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Island Peak, Everest Glacier School and Everest Base Camp News

  • islandpeaknews1 Thile Nuru Sherpa and Sangeeta roped together on the Island Peak glacier. Photo by Dan Mazur.
  • islandpeaknews1 Final approach to Island peak summit. Photo by Emil Friis
  • islandpeaknews1 Nathan, Sangeeta, and Thile in the Island Peak crevasse field. Photo Dan Mazur.
  • islandpeaknews1 Sangeeta training belay near ice wall. Photo Dan
  • islandpeaknews1 Before summit team are in high camp. Photo by Title
News of our recent expedition: Everest Base Camp Trek, Island Peak and First Everest View Glacier School (Lobuche), organiser Dan Mazur
 
The season began in early April, after a snowy winter. The snow continued to fall lightly through the middle of April and the temperatures remained moderate. Our teams began arriving in Everest's Khumbu Valley at Lukla on 9 April. Our beautiful Himalayan trek arrived in basecamp on 17 April. Prior to that we had an extremely slow trek up with three rest days, one extra rest day due to snowfall. Even so, one of our trekking members did not feel they were aclimatizing well and left our trek prior to reaching basecamp, in order to descend to Kathmandu, for thicker air. Our Everest View Glacier School Group branched off for training in the Cho La Pass, and then climbed 6100 metre / 20,000 foot high Lobuche Peak for stunning views of Everest.

Our Everest basecamp trek and Island Peak group visited Everest basecamp, joining the team for lunch, and climbed 5500 metre / 18,000 foot high Kala Patar with stunning views of Everest. The Island Peak team went on to climb Nepal's most famous trekking peak which can be climbed from Island Peak basecamp to the 6100 metre / 20,000 foot summit in just one day. After their success, they trekked down to Lukla and flew back to Lukla. In a surprise visit, 2 of our Everest Glacier School members came up to Everest basecamp and arriving on a training day, they spent another afternoon practicing climbing and descending ice pinnacles before trekking back down the Khumbu valley. We had scheduled a 2nd group of treks and training climbs for later in April, however, on 25 April, a huge ice avalanche from Mount Lingtren destroyed Everest basecamp. At 12:00 noon, a 7.5 earthquake hit the entire Nepal and Tibet region with as many as 10,000 people dead or missing. In basecamp around 20 people were killed or missing in the aftermath of the 1 minute earthquake. Needless to say, the route through the icefall was destroyed, with little possibility of safe descent and all 100 plus people in camp 1 were helicopter evacuated down to basecamp. Upon arrival we found basecamp to be leveled flat, a total loss. All teams spent the next several days digging through the snow for their lost posessions, and then trekking and helicoptering back to Kathmandu. We wish everyone a safe return and encourage all to lend a hand in rebuilding after the tragic Himalayan Earthquake of April 2015. At this time of writing, the Nepalese and Tibetan peoples are rapidly rebuilding and look forward to your visit during September - October 2015 for Mounts Cho Oyu, Shishapangma, Baruntse, Ama Dablam, Mera Peak, Everest Glacier School, EBC Trek and the Summit of Mount Everest in Autumn 2015 and 2016. The situation is rapidly stabilising, and returning  to normal. Everyone is eager for your return to freshly repaired and well maintained mountain routes, hotels, and lodges, to boost their families' and villages' economies, and for renewed climbing excitement on the highest, most beautiful peaks on Earth, the Nepalese and Tibetan Himalaya.

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

 
Team Summit Island Peak. Photo Stephen Herstall. Kaikuveikko Hynynen Summit Lobuche Peak. Photo Kaiku.
 
  
 
 Janet Summit Kalapather. Photo Janet. Kyle Clothier and Rosmary Herstall summiting Kalapather. Photo Stephen Herstall
 
  
 
Andre Budd summiting Lobuche Peak. Photo Kaiku. Thile Nuru Instructor getting ready for summit action. Photo Kaiku. 
 
  
 
Team at Basecamp. Team at Kalapather. Photo Stephen. 
 
  
 
Team at Pheriche. Photo Kaiku. Gongla Lodge base camp for Cho La pass. Photo Kaiku. 
 
 
 Safe line. Photo Kaiku. Jokiyos carrying loads for our expedition and trek. Photo Marius Iliescu
 
  
 
Team enjoying just below from Namche with the view of Mt. Everest, Lhotse, AmaDlam. Photo  Marius Iliescu
 
  
 
Landscape before Island Peak. Photo Stephen. 
 
