19 September, 2008 Wind storm pushes team to ABC. Rebuilding
Hello, this is Vik Sahney
reporting in from advanced basecamp for the SummitClimb Cho Oyu Autumn 2008
On the 19th of September, half of the team
in camp 1 had a restful morning enjoying the great views. Our strong sherpas
fixed the route through metre deep snow to camp 2 and pitch the first tent of
Our lunch at about 1:40 p.m. was
interrupted by 65 mph winds, which began threatening the tents in camp 1. The
team sprung into action securing tents and dropping those that were too weak
to make it. The winds continued to grow and the team doubled and tripled up
into tents for safety, hunkering down for what was going to be a long, tough
That night the winds reached deafening
levels over 100 mph, shredding tents, vanishing equipment, and making any
communication in between the tents in camp 1 impossible. We counted the hours
until daybreak, as we hoped the winds would subside before the tents fully
gave way. Sleep was not an option.
At 8:00 a.m. on the 20th, as light broke
over the camp and we prepared for departure, the damage was clear. Although
camp 1 was a total loss, all team members were safe and made it back to ABC
for a few days of rest and recovery. We have more tents on the way to camp 1,
which will be reestablished. The second half of the team will head up the
mountain shortly, where hopefully they will be the first group to actually
sleep at camp 1. This is Vik Sahney reporting for SummitClimb
18 September, 2008: Team reports in after their first night in camp 1.
Hi, this is Kurt Blair reporting in for the SummitClimb Cho Oyu
Autumn 2008 expedition. I’m calling in for Thursday, the 18th of September.
About half of the group has moved up from
advanced basecamp to camp 1. We had a mostly snowy approach across the moraine
and glacier with quite a bit of wind. Everybody is feeling fairly healthy,
although it was a very difficult night up here with high winds. There was some
concern that tents would blow down, but luckily they did not. We had an
excellent meal of noodles for dinner and woke up to views in the morning that
On a very positive note, Michiel, who had
descended to Chinese Basecamp for a few days, has returned to advanced
basecamp and is feeling much better. It’s very good news to hear that he is
Thanks for following along on our
17 September, 2008
Half of the team spending their
first night in
Hi everyone. This
is Sam Mansikka the leader of the SummitClimb Cho Oyu Autumn
2008 expedition. I’m calling in for the 17th of September.
remaining team members climbed up to camp 1 to speed up their
acclimatization before moving on to the high camps. All of our
members except Michiel, who is in Chinese Basecamp recovering
from pulmonary oedema, and Max have been to camp 1 at about 6350
Today the weather
was so beautiful, especially in the morning. It was calm and
clear with the full moon hanging about the surrounding peaks,
but one by one, they got hit by the rising sun. It was just
The walk itself up
to camp 1 was uneventful. It was a somewhat long hike up the
glacier until we reached a big scree slope hill. Our campsite at
camp 1 leading towards camp 2 is beautiful and I think our staff
did a great job setting it up for us.
Half of our team
has climbed up to camp 1 today to sleep there. The rest of us
are spending a welcome rest day in ABC.
Stay tuned for
more news about our team up on Cho Oyu. This was Sam from
SummitClimb news. Bye.
16 September, 2008
Team makes first trip up
to camp 1.
Hi, this is Dan, the leader of the SummitClimb Cho Oyu Autumn
2008 expedition. I’m calling in with a dispatch for Tuesday
September 16th, 2008.
The day started in
advanced basecamp at 5660 metres/18,600 feet. We got up at 7:30
a.m. and 15 of our team members, along with 7 of our Tibetan and
3 of our Nepalese climbing sherpas had breakfast and packed up
to go to camp 1 and drop off equipment. We were also lucky to
make use of the services of 7 local Tibetan gentlemen who are
yak drivers by profession and have established a camp in ABC.
They were able to carry some large loads up to camp 1 for us for
some extra money, which was really helpful.
Our sherpas headed
up first and set up a very large camp 1 for us at 6350 metres or
some say 6420 metres. We now have camp 1 established with Ozark
top quality 4-season sleeping tents, along with our own private
kitchen tent where all of our members can meet and have a
delicious meal prepared by our skillful Tibetan cooks.
The rest of our
team departed a little more slowly than our Tibetan staff, along
with our 3 Nepalese climbing sherpas, Jangbu, Lhakpa, and Pasang.
