Hello, this is Sam
Mansikka, the leader of Summitclimb's International Lhotse expedition. Here's
our greetings to Summitclimb News from Namche (3400 metres/11,200 feet) on
Sunday, 27th of April.
After an exciting flight to
Lukla yesterday we hiked to Phakding for the night.
It is beautiful here and
everyone's enjoying the hike so much! There's a good amount of "positive
feeling" in the air, as Stefanos would say.
We have a very international
group consisting of 10 members representing 8 nationalities. We have Diane and
Ian from South Africa, Ron from Canada, Johnny from Denmark, Roger from
England, Stefanos from Greece, Herman and Bert from Holland, Les from New
Zealand and me, Sam from Finland. Bert and Les arrived early and telephoned
two days ago to say they are having lots of fun trekking to Gokyo and then
planning to walk over the Cho La Pass, where we'll meet up with them at Gorak
Shep in a few days. We are planning to reach base camp on May 3rd to start our
Oh, mobile phones seem to
work fine here so I'll call you soon with more news about our expedition to
the world's 4th highest mountain.
Stay tuned to SummitClimb.com
for more dispatches!
This was Sam for
Summitclimb's International Lhotse 2008 Expedition
This morning Ken, Andrew, John Shelton-Smith, John Dowd, Sophie, Matt,
Tenji(1), Dawa, Tenji(2) and Ang Sherpa went to camp 1 and are planning to go
to camp 2 tommorow!
The past three days our Sherpa's have been very busy carrying supplies to C2.
We will have a small basecamp there.
Tommorow Laura, Linda, Arnold,
Christian, Jo, Eric, Berry, Mike, Maciek, Agnieszka, Pasang (1), Pasang (2),
Dorje and Maya Sherpa will go to C1 and on to C2. The Mallory's and Haris will
follow on Sunday.
The mountain is probably going to be closed from the 1st of May until the
Chinese Olympic Torch team summits, so we are just in time to get some more
A view of our
comfortable camp 2 looking up towards the Lhotse face (Bruce manning, 2007).
Members wave in the Western Cwm between camp 1 and camp 2 (Dan Mazur, 2007).
Our team members ascending above camp 3 looking down to the Western Cwm (Bruce
Manning, 2007). Our team members approaching camp 1 above the ice-fall (Tunc
23 April, 2008 (Lhotse)
Our Lhotse expedition is arriving in Kathmandu. This
expedition was supposed to be the Cho Oyu expedition, but since Tibet has
been sealed off to foreigners due to the Chinese Olympic torch relay, 9 Cho
Oyu members and the leader decided they would like to have a go at Lhotse
instead of canceling their trip.
The weather has
been warm and sunny and Kathmandu has been quite peaceful (photo right by
Tunc Findik in May 2007: The Lhotse face).
Our team is looking good and we have been hanging around
together quite a bit. Yesterday we checked all of the group equipment like
tents and ropes.
Our super-skillful sherpas Jangbu and Shera are doing the
equipment purchasing and packing, and Jai Bahadur, who cooks amazing and
tasty dishes, has been organizing the food.
Our Lhotse team will have four climbing Sherpas: Jangbu
(1), Jangbu (3), Lakpa (1), and Pasang (2), as well as Shera supporting.
Mr. Murari Sharma and Mr. Deha Shrestha have been busy
running around Kathmandu getting all of the permits and everything sorted
We had a lovely dinner last night at the Roadhouse in
Thamel and then went for a nice dessert at the New Orleans Cafť.
Today we have been checking the team member's equipment
and doing the shopping for needed items.
Tomorrow the rest of our team arrives. Welcome to Lhotse,
world's 4th highest!
21 April, 2008: Hello
Summitclimb readers. This is Arnold again calling from Gorak Shep.
Most of our members have now
slept in camp 1, at about 6000 metres/19,700 feet, and everybody did fine.
Our last 4 members, "the
Mallory's", arrived in basecamp two days ago. They look strong and healthy.
