SummitTrek News, Everest, Basecamp Trek, Peaks in Nepal trekking news 2011

SummitTrek News, Everest, Basecamp Trek, Peaks in Nepal trekking news 2011

(Photos in slideshow: Valerie Hovland, Tunc Findik, Elselien te Hennepe, Bruce Manning, & Preston Stroud)
News of our recent expedition: Everest Basecamp Trek Nepal Spring

Trip Summary: Each year SummitTrek offers their - 18 days in October, April or May. This season our 8 member team of men and women of all ages joined our friendly British Mountain Guides Raj Thapa and Mingma Sherpa to wander the gentle and wide snow-free trails through beautiful green terraced villages, lush forests, with amazing Himalayan views. Our team included top-notch sherpas and friendly porters carrying delicious food, high-quality tents and excellent equipment. We stayed in a mixture of teahouses and also camped. Not only did we visit our world's most famous basecamp but we also hiked the Everest view ridge of Kala Patar, and were treated to stunning views of Everest, the Khumbu icefall and an amazing overview of basecamp and the massive glacier and all of the surrounding peaks. We followed in the footsteps of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Sherpa who made the first ascent of Everest.

Hong pointing the way to the next village (Lilia Wong). View of Nuptse, Lhotse, Everest and Ama Dablam just 15 minutes walk from Namche. (Sandra Le Duc). Team members resting at Tangboche hill 3,900m 12,795 ft (Lindsay Bekken & Jess Repko) 

It was a very fun trip and one of the highlights was all of the different kinds of plants, birds and animals we saw along the way. Another highlight were the friendly, helpful and accomplished leaders and staff. Also the charming sherpas we met and the great care they took of us in their quaint little villages. The team of trekkers was a friendly group and we all stayed in contact with one another even after our trek was long over. The weather was pretty nice. Each day it warmed up and the nights at high altitude were chilly. We were glad we had our lightweight down/duvet jackets, fuzzy hats and mittens. It sprinkled a little down low and there were a few snow flurries up high, but it did not stick to the ground. Throughout the entire trek the trails were good, very wide and even. We never set foot on snow.

Amazing photo of Ama Dablam taken outside of Namche (Liam Suckling). The way to Gorek Shep (A busy village at the edge of the Khumbu Glacier). Liz Rogers at Kala Patthar 5,545m 18,200ft with Mt. Everest in the backgroun. 

Also, the schedule was good allowing for careful rest and slow acclimatisation and adjustment to the altitude. Another special thing about the trip was the round-trip return flight from Kathmandu to Lukla and back to Kathmandu, which was included in the price of the trip. Lukla is an amazing airport, and the views during the flight were incredible. We had a good feeling for what a mountainous and green country studded with snow-capped summits Nepal really is. Oh, and also I wanted to mention, our flights were all met at the Kathmandu airport and we were taken to a nice hotel. Then the kindly staff and leaders checked our gear and took us shopping and showed us around Kathamandu, and we were able to see some interesting sights and enjoy some nice restaurants. Speaking of restaurants, the food was very yummy through the entire trip. Summit Trek has some very skillful cooks!

Grace McDonald crossing a bridge on the way to Namche - Romain Hoffmann. One of the many terraced hillsides on the trek to Everest basecamp.(Elselien te Hennepe) .One of the many terraced hillsides on the trek to Everest basecamp (Elselien te Hennepe).

I would encourage you to join this walk. Its challenging, but very fun and accomplishable. back to top

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

30 May

Today the greenhouse planning team met in the Kathmandu offices of the Mount Everest Foundation for Sustainable Development (MEFSD). The team consisted of: Jimpa Sherpa, Mingma Sherpa, Deha Shrestha, and Murari Sharma, unfortunately, team leader Marcia Macdonald could not be in attendance as she was working in a different greenhouse in a different part of the world.

During the meeting, the greenhouse team reviewed plans for the new greenhouse at Deboche Convent, so the nuns can do a more effective job of growing their own food. Mingma Sherpa, project leader, expressed concerns about occasionally heavy snowfall in the leader and also that we are unsure how well the nuns will take up this idea, so we should build the greenhouse very strongly with materials all imported from Kathmandu. Mingma said we should not use any locally available materials, such as wood from the forest for the frame, as we don't want to anger the national park officials, in case this first greenhouse does not work out and the greenhouse falls into disuse. In that case, at least we did not waste any valuable and limited forest resources on the project. However, this means that the cost will be increased, as we have to import iron pipe from Kathmandu.

