Everest Tibet Training Climb and Lhakpa Ri North Col expedition climbing news spring
Everest Tibet Training Climb and Lhakpa Ri North Col expedition climbing news spring
Trip Summary: I thought the Everest Tibet Training Climb, also known as the North Col Expedition, sure was a lot of fun and a brilliant way to see Mount Everest's Tibet side up close and personally. I loved visiting Tibet and felt like this was a rare chance to see an ancient and exotic culture that might be disappearing. We had a very fun team of men and women climbers of all ages, with skillful friendly sherpas, delicious food and excellent tents. The views of Everest on the Tibet side are the best in the world, much better than the views of Everest from the Nepal side.
The climb up to the North Col was exciting and the snow conditions were superb. There was almost none of that hard ice so the snow was soft and pliable for our crampons and the ropes were well fixed. We did not have to climb on anything very steep, as there were no ice cliffs, it was only walking on a steep snow packed trail. We used our ascending devices to aid us, so that also made the going easier. Several of us slept atop the North Col itself, which was a very amazing experience, to spend the night on the shoulder of Mount Everest at 7000 metres / 23,000 feet. It was cold and windy up there, but we were warm in our strong and well placed tents and the gorgeous sunset and sunrise and perfect views of the climbing route on the north ridge of Everest made it very worthwhile.
A couple of our members went to Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet, before driving to basecamp, and the rest of us made the beautiful drive up from Kathmandu, Nepal to Everest Tibet basecamp. It was incredible to drive from the green forested valleys of Nepal and southern Tibet for several days up through deep river gorges into Tibet, finally topping out above treeline and crossing a few 5000 metre / 16,500 foot high passes enroute. The drive took five days and we drove very slowly and rested for several days in order to acclimate properly and get used to the high altitude. Those who flew to Lhasa spent a day exploring the city and visiting the famous Potala Palace and the Jokhang Temple, then made a two day drive across the massive Tibetan plateau, much of which lies above 3500 metres / 14,000 feet.
We were able to drive up to the warm and cozy 5200 metre / 17,000 foot high basecamp, where we rested comfortably and enjoyed excellent facilities like heated dining tents, and were able to check our email, and wander around and meet all sorts of interesting people who were here to climb Everest. We relaxed around basecamp getting used the altitude for several days while doing short training hikes on the ridges above basecamp. Then we walked good solid trails on smooth and rocky ground through the Rongbuk Valley along the "golden-highway" beneath massive towering 6000 and 7000 metre / 20,000 - 23,000 foot high peaks, over a four day period, making an "intermediate camp" next to some unique "ice-pilgrim" iceberg shaped glacial towers along the way. Finally we popped out our advanced basecamp (ABC) home for the attempt on the North Col. ABC lies at the head of a rocky valley at the top of the East Rongbuk Valley at 6400 metres / 21,000 feet. It was amazing to see the wooly yaks carrying their large loads up through the valley to such a well equipped and comfortable basecamp.
Overall I thought this was an adventure packed experience and a unique opportunity to achieve a personal altitude record, explore exotic Tibet, do some fun climbing and beautiful walking, and feel what it is like to be a part of an Everest expedition. Several of our team members decided they wanted to go on to climb Everest after this, as they felt well and decided that while they were right there in ABC and on the North Col, why not go on for the summit of the world's highest peak. The rest of us enjoyed a beautiful drive back to Kathmandu, where we relished the thick warm air and Kathmandu's cushy hotels and delicious restaurants. Thanks for following our expedition!
Dispatches: Please click one of the links below to go directly to that dispatch or just scroll down.21 May
This is Stan Snigir reporting in for the SummitClimb North Col and Everest Tibet expedition from ABC, elevation 6400 metres/21,300 feet. It’s about noon local time.
The weather is sunny and a little breezy. We were all hoping for nicer weather today. We have 2 teams going for the summit: summit team 1 at the North Col right now and summit team 2 here in ABC. We’re hoping for a little break in the wind so summit team 1 can move on further and summit team 2 can move up to the North Col. Everybody is in a holding pattern except me.
I’m concluding my North Col expedition and going down back to the luxuries of modern society, as well as my wife Jessica, who I miss very much. Today’s programme is very simple. I start walking towards BC, then to Kathmandu and on home.
Everybody is feeling okay. People are healthy and in good spirits.
I just want to add that on May 18th I summited the North Col. It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’d like to thank Asu, the leader, who was a really big help. I spent the night there. It wasn’t too bad, except I didn’t really get any sleep, which was a little tough. We got safely down the next day and I got a full rest day before getting ready to go home today.
Scaling the North Col at 7000 metres/23,000 feet has made me understand the enormity of the task for the other members who are actually going for the summit. I wish them all good luck and to be safe so they can come back to their family and friends. It’s a really tough job, but someone has to do it. Thanks, bye.
A line of climbers making their way up the snow slope at 7200 metres (Gordon Hopper). Visit to the Tibetan camp with the sponsors signs (Dan Mazur). Lakpa Gyelu waving to the camera on his way up the snow slope between camps 1 and 2 (Gordon Hopper). Climbers ascending the headwall towards North Col at 6600 metres (Thorbjorn Lundsgaard).
