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Everest Tibet & North Col Expedition, & Advanced Basecamp Trek News, Spring 2011

(Photos in slideshow: Ryan Waters, Tim Spear, Franck Pitula, Ken Stalter, Dan Mazur, Myles Osborne, and Colin Pacey)
News of our recent expedition: Everest Tibet/North Col & ABC Trek
29 March to 5 June, 2011

View our links for more information about our Everest Tibet and North Col expeditions, as well as Advanced Basecamp Treks . We are now accepting applications for Spring 2012, so please join us for Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, the North Col and our treks and trekking peaks.
 
Trip Summary: All 8 of our members and 4 expert Sherpas reached the summit of Everest on 21 May, 2011. This was 100% summit success. Also our advanced basecamp trekkers and North Col climbers had a lovely time. We had delicious food and excellent equipment throughout the trip. This was our 6th successful Everest Tibet expedition, and we send our hearty congratulations to everyone!

The Tibet side of Everest is known for its stunning views of Everest, much better than the Nepal side. The Tibet side of Everest is also less crowded and less expensive than the Nepal side of Everest. Also the Tibetan culture is very exotic and changing rapidly, so now is the time to see Tibet in its original form.

Our team met in Kathmandu and began the 5 day drive up to basecamp, taking rest days and acclimatizing as they went. Some of our members enjoyed a visit to Lhasa before we all met up in Everest basecamp.

Upon arrival in our very comfortable basecamp we spent several days resting, eating delicious food, and hanging out in our comfortable heated dining tent, and adapting to the altitude, then we moved up to the "intermediate camp" which lies along the trek to advanced basecamp (ABC). The trek to ABC is also known as the Golden Highway, because of all of the beautiful mountains atop the valley walls along the trek.

Arriving in ABC we rested and did some ice and rope practice on glaciers beside the camp. After a few more days of rest, we climbed up to the North Col where camp 1 is located at 7000 metres / 23,000 feet. The climbing was all on hard snow and fixed ropes. The trail was well packed out and there was no vertical climbing. There were fixed ropes on all of the steep sections. Then we walked down to basecamp for an extended three-day rest period.

During our next foray up the mountain we retraced our steps to ABC and the North Col, aand then walked all of the way up to camp 2 and slept there for a night as an acclimatization exercise. The trail to camp 2 was steep and wind blown, but there was no vertical terrain, we were able to walk all of it, aided by fixed ropes. Then we returned to basecamp for 4-5 days of rest and relaxation, eating delicious food, watching movies, relaxing by the heater in the dining tent, etcetera. For fun several of us walked down valley to explore some lower altitude Tibetan villages and enjoy the famous Tibetan hospitality with numerous cups of butter tea and barley porridge.

Finally the weather was looking right and we worked our way back up the mountain, to intermediate camp, abc, camp 1, camp 2, and finally camp three.

On summit day we crossed over numerous steps, some with aluminum ladders attached, and finally topped out on the highest point on Earth. It was mildly windy but too bad. We snapped a few photos and headed down, basking in the amazement of our good fortune and what we had just accomplished.

We welcome you to join our forthcoming www.EverestTibetClimb.com .

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

 

 

Reaching camp 3 (Dan Mazur). In camp 3, summit behind (Dan Mazur). Team leaving camp 1 for the final summit push (Mark Delstanche). Team on their way up the 2nd Step (David O'Brien).

 

25 May, 2011

Hi, its Dom here reporting on a group success on Everest! I set off at 10pm on the 20th from camp 3 at 8300 meters for the final summit push.

Tensions were running high, would the weather hold? Would I be up to the task?

Heads down and climb was the name of the game, gradually progress was made as the hours started to tick past and height gained. The night was clear with stars and a small moon but when the wind picked up it dropped to – 35c. Still we pushed on reaching the first of the major challenges “The 2nd Step!” A series of ladders and rock climbing moves with a 1000 ft drop only centimeters to your right! Once past this obstacle we moved up onto the ridge where we changed our oxygen bottles. The problem was that I had separated from the team and so had no fresh bottle to use. I recall sitting down on the ridge at 8600 meters in freezing conditions feeling very lonely thinking my summit attempt was over! After a short time a saw a light in the distance heading my direction, it was the rest of my team! Crisis averted, I changed my oxygen regulator over and pushed on.

Over the 3rd step, up the 50 degree summit cone and then traverse right onto the North Face of Everest, tip toeing over small ledges as tiny as 15cms, a real feeling of exposure! Then suddenly my goggles freeze and I cant see a thing, to top it off one of my crampons comes lose and falls off! It's all going wrong. I stop take my time put the crampon back on and then the sun rises to the East behind me lighting my way for the final stretch to the summit. Up over the rock band and a short climb up the snow dome to the finally stand on the summit of Mount Everest !

Exhausting, scary, but ultimately really rewarding!  

 

On the summit (Mark Delstanche). On the 2nd step (Gavin Vickers). Self-portrait of David on the summit (David O'Brien). Team heading up to camp 3 (David O'Brien).

...

Hallo everybody,

its Frank Irnich ,the only German Member of the summitclimb Group!

hier spricht der einzige Teilnehmer aus Deutschland in der Summitclimb Gruppe. Nachdem  ich mit  Sherpa Gelge und Marc erst gegen  11p.m. von Camp III aufgebrochen bin,  fiel meine Stirnlampe eine 3/4Std spaeter total aus und ich konnte nur teilweise durch den  Mondschein oder durch Gelge’s kurzen LIchtschein seiner Stirnlampe {durch Kopfdrehung} den Weg Richtung Nordostgrad erkennen. Den First, Second and Third Step musste ich zwischen 1:30 a.m. und 5:30 a.m.  fast blind erklettern, da der Mondschein auf der anderen Seite des Nordostgrads scheinte. Auch die einfach erscheinenden Traversen auf dem Nordostgrad mit einer Trittbreite von ca 10 - 30cm  bieten soviel Gefahren in der Nacht, da man trotz Fixseile 1000m -2000m zur einen oder anderen Seite abstuerzen kann. Die Fixeile haben  teilweise ueberhaupt keine Spannung / Fuehrung und sind so schlecht verankert, das ein Sturz einer Person mit Gepaeck von ca 80 kg keinen Schutz bietet!!

