Baruntse and Mera Peak Climb & Trek Expedition Recent News Autumn 2009

Baruntse and Mera Peak Climb & Trek Expedition Recent News Autumn 2009

Photos in Baruntse slideshow: Tunc Findik. For caption information on these photos, please visit our Barun tse photo gallery.
Baruntse & Mera Peak Autumn 2009: news of our expedition
8 October to 14 November, 2009
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Dispatches: Please click one of the links below to go directly to that dispatch or just scroll down.

4 November, 2009

Hi, this is Dan Mazur, one of the leaders of the SummitClimb Mera Peak, Baruntse and Amphu Labtsa expedition calling in a dispatch for the 4th of November. It is 7:22 a.m. local time.

All members have made it down to the village of Chukkung safely. Everyone is okay. The porters have decided to take a different route back, so we’ll meet our bags in Lukla.

Some members plan to go up to Everest basecamp. Other members are thinking of climbing Island Peak, while other members plan to go to Namche and find out about getting flights from Lukla back to Kathmandu.

We look forward to keeping you updated. Thanks for following our expedition and we hope to see you soon. Thanks, bye. back to top






Close up of Island Peak normal route, ascends right hand summit: in this photo the entire route is visible from Island Peak high camp, note the line of climbers ascending the snowy head-wall below the summit. Closeup of Everest and Lhotse south face seen from top of Amphu Labtsa pass. Jangbu lowers Charles from the abseil ledge while Tenji abseils down from the Amphu Labtsa ledge. Michael abseiling down the Amphu Labtsa pass. Pasang and Arnold crossing the last of the layer cake snow cornices to the top of the Amphu Labtsa pass. Photo taken from top of Amphu Labtsa looking down toward the snow slopes, below you can see the team members on the path. Sunrise over Amphu Labtsa high camp. Team atop the Amphu Labtsa pass including Arnold, Hanne, Thorsten and Michael, behind view toward Chamlang and Panch Pokhari. Team relaxing after a long hard walk to Chukkung, welcome back! Twin tops of Island Peak seen from Amphu Labtsa, Lhotse south face behind in the cloud, Island Peak basecamp visible in this photo, as is the shore of Island Peak lake - Imja Tso (Dan Mazur).

3 November, 2009

Hi, this is Dan Mazur, one of the leaders of the SummitClimb Mera Peak, Baruntse and Amphu Labtsa expedition calling in a dispatch for the 3rd of November. It is 10:38 a.m. local time.

We’re sitting on top of the Amphu Labtsa pass. It’s a very warm and sunny day up here with no wind. We have views looking towards Everest and Lhotse, which we can see very clearly. We’re also looking towards Ama Dablam, Chamlang, the 5 lakes of ‘Panch Pokhari’, and high camp where we’ve come from.

It took us a couple of hours to climb up here to the top of this pass and we’re getting ready to go down the other side. It’s a very steep drop down and rocky with some vertical granite cliffs. Our sherpa team has fixed a couple ropes, so we’re going to make a very cautious, safe, slow and careful descent. I just checked the GPS altitude from the Thuraya and it’s reading 5821 metres.

This is just an incredible place to be with blue skies all around, gorgeous mountains, glaciers and especially an unobstructed clear perfect view of Everest and Lhotse. It gets us really excited looking over there and thinking about next spring 2010 when we’ll be going to Everest and Lhotse again. Thank you so much for following our expedition. I hope you get to join one of our treks or climbing expeditions. We’ll be coming back to Baruntse and Mera Peak next autumn, so if you can’t go for Everest or Lhotse in the spring, come on this expedition. It’s been a lot of fun!

Thanks again for following us. Take good care. Bye, bye. back to top




Arnold directing the descent down the other side of the Amphu Labtsa pass, Michael and Maya heading down. Jangbu, Charles, Tenji and Pasang on the abseil ledge preparing to lower off. Abseil line going down the Amphu Labtsa. Jangbu, Thorsten and Arnold on the ledge which is the abseil station for the descent from the Amphu Labtsa. Team heading down the other side of the Amphu Labtsa pass, you can see Haris leading the way far below. Team putting on crampons a few metres above Amphu Labtsa high camp. Tenji Sherpa and Charles topping out on the Amphu Labtsa pass. Thorsten and Michael climbing through the wedding cake of the Amphu Labtsa glacier (Dan Mazur). 

