May 4 Dispatch from Arnold Costner:
We're all here at Camp 2, 2400m. Over the next
couple of days, we will make our way to Camp 3. All members are strong and
healthy and looking forward to going higher.
Today most off our team headed up to Camp 2 again at 6400m. This means it was
a 2 am wake up call again in base camp. After some porridge and egg and toast
everybody set off in the dark to scale the icefall once more. The whole team
made it in good time to Camp 1 and after a short tea break they continued to
The last couple of days our team off Sherpa's worked extremely hard to cut
ledges in the ice to pitch tents for us in camp 2. They even managed to set up
a full kitchen and a small dining. This makes camp 2 our Advanced Base Camp
and a comfortable camp to hang out to optimize our acclimatization.
A few off us needed more time in Base Camp and are heading up to Camp 2
tomorrow. Our plan is to spend some days up high and finally sleep in Camp 3
at around 7200m, but camp 3 is only partly pitched at the moment and we still
have some work to do there. This 2nd rotation will take about one week. Once
everybody slept in camp 3 our acclimatization is finished and we will head
back to Base camp for our final rest before the summit push.
Once I reached Camp 2 I will call in voice dispatches about our progress.
High Altitude Greetings,
Arnold Coster, Expedition Leader
All members of the team arrived safely back at base camp on 27 April, 2012.
Since then, we've been hard at work sleeping, making ourselves presentable to
the general trekking public - who, let's be honest, deserve to see a good show
of rugged, handsome and clean mountain climbers, washing - in some cases our
two pairs of underwear, eating everything like there's no tomorrow and
watching thriller movies on the big projector Arnold installed in the mess
More importantly, these last few days of sloth-like behaviour have been
critical in allowing us to recover from various small ailments, like the
Khumbu cough and colds. While at base camp, these ailments may seem
insignificant, but at higher elevations, they can quickly become debilitating,
forcing us to go down earlier than planned.
The team is now also smaller: Grace went down to Pheriche two nights ago to
meet up with a friend. Yesterday, Rob (a.k.a. Pumba), who is on a shorter
schedule to reach Camp 3, was feeling strong enough to head back up to Camp 2.
Simon and Jess - who made it to base camp for a visit - left us to go back to
Kathmandu. Evelyn and Eric's time was also up and they departed as well. As a
result, our meal gatherings are noticeably smaller. We make do and huddle
closely together, coughing in chorus under the soft glow of the propane
Tomorrow, in the wee hours of the morning, the majority of the team will be
heading back up the Khumbu icefall once more. This time, we'll bypass Camp 1
and go directly to Camp 2 where we'll be spending some 4-5 nights. Our foray
will also include a trip up to Camp 3 as the lines on the Lhotse face are now
fixed and ready. We're all excited to be on the move again and to continue our
epic adventure. -Sandra Leduc
Hello there at home!
Last night we had the second night at camp 1. Stormy night but very warm. We
had to get up at 6am and try to get going around 7. Of course the speedy's
from our group were gone before that time but we got away around 7.15. It was
still very stormy and cold to start up. Last day up to camp 2 was just going
steady up. We just stayed there for around 20 minutes and then headed back to
Going down to basecamp was not completely the same route as we did on the way
up. Some avalanches had destroyed the original path set out by the "ice
doctors" a couple of days before. Some of the places where there was a ladder
to get over the seracs were still there but right next to that there was a
complete new path which everybody took. The group scattered down because
everyone has there own pace to get into which feels comfortable for them. I
use the slow way because I am not fully acclimatized yet and it wears me out.
Marlies also. But I get the impression we have a strong and focused group.
Both for Everest as well as the two women (Mia and Grace) going to Lohtse.
Coming down in basecamp is like coming home to more luxury although its still
basic there. But food and drinks available.
Everybody is a bit happy with the fact we get two rest days. I must say it's a
nice group of different characters with the same goal.
