8th May This morning at 0920 local time (GMT 0120) the Olympic torch reached
the summit of Mount Everest. The team, made up of Tibetans and Han Chinese,
set off several hours earlier from their camp at 8,300m. Low winds and a
clear sky provided perfect climbing conditions. The first and last of the
torch bearers were Tibetan women and one of the mountaineers commented that
they had 'lit this flame on the top of the world for harmony and peace'. We
should now see a lifting of the restrictions on summit teams who can begin
their Everest bid in earnest.
2nd May The luxuries of Base Camp are becoming too much for our grizzled
expedition leader! The thriving DVD market among the teams on the mountain has
left Stu bemoaning the lack of a good old game of cards! However everyone is
doing well and getting nicely rested before the next acclimatisation climb to
Camp 3 in a couple of days.
May 1 : Stu and the team welcomed Adam and the Adventure Peaks' Ultimate
Everest trek members as they reached base camp. Luxury items including jelly
beans and chocolate biscuits went down a storm and the group settled down to
watch a film being premiered at Adventure Peaks base camp! They left this
morning on their journey to Gokyo Lakes.
29th April Stu phoned today to report everyone is well. The
plan is to wait at Base Camp for the Chinese to summit from the North with the
Olympic Flame (hopefully in the first few days of May) before heading back up
to Camp 2 around the 3 May. The weather remains good with little snow.
Winnie the Pooh & Matt above Camp 2 with the Lhotse Face in the background
the Western Cwm from Camp 1
The SW Face
& South Col of Everest looking very bare of snow & ice.
28th April We've just had the latest update from Stu and things are
progressing extremely nicely. Everyone has just returned from a night at Camp
2 at the very head of the Western Cwm. Despite some very hot temperatures in
the Cwm everyone's in good spirits and ready for a well deserved rest at Base
Camp. After a few day recovery, during which the Chinese are planning to
summit from the North with the Olympic flame, our team are hoping to head back
and visit Camp 3 for their final acclimatisation climb.
Peter B at the top of the
Khumba Icefall with the Western Cwm & Lhotse in the background
Peter B & Mark P (on ladder)
in the Khumba Icefall
21st April Everyone is safely
back at Base Camp after their first foray into the Western Cwm and looking
forward to a couple of days rest. The whole team has now spent at least one
night at Camp 1. Our Sherpas are now in the process of establishing Camp 2, at
the foot of the Lhotse Face, which will be the next target for the team.
Everyone's going well and things should feel a lot easier the next time they
head up. On his second climb through the icefall Stu was up in 5.5 hours and
down in 2.
19th April The whole team,
apart from Pete B, went to Camp 1 yesterday. The first time through the
icefall was a lot further than people imagined and took around 6.5 to 8 hours.
Stu has now returned to Base Camp and will head back up with Pete tomorrow.
Everyone else is spending a second night at Camp 1 to aid their aclimatisation.
17th April The team have had
their Puja today and are planning to head up to Camp 1 tomorrow for one or two
nights. If everyone is feeling ok they will then take a walk out towards Camp
2, otherwise they'll head back to Base Camp. Meanwhile, they are enjoying
their acclimatisation and rest time amid the bustle of camp life.
15th April Base camp is
getting pretty busy and folk are getting a feel for the restrictions imposed
this year by the Nepalese with respect to the Olympic flame relay. Yesterday
Stu and the other team leaders had a very productive meeting with the Army
Major who's overseeing the basecamp. We'll still have very good communication
with the team but it'll be a little more involved for individuals to pick up
their messages so please don't worry if you don't hear from folk for a couple
Everyone's heading back up
into the icefall tomorrow morning hoping to get as high as possible. They'll
now hold the Puja during a rest day on Thursday before planning to spend their
first night at Camp 1 on the Friday.
First climb through the
Khumba Icefall heading towards Camp 1
14th April Stu emailed today to let us know the team are now well established
at base camp and getting used to their new surroundings. All except Matt and
Mark P (rest day) went up into the Icefall and reached a height of 5700m
before heading back down. Stu plans to take Matt and Mark P up tomorrow.
They are hopeful that the last part of the route to camp 1 is fixed today or
tomorrow. The team plan to have their Puja (religious blessing) tomorrow
afternoon. Meanwhile, the TV is working a treat and the group have watched a
couple of DVDs. The luxury barrels arrived today, bringing smiles to
everyone's faces. The first pack of pringles has been opened ....
