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  Summitclimb Cho Oyu 2009: Summits

Hello SummitClimb news. This is Arnold Coster, the leader of the SummitClimb Cho Oyu expedition, calling from camp 1 at 6400 metres/21,000 feet and today is Sunday the 27th of September.

Last night we all left for our summit attempt at 1:30 in the morning from camp 3 at 7500 metres/24,600 feet. Our attempt was very successful. Of the 10 members who left camp, 9 reached the summit. So if Iím correct that is (will double check and send detailed update tomorrow):

  • Adam Dixon - UK
  • Gavin Vickers - Australia
  • Ry Fable - USA
  • Eric Plantenberg - USA
  • Scott Patch - USA
  • Wiktor Mazur - Canada
  • Ridlon Kiphart - USA
  • Arnold Coster - Netherlands
  • Stephen Marsh Ė UK

Robert didnít reach the summit. He turned around after the Yellow Band at about 7800 metres/25,600 feet. He made a great effort and did very well.

The summit weather was almost perfect. It was cold at 1:30 p.m., but no wind at all. The views were crystal clear. It makes you feel very small when you stand on top of this big mountain.

Now most members are sleeping in camp 2 at 7100 metres/23,300 feet. Some members are here with me at 6400 metres/21,000 feet. Tomorrow everybody will come down to ABC for some real food, good rest, and maybe some beer.

Iím happy it went this way because right now the weather looks kind of cloudy and I think we made the right decision to push for the summit yesterday. In ABC I will give some more detailed information. Until then, bye, bye

Hello SummitClimb news. This is Arnold Coster, the leader of the SummitClimb Cho Oyu expedition, calling from camp 3 at 7500 metres/24,600 feet and today is Saturday the 26th of September.

After a snowy night in camp 2 we had an easy start. We had to dry out all our sleeping bags and clean up a bit before we could go up to camp 3. Yesterday we walked in the snow all day and today it was very hot walking up to camp 3. What a big difference! Everybody made it to camp 3 in good time and weíre all in our tents. We are sharing 3 people to a tent, which is kind of crowded, but normal for a summit push.

Weíre cooking soup, drinking tea, and some people are breathing some oxygen so they get strong for the summit push. The plan is to leave tonight at 1:30 a.m. Chinese time to set out for the summit.

The weather is very calm with no clouds and no wind, so letís hope that it stays like this.

Hopefully Iíll have some summits to call in when I report in tomorrow. Wish us luck. Bye, bye.

Cho Oyu - 24-Sep-09

Hello SummitClimb news. This is Arnold, the leader of the SummitClimb Cho Oyu expedition, calling from ABC and today is the 24th of September.

After the final check with the weather forecast today, we decided to go for the summit push. The weather looks good up until the 27th of September.

All of our members left for camp 1 after lunch. Samdien, our cook, prepared a very delicious lunch again to get us going and all of the members starting
heading up.

Tonight everybody will sleep at 6400 metres/21,000 feet in camp 1. The following day on the 25th we will sleep in camp 2 at 7100 metres/23,300 feet. On the 26th we will reach camp 3 for the first time at about 7500 metres/24,600 feet.

We'll probably set off in the middle of the night at 1:00 a.m. (Chinese time) on the 27th and go for the summit push. All members will be back at around 1:00 or 2:00 p.m. in camp 3 on summit day. So I hope the good weather stays. We were afraid to wait any longer and decided to just go for it because the weather looks good now.

I'll keep you informed from every camp. Everything is okay and all of the members are doing well. That's it for now. I hope the next time I call from ABC we all have a summit to talk about. Bye, bye

22-Sep-09: Hello, this is Carin Kiphart with a dispatch for the SummitClimb Cho Oyu expedition on 22 September, 2009.

Itís nearing the end of my last day here at advanced basecamp as I get ready to head back to Kathmandu. So I offer thoughts as the only trekker and female of the group.

I decided to join this expedition right before it was commencing to better understand the world of mountaineering and see 2 new countries. What I got was that and much more. I felt that I was in the midst of one big international expedition here at advanced basecamp. There are groups from all over the world. Some teams are attempting to put up a new route, while other climbers are getting ready to summit on the normal route.  All along the path you can hear everything from Portuguese to German to Dutch.

Everyone is quite friendly since the goals are all the same, to summit. I now have a better understanding of what the climberís experience is, alternating from hard climbing days on ice-falls to rest days in advanced basecamp washing clothes and preparing for the next trip up the mountain.

I watched the team stagger back into camp after spending 2 nights at high altitude, exhausted, but triumphant, staring longingly up at the summit.

Having the opportunity to just be in the presence of this greatest of mountain ranges has been inspirational for me as a writer and adventurer. As I get ready to trek down the mountain tomorrow I will leave with fond memories of the team, experience and the mighty Himalaya, one of the greatest ranges on Earth. My expectations have been exceeded greatly.

Thanks for following along our expedition. Thatís it for now. Bye.

Hello SummitClimb news. This is Arnold, the leader of the SummitClimb Cho Oyu expedition, calling from camp 1 at 6400 metres/21,000 feet and today is Wednesday, the 16th of September.

All of the members did great climbing up to camp 1. Everybody made it in good time, good health and spirit. The sherpas did a great job pitching our camp. We didnít have to do anything, as everything was set up for us already, so it was easy mountaineering. Christian, our German member, decided to turn around because he was not feeling too good from the altitude, so he went back to ABC to rest a little bit more. Heíll try to catch up with us later.

