16 September, 2011
This is Grace McDonald with a dispatch for the Summit Climb Shishapangma
Expedition for September 16, 2011. We've called in a few dispatches over the
last few days but here's a bit more detail about our first rotation up to Camp
We left to establish a Depot Camp at 5,900m on September 13th. On the way we
got to pass through all the other camps - there's quite a few other teams here
actually at varying stages of acclimatization. The walk to depot was fairly
straightforward although quite rocky so you really had to focus on your feet.
We made it to the lower Depot Camp where some other teams had set up tents in
just over 2 hours but pushed on another twenty minutes to our more exclusive
Depot Camp just beside a field of ice pinnacles (more on that field later).
There was a group of 5 people heading up to Camp 1 at that point and we had an
excellent view of their ascent so we sat and watched while tent platforms
formed and tents magically went up. In truth there is no magic, just many
thanks to our Sherpas and Max who seem to be most comfortable when we're doing
absolutely nothing - it sounds horribly lazy but the more rested we are the
better for everyone. We settled in for the night and we allowed Max entry into
our tent to share in our fantastic company in exchange for him boiling water
and keeping our cups filled with tea. He's an excellent tea boy. Although
we're just a small group of three we're actually pretty good at chillin' in
the tent and passing time. Before we knew it we were off to sleep with some
We woke up to clear skies and glorious sunshine and took our time eating an
interesting breakfast called "milk cereal", it's the texture of foam but if
you eat it quick it's not too bad. Gary and I were ready a little ahead of the
Sherpas so we decided to get a head start and tackle the field of ice
pinnacles on our own. What you have to understand is that from Depot Camp,
this field of pinnacles doesn't look so big, you tell yourself it's a few ups
and downs, a little weaving here and there and you should pop out the other
side at the bottom of a gentle slope that leads to a slightly steeper slope up
to Camp 1 - not big deal! Two problems with this thinking, the field is way
bigger than it looks from Depot Camp and that glorious sunshine has a
microwave effect when you're surrounded by snow covered ice pinnacles on all
sides. So we started out with the two of us together but quickly got separated
between pinnacles. It's quite hard to maintain any sense of pace in this
field. At one point I came across a eight metre length of rope that had placed
there to assist climbers down a fairly steep pinnacle. Well I made it down
although my landing was spectacular - body folded into a V with my butt
dangling in a pool of ice water. It really was too bad we'd gotten separated
because I know Gary would have enjoyed that. As of a wet bum, believe me, in
that heat it was actually welcome. It was so hot it just propelled me forward.
I knew I had to get out of there as there was no amount of sunscreen that
would protect my skin. We ran into some members from other expedition on the
way who we had seen skiing down the clop from Camp 1 earlier in the morning.
One of them, Levi, had purchased our friendship at Advanced Base Camp with a
can of Pringles and two snickers bars. We're pretty sure his teammates were
confused by the greeting "Hey Girlfriend!" from Gary to Levi, but let's just
say we all became very familiar with each other over those Pringles and
snickers back in ABC. Eventually I came out onto the gentle slope and just
kept pushing forward. The sun just would not let up and I actually was feeling
worse on the slope than in the pinnacles. I've been a lot of hot places before
but have never felt that hot before in my life. I planned to stop just below
the steeper slope up to Camp 1 and by that point was joined by one of our
Sherpas. Max, Gary and our other Sherpa were heading up towards us and we
waited for them to join us before popping some energy gel and heading out for
the steady plod up to Camp 1. The hill doesn't look much worse than your
average skill hill at home but at this altitude it's hard work. I'm not sure
what came over me that day but I found the accelerator and just took off for
Camp 1. I think I was telling myself that it was so hot, I just needed to get
this done and the less time I spent enduring the heat, the better. Gary took a
slower pace but ended up being rewarded with some cloud and mist for the last
part of his move into Camp 1.