12th April An email arrived from Stu today. The team have arrived safely at
Base Camp this morning. They have set up the lighting, generator, TV and
laptop. Everyone is well and soaking up the atmosphere and buzz as the
different summit teams prepare for the task ahead; Stu estimates there are
somewhere in the region of 270 climbers this year. The weather has been
cloudy with a little snow in the early afternoon but generally fairly good.
The team are itching to put on their crampons and begin acclimatisation
walks. The Sherpas are still in the process of securing the fixed lines on
the Khumbu Ice Fall, a task which should be completed in the next few days. A
slight technical hitch meant that although they managed to download emails
they have not been able to read them.
7th April : The team have now reached the monastery at Tengboche and had their
first views of Everest hidden away behind Nuptse & Lhotse. They've just been
overtaken by the 3.5 tons of base camp equipment which will be in place by the
time they get there. Yesterday was spent resting and acclimatising around
Namche Bazaar with visits to the Sherpa Museum and a sighting of a yeti
(skull)! There's been a reasonable dump of snow today but they've made good
time with some amazing views of Ama Dablam, Lhotse & Everest through the
5th April After a enjoyable flight and a couple of days trekking the team have
now arrived in Namche Bazaar. Everyone's doing fine and not even a hint of a
headache after the infamous Namche hill. It rained briefly this afternoon and
it's been too cloudy for their first view of Everest but everyone's settling
into the Hotel Norling and looking forward to the rest / acclimatisation ay
tomorrow. For those folk at home it's just worth noting that the team won't
have access to the base camp email address until they reach base camp in about
a weeks time. However a number of internet cafes have sprung up along the walk
in and you should be able to contact them on their regular email addresses.
Update 4/3/2008: Our permit has now been issued and we're all good to go.
After all the uncertainty and logistical challenge of moving the expedition to
the South side of Everest, Stu has now got his hands on the permit. Early
tomorrow morning the team will fly to Lukla and begin the trek towards the
mountain exactly on schedule. The Khumbu Ice Fall team have started work and
the route should be established by the time they get to Base Camp. Early
reports are that the mountain received very little snow last winter and
temperatures are pretty cold for this time of the year which means the ice
fall should be in a pretty stable condition.
Update 4/1/2008: 1st April It always somehow seems appropriate to start an
Everest expedition on April Fools Day but everything is going according to
plan. The whole team are now together in Kathmandu and taking it easy before
the serious business starts. Stu & the Sherpas have more than 2 tons of
equipment and supplies to check off before it can be flown by helicopter up to
31st March After a busy final few days Stu has
left us to it in the office and headed to Nepal. Good luck to the whole team.
March The team will depart from the UK on the 31st March to begin their
journey to the South Side of Everest. They'll have a few days to enjoy
Kathmandu and complete their final preparations before flying into Lukla on
the 4th April.
Everest 2008: Adventure
Peaks Expedition which normally goes to the North side of Everest is going
South this year...
Leader : Stu Peacock
Sherpa Staff: Nuru Wangchhu , Sonam Dorjee, Nima Thundu, Gyan, Surrendra,
19th March The team will
depart the UK on the 31st March and will aim to fly to Lukla on the 4th April
once all the final preparations have been made.
Everest from the South Side
Base Camp - 17,500 feet (5350
This is a
picture of the popular South Col Route up Mt. Everest. Base camp is located
at 17,500 feet. This is where climbers begin their true trip up the
mountain. This is also where support staff often remain to monitor the
expeditions and provide medical assistance when necessary. Many organizations
offer hiking trips which just go to base camp as the trip is not technically
challenging (though you must be very fit).
camp, climbers typically train and acclimate (permitting the body to adjust to
the decreased oxygen in the air) by traveling and bringing supplies back and
forth through the often treacherous Khumbu Icefall. This training and
recuperation continues throughout the climb, with the final summit push often
being the only time to climbers do not go back and forth between camps to
train, bring supplies, and recuperate for the next push.
is in constant motion. It contains enormous ice seracs, often larger than
houses, which dangle precariously over the climbers heads, threatening to fall
at any moment without warning, as the climbers cross endless crevasses and
listen to continuous ice creaking below. This often acts as a testing ground
to judge if less experienced climbers will be capable of continuing. The
Icefall is located between 17,500 and 19,500 feet.
Camp I -
Icefall, the climbers arrive at Camp I, which is located at 19,500 feet.
Depending on the type of expedition, Camp I will either be stocked by the
climbers as they ascend and descend the Icefall, or by Sherpas in advance.
between Camp I and Camp II is known as the Western Cwm. As the climbers reach
Camp II at 21,000 feet, they may be temporarily out of sight of their support
at Base camp. Nonetheless, modern communication devises permit the parties to
stay in contact.