Tomorrow our team members will try to climb as high as possible and then all back down to ABC. We have to climb up and down a lot because our bodies are not yet used to the altitude and it is very hard for us to rest high up on the mountain. The longer we stay up, the weaker we get. Thatís why we climb up and then go down to sleep and eat so we get strong again for the next push. Every time we push to go up we try to go a little bit higher.

Our sherpas will go to camp 2 again tomorrow to put up some more tents, bring some more gas and food. Without our awesome sherpas these expeditions would be much more difficult.

One of our sherpas joined the group who is fixing the route, which means they are going to try to fix all the ropes to the summit ridge tomorrow during the day time. That is great because the fixed rope is our safety line. Itís very dangerous to do the climb roped together. Thatís why we used fixed lines, so itís easy to go up and down and you donít have to use the same rope in the same place all of the time.

Tomorrow Iíll have more news when weíre back in ABC. Weíre all going to sleep now here in camp 1. Bye, bye and take care

14-Sep-09; Hello SummitClimb news. This is Arnold, the leader of the SummitClimb Cho Oyu expedition, calling from advanced basecamp and todayís date is the 14th of September.

Today all of our members climbed to camp 1 at 6400 meters/21,000 feet and everybody did very well. Everybody made it within 4 hours, so I think we have a very strong, motivated group and they will do well going up to the next camp. Also, we brought about 500 kg of gear to camp 1, so we have a good stash of supplies now to make camp 2 and camp 3 in the next couple of days.

Tomorrow all members will rest in ABC to do small things like laundry and washing before we go up to camp 1 again this week. The plan is that we are going to sleep in camp 1 on the 16th.

All members are strong, their spirits are high, and Iím very happy to be the leader of this group. Until I have more news, thatís it for now. Bye, bye

11-Sep-09: Dear SummitClimb news readers,
Today we had our first full day in ABC at 5750 metres/18,900 feet. Most members spent their day getting settled in their tents. After all, this is our home for the next month! I think we have a great ABC with all the comforts we need. Every member has their own tent, as well as the teamís large dining tent, kitchen tent, storage tent, toilet tent and even a shower tent. ABC is like a small village.
Tomorrow all sherpas from all teams will have a meeting about fixing the ropes to the summit of Cho Oyu. Our team will have a rope practice to go over all the rope techniques again to make sure everybody can travel safely on the mountain.
Sunday we will have our Ďpujaí ceremony. In this Buddhist ceremony we ask the mountain god for safe passage, but it's also a social gathering and helps breaks the barrier between staff and members, so we all feel like a unified team.
I think we have a very strong team with high spirits.
Stay tuned for more news.........
Arnold Coster - expedition leader

12-Sep-09: Hello to all from advanced basecamp on Cho Oyu, Tibet. This is James Wilde calling in on the 12th of September.

The weather has been good except for some light rain and snow showers. The views of Cho Oyu, surrounding mountains and glaciers were phenomenal today. We went ahead with plans and practiced on the fixed lines using ascenders, rappelling and making sure everyone is set for going further up on the mountain. It was good times. We took a lot of photos and video, which weíll try to send in as soon as possible to post.

After our successful training session we returned to ABC and life at 5750 metres/18,900 feet. We told a lot of jokes and stories along the way down and I can honestly say that this is a fun group and everyone has a great sense of humour. I think Iím speaking for all of us when I say that the team is having a tremendous time. We all miss our family, friends and loved ones and are looking forward to seeing you all soon. Best regards, Jamie.

Earlier: Hello SummitClimb news. This is Arnold Coster, the leader of the SummitClimb Cho Oyu expedition calling from advanced base camp at 5760 metres/18,900 feet and today is the 10th of September.

We made it to ABC today. It was a long day for most members and also for the yaks. We left early this morning from interim camp and some of the yaks didnít arrive in ABC until 5:00 in the afternoon, which created a bit of difficulty because those yaks were carrying our kitchen equipment. All are members had to wait until they arrived to melt water and get dinner, but everybody is doing fine now and our cook managed to make a very good meal late in the evening.

Tomorrow we are just going to relax, make ourselves more comfortable in ABC, put up and use the shower tent, and make our camp really nice. The day after we are going to do our Ďpujaí blessing ceremony because our sherpas wonít go up on the mountain until it has been performed for the team and all of our equipment. Then weíre going to do some rope practice and a bit of training.

When I have some more interesting news to share I will call in again. Bye, bye.

Hello SummitClimb news. This is Arnold Coster, the leader of the SummitClimb Cho Oyu expedition calling from intermediate camp at 5380 metres/17,600 feet and today is the 9th of September.

We spent the morning organizing and weighing our equipment for the yaks. In total we had to bring out 3600 kg/7900 pounds of equipment and we had to load 60 yaks to get here, so we were busy with that all morning.

All of the members hiked up here to intermediate camp pretty fast and everybody is doing great and all healthy.

We will wake up early tomorrow and continue our journey to ABC at about 5800/19,000 feet. After tomorrow we can finally settle in one place. ABC is going to be our home for the next 3 weeks. I heard we already have good spot at ABC, so no worries about that.

Everybody is healthy and weíre just relaxing. Samdien, our Tibetan cook, made a delicious meal for us tonight, which was great. So, everybody is strong and eager to go up tomorrow.

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