropping. It's fairly sheltered from the winds that seem to come from the north (Dan Mazur).

20 October, 2010

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi, this is Dan Mazur with a dispatch on the 20th of October for the SummitClimb Mera Peak/Baruntse expedition.

On the 17th of October we walked from Kharte to Tagnag. It was raining really hard. On the 18th of October we walked from Tagnag to Khare, which is at about 4900 metres/16,100 feet. We had beautiful weather, but it started to snow late in the afternoon. On the 19th of October we took a rest day in Khare. It was a very beautiful day. It was sunny with a little bit of snow in the afternoon, so it looks like the weather is kind of normal.

We heard one of our members, Fred, got a helicopter from Tagnag, which is good. We also found a local Nepalese woman who had apparently had a miscarriage and we were luckily able to put her in the same helicopter and get her to the hospital in Kathmandu for an examination. We really miss Fred and we hope he gets better soon.

It’s the morning of the 20th of October now. We’re in Khare. It’s a really important day for our expedition because half of our porters are going down. They’ve done their job and carried their loads up here. All of our members are going to cross the Mera La, which is a 5400 metre/17,700 foot high pass, together with all of our remaining porters and sherpas. We’re going to Mera Peak basecamp, which is on the other side of the Mera La at 5200 metres/17,000 feet.

It’s a beautiful morning here. There is no wind. It’s very sunny with a few puffy clouds blowing around, but it’s a really gorgeous morning. We’re really looking forward to getting over the pass.

We’ll keep in touch. Thank you so much for following our expedition. Bye, bye. back to top

Friends walking down the Mera La. Heading down toward our Mera basecamp. See the tents by the lake at 5089 metres/16,700 feet? This is a warmer and better basecamp on the other side of the Mera La (Dan Mazur). 

18 October, 2010

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hello, good morning. This is Jose Ferro calling in a dispatch for the SummitClimb Baruntse expedition on the 18th of October.

This morning we are in Tagnag at 4200 metres/13,800 feet. Today is a much better day. For the first time we’ve had sunshine in the morning. We are having a late start with 2-3 days of lots of rain and snow, so today has been quite good. Later this morning we are going to Khare at 4700 metres/15,400 feet.

We have been going through lots of fog and clouds, so this morning we could see the top of Mera Peak for the first time, which is about 2 kilometres higher than where we are now. It’s quite exciting. Now we can basically see the route we will follow for the next couple of days. We’re hoping for good weather.

Now I’ll do a short dispatch in Spanish for all of those Spanish speakers out there (please click the audio link above to listen). back to top

Maya standing beneath Mount Kusum Kanguru. Sorting kit in Tagnag at 4500 metres/14,800 feet during our rest day. That's Kusum Kanguru behind (Dan Mazur).
16 October, 2010

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hello, this is Jackie Cross on the Mera Peak trek. I say ‘Mera Peak’ because I’m one of the only 4 going to Mera Peak and not continuing on to Baruntse. I’m reporting from Khotey at 3350 metres, which we reached yesterday on the 16th.

Yesterday it rained and it rained and it rained and it rained. When you could lift your head to look it was very pretty. We came down through lots of rhododendron forests and lots of streams, which turned into raging torrents and waterfalls. It was very muddy because of the rain. I hope it doesn’t’ rain when we come back this way.

Our leader, Daniel Mazur, got us here much sooner than we expected, which was fantastic. We got here earlier than expected, lower than expected, happier than expected and a few of us got rooms, of which I was one of the lucky few. The main thing that made it really special when we arrived was the monkeys playing in the trees. First there was one, than there was a family. When they moved off there were about 20-30 of them playing around in the trees.

Now that we are here we’re quite happy, dry, warm, and huddled around the heater inside trying to dry off all our wet clothes.

Overall it was beautiful and hopefully will be just as much on the way back. We will set off to Tagnang today and hope it’s not raining. Keep your fingers crossed that we all get their safe and dry.

We’ll call in as soon as possible with more news. I’d like to send just a quick hello to Charley and Caroline, my niece and nephew. Thank you. Goodbye. back to top

 

Looking down through the clouds at the 4200 metre/13,800 foot high encampment of Chetra la. Exploring the Khothey shrine. Maya and Jangbu traversing through the Kothey shrine to win a blessing. Packing up in the morning at Chetra la (Dan Mazur).

15 October, 2010

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

This is a dispatch for the SummitClimb Mera Peak/Baruntse expedition on the 15th of October.

Today we walked from Kharkitang across the Zetra La Pass to the little village of Chetra. Everyone seems to be doing well. The weather has been a bit foggy with rain in the early afternoon and evening. We seem to be making good progress. Tomorrow on the 16th we hope to be going to the town of Khotey. Wish us all the best and thank for following our expedition. back to top

 

 Chilling in the Namaste Lodge in the evening, a warm and comfortable teahouse. Looking up at the Zetra La pass from the streets of Lukla on a beautiful morning (Dan Mazur).

14 October, 2010

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hello, this is Andreas Hofer for the Baruntse expedition. Today is the 14th of October, 2010.