Es war eine sehr klare, relative leichtwindige Nacht , die jedoch Temperaturen bis – 40 grad C mit sich brachte, da der Wind in den Morgenstunden zusaetzlich auffrischte. Nachdem ich gegen  4.a..m eine neue

O2 Flasche oberhalb des Second Step bekommen habe, ging es mit  neuem Mut richtung Gipfel. Meine Fuesse waren in der Zwischenzeit kalt geworden, da durch  die vielen unterschiedlichen Expeditionen sich immer wieder Stau’ s an den Schluesselstellen auftaten. Gegen 7:30 erreichten Gelge und ich das untere Schneefeld vom Gipfel, wo wir Arnold und die anderen Climber errreichten, Marc war zu diesem Zeitpunkt nur ca 15 min hinter uns. Da letzte Stueck zum Gipfel war dann ein Genuss, die Sonne war aufgegangen, der Fernblick einzigartig und trotzdem lud die Kaelte nicht zum verweilen ein.

Gelge , Marc und ich sind gegen 8 a.m. am Gipfel angekommen und gegen 8:50 a.m. wieder abgestiegen. Dieser Berg ist und bleibt  ein einmaliges Erlebnis, aber man sollte Wissen,  wo die eigenen Grenzen liegen,  da man sich  ab Camp III beim  Auf- und Abstieg  immer in Lebensgefahr befindet. P.S auch Steigeisen werden auf 8300m gestohlen :-} , meine !!!!, was den Abstieg  zum ABC nicht gerade erleichtert Bergheil aus Germany……Frank Irnich back to top

 

Team members on the summit of Everest (Arnold Coster).

24 May, 2011 

Yesterday we all arrived back in Base Camp and it was a relief to walk the 22km back down from ABC for the last time. When we arrived in Base Camp it felt like we came back in another world....our cook Samdien welcomed us with Coke and Beer. What a great guy!

We where lucky, Kari Kobler our Swiss colleague threw a party in his huge dome tent. So we spent all evening there. Eating Swiss cheese and ham with a wide selection of beers, wines and other drinks! Most teams are down here and it was nice to exchange our experiences together.

Now we have to wait until our yaks carry down our gear from Advanced Base camp. I expect them here in Base Camp on the 26th. The plan is to drive to Tingri Or Nylam the same afternoon, so the border crossing the next day will be easy. back to top

 

Ready for the summit attempt. Tents up in the high camps (Arnold Coster). 

23 May, 2011

Team reports in live (click here to listen

Hello SummitClimb news, this is Arnold Coster the leader of the Everest Tibet Expedition calling with more news. All the members are now safely in ABC. Nobody is on the mountain anymore and we’re all having a good rest here in ABC.

Last night some of the members were very tired and went to bed, others hung around the dining tent for a while. Tomorrow we’ll probably head down to basecamp. Everybody is well.

This is it for now goodbye. back to top

 

 

Camp 3 and surround views. members heading for the summit (Arnold Coster).

21 May, 2011

The whole Everest Tibet team summits!

Team reports in live (click here to listen

Hello SummitClimb news, this is Arnold Coster the leader of the Everest Tibet Expedition calling from the North Col with some good news. This morning the whole team summitted including all staff somewhere between 06:30 and 08:30. I’ll give more precise timings when all of the members are back. I’m here in the Col together with Scott Patch, Eric, Biff and Ang Sherpa.     

Mark, Edward, Dominique and Frank are still in camp 3 together with Lhakpa Gyalje and Tenji Sherpa.

Tomorrow everybody will come down to ABC for a well deserved rest, but it might also be possible that it will take some people two days to get down. It’s quite usual following the big effort to summit Everest.

Everybody is well, everybody is tired including me and I will keep you updated. Everybody’s healthy and well, they’re down from the summit and doing good. Bye-bye. back to top

 

 

Team back down in camp 3 after a successful summit of Mt. Everest. Team heading back down to the North Col. Member above camp 3 after the summit attempt. Crossing a ladder to the North Col (Arnold Coster).

20 May, 2011

Everest Tibet team going for the summit!

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi, this is Eric Platenberg calling in a dispatch from the Tibet North Everest Climb; we have successfully reached Camp 3 which sits beautifully at 27,218 ft or 8300m. Everyone made it up in good time and are in good spirits today. It’s just after 5pm Chinese time there’s 3 or 4 of us in a tent right now. Arnold, Patch Lakpa and I are having spirited discussions about how to boil water and how to make instant soup and Patch is already complaining because he doesn’t know how to pick his nose with an oxygen mask. So things are going really well in camp. Soon we’ll be heading out at about 10:30 pm for the summit and so far it looks like everybody’s eating and looking good. So thanks for cheering us on and thanks for watching the dispatches, we’ll know more about the summit attempt tomorrow, the weather looks good for us – goodbye! back to top

Team members in camp 1 (Mark Delstanche). 

.

19 May, 2011

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi this is Scott Patch from the Everest Tibet Climb. The whole team is staying at camp 2 which is roughly just over 7600 metres.

We’re all safe; we’re hydrated and have oxygen. We’re all preparing dinner right now and hopefully well get a good nights sleep then hopefully tomorrow we’ll go up to camp 3.

We’re all healthy and happy being up here. Thank you back to top

Camp 3 with the summit behind (Frank Irnich).

18 May, 2011

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi this is Arnold calling from the North Col at 7000m and we're going to start our summit attempt today. There’s been a little bit of summit fever on the mountain and I’ve never seen so many people on the ropes as today.

