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  Summitclimb Everest Tibet Expedition 2011: May 3 Update


3 May, 2011
This is Biff Palmer providing an Everest Tibet update on Tuesday May 3 at 13:21 p.m. local time. The last update had our position located on the North Col at 23,000 feet, where the group was taking a rest day. On May 1 the group left the North Col and headed up toward camp 2 at 25,000 feet. The team performed well with most people at least reaching close proximity to the camp. Since the plan was to return all the way to ABC on the same day (21,000 feet) rather than spend a third night on the Col (23,000 feet), a hard turnaround time of 14:00 p.m. was in place. The reader of this post is reminded that on our actual push to the summit, oxygen (usually at a flow rate of 2 litres per minute) will normally be used from the North Col to camp 2 and onwards. The lack of use of oxygen on this day was to further enhance our acclimatization. After nearly reaching Camp 2 the group descended all the way to ABC where the team spent one night and on May 2 the group returned to lower base camp at 17,000 feet. Our acclimatization is now complete. We plan to spend several days at the lower base camp closely watching the weather forecasts and once a weather window opens up, we will head up the mountain for the final summit push. There is no question one's appetite improves and the quality of sleep improves at this lower altitude. We hope to take advantage of this fact so as to enhance our physical condition in preparation for the upcoming final push. In the interim, movie nights are now in place and some of the group may visit the local Tibetan tea houses to further engender the team spirit. Once again I send my love to Kelly and Robert, my two children whom I miss very much.

28 April, 2011:
This is Biff Palmer providing the dispatch for the Everest Tibet team at13:00 p.m. on Thursday April 28, 2011 local time. As was posted yesterday we have arrived at the advanced base camp at 21,000 feet for the second time. Our plan is to move to the North Col at 23,000 feet for 3 nights and during that time move and simply touch camp 2 at 25,000 feet. This is part of the ongoing acclimatization process. At the risk of violating Tibetan HIPA regulations, my oxygenation saturation has increased from the mid 70's to the low 80's in comparison to the first time at ABC. As part of my ongoing discussion of acclimatization, it is worth pointing out that altitude is associated with a marked catabolic effect manifesting as muscle wasting. In an experiment called Operation Everest II, subjects were placed in a decompression chamber designed to simulate an ascent of Everest over the course of 6 weeks. Even without the rigors of high altitude climbing (cold, physical exertion, etc) the subjects lost about 15% of their body weight primarily as muscle mass. It is therefore important to eat as much as possible. To my friends in the Touchstone diabetes section in Dallas, perhaps high altitude mountaineering could be the answer to the growing epidemic of obesity? On a more general note, all of my cokes have exploded at the ABC. I will stick with tang and milk tea. There are many more groups at the ABC in comparison to the first time representing an international exposure (groups include Thailand, Malaysia, France). I was asked to see a young woman from from India at the lower base camp who clearly had early symptoms of possible High Altitude cerebral edema. Arnold and I gave her oxygen, dexamethasone, and acetazolamide and recommended she descend back to lower altitude which she did.  Fortunately everyone in our group is doing well and quite strong. Let me again conclude by sending my love to Kelly and Robert, two wonderful children whom I am very proud.

27 April, 2011:
After a couple of days rest in Base Camp we went up to Advanced Base camp again at 6400m. The walk was a lot easier after having some acclimatization from the previous time up. Tomorrow we will rest here and check out the conditions on the mountain; the wind is gone now, but we got some snow instead. This shouldn't be a problem as long as it is not to much. Our plan is to spend the night at the North Col - C1 at 7010m, organize our camp there and then move on to C2 between 7600-7800m where we will try to find a good spot. We will not sleep there but instead go back again to C1, these days high on the mountain are needed to finalize our acclimatization. Then we go down for our final rest before the summit push. So everything is fine here, stay tuned for more news when we start to climb again.