The team made a rough estimate of costs (attached photo) and feel that the project might cost around $5000 (five thousand us dollars). As you can see from the attached estimate, transport is nearly half the cost. Thus we can see the pitfalls of working in remote areas, transport cost is extremely high. back to top


 Deha, Mingma and Murari studying various designs in Marcia Macdonald's greenhouse book. Greenhouse team holding Marcia Macdonald's books, left to right- Jimpa Sherpa, Mingma Sherpa, Deha Shrestha, Murari Sharma. Hand drawn greenhouse estimate of costs. Deha checks out Marcia Macdonald's greenhouse book (Dan Mazur).

28 May

Today we awoke in Jorsalle village and had a lovely breakfast on the terrace of the teahouse. We enjoyed touring their immaculate garden and seeing all of the healthy vegetables and flowers. Then we set off and wandered down the trail through Monjo, Chumoa, Benkar, Tak Tak and stopped in phakding to eat yummy momos and chow mein. We continued on through Ghat and Tara Koshi, and finally climbed the big hill up to Lukla, arriving in the afternoon.

It was a lovely sunny day for a trek and we our emotions were bittersweet. It was a relief to be at the end of our trek, but also sad as we had become wedded to the Khumbu and her mighty mountains and majestic valleys and vistas. Thanks for following our trek! back to top




Woodcutters carrying firewood over the Monjo bridge (Dan Mazur). Gompa in the cliff side at Cheplung (Dan Mazur).(Sujata Karki). Hermits hut in a cave at Jorsalle (Dan Mazur). Dan enjoying daisies in Jorsalle (Sujata Karki). Lovely rosebush in Ghat village

27 May

Today was a big day for the sherpa people, the 50th anniversary of the Hillary school in Khumjung. There were volleyball tournaments, sherpa dancing and music performances, and lots of tea and momos and other sherpa treats. We enjoyed the wonderful sherpa hospitality, then at the end of the day walked down through some premonsoon clouds to Namche and Jorsalle village. back to top








Volleyball judges watching the game and the trophies. Belgians have done some great things at the Hillary school. At the gate to the Hillary school. Celebrating 50 years of education, 1961-2011. Generous Japanese government and private association built the boarding facilities at the Hillary school. Generous Korean alpine club donation built the computer centre. Massive crowd of sherpas make up the audience at Khumjung's 50th. Gudel village vs Solari village at the Hillary school 50th anniversary volleyball tournament. New style 'community policing' in Namche.Namche as seen from above. Sherpanis dancing up a storm at Khumjung 50th anniversary party. Shrine inside the school to the man himself. An alpine plant flowers in the premonsoon near Namche (Dan Mazur).

26 May

Today was a lovely day for walking, and we made the trek down the Everest basecamp trail, strolling from the village of Pangboche to Khumjung. We wound down the mountain at a leisurely pace, along the lovely green trails sniffing wild roses, hibiscus, and rhodendron flowers.

Along the way, we popped in for a visit at the Deboche Convent, Nepal's oldest (built in 1925), where 9 nuns currently reside and pray daily, grow their own food and eke out a simple life in the middle of a gorgeous pristine forest at the base of mighty Ama Dablam just a stone's throw from Mount Everest. Thanks to Marcia MacDonald and her generous friends and the Mount Everest Foundation for Sustainable Development (MEFSD), the convent is being ever so slowly rebuilt, but lots of help is needed. The current project is to construct a greenhouse which will hopefully be completed in 1 month, and the most recently completed project was a waterline from a nearby waterfall requiring 1 mile of pipe to be carried in for 10 days from the nearest road and to be dug in and installed by 17 workers. Today we stopped at the convent for several hours and shared a lovely cup of tea with the 9 nuns in residence.

They are so inspirational in the way live their simple lives. The oldest is around 70 and the youngest must be 30. they also have an ex-nun who is trying to teach them to speak Nepalese, as these 9 nuns speak Tibetan. So we toured around the convent and looked at the status of the various projects which Marcia MacDonald and the MEFSD are working on.

Our guides for the tour were three nuns and Tenzing from the Paradise Lodge. Tenzing has also been working hard to help the sisters. They showed us the big water tank they want to put on the roof above the kitchen, in case the flow runs dry. They also showed us their choice of spots for the new greenhouse location which we are very excited will be finished during the monsoon, thanks to Marcia MacDonald and Mingma Sherpa. During our tour of the convent, we looked at several buildings which are nearly ready to fall down, they are so in need of repair. We hope volunteers will come forward with ideas for these buildings, before it is too late.

