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 Everest 2008: LINA QUESADA EVEREST EXPEDITION is already in Katmandu

Sevilla, April 7, 2007
Lina Quesada is already in Katmandu, the capital of Nepal.  She flew last Saturday via Madrid-Doha (Qatar)-Katmandu and in a couple of days she will fly to Lukla to start the aproach trek to Everest Base Camp in the Khumbu valley by the southwest face route or by the South Col.
Sevillan mountain climber Lina Quesada, third in the national ranking, will be the first Andalucian woman to attempt to climb the 8,848 meters of the highest mountain in the world, which in Nepal is called Sagarmatha (the sky forehead) and Chomolungma or Qomolangma Feng (mother of the unierverse) in Tibetan. 
In the following days Lina plans to organize all the material, do the last shopping and meet the high altitude Sherpa who will go with her on her attempt to reach the roof of the world.  She will also visit some temples and stupas of the noisy Nepalese capital before getting into Sherpa territory.
The first Spanish woman to reach the summit was Araceli Segarra in 1996.  The expedition is sponsored by Consejería de Turismo, Comercio y Deporte and the Sevilla Parliament.
Javier Blaquez
Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera


The expedition is sponsored by Consejería de Turismo, Comercio y Deporte
Sevilla, April 2, 2008
Mountain climber Lina Quesada will be the first Andalucian woman to climb the highest mountain of the world, Everest (8,850 meters).  The expedition, which will start next Sunday, April 6, is sponsored by Consejería de Turismo, Comercio y Deporte and the Sevilla Parliament.  The expedition has been presented today in Casa de la Provincia, with the presence of the provincial delegate of Tourism, Comerce and Sports in office, Francisco Obregón, the president of the Sevilla Parliament, Fernando Rodríguez Villalobos, and the president of the Andalucian Mountain Climbing Federation, José Durán, along with Lina Quesada.
Besides becoming the first Andalucian woman to do this feat, Quesada will be number five among the Spanish women who have touched the roof of the world, after Araceli Segarra, Chus Lago, Rosa Fernández and Edurne Pasabán.  Francisco Obregón has noted that the Sevillan mountain climber has "a great background, not only physical but also personal" and that "her humbleness makes her organize smaller expeditions to teach the new generations".
The ascent route to Everest, to be made by Lina will be from the South Face, from Nepal, "which is the one that guarantees the greatest possibility of success for many mountain climbers", in her words.  Also, "it is required to have a lot of experience in high mountain" because one has to "climb through walls of ice and steps".
Quesaada wants to make it to the summit between May 15 and 20 "if the conditions of the weather are good", she said.  "I will be very proud to carry the flag of Andalucia to the highest peak of the world".
April 6: Departure Sevilla – Madrid – Katmandu (Nepal).  Departure in a regular flight with Katmandu as destination.  Night on board.
April 7: Katmandu.  Arrival to Katmandu.  Paperwork for the ascent permit. 
April 8: Katmandu.  Free day in Katmandu, after the preparation of the luggage.
April 9: Katmandu. Flight to Lukla – Trek to Phakding.  From Katmandu airport for a spectacular panoramic flight of 40 minutes in a small plane to Lukla (2,840 m.), a nice Sherpa town and the entrance gate to the Everest region.  The views of the Himalayas mountain system during the flight are amazing.  The landing on the sloppy runway between the mountains in Lukla airport is also a unique experience.  Contact with porters in Lukla and trekking up to Phakding.  The trail is easy and once you pass the town of Ghat, there is a short distance to Phakding (2/3 hours of trekking).
April 10: Phakding – Namche Bazar.  March from Phakding to Namche Bazar 3,446 m., through the giant fir woods and into the Sagarmatha National Park.  Namche Bazar is the capital and commercial center of the Khumbu valley and the region where the Sherpas live.
April 11: Day of rest.  Day of acclimatization.  Free day in Namche Bazar to get used to the altitude and the symptoms that eventually appear could be reduced.  It is recommended to watch the daybreak and sunset from the visitors center of the national park, located in the highest part of the town.  The view is simply spectacular.
April 12: Namche Bazar – Thyangboche Monastery.  Trekking.  The steep streets of Namche are left behind to continue only surrounded by mountains, rivers and pure air.  After the first half hour of trekking, the first views of Ama Dablam, one of the most beautiful mountains of the world and the South Face of Everest surrounded by snowy peaks.  Meal and rest in Phunkitenga (3,250 m) to continue to the famous Buddhist settlement of Thyangboche (3,887 m).  The monastery was built on the summit of a cliff, surrounded by pines, rhododendrons, azaleas and a lot of flowers, under the shadows of some of the most impressive mountains of the world: Thamserku, Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Lhotse and Everest.  A magical and beautiful place that invites for peace and meditation (6 hours of trekking).
April 13: Thyangboche – Pheriche.  Descent to Imja Khola river and route to the town of Pheriche (4,243 m.)
