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 The IMG 2010 Everest Expedition : Sherpas summit climbers doing well

Ang Jangbu reports that everyone is doing well on Everest:

Chris, Lein, Kay, and Ford got back down to Camp 2 safe after their Camp 3 run. Justin's team with the Dahlems, Brian, Brook and Lei Wang are making good progress on their way up to Camp 3. Mike B, Karel, Davis, Mike C, Sumiyo are in the ice fall on their way down. We have 3 sherpas carrying to the South Col and 3 sherpas carrying to Camp 2 from BC. The rest of the regular sherpas are coming to BC for couple days rest.

—Ang Jangbu, Deputy Expedition Leader

IMG deputy leader Ang Jangbu Sherpa reports that the following IMG sherpas reached the summit of Mount Everest between 11:25 and 11:30 AM on Wednesday, May 5, 2010:

  1. Nima Karma Sherpa (Phortse)
  2. Phu Tshering (Phortse)
  3. Phinjo Dorje (Pangboche)

They fixed rope from the South Col to the Balcony yesterday and finished fixing all the way to the summit today along with three sherpas from two other teams: HIMEX and AAI. Congrats to all nine of these guys, great work.

The door is now OPEN for other teams!

—Ang Jangbu, Deputy Expedition Leader

Earlier: I talked to Phil Ershler on the sat phone, and he reports that nobody moved on the mountain today after a healthy overnight snowfall of at least 6 inches.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

May 1st: Resting Up in BC Before Tough C3 Rotation

Justin Merle here... Today was a fine rest day for me and some of the team in base camp. Over the past couple days some of our climbers have started to move up the hill to acclimatize at Camp 3, so there are fewer of us down low here. Having a smaller group in BC has its benefits: the cooks have more time to spend cooking up tasty food, so we eat pretty well — things like pizza, chocolate cake, BLT sandwiches and steaks. It's pretty amazing what comes out of our cook Kaji's kitchen here at 17,500'. I was up on the hill when he baked the reputedly verrrry tasty brownies, but I have been around to sample the sourdough bread he recently learned how to bake. It's quite tasty with cream cheese spread on top.

The weather today was nicer. The past few days clouds have come in by the late morning and we've had a little snow down here. Today it stayed sunny and warm all day — good for washing up without freezing, and for drying the laundry. Ang Jangbu and I took a walk up to the main base camp to see some friends and even managed to partake in a couple friendly games of horseshoes — one win, one loss. As you might gather, rest days in base camp are about relaxing and recovering both physically and mentally: staying healthy, eating lots of good food, cleaning up, taking naps in the afternoon, and playing the occasional game of hearts or poker. All in the name of being ready to go back up the hill.

We have an array of climbers up climbing right now, all heading toward spending a night at Camp 3. The Hybrid team left yesterday for Camp 1, and moved up to Camp 2 today. Guides Mike Hamill and Eben Reckord report that their team is feeling strong, and are planning to sleep at Camp 3 tomorrow before descending to rest up for their summit bid. They'll have an early morning start — they'll walk a couple hours to the base of Lhotse Face. From here the route steepens, climbing up 40-50 degree slopes to Camp 3, and this year the slopes look a little icier. It'll take several hours to climb up these steep slopes to C3, which is perched right in the middle of the face at 24,500'. This is the highest we sleep without oxygen, and it'll be a good kick in the pants. What I mean to say is that it'll probably be an unpleasant night, and we'll all likely feel the malaise of Acute Mountain Sickness when we sleep there — headaches, nausea, etc... But this will be great acclimatization and give us some good confidence to take up the hill on our summit bids.

Today our Lhotse team climbed up toward Camp 3 and back to Camp 2, and they'll take a couple rest days in preparation for a similar climb to and sleep at Camp 3 prior to their summit bid.

A crew of Sherpa guided climbers, and IMG guide Greg Vernovage climbed up through the Khumbu Icefall today to Camp 1 where they'll sleep tonight en route to Camp 3. More climbers will head up the hill tomorrow morning, and I'll climb up with another group of climbers on the 4th, all with the goal to get a night in at Camp 3.

After this rotation up high, we'll all come back to base camp to rest up, eat good food, and look for good weather to go to the top!