Marcia had a brilliant idea  make one of them into a retreat centre. What does everyone think of that? Jangbu Sherpa, the foreman of the September 2010 waterline crew, hiked up to the source of the waterflow to check out the new smaller water tank that Tenzing installed, to take advantage of the low flow situation. Its an ingenious application of low-tech that works fine in the premonsoon trickling water situation. The original big concrete tank built in September 2010 can be put back into play when the rain starts pumping out of the sky in a few weeks.

As we walked away from Deboche, and said goodbye to the sisters, we marveled at the powerful beauty of their homeland, the massive forest which has somehow been saved from firewood cutters against all odds, a forest which shelters a multitude of rare plants and wildlife, including one of the last remaining herds of Musk Deer. Perhaps the Nuns of Deboche can not only be spiritual shepherds for their local flock of sherpas, but perhaps they can also be stewards of the land and guards of the forest. back to top





Trekkers walking the lovely path to Mount Everest through rhododendron forests near Deboche. Closeup of rhododendron flowers near Deboche. Delicate flowering hibiscus tree in the forest at Deboche. New water source tank at Deboche. Tenzing from the Paradise Lodge has discovered that the smaller plastic tank is more effective than the original large concrete tank. Nuns making hot milk tea in the new kitchen provided by the Mount Everest Foundation. One of the Deboche convent houses which requires refurbishment. Any takers? Overhead view of the new drum Tenzing installed as water tank at the Deboche water source. Tailor repairing clothing in Deboche along the trail to Everest basecamp (Dan Mazur).

25 May

Hi there. Today we had a fine trek down the Khumbu Valley. We started at the highest village of Gorak Shep and worked our way down through the world's most famous valley through the villages of Lobuche, Pheriche and finally to lovely Pangboche village. It was truly a homecoming journey for us.

Along the way we saw up close and personal the mighty peak of Ama Dablam, elevation 6800 metres / 22,300 feet high. It was so exciting to see this fine peak, which is known as Asia's most famous rock, ice and snow peak. Ama Dablam is also called the "Matterhorn of the Himalaya".

If you or someone you know enjoys technical climbing which is safe, secure and accomplishable, then you may wish to consider trying Ama Dablam. Although during the time of Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay's ascent of Everest, Ama Dablam was considered to be "unclimbable", with today's modern techniques, this world's finest peak can be climbed in just 30 days from 10 October to 10 November, the season of the year with the best weather.

Ama Dablam is for everyone from the novice, to the intermediate, to the expert. In fact, on our last expedition (October-November 2010), 12 out of 14 members reached the summit! While most of Ama Dablam is considered easy rock and snow "scrambling", the toughest climbing grade on Ama Dablam is just 15 metres / 50 feet high of grade French 4, Uk Severe, and North American 5.6 . One of the most important things to remember about Ama Dablam, is that is all climbed on good fixed ropes, which are securely attached to the mountain from camp 1 to the summit. Thus, the mountain can be climbed and descended very safely, leaving the climber to experience the challenge of high altitude on Ama Dablam's fine solid granite rock and stable secure snow and ice. Welcome to !

Please recall that we have conducted 15 Ama Dablam expeditions in 14 years, and our friendly and skillful leader Max Kausch from England is a real professional (this is his 3rd Ama Dablam expedition). We have very experienced sherpas to help us, our equipment is excellent, we serve delicious meals in basecamp and on the mountain, we maintain a cook in camp 1 to help everyone summit, each member has their own individual tent in Ama Dablam's beautiful grassy basecamp, and the trek to basecamp is extremely stunning, following in the footsteps of Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. The view from the summit is amazing, with a stunning look at Mt. Everest herself, as Ama Dablam is just 20 kilometres / 12 miles from Everest. Our price is very affordable and it includes round trip internal flights! Welcome to our team and please ask us lots of questions, be sure to tell your friends (we offer cash rewards for bringing us new members) and see you at !! back to top



Ama Dablam as seen from Khumjung Village. Trekkers doing their thing in front of Scott Fischer's memorial, Ama Dablam towers in the background on the left. Trekkers eating lunch in Dughla Village (Dan Mazur).

24 May

Today dawned cold and stormy in basecamp. Everest towered above us and as the sherpas brought tea to our tent at 6:00am, a huge cloud blew across the mountain and sprinkled snow down. The sherpas say the cloud came from Tibet.

