Everest 2006: Team No Limits
Excitement is in the air as
the remarkable men make their final preparations for their departure. Last
minute checks and goodbyes to loved ones characterize these last moments as
the team sets out for their journey of a life time.
Background: Team No Limits is a Colorado
based expedition. The team has been in the making for three years and has
endured a great deal of uncertainty and attrition. After the unfortunate loss
of several team members, Team No Limits is now comprised of four members. The
members of Team No Limits hail from throughout the United States. None are
professional alpinists, but climb purely for the love of the sport. All are
experienced mountaineers and have a wealth of experience climbing worldwide.
They share a common philosophy of safe climbing and respect for the Nepalese
people and culture. Team members are: Doug Tumminello, Matt Tredway, Larry
Rigsby MD, base camp manager, Roger Coffey, and Climbing Sirdar, Apa Sherpa.
In spite of some hardship,
the spirit of this climb has prevailed. As the journey of a life time is about
to unfold, these inspirational and dedicated men are unified and prepared to
take on what waits for them in the days to come. The members of the team chose
their name, Team No Limits, to fit their belief that there is no limitation to
what the human spirit can achieve or overcome. The primary mission of the Team
No Limits Everest 2006 Expedition is to get as many team members as possible
on the summit of the highest mountain in the world, and then back home safely!
The team is dedicated to safety over summit success.
Team Member Introduction
Doug Tumminello lives in
Littleton, Colorado, and is a practicing attorney with a Denver law firm. He
is a West Point graduate and served in the U.S. Army as an infantry officer.
Doug is a multi-faceted climber and excels on rock and ice. Doug has led
expeditions to Denali, the highest mountain in North America, and Argentina’s
Cerro Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the western hemisphere. Doug has had
numerous ascents in the "lower 48" as well. In 2002, Doug’s team on Denali was
awarded a "Denali Pro" commendation by the National Park Service for their
efforts in assisting a solo climber whose camp was destroyed in a storm.
Doug’s other hobbies include telemark skiing, mountain biking and rugby.
Matt Tredway resides in
Steamboat, Colorado. He is the father of two great daughters, and a math and
science instructor in the public school system. His love of the outdoors
started at an early age, and by the time he was in high school he had climbed
many of the Colorado "14ers". In the early 1980s, Matt served as an instructor
for The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), specializing in climbing,
backpacking, and winter mountaineering. His NOLS experience carried over into
the public schools making him an excellent teacher. In addition to teaching,
he founded and is the director of the outdoor education/recreation program,
Everything Outdoors Steamboat (EOS). EOS is designed to give kids a chance to
discover outdoor skills they can become passionate about, and carry with them
throughout their lives. (See EOSteamboat.org for more information.) Rock and
ice climbing have led him to extensive trips in Western U.S., Canada, and
Alaska (Denali, Summer 2005). Other hobbies include running, skiing, and
making equestrian saddles.
Larry Rigsby, MD. resides in
Signal Mountain, Tennessee, and is a practicing internal medicine physician in
Chattanooga. He has a great interest in high altitude medicine and writes a
medical series for EverestNews.com. In 2004, Larry conducted a sleep study on
the north, or Tibetan side, of Everest. He has climbed in Alaska in the St.
Elias, Chugach and Alaska ranges, including Denali and Moose’s Tooth. He has
climbed Rainier and has had multiple winter ascents in Colorado. He has
climbed Ama Dablam in the Himalayas and was on an Everest North Col expedition
in 2004. Larry's hobbies include: ultra running, medical research, and
training at his home in Leadville, Colorado.
BASE CAMP MANAGER
Roger Coffey is originally
from Knoxville, Tennessee and is currently on a temporary work assignment in
Las Cruces, New Mexico. As a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Roger
has taken advantage of being a traveling physical therapist. Having lived and
worked in 10 states, he has had the opportunity to backpack and climb in
multiple eastern and western national parks, and to log several hundred miles
of hiking in the southeastern U.S. When he isn’t walking in the wilderness,
Roger can usually be found traveling throughout the United States by
motorcycle, a sport that has led to well over 100,000 miles of riding. He is
also an avid runner and has enjoyed multiple hobbies including martial arts,
photography, and scuba, much of which was discovered during his Army
enlistment as a paratrooper.