—Justin Merle, Expedition Leader

Earlier: Hybrid team at Camp 1

Mike Hamil, the Hybrid team, and their sherpas, headed up through the Icefall today and now they are at camp 1 resting comfortably. Their plan is to spend two nights up there, then move on up to Camp 2. The next wave of IMG climbers will head up to C1 day after tomorrow. The Express/Lhotse/C3 climbers are now down at Lobuche Peak, doing their warm up climb. Everyone is doing well!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

Upper Mountain Rope Fixing Meeting at Base Camp

Ang Jangbu reports that everything is going well on Everest, with the IMG C3/Express/Lhotse climbers now back at Base Camp. The Sherpas have set up a practice ladder and rope course out on the glacier, and members have been training on this to make sure they have their gear and techniques all fine-tuned for when they hit the Icefall in a couple days.

Tomorrow we have 42 Sherpas going to C2; 35 are carrying loads and 7 are staying up there to start setting up tents. Those who are staying up there are: Ang Karma, Mingma Tshering II, Karma Gyalzen, Karma Dorje, Thunang, Passang and Sonam Dorje plus the three cooks who are already there today so we will have 10 sherpas staying up there tomorrow night.

IMG hosted a meeting of the different teams on Everest yesterday. On the South Side of Everest, cooperation between teams has been the norm since 1991. We have 7000m of rope ready to move up, including 4000m of 11mm, for fixing the route above C2. Double ropes (up and down) will be installed in all the key spots. Also, all the old rope will get cleaned from the Yellow Band and Geneva Spur, with new bolts placed on the Geneva Spur (Yellow Band anchors were replaced last year).

Eleven different teams have now agreed to help transport to C2 the 35 loads of rope and hardware for fixing the Lhotse Face and above the Col to the summit. For Lhotse Face fixing we have 14 sherpas from 8 different teams meeting at C2 on the 21st, with fixing scheduled to take place on the 22nd and 23rd (no climbing on the face on those days).

On the 24th the route will be open for teams to go up and select camp sites at C3. For fixing from the South Col to the Summit, we have three different teams lined up to do this. We are now getting permit copies from the Ministry so we can accurately assess all the teams for the $100 per person rope fixing fee that has been levied on climbers this year. We are also working with the handful of climbers scheduled to try Lhotse to come up with a fixing plan for that route as well. Thanks to all the different teams that have agreed to work together to do the rope fixing.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

IMG Climbers Heading Back to BC; SPCC Hosts Base Camp meeting

Ang Jangbu reports that the Lobuche climbers are all down to Lobuche Base Camp now, and they are ready to head back to Everest BC tomorrow. Our C2/C3, Express and Lhotse crew are also in Lobuche village now, so they are also getting close to arriving at Everest Base Camp. Up on Everest we have 54 bottles of oxygen (27 sherpa loads) and 4 loads of food getting carried to Camp 2 tomorrow, so a total of 31 Sherpas going up to Camp 2.

There was a big meeting this afternoon hosted by the SPCC with good turnout from the various expedition teams. The SPCC supplies the rope and ladders and hires the Icefall "Doctors" (each team pays $400 per climber to SPCC for using the Icefall route). The new chairman and secretary of SPCC were present and they briefed the teams about the work SPCC has been doing and what they plan to do in the future. Changes they are working on include:

  1. Human waste will be carried further down the valley (currently the EBC human waste is carried to Gorak Shep and buried there).
  2. Teams are encouraged to not bring glass bottles to base camp anymore.
  3. Better management of burnable trash (which is currently carried to Namche for incineration there). SPCC will implement a new coupon system to the porters at BC starting from this season — they will issue a coupon to the porters with the number of bags and weight they are carrying down which needs to match when the porters deliver the trash in Namche.

There will be another meeting tomorrow afternoon at the IMG Base Camp for the teams that are volunteering to fix the rope above Camp 2.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

Earlier: Ang Jangbu reports from Everest Base Camp that the Icefall doctors set the last five ladder sections today and that the route is now open. When that happens, it is like dropping the green flag at a Nascar race, with everyone putting peddle to the metal to get good camp sites!