31 October, 2009

Hi, this is Haris Kiriakakis calling in for the SummitClimb Baruntse expedition from basecamp on the 31st of October and it is 5:00 p.m. local time.

Yesterday morning we were planning to start for the summit from camp 2 at 3:00 a.m., but it was very windy. Finally we decided to start at 6:00 a.m. when the sun began to rise. The first members summited Baruntse at 11:00 a.m. and the last members made it to the summit at 2:00 p.m. We came down after taking photos of the summit in clear weather. Some members made it down to camp 2, while others went further to camp 1. We had some delicious food from our high altitude cooks.

Today everybody went down to basecamp and all of the members and staff are now down safe and recovering from the summit attempt. We are going to have a couple of days resting here before going up the Amphu Labtsa Pass to Chukkung, the Khumbu Valley and finally back to Kathmandu. That is our plan. Everyone is doing well. Thank you. This was Haris.

Now I will do a dispatch in Greek (please click the audio link above). back to top



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


Hi, this is Dan Mazur, one of the leaders of the SummitClimb Baruntse expedition calling in a quick little dispatch for the 31st of October. It is 2:00 a.m. here local time.

Everyone has returned to camp 1 or camp 2, so everyone is down safely from the summit. Everyone else is in basecamp, so the whole team is okay. I just wanted to let you know that. Thank you very much. Bye, bye. back to top









Amphu Labtsa high camp, elevation 5653 metres, according to the Thuraya GPS looking east.  Another one of the famous five lakes, 'Panch Pokhari'. Jangbu, Mihael Zerovec, and Dan crossed the snowy pass to the right of centre exactly one year ago. Makalu in all her glory as seen from the summit of Baruntse, Kangchenjunga behind on right. Makalu on final sunset. Maya walking into c2 at 6420 metres. Mera Peak left of centre, tiny bump in the far back is the summit we climbed last week. Michael and Pasang Sherpa, Makalu and Baruntse's first summit behind. Sngay Sherpa calling on the radio from first Baruntse summit. That's Mera Peak in distance, centre. Sangay and Thorsten nearly atop the second summit deposit, camp at 5800 below. Sangay Sherpa on his way down the short rope to retrieve Thorsten's wayward water bottle, christened 'the bottle of freedom'. That's Makalu in the background.Summit photo of sherpas. Check out that frightening and massive wind plume guttering off the summit of Lhotse and Everest. Sunset in its final throes over Kusum Kanguru and Malan Phulan.  Sunset showing varying hues of gradation from the expanses of the Tibetan Plateau on the left, the summit of Makalu, world's fifth highest peak, on the right. Sunset streaming its way across Mera Peak and Kusum Kanguru. Team ascending steepening head-wall to second summit. Team walking up toward Baruntse's second summit. Team doctor Zaharias Kiriakakis preparing to cross the crevasse that demarcates the beginning of the long summit ridge, that's Ama Dablam behind left of centre. Team on the true summit of Baruntse. That's Everest and Lhotse in the clouds behind. Thorsten walking along corniced summit ridge (Dan Mazur).

30 October, 2009
Team Summits!!!

Hi, this is Dan Mazur, one of the leaders of the SummitClimb Baruntse expedition calling in a dispatch for the 30th of October. I’m calling from the summit of Baruntse!

We have 18 people up here with 11 team members and 7 sherpas. There are extraordinary views of Mera Peak, Makalu, and Kangchenjunga. It was pretty tough getting up here today. We left camp 2 at about 5:00 a.m.

It’s very windy and the sun is shining with a few clouds, but not many to speak of. We’re taking lots of pictures.

Unfortunately, Hanne, John, and Charles couldn’t be with us. They’re down in basecamp.

Everybody is okay, tried really hard and did a great job. We have some firsts to mention. We have the first Nepali woman, the first Dutchman from Holland, the first person from Greece and the first person from Hong Kong all on top of Baruntse.