So far everyone’s fine; most members are in their tent now and are busy cooking, making water and looking forward to having a good time tomorrow. So far our Sherpa’s have done a very good job in carrying all the camps’ belongings. So everything should run very smooth if the weather stays good.

Tomorrow there’s a little bit of snow predicted and wind and then the weather should get better so we’re looking forward to that.

So not much news – we’ve been here before; everybody’s relaxed about the climb so we’ll call back tomorrow from camp 2 – bye bye. back to top

 Climbing up to camp 2 with the North Col in the background (Dan Mazur).

 

17 May, 2011

This is Biff Palmer providing the Everest Tibet update at 15:44 on Tuesday May 17, 2011. 

Let me begin the update by extending on behalf of the entire team a warm Happy Birthday to our team leader: Arnold Coster.

As mentioned in previous posts the team is positioned at ABC (21,000 feet). I am happy to say that current weather reports indicate a favorable weather pattern developing over the next several days. As a result the team will begin the initial stages of the summit attempt.

The current plan is for the team to move to the North Col (23,000 feet) tomorrow on May 18. On May 19 the team will proceed to camp 2 (25,000 feet) followed by a move to camp 3 (27,000 feet) on May 20. After only a few hours at camp 3, the team will leave with plans to reach the summit the morning of May 21. There are many variables that can affect this plan but the team is quite optimistic our plans will come to fruition. 

All team members are in good spirit and health and anxious to begin our summit push. Over the last several weeks our team Sherpas have deposited oxygen bottles and tents at the high camps in anticipation of our summit push. Today each member was given a mask and regulator with detailed instructions as to their proper use.

Let me close by sending my love to Robert and Kelly Palmer, my two children whom I miss very much. back to top

Team members in camp 1 (Mark Delstanche). 

16 May, 2011

This is Scott Patch with the Everest Tibet dispatch for the 16th of May 2011 from ABC.

The entire team is still enjoying life at ABC. We still await news on when the rope and weather will permit us to safely push for the summit.

In the mean time we have had a great time visiting with other international teams and many rounds of Uno. We have enjoyed time with the Malaysian team and their wonderful hospitality. In one such afternoon visit with the Malaysian's and the Thai team (which included the Royal Thai Prince) the Thai Prince agreed to close all business' in Bangkok and make it a public holiday for our safe transfer home thru Thailand.

ABC is an amazing place to spend time and enjoy the company of so many different people from all over the world. At 6400 meters on the side of Everest, what an amazing cross cultural event. It definitely makes this downtime pass quickly and very enjoyable.

A heart filled hello to my beautiful wife Maria and two wonderful kids Nicholas & Natalie. I Love and Miss You very much. Natalie I hope your 7th birthday on the 12th was full of fun and laughter.

Cheers

Scott Patch back to top

A line of climbers making their way up the snow slope at 7200 metres (Gordon Hopper). 

15 May, 2011

The whole team is back in Advanced Base Camp at 6400m. Everybody is feeling strong and the walk up is becoming a lot easier after our solid acclimatization.

Unfortunately I was called in a meeting in the Chinese camp about the ropes that still have to be fixed to the summit. So far they didn't have the opportunity to do this, but they're hoping there is a small chance on the 17th...the only problem is all teams are in ABC at the moment and eager to go. If everybody goes on the same day we might get some traffic issues on the bottlenecks of the climb.

Tomorrow I have a meeting again to compare all our different weather forecasts to see if there is a small gap somewhere so we can get it done faster. Anyhow I am not too worried, it's still early...

We spent the evening playing Uno again, we missed this card game after all the movies in Base Camp.

Tomorrow we stay put and will rest in ABC. Until I have more news, this is it!

Arnold Coster, Expedition Leader back to top

11 May, 2011

Today we are enjoying our last rest day in Base Camp. The plan is to walk to interim camp tomorrow and Advanced Base Camp the following day.

The weather is getting better, but we are still not sure when we will aim for the summit exactly. The plan is roughly around the 18th, but this might change due to weather of course! We are also still waiting on the ropes that have to be fixed to the summit.

Two nights ago the Russian team had a great party, all teams were invited. Nice atmosphere with lots of food and drinks! It was a good chance to talk with one another and find out what each others plans are. There are teams here from all over the world; Malaysia, France, Thailand, UK, India, USA, Europe, Canada, Russia etc. It's a nice international city!

This is it for now, until I know more about the ropes and weather.

Arnold Coster, Expedition Leader back to top

 Big storm blasts Pumori, scene from the miracle highway  (Dan Mazur). Camp 3 with the summit behind (Frank Irnich).

8 May, 2011

I had an interesting talk with the leader " Norbu"  from the rope fixing team of the Tibetan Guide School down at the teahouses. They did a great job and have already put the ropes all the way to 8300 metres. Today they went up to Advanced Base camp and are hoping for a small good weather window to finish the ropes all the way to the summit. At the moment it's very windy, but there is a small chance the weather will break.

We will not go back to ABC until at least the tenth and are aiming for the bigger good weather windows around the 18th of May. Meanwhile we keep ourselves busy here in BC. There are some good books circulating the camp and we still didn't finish all of our movies. Samdien keeps surprising us with good food! And we still find new topics to discuss at the dining table.

So everything is fine,

Arnold Coster, Expedition Leader back to top

7 May, 2011

This is Biff Palmer providing the update for the Everest Tibet expedition at 11:34 on Saturday May 7, 2011.

The group remains at lower base camp at 17,000 feet after having completed our acclimatization. We are currently awaiting a break in the weather at which point the group will advance for the final summit push. 

We have recently been joined by Dr. Deborah Clegg who will accompany the group to ABC. The expedition is grateful to the Touchtone Diabetes Center in Dallas for allowing Dr. Clegg the time off so that she can pursue her studies examining the effects of estrogen on hypoxia-induced apoptosis of fat cells at high altitude. 

