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Everest Basecamp Trek and Island Peak, Spring 2008

(Photos in slideshow: Dan Mazur, Elselien te Hennepe, & Valerie Hovland.)
News of our recent expedition: Everest Basecamp Trek & Island Peak
Spring 2008
30 March to 21 April, 1 to 22 May, 2008

Season wrap-up - Dan Mazur reports live from basecamp

This is Dan Mazur calling with the final dispatch from our spring climbing season. I am currently in Everest basecamp and all of our members and staff are down from the hill. It's a beautiful sunny day here. There are a few puffy clouds, light winds, crystal clear blue skies, and birds are flying around hovering on the air currents. As I speak to you I am looking up at Mount Everest and the mighty Khumbu Glacier Icefall, which looks like an enourmous frozen river of white diamonds. Occasionally an avalanche pops off from one of the subsidiary peaks which ring this corrie our basecamp lies within. These avalanches are noisy and impressive, but luckily they never touch basecamp.

This year we were blessed with great success. I am very thankful, and perhaps even a bit surprised with how lucky we were. Of course, the maxim: 'good luck follows hard work' might hold true in this case.

Many of our team members, men and women from around the world, climbed to the top of Everest, our world's highest mountain, as well as to the summit of Lhotse, the fourth highest, and thank god we had no serious accidents.

Everyone tried very hard and achieved their personal goals, whether that was trekking to basecamp, or achieving a personal high point, such as the summit of easy Island Peak, or getting up to high camp on Everest or Lhotse. We commend all of our team members on doing their very best. back to top

This is SummitClimb. A lot of very dedicated staff and a great team in basecamp (Dan Mazur).

We faced a lot of challenges this year, especially with the closure of Tibet due to the Chinese Olympic torch parade on Everest.

However, our members, leaders, and staff showed the patience, flexibility, and determination which good mountaineers need, and we made the best of the season.

We had a great group of trekkers and climbers for our Everest basecamp trek and Island Peak climb in April and May. In April we had 11 members trek to basecamp and 5 members reach the summit of Island Peak. In May we had an outstanding group of 5 trek to basecamp and reach the summit of Kala Patar, having a lot of fun the whole way.

Well, thanks for listening and watching and for your great support. Please tell all of your adventurous friends to join our fun teams of men and women from around the world. Our company survives on word-of-mouth.

This is Dan Mazur from SummitClimb.com signing off. I will look forward to a chance to chat with all of you and meet you soon. So please send me an email, or give a phone call. Ok thank you very much, and Bye for now!

Ps. Please remember to check out our leader-in-training program. We are always trying to get new leaders to join SummitClimb.com . Thanks!

Pps. Would you like to receive a colour Himalayan postcard? Please send us your postal address so we may post one to you or any of your friends and family interested in trekking and climbing. Thank you. back to top

Upcoming Trips

We try to keep the momentum going here at SummitClimb, so I would like to mention a few upcoming trips:

For the autumn, in September we encourage you to join us on our Cho Oyu Basecamp Trek, the world's sixth highest and most accessible of the fourteen highest mountains, known as 8000 metre, 26,000 foot high mountains. Cho Oyu is located beside Mount Everest. Also in September we offer a trek to Shishapangma basecamp, the lowest of the 8000 metre peaks, and located next to Cho Oyu. The leaders will be me, Dan Mazur and Samuli Mansikka, both of whom have led multiple treks to Cho Oyu, Shishapangma, and Everest. We are relaxed friendly and very competent and safe leaders. This is our 8th Cho Oyu expedition and our 3rd Shishapangma expedition. So please let us know and come on and join our fun group of men and women from around the world. Oh by the way, we heard a rumour that a few members might want to ski these. Wow, that might be something to watch.

Cho Oyu at sunset. Our team at ABC on Shishapangma leaving for camp 1 (Dan Mazur).

Hey don't forget this autumn's treks to basecamp, fun climb of easy Island Peak, and our new Everest-View Glacier-School. Those are big favourites and we have a superb team of men and women guides who know how to have fun and point out local scenery as well as lead a great trip. Each year our treks and easy climbs become more popular, especially with the super new leaders we have. So come on and join in!