Oh my gosh. I can’t think of anything else to say, but it’s really cold up here so I’m going to have to go. We just want to send out all of our love and thoughts to our loved ones at home. Thanks for all of your support. Okay, bye. back to top

Arnold and Maya on the way to camp 2 with camp 1 in the background. Arnold showing off a cluster of quartz crystals he found in the West Col couloir. Close up of the cool crystal cluster Arnold found. From the summit of Baruntse, Nuptse's ridge on right and Cho Oyu in centre. From the summit, Ama Dablam on the right, Tawoche, Cholatse and Lobuche in the centre, behind are peaks in the Gokyo region. Hanne and Lakpa Nuru on the way to camp 2. Looking down from first Baruntse summit at c2 in the sunlit saddle. Looking down on 'Panch Pokhari', known as the beautiful five lakes sacred to Hindu pilgrims and across to Mount Chamlang. Looking up at the first of Baruntse's many summits. One of the beautiful five lakes known locally as 'Panch Pokhari'. These are sacred lakes to Hindi pilgrims and incredibly beautiful. We trekked past them today on the way to Amphu Labtsa high camp.Sangay Sherpa early on a chilly summit morning leaving camp. Team climbing up. In lower left of photo that's basecamp on the blue lake. Thorsten walking up the final hill to Amphu Labtsa high camp with one of the five lakes and a satellite peak of Chamlang in the background. Cooks prepare morning tea, steam rising from green tent in Amphu Labtsa high camp (Dan Mazur).
29 October, 2009

Hi everyone, this is Matt Graham from Australia calling in for the SummitClimb Baruntse expedition.

It’s about 10:00 a.m. and we’ve just reached camp 2. We’re now at 6430 metres/21,100 feet above sea level. We’re going for the summit tomorrow. The weather is not too bad, although it may get a lot windier when we go up and down from the summit. At the moment, the sunny weather is giving us a lot of hope, so everything is looking good. We’d like to say hi to everyone back home and we’ll be seeing you soon. back to top







Tents lined up, that's Dave down at the end. Camp 1 at breakfast time. The mountains behind are sub-peaks of Baruntse. Andy and Andy, our two leaders in training, having just packed up in camp 1 preparing to head up the mountain to camp 2. Andy, our leader in training from Australia, preparing to head up the mountain after breakfast. Dave, Arnold, Thorsten, and Michael on descent in the West Col couloir.Team making final ascent of Baruntse's second summit. John, Hanne, and Richard preparing to walk up to camp 2. Lyngve, the first Norwegian to reach the summit of Baruntse. Congratulations! That's Baruntse basecamp, the lake and the peak behind him. Our last goodbye to basecamp. We cleaned it up very well. The remaining tents will be packed out by the porters, when they show up! Pink sunrise over Ama Dablam range. Team heading up the hill to camp 2. Team resting just below Baruntse's second summit, Makalu behind. Thorsten in camp 2 at 6420 metres. Thorsten takes the last few steps to the true summit of Baruntse (Dan Mazur). 

28 October, 2009

Well. Our team is up here in camp 1 at 6120 metres/20,100 feet.

Charles has decided to remain in basecamp where our cook Mingma Sherpa is looking after him. Charles is doing very well and it seems he has chosen to make that his bailiwick.

Everyone seems to be doing well and today we are taking a rest day before heading to camp 2 tomorrow and possibly making our summit attempt the following day. Yesterday, the 27th, we climbed up the West Col to reach camp 1. Our top-notch professional sherpas replaced all of the rope on the route to ensure the highest possible level of safety for our team. It was an enjoyable and beautiful climb involving rock scrambling and moderate snow climbing. It could not have been that bad, as Dan carried all of the heavy computer and satellite equipment up to the top of the col as we weren’t able to reach the satellite from basecamp because it was blocked by massive Mount Chamlang, laying exactly between basecamp and the satellite, rendering our email and internet connection inoperable. However, it seems to be working brilliantly again from here atop the West Col. Mother Nature still is the boss, lest we might think otherwise.

We estimate the climb up the West Col to be graded at French 1-2 and North American 3rd-4th class. The steepest section was 45 degrees wit most of the climb 40 degrees. I would characterize it as an easy rock scramble for the first 10 metres and the remaining 190 metres moderate snow with plenty of
rock ledges and boulders for easy footing and sure handholds.

Well, camp 1 is located on a vast plateau and from here we can see hundreds of mountains, including the impressive Mount Makalu, 5th highest in the world. It’s very sunny with light winds, sometimes increasing during the night. Generally it’s very warm and sunny and the team is enjoying some well earned relaxation in their sturdy tents while our expert sherpa and cook team prepare delicious meals of soup and biscuits and cheese and sausages, and bring them to our tents with piping hot tea, coffee, and fruit juice. Our staff is really pampering us and we can’t think of anywhere more scenic, comfortable and luxurious we might be at the moment.

