May 24, 1:00pm Everyone is Down
to the South Col
This will be the final message from Everest for today because we just got word
that everyone is safe back at the South Col. Mingma Rita had food and hot
drinks ready and waiting for them, and now everyone is heading for their
sleeping bags. Tomorrow they will leave Camp 4 and descend the Lhotse Face to
Camp 2, and the following day they will head on down to Base Camp.
A special thanks goes to Vern, Jose Luis, and Lakpa for orchestrating this
success, as well as the entire sherpa staff from summit sherpas to cookboys. I
would especially like to recognize Mingma Rita, who was the support person at
the South Col for about 4 days. Here at base camp we had a whole team of
people helping each other out, but Mingma was pretty much on his own taking
care of a lot of people up
there at the South Col. That was a herculean effort. So thanks to everyone,
and from higher and lower on the mountain, goodnight.
Ellie at Base Camp
May 24 - 9:00am Heading Down
Getting to the top is only half way, now the team has to get themselves all
the way down again. And they have to do it safely, even though they've been on
their feet since last night. We just got a call from Lakpa that they are all
on their way down - the first people
have crossed the South Summit and the last are just below the Hillary step.
They should be back to the South Col by early to mid-afternoon. When they call
in their location on the way down I will pass it on to all of you so you can
track their progress. They will be clipped into fixed lines for most of the
way, now they just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other until
they are down.
Mingma Rita will be waiting for them at the South Col with food and drinks.
Those sleeping bags are going to look awfully good.
Ellie at Base Camp
The good news for today from Alpine Ascents is that the first team, "Team
Red", led by Dave Morton, reached the summit of Everest this morning at 8:20.
Huge congratulations go out to Dave, Jeff Dossett, Melissa Arnot, Tsering
Dorjee Sherpa, and Fura Kancha Sherpa. They left the South Col at about 10:30
last night and climbed through the night in excellent conditions. While clouds
and snow enshrouded base camp, the climbing team enjoyed fairly clear skies
and almost no wind. The climb was not easy however. With a climbing window of
only a few days, Team Red encountered many other climbers on the route,
leading to bottlenecks and hold-ups in many places. But they persevered and
overcame the difficulties. It took the team about four hours to climb from the
South Col to the Balcony, and another four hours to reach the South Summit.
From just below the South Summit it took them about two hour to negotiate the
traffic jams to reach the true summit. It is now 12:30 and everyone is now
safely back at the South Col ready to enjoy a good meal and some sleep.
Tomorrow they will start on their way back to base camp.
Base Camp Manager
May 21 Excitement at Camp 3 : Hello friends, family, and loved ones. This is
Team Everest calling in from Camp 3, higher than anything out there other than
in Asia. We're higher than Aconcagua right now. We've just put down a fairly
decent dinner of spanish rice con jamon, and we're just sitting back and
enjoying the O's (oxygen). We're going to be sucking down about a half liter
of oxygen tonight, and that's going to get us in good shape for going up to
Camp 4 tomorrow. So everyone on the team up here is in pretty good shape and
We had a little excitement a while ago when Jose Luis blew up the kitchen. I
just left the tent for a minute and the whole kitchen just went up in flames.
It was tremendous. Jose Luis is denying it, of course. It put out all the
stoves and blew a cylinder head; it was pretty dramatic. Jose Luis says "It
wasn't my fault". But all are ok, other that a couple spilled pots of water.
Anyway, stay tuned tomorrow as we continue up the mountain.
Ciao for now, Vern Tejas at Camp 3
Team Moves up the Mountain 05/20/2008: Note from the Office: We are still
operating under limited communications based on the government restrictions.
The weather looks good and the team is taking their scheduled rest day at Camp
2 and will plan to move on up to 3 tomorrow.
Earlier: Team Climbing to Camp III
: Hello friends family and loved ones, this is Team Everest calling in.