1) ABC Trek Team update:
Well yesterday Reg Heitchue, Elizabeth Warren-Boulton, and Brian Bartell came down to BC from ABC. Congratulations to you three on a job very well done!!! We fed them a massive dinner and heard their great stories of battling winds and cold and toughing it out in ABC. Impressive! Today we had a wander down to the teahouses and did souvenir shopping, ate momos, drank tea, bought carpets, and generally enjoyed the low altitude life of the Tibetan plateau, on our three intrepid adventurers last day in basecamp.
There were beautiful views of Everest throughout the day, an amazing backdrop for our fun follies of the day. Tomorrow in the early morning they will depart for the one day drive to Kathmandu, reaching the comforts of their Nepalese hotel the same night. It has been nice getting to know them, we will regret their departure and they will be missed!!
2) North Col Team update:
We spoke to Asu, our Chinese North Col leader in ABC. Everyone is doing fine. Its currently snowing up there. He and Stan plan to go for the north col on Tuesday 18 May. Tom is coming back down to interim camp. We wish them all of the best!
ABC seen from slightly above. Large camp eh (Dan Mazur)?
Lots of news: Much reduced winds and pleasantly warm here in basecamp. North Col ABC Trek team called to say they reached ABC well. Everyone is fine. One member said they are not sure they want to climb up to the North Col. More on that later. They said it is cold and windy in ABC but spirits are high.
All of our Sherpas set off this morning for ABC. First group of members leaves tomorrow morning for interim camp. Shegar members plan to return tomorrow afternoon. Things are happening up here in Tibet!!!
Well hello every one. Greetings to all of our Summit Climb news readers.
This is the dispatch for 11-12 May. Our north col ABC trek group called and they are in interim camp preparing to move into advanced basecamp in the morning. Everyone is doing well. They are going to have ABC nearly to themselves and they have a massive support staff of sherpas, Tibetans, and their own personal Chinese guide, the amazing Asu.
Everyone is excited about the weather. As we are camped under Everest, we can see what the weather is doing up there every second of every day. And; Please let me inform you, it is not a pretty site. There is a two kilometre wind plume blowing from the top and according to several of the seven "Everest Weather" websites we are currently watching, the wind is cooking along up there at 138 kilometres/ hour. Exposed flesh would probably freeze solid in a minute or less up there right now, and you would not be able to stand up, just crawl along on your hands and knees. Needless to say, pretty much all teams have left ABC. Which is a good thing as we have heard that quite a few tents in ABC have fallen down and/or blown away. Luckily we have been rotating through our sherpa staff up and down to ABC and they are keeping everything tied down and lashed in place. Plus our North col and ABC trek group are going to be calling ABC home for the next week or so, courtesy of our hardworking staff.
The big topic for all Everest climbers is the weather. Well, the 7 websites all agree that around the 15th of May the wind is going to drop for a few hours, hopefully allowing the Tibetans to move up and work above 8300 metres and fix the rope. However, the seven websites say that on the 22nd of may the wind is going to drop for a few days, perhaps for, as long as, up to the 25th of May. So, lets just watch, but one can imagine that on the 21st of May a "conga-line" will form of all people who can still walk and aspire to climb Everest, and everyone for miles around will try ascending Everest on those days. I don't think it will be a riot or melee or mob scene, as this year everyone has commented on how polite the teams are and how everyone is trying to get along. Not like in previous years when some teams had a more "buccaneering" attitude, complete with rope cutting, etcetera. No, it will probably be more like an orderly climb on a busy day on Mont Blanc, when several hundred people go up and down to the summit.
Anyway, its all conjecture from yours truly at basecamp, as the wind swirls around and hammers at the tents. Here in basecamp at 5200 metres, tents regularly are collapsing in the wind, and have to be re-buoyed and rocked down. The craziest story we are all talking about was yesterday when someone was taking a shower in a small shower-tent in one of the tents and a swirling wind-rotor or "dust-devil" mini-tornado was cycloning around one of the camps and lifted the shower tent up into the air about 6 metres, and complete with the person's towel and clothing, the tent was cast far to the side like some kind of candy wrapper. Spectators were so stunned and embarrassed to witness the denuding of the showeree, they were speechless and only able to stare in amazement for a few moments. Eventually someone did find a blanket to wrap around the hapless (and freezing) victim who shall we say was turned a deeper shade of crimson red than any had heretofor thought possible from the cold and embarrassment. This kind of story helps us all pass the time while reading our books and powering through the three lavish meals our excellent cooks can prepare each day with the constant drone of food, tea, sprite, and coca cola resupply trucks coming up from the nearby village below. From all of us here in basecamp, patiently waiting for the next weather window. Yours sincerely, Dan
Fiko at 7200 metres on acclimatisation walk to the top of the snow slope above North col (Peter Kinloch). Pasang Sherpa and Janet taking a break at 7200 metres on the snow slope to camp 2 (Dan Mazur). Laval St Germain after returning to the North col from 8300 metres. Good job (Dan Mazur)! North col camp after a snowy night of May 6-7 (Dan Mazur).
Dear Summit Climb News Readers. Thanks for following the news about our Mount Everest North Training Climb from Tibet, as well as Advanced Basecamp Trek and North Col Climb.