So far we can say that in comparison to Ama Dablam and Pumori: Baruntse is more of a snow climb than Ama Dablam, however, the West Col did provide some beautiful views and safe excitement, and that the terrain is more varied than Pumori, which is primarily a snow climb. Baruntse has astounding views of so many different mountains and this area is truly fraught with lakes, rivers, and streams, which make this a majestic snow, ice and rock peak jutting up from so many rivulets and lakes and ponds, providing a rather surprising alpine and riverine contrast for us to travel, trek and climb through.

Thanks for following our expedition and please wish our 2009 Baruntse team well as we go for the summit tomorrow night!!!! back to top





Making the final walk into camp 1 at 6120metres. Jangbu is carrying a flat stone on his head so our cooks can put the stove on it. Tenji, Michael, and Thorsten climbing the last snow pitch to the west col. Our team heading up to the upper snow pitch of the west col. Matt Graham sticking his head out of the tent at c1. Camp 1 with a view looking up toward camp 2 behind. Dorje Sherpa and Michael Tomordy setting off to climb the West Col. Jangbu and Arnold atop the West Col, Baruntse behind. Maya Sherpa atop the West Col, Baruntse behind. Arnold atop West Col with prayer flags, Baruntse behind. Dorje Sherpa and Michael Tomordy climb the first rocky pitch. Ama Dablam and numerous other peaks seen from West Col, looking west at sunset. Arnold Coster in the first rocky pitch of the West Col. Team ascending West Col while 2nd part of team watches (Dan Mazur).
26 October, 2009

Hi, this is Dan Mazur, one of the leaders of the SummitClimb Baruntse expedition calling in a dispatch for the 24th, 25th and 26th of October.

On the night of the 23rd a group came down from the Makalu trek over the West Col, passing through Baruntse basecamp to Seto Pokhari and camped there. The members of that team came to our tents early in the morning and said one of their porters was sick. Our doctor examined him and found he had an enflamed or burst appendix, so he had an acute appendicitis. We assisted that team in calling for a helicopter evacuation of the porter. The porter was successfully evacuated around the middle of that day and taken back to Kathmandu to the hospital. We haven’t heard about his condition since he arrived in Kathmandu.

The afternoon of the 24th we walked up to Baruntse basecamp. It’s located at about 5300 metres/17,400 feet. It’s a beautiful basecamp nestled among some very high peaks, surrounded by Chamlang, Baruntse, and the mountains that extend over into the Amphu Labtsa region. There are many lakes around here. In fact, the basecamp is located on a gorgeous lake.

On the 25th we got up in the morning and walked up to the base of the West Col to check out the route and see how we were feeling. Then we came back down and had a delicious lunch and relaxed in our tents.

Today I’m calling you on October 26th. It is 10:15 a.m. local time and we’re having a rest day today. Our sherpas are building a large pedestal in the middle of basecamp from which they’re going to suspend prayer flags and have a ceremony. Two of our staff members are also Tibetan Buddhist lamas who studied in the monastery, one of them for apparently 10 years and the other for about 4 years. They’re going to conduct a blessing ceremony hopefully bringing good luck to our expedition.

The weather has been really fine with light breezes. Temperatures have been as high as 10 to 15 degrees C. during the day, dropping down to -5 to -10 degrees C. at night. There has been no appreciable cloud cover. In fact, every day has been extremely sunny. We’re using up all of our suntan cream.

I will keep you posted. Thanks for following our expedition. Wish us luck as we climb Baruntse. Thank you very much. Bye, bye. back to top




Arnold calling a helicopter for the injured porter on the Thuraya XT satellite phone, sponsored by Baruntse basecamp from above with Mount Baruntse and the West Col seen in the distance. Helicopter coming from Kathmandu into Setho Pokhari to rescue the ill porter. Maya Sherpa checking out the teardrop shaped crystal clear blue lake below Kusum Kanguru in the Baruntse valley. It looks like it might have been made by a meteorite. Wat do you think? Our first glimpse into the Baruntse valley. That's massive Mount Chamlang behind and the trekkers camp of Kongme Dingma just visible on the valley floor below. Richard and Thorsten enjoying the sunshine beneath beautiful Peak 43 (Dan Mazur).

Hello, this is Michael Tomordy calling in for the SummitClimb Baruntse expedition for the 23rd of October.

We are now in the settlement of Pokhari and the altitude is 5003 metres/16,409 feet. The weather today was absolutely beautiful with clear blue skies. It’s a bit chilly now at about 3:30 p.m., as the sun is going down.

