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  SummitClimb Ama Dablam Expedition, Autumn 2011--Stuck in Namche Bazar

3 November, 2011
Hi, this is Max Kausch writing a dispatch for the Ama Dablam Autumn Expedition 2011.
Today is November 3rd and we are stuck in Namche Bazar. There are no flights leaving from Lukla to Kathmandu and the other way around. The weather seems really bad these days and just like us, there are several hundred trekkers in the same situation. The difference is that we, unlike the trekkers, just climbed a very tough mountain and got used to some very harsh conditions up in the mountains. So don’t worry, Namche Bazar is a luxury for us!
The team is thinning up now as Jean-Michel Meunier had to rush home due to work commitments. He cannot afford to wait up here and he’ll have to trek to Jiri for about 3 or 4 days, then finally get a bus to Kathmandu just in time to catch his flight back to France. We’ll miss you Jean-Michel. Have a great journey back home!
Richard showed up after summiting Lobuche East alone! After climbing one of the most amazing mountains in the valley Rich simply took his rucksack and almost ran to Lobuche’s High Camp. Next day he summited the mountain (6110m), then ran down back to Pangboche. Then he showed up in Namche this morning. Impressively, Richard said “Sorry” for being half hour late as he agreed to meet us in a bakery here in Namche at 9:30am. Congratulations Richard! Together with Liam, they are getting ready for a long trek through the Rowaling Valley. Good luck boys!
Bill had to leave us just as quickly as he arrived. Today he left Namche and hiked straight to Pheriche. He plans to explore the upper part of the Khumbu Valley a little more, then hike back to Ama Dablam’s Basecamp to make sure that our next female climbers are also having a good time.
John is thinking about going home tomorrow, also following the trail to Jiri, 5 days from here (but he is an Ironman, so he might do it in 2 days…). We hope the weather improves tomorrow so John doesn’t have to go. Otherwise, we’ll miss him very much. (Sorry John’s wife, you probably miss him much more!).
Violetta, Grace and Frank are still with us. The unexpected rest was very welcome after climbing a mountain like Ama Dablam.

2 November, 2011
Bill Dwyer Expedition Dispatch Ama Dablam, EBC, and Everest Glacier School November 2nd 2011
It is a great feeling, walking downhill. No longer sucking oxygen. Sometimes climbs are wonderful, sometimes a challenge, but one thing is for sure… when it is done, everything in life seems better. With new friends we walked from Ama Dablam basecamp down the valley towards the Himalayan Paradise of Namche. Lots of laughs were had between the members of the expedition as they bounded down the rocky slopes. Members shared apple pie at the bakery along the way, walked though the Buddhist Monastery, and kicked the changing leaves that have fallen on the cobblestone trail. We wound down through the mountain villages and were greeted with “Namastes” from the locals, and “congratulations” from other trekkers.
As lungs fill with oxygen, bellies fill with food, and our brains fill with memories we walk. Smiling all the way. The mist came in the afternoon and covered the views of the valleys. We arrived at a tea house in Namche and settled in for dinner and a celebration. We have all shared an amazing experience together, and now it is time to depart. Ama Dablam is said to be one of the most beautiful mountains in the world, and many of us would agree that it was also a beautiful experience.
The mist still clings to the mountains around Namche, the horns and cymbals from the Buddhist ceremonies echo around the stone walls of town. People line the streets with jewelry and yak sweaters to sell. Colored rooftops line the streets, yaks wander amongst the people, and everyone is quick to welcome you in for a warm cup of tea. Namche is truly a magic place.
Thanks for checking in. The group is off to Lukla to catch a flight back to Kathmandu tomorrow, we will check in again tomorrow.

Hi, This is Max Kausch writing a dispatch for the Ama Dablam Expedition Autumn 2011
Today is October 31st and I’m very happy to inform that all our members who tried, have summited Ama Dablam. In addition to our 8 summits on the 29th, we had 7 people on the summit yesterday!!!
Summits on October 29th:

Sange Sherpa
Romain Hoffmann
Grace McDonald
Max Kausch
Richard Pattison
John Shelton-Smith
Jean-Michel Meunier
Pasang Sherpa
Summits on October 30th

Thile Sherpa
Liam Suckling
Tenji Sherpa
Bill Dwyer
Violetta Pontinen
Peter Hamel
Palden Sherpa
All members and staff are already resting safely here at BC. Looking to Ama Dablam from down here, it is hard to believe that we just climbed this huge and complex peak.Congratulations to our great team!!
Both of our groups had amazing views from the top. We were actually able to see 6 of the famous 8000 metre peaks from up there! At the summit we have even established radio communication with the SummitClimb Baruntse team who left Kathmandu on the 14th. It seems that they are getting ready for the summit push and some have already reached camp 2. Good luck Baruntse team!!
6 members are leaving BC tomorrow and will sleep at Namche Bazar. We have already started the preparations for the arrival of Ms Barbara Gorska and Ms Marion Joncheres. They will arrive to BC on November 6th. We really look forward to meet them.