Finally we got above Camp II. Today we crossed the glacier and reached the
Bergschrund, the huge crevasse at the base of the Lhotse face. The sun was
beating down on us and it made for a fairly short day, but it set us up for
the big push tomorrow, up to Camp III, where we are planning to spend the
night. So stay tuned for further action form Team Everest.
Team Back at Camp I : Hello
friends, family and loved ones this is Team Everest reporting in from high on
the flanks of Everest in the Western Cwm. We moved up to camp one today, we
started very early, we woke up at 3:00 and got out by 4:30 am. We were able to
cut down our time and our exposure to the hot sun light by going early and
that enabled us to move more quickly. We actually were able to trim our time
down from nine hours on our first trip to about seven hours this time and that
is a good thing, it is showing that everyone is acclimatizing. Everyone is
doing well and all are in good spirits. Camp is definitely getting old; the
tents are melting in after the couple of weeks that they have been sitting
here. This will be our last time to use Camp I the next time we will go all
the way to Camp II from base camp. We are thinking of you and we are happy
that you are tuning in to read these cybercasts. Please join us tomorrow as we
head up the hill doing the mountaineer thing, moving to Camp II. Ciao for now
from what would be the top of Denali if we were in North America but it is
just Camp I here on Everest – Vern Tejas.
Resting at Base Camp : Hi everyone, hope that all is well. The team has had a
few days to rest and recover at base camp. We are ready and eager to go back
to high altitude for our last acclimatization trip before our summit attempt.
All the team members are doing well and in good spirits. The weather has also
improved today so we are optimistic about the conditions that we will find on
the mountain. Tomorrow we will have an early breakfast and will start moving
to the icefall by 4:30 am. More news tomorrow from Camp I.
All the best - Jose Luis and Team.
PS: Dianette would like to say Happy 18th Birthday to her daughter Brianna;
she can not wait to see you here in base camp. Much love to you Brianna.
Hello from Base Camp : Hey there friends, family and loved ones this is the
Everest Team checking in from base camp, it has been wonderful enjoying all
the oxygen down here. We are starting to get some weather unfortunately after
a long streak of sunny skies we are now getting snow daily. The snow has been
keeping us somewhat tent bound however we have still been able make an
acclimatization walk or two down to the bakery at the other end of camp and
enjoy the apple pie. The team members are doing well and are getting over the
coughs that have been nagging us since the beginning of the trip. Hopefully we
will be able to go back up in a couple of days not only to Camp II but
hopefully on to Camp III as well. Please stay tuned and come join us for Cinco
de Mayo. Ciao for now.
Team Back at Base Camp : A note from the office: The Everest Team has
dropped back down to base camp. They are enjoying the oxygen and the showers.
They are all doing well and looking forward to a good night sleep.
Team at Camp II : The team headed back up to Camp II from Camp I today and it
took them a little over five hours to make the move. It was a beautifully day
on the mountain although a bit windy at times. Everyone is doing well and send
Back at Camp I : Yesterday was a full day of relaxation for the team, there
was a little bit of hiking but mostly reading books and relaxing. Today the
team returned to Camp I and they were able to cut two hours in moving up to
20,000 feet, about the same height as Mt. McKinley and the team members are
feeling good. This evening they enjoyed a good dinner of vegetables and
tortellini with Guinea Pig Sauce prepared Jose Luis. They are going to bed
early tonight and will be getting up tomorrow morning to head further up the
mountain. Thanks for following along.
Camp II : A note from the office: After an early rise and a big breakfast the
team took the shortcut through the Western Cwm and knocked off about two hours
from the time that it usually takes them to get up to Camp II. This shortened
route was a good thing considering what a hot day it was up there. They are
now at about 21,000 feet at the base of the southwest face of Everest. They
are feeling the altitude a little bit now but are happy to be at Camp II.