 
Trekker enjoying hiking Khumbu Valley. Photo  Marius Iliescu

24 April -

Today's Update from Expedition Leader Dan Mazur: Practice ice climb, abseil, rappel, & ladder on Khumbu Glacier in Everest Basecamp. Lobuche training glacier school also join!

20 April -

Today's Update from Expedition Leader Dan Mazur: Today in basecamp we had the opening ceremony for our expedition with all sherpas and members and 2 lamas. Very sunny!

Porter carries a lot of beer in Dingboche. James Greive Photo. Rosy and Kyle at Kathmandu Airport. Rosy Herstell.

Team checks out the Buddha in Pangboche. Matti Sunell Photo. Wringing water out of clothing in Dingboche. James Grieve Photo.

18 April -

Today's Update from Expedition Leader Dan Mazur: Everest Nepal team reaches basecamp. Everyone is well. The Everest trekkers and Island Peakers joined for lunch too!

16 April -

After Dingboche, the team braved the small hill overlooking Dingboche village to merge onto what was a traffic-ridden Everest Highway, full of climbers and trekkers simultaneously taking advantage of the renewed pleasant weather. Yak teams tolled their friendly bells, sherpa herders shouted their impenetrable curses, and trekkers generally carried on, chatting away about whatever came to mind. For us, it was 'how the recent Tom Cruise films have had very clever plots', and 'what a ranuncula flower looks like if you've never seen one before because it's kind of hard to describe', and 'what we'll be doing seven years from today in the "I am", present case format'.

There were young teenagers sporting street wear, and older folks bent over trekking poles. There were older Japanese with their ever-pristine kit, walking in a perfect line spaced two feet between each trekker, moving aside together whenever anyone needed to pass. They were a perfect millipede.

There was a young group of bright-eyed Israelis, walking in pairs, casually joking and laughing, some listening to music and oblivious to their settings, and one, curiously, with a roll of toilet paper strung about her neck. They were a perfect school trip. This flow of people was a testament to Everest and the Khumbu region's perennial draw, to nature's ability to inspire people of many paths, and to merge them onto one highway. 

We came up on Dukhla shortly, halfway between Dingboche and Lobuche, and stopped for a bit of noodle soup and juice. A bit of romance spontaneously flared up between one of our trekkers, and a pretty young girl from another group. He left the mines to work as a team leader on the ski slopes; she was a nurse, soon moving, but already in love with her future home. Sparks flew, diamox was offered, and bystanders were made gently awkward. Afterward, up the hill we went, and soon, we'd rolled into Lobuche, and the Above the Clouds Lodge. A few celebratory beers were had, and a fantastic set of meals: for lunch was a hyper-indulgent double serving of french toast, and for dinner, spaghetti with mushroom and tomato sauce, with mangos for desert. Fit for kings. In fact,, it was the "last supper", as the day after, the teams would split: Grant, Andre, and Kai would head for Lobuche base camp, and the summit they came for; the New Zealanders (Steve, Sally,  Rosy, and Kyle) would head for Kalapattar and then back to Island Peak; and the Everest team for Everest Base Camp. There was a toast, and lighthearted jokes were made about the team members who'd become inseparable, and would now need to part.

That night, the afternoon snow cleared, and a crystal clear view of Nuptse emerged. It felt like the first night the stars really came out in full force. After dinner, team members stepped out to take extended exposures, and to bask in the night light.
Lobuche by Leo Wang back to top

15 April -

Dingboche is "quite the sprawling Himalayan metropolis", said one of the team members upon arriving. At about 4300 meters, the village's scale is a bit unexpected - a (very) rough estimate would place its length at about 2-3 miles, populated by the usual tin roof, cinderblock wall, and  plywood construction trekking lodges lining both sides of one central artery of mud, wending its way higher and higher, eastward toward Island Peak. From a distance, it looked like a schoolyard hopscotch grid gone cancerous, its residents having piled up stone walls into square-shaped animal corrals, one after another, somewhat willy-nilly. 