Camp II -
climbers leave Camp II, they travel towards the Lhotse face (Lhotse is a
27,920 foot mountain bordering Everest). The Lhotse face is a steep, shiny
icy wall. Though not technically extremely difficult, one misstep or slip
could mean a climber's life. Indeed, many climbers have lost their lives
through such mishaps.
Camp III -
23,700 feet (7200 meters)
To reach Camp
III, climbers must negotiate the Lhotse Face. Climbing a sheer wall of ice
demands skill, strength and stamina. It is so steep and treacherous that many
Sherpas move directly from Camp II to Camp IV on the South Col, refusing to
stay on the Lhotse Face.
Camp IV -
26,300 feet (8000 meters)
As youíre leaving C4Öitís a
little bit of a down slope, with the uphill side to the left. There are
typically snow on the ledges to walk down on, interspersed with rock, along
with some fixed rope. The problem with the rope is that the anchors are bad,
and thereís not much holding the rope and a fall could be serious. Fortunately
itís not too steep, but there is a ton of exposure and people are usually
tired when walking down from camp. The rock is a little down sloping to the
right as well, and with crampons on, it can be bit tricky with any kind of
wind. Thereís a little short slope on reliable snow which leads to the top of
the Geneva Spur, and the wind pressure gradient across the spur can increase
there as youíre getting set up for the rappel. Wearing an oxygen mask here can
create some footing issues during the rappel, because itís impossible to see
over the mask and down to the feet. For that reason, some people choose to
leave Camp 4 without gas, as itís easier to keep moving down the Spur when
itís important to see all the small rock steps and where the old feet are
going. Navigating down through all of the spaghetti of fixed ropes is a bit of
a challenge, especially with mush for brains at that point. One lands on some
lower ledges which arenít so steep, where fixed ropes through here are solid.
At this point, itís just a matter of staying upright, and usually, the wind
has died significantly after dropping off the Spur. The route turns hard to
the left onto the snowfield that leads to the top of the Yellow Bands.
which is at 26,300 on the Lhotse face, is typically the climbers' first
overnight stay in the Death Zone. The Death Zone is above 26,000 feet.
Though there is nothing magical about that altitude, it is at this altitude
that most human bodies lose all ability to acclimate. Accordingly, the body
slowly begins to deteriorate and die - thus, the name "Death Zone." The
longer a climber stays at this altitude, the more likely illness (HACE - high
altitude cerebral edema - or HAPE - high altitude pulmonary edema) or death
will occur. Most climbers will use oxygen to climb and sleep at this altitude
and above. Generally, Sherpas refuse to sleep on the Lhotse face and will
travel to either Camp II or Camp IV.
Camp IV is
located at 26,300 feet. This is the final major camp for the summit push. It
is at this point that the climbers make their final preparations. It is also
a haven for worn-out climbers on their exhausting descent from summit attempts
(both successful and not). Sherpas or other climbers will often wait here
with supplies and hot tea for returning climbers.
From Camp IV,
climbers will push through the Balcony, at 27,500 feet, to the Hillary Step at
28,800 feet. The Hillary Step, an over 70 foot rock step, is named after Sir.
Edmond Hillary, who in 1953, along with Tenzing Norgay, became the first
people to summit Everest. The Hillary Step, which is climbed with fixed
ropes, often becomes a bottleneck as only one climber can climb at a time.
Though the Hillary Step would not be difficult at sea level for experienced
climbers, at Everest's altitude, it is considered the most technically
challenging aspect of the climb.
29,028 feet (8848 meters)
climbers ascend the Hillary Step, they slowly and laboriously proceed to the
summit at 29,028 feet. The summit sits at the top of the world. Though not
the closest place to the sun due to the earth's curve, it is the highest peak
on earth. Due to the decreased air pressure, the summit contains less than
one third the oxygen as at sea level. If dropped off on the summit directly
from sea level (impossible in reality), a person would die within minutes.
Typically, climbers achieving the great summit will take pictures, gain their
composure, briefly enjoy the view, then return to Camp IV as quickly as
possible. The risk of staying at the summit and the exhaustion from
achieving the summit is too great to permit climbers to fully enjoy the great
accomplishment at that moment.
readers of this page know, the return trip can be even more dangerous than the
climb to the summit.
Pictures from Enrique
Guallart-Furio web site http://ww2.encis.es/avent/
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