29 October, 2011
Team 1:

This is Max Kausch writing a dispatch for the Ama Dablam Expedition Autumn 2011.
Today is October 29th and we are very happy to inform you that 5 of our members, as well as 2 sherpas and myself summited Ama Dablam today at about 10am. Romain, Jean Michel, Grace, John, Richard, Pasang, Sange and Max shared a few minutes together at the summit of Ama Dablam today.
We left our tents at Camp 2 at 2am and spent 8 hours climbing to the summit. We had some pretty strong winds from west on the way to the summit, but there was no precipitation whatsoever. Our second team is going for the summit tonight
I’ll write another dispatch tomorrow with more summits. Right now Violetta, Liam and Peter are camping at 6000m waiting for their own chance.

27 October, 2011
Hi, this is Max Kausch writing a dispatch for the Ama Dablam Autumn 2011 Expedition. Today is October 27th
We are at camp 1 at the moment and already started with the summit push. As some of the camps don’t have so many tent platforms, we had to split our team in 2 smaller teams:
Team 1 – Will try to summit on October 29th
Jean Michel
Pasang Sherpa
Sange Sherpa
Team 2 – Will try to summit on October 30th
Thile Sherpa
Tenji Sherpa
Palden Sherpa
Is very cold today but we are all warm at camp 1 and getting ready to sleep at Camp 1. Team 2 is still at BC and will move to Camp 1 tomorrow. Last night the kitchen staff made us a good luck dinner which included burgers, pasta and a whole cake.
Everyone is very healthy and with good spirits for the summit push
Team 2 is moving to C2 tomorrow and will push for the summit from there


24 October, 2011
Hi, this is Max Kausch writing a dispatch for the Ama Dablam Autumn 2011 Expedition. Today is October 24th and we are back to basecamp at 4500m.
We had a very exciting day today! We all woke up at about 7am at camp 1, 5700m, just after sunrise. For breakfast our cooks made us pancakes, fried pepperoni and porridge. Believe or not, all this was made in our kitchen-almost-hanging-tent at 5700m!
The weather was really helpful and we had a perfectly clear day with no wind at all. Everyone geared-up and we started the most enjoyable and technical part of the whole climb: the section between camps 1 and 2. Most of our members carried a small load to drop at camp 2 while some of our sherpas worked hard to build tent platforms over there.
Camp 2 is located at the top of an amazing rock tower called “yellow tower”, at 6000m. This is literally the only place between 5700m and 6300m where one can place a tent. No need to say that the views from there are amazing. The yellow tower is the most technical part of the climb. But above all, is one of the most fun parts of the whole mountain. The rock there is very solid and dry. Also, there are very good hand and foot holds.
All our members and sherpas reached camp 2 today and all got back to basecamp late afternoon.
On October 20th Violetta fell while coming down from camp 1 to ABC and twisted her ankle. We were all very worried about her especially when we saw her coming down to basecamp in great pain. Violetta however is a very tough climber and recovered in only 2 days. She not only started walking with a little difficulty, but she went all the way to Camp 1, then climbed to camp 2 today and came down all the way to basecamp. Very impressive! Congratulations Violetta!
Our plan now is to rest at least 2 days here at basecamp and push for the summit with our team split in 2 smaller teams.

23 October, 2011
Hi, this is Max Kausch writing a dispatch for the Ama Dablam Autumn 2011 Expedition. This is for October 23rd 2011
Most of our team left ABC this morning and headed here to Camp 1 at 5700m to sleep for the first time. There are a lot people here right now and is very snowy. Camp is actually covered with snow. We have 8 tents up here and also a kitchen tent. We have amazing views over the ridge and can see Pangboche, Tengboche and Basecamp.
Everyone is doing very well without any problems.

