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Pumori March 2004

Dispatch 1:

This is Jay Reilly, Expedition Co-Leader from Summitclimb.com. I’ve just arrived in Kathmandu, where Daniel Mazur and I, are preparing to lead an International Team of 11 people on 7200m Mt Pumori.

We are also attempting a World First by placing the first Nepalese woman, Maya Sherpa, on the summit! In a fantastic season of record breaking we believe to have set three in October 2003 on 6856m Mt Ama Dablam, by placing the first Nepalese woman, the youngest woman, and the first Finnish climbers on the summit.

Kathmandu is a crazy place! From the minute you step out of the relative “organization” of the airport, it’s pure pandemonium! People shouting at you to take their taxi cabs, young boys appearing out of nowhere offering to carry your bags – then carrying them anyway, no matter how much you insist! Then demanding money for their service! And all this in the first 5 minutes! The atmosphere – busy as it is – is certainly not threatening. Nepalis are very friendly to foreigners, and are willing to help in any way. It’s a lot of fun to ride in the taxi to the hotel. The speed limit is 40kph – good thing really, seeing as the roads are choked with cars, buses, trucks, people, bicycles, motorcycles, dogs, chickens and the occasional cow! Oh and there doesn’t seem to be any road rules!

If you haven’t yet made it to Nepal, you really must!

Our preparations for Mt Pumori have started with a slight hiccup, being that there is currently a 5 day “Bandh”. This is a strike called by Nepalese University Student Unions and it affects the entire country. Student Unions are quite politically powerful in Nepal, and when a Bandh is called, many businesses will close and public transport will not run, for fear of retribution from the students. The good news for us though, is that although this is a 5 day Bandh, most people take it seriously only for the first day. So, our purchase of 1000kg of food, 3000m of rope, 40 ice screws, 80 snow stakes, and several hundred batteries and gas canisters will go ahead without problem. So for today, it’s relax, get over the jet-lag and explore Kathmandu!

More news tomorrow! Thank you from Jay Reilly and all of us at Summitclimb.com

...

Dispatch 2:

Day 3 in Kathmandu and it appears the so called 5 day strike has been called off after just 2, due to mounting public displeasure! Bandhs have become such common place in Nepal that business owners and the public at large are fed up, with the disruptions and choose to simply ignore them!

Yesterday (25-Feb) was a quiet day, due to the bandh, which gave me a chance to really settle into the Hotel Nepa, and catch up with my friend Bidya Thulgar, the hotel owner.

I also took the time to unpack and admire my new MONT clothing. MONT Adventure Equipment is an Australian company and makes high quality clothing, sleeping bags and backpacks for climbing and trekking. David Edwards and the Team from MONT Adventure Equipment have been kind enough to outfit me to climb Mt Pumori. In return, I’m testing and reporting back on some new fabrics and designs they’re using.

Rex Dougherty from Park City, Utah, USA, arrived today! This is Rex’s third visit to Nepal, having been here in 2001 and 2002 on Ama Dablam. Rex and I spent the afternoon catching up, and with me prodding him every 5 minutes in order to keep him awake from the jetlag he was suffering. We did, however see a fantastic spectacle in the Thamel district……Indian Snake Charmers!! Three men creating music from crude instruments, all the time keeping a close eye on the 4 spitting cobras that were mere centimeters away, poised to strike. I’ve heard that the snakes are “de-fanged,” to be harmless to the charmers, but I don’t think I would like to have an upset “one of the deadliest snakes in the world” a mere 20cm away from my face!

A more subdued afternoon followed, with some help from Kipa Sherpa, we finally got our list, for approximately 1000kg of food to the Raja Cold Store for delivery on Sunday. We also managed to track down Lakpah Sherpa, who owns an Expedition Outfitting store, and ordered 3000m of rope, and large quantities of other climbing equipment.

We’re off to dinner now for some fine Italian at La Dolcie Vita!