Up at Camp 1 I walked right up to a group that was camped there and asked if
they could spare a cup of tea. Our Sherpas were coming but I knew I had a bit
of a wait and was all out of fluids. It turns out they were an american group
and they were actually really nice. I passed over my cup and got some hot
water quickly in return and then a girl stuck her head out of her tent and
said "Would you like some Tiramisu with your tea?". Really - you can't imagine
how odd that sounds at 6,400m when you've been contemplating sun stroke for
the past 3 hours. Needless to say my wait at Camp 1 was actually quite
enjoyable and I even met another Canadian. They're a nice group and our
schedules seem to be matching up so we may be crossing paths fairly regularly
for the rest of the trip. Our Sherpas arrived about half an hour later and I
eventually roused myself from the american camp to see if they would let me
help them set up the tents. I fully expected the answer to be no, but to my
surprise they let me take a shovel and help dig one of the tent platforms. I
think they were amazed and amused that I would have the energy to help out.
Make no mistake, this tent platform digging stuff is hard! There were many
breaks. Once they got one tent up it was no more funny business and I was
firmly directed to get into the tent. I insisted on getting ice and having a
stove so I could start getting water ready for me, Gary and Max. I knew they
would be arriving very soon but the slope had completely clouded over so we
couldn't really see them. Literally seconds after I had got the water going
and my boots off, mat laid our and pack inside the tent, Gary popped his head
in. Perfect timing. We got him set up just in time to get Max in as well. As
usual, Max took over tea duty - standard price for enjoying the company of
G&G. We got some music going and managed to enjoy the night before heading off
to sleep. I had an OK sleep but Gary had one of his best sleeps yet.
The next morning we got ready and headed down to ABC. I was fine though to
Depot Camp but it turns out my speedy ascent to Camp 1 and tent platform
digging came with a price - I was completely toasted the rest of the way to
ABC. Gary seemed fine and kept a decent, steady pace back. I had to stop every
ten minutes just to let my muscles recover and establish communications
between my brain and muscles. I was dehydrated and hungry - not a great way to
be. Max hung back to lead me to ABC and we made in back in the warily
afternoon. That left just enough time for me to curl up in the fetal position
in my tent before collecting myself for a well-deserved shower and then
returning to my tent to resume the fetal position. There was a bit of
hydrating and eating that went on as well, but for the most part I was mush
for the rest of the day. Gary seemed to fare much better - a testament to
slower steady pace although it was a long hard slog for both of us.
We both seem to be doing better today - feeling rehydrated and more nourished.
That's the great thing about being back in ABC, you get to eat, drink, relax
and recover for the next round. We really are doing quite well given the short
amount of time we've been here. We've got another rest day tomorrow but will
probably head to Depot Camp in the late afternoon so we're better positioned
for our push to Camp 1 and then Camp 2.
Thanks again to everyone who is following our expedition
Hi this is Grace McDonald calling with the dispatch for September 14th, 2011.
I’m sitting with Gary and Max in Camp 1 of ShishaPangma. We’ve had a pretty
good day, a long day, a hot day; the sun was beating down on us as we traveled
from Advanced Base Camp to camp one. Everyone did really well and now we’re
all hydrating and feeling pretty good. Tomorrow we’re going back down to ABC
for some rest days and then head back up to camp one and camp two.
So anyway everything is good, I’m just going to pass the phone over to Gary to
add a few little words.
Hi this is Gary Kellund continuing the ShishaPangma dispatch for September
14th I just want to wish my wife Eva a happy anniversary, sorry I couldn’t be
there but I wish you all the best and send my love, talk to you guys later bye
Hi, this is Max Kaush calling with the dispatch for the ShishaPangma
expedition for 2011. We have made it to 5900m and we’re at the bottom of a
glacier right now and should be on our way to camp one tomorrow. We have spent
the last three days acclimatising at base camp and we had a puja yesterday so
we hope that changes the weather a bit.
Everyone’s doing really well here. Nobody’s even had a headache yet so we’re
going to push to camp one and try to sleep there, which is a bit early but we
haven’t had any problems yet.
So I’ll call again tomorrow from camp one and let you guys know how everything
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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!
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
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!
* 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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