22 October, 2011
Hi, this is Max Kausch writing a dispatch for the Ama Dablam Autumn 2011 Expedition. This is for October 22nd 2011
We had a good rest day at basecamp yesterday with some fairly bad weather. It snowed on the whole mountain yesterday and even our basecamp was covered with snow. The snow stopped in the afternoon, but we still had cloud cover. At least the storm hit while we were resting and not when we were at high camps.
After a good rest day we left basecamp today and reached ABC, at 5250m. It was a very light walk Again, the sunset was amazing from here. Everyone is very well and hydrating right now. We hope we’ll reach camp 1 tomorrow before noon.


20 October, 2011
Hi, this is Max Kausch writing a dispatch for the Ama Dablam Autumn 2011 Expedition.
Today is October 20th and we’re back to BC. We had a very productive day today. The whole team woke up with a “tent tea” served by our kitchen staff at 5250m. The views were amazing and sky was very clear. Everyone felt very well with no altitude problems so we carried a load to Camp 1 at 5700m.
Our staff set a kitchen tent at Camp 1 and also 5 tents for our members. Having a kitchen tent on such a high camp might sound extravagant but this really helps everyone to acclimatize and increases the chances of summiting. It means a lot having a cook at camp 1 when you come down tired or you wake up feeling dizzy because of the altitude. So far we’re the only team around here with a high kitchen.
All our member dropped equipment loads at camp 1 then started the descent back to BC at 4500m. Everyone was down here by 3pm. We’ll take a rest day tomorrow, then we’ll sleep at 5700m for the first time.

19 October, 2011
Hi, this is Max Kausch writing a dispatch for the Ama Dablam Autum 2011 Expedition. This is for October 19th
We’re currently at ABC, 5250m. Now its about 9pm and everyone is sleeping. ABC is on a 25 degree slope with a few tent platforms dug on a few steps. There are many rocks and boulders here. Believe or not, we have a kitchen tent here with a cook. He just served us with delicious pasta and white sauce and there seems to be unlimited supplies of tea and juice in the kitchen. Right now there are millions of stars in the sky and the sunset was just perfect.
All members left BC this morning and trekked here for about 2 or 3 hours. Everyone is very disciplined and is acclimatizing very well. We have a very experienced team and everyone knows very well what they are doing.
We are planning to reach camp 1 tomorrow and take a load with climbing equipment there. Our staff will also set a kitchen tent there.

18 October, 2011
Hi, this is Max Kausch writing a dispatch for the Ama Dablam Autum 2011 Expedition. This is for October 18th
Today we had a puja (Buddhist ceremony) just above our base camp. We called a Lama from Pangboche to run the puja. The sherpa are very superstitious about this and they even bless their climbing equipment or anything that touches rock or ice. Although many of our members don’t really believe in such Buddhist ceremonies, they really respected it and also brought their climbing equipment to be blessed as well. The sherpa were very happy as our stupa (rock pillar where puja is executed and religious flags are hang from) was higher than any other at basecamp.
After our puja most of our members went trekking to acclimatize. Most of us passed the 5000m line and felt very well. At the same time our members went trekking, a few yaks took all the high altitude equipment to Advanced Base Camp (ABC) at 5250m. We are planning to sleep there tomorrow together with all our sherpas.


17 October, 2011
Hi, this is Max Kausch writing a dispatch for the Ama Dablam Autumn Expedition 2011.
Today we had a rope fixing training in a nearby hill. Our sherpas and I fixed some ropes on rocky terrain so our members could practice fix rope climbing and review their rock climbing and vertical techniques. We all had a lot of fun and learned a lot with the training. We also had great views from up there and could see the whole basecamp. Even from up there we could see SummitClimb basecamp which is actually huge!

Tomorrow is our puja day, then some yaks are carrying equipment to ABC at 5100m. Our members will go for an acclimatization walk towards ABC but everyone will sleep right here at BC.

16 October, 2011
Hi, this is Max Kausch writing a dispatch for the Ama Dablam Autumn 2011 Expedition.
All our member arrived to BC today. It's beautiful here! Camp is actually a massive grassy field with 2 water streams cutting it. We can see 8 or 9 impressive mountains from here and of course, Ama Dablam.
Our camp is well organized and each member has a tent. We also have a toilet, shower, dinning tent, storage tent and kitchen tent. The trail to ABC starts 20m away from camp. There are also 5 other teams here and some of our members went there today to meet them.
The weather is great in the mornings and early afternoons but might be a little cloudy late afternoons.
Everyone is feeling great and no one had any symptoms of high altitude diseases at all, not even headaches! We are very proud of our members and staff for arriving here safely and with no problems. All the cargo arrived carried by 31 yaks and 8 porters. We all get the feeling that our expedition started really well.
Tomorrow we’ll climb some hills nearby and revise the rock climbing techniques of our members. Although our team is very experienced, we all need to revise some skills so we all can be very sharp by the time we touch rock at camp 1.