More news tomorrow

Thank you very much for reading, from Jay Reilly and all of us at Summitclimb.com

...

Dispatch 3:

Another arrival for our team today, with Daniel Marino, from Melbourne Australia. This is Daniel’s first trip to Nepal and he spent a wide-eyed afternoon checking out the sights, sounds and smells of Kathmandu!

Rex and I have started our daily training walks to Swayabunath, or “the Monkey Temple” as it’s more commonly known. I say training walks, because the walk involves approximately 5 km to the base of the temple, then a steep, 1000 step climb to the temple itself. The efforts though, are extremely rewarding. It’s very peaceful, with the sound of Monks chanting and the scent of incense and butter candles burning.

Murari Sharma, our Trekking Agent from Parivar Trekking also arrived back in Nepal today. He’s been traveling with Dan Mazur in the USA and UK, promoting the Mt Everest Foundation – a charity that has been established to assist the people of Patale Village. The Foundation will eventually provide a much needed health care facility and workers and also build a new school.

Our expedition is really starting to come together now. With the arrival of Murari, we’ve now got the permit paperwork underway, the food and equipment being delivered, and our Staff organized. It seems we have a very strong team of Sherpa Staff. Our Staff list follows - Jangbu Sherpa, Shera Sherpa, Lakpah Sherpa, Tenzing Sherpa, Maya Sherpa and Lakpa Sherpa.

Jangbu has been with us on several Expeditions, is an awesome climber and extremely strong. He is also very perceptive to member needs and takes very good care of people in his charge.

Shera has climbed Ama Dablam twice and has been high on Pumori and Manaslu. His English is excellent and he is a very personable fellow.

Lakpah and Tenzing are “our muscle”. They are enormously strong and can easily carry loads up to 50kg for long periods. They are valuable additions and are essential to the success of the Team.

Maya broke a world record in 2003 by being the world’s first Nepali woman on the summit of Ama Dablam. We are hoping she can establish the same record on Pumori.

Lakpa worked for us a Trekking Guide in 2003. This will be her first mountain. We wish her the very best of luck!

Right now though, Rex, Daniel and I are off to check out what the Roadhouse Café has to offer for dinner!

More news tomorrow

Thank you very much for reading, from Jay Reilly and all of us at Summitclimb.com

...

Dispatch 4:

Our team is complete now with today’s’ arrivals. We are –

 

 

Dan Mazur – Leader USA

 

Jay Reilly – Leader Australia

 

Rex Dougherty USA

 

Daniel Marino Australia

 

Kirsti Samson UK

 

Richard Lees UK

 

Steve Hysko USA

 

Mick Long Ireland

 

Aiden Forde Ireland

 

Ray Dolamore UK

 

Bridgette Rossiter O’Flynn Ireland

 

Marion Joncheres France

 

Phil Aikman UK

It was great to catch up with Kirsti and Mick! Kirsti climbed on Ama Dablam in 2003 and Mick reached the summit with us on Ama Dablam in 2002.

We now have an extremely busy 24 hrs ahead, as we finalize our packing and equipment preparations. Member equipment needs to be checked. Staff equipment needs to be checked. This is an important step, as we never send staff to altitude without proper gear. Without them, our expedition would not succeed – therefore, staff safety is of paramount concern. We sent approx 1700kgs of food and equipment to Lukla today, with another 1000kg to fly with us tomorrow!

Our medical kits have been checked and replenished, our Gammow Bag has been tested, and emergency oxygen equipment has been tested.

Our Climbing Sherpa list has been finalized. They are –

Jangbu Sherpa

Lakpah Sherpa

Gyalu Sherpa

Shera Sherpa

Tenzing Sherpa

Phurba Tamang

Maya Sherpa

Our other Sherpani, Lakpa, whom I mentioned last dispatch has not shown up, and therefore won’t be on our expedition.

We are off to the famous KC’s restaurant for our Welcome Dinner with all the members and Leaders.