Well, its been a very busy and productive last few days.
On 7 May, most of our team descended from advanced basecamp to basecamp, as they had achieved their goal of climbing a little above the North col to reach a high point near camp 2 and get ready for summitting Mount Everest and as acclimatized as possible before the summit attempt.
A group of us had just climbed up to the North col from ABC on 6 may, so we awoke early to check the weather and it sure was perfect. No wind, a golden sunrise with 4 cm of new snow on a gorgeous rosy-sunrise morning. On what might be considered the best day so far of the trip, Janet, Fiko, Frank, Peter, Enrique, Dan, and Pasang set out to explore the upper reaches of the mountain and the way to camp 2.
We walked on the well padded trail through soft snow in glowing morning, following about 50 sherpas who had layed the trail at about 2 am in their quest to carry loads of oxygen cylinders and tents up to camp 3. Our group of 7 made it up the snow slope, pulling on the well-anchored nylon ropes to the 7500 metre level before clouds started to swirl carried by a bit of breeze.
The views up here are big and stunning with big looks down into the great couloir, onto the Lho la, over to Pumori and Shishapangma and Cho Oyu, and even deep into the valley where Hillary and Tenzing's Everest basecamp lies.
As we descended the snow slope, conditions whited out and we had to feel our way carefully along the ridge, but it was not that bad and all of us felt like today was a great day out. Especially for team member Laval St. Germain who slept in camp 2 and walked to camp 3. What a great effort!
On 8 May, our little party packed up the North col camp, then climbed back down the North col in mild winds and some clouds and we made our way back down to the advanced basecamp. Upon arrival we relaxed around the dining table and had a sumptuous meal, then retreated to our tents for some well deserved r and r.
On 9 May, we walked back down Everest's stunning 24 kilometre long 'golden highway' stopping at interim camp for tea and lunch, then continuing on down to basecamp arriving in time to meet the Summit Climb North Col climbers and ABC trekkers. We had a fun time hanging around with our combined team, telling stories, jokes, and hearing tales of the drive in from Lhasa and up from Kathmandu, as part of the team flew into Lhasa and the others drove from Kathmandu.
On 10 May, 4 members of our little North col group set off in a landcruiser to the 4100 metre village of Shegar for an acclimatization rest. The North col-ABC trek group's yaks came and they packed up and headed up to interim camp. We wish them well and hope they will have a great trip, they seem like a nice group and it seems they will have a great time.
One of their members, Anthony Dokas, decided to return to Kathmandu and we wish him a good trip. He will be missed!!!
The latest talk has been about the weather, as its too windy on the summit to climb Everest now. However, we did see the larger Chinese-Tibetan team leave BC today with around 30 people in their party.
That is good because they aim to fix the ropes to the summit in the next few days!!!
Well, thanks for following our expeditions and treks. Take good care and all of the best and wish us luck!!!!
View of Everest from SummitClimb base camp at 5200 metres (Frank Irnich). Team ready for departure to Shegar for rest days. Look at the massive wind plume coming from summit of Everest (Dan Mazur). Photo taken from East Rongbuk. The large peak is obviously Pumori. Can you name the others (Dan Mazur)?
Hi, this is Dan Mazur, the leader of the SummitClimb Everest Tibet expedition calling in a dispatch on 6 May at about 8:00 p.m.
Wow, it’s been a long day. I’m on the North Col with the team. Today David, John, Jangbu, Lakpa, Elizabeth, Gordon, and Laval went up to camp 2 at about 7600 metres/25,000 feet to get acclimatized. It was a beautiful day, especially in the morning, with no winds. There was lots of new snow, maybe about 30 centimetres.
A big group of 20 sherpas broke the trail and pulled out the old ropes, so it was super safe. This afternoon a big storm came in with a lot more snow and wind, so they went back down to basecamp.
Now there’s a second wave of us up here at the North Col with a lot of people. I think there are 13 of us including sherpas and members. We’re going to get up really early and check the weather. Things are looking good. We’re going to try to head up to camp 2 for acclimatization.
I just called Asu, our Chinese leader, and the North Col and ABC trek teams have arrived in basecamp today. They are getting settled in and will stay there for 3-4 days to get used to the altitude, eat and drink well, do some hikes, and then slowly work their way up the valley towards advanced basecamp. So we’re looking forward to seeing them.
I can’t really think of anything else I should say right now. I’m kind of out of breath. Wish us well. We’re hoping for good weather. There have been a lot of conflicting weather forecasts. We’ve been really checking the different sources and forecasts carefully. Arnold Coster has also sent us a great weather forecast, so we’ve been looking at that one. Thanks Arnold!
We’re hoping we get a couple of days of good weather. That’s all we need to get up to camp 2, so wish us well and we’ll talk to you soon. Bye.
Team sorting gear on a nice afternoon on the Nnorth col, our two rows of tents clearly shown (Frank Irnich). Team reaches bottom of North col headwall at 6500 metres on a storm retreat day. Left to right - Dan, Phurba, Frank, David, Eli, and Torby (Peter Kinloch). Sherpa team crossing the last ladder, just below the North col (Frank Irnich). Dan and Jangbu coming down onto the flats at 6575 metres (Frank Irnich).
