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 Summitclimb: Cho Oyu & Shishapangma Expeditions: News from Grace McDonald

5 September, 2011

Hello, this is Grace McDonald (Shishapangma member) with a dispatch for September 5, 2011 for the Cho Oyu and Shishapangma Expedition Autumn 2011.

We awoke in Nylam to hot showers (for those of us who started early enough) and hot showers that turned into cold showers (for those of us who did not). The mere fact we have running showers and flushing toilets at the end of the hallway is impressive - certainly to those members who remember accommodations in prior years. Hot or cold, the hotel in Nylam is practically 5 star compared to previous accommodation options.

After breakfast the jeeps were ready to roll on down the road to Tingri and we headed back to the hotel to grab out backpacks. Max, Gary and myself (the Sishapangma team) met a member from another Shishapangma team who is a day behind us but should be arriving at basecamp along with us. He also filled us in on an Austrian team that should be arriving shortly. We understand that's it for expeditions on the North side of Shishapangma - just 4 in total, not many, but by my count we'll have 3 girls on the mountain and maybe more once the Austrian team arrives - girl power!

Over the last couple of days we all been seeing and meeting people from many other expeditions who are heading to Cho Oyu. Should be a much busier place than it was this Spring but the groups seem very multinational and friendly so it's shaping up to be a good year.

Into the jeeps we went, joined by Norbu our liaison officer for the Chinese Tibetan Mountaineering Association. We had a good time getting acquainted/reacquainted and the ride was actually kind of fun. Gary brought Toblerone and Norbu brought Chinese Red Bull; which together spell PARTY. Perhaps not an ideal combination for a drive over the Thong La pass (5300m) but we all enjoyed ourselves. Most teams stopped a the Thong La Pass to take pictures of Shishapangma (gorgeous) and all the prayer flags and then continued on to Tingri. Norbu decided we should have a stop at a location not far outside of Tingri where the grass was long and the view went all the way to Everest (if the big fluffy clouds would have moved out of the way!). It was actually a warm beautiful day on the Tibetan plateau and we walked through a gorgeous field of barley, took a little sample to nibble on for the rest of the drive and watched Norbu take a power nap in the long grass. It was a perfect extra stop to just take it all in.

Tingri, Tingri, Tingri . . . wow that place is changing. It's still pretty much a one street town filled charming dogs, hard lived people, motorcycles, honking trucks, dirt and trash BUT, the new hotel which was partially finished in the Spring is now pretty much complete. We were all treated to double rooms with ensuite. This was pretty unbelievable for people who had been here in prior years. There's also a few new stores and restaurants that have popped up. Tingri - come see it now before it loses it "rustic" charm.

The afternoon was filled with some good entertainment. Gary and I found super light, plastic AK-47 pellet guns at the store next to the hotel. We have big plans for war games at base camp. I might opt for the pistol model. They'll likely break after the first shot but we think the whole "axe in hand" summit shot is so 2010, we're thinking more of a Charlie's Angels pose for 2011. We'll see how it goes.

Most of the gang passed the afternoon at the local Nepali restaurant and stuffed ourselves with "mixed" momos (kind of like dumplings), french fries, tea and coffee. It was a nice way to pass the time, have a few laughs and watch the people and animals of Tingri pass by and also some dogs having a romantic moment. The group is actually getting on really well, lots of great people, good stories and good energy. Everyone seems to be acclimatizing well, listening to the leaders and staying positive.

Later in the evening we met for dinner and one of our members, Paul from South Africa, was recruited to help deal with some currently minor medical issues on other teams. He's a doctor working at Papua and was happy to offer what help he could. He was already called twice in Tingri. Thank you Paul ! Samdien, the cook for the Cho Oyu team also arrived this evening from Lhasa and we found Chimmy, the kitchen helper for Shishapangma, waiting outside the hotel today. He is a traditional Tibetan nomad with a million dollar smile who lives on the Tibetan plateau and hangs around Tingri for us to find him at expedition time. He's headed back to his home on his horse last night but we'll see him back here in time to head to base camp with us the
day after tomorrow.