It seemed the mountain was urging us to leave, chasing us away with a final blizzard. We hurriedly packed and dismantled basecamp. The yaks had arrived last night and their tenders fed them piles of grass, and we rushed around getting everything ready amidst tinkling yak bells. The sun finally came out, just in time for the pollution control people to come and present us with a letter stating we owed an exorbitant sum of money for the amount of waste we had generated, and they had hauled down, during our expedition.

Finally everything was ready and we said goodbye to basecamp and a pretty tiny red bird came to flit round our camp and bid us farewell. We walked down through the Khumbu Glacier to Gorak Shep, the nearest village to basecamp at 5050 metres. Along the way we took photos of glacial lakes for Doctor Ulyana Nadia Horodyskyj, who is studying glacial recession in Nepal.

Upon reaching Gorak Shep we had lunch then went outside to spend the rest of the day taking measurements and photos of buildings for the Mount Everest Biogas Project, which is basically a group of engineers trying to figure out how to convert all of the human waste in basecamp and at Gorak Shep into usable cooking gas and valuable farm fertilizer. While wandering around Gorak Shep we were reminded of the challenges faced by high altitude tourism on Mount Everest. There is a huge trash dump that burns and processes rubbish for transport to lower environs and also we saw porters trying to get water from a trickling spring that our team studied in 2010, and found to be contaminated. We spoke to them and asked what they thought about the water quality. They said that it was not very good and they had to carefully boil it, but that this water was easier to obtain than that from 40 minutes further away. So it was good to hear these porters were informed.

Indeed there are challenges faced by having this burgeoning village at such a high altitude near Mount Everest. Nevertheless, we find it encouraging that people seem to be aware and are trying to do something to improve the environmental conditions on our world's highest peak. Thanks for following our trek down the khumbu valley and we look forward to speaking to you tomorrow. All of the best for now, from Dan Mazur at . back to top



 Cute little red bird came to help clean up base camp. Gorak Shep, a busy tourist village at the edge of the Khumbu Glacier. Gorak Shep is the nearest village to Eeverest basecamp. Just a bit of the rubbish collected from basecamp and Gorak Shep being burned and processed for transport to lower altitude. On the way out of basecamp we took photos of glacial lakes for doctor Ulyana Nadia Horodyskyj, who is studying glacial recession. Packing up basecamp. Porter dips water from a barely flowing spring at Gorak Shep (Dan Mazur).

7 May

Thanks to Chris and Norissa Howard, even though today was a rest day, we made a special trip to the local Pangboche school to give the kids and their teachers toothbrushes, toothpaste, pens and pencils. The children and their teachers were very excited and thankful to receive the gifts!!!! back to top


 Teachers getting ready to to hand out toothbrushes, toothpaste, and pens. Thanks to Chris and Norissa Howard!. Here is the school where we gave the new toothbrushes, toothpaste, and pens. Thanks to Chris and Norissa Howard!. Students appreciating their new toothbrushes, toothpaste, and pens.

17 April

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi this is the Dan Mazur calling on the 17th April. I’m just calling to recap what we’ve been doing the last few days here on the Everest Nepal expedition with Summit Climb. By the way, today is Stewart Edges’ birthday! I’m calling you at 3.15 am.

We’re about to head up the icefall. It’s a gorgeous moonlit night. There’s no wind, the temperature is below freezing, but it’s not very cold and we’re looking forward to getting a delicious breakfast and having an early start as we head up the icefall for the first time. Everyone’s feeling well and is very excited. We have 8 sherpas and 7 members with us today so it’s going to be a big group. We’re going to have a lot of fun and be very safe.

On the 14th of April we came down from Pumori ABC where we’d been doing some acclimatizing at 5700 metres. We came down to Gorak Shep and all of us checked our emails and enjoyed hot tea. It was nice to come down to this small village and relax and do some people watching as a lot of trekkers go through here to see Mount Everest. We also checked out the vicinity for bio-gas for an environmental project we’re working on with the Mount Everest Foundation for Sustainable Development.

On the 15th we had a very enjoyable rest day. It was sunny and gorgeous. We washed clothes, ate lots of food and had some visitors who came to basecamp; Scott Darcy and his friend Tim from Alaska, as well as Luca from Italy. They spent the night with us on the night of the 15th and we were treated by Mitch Lewis to some very fun videos and we watched some segments of ‘The Office’ television programme which features in Britain and the USA, as well as a 30 minute episode of a cartoon called South Park.