CLIMBING SIRDAR: Team No Limits’ Climbing
Sirdar (head Sherpa) is the incomparable Apa Sherpa. Apa holds the record for
the number ascents of Mt. Everest, at fifteen, and is looking forward to a
sixteenth summit with Team No Limits. Apa is from the village of Thame in
Nepal, which lies in the higher Everest region. Apa’s climbing career began in
1985 when he worked as a kitchen boy on a climb of Annapurna. Apa first
reached the summit of Everest in 1990, and he has climbed with such notable
climbers as Anatoli Boukreev, Rob Hall, Pete Athans, Todd Burleson and Peter
Hillary. Apa has climbed extensively throughout the Himalayas and his
experience on Everest is unmatched. As climbing sirdar, Apa will be
responsible for directing the Sherpa members of the climb, who will be fixing
ropes, establishing camps, ferrying loads and assisting team members in their
summit bids. Team No Limits is proud to have Apa Sherpa, an Everest great, as
The team will be taking the
traditional route up the mountain and their journey is expected to take
approximately two months. The team will climb Mount Everest, 29,029 feet
(8,848 meters), from the south, or Nepalese side. They will climb via the
South Col (Southeast Ridge) route. This is the route first climbed by Sir
Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953.
Base Camp is approximately
one-week’s trek from the town of Lukla, and is located at 17,500 feet, on the
glacial moraine below the Khumbu glacier.
The notorious Khumbu Icefall
is located between 17,500 feet and 19,500 feet, and is a sea of constant
motion with the daily shifting of enormous ice seracs and opening and closing
of gigantic crevasses. The Khumbu Icefall is the terminus of the Khumbu
glacier, which originates in the snows of Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse and flows
down the Western Cwm. Ladders are used extensively to bridge crevasses in the
Camp I is located at 19,500
feet, at the top of the Khumbu Icefall.
Between Camp I and Camp II,
climbers negotiate the gentle slopes of the Western Cwm. "Cwm", pronounced "koom",
is the Welsh word for cirque. The Western Cwm runs two miles long and about a
half-mile wide (encircled by Everest, Lhotse, and Nuptse). George Mallory
named it in 1921 on the first reconnaissance of the area.
Camp II is at 21,000 feet. As
climbers leave Camp II, they move toward the Lhotse face (Lhotse, at 27,920
feet, borders Everest).
Camp III is at 23,500 feet.
To reach Camp III, climbers must negotiate the Lhotse Face. Though not very
technically difficult, it is a steep, shiny, icy wall; one slip here can mean
death, and indeed many have lost their lives through just such mishaps.
Climbing this section of ice demands skill, stamina and concentration.
Between Camp III and Camp IV,
climbers negotiate the Yellow Band at 25,000 feet, on the Lhotse Face en route
to the South Col. The Yellow Band is a distinct band of sandstone, which was
once below sea level! Climbers then negotiate the Geneva Spur, an anvil-shaped
section of black rock. The Geneva Spur is the last major obstacle before Camp
IV, high camp, at the South Col.
Camp IV is at 26,300 feet
(8,000 meters) on the South Col. The South Col is a broad, wind-swept saddle
between Everest and the neighboring peak of Lhotse. This will be a climber’s
first overnight stay in the "Death Zone." The so-called Death Zone is above
26,000 feet, and it is generally at this point that the human body loses its
ability to continue acclimating to altitude. Team members will be using oxygen
to sleep and climb at this altitude and above. Camp IV is the final major camp
for the summit push. It is at this camp that climbers will make their final
preparations. Camp IV is also a haven for worn-out climbers on their
exhausting descent from summit attempts, successful and otherwise.