If any mistakes in my English sorry for that.
Till my next opportunity to say something on this blog.
By Dr. Jon Kedrowski for SummitClimb.com -
It was an enjoyable day in the sunshine as the team headed into the lower
reaches of the icy and flat sections of the Khumbu Icefall near basecamp for
some enjoyable skill practice.
Some buzz-words were spoken often by members:
Super-califrag-alistic-expialidocious, Lethal Weapon, Vertical Limit, Ladder
Dancing, and a lot of laughs kept everyone focused enough to update their
skills, but still stay serious enough to respect the task at hand and the
dangers of passing through the icefall multiple times in the coming weeks.
It's Wind Beneath My Wings, rappelling down an ice cliff, and the wind at
5400m feels good you know. I can't wait, The "IceFall is Sexy", exclaimed one
Female member of the team. Mia Graffe was seen tap dancing across the ladders,
and made them look easy. This could be a sign of things yet to come for the
young lady who is trying to become the first Finnish woman to climb Lhotse,
Everests neighbor at over 8500 meters.
The Sherpas seemed to be enjoying the progress of the team as well, and even
took time to make some funny faces in a cut-out hole in the vertical ice, much
like a cut-out hole at your local carnival. While crossing a double ladder,
team members were critiqued by Jangbu Sherpa, who is an 11 time Everest
Veteran, and looking to make it a cool Dozen times to the summit. He would
giggle, laugh and give his "thumbs-up" approval for each member after a
successful ladder crossing.
Arnold Coster expressed the importance of backing yourself up at all times
with your safety line, then attaching your Jumar to the rope. "Efficiency is
key, and when we go through the Icefall, we leave very early, 3am."
Hopefully we will be acclimatized well enough to go fast at a good steady pace
because being fast and going early lowers risk".
Preferably we want to leave Basecamp, make it through the Icefall in 4 hours
or less, and be up to Camp 1 above the Icefall before 10am. Getting there
before 9am would be even better. Some members will take 4 hours the first
time, while some will take up to 6 hours, but Arnold says that he wants
everyone to be up there in less than 6 hours, before 10am. The Icefall and
hanging Seracs of the West Shoulder of Everest stay frozen the best before the
day's warmth hits by 10am. Any later in that area and you are asking for
trouble in the form of falling blocks of ice and snow avalanches.
After resting tomorrow the 23rd of April, we will leave basecamp on Tuesday
the 24th of April at 3am and go up to Camp 1 which is at roughly 6000m/20000
feet. On the 25th, If you feel well enough you can day/morning hike for 2 to 3
hours up to Camp 2 at the base of the Lhotse Face up through the Western Cwm.
This camp is at about 6400m/21,400 feet. Once touching the Camp 2 for a brief
Lunch, then we will return to Camp 1 for a second night before descending back
through the Icefall very early on Thursday the 26th and then rest in Basecamp
for 3-4 days after that. This upcoming rotation will help a great deal with
acclimatizing and stimulating Red Blood Cells in the body. We will update
again following this upcoming rotation. The team is doing well, and most
members are feeling strong, including myself, looking forward to getting up on
the mountain and into the icefall! Stay Tuned!
This is Grace McDonald with a dispatch for the Summitclimb, Everest, Lhotse
and Everest Training Climb Expedition 2012.
We had a leisurely 8:00 am breakfast and then we were all off to our tents to
sort out our packs for our trip up to Pumori Advanced Base Camp at
approximately 5,900 metres. This would be our next step in our acclimatization
plan. We had nice weather and after a few rest days I think we were all ready
to get in a little exercise. The group stayed together as we moved out of
Everest base camp and then we all fell into our individual paces as we began
the steep walk and eventual scramble up to Pumori ABC.
Three of us arrived in about 2 hours with one of our Sherpas, Pasang and we
were feeling pretty good so we took a few minutes to hydrate and helped set up
a bunch of tents. People continued to arrive and more and more tents went up.