Then on the 16th we got some aluminium ladders from the Icefall Doctors camp and set those up in our basecamp and simulated a crevasse bridge. We crossed by walking across these ladders with ropes and everyone had a go at it; all the members, all the sherpas, the visitors and even some members came over from the Swedish climbing team, as well as some people from the medical camp. So we had a big gathering in basecamp. It was really fun with gorgeous sunshine. We took a lot of photos and it was amazing to practice crossing this ladder and remind ourselves what it’s like.

We went to bed really early around 7.30 pm and now I’m talking to you this morning, so wish us all the best. We’re going to go up to camp 1 for a couple of days and then we’re going to acclimatize, hike around up there, spend a few nights, and face the altitude. Then we’re going to come back down to basecamp most likely on the 19th. We’ll have to walk back down to Gorak Shep where we have satellite connection so we can send our emails, seeing as that this year the satellite emails and internet aren’t working as well in basecamp. We’ve been talking to the other teams and everyone seems to be sharing in that so we hope that’ll be solved quickly, but we will stay in touch with you as much as possible. Thanks for listening and take care, bye bye. back to top


'Old School' climbers Soren and Matt came to visit us at base camp (Gavin Vickers). Paula in the icefall (Mitch Lewis).

14 April

Dispatch for Everest Nepal and Lhotse Team 2011 - Squash Falconer

We arrived at base camp on Friday 8th April. Some of the trekkers came to visit the next day (Becci ,Rob and Leah). It was really great to see them, they did so well making it all the way not only to base camp but all the way to our camp (which is about an hours walk into base camp). 

We really like our camp, mostly because there's a shower tent!

After a couple of rest days we spent some time checking and preparing our climbing gear and had a morning in the lower ice fall practicing our climbing and descending techniques. It was good fun and we had a laugh..

We also had our Puja - a traditional sherpa ceremony where kit is blessed and prayers are said for a safe climb and return. It begins in a calm fashion but soon descends into drinking and throwing rice and flour everywhere - obviously!

Yesterday, after one more rest day at base camp, we hiked across to Pumori ABC (5,700m) so that we could spend a night acclimatizing at a higher altitude. It was really beautiful over there and the views of Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse were fantastic.

The whole team made it over there in really good time and everyone was feeling good after a night at a higher camp. back to top


 Camp Two at Sunset (Mitch Lewis). Ladder and Boot in the Icefall (Mitch Lewis). Ladders between camp one and camp two (Mitch Lewis). Lakpa, Mitch and Stew at the bottom of the Lhotse face (Squash Falconer).

13 April

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hello, this is Mitch Lewis with Summit Climb Everest Nepal Trek &  Expedition. Today is Wednesday April 13th; we’ve got a lot to catch up on for the last 7 days.

We left Gorak Shep on April 7th and arrived in basecamp on April 8th. During the time here we’ve had a lot of snow and sunny times we’ve also had a fair amount of adventure, visiting the Everest ER and also relocating.

Everybody here is in good shape both mentally and physically, we’re all acclimatizing well and we had our trekkers come visit us on April 9th which was great fun.

During this time the icefall is being prepared by the icefall doctor. Yesterday was the big day of our Puja. The sherpas and all of our staff went to a lot of preparation. We had lamas do the religions ceremony and we all had fun, there was a lot of rice and other stuff.

Today we’re heading off to Pumori advanced basecamp and we’re looking forward to talking to you soon. We will have internet access in about 2 or 3 days. We haven’t had any so far at basecamp and it’s been very limited coverage.

We have two more things to add; two days ago we had a massive ice climbing training expedition at the base of the Khumbu icefall where we all had a chance to practice our jumar and for some of us it was our first time abseiling and for at least one of us ended upside down it was perfect training. After that we were also lucky enough to have chocolate covered apple pie as part of the celebration of Puja.

Also just to remind you that a number of us have blogs, mine is: thank you. back to top



Mitch and Lakpa at bottom of Lhotse Face at big Crevasse (Paula Leonard). Mitch and Lakpa climbing (Paula Leonard). Lhotse Face below Camp Three (Mitch Lewis). Mitch at Camp Three below Everest (Paula Leonard).

9 April

Yesterday our team reached Everest basecamp at 5300 metres, 17,380 feet. Our basecamp is scattered among 5 metre, 16 foot high lumps of ice and moraine rubble heaps, interspersed with tiny frozen puddles. This morning it is quite sunny and calm at the moment, but clouds keep scudding across the sky and blocking the sun, then snow comes sprinkling down. A wisp of wind rattles the tent fabric from time to time and last night's crisp clear darkness lit with a sliver moon was punctuated with the explosions of ice crashing inside the infamous Khumbu icefall.