The reader of the post may wish to know what activities expedition members participate in during this down time at lower base camp. First of all one becomes adept at washing clothes with little amounts of water with the hope of clothes being cleaner than when one starts. Second, each member typically takes a shower realizing that removal of the dirt layer comes at the expense of also removing an insulating layer that contributes to warmth. Third, we watch a movie each evening. This session is followed by a critical analysis of the content and acting the next morning culminating in a final rating. (last PM was Pulp Fiction and tonight is Kill Bill). Lastly and arguably the highlight of the lower base camp experience is the intermittent trips to the tea houses. In these rudimentary tent like structures, young Tibetan Woman serve high quality beer. For those who wish to spend the night, layers of blankets are provided creating a cocoon like structure. The challenge tends to be how best to enter the structure. 

Once again I close by sending my love to my 2 children Robert and Kelly Palmer.      

To change things up we have a Co-Update from Scott Patch, in addition to our routine daily activities and our evening movies we are left with much time to enjoy stories and good ribbing. It's been great fun to have so much time with an International team and different perspectives on life and politics.

In s bold and lofty objective the two English lads did take on the task of teaching this American, English ...  However after two days of intense English lessons they did give up in desperation. We have been graced with many stories from our team members, many of which keep us in stitches for hours. The team is in great spirits and everyone is doing great!! We look forward to some more down days in the warm thick air!! A big I Love You to my wife Maria and my two wonderful kids Nicholas & Natalie. back to top

5 May, 2011

Yesterday we went down to the teahouse tents near the Rongbok Monastery for some team building and fun! We spent the night hanging around a steel stove, drinking, joking, playing some cards and learning some Tibetan. A good night to exchange our thought for the upcoming climb!

The weather is changing for the better. Today was the first day with no snow after a long time and a perfect view of the mountain from Base Camp.

Our Sherpa's are working very hard to get the final logistics in place, like food, tents and oxygen in the higher camps. Also we still have to wait for the rope fixing team of the TMA to finish the route to the summit.

Meanwhile we are enjoying the good food Samdien cooks for us in Base Camp, the warmer temperatures here and of course movie night.

So everything is fine. We will probably stay a couple more days in Base until we move up to Advanced Base Camp again!

Arnold Coster, Expedition Leader back to top

3 May, 2011

This is Biff Palmer providing an Everest Tibet update on Tuesday May 3 at 13:21 p.m. local time.

The last update had our position located on the North Col at 23,000 feet, where the group was taking a rest day.

On May 1 the group left the North Col and headed up toward camp 2 at 25,000 feet. The team performed well with most people at least reaching close proximity to the camp. Since the plan was to return all the way to ABC on the same day (21,000 feet) rather than spend a third night on the Col (23,000 feet), a hard turn around time of 14:00 p.m. was in place.

The reader of this post is reminded that on our actual push to the summit, oxygen (usually at a flow rate of 2 litres per minute) will normally be used from the North Col to camp 2 and onwards. The lack of use of oxygen on this day was to further enhance our acclimatization.

After nearly reaching Camp 2 the group descended all the way to ABC where the team spent one night and on May 2 the group returned to lower base camp at 17,000 feet. Our acclimatization is now complete. 

We plan to spend several days at the lower base camp closely watching the weather forecasts and once a weather window opens up, we will head up the mountain for the final summit push. There is no question one's appetite improves and the quality of sleep improves at this lower altitude. We hope to take advantage of this fact so as to enhance our physical condition in preparation for the upcoming final push.

In the interim, movie nights are now in place and some of the group may visit the local Tibetan tea houses to further engender the team spirit. Once again I send my love to Kelly and Robert, my two children whom I miss very much. back to top


Team member at 6900 metres on the North-col (Chang-la) face, traversing a crevassed section, on the way to camp 1 (Gordon Hopper).

30 April, 2011

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi this is Eric Platenberg with the dispatch from the Everest Tibet climb. Today is the 30th and we are happily on the North Col camp 1 of Mount Everest at 7000 metres/ 23,000 feet. It’s a rest day for us.

We all made the climb up yesterday in good time and we’re getting ready to head on up to camp 2 tomorrow. We may not make it all the way to camp 2 but we’re at least going to try to ascend 500 meters. We're passing time today at the North Col and having a good time. We’re playing Angry Birds in our tent. Arnold, Biff, Scott and I are having a good time with Angry Birds. In the other tent Dom and Ed are running some boiling water so that sounds good for them. The whole team is up and we’re doing great. Everybody’s looking forward to putting the crampons on and heading further up the mountain tomorrow.

So that’s all we have for our dispatch today. We’ll be back in touch when we hit ABC tomorrow night, goodbye. back to top

A line of climbers making their way up the snow slope at 7200 metres (Gordon Hopper).

28 April, 2011:

This is Biff Palmer providing the dispatch for the Everest Tibet team at 13:00 p.m. on Thursday April 28, 2011 local time. 

As was posted yesterday we have arrived at the advanced base camp at 21,000 feet for the second time. Our plan is to move to the North Col at 23,000 feet for 3 nights and during that time move and simply touch camp 2 at 25,000 feet. This is part of the ongoing acclimatization process. At the risk of violating Tibetan HIPA regulations, my oxygenation saturation has increased from the mid 70's to the low 80's in comparison to the first time at ABC.

As part of my ongoing discussion of acclimatization, it is worth pointing out that altitude is associated with a marked catabolic effect manifesting as muscle wasting. In an experiment called Operation Everest II, subjects were placed in a decompression chamber designed to simulate an ascent of Everest over the course of 6 weeks. Even without the rigors of high altitude climbing (cold, physical exertion, etc) the subjects lost about 15% of their body weight primarily as muscle mass. It is therefore important to eat as much as possible.

To my friends in the Touchstone diabetes section in Dallas, perhaps high altitude mountaineering could be the answer to the growing epidemic of obesity? 