We woke up this morning to the sound of helicopters going up and down the valley transporting people and equipment. Then we started walking up the valley after breakfast for about 4 hours to the destination we’re at now, which is a stone tea house and inside it resembles a stable with nice straw. We had a great lunch of omelets, lovely dips and bread, eggs, and varieties of cheese.

Everything is great and tomorrow we’re going to Baruntse basecamp. Everyone is doing well and we’re excited about our next objective. Thanks for following along. Bye. back to top



Baruntse basecamp visible across the lake. In the distance across the valley at the base of the large peak is the small glacier wherein lies the Amphu Labtsa pass. Dan and Lakpa Nuru Sherpa working together with the porters to calculate their final payment after 14 days of hard work. Large peak on right is Ama Dablam, then to the left is Ombigaichen, then to the left is the famous Mingbo La, the flowing glacier. Locked deposit tent at the crampon point at 5650 metres/18,500 feet, West Col visible on the far left. Our expedition doctor examines the porter with appendicitis from the other group. Puja ceremony in Baruntse basecamp. Team walking along the twisty, turny Baruntse river. This is a very beautiful trek. Makalu seen at sunset across the West Col (Dan Mazur).

22 October, 2009

Hi, this is Dan Mazur, one of the leaders of the SummitClimb Mera Peak & Baruntse expedition calling in a dispatch for the 22nd of October. The time is 5:34 p.m.

We are settled at 4683 metres/15,360 feet, according to our Thuraya GPS. We’re camped at a village called Rato Oral on the Hongku Khola, which is the main river that flows from Baruntse. The temperature here during the day has been about 10 to 15 degrees Celsius. In the evening it’s been about 5 to -5 degrees Celsius.

It was incredibly beautiful today. We took a half rest day up at the Mera Peak basecamp. After we had a delicious lunch we packed up and walked about 3-4 hours down to this valley, so lost quite a bit of elevation and it feels good to be breathing that thick air again. We’ve got our camp set up down here right next to the river. We’re in a grassy meadow surrounded by really high stunning peaks, such as Chamlang and Peak 43. We got a little glimpse of Baruntse today ahead of us. We think it will take us about 4 days to reach there.

So far everyone is really enjoying this trek in the Baruntse Valley. It’s a really beautiful place away from civilization. We didn’t see any other groups or foreigners today, just mainly porters. We feel really lucky to be here. What a magical place!

Thanks again for following our expedition. We’ll update you again with another dispatch soon. Take care. Bye, bye. back to top





Amphu Labtsa pass is the small glacier seen at base of the large peak in the distance across the valley. Closeup of Baruntse basecamp across the lake. Lovely camp along the Baruntse River at Rato Oral, which means 'red cave'. Sorry, I cut the top off of Mount Chamlang in the background. Mount Baruntse on golden sunset. Team relaxing at teatime in the dining tent in Setho Pokhari. Lakpa Nuru Sherpa, our sirdar, counting the money to payoff the porters for bringing us to basecamp. Dave on descent in the West Col of Baruntse (Dan Mazur).

21 October, 2009

Well we climbed Mera Peak yesterday (21 October). There were 14 of us foreigners on the summit (Sallie, Charles, Hanne, Panagiotis, and Elaine did not go, but everyone tried very hard and did their best) and 6 of our sherpas (Jangbu, Tenji, Gyelje, Lakpa Nuru, Lakpa Garmu, Pasang).

Jangbu led the team and fixed two ropes over a crevasse at the summit. We had to cross the crevasse and climb a 5 metre snow-ice wall in order to reach the main summit. It was tough and amazing and we would never have been able to do it without this amazing crew of sherpas.

We had plenty of room in high camp to sleep a little on the night of the 20th-21st, as there were no other teams up there, incredibly lucky. We had superb weather, a bit windy and cold during the night, then sunny and warm in the morning with, surprisingly, no wind and toasty warm on the summit.

We were treated to incredible summit views of Ama Dablam, Pumori, Cho Oyu, Nuptse, Lhotse, Everest, Island Peak, Makalu, Baruntse, Chamlang, and so many others. I think Mera Peak may have the best Himalayan views of any mountain I have ever stood upon.

After summiting, we all came back to high camp for a delicious lunch and lots of hot drinks.

