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 Everest 2008: Summitclimb Mt Everest We are not allowed yet to climb to camp 1 until the army arrives here


14 April, 2008

Dear SummitClimb news readers,

Today we went into the Khumbu Icefall for the first time. I think the route is great and a lot easier than previous times I was here. All of the members enjoyed playing with the ropes and ladders a lot.

Yesterday most of our members went to Pumori ABC, which lies at about 5700 metres/18,700 feet, thus making today's walk in the icefall a lot easier.

We are not allowed yet to climb to camp 1 until the army arrives here. They are going to keep an eye on the climbers here on the south side, so nobody does anything bad to the torch climb on the other side of Everest.

I think tomorrow we will have another meeting in basecamp and then be able to proceed to C1.

That is all for now. I'll write again as soon I have more news

Earlier: On our walk from Pangboche to Pheriche we got about 3 inches of fresh snow, which made it pretty tough, but it was also a great adventure. Luckily, when we arrived in Pheriche, there was a hot stove waiting for us and our cooks prepared us an excellent.

After a good night's sleep in Pheriche, we woke up in the morning and the sun was shining again, with all of the high peaks around us covered in a fresh layer of snow. We had a beautiful hike to Dughla with nobody having any trouble with the altitude.

We had a good meal and sat around the stove again. After a good night's sleep we walked to Lobuche, where we plan to stay tonight. We saw our first views of Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, and Pumori here. Everybody is getting very excited to reach basecamp tomorrow.

Tomorrow is going to be a tough walk, taking about 8 hours to reach basecamp. There are rumors that basecamp is not very busy, which is good for us and I'm sure our sherpas have reserved a very nice spot for us.  So until we reach basecamp, that's it for now. Everybody is doing great and we're having a good time. I'll call you again from basecamp. This was Arnold. Bye, bye.

Earlier: 6 April, 2008: Team moving up to Pheriche.

Hello SummitClimb news. This is Arnold, the leader of the Everest/Lhotse Expedition 2008.

I'm calling from Pangboche at about 3950 metres/13,000 feet and it's a snowy day. All of the members have left and are walking to Pheriche today, 4200 metres/13,900 feet. Everybody is doing fine and we are strong and healthy.

Yesterday we had a big puja ceremony led by the lama here in Pangboche and the expedition got blessed, so we are good to go now to base camp. We decided to stay one extra night in Pangboche because we had some problems getting enough porters and yaks. All of the teams are moving up at the same time because of the permits being issued so late this year.  While creating some minor logistical problems in the valley for others, it's not going to affect our expedition at all.

Right now it's snowing a lot and I think it is going to be an adventurous walk to Pheriche. That's it for now. Everybody is doing fine and I'll call back in a couple of days. Thank you. Bye, bye.

One of the many terraced hillsides on the trek to Everest basecamp (Elselien te Hennepe).

5 April, 2008: Mr. Kaji Tamang, our field supervisor telephoned today. Due to heavy snowfall, the team stayed put in Pangboche today, and did not move up.

Hopefully the snow will clear so the team can move up tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

4 April, 2008: Mr. Emil Friis called today. He is from our EBC trek plus Island Peak climb.

"The team are having a wonderful trek and staying in Tengboche tonight. It was a very beautiful trek from Namche and spectacular views of Ama Dablam, Thamserku, Everest, Lhotse, etcetera, were on display throughout. The Tengboche monastery itself is a very beautiful place. We are staying in a comfortable teahouse now and enjoying delicious hot drinks and biscuits before dinner. Our trek leader Mingma and his wife Yengi are doing and amazing job of leading and taking care of us. We are looking forward to tomorrow's adventure."

Our past Everest basecamp trek leader, Elselien, receiving a blessing from the local Buddhist Lama in Pangboche (Liz Stevens).

Everest 2008:

Hello SummitClimb news readers, I am Arnold the leader of the Everest / Lhotse expedition.

On 1 April, after a rainy start in Lukla, we all arrived dry in Phakding the same day. Everybody was very happy to be on the trail in the fresh mountain air!

After a quiet night of good sleep, the whole team walked up to Namche Bazar at about 3500 metres on 2 April. Although this is a steep hike, the whole team did great. I think we have a strong group this year. 

On 3 April we spent our day relaxing in Namche Bazar. This is the last big village on the way to basecamp. It has a nice market some good restaurants and bars, and the hiking around town is great with some good views of Ama Dablam, Everest and Lhotse.  

On 4 April, we will walk to Pangboche, which is about a 6 hour walk from Namche. On the way we will pass the monastary of Tengboche. This will be an interesting stop on the way.

