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  Mt Everest 2006: Alpine Ascents Everest 2006: Getting caught up


Guide Team departs for Kathmandu: Well the Everest season has officially begun. This morning we dropped off Dave Morton at the airport today with all the gear and equipment for our 2006 Mt. Everest Expedition. The rest of the guide team has already begun to travel to Nepal. This year's team will be guides, Vern Tejas and Dave Morton and base camp manager, Ellie Henke. Willi Prittie will be leading our trekking team up to Everest Base Camp.

Today's departures could never have happened without the great help over at United Airlines at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. We would like to send out our continued appreciation to their amazing staff, specifically to Lora and Marylee at the group check-in desk, who have enthusiastically always made sure things have gone smoothly for us. Thank you again for all of your help and support over the years.

So the guides and equipment have all departed and the climbers and trekkers should be joining them shortly in Kathmandu. Stay tuned as we begin our 2006 expedition to Mt. Everest.

March 29 - Namche Bazaar: Namaste, Tashi Delek & Hello!

Welcome to the Alpine Ascents International 2006 Everest Expedition.
It’s already Wednesday the 29th here in Nepal and we are now sitting in Namche Bazaar. The past few days have been a whirlwind of activity getting ready to head into the Khumbu and our first cybercast has been a bit delayed. This morning we flew from Kathmandu on two MI 17 helicopters into the airstrip above Namche in perfectly clear skies. We were out the door of the hotel by 5:30 am and on the ground here in the Khumbu by 7:30.

Judging by the first few days our team is going to have a great time together. We’ll definitely be having entertaining evenings with lots of joking and laughing- we already are. Everyone is psyched to be up in the Everest region and feeling as if the expedition has now really started. Our trekking group flew into the region this morning as well but landed a bit lower in Lukla and is spending the night in Phakding. Tomorrow afternoon we’ll reunite here in the Panorama Lodge and spend the evening being treated to a great meal from Sherap and Lhakpa Doma.

In the morning we’ll head up for a hike after breakfast and get our first unobstructed views of Everest and the surrounding peaks. A couple of us had a spectacular but brief view of Lhotse, Nuptse, Pumori and Everest from the cockpit of the helicopter. Unfortunately the skies around Namche are very hazy by mid morning right now due to many fires just below Lukla and in the surrounding area of the Kathmandu valley. Fires have been flaring up as we hit the heart of the dry season.

The entire trekking and climbing team had dinner together the first night in the city at our favorite spot- about 30 people around one table. Tuesday we toured the city and it’s prominent Buddhist and Hindu temples then spent the late afternoon packing up and readying for the flight today and the 4 am wake up call.

We had some sleepy team members at dinner tonight and now Vern, Gerhard, Chris, Kay, Suzanne, Jacques & Alastair have all headed off to bed and it’s probably about that time for me.

It’s going to be another great season here in the majestic Himalaya… we’ll be in touch with more photos and messages at least every other day during the trek.

All the best,

April 1 - Thame: Hello friends, family and loved ones,

We made a fast start today as we had an ambitious schedule. An early breakfast allowed us to enjoy our Sherpa host blessing us with a farewell ceremony. Lahkpa Doma offered us Chang, the local alcoholic beverage of choice while Sherap laid a prayer shawl over our shoulders and wished us a safe return. Then we were off to the culturally interesting Sherpa museum. Just in front of the museum we passed by two recent MI-17 helicopter crashes. These are the same type we flew in and reiterated that the atmosphere is rather thin here and that there are risks in every facet of our undertaking. There are also great rewards as well, and we were treated to one of them when we dropped into the Saturday morning market that Namche Bazaar is famous for. Throngs of humanity swirling in a colorful dance of wheeling and dealing were a delight to the eye. And it’s always good fun to snag great buy on a last minute must have item. As we departed for our next village of Thame our packs were a bit heavier and wallets lighter.

On our way to Thame we spotted a pair of Tar, the wild Himalayan goat and several exquisite Danphe or Imperial Pheasant which is the national bird of Nepal. Through out our trek up the Bote Kosi River the music of falling water soothed us. The weather changed as we climbed and clouds blew under and around us as we crossed the bridge to the settlement. Thame is the home of many well known climbing Sherpas. Tenzing Nogay the first man along with Hillary to climb Everest grew up here. Our very accomplished Sirdar Lahkpa Rita and his brother are from here. Another of our Sherpa team, Chewang, who has summited Everest thirteen times also calls Thame home. The Guinness record holder of Everest ascents (15) Apa Sherpa lives here too and runs a very pleasant hotel. This is where we are staying the night and Apa has just welcomed to his home. He is a delightful gentleman despite his worldwide fame.

It’s snowing outside and that’s no April Fools!

Vern Tejas

Dispatch Index


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