April 24:

Yesterday the cook and I went vegetable shopping in Tashigoan, a small village about 2hrs drive from base camp. We arranged two motor bikes to drive down the bumpy dirt road. My driver was a wild looking Tibetan guy, who was singing traditional Tibetan songs the whole way. My only concern was that he would sing louder and louder when the road got worse, actually he was singing quite loud all the time………. If the road went downhill he would switch off his engine and we were flying down the Tibetan plateau as an unguided missile! The Tibetan Plateau is an amazing place with an interesting geological structure and colors. The local people have started preparing their land for their crops, mainly potatoes and barley. Most of the work is done by hand and with the help of animals, together with their traditional clothing this makes a colorful sight! After a 2 ˝ drive, shaking and bumping we finally arrived in Tashigoan. My backside was numb and I had the feeling all my organs were in a different place! We took a short brake with some lunch and bought the necessary vegetables. In the meantime dark snow clouds were developing at the horizon……..

On the way down we witnessed a traditional Tibetan horse festival. Men dressed up in their finest costumes were racing horses, why I don’t exactly know. But with the scenery and the sunrays through the clouds it was a beautiful sight!

Meanwhile it started snowing and we were still on the motorbike, getting absolutely hammered! Samdien, our cook was driving the bike and absolutely covered with snow and icicles hanging off his nose and eyebrows. Myself looking pretty similar! Luckily we found a traditional Tibetan tent to find shelter. The stove in the middle of the tent burning goat and Yak dung was a very warm welcome. We decided to spend the night in that tent together with this local Tibetan family. They fed us, warmed us up and gave us a nice place to sleep. I can’t remember if I have ever been covered by that many blankets before, must have had six layers on top of me! The next morning we drank some tea and left the tent. The whole road was covered with 15cm of snow, which made driving a motor bike a little peculiar…………especially with a road full of bumps and holes underneath. Slipping and sliding we made our way back to Base camp, just in time for breakfast! I love my job! Arnold Coster, Expedition Leader
 

23 April, 2011:
This is Raj reporting from Nyalam for Everest base camp trek and North Col group, Everest, Tibet. This is our first dispatch. We left Kathmandu very early today at four in the morning. The drive to the border was long and a little tiring, as the road was not so good. Anyway, we reached the border town called Kodari at nine in the morning. We filled out our immigration forms and slowly we entered into Tibet, China. Our Liaison officer for the expedition was waiting and helped us to get through. We jumped into the Toyota landcruisher jeeps and headed to Zangmu, the border town inside Tibet, China. We stopped here for an hour and a half for lunch, and decided to start heading to Nyalam. Then our jeeps got stuck in a very bad traffic jam for a couple of hours in Zangmu. Zangmu is a very important and a busy bussiness centre where you will see hundreds of trucks lined up on the street. After the traffic was cleared, we headed to Nyalam. It was a beautiful four hour drive there, arriving in the evening. The hotel rooms were all ready and heated up when we got in there. It was snowing a little today here in Nyalam. We have a rest day tommorow and hopefully we will get to do some easy hikes if the weather is good. On 25th April, we will be driving to Tingri, where we have another rest day and will meet the others coming from Lhasa. They flew into Lhasa yestertday from Kathmnadu. Everyone is well, healthy and having fun. Thank you very much!
Raj - leader - Everest base camp and Everest Nort Col expedition.

 

22 April, 2011:

This is Biff Palmer providing the Everest Tibet update for today (April 22, 1448 local time). Yesterday the group descended 4000 (21000 to 17000) feet from ABC to the lower base camp covering a distance of approximately 13 miles. The descent is part of the acclimatization process in that a lower altitude is clearly associated with an improvement in appetite, better sleep hygiene, and an opportunity to watch movies. With regard to the latter I thought I would summarize the groups rating of the movies viewed to date: Layer cake 5.5, Salt (Angelina Joli movie) 6.1, Centurion 4.9, and last night, Iron Man 2, 6.6. There has been a clamoring by the group for Brokeback Mountain but this may not be available. On the way down several groups have been moving up based on the number of Yak caravans. These animals are clearly the main source of transport for the massive amount of gear required to keep an expedition functional. On a medical note I would note that virtually everyone in the group is taking acetazolamide (diamox). This drug works through several mechanisms but clearly seems to accelerate the acclimatization process. The single most important adaptive process in ascent is an involuntary increase in ventilation. Normally the drop in carbon dioxide that occurs would suppress this process but at altitude increase ventilation persists in part due to exit of bicarbonate from the central nervous system. Diamox enhances the bicarbonate excretion from the kidney and therefore contributes to the ongoing stimulatory effect on respiration. In addition diamox has a dramatic effect in limiting Cheyne-Stokes respiration and allows sleep to be improved. One interesting fact is the outcome of my cokes and sprite sent to the ABC at 21000. Due to the extreme drop in barometric pressure combined with the severe cold, approximately 5 sodas exploded. I am happy to say there have been a few survivors. Lastly, everyone in the group is well and very strong and anxious to continue in our summit attempt. Today we will take showers and wash clothes. Let me conclude my sending my love to Robert and Kelly, my children whom I am very proud.