The next dispatch will be sent from the mighty Khumbu Valley!

Thank you very much for reading, from Jay Reilly and all of us at Summitclimb.com

...

Dispatch 5:

Hello from Namche Bazar, Nepal, at 3515 meters, where our Pumori expedition is well underway. We are 13 members (women and men) from Australia, England, France, Ireland and the United States. We are climbing with 7 Sherpas, including Maya Sherpa, attempting to become the first Nepalese woman to reach the summit. In addition, we have 6 cooks, 2 liason officers and 1 sirdar. Please wish us luck!

 

Dan Mazur and Lahkpa Sherpa just below the crux of the route.

Copyright©Ryan Waters

 

Team

Dan Mazur – Leader USA

Jay Reilly – Leader Australia

Rex Dougherty USA

Daniel Marino Australia

Kirsti Samson UK

Richard Lees UK

Steve Hysko USA

Mick Long Ireland

Aiden Forde Ireland

Ray Dolamore UK

Bridgette Rossiter O’Flynn Ireland

Marion Joncheres France

Phil Aikman UK

Thank you very much for reading, from all of us at Summitclimb.com

...

Dispatch 6:

Some of our members reached Pumori basecamp today:

Jangbu Sherpa

Rex Dougherty

Gyalu Sherpa

Marion Joncheres

Lakpa Kongle

Phil Aikman

Pemba Sherpa

Phurba Tamang

A group of us decided to take a rest day in Lobuche:

Kaji Tamang

Daniel Mazur

Shera Sherpa

Bridget Rossiter-O'Flynn

Maya Sherpani

Richard Lees

Jai Bahadur

Ray Dolamore

Tenzing Sherpa

Dan Marino

Temba Sherpa

Steve Hysko

A group of the members has chosen to trek in at a different pace:

Aidan Forde

Michael Long

Kirsti Samson

Jay Reilly

the weather has been cool and dry, with nights below freezing. No appreciable snow has fallen and it has been windy. Although today was perfect and sunny and warm , with excellent views of the Everest Himal all around. There is less snow this year, and the surrounding hillsides are surprisingly dry. More later. Yours Sincerely from Daniel Mazur and all of us from SummitClimb.com

...

Dispatch 7:

Hello Everyone. Thanks to everyone at EverestNews.com for all of the fantastic work you are doing!! Our Pumori Climb is in progress.

The following members have reached the 5350 metre basecamp:

MR. PHIL AIKMAN London, England

MR. REX DOUGHERTY Salt Lake City, USA

MR. RAY DOLAMORE Falmouth, Cornwall

MS. MARION JONCHERES Paris, France

MR. STEVE HYSKO USA

MR. DANIEL MARINO Melbourne, Australia

MR. DAN MAZUR Olympia, Washington, USA, and Bristol, England

MR. JAY REILLY Cairns, Australia

MS. KIRSTI SAMSON Newcastle, England

MS. BRIDGET ROSSITER O'FLYNN, Ireland

The folowing members radioed from Lobuche and are expected later today:

MR. MICK LONG Cork, Ireland

MR. AIDAN FORDE Cork, Ireland

This member was not feeling well and decided to descend yesterday.

MR. RICHARD LEES Bristol, England

We are very sad and he will be sorely missed, as he was an important addition to our team. He is descending with three staff members:

Kaji Tamang, Maila Sherpa, and Pasang Chirri Sherpa, as well as the Pangboche Lama, who was here yesterday to provide a blessing to our expedition. It seems he will walk back to Lukla and fly to Kathmandu, and then home to England. We hope he will change his mind and return to us, as he is an old and dear friend.