Well, I could go on about exciting trips we have coming up in spring of 2009 like Lhakpa-Ri and the North-Col for those who want to try their hand at 7000 metre, 23,000 foot high peak climbing, get qualified for Mt Everest, or perhaps even transition right to Mount Everest or Cho Oyu immediately afterward. This has become a very popular trip for us.

Please join us this spring in 2009 for basecamp treks, easy Island Peak climbs, and our Everest-View Glacier-School. back to top

Barbara Mallory and Mingma Sherpa (Preston Stroud). Our team ascending the summit ridge on Island Peak (Emil Friis). Our Everest Basecamp Trek and Island Peak team. The village of Jorsalle. Yaks and porters on Jorsalle bridge (Preston Stroud). Kevin Cooper on the summit. Kevin Cooper on the shoulder to the summit. Stefano, Emil, Tom and Kevin on the summit. Summit morning (Stefano Ricci).

Also, if you would like to get involved in charity, non-profit and volunteer projects, and we hope you do, please consider joining us, as we offer a variety of treks and educational, health-care, and environmental projects. These benefit low-income farm families who live far from the beaten track, so please let us know. back to top

16 May, 2008

15 May - Namche to Lukla:

The last trail day of the trek was such a long haul that there wasn't much time to be sentimental about leaving the Khumbu Valley. Everyone was feeling strong today, and we walked almost 10 miles at a brisk pace, rarely breaking except for lunch and tea. It was a lot of fun crossing the high swinging bridges again but sad to know the spectacular views of the Dudh Kosi will be our last (for a while anyway). The trek ended where it began, in Lukla, leaving everyone tired, dirty and happy. The innkeeper prepared a private dinner for our entire crew, and we enjoyed our last fellowship with the young porters who made our trek doable.

It is amazing how close you can become in a couple of weeks on the trail. JON LINDSAY

16 May - Lukla to Kathmandu:

We arrived at the airport early and bid the porters farewell. The takeoff out of Lukla is an exhilarating experience. The runway looks to be about half as long as you need and it slopes down the mountain at a 10% grade. You pretty much have one shot at the takeoff. At the end of the runway there is about a 600 metre/2000-foot plunge to the river. But, the skillful pilots had us airborne with room to spare. Whew! The scenery out the plane window is extraordinary -- Himalayas on the horizon and meticulously terraced mountain sides below you. back to top

We arrived at our hotel by mid-morning and spent the rest of the day relaxing and doing some last-minute shopping. To top off the day, we had a wonderful dinner at the Rum Boogie Restaurant and Bar -- the preferred hangout for all climbing expeditions. If you complete a summit bid, you are entitled to hang a Yeti footprint on the wall or from the ceiling commemorating your success.

Since we scaled the 5550 metre/18,176-foot Kala Pattar, we were entitled. We submitted the 2008 International Redneck Expedition version (a masterpiece of graphic design even if we do say so), and the crowd loved it. We then adjourned to Tom and Jerry's Bar before heading back here to the hotel. A great end to a fantastic trip. Our thanks to Dan Mazur of Summit Climb and especially to Mingma and Yangji Sherpa for sharing so much information about this wonderful mountain community and taking such good care of us. MIKE MARTIN back to top

The team hanging a Yeti footprint at the Rum Boogie Restaurant and Bar for scaling Kala Patar (Roderick Zoons).

Here are some photos from our recent Everest Basecamp Trek. Click one of the thumb nails below to view a bigger version of each image.

The team in front of Pumori. At basecamp. A Himalayan tahr the team encountered at Sanasa. Rhododendrons at Kangsoma. The team at Pheriche. The team in front of Everest. Thangnum. The team eating lunch at Monjo. A Himalayan snow pheasant (Mike Martin).

15 May, 2008

We have just now made it back to Namche so we have some catching up to do since the 7th. We divided up the days so that each member of the team could have some air time. Dan is here this evening, so we may be able to send some photos as well.

8 May - Dingboche to Dughla:

After a leisurely morning which included warm baths, we headed out for Dughla.

We have a fairly short trek today and gained only about 300 metres/1000 feet of elevation.