April 14: Pheriche – Lobuche.  Ascent to Dingboche, where the ascents to Mera and Island Peak Stara, taking 6 hours through the final moraine of the Khumbu glacier, light descent and a valley that meets Lobuche at 4,930 m.
April 15: Lobuche – Everest Base Camp.  Ascent along the Khumbu glacier to Base Camp, where I will be staying for almost 2 months at 5,400 m. 
April 16 to May 28: Days planned to climb Everest.  A couple of days at Base Camp acclimatizing at 5,400 m.  A little above base camp is the Khumbu icefall, with crevasses and unstable seracs which make it one of the most dangerous passages of this route.  Many climbers and Sherpas have died in that part.  The ascent to Camp I will start before daybreak when the low temperatures fix the blocks of ice.
From Camp I (6,065 m) you cross the Western Cwm up to the base of the Lhotse wall, where Camp II is located at 6,500 m of altitude.  You turn right to cross the valley to reach the base of Nuptse and through a corridor known as the "Nuptse Corner".  The Western Cwm is also called the Valley of Silence because its closed topography reduces wind along the route.  The great altitude in a clear and windless day could make the Western Cwm very hot for climbers.
From Camp II you ascent  the North Face of Lhotse by a part equipped by Sherpas with fixed lines up to Camp III, located in a platform at 7,470 meters of altitude.  From there, there are other 500 more meters up to Camp IV in the South Col at 7,920 m.
From Camp III to Camp IV, two more challenges have to be passed: the Geneva Spur and the Yellow Band.  The Geneva Spur is a black rock that was named by a Swiss Expedition in 1952.  The lines fixed along the way will help us pass over the snow covered rock.  The Yellow Band, a section of sandy sedimentary stone that requires some 100 meters of rope to pass.  On the South Col you enter the "dead zone".  At this point you have two or three days to attempt the assault to the summit.  Clear weather and little wind are of great importance at the time of deciding to make a summit attack.  If the weather is not right we have to descend even to Base Camp.
(The first attempt is planed for the 15 to 20 of May)
Climbing will start around midnight on the definitive day of the summit attack with the hope to make it to the summit in 10 or 12 hours.  The Balcony is reached first at 8,400 m, a little platform where you can rest while you watch the peaks to the south and east during sunrise.  Continuing by the ridge, there are some impressive steps of rock that make you get into waist deep snow, which is a little added risk.  At 8,750 m, a little formation of the size of a table made by ice and snow marks the South Summit.  From this point you continue by the southeast ridge known as the Cornice traverse.  This section is one of the most dangerous because a false step can send you to a fall into the emptiness in both sides of the ridge.  The famous Hillary step is at the end of this part, an impressive wall of rock of some 12 meters high at an altitude of 8,760 m which is passed using the installed fixed lines.  Once you have passed this part, the rest is relatively easy.  Once above you can almost feel that you are on the top of the World, on Mount Everest.  Permanence on the summit is around 20 minutes to be able to go back to Camp IV before sunset.
May 29: Base Camp – Thyangboche.  Descent to Thyangboche, rest in a lot less altitude.
May 30: Thyangboche – Phakding.  We will continue descending to Phakding.
May 31: Phakding – Lukla. Descent to Lukla.
June 1: Lukla – Katmandu.  Flight from Lukla to Katmandu and to the hotel.
June 2: Katmandu – Sevilla. Fight to Spain on June 8.  There is slack time from June 3 to 8 because of changes in the plans of because of bad weather.
Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera 

Earlier: Sevilla, April 1st, 2008

The delegate of Tourism, Comerce and Sports, Francisco Obregon, with the president of the Sevilla Parliament, Fernando Rodriguez Villalobos, present tomorrow, at 10:30 in Casa de la Provincia, the new expedition to Everest with mountain climber Lina Quesada.  The climber, who will leave to Nepal next Sunday, will be the first Andalucian woman to attempt to climb the highest peak of the world.
Presentation of Lina Quesada Everest Expedition
DAY: Wednesday, April 2
Time: 10:30
Place: Salón Comisiones, Casa de la Provincia, Plaza del Triunfo, Sevilla

More soon on Lina Quesada

Everest from the South Side in Nepal

sbrr2.jpg (46375 bytes)

Full size picture

Base Camp - 17,500 feet (5350 meters)

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). 

From base 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. 

The Icefall 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 - 5900 meters

After the 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.

The area 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 - 6500 meters

As the 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.

Camp IV, 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.

Summit - 29,028 feet (8848 meters)

Once the 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.  

As most 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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