On a more general note, all of my cokes have exploded at the ABC. I will stick with tang and milk tea.

There are many more groups at the ABC in comparison to the first time representing an international exposure (groups include Thailand, Malaysia, France). I was asked to see a young woman from from India at the lower base camp who clearly had early symptoms of possible High Altitude cerebral edema. Arnold and I gave her oxygen, dexamethasone, and acetazolamide and recommended she descend back to lower altitude which she did.  Fortunately everyone in our group is doing well and quite strong. 

Let me again conclude by sending my love to Kelly and Robert, two wonderful children whom I am very proud. back to top    

 North col camp in foreground. Background-slope to camp 2, then full route to c3-summit ridge (Dan Mazur).

27 April, 2011:

After a couple of days rest in Base Camp we went up to Advanced Base camp again at 6400m. The walk was a lot easier after having some acclimatization from the previous time up.

Tomorrow we will rest here and check out the conditions on the mountain; the wind is gone now, but we got some snow instead. This shouldn't be a problem as long as it is not to much.

Our plan is to spend the night at the North Col - C1 at 7010m, organize our camp there and then move on to C2 between 7600-7800m where we will try to find a good spot. We will not sleep there but instead go back again to C1, these days high on the mountain are needed to finalize our acclimatization.

Then we go down for our final rest before the summit push. So everything is fine here, stay tuned for more news when we start to climb again. back to top

 ABC seen from slightly above (Dan Mazur).

26 April, 2011

Hi, this is Max Kausch writing a dispatch for the Cho Oyu, North Col and Everest Base Camp Expeditions Spring 2011.

We left Nyalam yesterday morning and drove for about 4 hours to Tingri. We stopped several times on the way to observe the beautiful landscape and mountains of the Tibetan plateau. As soon as we arrived to Tingri, the CTMA showed us the new hotel they built here. It is quite amazing to be at 4400m and sleep in a comfortable room with large beds and huge windows. The Chinese have invested a lot of money in this place so the climbers and trekkers can be comfortable while acclimatizing.

We had Chinese food for lunch and walked around town for a while. Everyone is getting along here. We are 17 people, from 3 different expeditions.Yesterday we figured that between all 17, we can communicate in more than 25 languages!!

Our EBC member, Mr Shivesh Ram, speaks Mandarin and often helps us at restaurants so we can get what we want. Our North Col member, Mr. Thomas Sefranek, is a dentist and treated a tooth filling on Mr Jurg Merz, our Cho Oyu member. Like I said, everyone is getting along very well. The EBC and North Col teams will say goodbye to our Cho Oyu team tomorrow as the Cho Oyu expedition is heading to BC.

The sherpas already went to Cho Oyu BC to set tents and find a good spot for us. Our amazing Cho Oyu staff are:

  • Lakpa Tendu Sherpa (climbing sherpa)
  • Dawa Jangbu Sherpa (climbing sherpa)
  • Phai Lama Tamang (climbing sherpa)
  • Nima Dorje Lama (cook)
  • Chimmi (kitchen assistant)
  • Sonam (kitchen assistant)

Today we had a sunny morning here in Tingri. After breakfast everyone will trek to a 5000m peak nearby. This will really help on the acclimatization as we’ll sleep at 5000m tomorrow. All the members from the 3 teams haven’t had altitude problems so this means our acclimatization plan has worked very well.

Thank you all for following the news at SummitClimb.com

Regards from Tibet,

Max Kausch back to top


Part of the Cho Oyu, EBC and North Col team at the top of a 5000m peak. Bottom left to right: Rachel Unger, Raj Thapa, Jozsef Sukos, Zsombor Tulit, Istvan Toaso. Top left to right: Frederick Leverentz, Violetta Pontinen, Robert Purves, Thomas Sefranek, Jurg Merz, Shivesh Ram, Zoltan Szabo (Rachel Unger). Cho Oyu team at BC 4900m – only missing Enrico now (Dawa Jangbu Sherpa).

24 April, 2011:

Yesterday the cook and I went vegetable shopping in Tashigoan, a small village about 2hrs drive from base camp. We arranged two motor bikes to drive down the bumpy dirt road. My driver was a wild looking Tibetan guy, who was singing traditional Tibetan songs the whole way. My only concern was that he would sing louder and louder when the road got worse, actually he was singing quite loud all the time………. If the road went downhill he would switch off his engine and we were flying down the Tibetan plateau as an unguided missile!

The Tibetan Plateau is an amazing place with an interesting geological structure and colors. The local people have started preparing their land for their crops, mainly potatoes and barley. Most of the work is done by hand and with the help of animals, together with their traditional clothing this makes a colorful sight!

After a 2 ½ drive, shaking and bumping we finally arrived in Tashigoan. My backside was numb and I had the feeling all my organs were in a different place! We took a short brake with some lunch and bought the necessary vegetables.

In the meantime dark snow clouds were developing at the horizon……..

On the way down we witnessed a traditional Tibetan horse festival. Men dressed up in their finest costumes were racing horses, why I don’t exactly know. But with the scenery and the sunrays through the clouds it was a beautiful sight!

Meanwhile it started snowing and we were still on the motorbike, getting absolutely hammered! Samdien, our cook was driving the bike and absolutely covered with snow and icicles hanging off his nose and eyebrows. Myself looking pretty similar! Luckily we found a traditional Tibetan tent to find shelter. The stove in the middle of the tent burning goat and Yak dung was a very warm welcome. We decided to spend the night in that tent together with this local Tibetan family. They fed us, warmed us up and gave us a nice place to sleep. I can’t remember if I have ever been covered by that many blankets before, must have had six layers on top of me!

The next morning we drank some tea and left the tent. The whole road was covered with 15cm of snow, which made driving a motor bike a little peculiar…………especially with a road full of bumps and holes underneath.

Slipping and sliding we made our way back to Base camp, just in time for breakfast!

I love my job!