Then the Baruntse team went back down to Mera Peak basecamp and the Mera Peak trekkers went back to Khare with Lakpa Nuru and Gyelje. We will miss them so much: Panagiotis, Ioannis, Sam, Elaine, and Sallie. We wish them a fun and safe trek back!!!

Now for the Baruntse team, we have a four day trek to Baruntse basecamp we are super excited to do this next climb and pray the weather will hold and the route is in good shape. Thanks for watching our site and please join us this April and May for Everest summit climbs and treks, North-Col climbs, Everest Glacier Schools, our France mountain meet in March, and Aconcagua climb in February. Best wishes!!! back to top

Team Summits!

Hi, this is Dan Mazur, one of the leaders of the SummitClimb Mera Peak & Baruntse expedition calling in a dispatch for the 21st of October.

It’s 8:40 a.m. and we’re on the summit of Mera Peak. We have 17 people up here. It’s sunny, there are no clouds, light wind and we can see everything. Kangchenjunga, Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Makalu and Cho Oyu are all visible.

Everybody is doing well and now we have to get down this thing. We’ll call you back later. Thanks. Bye. back to top





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

20 October, 2009

Hi, this is Lyngve Skrede with a dispatch for the SummitClimb Mera Peak & Baruntse expedition for Tuesday, the 20th of October.

We started this morning from basecamp at 5100 metres/16,700 feet and climbed back to the Mera La at 5400 metres/17,700 feet and all the way to high camp at 5768 metres/18,978 feet. The weather was clear, but very windy and cold. The high camp is on fixed ropes. Behind us are some rock outcroppings that will protect us from the wind. Everybody is in good spirits, although some of us have been experiencing minor headaches.

We are having good food and rest right now. At 2:00 a.m. we’ll start a 6 hour walk to the summit. I hope that the wind stops blowing so heavily so we can all make it to the summit. Now I’m going to say a few words in my native language (click audio link above to listen). Cheers! back to top



Arnold and Maya resting in their tent before leading the team to the summit. Lyngve hanging out in front of his tent in Mera high camp. Maya Sherpa returns to Mera high camp from Mera summit while Arnold Coster welcomes her back. Hanne pops out of her tent to check on the sunshine in Mera Peak high camp. Panagiotis and Ioannis, Mera trek father and son team leaving high camp. Richard, who hails from England and Australia, hanging out in Mera high camp with the Kangchenjunga massif behind him. Sam from Yorkshire hanging out in Mera Peak high camp. That's Pasang Sherpa under his arm and in the background is Kangchenjunga, the worlds third highest peak (Dan Mazur).

19 October, 2009

Hi, this is Dan Mazur, one of the leaders of the SummitClimb Mera Peak & Baruntse expedition calling in a dispatch for the 18th and 19th of October.

Everybody is doing well. On the 18th we crossed the Mera La, which is at about 5300 metres/17,400 feet. It was strenuous, but there were really good views up there. Then we came down to Mera Peak basecamp, which is located at 5100 metres/16,700 feet on the other side of the Mera La. We reached basecamp on the 18th in the evening.

On the 19th we took a rest day. We also did some training on the Mera Peak Glacier above the lake in the morning. We came down to our comfortable basecamp and had a relaxing afternoon. We’re just resting up and getting ready to go up to the high camp tomorrow and the summit the next day.

The weather has been pretty good with especially sunny mornings. It’s really cold here with some winds, especially in the afternoon, but overall we haven’t had any bad weather. So we’re really hoping the weather holds and looking forward to a good crack at the summit.

Thanks for following the expedition. We’ll send in some more news tomorrow. Okay, bye. back to top




Big windstorm hits Everest in centre of photo.Team practicing ice climbing on the glacier above basecamp. Mera Peak high camp is perched on a gravelly ledge at about 5765 metres/18,900 feet behind a large rock outcropping. It's fairly sheltered from the winds that seem to come from the north. Dorje brings hot lemonade while Elaine walks beneath prayer flags fixed by our sherpas. Practicing ice climbing on the glacier above basecamp. Salli passes a knot while abseiling during ice climbing practice near Mera Peak basecamp. Team heading back down to the lake above basecamp after finishing their ice climbing practice.

17 October, 2009

Hello SummitClimb news, this is Thorsten Bargfrede calling in a dispatch for the Mera Peak & Baruntse expedition on the 17th of October at 5:17 p.m. local time.