Team Explores Western Cwm : A note from the office: The Everest Team is doing
well at Camp I. After a good breakfast the team spent the day exploring in the
Western Cwm. It was warm and sunny day and after few hours on the trail the
team got some excellent views of upper Chomolungma (Everest). On the way back
to Camp I they took a shortcut to avoid traffic and it took about 1/6 of the
time that it took to go up, to go down. A rather handy shortcut, they will try
to use it again tomorrow when they head up to Camp II. Thanks for following
Team at Camp 1: A note from the office: The Everest Team has made it up to
Camp I at about 6,000 m and they are ready to spend their first night there.
They left base camp at 5:00 in the morning and it took them a little over 8.5
hours to climb up through the Khumbu Icefall to Camp I. Everyone did really
well with the move to the higher elevation. Tomorrow the team will take an
acclimatization hike and then spend another night at Camp I. Thanks for
Team Prepares for Camp I : From the Alpine Ascents office: The Team is doing
well, today they did an acclimatization hike and stopped in at the bakery.
They spent the rest of the day preparing to g up through the icefall to Camp
I. Thanks for following.
More intensive this time, much more intensive. I hope that your tax day was
good, ours was very taxing but we are back at it, we are on the ropes again.
We are reviewing techniques again, we are going up and down and sideways on
ice. People are getting it well and we are looking forward to being able to
(…transmission break…) up the icefall when the day comes. With that in mind
please stay tuned, all the best. Tomorrow we will have Puja. Ciao for now.
Team Doing Well
A note from the office: The team is doing well and resting at base camp. The
Sherpa have completed fixing the icefall and our Sherpa team is scheduled to
start up to Camp I tomorrow – and prepare Camp I tents.
Earlier Update:Everest Base Camp
Hi there Friends,
Up early and on the trail for five hours, we made it to our base camp at the
foot of at Everest. At last we are here and ready to begin our great
undertaking. Our fine Sherpa team has built us super campsite. We each have a
tent of our own along with a cook tent, dinning hall and communications tent.
We look forward to settling into our new digs. We all pitched in setting up
our solar power system and lights for the main hall. Team members are well and
seem to be handling the altitude with little stress. Join us as we learn what
the climb will require of us.
Vern and Team
Earlier: Team Continues to Trek
through the Khumbu
04-08-2008 : We are up and at it quite early, a beautiful sunny day, finally
the clouds have dissipated and we now getting to see the mountains that lie
all around this (…transmission break…). As we left Phortse we climbed towards
an overlook where we could view the Tengboche Monastery, a vast complex that
sticks out on a peninsula ridge into the middle of the valley of the Imja
Khola, which is the river. We hiked all the way into Pangboche where we were
granted audience with Lama Geishe. The Lama blessed us and prayed that we
would be protected and come back safely and successfully from Mount Everest.
He (…transmission break…) us with a kata scarf and prayer strings that we tie
around our necks to help us have a safe return. From Pangboche we climb
through the small town of Shomare and up a large hill over 14,000 feet again
with views of Everest (… transmission break…)
Team Enjoying Namche
Friends, family and loved ones,
Members of the team slept
well considering our just arriving in Namche Bazar which is 3522 meters above
sea level. We arose early hopeful of catching dawns light on the summit slopes
of Everest but our dreams were denied by unusual morning clouds. To better our
acclimatization, we trekked up to the mountain village of Kumjung. We visited
the school that Sir Edmund Hillary help establish. It is now quite a complex
with buildings sponsored by many different countries. In further hopes of
sighting the big "E" we took tea at the Everest View Hotel but were foiled
again by clouds. Clouds that built though out the day until they couldn't
stand it any longer. With a deafening clap of thunder, snow and hail painted
the Namche in winter.
This could make trekking to
our next destination, the village of Thame, a bit of a slog. But please don't
let a little moisture keep you away.
See you tomorrow, Vern
Earlier Update: Tashi Delek from Phakding
April 3- Phakding
Tashi Delek from the village of Phakding in the Khumbu Valley!