The team members of course gravitated to its bakeries; an activity which has emerged as the de-facto "time-killer" of choice. Not difficult to understand. Dingboche's best was apparently Mama's Bakery, a small but cozy shack toward the mouth of the village. The New Zealanders, Steve and his partner Sally, Steve's daughter Rosy and Sally's son Kyle, plus Grant, the minister from Australia, were joined by Garth and Leo, two Everest hopefuls -- all crowded in to sample what they presumed were the eponymous Mama's home cooked treats: chocolate donuts, carrot cake, walnut pie, and chocolate croissants. A few other trekkers filed in and out, including, notably, a film crew from New Zealand come for a documentary on the sherpa-climber relationship, one year after the shattering accident of 2014.

The next day, there was much small-talk admiring the beautiful morning - clear sunshine warmed those of us who sat outside the Yak Lodge, de-layered to soak in as many rays as possible. It was much like a scene from any small town: a few homebodies and lay-abouts arrayed along main street, unconsciously hoping for some news to chuckle at, scoff at, raise an eyebrow at, or ultimately just mindlessly stare at. "Hey is Bantha Brakk in Pakistan, or Northern India?" "I thought it was in the Trango Towers?"

Portable solar panels drank sunlight, propped on plastic lawn chairs from China. A couple teenage porters washed clothes along the muddy path, bogarting some sun-warmed water flowing through a section of the town's black rubber piping. Cards were played; a New Zealander's game of luck. It was called "3-up, 3-down"; unsure if it was only a harmless and catchy name, or a profoundly bleak and satirical statement on life.   

Perhaps to fulfill the bad luck sign that was a full-circle rainbow entirely ringing the sun, from the day before, one team member fell a bit sick, and was ferried down toward Pheriche, for the swift helicopter ride back into Nepali civilization. Combined with exhaustion and a cold, the difficult decision to curtail her trek to Everest base camp was made - expedition leader Dan, senior sherpa Jangbu, Garth, and Janet (aunt of the unlucky
trekker) made two trips to help escort her onto the arranged helicopter. The first attempt was snuffed out by inclement weather, as by now, true to Northern Hemisphere mountain / Himalayan weather patterns, the snow was coming down generously. It was mid-afternoon, when her helicopter finally lighted. Kudos to the trekker for toughing it out day after day - just the day before she made what must have been a truly grueling hike from Pangboche to Dingboche - and to everyone for helping her off the mountain. A couple days later we found she was healthy and active, back in Kathmandu, entertaining ideas of shopping and the climber world renowned Momo Star.

I should also mention a few of our more stalwart members rallied for an acclimatization hike up to 5100 meters, in the morning sunshine. This, is an altitude gain of 800 meters. There always seems to be more than sufficient excitement, and anxiety, and eagerness, and nervous jitters, and generally, human nature, to fuel a few climbers for an "acclimatization hike", on what was a planned rest day.

And so passed a climber's day in Dingboche.  

 
Garth and James on the trail to Dingboche. Damian Bourke Photo. Garth, Damian, Zsolt, Leo, James, and Dan, at the Padmasambhava Statue in Pangboche.Grant, Andre, James, Kyle, and Steve. Damian Bourke Photo
 
  
 
 Sherpa children enjoying a bracelet from James Grieve. Damian Bourke Photo. Snowy Yaks. Damian Bourke Photo. Lakpa, Damian, James and Emily on the trail to Dingboche
 
  
 
Garth, Damian, James, Sally, and Steve. Damian Bourke Photo. Grant Finlay blessed by Lama Geshe

  
 
James, Garth, and Damian at Everest View Hotel. Everest and Ama Dablam in background. Lumber Porter. Grant Finlay Photo.
 
 
One day old horse and mom in Pangboche. James Grieve Photo . Rhododendrons along the trail to Everest. Kangjoma village in backround. Damian Bourke Photo. 
 
  
 
Zsolt, Marius, and Jangbu enjoying a beverage along the trail to Everest Base Camp. Grant Finlay Photo. West Face of Ama Dablam seen from Shomare. James Grieve Photo.
 
 
3 Kiwis with the flag on the summit of Syangboche. Damian Bourke Photo.  Team photo in front of Kwangde Ri at Namche Bazaar. Damian Bourke Photo.

14 April -

Today's blog by Damian Bourke.

Early morning tea delivered to the room combined with a clear sky meant we were heading to Dingboche.  This is one of the most majestic walks you can imagine.  We have been blessed already with snow on the mountains, clear sky, warm day and great company.  All team members are getting on well and we constantly interact whilst trekking.  The groups from new Zealand even get on well with the Australians who like the Scot, who likes the Romanians, Czech and the Americans.its our own global village.

