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 Summitclimb Shishapangma Autumn Expeditions: ABC at 5650m

11 September, 2011
Hi, sorry we couldn’t send a dispatch yesterday. We had a few problems with our solar charger but we are back now. Right now the weather is pretty bad and there’s not much sunlight to charge our electronics.
We finally got to our ABC at 5650m. Its perfect here! We can see a glacial lake with many ice blocks floating. We are not too far from Shishapangma.
The team made it really fast to ABC, only 2 hours from mid camp and still no one is suffering from any altitude problems. We should have a puja (Buddhist ceremony) tomorrow and then start climbing the day after tomorrow. Our plan is to set a half camp between here and camp 1, then reach camp 1 with some good acclimatization behind us.
Here at ABC we have an amazing shower, however we are in the middle of a snow storm and showers are the last thing on our minds.
9 September, 2011
Hi, this is Max Kausch writing a dispatch for the Shishapangma expedition Autumn 2011. This is for September 9th.
We left BC this morning and trekked for about 9km to a very nice spot at 5400m, our Mid Camp. We have amazing views of the valley below from here but we couldn’t see Shishapangma today. The weather seems pretty bad and covered with clouds. These are probably monsoon clouds and we hope they clear in 1or 2 weeks.
Our sirdar Jangbu Sherpa and our kitchen boy Chimmy kept walking to set up ABC at 5800m together with our 16 yaks. We’ll meet them again tomorrow afternoon. Gary and Grace are doing very well and acclimatizing with no problems at all.
8 September, 2011
Hi, this is Max Kausch writing a short dispatch for the Shishapangma Expedition Autumn 2011. This is for September 8th.
Today, after 1 week, we finally saw the route above camp 3 to the top of Shishapangma. We are in our second day of acclimatization at BC, 5000m. Grace and Gary went trekking to the nearby peaks and described amazing views from the top.
We’ll leave BC tomorrow morning with 15 yaks towards advanced basecamp, but we’ll stop for 1 night on the way. The idea is to gain only 300m to help with the acclimatization and cut the 15km walk in half. ABC is fairly high, 5800m, so we have to take it really easy to make sure we are healthy when we get there.
Today we had a very quiet day so there isn’t much to say.

7 September, 2011

Hi, this is Max Kausch writing a dispatch for the Shishapangma Expedition Autumn 2011.This dispatch is for September 7th.
We finally made it to basecamp, at 5000m. The place is beautiful! There’s a grass field where we are and crystal clear river only 20m away from us.
Today was a fairly sad day as we had to say goodbye to the Cho Oyu team. They are heading to Cho Oyu BC right now and we’ll probably see them in Kathmandu after we summit Shishapangma. After the adventures we had together (like the pellet gun war yesterday), we all became good friends and will miss them very much.
After leaving Tingri, the CTMA drove us for about 2 hours and left us here. We set basecamp and will leave this place in the day after tomorrow. >From here on, we are on foot.

6 September, 2011

This is Grace McDonald writing a dispatch for the Shishapangma Expedition Autumn 2011. This is for September 6, 2011.
Battle for Ha Hoo Hotel:
Had an interesting day today in Tingri. It started out innocently enough with breakfast and members heading out for short acclimatization hikes. Some headed out to the old fort in Tingri and others headed up a local hill. Everyone reunited for lunch and then we had an afternoon on our hands. Richie entertained us with some cockney rhyming slang and then me and Gary headed out to grab some last minute items from the local shop. Yesterday we'd done a recon mission and discovered they stocked a healthy supply of plastic weaponry - pellet guns of various design (AK47s, MP5s, Leugers, Shotguns, Berettas etc.). We had pondered the long rest days at ABC that were ahead of us and thought it would be a fun idea to buy a couple of these to pass time. So we decided to go ahead with the plan.
We got back to the room to test out our weapons and fired a few "innocent" shots at the post outside the window. Of course we also took a few shots at each other inside the room. All good fun. So there we were in the room with the window open when pellets started flying through the window. The local shopkeeper, decided it was time for a turf war. We happily returned pellet fire as other members got equipped and joined in the fun. The shopkeeper was joined by friends and we responded from our rooms above. While we had previously been chasing each other around exchanging pellet fire, this surge from the shopkeeper and friends really united the team and a full response was mounted. Paul took the award for the most ingenious combat gear - a garbage can over his head and sunglasses for eye protection. Max stuck to to the puffy down jacket and sunglasses and other donned buffs and hid behind curtains. Protection was essential as the pellets were innocent enough but did leave a bit of a mark that disappeared after an hour or so. Various hits were taken, in the nose, between the eyes, behind the ear, torso, legs, etc. The shopkeeper and friends below us would pop out and take a few shots only to be bombarded with pellets from above. The battle ensued for hours and we laughed non stop - so did the shopkeeper and friends.
In order to capture the action on film I took a short assignment embedded with the enemy on the street. People respected my status as a photo journalist and I was able to avoid an all out assault. The pics were priceless. By this point the locals had gathered to watch, women, children, men on motorcycles and other expedition teams. It was actually quite the event in town. Everyone seemed to get a kick out of it.Things got a bit complicated when we needed to restock on ammo as the shopkeeper who was sending pellets through our window with his friends was our supplier. I was able to safely make a trip down under a cease fire that was only broken by one of the young friends of the local shopkeeper. Paul unfortunately was held for a short while on his ammo run and forced to turn against us in order to gain his freedom. We literally only ceased fire when dinner time arrived.
We gathered in the dining room, shared photos, compared welts and laughed again about how the day had transpired. I guess it's safe to say the team is generally well acclimatized and in good spirits. We're all looking forward to moving to our base camps tomorrow.
Thanks again for following our dispatches.
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 25ºC 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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