Arnold Coster, Expedition Leader back to top

23 April, 2011:

This is Raj reporting from Nyalam for Everest base camp trek and North Col group, Everest, Tibet.

This is our first dispatch. We left Kathmandu very early today at four in the morning. The drive to the border was long and a little tiring, as the raod was not so good.

Anyway, we reached the border town called Kodari at nine in the morning. We filled out our immigration forms and slowly we entered into Tibet, China. Our Liaison officer for the expedition was waiting and helped us to get through.

We jumped into the Toyota landcruisher jeeps and headed to Zangmu, the border town inside Tibet, China. We stopped here for an hour and a half for lunch, and decided to start heading to Nyalam. Then our jeeps got stuck in a very bad traffic jam for a couple of hours in Zangmu.

Zangmu is a very important and a busy bussiness centre where you will see hundreds of trucks lined up on the street.

After the traffic was cleared, we headed to Nyalam. It was a beautiful four hour drive there, arriving in the evening. The hotel rooms were all ready and heated up when we got in there.

It was snowing a little today here in Nyalam. We have a rest day tommorow and hopefully we will get to do some easy hikes if the weather is good.

On 25th April, we will be driving to Tingri, where we have another rest day and will meet the others coming from Lhasa. They flew into Lhasa yestertday from Kathmnadu.
Everyone is well, healthy and having fun.

Thank you very much!
Raj - leader - Everest base camp and Everest Nort Col expedition.
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The Cho Oyu & EBC & North Col teams at Nyalam - New Spring 2011 Fashion Show (Max Kausch).

22 April, 2011:

This is Biff Palmer providing the Everest Tibet update for today (April 22, 1448 local time). Yesterday the group descended 4000 (21000 to 17000) feet from ABC to the lower base camp covering a distance of approximately 13 miles. The descent is part of the acclimatization process in that a lower altitude is clearly associated with an improvement in appetite, better sleep hygiene, and an opportunity to watch movies. With regard to the latter I thought I would summarize the groups rating of the movies viewed to date:

Layer cake 5.5, Salt (Angelina Joli movie) 6.1, Centurion 4.9, and last night, Iron Man 2, 6.6. There has been a clamoring by the group for Brokeback Mountain but this may not be available.

On the way down several groups have been moving up based on the number of Yak caravans. These animals are clearly the main source of transport for the massive amount of gear required to keep an expedition functional.

On a medical note I would note that virtually everyone in the group is taking acetazolamide (diamox). This drug works through several mechanisms but clearly seems to accelerate the acclimatization process. The single most important adaptive process in ascent is an involuntary increase in ventilation. Normally the drop in carbon dioxide that occurs would suppress this process but at altitude increase ventilation persists in part due to exit of bicarbonate from the central nervous system. Diamox enhances the bicarbonate excretion from the kidney and therefore contributes to the ongoing stimulatory effect on respiration. In addition diamox has a dramatic effect in limiting Cheyne-Stokes respiration and allows sleep to be improved.

One interesting fact is the outcome of my cokes and sprite sent to the ABC at 21000. Due to the extreme drop in barometric pressure combined with the severe cold, approximately 5 sodas exploded. I am happy to say there have been a few survivors.

Lastly, everyone in the group is well and very strong and anxious to continue in our summit attempt. Today we will take showers and wash clothes. Let me conclude my sending my love to Robert and Kelly, my children whom I am very proud. back to top

Members ascending the North Col (Arnold Coster).

21 April, 2011:

Yesterday most of the team reached the North Col at 7010m. It was a bit of a gamble, as the last couple of days the wind has been very fierce.

On the way to the col the team encountered strong gusts of wind up to 60km/h and snow sweeping down from all directions....

Never the less we made it up there in good health and good time! Our Sherpa's did great giving us a helping hand.

Today we all went down to Base camp to have a couple of days rest, so time to shower and wash some clothing

Greetings, Arnold Coster exp. leader back to top

19 April, 2011:

This is Scott Patch reporting for our Everest Tibet Dispatch this 19th of April 2011.

We are currently still at Advanced Base Camp (6409 meters) were today we enjoyed a beautiful Puja Ceremony. The Puja Ceremony is a important piece of our climb. During the ceremony we ask the Goddess of the mountain Chomolungma to guide us and grant us safe passage for our brief visit.  We offer the goddess gifts of food, drink and candy for her blessing. We also place our climbing gear (crampons, ice axes, etc.) on the stupa and ask them to be blessed for our upcoming climb.

The Puja was a beautiful and festive occasion despite the strong winds and snow that have hit us over the past 24 hours. All tents are holding up fine except our toilet tent which we might lose at any minute ... it will get real interesting if this occurs!!!  Frostbite in those regions won't be fun!!!

Tomorrow, if the wind and snow subside, we plan to climb to the North Col (7000 meters) and come back to ABC. Much depends on the weather for us over the next few days.

Everyone is in great spirits and are enjoying Eric giving himself a "Modified Dutch Oven" in his down suit . back to top  

Puja ceremony in advanced basecamp (Arnold Coster).

17 April, 2011:

Ed Buckingham Tibet Member, aiming to become the first Cornishman too climb Everest. I was fortunate too climb with Arnold Coster in 2005 on Cho oyu.

This is our third day at ABC. Today we got too wear our high altitude boots, crampons, ice-axe and harnesses. We went down onto some nearby ice-fall. The point of the exercises was too learn some techniques that could be used higher up the mountain. We practiced climbing up with the jumar and ice-axe.  Once getting to the top we rappelled down on a nearby line. Once we had all done that an obstacle in the form of a knot was put halfway up the rope. This time we climbed up and after putting safety and jumar above the knot, put a figure of eight in and rappelled back down the line.

We are all doing reasonably well though coughing a bit from this mornings exercise. ABC camp is beautiful with a good view of the North Col and the top of Everest. A few groups are moving in today but it is not over crowded.