15 October, 2011
Hi, this is Grace McDonald writing a dispatch to the Ama Dablam Expedition Autumn 2011.
The team spent the last couple of days in Namche, relaxing and enjoying the scenery. Some splurged on lodge rooms (with shower!) closer to town centre while most slept up top overlooking Namche in tents. Great view but it was a nice punishment for the lodge takers to have to hike up to the top of town for meals. Left us breathless every time!
Most of the group took acclimatization hikes on our rest day up to Kumjung and the Everest View Hotel while others who were already acclimatized hung around town. We found a new restaurant in town (8848) and discovered it had the perfect balcony for sunning yourself, eating and people watching virtually everyone who arrived in Namche. It also provided a nice perch from which to aim projectiles at other team members.
Various team members came and went over the course of about 4 hours and we tried close to half the menu - great food!! By the time we left we were stuffed and knew everyone in Namche at least by face.
Some of us figured it would be our last chance for the pub before the mountain and it was nice to socialize with the local trekkers. We were joined by a cool group of Norwegians who we had of course spotted earlier in town. They had a 16 and 17 year old with them who were on their way back down from a big trek and got up to just over 6,000 m - very cool. We eventually called it a night after lots of laughs and good conversation and everyone headed off to bed.
Today we all enjoyed breakfast and headed out at our own pace towards Pangboche with a plan - lunch by the river, apple pie in Tengboche. The weather was fantastic until about Tengboche, with great views and Ama Dablam and we all moved quick.
Right now I'm sitting on a rock in the mist in Pangboche. The sun is gone and it's a bit chilly. Everyone is safely in the dining room resting from the long walk. I think we'll sleep well tonight. Most of us splurged for rooms tonight but a few are staying in tents. We'll rest up and head to base camp tomorrow. Everyone is doing really well. We've actually got a really experienced team and we're looking forward to getting settled into basecamp.
Thanks for following our posts. We'll try to get others to take a stab at writing and hopefully have more fun to share with you in the coming days.
Grace McDonald

13 October, 2011
Hi, this is Max Kausch writing a dispatch for the Ama Dablam expedition Autumn 2011.
We are in Namche Bazar, the sherpa capital at 3450m. Everyone is doing very well and we all look forward to see Ama Dablam for the first time tomorrow. We arrived here after a 5 hour trek, followed by 25 sturdy and friendly yaks with our equipment.
Today we met the Everest View Glacier School team and the Everest Basecamp team. They will leave Namche tomorrow morning and we'll stay another night to acclimatize.
The weather is great and skies are blue pretty much the whole day. We had no problems with flights, porters or yaks.
Tonight at dinner our members started a oxygen saturation competition using a small device called pulse-oxymeter. And guess who won the competition? Mr Frank Sarnquist who is 69 years old! Detail, in our team we have members who just climbed an 8000m peak and 2 sherpas who just climbed a 8200m peak! Congrats Frank!
We'll enjoy our rest/acclimatization day here in Namche. We have restaurant, bakeries, pubs and equipment shops so don't worry about us!


12 October, 2011
Hi, this is Max Kausch writing the first dispatch for the Ama Dablam
Expedition Autumn 2011.
We left Kathmandu today and made it to Phakding, at 2300m. All members
finally arrived in Kathmandu on October 10th and we had a briefing meeting
on the 11th.
Everyone is feeling well and healthy and we look forward to seeing Ama
Dablam for the first time tomorrow.

Team Roster:
. Max Kausch - UK (leader)
. William Dwyer - USA (assistant leader)
. Ms. Grace McDonald - Canada
. Peter Hamel - USA
. John Shelton-Smith - UK
. Ms. Violetta Pontinen - Poland
. Jean-Michel Meunier - France
. Ms. Barbara Gorska - Poland
. Frank Sarnquist - USA
. Richard Pattison - Australia
. Ms. Marion Joncheres - France
. Liam Suckling - Australia
. Romain Hoffmann - Luxembourg
. Tile Sherpa - Climbing Sherpa
. Palden Sherpa - Climbing Sherpa
. Tenji Sherpa - Climbing Sherpa
. Pasang Sherpa - Climbing Sherpa
. Sange Sherpa - Climbing Sherpa
. Sange Sherpa - Cook
. Temba Sherpa - Kitchen Assistant


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