The following members and staff participated in equipment review and fixed-rope training yesterday:

Mr Lakpa Kongle Sherpa

Ms. Bridget Rossiter

Ms. Maya Sherpa

Mr. Daniel Marino

Mr. Gyalu Sherpa

Ms. Marion Joncheres

Mr. Tenzing Sherpa

Mr. Daniel Mazur

Mr. Phurba Tamang

Mr. Steve Hysko

Mr. Shera Sherpa

Mr. Phil Aikman

All members performed admirably as we reviewed our equipment, making sure everyone has the right things, and practiced ascending and descending fixed lines on vertical and sloping granite walls on "The Arrowhead" just 20 minutes walk to the northeast of basecamp.

We had a prayer ceremony with all present members and staff during the middle of the day yesterday. The Lama walked up from Pangboche the night before, accompanied by three time Everest summiter, Pasang Chirri Sherpa.

It was a very impressive ceremony, and the staff were quite pleased and the members remarked that it was "magical". The weather has been amazingly perfect with no clouds and no wind, and awe inspiring vistas in every direction. It has been below freezing at night with warm temperatures into the 10 and even 15 degree celcius range during the day. Last nights sun setting just a few kilometres away on the summits of Everest, and Nuptse took everyone's collective breath away.

The conditions here are unusually dry for this season, and there is no snow in basecamp and very little snow on the route itself.

We will move up to advanced basecamp today at 5650 metres, carrying a load and preparing the camp, and acclimatizing, then we will return to basecamp before we move up there permanently tomorrow. Jangbu Sherpa, Lakpa Kongle, and Phurba Tamang will stay in the camp today and begin fixing ropes for camp 1 at 6100 metres.

We thank you for the attention to our expeditions and once again, thanks to everyone at EverestNews.com for all of the fine work you are doing! Thank You Very much, Yours Sincerely, from Daniel Mazur and all of us at SummitClimb.com

...

Dispatch 8:

All 12 of us foriegn climbers have arrived safely in our comfortable 5300 metre basecamp on sand at the shore of the lower of two lakes at the base of 7161 metre Mount Pumori. We were 13, but one of our members has returned to Kathmandu.

Our Sherpas Jangbu, Maya, Lakpa, Shera, Gyalu, Tenzing, and Phurba Tamang have put the route up to Camp 1 at 6100 metres, and are working on the route to Camp 2 at 6500 metres. All members have been to ABC at 5750 metres, where we have pitched nine tents and set up a high-altitude kitchen with a skillful cook, Pemba Sherpa. Nearly everyone has now slept in ABC and explored the climb above. Mick and Aidan have been to camp 1, moving swiftly and cautiously; trying to become the first Irish to summit Pumori, and Marion has been climbing very strongly, trying to become only the second French woman to summit the peak after Chantal Mauduit became the first French woman with Daniel Mazur and a SummitClimb team in 1996. The weather has been sparklingly clear with a few mild wind squalls in the afternoons. Temperatures have ranged from -5 to +15 centigrade. Winds have been basically mild. 7 of us foreigners took a rest day in base today, with everyone enjoying a hot bath, delicious food, a bit of laundry, shaving, hairstyling, and basic lounging around in the sunshine on "Pumori Beach", while watching the team above making great progress on the snow, ice, and rock. Conditions here are snow free and unusually dry. It seems we are camped in some kind of high altitude desert, and the route is showing rocks in places we never imagined to find anything but deep snow and ice.

Thanks for wishing us luck and we shall send more news later. Yours Sincerely, from Daniel Mazur and all of us at SummitClimb.com

The French update is below...

 