Today they are trekking to
Pumori ABC at about 5700 metres/18,700 feet to get some more altitude. After
this they will probably practice on the ropes and ladder on the lower part
of the ice-fall to get comfortable with this obstacle, before going to camp
Right now the members who
slept in camp 1 are resting, taking showers, and washing clothes. Normal
This morning 14 Sherpa's
went up to pitch camp 2. They will put a full kitchen and about 16 tents
there. This is going to be our 2nd Summitclimb village on the mountain. It
will probably take about three days before our camp 2 is fully operational
and our members can sleep there. Until then we will probably do small walks
We are not in a rush, as we
are still a long way from climbing to the summit of Everest and Lhotse.
Earlier: Arnold is back:
click here to listen to Arnold
20 April, 2008
We would like to send our sincere thanks to the Nepal Army
for coordinating communications and assisting in the rescue of the ill sherpa.
Things went very smoothly, thanks to them. We are grateful.
19 April, 2008 (Trek & Island Peak Photos)
Here are some photos from our recently returned Everest
Basecamp Trek and Island Peak expedition. Click one of the thumb nails below
to view a bigger version of each image.
The village of Jorsalle. Yaks and porters on Jorsalle
bridge. Barbara Mallory and Mingma Sherpa (Preston Stroud). Our team ascending
the summit ridge on Island Peak (Emil Friis). Kevin Cooper on the summit.
Kevin Cooper on the shoulder to the summit. Stefano, Emil, Tom and Kevin on
the summit. Summit morning (Stefano Ricci
18 April, 2008 (Update): The everest sherpa's rescue
helicopter has arrived in Kathmandu. Many thanks to all of the sherpas and
team members who helped out. Also a very heartfelt thank you and our deepest
appreciation to the Nepal Air Force for a brilliant helicopter-rescue.
The doctor examined Gyelzen Sherpa and said he is OK, he
just needs some rest. Gyelzen is able to walk, speak, eat, drink, and seems
fine. He went back to his village to be with his family and the doctor will
conduct a follow-up exam tomorrow. We wish him all of the best. Thank God.
It seems this was not a very serious accident, and could have been much
Today and tomorrow our entire Everest team plans to move
into camp 1, and we wish them all of the best for a safe and successful
journey through the Khumbu Icefall.
18 April, 2008: Mrs. Nima Sherpani telephoned us this
morning to report that our team worked through the night to carry the ill
sherpa down to Pheriche hospital.
Mr. Murari Sharma telephoned from Kathmandu airport to say
the helicopter will takeoff shortly to bring the sherpa back to Kathmandu,
where he will be immediately transferred to the Kathmandu hospital for
further examination and treatment
17 April, 2008: On a worrisome note: A sherpa, Gyelzen (1)
Sherpa, has suffered an apparent stroke at 11:00 am on 17 April, 2008 at the
top of the icefall. He was going up to camp 1, but did not reach there.
Instead, he lay down on the trail at around 5800 metres/19,000 feet and
complained he could not feel the right side of his body. He is unable to
walk and his right side seems to be paralysed. 20 sherpas working together
carried him back to basecamp and we are sending a helicopter for him now. We
are very concerned about his safety and are working to evacuate him to the
hospital in Kathmandu as soon as possible.
very mysified that this happened, as he climbed to the summit of Everest in
2006 and 2007 with no trouble. In addition, during today's journey to camp
1, he was not carrying a partcularly heavy rucksack, nor was he climbing too
fast, as he was together with the group. His age is 39 years old.
On a more upbeat note (not to diminish in any way the
tragic happenings of the day), 5 members and three sherpas moved to camp 1
at 5950 metres/19,500 feet, where they are safely spending the night. These
- John Dowd,
- John Shelton-Smith,
- Dawa Sherpa,
- Tenji (1) Sherpa,
- Phurba Sherpa.
Sending our best wishes to the team and everyone in
Everest basecamp, especially to all of those who lent their kind help
15 April, 2008
Today we had the big meeting with the military.
is what they said:
- Radios are allowed, but we have to give them one so they
can listen in on our conversations.
- No Sat-phones or Rbgan until 10th of May. They want us to
hand them over.
- No camera's or video until the 10th of May.