Eventually we were all settled in, two to a tent and we relaxed and continued
hydrating. We had amazing views of Lhotse, Everest, Lingtren, the Khumbu
Icefall and down to Everest basecamp. Unfortunately cloud eventually started
closing in so we took dinner in our tents and some of us visited other tents
for cards and music but most were off for an early night of sleep. Me, Jon and
Richie hung out for a while socializing and ended up serenading our neighbors
with a rendition of Bob Marley's Redemption song - perhaps not as appreciated
as we thought but good fun. We stretched the night out as long as we could but
eventually it was time to call it a night and the three of us headed off to
bed. Most of us found it was actually a fairly comfortable evening. I think we
all managed to get at least a few hours of good sleep - some had their best
night of sleep yet.
Being up so much higher, the sun hit us earlier and many were up and wandering
around before 7 am, taking lots of pictures, snacking on oatmeal and noodle
soup, packing up and helping the Sherpas take down the tents. There was a
pretty cool looking ventricular cloud over Everest that attracted a lot of
photo snaps. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits and some people planned to
head over to Gorak Shep for their Internet fix before heading back to Everest
base camp. Before everyone started heading down we watched Rob tape a few
shots for his ongoing Pumba video and we managed to surprise bomb him with a
bunch of snowballs during his last take. We had a great laugh and Rob enjoyed
it as well. I'm sure it will make his outtake reel. A few of us walked down a
longer path over towards Pumori basecamp to send off one member to Gorak Shep
and then we wandered off back towards Everest basecamp where we caught the
rest of the group heading down. It was actually a nice day for walking and
once everyone got back into camp plans started hatching for showers. We were
also all very happy to meet David, who is also joining us for the Everest
climb. Sadly the snow has started falling so it's a bit chilly and people have
been removing themselves from the shower line and instead taking to their
tents for an afternoon nap. We'll have everyone up a bit later for dinner and
a movie - tonight R.E.D. (hopefully we have enough battery power!)
While we were heading out to Pumori ABC, one of our Everest Camp 3 climbers,
Evelyn, took an early morning trip through the Khumbu Icefall and stayed at
Camp 1. She got back just before we did and is doing quite well. She and Eric
are hoping to head back up to Camp 1 in a couple of days. They are on a
slightly accelerated schedule.
We are planning on having a training day tomorrow to show off our hopefully
amazing cramponing, jumaring and abseiling skills! Should be lots of fun.
After that we'll make plans for our first trip up the Khumbu Icefall.
Thank you for following our adventure here on the South side of Everest. We
all appreciate your support.
18 April -
Yesterday we arrived in Base Camp. Our staff already pitched most off the
tents and our comfortable dining tent. Last night we had the first of our
famous movie nights and this evening we watched the 2nd movie.
Tomorrow morning we will have our Puja ceremony. In this ceremony we will ask
the goddess of Chomolungma for safe passage. This is a very important ceremony
for our Sherpa staff and it's also nice to have everybody together, so we can
get to know each other better.
The day after tomorrow we will sleep at Pumori ABC at about 5800m. This will
be very good for our acclimatization; this will make our first trip into the
icefall a lot easier also.
So everything is going well here and we will have some climbing stories soon!
Arnold Coster, Expedition Leader
16 April -
It's a cloudy and snowy afternoon in Thukla, which was only short hour and 15
minute walk up from Pheriche from 2pm to just after 3pm. This is the critical
area for acclimatization. I hiked in a snowstorm with Arnold, Sandra, and Urs,
and fortunately the snow and wind was at our back. We are all feeling pretty
good. My sore throat is gone for now but I'm getting the Colorado cough I had
most of last summer for my bivys project in Colorado.
Here they call it the Khumbu cough. For now I can manage it and its not out of
control. Fluids, fluids, fluids and also the salt water gargles will continue.