Update 3/15/2004: Apres un trekking tres agreable dans la vallee du Khumbu, desertee en ce tout debut de saison, nous sommes arrives depuis quelques jours au camp de base du Pumori, a environ 5300 metres. Beneficiant de conditions meteorologiques tres favorables, bien que plutot froides, nous pouvons a loisir admirer le magnifique paysage qui s'offre a nous: le Pumori qui domine le camp, la grande face du Nuptse (du cote oppose), le Changtse, et bien sur le seigneur des lieux, Sa Majeste l'Everest. Les couchers de soleil, allant du jaune dense au rouge, sont un vrai regal. Les sherpas ouvrent en ce moment la voie d'ascension, qui emprunte un eperon en rocher puis de grandes pentes de neige et glace jusqu'a une epaule bien marquee, d'ou sera lance l'assaut au sommet. Tout cet itineraire se deroule face au Nuptse et a l'Everest: nous sommes tous tres impatients d'entrer dans le vif du sujet! Ceci suppose bien sur de suivre les regles classiques et incontournables de l'acclimatation a la haute altitude, et d'effectuer de nombreux allers et retours sur la montagne, avant de tenter le sommet. Apres avoir effectue un portage au camp de base avance (environ 5750 metres), nous allons ce soir y dormir pour, demain, monter au camp 1 et redescendre au camp de base se reposer... avant l'etape suivante, qui fera l'objet d'un prochain communique. -Marion Joncheres, de Paris

 

Dan Mazur – Leader USA

Jay Reilly – Leader Australia

Rex Dougherty USA

Daniel Marino Australia

Kirsti Samson UK

Richard Lees UK

Steve Hysko USA

Mick Long Ireland

Aiden Forde Ireland

Ray Dolamore UK

Bridgette Rossiter O’Flynn Ireland

Marion Joncheres France

Phil Aikman UK

Thank you very much for reading, from and all of us at Summitclimb.com

...

Dispatch 9:

Today our team reached the spot for camp 2 on Pumori at 6600 metres. Its located under a big rock just below the Col which demarcates the border between Tibet and Nepal. The weather was stunning and warm, almost too warm, with temperatures of 33 degrees centigrade recorded at 10am at 6150 metres, with no wind.

Tomorrow we plan to finalize the route to camp 2 and get the tents set up. We are fixing 8 millimetre rope as we go, having now strung more than 1500 metres, 37 pickets and 24 ice screws. The weather continues to be what one might describe as perfect. It has not snowed appreciably since our arrival, winds have been light from 0 to 10 kilometres per hour. Mornings have been sunny and warm generally ranging from -7c to +25c. Each afternoon, clouds roll in, then dissipate by morning, with a few mists and flakes blowing about, but never really snowing. It seems one could only describe this as a drought, and we are watching the snowpack on the mountainsides steadily disappear. There never was any snow around basecamp. Most of our ropes from previous year's expeditions are exposed (we have been diligently cutting them away and removing them as we go), and we now find ourselves climbing on rubble and rocks up to 5940 metres, when we finally step onto old snow, and make the final ridge climb and traverse into a gorgeous camp 1, located in a beautiful snowy and protected bowl, sheltered at 6150 metres. Just above camp 1, we found a 4.5 metre wide crevasse/unconsolidated area, so we walked down to Gorak Shep and rented 4 ladders to bridge the zone, and these have now been carried up, rigged, and safely established. The following Sherpas have made fantastic progress for our team, and we are deeply indebted to them:

Jangbu Sherpa,

Lakpa Kongle Sherpa,

Tenzing Sherpa,

Phurba Tamang,

Gyalu Sherpa,

Shera Sherpa,

Maya Sherpa, (attempting to become the first Nepalese woman to reach the summit), Pemba Sherpa, Tsapte Sherpa, Temba Sherpa, Nanda Kumar Lama (Krishna).

The following foreign members have slept in camp 1, and are planning to try for the summit in the next few days:

Phil Aikman, Marion Joncheres (attempting to become the second French woman to reach the summit), Michael Long (attempting to be the first Irish person to reach the summit), Daniel Marino, Daniel Mazur (summited twice before), Jay Reilly (was he the first Australian to summit the peak in 2003?), Kirsti Sampson.

We are very sad to have to say goodbye to Rex Dougherty, a dear friend who left basecamp to trek down the other day, having decided his lungs were not coping well with the altitude. He was accompanied by Laxmi Rai, a member of our kitchen staff. We imagine he will fly back to Kathamandu today.