- We can't climb above camp 2 until the 10th of May, but
Sherpa's are allowed to fix ropes up to the South Col between 06:00 a.m. and
- Everybody will get a liaison officer but they are delayed
in arriving in basecamp because of the elections. They will inspect our camp
for sat phones, Rbgans, etc., but they will respect the privacy of our
- There will be a check post at Gorak Shep and all trekkers
will be checked and are not allowed to bring their camera's to basecamp.
- If the Chinese torch team summits early then we can just
go ahead before the 10th of May. Right now the Chinese are planning to
summit on 28 April.
14 April, 2008
Dear SummitClimb news readers,
Today we went into the Khumbu Icefall for the first time.
I think the route is great and a lot easier than previous times I was here.
All of the members enjoyed playing with the ropes and ladders a lot.
Yesterday most of our members went to Pumori ABC, which
lies at about 5700 metres/18,700 feet, thus making today's walk in the
icefall a lot easier.
We are not allowed yet to climb to camp 1 until the army
arrives here. They are going to keep an eye on the climbers here on the
south side, so nobody does anything bad to the torch climb on the other side
I think tomorrow we will have another meeting in basecamp
and then be able to proceed to C1.
That is all for now. I'll write again as soon I have more
On our walk from Pangboche to Pheriche we got about 3 inches of fresh snow,
which made it pretty tough, but it was also a great adventure. Luckily, when
we arrived in Pheriche, there was a hot stove waiting for us and our cooks
prepared us an excellent.
After a good night's sleep in Pheriche,
we woke up in the morning and the sun was shining again, with all of the high
peaks around us covered in a fresh layer of snow. We had a beautiful hike to
Dughla with nobody having any trouble with the altitude.
We had a good meal and sat around the
stove again. After a good night's sleep we walked to Lobuche, where we plan to
stay tonight. We saw our first views of Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, and Pumori
here. Everybody is getting very excited to reach basecamp tomorrow.
Tomorrow is going to be a tough walk,
taking about 8 hours to reach basecamp. There are rumors that basecamp is not
very busy, which is good for us and I'm sure our sherpas have reserved a very
nice spot for us. So until we reach basecamp, that's it for now. Everybody is
doing great and we're having a good time. I'll call you again from basecamp.
This was Arnold. Bye, bye.
Earlier: 6 April, 2008: Team
moving up to Pheriche.
Hello SummitClimb news. This
is Arnold, the leader of the Everest/Lhotse Expedition 2008.
I'm calling from Pangboche at
about 3950 metres/13,000 feet and it's a snowy day. All of the members have
left and are walking to Pheriche today, 4200 metres/13,900 feet. Everybody
is doing fine and we are strong and healthy.
Yesterday we had a big puja
ceremony led by the lama here in Pangboche and the expedition got blessed,
so we are good to go now to base camp. We decided to stay one extra night in
Pangboche because we had some problems getting enough porters and yaks. All
of the teams are moving up at the same time because of the permits being
issued so late this year. While creating some minor logistical problems in
the valley for others, it's not going to affect our expedition at all.
Right now it's snowing a lot
and I think it is going to be an adventurous walk to Pheriche. That's it for
now. Everybody is doing fine and I'll call back in a couple of days. Thank
you. Bye, bye.
One of the many terraced
hillsides on the trek to Everest basecamp (Elselien te Hennepe).
5 April, 2008: Mr. Kaji
Tamang, our field supervisor telephoned today. Due to heavy snowfall, the team
stayed put in Pangboche today, and did not move up.
Hopefully the snow will clear
so the team can move up tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
4 April, 2008: Mr. Emil Friis
called today. He is from our EBC trek plus Island Peak climb.
"The team are having a
wonderful trek and staying in Tengboche tonight. It was a very beautiful trek
from Namche and spectacular views of Ama Dablam, Thamserku, Everest, Lhotse,
etcetera, were on display throughout. The Tengboche monastery itself is a very
beautiful place. We are staying in a comfortable teahouse now and enjoying
delicious hot drinks and biscuits before dinner. Our trek leader Mingma and
his wife Yengi are doing and amazing job of leading and taking care of us. We
are looking forward to tomorrow's adventure."