We are each feeling the decreasing oxygen as we gain altitude. The trail to Dughla crosses a high, wind-swept plateau that serves as a feeding ground for yaks. We arrived at Dughla for a late lunch and retired to our rooms to acclimatize. MIKE MARTIN back to top

9 May - Dughla to Lobuche:

Dughla is what we in the States call a one-horse town, but the tea-room had good eats and a warm common room -- all the things one needs after a day of trekking. We had a steep, vertical climb just as soon as we stepped out of the teahouse front door in order to get over the current ending point of the Khumbu Glacier. Once on top of this climb, we spent some time wandering through all the stone memorials (chortans) dedicated to some of the people who have lost their lives while climbing Mt. Everest. The rest of our trek to Lobuche was through an arid, barren landscape. We were well above the treeline now. The glacier was still high above us off to our right -- carving its way through the valley pushing huge rocks and tons of gravel over the edge we could see. We got to Lobuche kind of early (around 12:00 p.m.), but it was a day of rest and an opportunity to acclimate to the altitude (4900 metres/16,200 feet). So after lunch we passed the time reading and writing in our journals and talking with other trekkers. ANDY MEADOWS back to top

10 May - Lobuche to Gorak Shep/Kala Patar:

Today our trekking team went from Lobuche to Gorak Shep and then on up to Kala Patar (5550 metres/18,176 feet). The climb up from Gorak Shep to Kala Patar was very steep, but once on top, the views were worth every step. Andrew, Jon and Roderick had gone on ahead while Mike and I, along with Mingma and one of our porters, brought up the rear. While on top of Kala Patar, the porter built a small stone statue facing Mt. Everest. With just a few short words about a great friend, I placed a part of Ed's ashes at the base of the statue. Mike also built a small stone statue to a friend of his who had passed away a few years ago. With this, as Ed would say, Onward and Upward, because it's only a quarter mile back down. A good day was had by all. JOE MEADOWS back to top

11 May - Gorak Shep to Base Camp:

Today we set out to accomplish another of our goals, which was Mt. Everest Base Camp. Unfortunately, not everybody felt up to the task -- a gross understatement. We left Gorak Shep in fresh snow and below freezing temperatures. We hiked most of the way along the edge of the glacier which was very steep, rocky, rugged and like a roller-coaster. As we walked along the glacier, we could hear occasional cracks and see stones tumbling. The sun came out, and temperatures rose quickly, allowing some of us to pull off their jackets. At one point our path led us across the glacier, which was very uneven with lots of rocks, ice and pools of emerald-green water. Down in the valley the glacier did not look like what we expected, but as we approached the Ice Fall, it began to match our impression of pure white ice. Base Camp is a bizarre, chaotic tent town. It is actually situated on the glacier, and there is no clear passage through it. We had to find our own way to the beginning of the Ice Fall, but camp residents were friendly and helpful in directing us. We climbed to a place where we could see across the Ice Fall which was very impressive and intimidating. We saw people about half way up the Ice Fall, and they looked the size of ants. On the way back through the camp, we spotted a bakery tent. We had the best apple pie we've had in a long time at the world's highest bakery. The way back to Gorak Shep was just as challenging as the trip up. Everyone was tired and very happy to get back. RODERICK ZOONS back to top

12 May - Gorak Shep to Pheriche:

Since we walked in here, now we must walk out. Everyone is looking forward to the descent. The majestic view of Lhotse and Everest from Kala Patar will be remembered forever, but almost all of us were affected by the 5000+ metre altitude to some degree. It was a classic snowy and windy Himalayan morning when we left Gorak Shep. The skies cleared around mid-morning and later the winds calmed down and we had a fantastic trek to Pheriche. Most of us went to visit the Himalayan Rescue Center later and left with a much better understanding of the effects of altitude on the human body. It explained a lot about how we were feeling in Gorak Shep. JON LINDSAY back to top