Jangbu had Mingma Tenzing and Karma Rita, two of our fastest Sherpas, lined up to lead the charge for our team up to C1 and C2, and they have now claimed our sites at those camps. The plan now is to hold the team puja on the 12th, and for a big wave of sherpas to carry up on the 13th.

At Base Camp, work continues on building that camp for the arrival of the climbers in the next few days. Jangbu and the sherpas at Base Camp now have our VHF base station and directional beam antenna set up, so they have crystal clear radio cmms down the valley between EBC and the climbers in Pheriche and Lobuche.

From Pheriche IMG Sherpa guided team coach Greg Vernovage reports that the Sherpa guided climbers are getting ready to move to Lobuche after a couple acclimatization days in the Pheriche area (the Hamill/Hybrid group moved up to Lobuche on schedule yesterday). Meanwhile, the Ford/Chapman/Seely group that flew in a couple days behind the main team will spend another day at Pheriche before moving up. And finally the Express and Lhotse climbers are in Namche. So far everyone is doing well, and except for an occasional sniffle, seems to be acclimatizing normally.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

Earlier: The Hybrid team reached Pheriche today, over 14,000 feet, while the Classic group was spending a rest day at Deboche. Meanwhile, Ang Jangbu went ahead to Base Camp to check on the status of the camp, and he reports that the Icefall doctors are making good progress and will be finished with the route to Camp 1 in a few more days. The climbers report that the weather has been excellent the last few days and that everyone is doing well.

Yesterday the team visited with the Lama in Tengboche and tomorrow they will do a puja with the Lame Geshe in Pangboche, for good luck on the mountain.

Back in Kathmandu the Everest Express, Lhotse, and C2/C3 climbers are all in town and are getting ready to fly to Lukla. So far so good!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

Earlier: Last night we had our Welcome Dinner for the team. It was a fun evening to get to know everyone and get the trip off to a good start. So far everything has been going really smoothly here in Nepal. The team members have all arrived to Nepal on time with no missing luggage.

We have now collected from the team members their base camp duffel bags (with the gear not required until reaching the mountain), and our head cook Kaji and his kitchen team have been packing fresh food and vegetables. The last 3300kg of food and gear will go tomorrow on our final helicopter charter to Shyangboche, then direct to EBC on the yaks. This morning (the 31st in Nepal) Mike Hamill and the Hybrid team left at 5am for the airport and the flight to Lukla. The first group is on the way!!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

Leaving on the plane for KTM

Our Everest guides are on their way to Kathmandu; we are rolling now! This morning we saw expedition leader Justin Merle, Hybrid team leader Mike Hamill, and Sherpa guided team leader Greg Vernovage off at the airport. They are heading to Kathmandu ahead of the surge to get boots on the ground over there and get ready to receive the group. Eric Simonson and Phil and Sue Ershler leave tomorrow. Most of the climbers will be hitting Kathmandu on the 29th or 30th. The plan is to get everyone together on the night of March 30th at our welcome dinner at the Radisson Hotel, always a festive evening. Then, starting the next day, the group flies to Lukla and starts trekking in three waves... Here we go!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

Earlier: It's Everest time again!

Over the next few weeks people from all over the world will converge on Kathmandu, Nepal to join in one of the world's classic human-powered challenges. For some the goal will be the summit, for others it will be Base Camp. Each year at Mt. Everest there is a different mix of teams and countries represented, but we all share personal goals, a love of the mountains, and an adventurous spirit.

IMG's 2010 Everest Expedition is just a few days from officially beginning, but behind the scenes we have been working for many months on this trip. What makes it fun for me is that every year is different, and the outcome is unknown until the very end. We hope that everything goes well, but we plan for the contingencies. This will be the 18th Everest expedition I have organized and I am very proud of our IMG program. Over the years we have seen 209 summits of Everest with our IMG teams. With all that experience, I know that at the end of the day it comes down to the basics: preparation, a good team, solid leadership, the right gear, and some good luck!