Our past Everest basecamp
trek leader, Elselien, receiving a blessing from the local Buddhist Lama in
Pangboche (Liz Stevens).
Hello SummitClimb news
readers, I am Arnold the leader of the Everest / Lhotse expedition.
On 1 April, after a rainy start in Lukla, we all arrived
dry in Phakding the same day. Everybody was very happy to be on the trail in
the fresh mountain air!
After a quiet night of good sleep, the whole team walked
up to Namche Bazar at about 3500 metres on 2 April. Although this is a steep
hike, the whole team did great. I think we have a strong group this year.
On 3 April we spent our day relaxing in Namche Bazar. This
is the last big village on the way to basecamp. It has a nice market some
good restaurants and bars, and the hiking around town is great with some
good views of Ama Dablam, Everest and Lhotse.
On 4 April, we will walk to Pangboche, which is about a 6
hour walk from Namche. On the way we will pass the monastary of Tengboche.
This will be an interesting stop on the way.
We will stay in a nice lodge with great views of Ama
Dablam and the south face of Nuptse and Lhotse.
So everything is going well and all of our team members
are having a great time.
More news in the next dispatch.
2 April, 2008
The team made it to Namche
Bazaar. It was a beautiful trek. They plan to rest tomorrow. Thanks for
Namche Bazaar, the capital
of the Sherpa people. See this unique village on our trek to and from
basecamp (Tunc Findik).
1 April, 2008:
Our team flew to Lukla today
on a beautiful sunny morning. Everyone was very pleased to be getting out of
Kathmandu and beginning their expedition.
to an enjoyable trek to basecamp.
Our team boarding the plane for Lukla (Dan Mazur).
31 March, 2008:
Today we gathered the entire
group together and had a nice breakfast and then all of our expedition and
trek leaders, as well as office staff presented an orientation session to
the members and helped them finish their shopping and packing. We are ready
to go! We had a delicious final banquet, said goodbye to our new friends in
Kathmandu and went back to the hotel to get to bed early.
Tomorrow, April 1st, we will fly up to Lukla first thing
in the morning to begin our trek. Kathmandu has been lovely, warm and
peaceful, a very interesting city, and we will miss it very much. However,
we will look forward to the next chapter: trekking to bascamp. We will keep
in touch. Thanks for reading!
30 March, 2008:
Hello, this is Dan Mazur from
SummitClimb.com writing to you from a beautiful and peaceful Kathmandu.
More of our team members are arriving in Kathmandu, and
our staff has been meeting their flights and bringing them to the hotel. We
have been checking the members equipment and clothing, as well as helping
them purchase/hire any missing bits and pieces. We all went out to dinner
and had lots of fun. Our team orientation is scheduled for tomorrow morning,
and we are looking forward to having our team all together.
We fly to Lukla tomorrow, on the 1st of April to begin our
trek to basecamp. Thanks for reading and we will send more news tomorrow.
29 March, 2008:
Hello, this is Dan Mazur from
SummitClimb.com writing to you.
Our team members are
arriving in Kathmandu, and our staff has been meeting their flights and
bringing them to the hotel. We all went out to dinner last night and had
lots of fun. More members are due to arrive tomorrow, and our expedition
orientation meeting is scheduled for the morning of the 31st.
Then, we will fly to Lukla on the 1st of
April. Thanks for reading and we will send more news tomorrow.
A view of
Swayambhunath Stupa, the "Monkey Temple". It is the most ancient and
enigmatic of all the holy shrines in Kathmandu valley. Swayambhunath's
worshippers include Hindus, Vajrayana Buddhists of northern Nepal and
Tibet, and the Newari Buddhists of central and southern Nepal. Each
morning before dawn, hundreds of pilgrims will ascend the 365 steps
that lead up the hill, file past the gilded Vajra (Tibetan: Dorje) and
two lions guarding the entrance, and begin a series of clockwise
circumambulations of the stupa. On each of the four sides of the main
stupa there are a pair of big eyes. These eyes are symbolic of God's
all-seeing perspective (Elselien te Hennepe).
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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