Monday 3rd May:
After breakfast Dan Mazur sent two Sherpas from the North Col to look after the tents at Camp 2. The weather is extremely friendly in the morning after this heavy snow storm on Sunday. After spending one and a half days at Camp 2 Mark arrived safely back at the North Col. Dan Mazur asked Frank to open the world's highest physiotherapy practice so he could look after Jangbu because he has experienced a few days of back pain. Also, John endured a tough night at North Col camp and received treatment on a light neck strain.
In the afternoon Dan and David were proved correct in their predictions as the weather deteriorated.
Tuesday 4th May:
All members woke up ready to try again to reach the North Col camp. It was decided to split the group, with one team heading up to the North Col camp today and the other hoping to go tomorrow. Gordon, Elizabeth, Laval, John, Torbian and David, along with three Sherpas set off from ABC at 11:30.
Gavin, Eli and Mark departed for some rest at base camp after their attempts to reach Camp 2. The weather was grey and cloudy but with virtually no wind as the groups set off. Enrique, Peter, Frank, Fiko, Janet and Nick rested in preparation of a possible attempt to climb up to North Col camp tomorrow.
The Sherpas also enjoyed their unscheduled day of rest!
Wednesday 5th May:
The remaining members at ABC woke to find that snow had been falling for most of the night. David also reported that the North Col team had postponed their attempt of Camp 2 due to the snow fall. There was still virtually no wind but the decision was taken to wait and see if the weather improved before moving on to their respective camps. Whilst waiting at ABC the cooks ensured that morale stayed high by serving up yet more excellent meals! All day singing came from the kitchen as the team members repaired a radio to listen to news from the outside world.
Best wishes, Frank and Peter from the Tibet Everest Team
On the new route up the north col at 6850 metres. Team on the rope from top to bottom- Elizabeth, Peter, Gordon, Torby, Nick, Jimba, Lakpa Gyeluk (Frank Irnich). ABC on a sunny morning with wind from Everest summit (Peter Kinloch).
Hi, this is a dispatch for the SummitClimb Everest Tibet and North Col expedition for the 19th and 20th of April.
On the 19th we had a big prayer ceremony with all of the sherpas, kitchen boys and members in ABC. We strung up a bunch of prayer flags, burned incense and made a cake shaped like Mount Everest, which we ate. There were 2 lamas that did a lot of praying. We had a bunch of singing and dancing by the sherpas and Tibetan kitchen boys. A lot of drinks were passed around like Coke, Sprite and tea. Then we went to bed early.
We got up early on the morning of the 20th and hiked up to the North Col, where I’m calling you from right now. It’s at about 7000 metres/23,000 feet. It was snowy and windy. Everybody is in their tents. We have our awesome cook up here, Kipa Sherpa, who is cooking us food and filling our water bottles, so we’re comfortable here in our camp 1.
Carl didn’t come up to the North Col. He’s trying to shake a cold. Fiko went down from the North Col. He figured it was high enough for him, so dropped a load and went back down to ABC.
We’ll update you tomorrow. Wish us all the best. Thank you very much. Bye, bye.
Hello, this is Srilakshmi Sharma from the Everest Tibet & North Col SummitClimb expedition. We are all huddled in the mess tent staying out of the cold. This is the 18th of April and we’re at 6400 metres/21,000 feet in advanced basecamp. Hurray! It really feels like we’re an expedition now.
We came up from interim camp a couple of days ago. The route was just beautiful. There was snow high up on the pass at about 6000 metres/19,700 feet. We’ve had sunny days and snowy, blustery evenings. It’s probably about 0 to -5 degrees Celsius outside right now.
Acclimatization is the name of the game right now. Everyone is in pretty good humour. We’re all together. Tom left for sunnier times back to the UK after a successful trip to the North Col. The cooks have worked overtime to make this a really great little setup for us all.
We have outlined our plan for the next couple of days. We are going to head up to the North Col in a couple of day’s time. The last two days we have been getting our stuff together, learning about fixed lines, training, and ice climbing. We’ve also got to know some of our neighbours with Chinese camp up the road and a group of Italian who are planning to climb Everest in 3 weeks. We’ve been averting the occasional yak stampede through the camp and have our own delegated ‘yak whisperer’. We have also been to our yak herder’s tents and hung out with some of the locals.
That’s it for today. Over and out. Thanks, bye.
Jimba Sherpa labeling our 200 bottles of oxygen before our sherpa team carries them up the mountain from ABC up to higher camps (Dan Mazur). Yak drivers meet in basecamp while Asu films them (Samdien). Yaks being loaded in basecamp (Samdien). Our trusty and loyal kitchen assistant Tsering, who hails from Pasum Shang (Samdien).15 April
Hi this is Dan calling for SummitClimb and SummitTrek. Today’s date is the 15th of April and the time is 20 minutes past 11:00 a.m. Tibet time.
I’m calling you from interim basecamp at 5800 metres/19,000 feet. The weather is very sunny, there is no wind and the temperature is around freezing.
Right now I’m sitting on top of a high rock moraine looking down at our camp about 50 metres below me. I can see a lot of ice pilgrims, glacier all around me and as I look out to the left, I can see some other interim camps and herds of yaks working their way up towards advanced basecamp.