Only today, Bridget Rossiter has chosen to head down valley for some rest, together with Bahadur, one of our kitchen staff, who is carrying her kit bag. We wish her good recovery.

Ray Dolamore is keeping track of basecamp, as well as the lower reaches of the mountain, and Aidan Forde and Steve Hysko are convalescing in basecamp.

We received an email from Richard Lees, who has been gone a week or so now, and he said he was on his way to some beach-y destination, away from Nepal.

Thanks again for your attention and support to climbing the high Himalaya! Yours Sincerely, from Daniel Mazur and all of us at SummitClimb.com

...

Dispatch 10:

 

We are humbly honoured to announce we have set some new records by placing the the first Nepalese woman, the first and second Irishmen and the second French woman ever, as well as 8 foreigners and 7 Nepalese on the summit of 7161 metre high Mount Pumori.

This is the final 400 ft. steep section below the summit of Pumori.

Copyright©Ryan Waters

 

 


We are also currently seeking verification to find out whether or not Ms. Kirsti Sampson was the first British woman to reach the summit.

On 23 March the following members and staff reached the summit of 7161 metre high Mount Pumori:

Jay Reilly - Cairns and Brisbane, Australia;

Dan Marino - Melbourne, Australia;

Ms. Kirsti Sampson - Newcastle, England (Is she the first British woman to reach the summit of Pumori?); Jangbu Sherpa - Patale, Nepal; Tenzing Sherpa - Patale, Nepal; Ms. Maya Sherpa - Patale, Nepal (first female Nepali to reach the summit of Pumori); Shera Sherpa - Patale, Nepal;

On 24 March, the following members and staff reached the summit of 7161 metre high Mount Pumori:

Daniel Mazur - Bristol, England, and Seattle;

Ms. Marion Joncheres - Paris, France (Second French woman to reach the summit of Pumori, after the great Chantal Mauduit); Phil Aikman - Lancaster, England; Mick Long - Rathmore, County Kerry and County Cork, Ireland (First Irishman on the Summit of Pumori); Aidan Forde - County Cork, Ireland (Second Irishman on the Summit of Pumori); Lakpa Kongle Sherpa, Patale Nepal; Phurba Tamang - Solari, Nepal; Gyalu Sherpa - Patale, Nepal;

The weather on Pumori was very unusual this March, where we have had more than 20 days without any measurable precipitation, and almost no cloud, basically bright and sunny all day, followed by starry clear sparkling nights. All of us are brightly sun and windburned, to say the least. Conditions have been cool in the mornings and evenings (-12 to 5 degrees centigrade), clear, and occasionally windy (5 to 30 kph), with an interim four to six hours of warm or even hot weather each day (10-25 degrees centigrade).

Our team was the only expedition in sunny-beachlike Pumori basecamp at the side of Pumori lake, just under Kala Pattar this year, and our 8 cooks, led by the culinary genius team of Krishna and Jai Bahadur, and basecamp staff did an amazing job of keeping us well cared for in our individual basecamp tents, and deliciously fed with unlimited portions and their famous signature 9 course meals, served at tables and chairs over table cloth and candlelight in the dining tent. At advanced basecamp (ABC) at 5700 metres, Pemba Sherpa, our high altitude cooking specialist, proved his worth when he was able to prepare three tasty meals a day and deliver them, (together with assistant Saptay Sherpa) directly to the tents where we slept and acclimated.

Up on the mountain, A thin or non-existent winter snow-fall has left the mountain mostly devoid of snow below 6000 metres, leaving us to cross the first gully at 5700 metres on a path of stones and dust (which would be snow and ice in a normal year), with the occasional loose rock or piece of ice falling from the sun-drenched steep slopes above. Fortunately, we posted a "watchman" at the crossing, and not a single member or staff was seriously hit. The usual three short (less than 7 metre) vertical ice pitches (one just below camp 1 at around 6100 metres, and the other two just below camp 2 at around 6400 metres) were easier than in most years. The snow-ice was actually quite soft "neve" or "styrofoam", yielding very good ice-axe placements.