Climbers begin their summit
push from Camp IV at approximately 11:00 p.m. at night, and climb through the
night toward Everest’s Southeast Ridge. Climbers reach the Southeast Ridge at
27,700 feet at a place known as the Balcony. At this platform, climbers rest
and watch the dawn rise to illuminate the mountain ranges to the east. From
the Balcony, climbers push on to the South Summit, a small dome of snow at
28,700 feet. From here, climbers can see the final obstacles ahead: the
Cornice Ridge, the Hillary Step, and the final summit ridge.
The Cornice Ridge is a
400-foot long horizontal traverse of rock and snow, and is a very intimidating
section of the climb. A misstep to the right would send a climber tumbling
down the 10,000 foot Kangshung Face. A misstep to the right would bring the
same result down the 8,000 foot Southwest Face.
The famous Hillary Step is a
40-foot snow, ice and rock section that is climbed with fixed ropes. It often
becomes a bottleneck, as only one climber can ascend or descend at a time.
Although the Hillary Step wouldn’t present much of a challenge for an
experienced climber at a much lower altitude, at 28,800 feet on Everest it is
considered the most technically challenging aspect of the climb.
The summit is at 29,029 feet
and the top of the world. The summit is generally covered with various prayer
flags, photographs of family members, prayer packets, and the like. The picnic
table-sized summit affords views of the Tibetan Plateau to the north, and the
great Himalayan peaks of Kangchenjunga to the east, Makalu to the southeast,
and Cho Oyu to the west. Here, climbers take pictures, gain their composure,
briefly enjoy the view, and then begin the long descent to Camp IV.
Team’s Itinerary glacier.
April 1-3 . . . Arrive in
Kathmandu / Team Organization (4,265’)
April 4 . . . Fly to Lukla
April 5 . . . Hike to Namche
April 6 . . . Layover in
April 7 . . . Hike to Deboche
April 8 . . . Hike to
April 9 . . . Hike to Lobuche
April 10 . . . Arrive at Base
April 16 . . . Climb to Camp
April 17 . . . Descend to
April 20 . . . Climb to Camp II (21,000’)
April 22 . . . Descend to Base Camp
April 26 . . . Climb to Camp
April 28 . . . Climb to Camp III (23,500’)
April 29 . . . Descend to Base Camp
April 30 . . . Descend to Deboche
May 4 . . . Return to Base Camp
May 8-13 . . . First summit
May 14-18 . . . Descend to Deboche
May 19 . . . Return to Base Camp
May 22-27 . . . Second summit attempt
May 28-May 31 . . . Return
hike (earlier depending on summit outcome)
The schedule will allow the
team to remain flexible to adjust for weather and other delays. Weather will
be the ultimate determining factor with regard to the team’s summit schedule.
In addition, the importance of being fit, acclimatized and ready for the
summit on the appointed days cannot be overstated. This schedule is designed
to allow ample time to climb at a reasonable rate; for the rest necessary to
recover from minor injuries and illnesses; and for rest and recuperation at
tree line in the days leading up to our summit attempts.
Team no limits will utilize
the expertise of Asian Trekking and is under the guidence of Climbig Sirdar,
Apa Sherpa, who holds the world record for the number of summits on Everest.
The team is very honored to have Apa Sherpa as part of their team and hope to
be with him on his 16th summit of the mountain.
Team No Limits is committed
to the highest standards of environmental awareness, and the team will adhere
to the principles of "leave no trace" climbing during the expedition. Indeed,
our goal is to obtain "positive impact," whereby team members will not only
remove all of their own equipment and waste from the mountain, but will also
strive to remove waste left behind by past expeditions.
As Team No Limits begins
their journey, we should all be inspired. The unwavering determination of this
team and its members clearly exemplifies that the only limits we have in this
life are the one we place on ourselves.
Thoughts and prayers go out
to all friends and family members who will be following this climb!
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