First of all, I wanted to mention that everyone in our team is okay. We heard there was an earthquake about 250 kilometres to the northwest of us, perhaps over on the Qinghai/Tibet border. We’d like to send our condolences to everyone who was affected by the earthquake. We did not feel the effects of the earthquake here. Everyone on our team is okay.
I’d like to just mention what we did on previous days as well.
On the 12th of April Alex Welles, our ABC trekking member left the team and went back to Kathmandu and we miss him very much. It was great to have him around. What an interesting person and he will be missed. We wish him all the best in his journey back home.
On the 12th of April we walked up to interim basecamp. It took 4 hours for some, but everyone arrived safely. We came to our comfortable camp among the ice pilgrims at 5800 metres/19,000 feet and had a delicious dinner.
On the 13th we rested in interim basecamp. Some of us took some acclimatization hikes around on the local ridges and explored the terrain. It’s gorgeous up here, especially with the dusting of new snow. We saw many birds swarming around and watched herds of yaks walking by. It’s quite a picturesque area being high in these mountains on this amazing East Rongbuk Glacier.
On the 14th, we took another rest day to get used to the high 5800 metres/19,000 feet elevation. Some of us wandered around amongst the moraine. We explored a little bit towards the Far East Rongbuk. Our interim basecamp was located right at the junction of the Far East Rongbuk Glacier and the East Rongbuk Glacier.
This morning on the 15th, as I’m calling you, we’re heading up towards advanced basecamp. Most of our team is going. 1 or 2 of our members aren’t feeling quite so well, so are going to stay and rest in interim camp. The rest of us are walking up towards advanced basecamp. It’s a big day hiking along the moraines of the East Rongbuk Glacier. We’ll be taking our time. It probably takes about 4-8 hours to walk up there, depending. The elevation up there is quite high at 6400 metres/21,000 feet. We’re looking forward to reconnecting with one of our members, Tom Javrin and his 2 sherpas, Thile Sherpa and Sano Jangbu Sherpa, and hearing how their progress is going trying to reach the North Col.
Our team will be resting up in advanced basecamp for another 3-5 days. We’ll be practicing ice climbing and we may try to make an ascent on to the North Col.
So wish us well and thanks for following our expedition at SummitClimb and SummitTrek. This is Dan Mazur signing off. All of the best for now. Cheers. Bye, bye.
Yaks moving along trail to ABC below Everest (Gordon Hopper). 5800 metre interim camp located on Rongbuk Glacier taken on a snowy morning. Photo shows 'ice pilgrims' towering above camp (Samdien). Enrique Rodriguez ((E-Rod) showing off his 'el-diablo' cap in interim camp. (Samdien). Team packing up 5800 metre interim camp preparing to make the walk to 6400 metres (Samdien).11 April
Hi there www.SummitClimbNews.com readers. Hope all is well? I am writing from our new China Mobile Communications tent in basecamp. The world's largest mobile phone company, in all of their wisdom, has put up a mobile phone tower down at the lower Rongbuk Monastery. So, if you are positioned correctly and have the right sim card installed in your phone/ mobile device, you can make and receive telephone calls, send and receive sms/text messages, browse the internet, as well as send and receive emails from right here in basecamp. Our team's basecamp is located about 500 metres directly east of the Sandy Irvine Memorial, may God rest his soul. Between us and the Rongbuk Monastery lies a 7 metre high low gravel hill. We have discovered that this hill blocks clear mobile reception from pretty much everywhere in our basecamp, but if you stand atop the hill, you can get a good signal. So, using our ingenuity ("smart like tractor, strong like bull" or was that "strong like tractor, smart like bull") we have erected one of our sleeping tents on top of the hill and this has become our 'China Mobile Tent' so we can have more of a clear shot at the Rongbuk Mobile Tower. That way, instead of standing atop the hill shivering in the wind trying to use a phone or surf the internet on a laptop, we can sit inside a comfortable, warm, windproof tent and communicate with the outside world. So far, so good, it seems to be working as its 22:43 pm on a windy night and I am in the China Mobile Communications Tent sending you this email.
Today was a very busy day for our team. It was our last rest day in basecamp during this first climbing cycle. The weather started off cloudy with a cloud cap on everest and clouds to the north, above Tingri. The wind was mild in the morning, then everest eventually cleared and the wind in basecamp picked up to about 20 km/hr. The temps varied between -3c and +18c throughout the day.
Right after breakfast, people put their names on the roster for the hot shower list and the Tibetan kitchen staff worked admirably to make sure everyone got as much hot water as they wanted so all of us can feel super clean before heading up the mountain.
Assistant leader David Obrien, and Leader in training Gavin Vickers got stuck into making the high altitude medical kits, with the help of Doctor Shree Lakshmi Sharma. We got everything in the kits dialed for pretty much every emergency we could foresee coming up in the next few weeks, and will be carrying these kits with us as we move up the mountain. We also prepared our emergency medical oxygen supplies for interim camp, together with Jimba Sherpa. Next, we got out the walkie talkie radios and tested them and prepared extra battery packs. Gavin worked with our Chinese leader Asu to fine tune the electronics, charging, and lighting systems. David developed a shopping list for our next shipment from Lhasa, probably in a weeks time. The list includes things like batteries, lamps, petrol, plasters, motor oil, prayer flags, electrical tape, incense, etcetera.