This year, apparently due to abnormally low-snowpack, we were confronted with a somewhat challenging new development: a seemingly uncrossable 6 metre wide crevasse bisecting the entire glacier going across a wide area of the mountain between camps 1 and 2 at circa 6200 metres. Our team of Sherpas, together with Dan, descended to the tiny outpost of Gorak-Shep at circa 5000 metres and negotiated-for, rented, carried, and rigged four sections of aluminum ladder horizontally across the gaping maw, so we were able to safely and quickly overcome the obstacle with our large and hard-working team. Crossing this contraption was certainly exciting, as the 4 lashed ladders creaked and groaned with every step as each climber crossed, one at a time, clipped to and holding onto the two waist-high safety lines - plus the ladders tilted slightly on a 5 degree sideways lean, so the climber's crampons would skid to the side of the ladder each time they put their foot on a rung! Despite this most unnerving affair, the ladder crossings were a fun part of the route, and our hearts went out to the Everest climbers who have to cross 10 of these things going through the Khumbu icefall everyday. By the way, we have just today, as of this writing, just now finished the mammoth task of dismantling and of carrying the ladders from their position over the crevasse back down to Gorak Shep, returning them to their owners: Puty and Pemba Sherpa.

Another interesting section occurred just below the summit. Where there is normally a solid snow bridge over a huge crevasse, this year there was no bridge - only the crevasse. Negotiating this section involved climbing down 3 metres into the crevasse and up the 4m high near-vertical ice-wall opposite, to a small 50cm wide ledge with a 1m high roof. Each climber then had to crawl on hands and knees along the ledge laterally for about 4m to the end of the ice overhang, where they could finally stand up. Exciting stuff indeed up at 6900 metres. Jangbu, Tenzing, and Lakpa Sherpa, three of our top super-star Sherpas named the section the "Monkey Road" and indeed it was a path fit for a chimp. Fortunately, our team had placed a series of safety lines in and around the crevasse, trying to remove as much of the risk as possible. Coming down the same section was fun, with each climber abseiling down the side, then swinging 2m to the opposite rim of the crevasse, where there was a safe flat place to finally relax. Fortunately our staff and members were constantly there to spot and hold safety lines for everyone. Demonstrating yet again, it would seem, how much of a team sport climbing really is.

Our time on the summit was very unusual this year, as we were greeted by cloud-free 365 degree views (albeit windy) in every direction. It seems that one of our team members, Ms. Marion Joncheres, who we believe is only the second French woman to ever climb Pumori (after the great Chantal Mauduit, who climbed it with Dan in 1996) has spoken of her time on the summit most eloquently, and we translate her passage here directly from the French language:

" We are at the top of Pumori on March 24 at mid-day. The sky is blue deep, without clouds, but the weather is cold and the wind blows in gusts. Seven hours after leaving camp 2 at 6510 metres, amazed by the splendid panorama which is offered us, we admire the formidable unit of Everest / Lhotse / Nuptse framing the Western Cwm, Baruntse and Ama Dablam, Cho Oyu, and the tops of Tibetan Mountains. Lingtren, is a satellite peak of Pumori which is approximately 6700 metres high, and looks like a "sky-scraper" from basecamp. But when one sees it from here, on the summit of Pumori, "mighty" Lingtren just blends into the scenery and has simply disappeared among the mountains which we dominate from our viewpoint. Here at 7161 meters; the height of Pumori, we are only at the height of Everest's "hip", but let us not sulk at how "low" we are, but enjoy our own unique position. The rise of Pumori has a regal truth. This very dry spring offered some famous passages to us, of the installation of a ladder to pass a broad crevasse (will that crossing be the best or the worst memory?), has sometimes vertical glacial climbing even slightly overhanging, the whole between 6000 and 7000 meters... If one also evokes the edges and the great slopes of ice / snow, one easily imagines the environment in which we have evolved/moved. Forgetting the fall of stones from the cliff, we will retain only this: seldom easy, often air and always infinitely esthetic, this mountain has given us everything. We also appreciate the rare privilege to be the only expedition on Pumori this spring. I will not forget either the pleasure of climbing with our Sherpa friends, always astonishing in their physical feats and enthusiasm: 7 of them have accompanied us at the top. Often suffering from the competition of its giant neighbors, Pumori, the "Daughter of Everest", is, according to its scale and my inclination, "A Mountain of Exception. " -Ms. Marion Joncheres, Paris