13 May - Pheriche to Tengboche:

The weather was absolutely gorgeous -- warm and sunny. This was the first day in five that we did not have some snow. Our trek today only required about four hours, so we took a leisurely gait. The descent of 900 metres/3000 feet to Pheriche had cleared up most of our altitude sickness issues. After a couple of hours, we began to drop below tree-line. Mingma took us on a side trip to see the oldest monastery in the region at Pangboche. The wooden structure showed the craftsmanship of the ancient builders using only the simplest tools. The monastery had what were believed to be Yeti remains, but these had been stolen a few years ago. We hiked down the mountain to the nunnery where we left some of Ed's ashes several days ago, and the nuns had formed miniature Buddhas from the special clay/ash mixture. Once fired, they will place them in a sacred spot on a mountain above the site. As we neared Tengboche, we encountered several beautiful yellow rhododendrons. We finished off the day in the tea-room with a warm fire and fun conversation. MIKE MARTIN back to top

14 May - Tengboche to Namche Bazaar:

We all felt good today and got an early start on our 3 hour trek to Namche. It was amazing the pace we were able to sustain, when just a few short days ago, we were embarrassingly slow due to altitude-related ailments. Clouds cleared by mid-morning, and we had spectacular views of Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam.

We encountered lots of beautiful birds and another herd of Himalayan tahr. Many of the wildflowers that we had seen on our way up were now in full bloom. We stripped off layers until we were hiking in shorts and shirts. It was a fun hike. We all enjoyed our first hot shower in several days, a good lunch at the Namche Hotel and a fun afternoon catching up on email and shopping. MIKE MARTIN

15 May Namche Bazaar to Lukla:

The team enjoyed the final comforts of Namche before heading down to Lukla.

We are thankful for the kind help provided to our members in updating the SummitClimb website by Santosh at the Namche Cyber Café, as well as Jangbu and Suman at the Danphe Bar for the great background music and lively atmosphere.

Thanks to everyone in the Khumbu Valley. Well be back! back to top

10 May, 2008

Raj Thapa, our trek director just telephoned to say he just received a call from Mingma. The team went to Kala Pattar today in good weather. They plan to walk to Everest basecamp tomorrow.

7 May, 2008

May 6:

This was natural history day for us. We had two encounters with herds of Himalayan tahr and were able to get some great pics. They are a deep russet red, and the herd male had a flowing golden mane and very large horns -- splendid animals. Mingma flushed a gorgeous, iridescent royal blue pheasant from under the canopy of a huge rhododendron, and we all got great views of the bird gliding down into the valley. The rhododendron is at its peak bloom, and shades from white to pink to deep red radiate from all the valleys. It is so dense that you can easily smell it along the trail. We ended the day at Tengboche at about 3500 metres/11,600 feet (photo right by http://www.americazoo.com/goto/index/mammals/420.htm: The Himalayan Tahr can grow to a metre high and weigh upwards of 100 kg).

A Himalayan musk deer. They have very interesting well-developed upper canines, and in males these may reach a length of 7 cm / 3 inches and protrude from the mouth in a fang-like manner (WWF H-W Schuldei Leipzig Zoo). One of the varieties of grouse pheasants that are abundant in Everest National Park. Males have a bright plume under their tail that they raise like a peacock periodically as they putt around (mckaysavage).

May 7:

We began this day with a nice view of Everest and then attended the ceremony at the monastery. Mingma explained the ritual to us and how Buddhists view their life and all that surrounds them. We then hiked to the oldest convent in the valley and had a special ceremony honoring one of Joe's friends who passed away a couple of years ago. On the way to Pangboche we encountered a male musk deer at close range and were able to observe its tusks, an oddity for a browsing animal. Again we hiked through beautiful rhododendron and saw eagles, another herd of tahr, and numerous birds. The skies cleared and gave us our best view of Everest, Lohtse and Nuptse yet -- the closer we get, the taller they get (photo right by Liz Stevens: Our past Everest basecamp trek leader, Elselien, receiving a blessing from the local Buddhist Lama in Pangboche).

We arrived in Dingboche late this afternoon. Tonight we will sleep at an elevation that rivals anything in the continental US. back to top

7 May, 2008 (Video Clips)

Below is a short video clip taken on our April Island Peak climb by our team member, Dale Wagner. Please click the link to view.

Our awesome trek leaders Mingma and and his wife Yeng Jie in front of a Buddhist painting in a Gompa. Mingma holding up a copy of the Sherpa Adventure Gear catalogue where he is featured on the cover. Mingma is sponsored by Sherpaadventuregear.com (Dan Mazur).
6 May, 2008

Team in Namche Bazaar.