Jimba Sherpa has spearheaded a campaign to beautify and organize basecamp and we sorted out all of the massive piles of equipment and materials that had been dropped by various trucks, yaks, and motorbikes during the last week into a very organized system into our new giant Tibetan storage tent, which we are very proud of, as its made of strips of handspun and handloomed local yak wool kind of burlappy type material sewn together and stretched over a tubular steel frame. We built a new stone patio in between the kitchen, store, and dining tents, so we can have dining 'al fresco a la terrace' when the sun is out and the wind is down. Basecamp already is looking much better and we look forward to making further improvements to what is to be our HQ for two months.
Samdien our Tibetan cook prepared an amazing delicious lunch with all kinds of yummy vegetable sidedishes and a delectable pork stirfry. We celebrated the warm day with cans of coke, sprite, and beer, all followed by fresh bananas for dessert. Where did they get these???
After lunch, several small teams of members formed up to explore the surrounding hillsides and two of the groups were excited to run across bluesheep herds roaming the hills. At this rate, one cant help but wonder if it might only be a matter of time till someone spots a big wildcat stalking the sheep.
Some of us spent the rest of the day typing emails, then we moved into the dining tent for a delicious dinner including fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. The after dinner social hour included several of Gavin's more than 200 dvds on Nick's bigscreen computer. So, yes folks, it was SummitClimb/SummitTrek movienight. Believe it or not!
Since arriving in basecamp, all of us are feeling so much more rested, acclimatized, and very ready for tomorrow's 10 day trip up the mountain from here in BC, up to IC, ABC, and the North Col, God willing!! Thanks a lot for following our team and please wish us luck!!
Today we started with an early morning breakfast of porridge, toast, omelettes and bacon on a gorgeous sunny day beneath mighty mount Everest towering above us. After breakfast we walked down valley for 1 hour to the old (upper) Rongbuk monastery for a prayer ceremony with all of our members, sherpas, and the monks and nuns stationed there. It is quite an ancient place, and we could really feel the history as we toured the secret caves beneath the floor of the main room. Then we all went outside and beneath
flapping prayer flags, received a blessing from the head lama. With all of the chanting, scarf presenting, rice and tsampa throwing, juniper and incense burning, and Everest right overhead, it really feels like our expedition has finally begun.
Afterward, we trooped down valley for 20 minutes to a little hamlet of "teahouse" tents and picked a particularly large one and everyone went inside. It was quite lavish and warm with carpeting, wall hangings, soft benches, big warm pillows, large tea tables, and a sheep dung fired stove. Tashi and Tschering, the proprietors, treated us thirsty pilgrims to lovely cups of Tibetan tea and even encouraged the brave among us to sample some of their dried sheep meat, which we carved up with a large butcher knife! During tea, our hosts made an impromptu showing of their lovely carpets and we were impressed with the fine quality locally made Tibetan rugs that could be acquired for only 40 euros.
After tea we wandered back up to basecamp and devoured another amazing lunch of salad, chips, green peas, cheese sandwiches, sautéed ham, and peaches for desert. At this rate, how will we lose weight??!! After lunch many members stayed to enjoy hot showers in our brand new shower tent with propane heated water whilst others of us went to visit teams around basecamp.
More and more teams seem to be arriving each day. Nearby us there is an enourmous Tibetan-Chinese group with over 80 members. We spent an hour touring their 10 giant army style tents, some of which were fully carpeted and even had decorative woolen wall curtains and double insulated artistic tapestry ceilings with Tibetan motifs. Our Tibetan-Chinese friends were very kind to us and generously presented us with a generator upon our departure from their camp, so the Summitclimb basecamp will now be even more fully blessed with massive amounts of electricity.
After that visit, we stopped at the camp of some German friends and had the good fortune to be able to sample some delicious apple cider and we were very fortunate to be able to return the favour by assisting with some technical issues they were having with their internet connection, and thanks to one of our member's help (he is a bit of a technical wizard) they were able to send some video files back to Germany for a television programme they are making about their ascent of the Japanese and Hornbein couloirs.
Back at our own camp, in our comfortable insulated and heated mess tent on a chair setup on top of the dining table, Gordon and Elizabeth Hopper were showing a fascinating slideshow on Nick's bigscreen computer about their trek up the Khumbu valley last year with SummitTrek. They had some great photos and during the interesting show we munched on our delicious, fried chicken, fresh green bean, fresh salad, and fresh potato dinner, followed by fresh sliced fruit for dessert.
Well, after such a busy day it was time for bed and well deserved sleep. We plan to rest in basecamp again on 11 and 12 April, and then move up to "interim camp" on 12 April. Thanks for following our expedition and wish us luck!!
Loading yaks in basecamp for the trip up to interim camp, Everest behind (Dan Mazur).
Today we were up early and split into two groups. The first drove to basecamp in two landcruisers and the second took the comfortable bus. It was a long and beautiful drive through the gorgeous Tibetan plateau and into the undulating foothills surrounding Everest.
