Introduction: Climb Lhotse (8,511 Meters)
Lhotse is the fourth
highest mountain in the world and is unique in that it is climbed from
virtually the same route as Mount Everest. The dates we have chosen
feature the best weather of the year. Our proposed schedule allows for two
potential summit attempts.
This expedition to Lhotse
maximizes many years of accumulated wisdom from not just reaching the
summit previously with four members, but an intimate knowledge of the high
Himalaya, a strong record of reaching Lhotse, Everest, K2, Kangchenjunga,
and many other 8,000 meter summits, along with an intimate knowledge of
the Nepalese officials who regulate the permit system. We must also give
credit to the highly experienced and hard-working climbing Sherpas,
cooking and office staff.
The trip begins in the
ancient and colorful city of Kathmandu, and the staff will personally meet
your flight at Tribhuvan airport. You stay in a comfortable, simple,
clean hotel, and sample some of the tasty Nepalese, Tibetan and
Western-Style cuisine, at minimal expense. During our free day in
Kathmandu, we shall finalize arrangements, and take some time out for
trinket hunting, with planned visits to explore the 17th century splendors
of the Monkey Temple, the Durbar Square and old Kings Palace, as well as
the ancient city of Patan.
Early the following
morning we fly to Lukla at 2860 meters., where we meet our yak drivers,
and porters. If there is time, we will trek to Monjo (2652m), and spend
the night. For our full-service members, the cost of this expedition
includes one of the most beautiful treks in the world.
Trekking in the Khumbu
valley. Crossing a bridge under rhododendron forests. (DL Mazur) Our team
in basecamp (DL Mazur). Anatoly Boukreev and Vladimir Balyberdin at
basecamp. (DL Mazur).
We will continue our trek
up to Namche Bazaar (3446m), the capital of the Sherpa Kingdom. Here we
rest for a day to acclimate, then proceed up to Deboche (3757m) for a
night, then to Lobuche (4930m), where we have another acclimatization day.
Finally, we make the last trek to basecamp at 5300 meters. After resting,
organising, and training in basecamp for a day, we will begin our climb.
We start with a day hike through the awe inspiring Khumbu Icefall,
followed by a trip to the plateau of the Western Cwm, for our first
glimpse of Camp 1, at 5800 meters. We return to basecamp for a tasty
dinner, prepared by our skilled cooks.
Diane in the icefall (Dan
Mazur). Tent lashed to its platform in camp 3 at 7200 meters (Dan Mazur)
Climber in the Lhotse Face (Scott Darsney). Chris Shaw on the face at 8100
meters during an early summit attempt (Dan Mazur)
Lhotse Peak and the
couloir on the upper right of the obvious face whiches drops down the
right-hand side of the photo, seen from 8400 meters on Everest. Close-up
of the couloir on the right face, Lhotse Middle on left side of photo (Dan
Through the following
weeks, we will climb up and down the mountain, exploring the route,
establishing camps, and carefully and safely building our acclimatization
level. From camp 1 at 6000 meters, the route traverses the flattish bottom
of the Western Cwm, to 6200 meters where camp 2 is located. Camp three is
on the head wall of the Lhotse face at about 7200 meters. Camp 4, located
upon rock shelves in the upper Lhotse face, is the highest camp, and at
8000 meters it is a windy and cold place. We take our time, climbing up
and down to acclimate, which gives us the best chance to ascend in safety
and maximize our opportunity to reach the summit during the "weather
windows" which generally open in May. The route to the summit winds
through snow ice and rock fields, at a 10 to 50 degree angle. The final
summit "gully" is a couloir which is often filled with snow, and sometimes
rock. The gully ends and the final 50-100 meters mounts a "summit block"
of steps and snow, which is not too technical. A very climbable route on
the world's fourth highest mountain. Welcome to our team!
The entire route on
Lhotse, showing basecamp at the lower left, the Khumbu Icefall in the
centre, Everest on the upper left, Lhotse in the middle, and a bit of
Nuptse on the upper right. (Photo: Erich Bonfert)
Camp 4 at 8000 meters
seen from the top of the Lhotse Face. Looking up into the Lhotse couloir
from 8000 meters on a sunny-windy summit climb. Climbing fixed lines in
the Lhotse Couloir at 8200 meters. Looking down the Lhotse Couloir from
8400 meters, fixed lines on the right. This photo shows well the amount of
snow in the couloir that year. Note the footprints on the right side of
the couloir. Looking over at Lhotse Middle from the summit in a whiteout.
(DL Mazur) .
The view from the summit,
looking south to the other tops of Lhotse, looking as if the might be as
high as the summit we are standing on (Scott Darsney). Looking west to Cho
Oyu, Shishapangma, Pumori, and many others (DL Mazur) .