We spread ourselves out across the Gyabrag Glacier and headed up
some broken moraines over a boulder field, reaching the bottom
of the famous “Heavenly Hill”, which rises up about 500-700
metres. It’s loose scree missed with dirt and it’s one of those
experiences of 2 steps forward and 1 step back as you climb it.
We finally all
reached camp 1 up on top of a gorgeous ridge with fantastic
views of Shishapangma, the Tibetan plateau, the neighboring peak
of Gyachung Kang, and Cho Oyu itself. We can’t see Everest from
here, as it’s blocked by Cho Oyu, but we will certainly send you
news when we can see it and hopefully some photos as well.
We are really
proud of our whole team. They did a great job today getting up
to camp 1. We all headed back down after setting up camp and
depositing some light equipment like ice-axes, crampons, and
harnesses. Everyone made it and it seems like we have a really
good team this year, so we’re super excited.
We have received
news about one of our members, Mr. Michiel Zuidweg, who went
down to Chinese Basecamp in the company of one of our Tibetan
staff members, Mr. Katu. Mr. Katu has just returned as we speak
to inform us that Michiel is doing okay down in Chinese Basecamp.
We are really looking forward to Michiel returning to our team
as soon as possible.
listening to our dispatch and we’ll call you tomorrow. Thanks a
lot. Bye, bye
15 September, 2008
Getting ready to explore the route to camp 1.
Hi everyone. This is Sam Mansikka the leader of the
SummitClimb Cho Oyu Autumn 2008 expedition. I’m calling in for the
15th of September.
Today we’ve had a rest day and puja ceremony. We
always have a puja ceremony before we head up higher on a
mountain, as I think we can use all of the good luck that we can
get. Of course it is also great fun too. This time we definitely
had a multi-cultural puja with the sherpas singing and dancing to
their traditional songs. Our members Erik and Kurt also added in
some fun modern pop classics by Eric Clapton and Pink Floyd. I
think that everyone really enjoyed themselves.
Unfortunately, one of our leaders-in-training,
Michiel Zuidweg, had to retreat to Chinese Basecamp because he was
developing the beginning signs of pulmonary oedema. We are very
sorry for him and looking forward to him recovering quickly so he
can continue climbing. Right now he is resting comfortably in
Chinese Basecamp with one of our sherpas.
After the puja we rested to prepare for
tomorrow. The dinner we had tonight was just phenomenal. Our cook
Kipa is really doing a great job on this expedition and we are all
enjoying the wonderful food he is preparing.
Tomorrow most of the team will head off to visit
So that is all for Monday’s news and we’ll get
back to you soon with more about SummitClimb’s autumn 2008 Cho Oyu
This was Sam for SummitClimb. Bye.
14 September, 2008
The team is training in ABC, reviewing ice climbing techniques .
Greetings from the SummitClimb Cho Oyu Autumn 2008
expedition. This is Ron Cloud from Redding California calling in
today on September 14th to report.
late night, a sunny and leisurely morning was welcome. 7 cm / 3
inches of fresh snow greeted us this when we woke up. This melted
quickly as we settled into advanced basecamp. Our elevation here
is 5660 metres/18,600 feet. We are camped between 3 Chinese teams,
an Italian team, and a Slovenian team. The weather has settled
into sunny in the morning with intermittent snow squalls.
Temperatures range from -1 to 15° C / 30 to 60° F during the
daytime and -1 to -5° C / 20 to 30° F at night.
We had lunch and then hiked over to the icefall
where Samuli and Max set up a climbing course. After sorting
equipment and putting on harnesses and crampons the entire team
practiced going up fixed lines on 70 to 80 degree ice using our
ice-axes and ascenders. Once on top we rappelled or abseiled down.
After the 45 minute hike back to camp we were met with a cup of
sweet tea. Dinner commenced soon after with musical entertainment
on guitar provided by Erik and Kurt.
The team thanks all of our loved ones for their
wishes and prayers. We are looking forward to a rest day tomorrow.
Thanks for following along on our expedition. Bye.
back to top
13 September, 2008
Team has made it to ABC.
Hi, this is Squash Falconer calling in for the
SummitClimb Cho Oyu Autumn 2008 expedition on the 13th of
By midday we packed our intermediate camp up,
loaded the yaks, and every member, although some not feeling quite
100 percent, set off for advanced basecamp. All members passed
through the Chinese army checkpoint without any problems and
continued to trek towards advanced basecamp. We were blissfully
unaware that the yaks, loaded with everybody’s kit, had been
stopped at the checkpoint and were being told they could not move
on to ABC.