On a personal note I am enjoying moving up the mountain slowly, slowly and am looking forward too climbing up to the North Col and higher. The group seems well mixed and get along pretty well.

I would just like too say a big hello to Dad, Mum, Chris, Becs ,Mia  and Jessica.

Much Love

Everest Ed back to top

Team members training on the ice above ABC (Arnold Coster).

16 April, 2011:

This is Biff Palmer providing the update for the Everest Tibet climb.

Yesterday the team climbed from the interim camp at 19000 feet to the advanced base camp at 21000 feet.  Today is a rest day so as to continue the acclimatization process. In this regard our bodies have been challenged with a progressive reduction in the amount of inspired Oxygen. Some of the changes that have occurred include a reduction in plasma volume resulting in concentration of circulating hemoglobin. This hemoconcentrating affect along with increased hemoglobin production result in an increase oxygen carrying capacity. In addition our red blood cells have an increased affinity for oxygen. In future updates I can continue to comment on the physiologic changes that occur with sojourn to altitude. At the current time all members are healthy and strong. The team has been playing a card game each night called UNO. I have held my own in this intense competition.

I am anxiously awaiting some cokes and sprite to thaw to so as to enjoy some flavors of home. I wish to conclude by sending my love to my daughter Kelly and my son Robert. I love and miss them both very much. back to top    

Everest as seen from basecamp (Arnold Coster).

14 April, 2011:

April 14th dispatch from Eric Platenberg:

All is well for the entire team as we spend this day acclimating at ‘interim camp’ as we make our way to Advanced Base Camp. Our interim camp is located at 19K ft/ 5800 meters. Our camp is much more rustic than base camp, but still quite comfy compared to how we imagine it will be higher on the mountain.

We spent last night and much of this afternoon playing Uno and having spirited discussions about music, movies, and places to live. Patch’s stories continue to provide non-stop entertainment and shaking heads.

No-one slept exceptionally well as we are adjusting to lower levels of available oxygen and chilly temps at night. But spirits are high though-out camp and everyone is remarkably healthy considering our surroundings.

As we left base camp there were only two other teams settled into for the climbing season. It is estimated that there will be a total of 20 teams climbing from the North this season, so we anticipate base camp to look considerably different when we return next week. back to top

Our comfortable interim camp (Arnold Coster).

13 April, 2011:

After a cold windy start this morning in base camp, we reached interim camp at about 5800m The route follows the glacier moraine and is never very steep nor flat. It's a quite sustained 5 hr walk to get here. The camp is located near some big ice pinnacles. If the sun hits them at the right angle they turn into a nice blue colour.

This is also the place where most yaks stop on the way up or down from either base camp or ABC. Our tents are surrounded by yaks and we will probably hear their bells all night!

Samdien our cook prepared a delicious meal for us. This man keeps impressing me all the time. In the kitchen tent our cookboys prepared a stone bench for us with a table, so we were even able to sit comfortably.

After dinner we played a couple games of UNO...always fun!

Tomorrow we will rest here, otherwise we will gain altitude to fast, so probably more UNO..... back to top

Team members enjoying a delicious meal and playing UNO in our comfortable dining tent (Arnold Coster).

12 April, 2011:

Today our yaks arrived in base camp to bring our loads to Advanced Base Camp.

First all individual loads had to be weight, more than 150 pieces of kitchen equipment, food, climbing gear and personal gear from members and staff. A total weight of 2400kg! Then the argument started of which yak is going to carry witch load and so on.... This took a couple hours, but eventually all yaks left base camp together with our climbing Sherpa's and some of our kitchen staff. They will prepare interim camp at 5800m and Advanced Base Camp at 6400m for us.

All members and I will move up the mountain to interim tomorrow, where we will stay here two nights.Then we move to Advance Base Camp at 6400m. We have to move slowly to give our bodies time to get used to the high altitude. The early stage of acclimatization is crucial, its like a foundation of a building...if this is strong and solid you can build what ever you want on top!

Last night we watched another movie in Base Camp, my small projector seems to be a big hit!

This is it for now, more news from interim camp.

Arnold Coster, expedition leader back to top

 

Our comfortable base camp (Arnold Coster). 

11 April, 2011:

Tomorrow we expect our yaks to carry our expedition gear to interim camp at about 5800m, then the following day they will move on to advanced basecamp at 6400m.

We will be one day behind the yaks and some of our staff, so we will not be in their way preparing the camps for us. We will leave for interim on the 13th, stay there for two nights and then move on to ABC. Below is a dispatch written by Dom, cheers Arnold Coster exp. leader.

...

Hello from  Everest Base Camp Tibet at 5200 metres. It's Dom here writing the latest report on the teams activities. We have been in Base Camp a couple of days now after our dash across the Tibetan plateau from the town of Tingri. We are all now trying to fall into expedition life at Base Camp , setting up our tents to make them as comfortable as possible with blankets and plenty of snack food from home. The food is great with our head chef putting together some great dishes and even making an effort for the two vegetarians in the group!

The group is getting on well and with Everest directly in front of us it focuses the mind of the task that lies ahead. We walked down to the monastery today where a Lama gave us the blessing for the climb, everyone left feeling that it was a positive experience.

Arnold has managed to set up a projector from his laptop so last night we were watching movies on the big screen! I did not think that I would be doing that at basecamp, but it’s a great way to pass the time and hang out together.

We move on up the mountain the day after tomorrow to Interim Camp where it will no doubt be a lot colder, as on Franks thermometer it registered -21 degrees centigrade last night!

I’ll leave it there for now as I have to pack my things to be sent up to Advanced Base Camp. Just to let you all know that we are having a few issues with sending general emails at the moment so hopefully it will be sorted out soon, something to do with the solar panels.

This is Dom signing out from a windy base camp in Tibet. back to top

A clear view of the surrounding Tibetan Plateau (Arnold Coster).