Today we walked from Tukding at 3300 metres/10,700 feet to Khakitang, which is 4060 metres/13,300 feet. We walked through a little forest and bush lands up to a higher elevation, where there was no vegetation any more. It’s a very little town with only 3 houses. Our tents have all been set up very nice in our little comfortable camp. It rained overnight. Everybody is feeling well. I caught a bit of a cold in the beginning, but am getting better every day.

Today we will continue through the Zetra La pass at around 4600 metres/15,100 feet. I hope everyone will do well. Now I will do a report in German (please click the audio link above). back to top

Looking up at Mera Peak from Kothey (Dan Mazur).

13 October, 2010 - Update

Hi, this is Ying Hsu with a dispatch for the SummitClimb Mera Peak/Baruntse expedition on the 13th of October.

We started the trip finally from Lukla at about 2:30 p.m. after a long delay. We had troubles getting from Kathmandu to Lukla with various flight delays, strikes and weather conditions. We’re glad the entire team except Felix is here. We hope he will make it here sometime soon. We miss him. We are also waiting on 2/3 of our luggage and we hope we see it sometime soon too. Between us, we think we have enough warm clothes and food.

Everything is good. We started trekking about 2:30 p.m. and had a nice walk through rhododendron forests and dry hemlock trees. We arrived at a place called Tukding at about 5:30 p.m. at an elevation of about 3250 metres/10,660 feet. That was from an elevation of 2850 metres/9350 feet at Lukla. There was about a 400+ metre elevation gain.

The group was all happy and well rested the next morning. No one has any altitude sickness yet. Everyone is relaxed and joking. It’s a good team.

We’re going up to a village at an elevation of about 4200 metres/13,800 feet today, so it’s going to be a bigger day of about a 6-7 hour walk.  

The weather is cloudy at the moment, heavily overcast with us walking up into clouds of fog, but we hope the weather will clear. Facing south we can see several snow covered peaks and there is a tiny little bit of blue sky peaking through, so we hope we get to see some blue sky today.

We’re about to have breakfast and head out. Now I’d like to do a separate dispatch in Chinese (please click the audio link above).

... Earlier...

We flew to Lukla today. Yeah! our entire team is nearly up here. That is very good for us, as other teams have been delayed, due to three days of bad weather, a plane crash in Lukla yesterday (no one was injured, thank god) and an airlines labour union strike at the airport today. Here is a photo of mike wearing his duvet down jacket at the Kathmandu airport out on the tarmac on a hot day. They said his rucksack was too heavy so he put on his duvet down jacket. Good on ya mate! back to top

 

12 October, 2010

Today a plane crashed in Lukla. Thank god no one was hurt. One of our members, Brian Cross from Birmingham snapped some photos. Currently the story is that the brakes failed and the plane crashed into the wall at the end of the runway, damaging the nose. I am sure there will be more news after further investigation by the ministry of civil aviation. back to top

 

 

11 October, 2010

Hi, this is Max Kausch, the leader of the Ama Dablam trip writing the first dispatch from Kathmandu.

After the winds that came with end of the monsoon, Kathmandu is suddenly cloudy and it has been difficult to fly to Lukla. But I'm sure we will manage to get there.

Most of the members for our 3 trips already arrived and are busy with last minute preparations. Yesterday we all went to a restaurant and took a table with more than 40 seats!!! back to top

Our team having dinner in Kathmandu (Max Kausch).

We are planning to fly to Lukla tomorrow the 12th at 5am. back to top

Here is the team rooster for the expedition:

Baruntse Team Roster:

  • Dan Mazur - UK/US (leader)
  • Mike Browder - France/US (assistant leader)
  • Felix Berg - Germany (assistant leader)
  • Ms. Marina Krause - Germany
  • Roger Truesdale - US
  • Jeffrey Ericson - US
  • Rusty Shropshire - US
  • Jason Snell - Australia
  • Jose Ferro - Colombia
  • Lars Wegge - Norway
  • Pasi Lotjonen - Finland
  • Lars Levo - Finland
  • Tony Schuck - Australia
  • Scott Honkonen - US
  • Lars Ronnevig - Norway
  • Adrian Wilson - Australia
  • Erik Whitehorn - US
  • Kunnar Karu - Estonia
  • George  Chandrahusadha - Indonesia
  • Mitch Cocorinis - US
  • Stefan Kunz - Germany
  • Jens Rabbels - Germany
  • Andreas Hofer - Germany

Mera Peak Team Roster:

  • Ms. Jackie Cross - UK
  • Ms. Ying Hsu - UK
  • Brian Cross - UK
  • Fred Leverentz - US

Climbing Sherpas:

  • Jangbu Sherpa
  • Jangbu Sherpa
  • Thile Sherpa
  • Ang Pasang Sherpa
  • Palden Sherpa
  • Lakpa Nuru Sherpa
  • Lakpa Tendu Sherpa
  • Sange Sherpa

Cooks:

  • Kipa Sherpa
  • Dawa Sange Sherpa
  • Ang Dorjee Sherpa back to top
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  • How to join a team?