We will stay in a nice lodge with great views of Ama Dablam and the south face of Nuptse and Lhotse.      

So everything is going well and all of our team members are having a great time.

More news in the next dispatch.

 

2 April, 2008

The team made it to Namche Bazaar. It was a beautiful trek. They plan to rest tomorrow. Thanks for reading!

Namche Bazaar, the capital of the Sherpa people. See this unique village on our trek to and from basecamp (Tunc Findik).
 

1 April, 2008:

Our team flew to Lukla today on a beautiful sunny morning. Everyone was very pleased to be getting out of Kathmandu and beginning their expedition.

Looking forward to an enjoyable trek to basecamp.

Our team boarding the plane for Lukla (Dan Mazur).

31 March, 2008:

Today we gathered the entire group together and had a nice breakfast and then all of our expedition and trek leaders, as well as office staff presented an orientation session to the members and helped them finish their shopping and packing. We are ready to go! We had a delicious final banquet, said goodbye to our new friends in Kathmandu and went back to the hotel to get to bed early.

Tomorrow, April 1st, we will fly up to Lukla first thing in the morning to begin our trek. Kathmandu has been lovely, warm and peaceful, a very interesting city, and we will miss it very much. However, we will look forward to the next chapter: trekking to bascamp. We will keep in touch. Thanks for reading!

30 March, 2008:

Hello, this is Dan Mazur from SummitClimb.com writing to you from a beautiful and peaceful Kathmandu.

More of our team members are arriving in Kathmandu, and our staff has been meeting their flights and bringing them to the hotel. We have been checking the members equipment and clothing, as well as helping them purchase/hire any missing bits and pieces. We all went out to dinner and had lots of fun. Our team orientation is scheduled for tomorrow morning, and we are looking forward to having our team all together.

We fly to Lukla tomorrow, on the 1st of April to begin our trek to basecamp. Thanks for reading and we will send more news tomorrow.

29 March, 2008:

Hello, this is Dan Mazur from SummitClimb.com writing to you.

Our team members are arriving in Kathmandu, and our staff has been meeting their flights and bringing them to the hotel. We all went out to dinner last night and had lots of fun. More members are due to arrive tomorrow, and our expedition orientation meeting is scheduled for the morning of the 31st.

Then, we will fly to Lukla on the 1st of April. Thanks for reading and we will send more news tomorrow.


 

A view of Swayambhunath Stupa, the "Monkey Temple". It is the most ancient and enigmatic of all the holy shrines in Kathmandu valley. Swayambhunath's worshippers include Hindus, Vajrayana Buddhists of northern Nepal and Tibet, and the Newari Buddhists of central and southern Nepal. Each morning before dawn, hundreds of pilgrims will ascend the 365 steps that lead up the hill, file past the gilded Vajra (Tibetan: Dorje) and two lions guarding the entrance, and begin a series of clockwise circumambulations of the stupa. On each of the four sides of the main stupa there are a pair of big eyes. These eyes are symbolic of God's all-seeing perspective (Elselien te Hennepe).

 

Everest from the South Side in Nepal

sbrr2.jpg (46375 bytes)

Full size picture

Base Camp - 17,500 feet (5350 meters)

This is a picture of the popular South Col Route up Mt. Everest.  Base camp is located at 17,500 feet.   This is where climbers begin their true trip up the mountain.  This is also where support staff often remain to monitor the expeditions and provide medical assistance when necessary.  Many organizations offer hiking trips which just go to base camp as the trip is not technically challenging (though you must be very fit). 

From base camp, climbers typically train and acclimate (permitting the body to adjust to the decreased oxygen in the air) by traveling and bringing supplies back and forth through the often treacherous Khumbu Icefall.    This training and recuperation continues throughout the climb, with the final summit push often being the only time to climbers do not go back and forth between camps to train, bring supplies, and recuperate for the next push. 

The Icefall is in constant motion.  It contains enormous ice seracs, often larger than houses, which dangle precariously over the climbers heads, threatening to fall at any moment without warning, as the climbers cross endless crevasses and listen to continuous ice creaking below.  This often acts as a testing ground to judge if less experienced climbers will be capable of continuing.   The Icefall is located between 17,500 and 19,500 feet.

Camp I - 5900 meters

After the Icefall, the climbers arrive at Camp I, which is located at 19,500 feet.  Depending on the type of expedition, Camp I will either be stocked by the climbers as they ascend and descend the Icefall, or by Sherpas in advance.