We are at an altitude of 4900 metres/16,100 feet. The weather was great today with blue skies all day. Just like yesterday we had a few clouds in the afternoon, but that’s okay.

Yesterday we had a beautiful walk coming up from Tagnag, which took around 4 hours. There was a few hundred metres of altitude difference crossing some meadows and coming up to what will be the last station and green environment.

Today we are having a rest day and all enjoying a bit of relaxation. We also had an equipment check and some exercises on the ropes using an ascender and rappelling down since a lot of us still need a little bit more technical training for what is to come.

We are all looking forward to getting closer to this beautiful mountain tomorrow, going up over the snow line. We’ve been having discussions on how we are going to tackle some of the problems we might encounter there.

Now I will say a few words in my native language (click audio link above to listen). Cheers! back to top

Friends walking down the Mera La. Heading down toward our Mera basecamp. See the tents by the lake at 5089 metres/16,700 feet? This is a warmer and better basecamp on the other side of the Mera La. Team heading up the ridge to the Mera la with storm clouds beginning to form above. Team photo in 4935 metre/16,185 foot high Khare. Maya standing beneath Mount Kusum Kanguru. Sorting kit in Tagnag at 4500 metres/14,800 feet during our rest day. That's Kusum Kanguru behind (Dan Mazur).

15 October, 2009

Hello SummitClimb news, this is Maya Sherpa from Nepal calling for the Mera Peak/Baruntse expedition from Tagnag at 4300 metres/14,100 feet. Today is Thursday, the 15th of October.

Yesterday we walked from Kothey along the riverbed for about 4 hours to reach Tagnag. On the way we had a nice stop and saw great views of Mera Peak.

Today we spent our day resting. We had time to take baths and do some laundry. Some of us just enjoyed the rest time and took it easy. Others went on small hikes to see some of the surrounding views.

Tomorrow we go to Khare at 5000 metres/16,400 feet. From there we will explore the route to Mera Peak basecamp. This is it for now. I’m going to say a few words in Nepali (please click audio link above). back to top



Mera La from the west end with climbers visible on left and in centre. Mera Peak as seen from the Mera La trail and climbers visible on the lower section. Team resting in khare after rope practice. Walking the long trail across the Mera la. Walking through the last rocks before hitting the snow on the way to the Mera la. Ths layer cake looking glacier is the Amphu Labtsa pass we will be crossing from the centre of the photo, to the right, through the obvious blue sky notch. Wish us luck (Dan Mazur)!

14 October, 2009

Hello SummitClimb news. This is Arnold Coster, one of the leaders of the Mera Peak/Baruntse expedition calling from Kothey (Tashi Ongma) at about 3500 metres/11,500 feet.

Yesterday we left Tuli Kharka at 4300 metres/14,100 feet and descended down into the Hinku River Valley. It’s a beautiful trail with rhododendrons, pine forests, and hemlock trees. The trail zig-zags on the valley side along the river and it feels like a mystic walk. Last night we spent the night here in Kothey, an oasis of green, waterfalls, and fresh fruit.

Today we woke up to sunshine and saw our first glimpse of our objective, Mera Peak, towering at the end of the valley. We will continue our trek through the forests following the river until Tagnag at about 4300 metres/14,100 feet. Everyone will spend the night there tonight and tomorrow we will rest there. Until we have more news tomorrow, that is it for now. Bye, bye. back to top


Elaine and the Australian team following the Hingku River Valley. Entering Makalu - Baruntse National Park at Kothey. Looking up at Mera Peak from Kothey. Maya and Arnold crossing the bridge to Kothey (Dan Mazur).

13 October, 2009

This is Hanne Rasmussen calling from Chatra La for the SummitClimb Mera Peak & Baruntse expedition. Today’s date is the 13th of October and the time is 8:36 a.m.

We are in Chatra La at approximately 4200 metres/13,800 feet. It is a really nice little village that we stayed in last night. Yesterday we crossed the Zetra La Pass at 4600 metres/15,100 feet. We could easily feel the altitude in our heads, but then we walked down.

This morning the weather is really good. It’s a bit cloudy with sunshine poking through every now and then. The village is situated between 2 big mountains and it’s really beautiful.

Today’s plan is to reach Tashing Ongma at 3500 metres/11,500 feet. That’s it. Now I’m going to say something in Danish for my family (please click the audio link above). Goodbye. back to top


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

12 October, 2009

G’day, this is Andy Maher calling in a dispatch for the SummitClimb Mera Peak and Baruntse expedition on 12 October and its 8:00 a.m.