21 April, 2011:
Yesterday most of the team reached the North Col at 7010m. It was a bit of a gamble, as the last couple of days the wind has been very fierce. On the way to the col the team encountered strong gusts of wind up to 60km/h and snow sweeping down from all directions.... Never the less we made it up there in good health and good time! Our Sherpa's did great giving us a helping hand. Today we all went down to Base camp to have a couple of days rest, so time to shower and wash some clothing.

Greetings, Arnold Coster exp. leader

19 April, 2011:
This is Scott Patch reporting for our Everest Tibet Dispatch this 19th ofApril 2011. We are currently still at Advanced Base Camp (6409 meters) were today we enjoyed a beautiful Puja Ceremony. The Puja Ceremony is a important piece of our climb. During the ceremony we ask the Goddess of the mountain Chomolungma to guide us and grant us safe passage for our brief visit.  We offer the goddess gifts of food, drink and candy for her blessing. We also place our climbing gear (crampons, ice axes, etc.) on the stupa and ask them to be blessed for our upcoming climb. The Puja was a beautiful and festive occasion despite the strong winds and snow that have hit us over the past 24 hours. All tents are holding up fine except our toilet tent which we might lose at any minute ... it will get real interesting if this occurs!!!  Frostbite in those regions won't be fun!!! Tomorrow, if the wind and snow subside, we plan to climb to the North Col (7000 meters) and come back to ABC. Much depends on the weather for us over the next few days. Everyone is in great spirits.

17 April, 2011:

Ed Buckingham Tibet Member, aiming to become the first Cornishman too climb Everest. I was fortunate too climb with Arnold Coster in 2005 on Cho oyu. This is our third day at ABC. Today we got too wear our high altitude boots, crampons, ice-axe and harnesses. We went down onto some nearby ice-fall. The point of the exercises was too learn some techniques that could be used higher up the mountain. We practiced climbing up with the jumar and ice-axe. Once getting to the top we rappelled down on a nearby line. Once we had all done that an obstacle in the form of a knot was put halfway up the rope. This time we climbed up and after putting safety and jumar above the knot, put a figure of eight in and rappelled back down the line. We are all doing reasonably well though coughing a bit from this mornings exercise. ABC camp is beautiful with a good view of the North Col and the top of Everest. A few groups are moving in today but it is not over crowded. On a personal note I am enjoying moving up the mountain slowly, slowly and am looking forward too climbing up to the North Col and higher. The group seems well mixed and get along pretty well. I would just like too say a big hello to Dad, Mum, Chris, Becs ,Mia  and Jessica. Much Love, Everest Ed

16 April, 2011:

This is Biff Palmer providing the update for the Everest Tibet climb. Yesterday the team climbed from the interim camp at 19000 feet to the advanced base camp at 21000 feet.  Today is a rest day so as to continue the acclimatization process. In this regard our bodies have been challenged with a progressive reduction in the amount of inspired Oxygen. Some of the changes that have occurred include a reduction in plasma volume resulting in concentration of circulating hemoglobin. This hemoconcentrating affect along with increased hemoglobin production result in an increase oxygen carrying capacity. In addition our red blood cells have an increased affinity for oxygen. In future updates I can continue to comment on the physiologic changes that occur with sojourn to altitude. At the current time all members are healthy and strong. The team has been playing a card game each night called UNO. I have held my own in this intense competition. I am anxiously awaiting some cokes and sprite to thaw to so as to enjoy some flavors of home. I wish to conclude by sending my love to my daughter Kelly and my son Robert. I love and miss them both very much.