Hello SummitClimb news. This is Mike Martin calling in to report for our Everest Basecamp Trek on 6 May.

Today was our rest day to adjust to the altitude, so we scheduled a short hike for the morning. It was cloudy with occasional breaks in the sky, but after a great hot breakfast, Mingma took us up to the military base at the top of the village. As soon as we arrived the sun broke through the clouds and gave us our first views of Everest and Lhotse, the world's number 1 and number 4. It was unbelievable how far they stretch up skywards. We could also see the monastery at Pangboche, our next day's destination.

At the military base we visited the museum that had displays about the natural history of the area and Sherpa customs. On the way back to Namche we stopped by another museum that had a typical Sherpa house and Mingma explained their family traditions. There was also an excellent photo exhibit that chronicled the climbing history of Everest, the impact of Sir Edmund Hillary on the Khumbu region, and featured Sherpas who had summited the big mountain.

We spent the rest of the day sight-seeing, checking email, doing laundry, and resting. Namche was a great stop for us. Thanks and I'll check in the next chance we get. back to top

5 May, 2008
 
Team in Namche Bazaar.

Hello SummitClimb news. This is Mike Martin calling in on 5 May to report in for our Everest Basecamp Trek.

We wanted to let you know that we enjoyed a picturesque walk up the Dudh Kosi River from Phakding to Namche Bazaar, the capital of the Sherpa kingdom. We passed several Sherpa communities that were made with houses constructed from the local granite that had been shaped into perfectly smooth stones. It is truly great craftsmanship. At numerous points we stopped for breaks and lunch to view these spectacular sights.

It was a challenging climb up to Namche and it tested our fitness, but the whole group made it. We stopped in one of the neighboring villages before arriving in Namche to see some of the wonderful views around us. Once we arrived in the hotel we had hot showers and a great dinner that capped off a long day. We have a rest day scheduled for tomorrow to become more acclimated to this elevation. We’re at 3400 metres/11,300 feet now and that does it for now. We are having a blast and really enjoy having Mingma as our leader. We’ll be back in touch when we have more to report. Thanks a lot. Bye. back to top
 
Roderick reports in from Namche Bazaar.

Hello SummitClimb news. We are all in the cyber cafe in Namche right now.

Yesterday was a nice day and it started out pretty good. We had some good weather and the first part was not to hard, but after lunch, when we came up to the big hill, our speed dropped and we were not making as quick of progress anymore. We stayed together and stopped often as a team. About 3 quarters of the way up it started to rain, but we just had to put on our rain clothes. The hotel is great and after a hot shower everybody felt much better.

So far everything is great with us and everybody is feeling good. Later, Roderick. back to top

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

Hi, this is Mike Martin from the May Everest Basecamp Trek. I'm calling to inform everyone of our progress. We just wanted to check in at the completion of our first day and include in our post that the Himalayas are everything we imagined they would be and better. Today was our easy day, going downhill the river valley and across suspended bridges. It's just truly awesome.

We're sitting in a teahouse that looks out at massive bluffs and huge rocks.

We're just extremely happy to be here. Everyone is working well together. We have a great guide, Mingma Sherpa, and he's taking really good care of us.

That's it for now. We'll be in touch again tomorrow after we make it to Namche. Thank you very much. back to top

2 May, 2008

Our May Everest trek team has arrived in Kathmandu.

Last night we had a lovely dinner at Thakali Kitchen with our awesome trek leaders Ms. Yangjie Sherpa and Mr. Mingma Sherpa, together with expert trek coordinator Mr. Rajen Thapa.

Today we had a delicious breakfast and our team orientation meeeting at the famous Shankar Hotel where Nepal's queen was born.

Mingma took everyone out shopping and to go to a money changer.

Tonight we will have another delicious team dinner and then tomorrow morning at 5:00 am, the team will fly to Lukla.