Along the trek to Dingboche there are many stops for 'postcard' photo opportunities.

On arrival in Dingboche (4,360m altitude) the team is fairing well, some minor effects of trekking but hopefully all will come good quickly.
back to top

13 April -

The morning began with a beautiful snow fall in lower Pangboche.  A 20cm layer of pure white snow (except for yak pooh!) It could be said the team preferred a clear day, but the weather had other thoughts.  The beauty of the mountains enhanced with the white snow.

After a hearty breakfast we made our way to Lama Geshe for a blessing on our travels. A spiritual journey begins, whichever that may be for each member. After finding our way through snow back to camp, it was a rest afternoon and early night in anticipation of moving forward tomorrow.

12 April -

After a solid trek from Namche, the team slept as well as you can.

11 April - 

Everest Team arrives in the Capital of the Sherpas: Namche Bazaar

Our team met in Kathmandu, organised everything, and we flew to Lukla, then trekked to Namche, where we are now. We have been so lucky with the weather, everyone and everything has arrived here safely.

Damian Bourke at the Mount Everest National Park Gate. James Grieve Photo. James Grieve in Namche Bazaar.

  

Janet and Emily enjoying the trek to Namche. Zsolt Torok Photo. Yaks on the Namche bridge. Zsolt Torok Photo.


Flower sellers in KTM. Zsolt Torok Photo. KJ and Lakpa buying the team medications.

Andreas and Janine enjoying a sizzling dinner in Kathmandu. James Grieve Photo. Dan Mazur and team discussing expedition plans during the team briefing. Zsolt Torok Photo

  

David O'Brien Tibet Everest Leader. Zsolt Torok Photo. environmental talk in Namche. back to top

 
 
Cherry Blossoms in Chumoa Village on the trail to Namche. Zsolt Torok Photo. Lukla Airport. Zsolt Torok Photo.
 
  
 
Lakpa and Thile Sherpa in front of the new water tank in Namche. Lakpa Sherpa at Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee SPCC Namche. Matti Sunell and Dan Mazur at Ministry of Tourism holding the Lhotse and Everest Permits
 
  
 
Mr. Kapindra Rai. SPCC Incharge. Namche Rubbish Incinerator.
 
  
 
Namche Bazaar Saturday Market. Our campsite in Namche. Zsolt Torok Photo.
 
  
 
Street Scene in Namche Bazaar. James Grieve Photo. Yak loaded for the trip to Namche. Zsolt Torok Photo.

Discovery Channel's Joe French visits www.EverestClimb.com Sherpas.

Today our team packed everything for Everest Tibet, Everest Nepal, Island Peak, Glacier School, Basecamp Trek. We had a nice visit from Discovery Channel's Cameraman Joe French. Who filmed the packing for the television program. Thanks to Joe for filming and to the Sherpas for their hard work.

 
Dendi and Kipa Sherpa pack while Discovery Cameraman Joe French shoots. Kathmandu Valley Mountains behind. Discovery Cameraman Joe French shooting Kipa Sherpa packing.
 
 
 
Overhead view of packing

6 April -

All of our staff are packing for Mount Everest. The members are helping pack too. It is very exciting to get ready, with anticipation!


Deha Shrestha, SummitClimb IT Manager, preparing solar equipment for Everest. Jangbu Sherpa, Sange Sherpa, and Murari Sharma preparing tents, epigas, and drums for Mount Everest. back to top
 
 
 
Ian Bellows from Cascade Leadership Challenge preparing Mount Everest Medical Kits.  Jangbu Sherpa  and Thile Sherpa modeling their new RAB jackets. Thanks RAB!!!.
 
  
 
Our advance Everest team preparing to fly to Lukla. Our Staff preparing the tents for the Everest expedition.

Everest View Glacier School:

  • Kaikuveikko Hynynen
  • Grant Finlay
  • Andre Budd

Island Peak Trekking Peak Team Roster:

  • Stephen Herstall
  • Sally Clothier
  • Kyle Clothier
  • Rosmary Herstall

Everest Basecamp Trek Team Rosters:

Everest Basecamp Trek Team Rosters 2nd Group Start from 21st April:

  • Carlton Mashike

Staffs:

  • Thile Nuru Sherpa
  • Lhakpa Sherpa
  • Pasang Sherpa
  • Request Info about a trip
  • How to join a team?