April 14th dispatch from Eric Platenberg:

All is well for the entire team as we spend this day acclimating at 'interim camp' as we make our way to Advanced Base Camp. Our interim camp is located at 19K ft/ 5800 meters. Our camp is much more rustic than base camp, but still quite comfy compared to how we imagine it will be higher on the mountain. We spent last night and much of this afternoon playing Uno and having spirited discussions about music, movies, and places to live. Patch's stories continue to provide non-stop entertainment and shaking heads. No-one slept exceptionally well as we are adjusting to lower levels of available oxygen and chilly temps at night. But spirits are high though-out camp and everyone is remarkably healthy considering our surroundings. As we left base camp there were only two other teams settled into for the climbing season. It is estimated that there will be a total of 20 teams climbing from the North this season, so we anticipate base camp to look considerably different when we return next week.

13 April, 2011:

After a cold windy start this morning in base camp, we reached interim camp at about 5800m The route follows the glacier moraine and is never very steep nor flat. It's a quite sustained 5 hr walk to get here. The camp is located near some big ice pinnacles. If the sun hits them at the right angle they turn into a nice blue colour. This is also the place where most yaks stop on the way up or down from either base camp or ABC. Our tents are surrounded by yaks and we will probably hear their bells all night! Samdien our cook prepared a delicious meal for us. This man keeps impressing me all the time. In the kitchen tent our cookboys prepared a stone bench for us with a table, so we were even able to sit comfortably. After dinner we played a couple games of UNO...always fun! Tomorrow we will rest here, otherwise we will gain altitude to fast, so probably more UNO.....

Earlier:

12 April, 2011:
Today our yaks arrived in base camp to bring our loads to Advanced Base Camp. First all individual loads had to be weight, more than 150 pieces of kitchen equipment, food, climbing gear and personal gear from members and staff. A total weight of 2400kg! Then the argument started of which yak is going to carry which load and so on.... This took a couple hours, but eventually all yaks left base camp together with our climbing Sherpa's and some of our kitchen staff. They will prepare interim camp at 5800m and Advanced Base Camp at 6400m for us. All members and I will move up the mountain to interim tomorrow, where we will stay here two nights. Then we move to Advance Base Camp at 6400m. We have to move slowly to give our bodies time to get used to the high altitude. The early stage of acclimatization is crucial, it's like a foundation of a building...if this is strong and solid you can build whatever you want on top! Last night we watched another movie in Base Camp, my small projector seems to be a big hit!This is it for now, more news from interim camp. Arnold Coster, expedition leader

11 April, 2011:
Tomorrow we expect our yaks to carry our expedition gear to interim camp at about 5800m, then the following day they will move on to advanced basecamp at 6400m. We will be one day behind the yaks and some of our staff, so we will not be in their way preparing the camps for us. We will leave for interim on the 13th, stay there for two nights and then move on to ABC. Below is a dispatch written by Dom, cheers Arnold Coster exp. leader....

Hello from  Everest Base Camp Tibet at 5200 metres. It's Dom here writing the latest report on the teams activities. We have been in Base Camp a couple of days now after our dash across the Tibetan plateau from the town of Tingri. We are all now trying to fall into expedition life at Base Camp, setting up our tents to make them as comfortable as possible with blankets and plenty of snack food from home. The food is great with our head chef putting together some great dishes and even making an effort for the two vegetarians in the group! The group is getting on well and with Everest directly in front of us it focuses the mind of the task that lies ahead. We walked down to the monastery today where a Lama gave us the blessing for the climb, everyone left feeling that it was a positive experience. Arnold has managed to set up a projector from his laptop so last night we were watching movies on the big screen! I did not think that I would be doing that at basecamp, but it's a great way to pass the time and hang out together. We move on up the mountain the day after tomorrow to Interim Camp where it will no doubt be a lot colder, as on Franks thermometer it registered -21
degrees centigrade last night! I'll leave it there for now as I have to pack my things to be sent up to Advanced Base Camp. Just to let you all know that we are having a few issues with sending general emails at the moment so hopefully it will be sorted out soon, something to do with the solar panels. This is Dom signing out from a windy base camp in Tibet.