As the day drew on, it looked less and less
likely that the yaks and kit were going to be allowed to carry on
to ABC, so the Tibetan sherpas, who we are eternally grateful to,
hiked all of the way back down to the halted yaks to get essential
kit like our sleeping bags and mats.
Meanwhile, in ABC our kitchen staff produced a
lovely meal with Erik coordinating everything, including live
entertainment with his guitar. Around 10:00 p.m. we received
really good news. Dan, Sam and Max had worked their magic and the
yaks with all of our kit were on their way to us. By midnight
every member was tucked up in their own tents, with all of their
kit, and delighted. Dan, Sam and Max arrived at ABC around 1:30
a.m. Our heroes! Thank you for following along on our expedition.
10 September, 2008 :
Team resting in basecamp.
Hi, this is Michiel Zuidweg,
leader-in-training of the SummitClimb Cho Oyu Autumn 2008 expedition.
I’m calling in for the 10th of September.
We are at basecamp at 4900 metres/16,000
feet. The last few days we’ve been able to enjoy stunning views of Cho
Oyu with clear blue skies during the day, alpine-glow sunsets, and
moonlit starry skies at night. While under the basking glow of Cho Oyu
during the days we’ve been relaxing, reading books, laughing and joking,
playing chess, and enjoying wonderful meals made by our cook Kipa and
the rest of the sherpa crew.
been very relaxing and easygoing watching the yaks graze along the
grasslands and enjoying the views of the surrounding peaks. Thank you
for following along on our expedition. Bye.
9 September, 2008 : Team in basecamp
Hi, this is Suzy Madge calling in on 9 September for the
SummitClimb Cho Oyu Autumn 2008 expedition.
We left Tingri and had a coughing, spluttery 1 hour drive to
basecamp. We were all very excited to finally be on the mountain. When we got
here, a delicious lunch was waiting for us and I think we all felt like it was
almost as good as a farewell expedition lunch, as opposed to a first day on
the mountain lunch.
A few of us went for a beautiful 3 hour hike up towards a
stunning peak called Jobo Rabzang, which is next door to Cho Oyu and
apparently has an altitude of 6666 metres/21,850 feet. One of the coolest
mountains, it reminded me of my home mountain in Chamonix, Mont Blanc, with
towering crevasses leaning over like old men, looking as if they were going to
crash down on top of us.
After our three hour walk, a delicious dinner was waiting
for us and we all went to bed with full stomachs, not expecting to sleep too
much now that we’d reached a height of 4900 metres/16,000 feet. Thank you for
following along on our expedition. Bye.
8 September, 2008: Team
heading towards basecamp.
Hi, this is Gavin Turner,
leader-in-training of the SummitClimb Cho Oyu Autumn 2008 expedition. I’m
calling in for the 8th of September.
Today we had an
acclimatization day in Tingri at about 4300 metres/14,100 feet. We enjoyed the
wonderful sunny weather and blue skies that we’ve been having for the last 3-4
days. We went for a short hike up a small hill to 4700 metres/15,400 feet,
enjoying the magnificent views of Cho Oyu and Everest, as well as many other
Himalayan mountains. We also walked through the Tingri and made friends with
the nice local villagers and exchanged presents with them.
Tomorrow on the 9th we head
towards basecamp and we’re crossing our fingers that this wonderful weather is
going to last. Thanks for following along on our expedition. Bye.
7 September, 2008 :
Cho Oyu team acclimating in
Good morning, this is Gavin
Turner, leader-in-training of the SummitClimb Cho Oyu Autumn 2008
calling from Tingri where we’re currently at about 4300 metres/14,100 feet.
Yesterday we had a good drive from Nyalam on the 7th of September. The
weather was pretty nice and we drove over a 5000 metre/16,400 foot pass and
had great views of Shishapangma, one of the world’s fourteen 8000 metre/26,200
foot mountains, and also great views back along the border of Nepal and
Tibet. The drive was pretty smooth, we arrived in Tingri at about 2:00 p.m.
and lunch was immediately served, which was great.
Everybody rested through
the afternoon, did some laundry, and had a shower. Then we walked up to a
small hill above Tingri and had great views of Everest and Cho Oyu. It was
exciting for everyone to see Cho Oyu for the first time.