We’re at the village of Chutanga at 3474 metres/11,400 feet. The village is actually a pretty generous size for this area and a nice little spot with great views. The weather conditions have crowded in a little bit for us and we’ve been having some rain over the last couple of days, but at the moment it’s not raining. Everyone is happy and excited.

Yesterday we came from the town of Lukla, ascending about 500 metres through some nice rhododendron forests, beautiful little countryside and it was an easy 3 hour walk.

Everyone is doing well. There is a large Australian contingent on our team, which I must say is pretty fantastic. We’re all starting to get along very well.

The plan for today is to continue ascending up to a pass at 4600 metres/15,100 feet and then trek into the village on the other side. With a bit of luck, the following morning a nice sunrise should give us a beautiful view of Mera Peak.

All right guys. That’s it. We’re checking out and we’ll talk to you soon. Ciao. back to top


Sam and Dorje crossing the Zetra la pass in clouds.Standing down below looking up at the village of Chetra la and the peaks above. Elaine walking the high trails through the Chetra La pass going toward the settlement of Taktor in the clouds. Sam and Dorje standing at the top of the Zetra la pass (Dan Mazur).

11 October, 2009

Thanks for following our climb and expedition.

Well, it looks like everyone and everything has arrived safely here in Lukla, which the map says is at 2850 metres/9350 feet. We are comfortably ensconced in the Namaste Lodge. It's a very comfortable and relaxing place to hang out with excellent food, comfortable and clean rooms, and great hospitality. They even have very hot showers, hotter than in Kathmandu.

After chilling around here for a few hours while our porters get packed and organised, we plan to walk up to Chutanga, which is around 3000 metres/9850 feet, but we are going to check that with the Thuraya satellite GPS to confirm it. Right now it seems like we are not getting a very good GPS reading. Arnold says that is because we are inside a narrow valley and the device cannot locate enough satellites to obtain a GPS location.

The amazing thing about our upcoming trek is that we are planning to ascend the valley wall and cross a pass called the "Zetra-La" or however you say that, which is right above the village of Lukla. This is very exciting stuff and we are quite nervous about how we will be feeling up there as the pass is at 4300 metres/14,100 feet. That is quite a quick ascent, which is not recommended by acclimatization experts. That's why we have rested here at Lukla and advised everyone to drink a lot of water and try Diamox if they feel like it. Also, that's why we are planning to take a rest day along the way at 3000 metre/9850 foot Chutanga. Hopefully that will help. Wish us luck, we will need it!!!! back to top


Chilling in the Namaste Lodge in the evening, a warm and comfortable teahouse. Looking up at the Zetra La pass from the streets of Lukla on a beautiful morning. Porters and tourists getting organised in the streets of Lukla, beautiful weather. Team photo on the streets of Lukla. Our Everest Basecamp trek and Everest View Glacier School group photo. We stayed in Chutanga on the night of the 11th at 3500 metres/11,500 feet. It was foggy (Dan Mazur).

Baruntse Team Roster:

  • Dan Mazur (leader) - US & UK
  • Arnold Coster (leader) - Netherlands
  • Andrew Horton (leader-in-training) - UK
  • Andrew Maher (leader-in-training) - Australia
  • Ms. Hanne Rasmussen - Denmark
  • Ms. Maya Sherpa - Nepal
  • Matthew Graham - Australia
  • David Doutney - Australia
  • Charles Doutney -  Australia
  • Michael Tomordy - UK
  • John Currie - Australia
  • Richard Pattison - UK
  • Lyngve Skrede - Norway
  • Thorsten Bargfrede - Germany
  • Haris Kiriakakis - Greece
Mera Peak Team Roster:
  • Ms. Elaine Sutherland - New Zealand
  • Ms. Salli Maikie Rasmussen - Denmark
  • Samuel Priestley - UK
  • Ioannis Kotileas - Greece
  • Panagiotis Kotileas - Greece
Staff Roster:
  • Jangbu Sherpa - Climbing Sherpa
  • Tenjing Sherpa - Climbing Sherpa
  • Lakpa Nuru Sherpa - Climbing Sherpa
  • Gyalje Sherpa - Climbing Sherpa
  • (Small) Jangbu Sherpa - Climbing Sherpa
  • Lakpa Kormu Sherpa - Cook
  • Sange Sherpa - Cook back to top