A few of us were reluctant to call it a night so early so we hung around in the hallways chit chatting, no doubt keeping other teams up and then moved the party into a room - not much of a party as everyone forget to bring beer and food, but a good opportunity to sit around, pass some time, learn a little more about each other and have some laughs before calling it a night.

Tomorrow we remain in Tingri to acclimatize. Thanks for following these dispatches! We all appreciate knowing our friends and families can follow along on our adventures and we'll do our best to get daily dispatches out but slight delays may happen due to technological challenges in Tibet. All the best.

4 September, 2011

Hi, this is Max Kausch writing a dispatch for the Shishapangma and Cho Oyu expeditions autumn 2011.

We're currently in Nyalam, 3400m. Today was our 2nd acclimatization day and our members trekked to a 4300m ridge nearby. It is quite amazing considering that we only left Kathmandu yesterday. Everyone is feeling amazingly well and the team is getting on very well.

Unfortunately our Brazilian member, Bruno dos Anjos, had to leave Tibet early. He has reached Kathmandu today and will be flying to Brazil very soon. We will miss him very much. Take good care Bruno!

Both teams will move to Tingri tomorrow, which is at 4300m. We will spend 2 nights there and then the 2 teams will split up. Our Shishapangma staff is already on the way to BC and will set up our tents there.

We'll cross a 5200m pass tomorrow and will hopefully see Shishapangma for the first time. Also tomorrow, our teams will be able to see Cho Oyu from near Tingri. The views from there are amazing.

We will keep you updated as much as we can.

3 September, 2011

Hi, this is Max Kausch writing a dispatch from Nyalam, Tibet.

Our Cho Oyu and Shishapangma expeditions left Kathmandu together this morning. Our trip to the Tibetan border was pretty impressive. We saw stunning landscapes and many Nepali rural houses. Amazingly we had no incidents on the way, such as landslides or road blockages.

Our members were looking very forward to finally crossing the Tibetan border. By 13:00 today we had lunch in Zhangmu, the first Tibetan city on our way to the mountains. We have 6 jeeps driving our members and staff plus one truck with our 3 thousand kilos of luggage. I'll write more news tomorrow and also send a few photos.

Thank you for following our expeditions!

Max Kausch

31 August, 2011

The next couple of days we will finalize our packing for Cho Oyu. The first members will arrive tomorrow and the plan is to enter Tibet on Saturday. We have a nice expedition team from all over the world:

* Arnold Coster - Netherlands (Expedition Leader)
* Bruno Versiani Dos Anjos - Brazil
* Richard Maybank - UK
* Urs Walter Jaggi - Switzerland
* Fergal Savage - Ireland
* Ola Magnus Nerve - Sweden
* Vicen Jolis - Spain
* James Robson - UK
* Paul Liebenberg - South Africa
* Tenji Sherpa - Nepal (Climbing sherpa)
* Lhakpa Gelbu Sherpa - Nepal (Climbimg sherpa)
* Dawa Jangbu Sherpa - Nepal (Climbing sherpa)
* Jangbu Sherpa - Nepal (Climbing sherpa)
* Samdien Khompa - China (cook)

We're all looking forward to reaching the mountains again! Stay tuned for more news,

Arnold Coster, Expedition leader

31 August, 2011

Hi, this is Max Kausch writing the first dispatch for the Shishapangma Autumn 2011 Expedition.

Our plan for the Cho Oyu and Shishapangma expeditions is to leave Kathmandu on the morning of September 3rd together as one single team, then split the teams in Tingri (4300m) on the morning of the 6th. It's raining in Kathmandu in the afternoon pretty much every day and it's not so hot, about 25║C right now. We really look forward to meeting our first members who start arriving today in Kathmandu. Our staff has been working hard on the preparations and packing before the members arrive.

Thank you for reading the Shishapangma news!

Max Kausch

Team Roster:

* Maximo Kausch - UK (Expedition Leader)
* Grace McDonald - Canada
* Gary Kellund - USA
* Urs Walter Jaggi - Switzerland (combination with Cho Oyu)
* Paul Liebenberg - South Africa (combination with Cho Oyu)
* Jangbu Sherpa - Nepal (Climbing sherpa)
* Gyalje Sherpa - Nepal (Climbing sherpa)
* Nima Dorje Lama - Nepal (cook)



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