After a great show of climbing from all members and staff, everybody arrived safely in Basecamp for some much needed rest, rehydration and good food, and we are now taking three or four days to walk the 70 beautiful stunning kilometres of lustrous Khumbu valley scenery, through the peaceful and fascinating Sherpa culture, with our trekking staff and excellent cooks, back to Lukla airport, where our hosts are providing us each a free flight back to Kathmandu, for ourselves, our staff, and all of our luggage.

Thanks very much for giving your valued attention to Himalayan climbing and our expedition, and best wishes to all family, loved ones, friends, and colleagues from all of us, including Daniel Mazur (7 eight thousand metre summits, including Everest and K2, 12 eight thousand metre expeditions, and 23 Himalayan expeditions), Jay Reilly (2 summits each of Ama Dablam and Pumori) and all of us at SummitClimb.com.

Special Thanks to: Elizabeth Carr, Mary and Robert Mazur, Richard and Anne Laurence.

Thanks for all of your help in telling the story about Himalayan mountain climbing. Marion Joncheres, who we believe is only the second French woman to climb Pumori (after the great Chantal Mauduit), has written a small piece here in French, for your French speaking audience, and we wonder if you might post it on your fantastic site: EverestNews.com . Thank you very much! Nous sommes au sommet du Pumori le 24 mars a la mi-journee. Le ciel est bleu profond, sans nuages, mais il fait froid et le vent souffle par rafales. Sept heures apres avoir quitte le camp 2 a 6510 metres, ebahis par le panorama magnifique qui s'offre a nous, nous admirons le formidable ensemble Everest / Lhotse / Nuptse encadrant la Combe Ouest, le Baruntse et l'Ama Dablam, le Cho Oyu (versant nepalais), les sommets tibetains... Le Lingtren, satellite du Pumori a environ 6700 metres, jolie crete bien marquee qund on la voit du camp de base, a quasiment disparu parmi les montagnes que nous dominons. 7161 metres: nous ne sommes qu'a hauteur de la hanche de l'Everest, mais ne boudons surtout pas notre plaisir. L'ascension du Pumori a ete un vrai regal. Ce printemps tres sec nous a offert quelques fameux passages, de la pose d'une echelle pour passer une large crevasse (cela sera-t-il le meilleur ou le pire souvenir?) a de l'escalade glaciaire parfois verticale voire legerement surplombamte, le tout entre 6000 et 7000 metres... Si l'on evoque egalement les aretes et les grandes pentes de glace / neige, on imagine facilement l'ambiance dans laquelle nous avons evolue. Oubliant les frequentes chutes de pierres dues a la secheresse, nous ne retiendrons que

ceci: rarement facile, souvent aerienne et toujours infiniment esthetique, cette montagne nous a tous combles. Nous avons egalement apprecie le privilege rare d'etre la seule expedition sur le Pumori ce printemps. Je n'oublierai pas non plus le plaisir de grimper avec nos amis sherpas, comme toujours etonnants de forme physique et d'enthousiasme: 7 d'entre eux nous ont accompagnes au sommet. Souffrant souvent de la concurrence de ses voisins geants, le Pumori, la "soeur de l'Everest", est, a son echelle et a mon sens, une montagne d'exception. - Marion Joncheres, Paris

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