9 April, 2011:

After an early start we arrived in base camp today at around 5200m. We took an off road shortcut from Tingri. This road zig zags through the mountains behind Tingri and finally ends up in Everest Base camp.

This is a really remote area with only a few small villages, but to our surprise all of a sudden a couple Tibetan men on horseback showed up! The people look wild; they look like some warriors from the Ghengis Khan era. They wear big yak fur clothing with nice decoration on their heads.

After passing the Rongbuk Monastery we got a full view of Everest or Chomolungma as people call her here.

Our kitchen staff, which came from Lhasa yesterday, already pitched all the tents and quickly served us a delicious meal. Samdien our cook really knows what we need!

In base camp we have a full kitchen setup, a dining/leisure tent, each member has his own personal tent and there is a tent to shower and a toilet tent.

The next couple off day we will spend relaxing and making small day hikes to get used to our new elevation. Also we will visit the " Lama" a Buddhist priest in the monastery to get his blessing for our expedition.

We probably will move up to in trim camp on the 13th of April, this will be the next step up in our approach of Chomolungma. back to top

One of the jeeps we rode in to basecamp (Arnold Coster).

8 April, 2011:

After an early start in Kathmandu we crossed the border easy at Zhangmu. The TMA (Tibet Mountaineering Association) arranged three nice Land cruisers and a truck for us. After a delicious meal at their Base camp restaurant they drove us straight to Tingri at around 4400m. The journey through the narrow canyon to Nyalam is very beautiful, doesn’t matter how many times I drive this. Then all of a sudden the canyon stops and you are in Nylam where the Tibetan plateau starts. Here it looks like you are on a different planet, there is hardly any vegetation, but still the Tibetans manage to grow potatoes and Barley somehow. The colors in the earth are fascinating and the snow covered peaks in the distance make it even more spectacular!

We arrived in Tingri late in the evening, where another nice Chinese meal was waiting for us. Today we are just relaxing wandering into town and enjoying the views.

Our cook Samdien should arrive today in Base camp with our supplies from Lhasa and we are all looking forward to meeting him tomorrow afternoon. So tomorrow we will be at the foot of the mountain, the next couple of days we will spend hanging around in camp, making our “ new home” as cozy as possible. It's also possible to make small hikes to explore the way to the next camp….

This is it for now,

Arnold Coster, Expedition Leader back to top

Members relaxing in a restaurant on the way to basecamp (Arnold Coster).

6 April, 2011:

Today we returned in Kathmandu, after an early flight from Lukla. All of the team enjoyed the acclimatisation trek in the Khumbu a lot. It was very nice to get out of town.

Our permits for Tibet are finalized and we will leave Kathmandu early tomorrow morning. We will drive to Kodari and the cross the "friendship bridge" into China to the Border town of Zhangmu.

If everything goes smoothly we will continue to Tingri at around 4200m. Here we will spend two more night to finish our acclimatisation before going for base camp. back to top

2 April, 2011:

Our Tibet visa are a little bit delayed, so we decided to go up in the Khumbu and start our acclimatisation. This way we can make some time up during the approach in Tibet.

Yesterday we reached Namche Bazar at 3600 metres/11,800 feet. Today we are just hanging out here and enjoying the nice coffee and apple pie..........hard work expedition climbing!

Tomorrow we will head up to Tengboche at around 4000 metres/13,100 feet. After this we will go down and back to Kathmandu. Today I got the good news that all our permits are ready, we only have to get the Tibet entry visa in Kathmandu. We expect to be back in Kathmandu on Wednesday and we will probably cross the Tibetan Border on Thursday!

All the members are doing well and are enjoying the fresh mountain air and great views here!

I think we have a very strong group with a lot of experience this expedition, but let's see what the mountain does this year.......stay tuned for more news......

Arnold Coster - expedition leader back to top

Namche Bazaar, the capital of the Sherpa people. See this unique village on our trek to and from basecamp (Tunc Findik).

30 March, 2011:

Today was a very busy day of shopping, etcetera. We also had our team briefing to meet all of the members and explain the trip.  back to top

Briefing at the Kohinoor Hotel (Gavin Vickers).

29 March, 2011

Today is the first day of our spring climbing and walking season. We are in Kathmandu and all of the members are arriving. Tomorrow is the big team briefing at the Kohinoor Hotel. It has been raining here in Kathmandu, which is good as it keeps the dust down and puts water into the reservoirs. If all goes well, we plan to fly to Lukla on 31 March. Please wish us luck and enjoy the attached photos. Thanks for following our expedition teams in Nepal and Tibet! back to top

 

Kaji Tamang and Jangbu Sherpa checking the gamow bag in our Kathmandu office. Lakpa Gelu, Kaji Tamang, Lakpa Nuru checking dining tents at the company store room in Kathmandu. Scott Patch gets a blessing from the Lama (Gavin Vickers). Team in boudha monastery (Gavin Vickers).

Team Rosters:

Everest Tibet -

  • Arnold Coster - Netherlands (leader)
  • Scott Patch - US (leader-in-training)
  • Eric Platenberg - US (leader-in-training)
  • Edward Buckingham - UK
  • Frank Irnich - Germany
  • Biff Palmer - US
  • Dominique Pickett - UK
  • Mark Quinn - Ireland

North Col: 21 April to 18 May -

  • Raj Thapa - Nepal (leader)
  • Thomas Sefranek - Norway
  • Shivesh Ram - USA
  • Russell Holland - USA 

ABC Everest Trek 21 April to 10 May - 

  • Ms. Rachel Unger - USA
  • Ms. Trudy Healy - USA
  • John Fox - USA
  • William Hammann - USA
  • Fred Leverentz - USA
  • Robert Purves - USA

North Col: 29 March to 25 April -

  • Stephen Wilson -US

Everest Tibet Staff -

  • Ang Babu Sherpa
  • Tenji Sherpa
  • Lhakpa Sherpa
  • Gyalje Sherpa

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