9 April, 2011:
After an early start we arrived in base camp today at around 5200m. We took an off road shortcut from Tingri. This road zig zags through the mountains behind Tingri and finally ends up in Everest Base camp. This is a really remote area with only a few small villages, but to our surprise all of a sudden a couple Tibetan men on horseback showed up! The people look wild; they look like some warriors from the Ghengis Khan era. They wear big yak fur clothing with nice decoration on their heads. After passing the Rongbuk Monastery we got a full view of Everest or Chomolungma as people call her here. Our kitchen staff, which came from Lhasa yesterday, already pitched all the tents and quickly served us a delicious meal. Samdien our cook really knows what we need! In base camp we have a full kitchen setup, a dining/leisure tent, each member has his own personal tent and there is a tent to shower and a toilet tent. The next couple off day we will spend relaxing and making small day hikes to get used to our new elevation. Also we will visit the " Lama" a Buddhist priest in the monastery to get his blessing for our expedition. We probably will move up to in trim camp on the 13th of April, this will be the next step up in our approach of Chomolungma.

8 April, 2011:
After an early start in Kathmandu we crossed the border easy at Zhangmu. The TMA (Tibet Mountaineering Association) arranged three nice Land cruisers and a truck for us. After a delicious meal at their Base camp restaurant they drove us straight to Tingri at around 4400m. The journey through the narrow canyon to Nyalam is very beautiful, doesn't matter how many times I drive this. Then all of a sudden the canyon stops and you are in Nylam where the Tibetan plateau starts. Here it looks like you are on a different planet, there is hardly any vegetation, but still the Tibetans manage to grow potatoes and Barley somehow. The colors in the earth are fascinating and the snow covered peaks in the distance make it even more spectacular! We arrived in Tingri late in the evening, where another nice Chinese meal was waiting for us. Today we are just relaxing wandering into town and enjoying the views. Our cook Samdien should arrive today in Base camp with our supplies from Lhasa and we are all looking forward to meeting him tomorrow afternoon. So tomorrow we will be at the foot of the mountain, the next couple of days we will spend hanging around in camp, making our " new home" as cozy as possible. It's also possible to make small hikes to explore the way to the next camp..This is it for now,

Arnold Coster, Expedition Leader

 

Earlier:

Everest expeditions commence 29-Mar-11

29 March, 2011

Today is the first day of our spring climbing and walking season. We are in Kathmandu and all of the members are arriving. Tomorrow is the big team briefing at the Kohinoor Hotel. It has been raining here in Kathmandu, which is good as it keeps the dust down and puts water into the reservoirs. If all goes well, we plan to fly to Lukla on 31 March. Please wish us luck. Thanks for following our expedition teams in Nepal and Tibet!

Team Rosters:

Everest Tibet -

    * Arnold Coster - Netherlands (leader)
    * Scott Patch - US (leader-in-training)
    * Eric Platenberg - US (leader-in-training)
    * Edward Buckingham - UK
    * Frank Irnich - Germany
    * Biff Palmer - US
    * Dominique Pickett - UK
    * Mark Quinn - Ireland

North Col: 29 March to 25 April -

    * Stephen Wilson -US

Everest Nepal -

    * Dan Mazur - UK/US (Leader)
    * Ms. Squash Falconer - UK
    * Ms. Paula Leonard - US
    * Stewart Edge - UK
    * Mitch Lewis - US

Lhotse -

    * Gavin Vickers - Australia (Leader)
    * Alex Holt - UK

Everest Basecamp Trek Nepal -

    * Ms. Alyn Caulk - US
    * Ms. Beccy Cresswell - UK
    * Robert Cresswell - UK
    * Ms. Melanie Plant - Australia
    * Ms. Linda Hardwood - Australia
    * Christoper Howard - US
    * Ms. Norissa Howard - US
    * Peter Swan - Australia
    * Daniel Wilde - Australia

Everest Tibet Staff -

    * Ang Babu Sherpa
    * Tenji Sherpa
    * Lhakpa Sherpa
    * Gyalje Sherpa

Everest and Lhotse Staff -

Climbing Sherpas -

    * Jangbu Sherpa
    * Thile Nuru Sherpa
    * Lakpa Nuru Sherpa
    * Sange Sherpa
    * Pasang Sherpa
    * Lakpa Tendu Sherpa

Nepal Trekking Staff -

    * Kaji Tamang - sirdar as well trekking guide
    * Deha Shrestha - assistant trek leader

Nepal Kitchen staff -

    * Jay Bahadur - cook
    * Dorje Sherpa- kitchen boy
    * Sange Sherpa - trekking cook as well kitchen boy

 

 

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