Our bus slowly lumbered up about 100 switchbacks to climb the 5200 metre Pang La. Just below the Pang La we spotted a herd of around 20 Tibetan gazelles watching us from a grassy knoll. On the top of the pass the wind blew quite strongly and we had to don our down jackets. It was sunny and clear and we could see Kangchenjunga, Makalu, Everest, part of Lhotse including Lhotse Shar, Cho Oyu, and Shishapangma. An incredible treat to view 6 of the world's highest 14 "8000 metre" mountains.
Using our pretty good map of the region, we could trace the Rongbuk River valleys and see the hills between which basecamp was located. The Tibet side of Everest definitely has the best views of Everest and the Nepal-Tibet himalaya one could imagine.
We climbed back into our vehicle and slowly rolled down another 100 switchbacks and through the famed mount Everest tunnel. Exiting the tunnel, we spooked a herd of about 15 bluesheep, and some of them stood on the hillside above the road and watched us lazily while we coasted by. One massive ram had a sweeping full curl of horns upon his head, an imposing site. We motored on down to the Rongbuk Valley and slowly traced our way along the river.
We stopped at the traditional Tibetan village of Tashi-zom and had tea. We checked out the rooms at this comfortable carpet bedecked little café-lodge-hotel and enjoyed friendly exchange of chatter with the locals in Tibetan, English, and Chinese.
Finally we reached the famed Rongbuk Monastery, showed our permits and passports for the umpteenth time and were admitted to the restricted road to basecamp that only expedition vehicles are allowed to traverse. By the way the road is graveled from Tingri for nearly its entire length, much to the contrary that it has been tarmacked. Wrong!
We crossed the alluvial delta that is basecamp, bouncing over cobbles and crossing frozen streams, and pulled up directly in front of our large dining, kitchen, and sleeping tents. Looming in the background, we can see Everest in all of her majesty. Gratefully we extricated ourselves from the vehicles and dove into the dining tent for a much needed delicious meal. After dinner, we sorted ourselves into our individual sleeping tents, and as we dropped off to sleep, reflected upon what a touch of luxury it is to have our own personal sleeping tent that we can spread our stuff out in and that we don’t have to share with anyone.
Leader in training Gavin Vickers and assistant leader David O Brien with Tashi at the party inaugurating the new hotel in Nyalam (Dan Mazur).
Today we took a rest in Tingri. It was a sunny and warm day so we walked up to the viewpoint in the morning and evening for great photos of Everest, Cho Oyu, and Pumori. Some members walked the local hills to 5000 metres. The TMA restaurant served lots of vegetables and the meat eaters went over to the Lhasa hotel for a carnivorous satiation. Some of us worked on emails and internet throughout the day. Asu, our Chinese leader worked to get last minute shopping and organizing accomplished. All members met in the warm and cozy lhasa hotel for a nice cup of tea after dinner, and then we tucked into bed, anticipating our drive up to basecamp tomorrow.
Today we awoke early and after breakfast drove from Nyalam to Tingri. The road is in very good condition and the visibility was clear so we could see a lot. We crossed the 5000 metre/16,400 foot Yakri Shong La pass and saw lovely unobstructed views of mount Shishapangma, 14th highest in the world and the only 8000 metre peak located entirely in Tibet. Finally we have reached the mighty Tibetan plateau and it showed all of its dry high elevation.
Surprisingly there is almost no road traffic, proving the point that Tibet is still nearly closed. So we feel very fortunate to be here. Along the highway, we saw two groups of native wild asses, and a pair of huge Tibetan cranes wading in a pool near the road. This is such a rare siting of a bird that is rapidly approaching extinction. As we zoomed along the smooth ribbon of tarmac in our comfortable bus and land cruisers, donkey carts and Himalayan snow pheasants scooted out of our way. Rounding a corner near Gutsuo town the plateau spread her arms wide and luckily we saw mounts Cho Oyu and Everest in all their glory. Everest stood proud over the highway and we couldn't help but notice an enormous 5-10 kilometre wind plume screaming from the summit. Finally we arrived in dusty and frontier like Tingri town at noon, and we were assigned our rooms at the local inn. While awaiting lunch, the members broke out a football (soccer ball) kindly purchased by David O'Brien and challenged our sherpas to a football match. By the time the lunch bell rang, the members had scored 1 goal and the sherpas 6!! At lunch, we celebrated Gavin Vickers 40th birthday and Shri Lakshmi presented him a pair of tiger embroidered cotton briefs and Gavin went back to his room and much to everyone's dismay, modeled the briefs around the dining room. Shocking!!
After lunch our sherpa team rang from basecamp to say that they and the two trucks had arrived, but where was the truck with our Tibetan and Chinese staff and all of the food and kitchen equipment being brought down from Lhasa? Our sherpas were hungry! In the meantime us members back in Tingri met to work out the schedule of the North Col members and ABC trekkers, then we met with the basecamp translator in order to place our yak order.