We have a fine looking team heading over to Everest this year, broken into several groups. The overall expedition leader is Justin Merle, a 3-time Everest summiter and veteran IMG Senior guide. Heading up our Sherpa guided climbers is IMG's Greg Venovage. Leading our "hybrid" team are Mike Hamill and Eben Reckord. Joining the team for the trip to BC and the month of April will be IMG partner and Everest legend Phil Ershler. I'll be heading over to Kathmandu to meet and greet the team members, and assist as they start the trip to base camp, in three different waves, a few days apart. I will also be helping our IMG Cho Oyu expedition as they head for Tibet, a few days after the Everest climbers depart.

Deputy leader Ang Jangbu and our longtime Sherpa sirdar Ang Pasang already have some of their Sherpa team up at Base Camp working on constructing the tent platforms from the rocky surface of the Khumbu Glacier. All total we will have 42 climbing Sherpas and 10 Sherpa cook staff working for us. Now that is some serious manpower! We have already sent several big MI17 Helicopter loads to Shyangboche with over 7500 kilos of food, fuel, rope, oxygen, and equipment. This gear, along with another heli charter of gear flying in next week, will be transported to the Base Camp on yaks and porters from Shyangboche. A number of our top Sherpas, veterans of many Everest expeditions and formally trained at the Alex Lowe Khumbu Climbing School, will be working as Sherpa guides for our team. Our Sherpa really are the best in the business!

Back at IMG HQ in Ashford, WA near Mt Rainier, we have been at it for many months — organizing our guides, climbing team, and the food and gear. This year I have been working with all the main Everest commercial groups in hopes that we can do a better job of fixing the ropes on the climbing route. To this goal, I have bought and shipped on behalf of the teams over 20,000 feet of high quality PMI static fixed rope, which is now on the way to Base Camp too.

On Everest you do your best to control the variables that you can, and you try to plan for the things you cannot. I am confident that we have done our homework. Now it is up to the climbers, the guides, the mountain, and the gods. Let the games begin!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

IMG Expedition Leaders
Justin Merle, Expedition Leader
Ang Jangbu Sherpa, Deputy Expedition Leader

Western Guided Climber
Jeff Gottfurcht, climbing with Justin Merle

Everest Climbers with Sherpa Guides
IMG Team Coach: Greg Vernovage
Robert Kay, climbing with Nima Nuru (Pangboche)
Bryan Chapman, climbing with Dorje Lama (Baganje)
Ryan Dahlem, climbing with Danuru I (Phortse)
John Dahlem, climbing with Danuru II (Phortse)
Karel Masek, climbing with Karma Rita (Phortse)
Chien Min (Davis) Wang, climbing with Phinjo (Phortse)
Peter Ford, climbing with Mingma Tshering (Phortse)
CL Lein, climbing with Jamling Bhote (Makalu)
Anastasia Iliopoulou, climbing with Mingma Dorje (Phortse)
Chris Bergum, climbing with Mingma Tenzing I (Phortse)
Michael Boaz, climbing with Kancha Nuru (Phortse)
Adolphus Hancock, climbing with Pasang Rinji (Phortse)
Wang Lei, climbing with Da Tenji (Phortse)
Mike Chapman, climbing with Samduk Dorje (Pangboche)

Express Everest Climbers
Martin McGarvey, climbing with Phinjo Dorje (Pangboche)
Sylvia Moser, climbing with Nima Karma (Phortse)

Everest Hybrid Team
Team Leader: Mike Hamill
Assistant Leader: Eben Reckord
Louis Carstenz, climbing with Dasonam (Pangboche)
Sandhosh Kumar, climbing with Kalden Phura (Pangboche)
Mayk Schega, climbing with Tseten Dorje (Pangboche)
Steve Barnes, climbing with Pasang (Thamo)
Ted Fairhurst, climbing with Pasang Nuru (Phortse)
Jason Van Dalen, climbing with Pasang Yila (Pangboche)
Tim Igo, climbing with Phu Tshering (Phortse)

Lhotse Climbers
Sumiyo Tsuzuki, climbing with Gyalzen Dorje (Phortse)
Brook Mancinelli, climbing with Chewang Lendu (Phortse)

Everest Camp 2/3 Climbers
Phil Ershler
Larry Johnson

Everest Base Camp Trekkers
Susan Ershler
Paul Kent-Snowsell
David Pinkham
Rob Seely

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