Go team! back to top

A view of Swayambhunath Stupa, the "Monkey Temple". It is the most ancient and enigmatic of all the holy shrines in Kathmandu valley. Swayambhunath's worshippers include Hindus, Vajrayana Buddhists of northern Nepal and Tibet, and the Newari Buddhists of central and southern Nepal. Each morning before dawn, hundreds of pilgrims will ascend the 365 steps that lead up the hill, file past the gilded Vajra (Tibetan: Dorje) and two lions guarding the entrance, and begin a series of clockwise circumambulations of the stupa. On each of the four sides of the main stupa there are a pair of big eyes. These eyes are symbolic of God's all-seeing perspective (Elselien te Hennepe).
19 April, 2008 (Photos)
 
Here are some photos from our recently returned Everest Basecamp Trek and Island Peak expedition. Click one of the thumb nails below to view a bigger version of each image.
 
Barbara Mallory and Mingma Sherpa (Preston Stroud). Our team ascending the summit ridge on Island Peak (Emil Friis). Our Everest Basecamp Trek and Island Peak team. The village of Jorsalle. Yaks and porters on Jorsalle bridge (Preston Stroud). Kevin Cooper on the summit. Kevin Cooper on the shoulder to the summit. Stefano, Emil, Tom and Kevin on the summit. Summit morning (Stefano Ricci). back to top
16 April, 2008

Mingma, our Everest Basecamp Trek and Island Peak leader called today. 5 members of the team summited, and everyone plans to return to Kathamandu on the 18th. We congratulate all of the members and staff! -Dan.

10 April, 2008

Everest Basecamp Trek-Island Peak update.

Mingma, leader of our Everest basecamp trek and Island peak climb telephoned today.

The team is doing well, they trekked to Everest Basecamp yesterday and saw the Everest climbng teams in action. This morning they hiked to the top of Kala Patar for fabulous views of Everest. Tonight they walked down to Pheriche. The team is feeling well after several days exploring the upper reaches of the Khumbu valley. Now they are preparing for the next stage of their journey, the climb of Island Peak. We wish them all of the best! back to top

Island Peak as seen from high camp at 5,500 metres/18,000 feet (Valerie Hovland).
http://www.insurancenewsnet.org/html/TravelInsurance/
4 April, 2008

Mr. Emil Friis called today. He is from our EBC trek plus Island Peak climb.

"The team are having a wonderful trek and staying in Tengboche tonight. It was a very beautiful trek from Namche and spectacular views of Ama Dablam, Thamserku, Everest, Lhotse, etcetera, were on display throughout. The Tengboche monastery itself is a very beautiful place. We are staying in a comfortable teahouse now and enjoying delicious hot drinks and biscuits before dinner. Our trek leader Mingma and his wife Yengi are doing and amazing job of leading and taking care of us. We are looking forward to tomorrow's adventure." back to top

Our past Everest basecamp trek leader, Elselien, receiving a blessing from the local Buddhist Lama in Pangboche (Liz Stevens).
Everest Basecamp Trek May Team Roster:
  • Jon Lindsay - Tennessee;
  • Mike Martin - Tennessee;
  • Joe Meadows - Georgia;
  • Andy Meadows - Tennessee;
  • Roderick Zoons - Netherlands. back to top
Everest Basecamp Trek & Island Peak April Team Roster:
  • Ms. Barbara Mallory-Canada;
  • Ms. Amy Mazur-USA;
  • Mr. Tom Clarke-Australia;
  • Mr. Kevin Cooper-USA;
  • Mr. Emil Friis-Sweden;
  • Mr. Craig Hare-Canada;
  • Mr. Steve Masselink-Canada;
  • Mr. Mike Mitchell-USA;
  • Mr. Stefano Ricci-Italy;
  • Mr. Preston Stroud-Australia;
  • Mr. Dale Wagner-USA. back to top
Everest Basecamp Trek & Island Peak Staff Roster:
  • Mr. Rajen Thapa-trek director;
  • Mr. Mingma Sherpa-trek leader;
  • Ms. Yengji Sherpa-trek leader;
  • Mr. Tashi Sherpa-climbing sherpa;
  • Mr. Ang Sherpa-climbing sherpa;
  • Mr. Bir Kaji Tamang-transport manager;
  • Mr. Krishna Lama-cook. back to top
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  • How to join a team?