Apparently we have been assigned 168 yaks. Our equipment is up in basecamp, so lets get a few of those yaks moving towards advanced basecamp (ABC)! A bit later in the day, our Tibetan convoy rang from Shegar to say that someone had smashed their truck's windscreen during the night and they had to get a new one sent over from Shigatse. Finally the Tibet convoy did reach basecamp at 9pm, so our Nepali sherpas and Tibetan and Chinese staff were at last united and all is well. In the evening, after dinner, we walked up the hill above Tingri town and enjoyed the view across the Tibetan plateau toward Everest and Cho Oyu (now in cloud) from the impressive granite monument built to honour Chomolungma Mount Everest. On the way down we strolled through Tingri's one dusty street, and dodged barking dog packs to head for the Lhasa hotel and a delicious cup of tea beside a warm sheep-dung fired stove. Just another "normal" day in Tibet I guess!
This is a spectacular view of Tingri, the last town we stay in before heading to basecamp. In the background you can see Cho Oyu , the world's 6th highest mountain (Tunc Findik).
Today we awoke early at our luxurious new hotel and had breakfast at the Basecamp Restaurant. Then we opened the trucks and removed some warm clothing from our duffles, then repacked the trucks and 5 of our sherpas headed out with the two trucks to make tracks for Tingri and get basecamp setup in advance of the group's arrival. Members went for walks in surrounding hills before lunch and were treated to amazing views of 6000 metre peaks like Chomo Pamari and Dorje Lakpa. Along the ridge lines, several groups of wild Himalayan bluesheep were spotted, a rare treat to see the native wildlife. After dinner at Snowland Restaurant, Tashi, the owner, threw a massive party for us and made a lot of speeches, treated us to a big bonfire, lots of drinks, and the Tibetan nomads performed a ceremonial dance for us, around the crackling blazing fire. All in all, it was a very amazing day and we went to sleep with big smiles on our faces.
Today we awoke very early in Tingri and had breakfast at Hotel Gange at 9am Chinese time. Then we boarded our bus and jeeps and all of us members and sherpas and trucks set off for Nyalam town. The weather was stunning and we were treated to amazing views of the Bote Khosi gorge (grand canyon of the friendship highway) with monstrous cliffs, lush hemlock and fur forests and towering giant icy-rocky mountains high above our heads. Finally we reached Nyalam around noon, and settled into the Snowland Hotel.
We had a delicious lunch at Snowland restaurant. Some of the members decided to go for walks on the surrounding hills. Everyone is excited to be in Tibet and we are wandering around the village, enjoying the rugged open slopes and high snowy mountains looming above.
In the afternoon, our expedition leader David O'Brien met with Tashi, the hotel's owner and he suggested we move to a newer and better hotel, so we did. The new hotel is also called Snowland and it's very nice.
In the late afternoon, clouds rolled in and a wind driven snow blizzard ensued and it was quite humbling, reminding all of us how cold and stormy it can be in Tibet. The storm finally abated and we went to Base Camp restaurant for dinner. After dinner, several of us sat around the woodstove in the resaurant reminiscing about our good fortune in being able to come to Tibet.
The expedition leaders met later in the evening with our climbing sherpa leader Jangbu and we discussed plans and progress. The leaders are Gavin, David, and Dan. Also around the dinner hour our Chinese leader Asu called and we had a long discussion on the phone with Asu and our Tibetan cook Samdien. They have loaded one truck with supplies in Lhasa and are driving it down and plan to meet our sherpas in basecamp on the 6th of April, so that when the team members arrive in basecamp on the 8th, everything will be fully setup. So, in its own very differently organised Tibetan way, everything seems to be coming together.
Greetings SummitClimbNews.com readers. Thanks for following us! Today we met in the lobby of the Beijing Hotel at 3am. We packed the trucks and buses carefully for our trip to Tibet on the friendship highway. We swung past the Annapurna Hotel and picked up the rest of our members and finished loading the bus. Then we began the long drive to Kodari, reaching there around 11am. Fortunately the weather was good and the road was in good shape. The countryside looked unusually dry, evidence of Nepal's drought.
Our sherpas unloaded the bus while the rest of us enjoyed a delicious breakfast in the Mount Kailash hotel. Then all of us members, sherpas and local porters crossed the friendship bridge border into Tibet, reloaded our stuff onto Tibetan trucks and ourselves into Tibetan buses, jeeps and taxis and went up to Zhangmu town. The road was under construction in places so this took a while. We had lunch in Hotel Gange and stayed in the comfortable gange hotel in Zhangmu that night.
Nepal side team group photo at Annapurna Hotel on morning of departure (Dan Mazur).
Everest Tibet Leaders:
- Dan Mazur (leader) - US/UK
- David O'B. (assistant leader) - UK
- Asu (assistant leader) - China
- Gavin V. (leader-in-training) - Australia
North Col May:
- Brian B. - USA
- Stan S. - USA
- Tom J. - Denmark
ABC Trek May :
- Ms. Elizabeth W.-B. - USA
- Regis H. - USA
- Anthony D. - Australia
North Col Mar-Apr:
- Ms. Srilakshmi S. - UK
- Roland S. - Sweden
ABC Trek Mar-Apr:
- Alex W. - USA
Everest Tibet Staff:
- Lhakpa Sherpa Lama
- Phurba Sherpa
- Ang Babu Sherpa
- Jangbu Sherpa
- Gyalje Sherpa
- Jangbu Sherpa (2)
- Dawa Jangbu Sherpa
- Kipa Sherpa - cook
- Samdien - cook