Our team of 7 climbers, 7 sherpas and 2 cooks are melding together nicely, as we build up our camp, chopping tent platforms in this glaciated moonscape terrain and everyone nestles into their own comfortable private tent. We are camped at the base of the mighty Khumbu icefall and the icy rocky ramparts of Everest tower above us massively. These huge Himalayan peaks surround us in three directions because we are camped in an enourmous glacier basin, as if sitting in the mouth of a shark with so many tall teeth poking out all around and above. We are treated to picture postcard views of the mighty mountains looming over our heads, exotically named Pumori, Lingtren, Khumbutse, Changtse, West Ridge of Everest, Lhotse, and Nuptse. What more could we ask for?

On a sadder note, after joining us for lunch, our basecamp trekking team has descended from basecamp and is heading down valley to warmer forested hillside potato terraces bathed in green light and dotted with blooming Rhododendron flowers and grazing yaks. We had a lovely time walking together with together with the trek team and they will be missed very much.

Uh oh, just now a delicious scent of freshly simmering home made noodle soup tickles my nose and, low and behold, the cook is banging a pot just outside our comfortable dining tent, so I am afraid its time for me to say goodbye and join the team at our long table where we sit together, break bread, share stories, and prepare for the coming day.

Sorry I have rambled on and thanks for listening. back to top 

8 April, 2011

Hello, here is the dispatch from the summit trek team for 8 April.

Upon reaching the summit of Kala Patar, Norrisa Howard made this speech:

I would first like to quote Dickens:

"This trek has been the best of times and the worst of times."

The best of times making new friends, and seeing the beauty of God's creation. The worst of times would be squat toilets.

I would like to say hello to our friends Melanie, Dan, Linda and Pete.

And best wishes to the summit climbers.

I will close by quoting Forest Gump: "That is all I have to say about that."

Please enjoy the attached photos. back to top



Rob and Beccy on a rock almost at Gorak Shep Photo (Beccy Cresswell). SummitTrek team in Lobuche with Nuptse behind (Chris Howard). Stewart Edge on the summit of Kala Patar with his charities flag (Stewart Edge). Rob, Beccy, Leah, and Sanje Sherpa on the summit of Kala Patar (Leah Jay).

7 April

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi, this is Gavin Vickers from Australia reporting for the SummitClimb Lhotse expedition on the 7th of April. After a nice breakfast we left Lobuche and walked down to the Khumbu glacier for the last glimpse before base camp to Gorak Shep. We enjoyed some lunch. Unfortunately some of our members are experiencing symptoms from altitude, but are feeling much better. Today the climbing group will move up to basecamp, and the trekking group are tackling the trekking peak, Kala Pattar, at 5550 metres. It’s nice weather, there are spectacular views of Everest and the Khumbu Icefall. The trekking group will join the climbing group at basecamp tomorrow for lunch before descending to Lobuche. Thanks for following the news from the mountain. back to top



Norrisa Howard and Chris Howard on the summit of Kala Patar. Chris is wearing a Go Pro Camera on his head. Norrisa Howard poses on the summit of Kala Patar with Glamour Magazine (Chris Howard).

6 April

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hello this is Alyn Caulk from Virginia, USA, reading a note to Gavin Vickers for his birthday, the 6th of April from Lobuche, Nepal.

His name is Gavin Vickers,

But to us he’s Gav the Great,

Our yeti most magnificent,

Our thoughtful, faithful mate.

I’ve heard he is a cyclist,

A regular triathlon champ,

A runner in Tibet, no less,

In bright red underpants.

He loves his two Dalmatians,

Elvis and Freckles, what marvelous names,

And drives a silver cougar, a mentor for the youth at home

More awesome than a cougar.

A ruggedly handsome face has he,

And twinkle in the eye,

That melt the girls both near and far,

(We think he’s picked one on the fly).

But though he works in coal mines,

We know his heartfelt passion,

To climb the highest heights all around,

With fortitude and in steadfast passion.

For us he is our leader,

Fearless, competent, tactful, kind

Patience with wise council,

Always ready, keeping us in mind.

His booming laughter cheers us,

Regardless of the cold,

We would be lost without him,

He keeps us in the fold.