The area between Camp I and Camp II is known as the Western Cwm.  As the climbers reach Camp II at 21,000 feet, they may be temporarily out of sight of their support at Base camp.  Nonetheless, modern communication devises permit the parties to stay in contact.

Camp II - 6500 meters

As the climbers leave Camp II, they travel towards the Lhotse face (Lhotse is a 27,920 foot mountain bordering Everest).  The Lhotse face is a steep, shiny icy wall.  Though not technically extremely difficult, one misstep or slip could mean a climber's life.  Indeed, many climbers have lost their lives through such mishaps. 

Camp III - 23,700 feet (7200 meters)

To reach Camp III, climbers must negotiate the Lhotse Face. Climbing a sheer wall of ice demands skill, strength and stamina. It is so steep and treacherous that many  Sherpas move directly from Camp II to Camp IV on the South Col, refusing to stay on the Lhotse Face.

Camp IV - 26,300 feet (8000 meters)

As youíre leaving C4Öitís a little bit of a down slope, with the uphill side to the left. There are typically snow on the ledges to walk down on, interspersed with rock, along with some fixed rope. The problem with the rope is that the anchors are bad, and thereís not much holding the rope and a fall could be serious. Fortunately itís not too steep, but there is a ton of exposure and people are usually tired when walking down from camp. The rock is a little down sloping to the right as well, and with crampons on, it can be bit tricky with any kind of wind. Thereís a little short slope on reliable snow which leads to the top of the Geneva Spur, and the wind pressure gradient across the spur can increase there as youíre getting set up for the rappel. Wearing an oxygen mask here can create some footing issues during the rappel, because itís impossible to see over the mask and down to the feet. For that reason, some people choose to leave Camp 4 without gas, as itís easier to keep moving down the Spur when itís important to see all the small rock steps and where the old feet are going. Navigating down through all of the spaghetti of fixed ropes is a bit of a challenge, especially with mush for brains at that point. One lands on some lower ledges which arenít so steep, where fixed ropes through here are solid. At this point, itís just a matter of staying upright, and usually, the wind has died significantly after dropping off the Spur. The route turns hard to the left onto the snowfield that leads to the top of the Yellow Bands.

Camp IV, which is at 26,300 on the Lhotse face, is typically the climbers' first overnight stay in the Death Zone.  The Death Zone is above 26,000 feet.  Though there is nothing magical about that altitude, it is at this altitude that most human bodies lose all ability to acclimate. Accordingly, the body slowly begins to deteriorate and die - thus, the name "Death Zone."  The longer a climber stays at this altitude, the more likely illness (HACE - high altitude cerebral edema - or HAPE - high altitude pulmonary edema) or death will occur.  Most climbers will use oxygen to climb and sleep at this altitude and above.  Generally, Sherpas refuse to sleep on the Lhotse face and will travel to either Camp II or Camp IV.

Camp IV is located at 26,300 feet. This is the final major camp for the summit push.  It is at this point that the climbers make their final preparations.  It is also a haven for worn-out climbers on their exhausting descent from summit attempts (both successful and not).  Sherpas or other climbers will often wait here with supplies and hot tea for returning climbers.

From Camp IV, climbers will push through the Balcony, at 27,500 feet, to the Hillary Step at 28,800 feet.  The Hillary Step, an over 70 foot rock step, is named after Sir. Edmond Hillary, who in 1953, along with Tenzing Norgay, became the first people to summit Everest.  The Hillary Step, which is climbed with fixed ropes, often becomes a bottleneck as only one climber can climb at a time.  Though the Hillary Step would not be difficult at sea level for experienced climbers, at Everest's altitude, it is considered the most technically challenging aspect of the climb.

Summit - 29,028 feet (8848 meters)

Once the climbers ascend the Hillary Step, they slowly and laboriously proceed to the summit at 29,028 feet.  The summit sits at the top of the world.  Though not the closest place to the sun due to the earth's curve, it is the highest peak on earth.  Due to the decreased air pressure, the summit contains less than one third the oxygen as at sea level.  If dropped off on the summit directly from sea level (impossible in reality), a person would die within minutes.  Typically, climbers achieving the great summit will take pictures, gain their composure, briefly enjoy the view, then return to Camp IV as quickly as possible.   The risk of staying at the summit and the exhaustion from achieving the summit is too great to permit climbers to fully enjoy the great accomplishment at that moment.  

As most readers of this page know, the return trip can be even more dangerous than the climb to the summit.

Pictures from Enrique Guallart-Furio web site http://ww2.encis.es/avent/

 
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