Our flights this morning out of Kathmandu went as smoothly as they ever go
which is definitely something to be thankful for. This past October Winslow
and I were delayed 5 days trying to get our flight out of the city. So today
was payback- we had a nice 6:30 a.m. breakfast, left for the airport at 7 a.m.
and landed in Lukla just after 10. Just like clockwork.
The Lukla landing is always an exciting one with its short 7% grade runway and
didn’t fail to disappoint with the added fun of some limited visibility on the
approach. We lost some elevation coming into Phakding from the 9,000+ level of
Lukla which is nice for day one. Tomorrow we’ll be up early to begin our day
up to Namche Bazaar. The crew is psyched to be hitting the “capital of the
Khumbu”. Surprisingly we only have 4 people out of our 14 that have not been
in Nepal so many of our team members are veterans of this trek.
Today our last MI-17 heli cargo flight was able to make it into Syangboche
which sits over 12,000’ just above Namche Bazaar. Our first helicopter cargo
flight was about a week ago. The gear, food and equipment from that flight
began its journey to BC today aboard a long train of yaks. Many of our Sherpa
climbing staff are headed with those loads as well to start establishing the
BC for the season. Most likely they will arrive on the 5th giving them a week
to set up for our arrival on the 12th. The work to get BC in shape is
extensive. It’s a true construction crew breaking up the ice and moving large
rocks to create a more hospitable and flat environment for our home the next
I know you’ve been introduced to the team already through previous cybercasts
and the team bios. In a few days time we’ll be posting the link to another
website which will cover the group that consists of myself, Jeff Dossett and
Melissa Arnot. We hope you’ll follow along with this cybercast as well as that
Alpine Ascents’ 2008 Everest Expedition is definitely underway despite the
turns and twists of the last couple weeks. With permits in hand not only are
we excited but the large numbers of Nepalis that depend on expeditions for
work each season are ecstatic. It is good to see that the Nepal government has
seen the value of keeping the season alive.
We’ll be in touch over the next couple days.
Namaste, Dave Morton
Team at Namche 04/03/2008
Hello family and friends,
Today is Thursday the 3rd. We are sending this cybercast from Namche Bazaar the
Sherpa capital located at about 11,000 ft. It sits in a horseshoe shaped valley
with mountains all around. We traveled through the Sagarmata National Park. We
ascended three thousand feet over a distance of five miles.
Namche Bazaar is a beautiful village and leading market place in the Khumbu
valley. We will stay here two nights acclimating to this altitude before
ascending higher to Thame. Along the route we crossed numerous bridges over the
Dud Koshi river. John mentions that the wind was always blowing up the valley.
We are enjoying the hospitality of the Panorama lodge. Looking forward to
spending a full day tomorrow at Namche Bazaar.
All the best,
John and Jose Luis
Earlier Update: Kathmandu Tour
Namaste friends, family and loved ones,
The team had a real eye opening look at life (and death) on our tour of
Katmandu today. As the early morning light dawned we ascended the 365 steps to
the top of the famous Monkey Temple that looks down upon the city. Home to
over 900 rascally primates and a Buhdda-eyed stupa, the temple mount is
stunningly picturesque. Students sang for us at the boarding school where we
sponsor 18 young scholars. We were awed by the Hindu cremation pyres along
Katmandu's holy river. The Sadhus (holy men) however, garnished the most
photos as they struck up meditative poses amongst shrines of Shiva.
The team is in high spirits as we anticipate an early morning departure to the
mountains. So, please stay tuned for our further adventures.
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 you’re leaving C4…it’s 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 there’s not much holding the rope and a fall could be serious. Fortunately
it’s 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. There’s 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 you’re getting set up for the rappel. Wearing an oxygen mask here can
create some footing issues during the rappel, because it’s impossible to see
over the mask and down to the feet. For that reason, some people choose to
leave Camp 4 without gas, as it’s easier to keep moving down the Spur when
it’s 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 aren’t so steep, where fixed ropes through here are solid.
At this point, it’s 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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