When tragic times befall us,

In unexpected ways,

His skill and spiritual compassion,

Provide relief and help us through the days.

And so we celebrate this special day,

In honour of his birth,

We wish him all success and love,

And many many more years of joy, On earth and beyond.

Happy birthday from Linda, Pete, Melanie, Dan, Beccy and Rob, Norrisa, Chris, Leah, Alyn, Squash, Stewart, Paul, Mitch, Alex, Dan, and Deha. back to top


Gavin Vickers celebrating his 41st birthday (Stewart Edge)

5 April, 2011

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

This is Beccy and Rob from Warrington in England on the 5th of April. We’re reporting on the Everest Basecamp Trek!

We woke up after a FREEZING night – it must have been at least minus fifty. We didn’t care though, because this was the best tea house – it had a sit-down toilet! Yay! We started the day with a full English breakfast, complete with sausage, bacon, waffles, bean, black pudding, the full works. After breakfast, obviously we were very full, we went for a little walk around Pheriche and went to the medical center to talk to the doctors there. Obviously it was getting a bit busy, the usual star thing going on, you know, Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise and the rest of the usual clientele.

We set off to Dugla at half past eleven. The scenery was absolutely fantastic and we took some really cool photos. It was sunny but still very cold. You can see lots of mountains in the background, including Ama Dablam. We also saw Squash chasing some yaks around a field, trying to get some footage with a video camera.

It was an easy walk today, but the air was very cold and we could definitely feel the difference in altitude. At about two o’clock we reached the bustling, sprawling city of Dugla , which in actual fact was just one teahouse. By teatime, we were faced with mixed grill on the menu, followed by a black forest gateau which was absolutely delicious.  

After dinner, Dan filled us in on what was going to happen on the following day. Then it was hot tubs, champagne, strawberries, and we all retired to our en-suite luxury rooms with mints on the pillows.

The Sherpas, as always, have been just fantastic. It’s been another great day. back to top

Alex and Gavin in Tengboche (Leah Jay). Peter, Linda, Chris, and Norrisa at a cafe in Namche Bazaar (Leah Jay).

4 April

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

This is Paula Leonard from Florida and then Alaska, USA reporting in for the Everest Nepal expedition on the 4th of April.

In Tengboche we were woken up through the night by thunder, and in the morning, everything was covered in snow. It was beautiful. After breakfast, some of us went to the local monastery where we received blessings and safety for the mountain. We saw a baby yak (that let us pet it) then we trekked through the falling snow to the Shangri La lodge to see a local presentation by the Himalaya Rescue Association on high altitude illness. After a meal and some tea, we had another early night and we’re all looking forward to basecamp in a few days.

We’re easy to follow on as well as www.summitclimbnews.comback to top


Alex Holt and Stewart Edge with Dorje Sherpa, first views of Everest (Stewart Edge). Beccy, Mel, Squash, Lakpa Nuru, Daniel and Gavin on the trail to Pheriche (Beccy Cresswell). Rob and Beccy on the trail with a yak (Beccy Cresswell).  Stewart Edge at the Tengboche monastary (Stewart Edge).

3 April

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

This is Stewart Edge From England with the SummitClimb Everest Nepal expedition, on the 3rd of April, 2011. We awoke to tea being brought to our tents, the most amazing views of the sun hitting the snow peaks of Namche. I think we could all get used to this! We have a long day ahead of us, so after a breakfast of coconut rice pudding we set off with our climbing sherpas leading the way. Within a few hundred metres of camp, we saw the national bird of Nepal, the Danphe.

We had some magnificent sights, with Ama Dablam, Lhotse, and Everest. With a huge plume of snow being blown from the summit of Everest, I think it's all sinking in. If all goes well, we'll be on the summit in seven weeks time.

It's a beautiful day for trekking with the sun shining. We stopped many times to take in all the views. Nepal is all hills and it was no surprise that we had to descend 400 metres before a long climb back up to Tengboche. The hill that leads to the monastery before descending again through a rhododendron forest and back up to Tengboche where we were camping at 3950 metres/13,000 feet. It's been a long day, 9 hours trekking, but a great one. To follow my dispatches from the summit, please visit my site, . back to top


Beccy, Rob, Linda, Pete, Leah, Stew, Gavin, Paula, Mitch and Alex on the trail just after Namche Bazaar (Beccy Cresswell). Group members attend a blessing at the Lamas house in Pangboche (Stewart Edge).

2 April

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hello, this is Norissa Howard from Indianapolis, Indiana. Today took a much needed rest day after our big climb yesterday.

