A snow storm in high camp had
dashed our hopes for climbing to the summit because the rocks are very
slippery and snowy.
This is Ms.
Elselien te Hennepe writing to you. Today is the 23rd of October and I'm
really happy to be able to report that this workshop has been an educational
as well as a very fun experience so far.
morning of the 19th, the nine of us left Chukung and headed for Island Peak
Base Camp. A beautiful 3 hour walk led us over or in between many ridges and
through different valleys before reaching IP BC at Parashaya Gab. Island Peak
Base Camp sits in a narrow and windy valley in between the peak itself and the
immense glaciers coming down Nuptse, Lhotse and Baruntse. Having spent one
night at 5100m we decided to break up Base Camp and move it up the mountain to
a perfect little rock plateau at 5500m. Our plan was to sleep early, wake up
at 02:00 in the morning to start our climb to the summit. But the Himalayan
weather system has it's own plans and waking up to the sound of high wind and
fresh snow on our tents made us decide to crawl back into our warm sleeping
bags and wait it out. In the afternoon of the same day we were lucky enough to
enjoy the Himalayan peaks being covered in a scerene white layer of fresh
snow, just before rapidly moving dark clouds from the south-west brought more
wind and snow and diminished my hope for a summit push the coming night.
Surprisingly lucky were we to wake up to a clear, darkblue sky filled with
stars and white peaks lighted by the moon and at 04:00 in the morning we
started our way up the rocky slopes of Island Peak. There were 5 of us: Me,
Ms. Elselien te Hennepe, training leader, and Ms, K and Sherpa, and Ms. Nima
Dolma Sherpa, both students, accompanied by Lakpa Kaongle Sherpa and Daniel
Mazur, company representative from SummitClimb.com . The first part is a mix
of a sandy trail, scree and rock scramble. This took us up to about 5900m,
where we got out our climbing gear, roped up and continued our way over
glaciated terrain towards the last steeper part of the route. Having our very
experienced local advisor Lakpa Kongle with us was a great help, since he knew
the route up the last 50% steep snow face and the small ridge to the summit
would be securely fixed. We all worked hard together and at 10 in the morning
we arrived at the small but rewarding summit of 6180 m high Island Peak! The
weather was still clear, the sun high in the sky and the Himalayan peaks of
Nuptse, Lhotse, Makalu, Baruntse and Ama Dablam -to name just a few-
were taking our summit pictures, more climbers made their way up Island Peak
and going down the fixed lines to the glacier below needed some logistic
management here and there. With the sun on ones face and the summit just
behind or within reach the spirits were high and everyone was working well
together. Below the fixed lines we roped up again, retraced our footsteps down
the glacier and were totally surprised to see Gelzeng (one of our support
staff members) waiting for us at the end of the glacier with a thermos of warm
orange drink! We continued our way down the rocky part of this mountain, broke
up high camp and walked straight down to the settlement of Chukung. There,
after a long but very rewarding day, we enjoyed a delicious fresh meal of rice
and fresh vegetables and Yak steak for those of us who ate meat!
very much for following this Sherpa Woman Climbing Workshop and we hope to
write more about it soon!
your attention from Elselien te Hennepe.
Here is a photo of the top of
the Chola Pass, with the requisite prayer flags and trekkers crossing. Its a
very beautiful pass, even if the clouds of come rolling in a little early
Here is a picture of the
Kongma Bird. On the 23rd we crossed the amazingly beautiful Kongma La pass
from Chukung to Lobuche. The pass at is named after this Himalayan Snow
Pheasant, or Kongma Bird in Sherpa. The Kongma Bird can now only be found in
the Sagarmatha National Park because there hunting it is prohibited. In the
rest of Nepal the bird is often killed for its tasty meat.
Here is a picture of our lady
Sherpas setting up our high camp at 5500 meters. We are getting ready for our
summit ascent tomorrow morning.
Earlier Update and background
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