We are now going to be
resting in Tingri for the day. It’s a beautiful morning with blue skies and
hardly a cloud in sight. After resting here today, early tomorrow morning
we’ll make the 2-3 hour drive to Chinese Basecamp where we’ll settle in and
begin the next stage of our expedition.
So everything is going
really well here. Everyone is healthy, resting and looking forward to the
next stage of the trip. Thanks for following along on our expedition. Bye.
6 September, 2008 :
Cho Oyu team acclimating in
Hi, this is Dan, the leader of
the SummitClimb Cho Oyu Autumn 2008 expedition.
Today’s dispatch is for 6
September. Our team rested in Nyalam today and we unpacked all of the trucks
and sorted through all of our equipment, together with our sherpas. Some of
our members went for a walk in the surrounding hills around Nyalam. It’s
In the afternoon some
clouds came in and it sprinkled a bit of rain and a little bit of snow, but
generally the weather has been really good. I would have to say it has been
unusually good for this time of year.
All of our members seem to
be healthy and we’re acclimatizing. Tomorrow on the 7th we plan to drive up
to Tingri and have some more acclimatization up there.
So we’ll keep you posted
and thank you very much for following our expedition news. Okay, take care.
5 September, 2008
Cho Oyu team in Tibet now.
Resting in Nyalam
Hi, this is Dan, the leader of
the SummitClimb Cho Oyu Autumn 2008 expedition.
Today is the 5th of September
and our group reached Nyalam. We’re in Tibet now and everyone is doing very
well. We have 24 foreign team members, along with 4 Nepali and 10 Tibetan
Sherpas. We’re having a lot of fun. Everyone seems to be adjusting to the
altitude well. We plan to rest here tomorrow and then move up to Tingri on
We’re wishing everyone well
at home and thanks for following our expedition. All the best for now. Bye,
4 September, 2008 :
Team in Kodari. Crossing into
Tibet soon. :
Hi, this is Dan, the leader
of the SummitClimb Cho Oyu Autumn 2008 expedition.
I’m leaving a dispatch for
4 September. Our team is stuck in Kodari. We were unable to cross the border
today because we found out that another special permit is required for us to
go into Tibet. A motorcycle courier is travelling down to the border very
quickly and should arrive at midnight with the special permit. Hopefully, we
will be able to cross the border on the 5th of September.
All of our members and
staff are doing well. Everyone is fine. They’re all waiting very patiently.
The team seems to be a really good group. We’re excited about expedition and
entering Tibet tomorrow. Thank you very much and we’ll keep you updated.
Take care. Bye, bye.
3 September, 2008
Today we had our member briefing. Our two trekkers decided
they would prefer to trek to Everest from the Nepal side. We received our visa
to enter Tibet thanks to some very hard work done by many people. Our team now
comprises 2 leaders, 3 leaders-in-training, and 19 members. We are a diverse
group of men and women from around the world. Tomorrow (4 September) we plan
to depart at 3:00 a.m. for the Tibet border and cross (hopefully) around 8:00
a.m. Wish us luck!!!!
2 September, 2008
Today all of our members arrived and we received the climbing
permit. One member sadly could not join, as apparently no journalists were
allowed this season.
- Mr. Dan Mazur - USA (leader)
- Mr. Sam Mansikka - Finland (leader)
- Mr. Max Kausch - Argentina (leader-in-training)
- Mr. Erik Petersen - USA (leader-in-training)
- Mr. Michiel Zuidweg - USA (leader-in-training)
- Ms. Squash Falconer - UK
- Ms. Suzy Madge - UK
- Mr. Marko Aho - Finland
- Mr. Kurt Blair - USA
- Mr. Tom Clarke - Australia
- Mr. Ron Cloud - USA
- Mr. David Fairweather - UK
- Mr. Heikki Kallio - Finland
- Mr. Pertti Kalliola - Finland
- Mr. Gary Kellund - USA
- Mr. Raimo Koponen - Finland
- Mr. Willem Leendertse - the Netherlands
- Mr. John Pando - USA
- Mr. Federico Rota - Italy
- Mr. Vik Sahney - USA
- Mr. Keith Spencer - USA
- Mr. Gavin Turner - Australia
- Mr. Mikko Valanne - Finland
- Mr. Krzysztof Wasowski - Poland
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