We were up at 7am for a warm breakfast. And then we went off to town where we enjoyed lunch at the Everest Bakery. They easily have the best pizza in town.

We did some more shopping and walking, which we enjoyed and then had a slow walk back up to camp. Some of us took naps, others journaled, some just enjoyed the sun and views of the beautiful Himalayan mountains surrounding our campsite.

Then a shower before dinner. We watched a cricket match between India and Srilanka – Srilanka won. Then we had a restful night. back to top

  Yaks crossing the last bridge on the way to Namche. Some of the members a few hundred metres before Namche (Max Kausch).

1 April

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

This is Linda, Leah and Peter from Newcastle Australia. We woke up to a nice warm cup of tea prepared mby our wonderful kitchen staff.

We had a group breakfast and briefing with Dan and Gavin.

The trek started and we wandered around the gorge through quaint villages and across suspension bridges, which tested one's vertigo!

The group checked in at the national park entrance and we were then on our way! Surrounded by breathtaking, snow-capped mountains, one felt extremely miniscule. Crossing two more suspension bridges, the climb towards Namche Bazaar started. It was a steep incline and one had to be in awe at the locals carrying these huge loads. With the altitude, there were many stops along the way.

We arrived at Namche, thanks to our hard working and friendly sherpas and made camp. All the trekkers are now relaxing with the local, wonderful hot food and sharing stories of the day. We now all have the luxury of a rest day at 3400 metres, acclimatization and the local chocolate cake tasting in Namche. Yum!

Thank you for following news from our expedition at www.summitclimbnews.comback to top


  View of one of Namche's sourrunding peaks. Namche Bazaar (Max Kausch). Leah showing some children her camera in Tok Tok (Beccy Cresswell). Porters with heavy loads on the way up to Namche Bazaar (Stewart Edge).

31 March

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

This is Squash Falconer on the Everest Nepal trip calling in a dispatch for the 31st of March, 2011. At 5 am this morning our full SummitClimb teams, which are Everest Nepal, Everest Tibet, Lhotse, and Everest Basecamp Trek all gathered together in Kathmandu and headed to the airport for our flight to Lukla, where our trek begins to Everest basecamp.

Seeing is believing the apparent chaos at the airport, as many expeditions are getting organized into groups and piles to be loaded onto the plane, which is specially built for the tiny landing strip at Lukla. It's a stunning, short 40 minute flight and then you literally feel like you're heading right into the mountain, as the plane approaches the 500 metre runway. 

Half the group made it to Lukla on the early flight, and as the clouds rolled in we weren't sure if the kit and the rest of the group would make it – sometimes it can take days to get in or out of Lukla. But after a few hours, everybody plus the kit were in.

We just had a short trek today, to a small village called Tok Tok. It was a really pretty walk, following the river through the valley, and passing many cherry blossoms, rhododendrons, and magnolia trees. The magnolias are massive, almost the size of footballs! Everyone was in pretty good shape today and excited to start their expedition. There are lots of interesting people and it's nice to get to know each other.

If you're interested in seeing exactly where we are now or want to follow as our expedition progresses, I have a DSX Satellite Tracker which gives our exact location. To see where we are on Google Maps or Google Earth, you can go to my website, and in the top right hand corner of the page is a link called “Squash's Latest Location” - click on either the Map icon or the Earth icon and you'll be able to see us!  back to top

Everest climbing group boarding the plane to Lukla (Stewart Edge). First night camping at Tok Tok (Stewart Edge).

30 March

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

Briefing at the Kohinoor Hotel (Gavin Vickers).

29 March

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


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

Team Roster:

Everest Basecamp Trek Nepal - 

  • Dan Mazur - UK/US (Leader)
  • Ms. Alyn Caulk - US
  • Ms. Beccy Cresswell - UK
  • Robert Cresswell - UK
  • Ms. Melanie Plant - Australia
  • Ms. Linda Hardwood - Australia
  • Ms. Leah Jay - Australia
  • Christoper Howard - US
  • Ms. Norissa Howard - US
  • Peter Swan - Australia
  • Daniel Wilde - Australia back to top

Everest and Lhotse Staff -

Trekking Staff -
  • Kaji Tamang - sirdar as well trekking guide
  • Deha Shrestha - assistant trek leader

Kitchen staff -

  • Jay Bahadur - cook
  • Dorje Sherpa- kitchen boy
  • Sange Sherpa - trekking cook as well kitchen boy

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