You can't really take any cold medicine while you acclimatize because it
inhibits your acclimatization. Throat drops while I hike and a buff over my
face while I sleep will manage it so that I don't cough up a lung, and it
should improve. No worries though I should be ok.
This morning we had some fun in Pheriche since we knew today would be a short
day. Last night's snow left a fresh 1 inch blanket and made for some awesome
shots of the Himalayas in all directions. It was very cold and crisp before
the sun came up but worth getting up early. You could see the 8th highest peak
in the world, Cho Oyo 8031m up the valley to the Northwest, probably 30 miles
away. It looked windy up there for sure. Crazy to think I will hopefully get
higher than that in the coming month.
After Skyping with my parents and visiting with the team for lunch and some
brews and good conversation, we headed up to Thukla. This isn't really even a
village, we are staying in a typical teahouse with a yak dung burning stove in
the kitchen dining area and rooms that are simple beds with a pillow and
comfortable mattress that you put your sleeping bag on. Although there is no
heat in the hotel itself, it is still easier than a tent. I am sure temps will
be in the 20s tonight, still nothing too crazy considering I've had it much
worse over the years and was also in a tent the past two nights. I will
probably sleep well all night I suppose.
The fog has settled in for the afternoon, but can't wait to see the new views
from here in the morning as we will head for a 2 hour short day to Luboche at
4900m about 16,000 feet. Supposedly the views are incredible down the valley
from here so I can't wait to see them. If you have any comments on these blog
posts, keep them coming and I will try to weave them in as I go to my writing.
My labtop should work all the way up to 5500m/18000 feet, which is good
considering Basecamp in a few days is just below that height. I had this
computer on all 58 peaks in Colorado last year, so I know it can handle work
in the field. See you in Luboche!
13 April -
The team left Namche (3440m) at 8am today. The weather was amazing and the
views were breathtaking. Ten minutes into the trek we passed our yaks carrying
all our bags and equipment (thanks yaks).
After I finished messing around with cameras and the yaks we walked around the
corner and there it was. The Khumbu Valley with the most amazing views of Mt
Everest, Ama Dablam and other mighty Himalayan peaks. You could see for miles.
The blue sky, still air and great views was by far the best day of the trek to
Base camp so far.
Clouds steamed off the summit of Mt Everest. An impressive sight!
It's a small crime that after walking up hill to Namche today we spent 2 hours
going downhill to a place with the funniest name ever Phungki Tanga roughly
3000m give or take a few hundred meters. Here I changed my socks soaked up
some sun bought a Snickers bar (as I forgot to collect my lunch) and set off
to cross Duth Kosi river over the suspension bridge.
Then we set off to tackle the long steep hill up to Tengboche. This took a
couple of hours but again the views were great and the sun was still shinning
so although it was a long hill your thoughts were with the views.
The mountains were getting closer and closer and there were so many photo
moments. After a break at the top we continued our trek for an hour to our
final destination Pangboche (3950m)
Everyone is feeling great and as the sun goes down and the afternoon clouds
disappears Ama Dablam is right behind our camp site. It seems so close you can
almost touch it. Waking up in the morning to such beautiful surroundings will
be a joy.
Thanks to you all for reading and everyone sends their love to their family
and loved ones as do I.
- Rob Bradley
Everest Nepal -
Arnold Coster - Netherlands (leader)
Ms. Marlies Neefjes - Netherlands
Ms. Sandra Leduc - Canada
Jonathan Kedrowski - USA
Joost van Hassel - Netherlands
Richard Maybank - UK
Urs Jaeggi - Switzerland
Steve Camkin - Australia
David O'Brien - UK
Ms. Mia Graeffe - Finland
Ms. Grace McDonald - Canada
Training Climb -
Ms. Maryana Plesh - USA
Ms. Eveline Wessels - Netherlands
Adam Jones - USA
Robert Bradley - UK
Shivesh Ram - USA
Simon Pacione - Australia
Eric West - USA
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