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 Everest 2009: Eco Everest Mt Everest expedition 2009 Update


©EverestNews.com

Dear EverestNews.com, Namaste and Warm Greetings from Nepal!  I am pleased to share with you many interesting and positive news from Nepal.

Apa Sherpa, World Record Climb of Mt. Everest 18th time has begun his journey to participate in the Eco Everest Expedition 2009 as climbing leader, 19th time for summit bid.

Eco Everest Expedition departed from Kathmandu on 7th April under the leadership of my son, Dawa Steven Sherpa.  The Eco Everest Expedition 2009 is based on the Eco Everest 2008 Model in terms of management and proper disposal of human waste and other garbage generated by the expedition.. Organized by Asian Trekking (P) Ltd., the expedition will also try to bring down as much garbage as possible from other previous expeditions.

Apa Sherpa (18 times Everest Summiteer) is the Climbing Leader of Eco Everest Expedition 2009.  While climbing for his 19th summit on Mt. Everest, Apa also wants to show his support for efforts of Dawa Steven's initiatives to keep the Himalaya clean.

In order to provide better own communications on the mountain as well as with lower Khumbu and Kathmandu, the Eco Everest Expedition 2009 will have one base station at Camp 2 on Mt. Everest, one at Base Camp and one in Khumjung where the Asian Trekking  field office is located.  There will be telephone and internet connectivity.  I would recommend that all climbers please make a note of this. In case of emergencies on the mountain, we can transfer messages down to Kathmandu rapidly should this be required.

This year there will be two routes in the Khumbu Icefall: one route for climbers going up the mountain and the other for those coming down. It is expected that this will avoid "traffic jams" in the notorious Khumbu ice fall. There will be seven climbing Sherpas in the "Ice Fall Doctors" team this year. I want to commend the SPCC's  efforts and in recognizing the need for a stronger team during this busier-than-usual climbing season. 

There are many climbing teams attempting different peaks on the south side of the Himalaya this season.

As in the past, Dawa Steven will be setting up his Everest Base Camp Bakery which will also be a Climate Change Information Centre. ICIMOD and the World Wildlife Fund are participating in providing information.  

Dawa Steven will also be available most of the time at Base Camp to provide information on the efforts of his NGO, iDEAS (Initiatives for Development and Eco Action Support),  a non-profit organization formed by Dawa Steven to act as a catalyst and facilitator to encourage initiatives against the broad spectrum of risks faced by mountain communities.   

As his first project, Dawa Steven and his iDEAS team have organized the Imja Tsho Action Event 2009 - Beat the GLOF Action Run. The two days program includes the one-day Action Run scheduled for 18 June 2009 to start from Imja Lake and the following day (19 June 2009) a Festival is being organised in Khumjung Village to focus on the Mountain Communities culture, heritage, and their crucial role in maintaining and protecting their mountain environment.  

This event is expected to promote and attract a greater number of eco-responsible tourists to the area by encouraging entrepreneurs and visitors to lengthen the traditionally accepted trekking “season.” 

The North Face, ICIMOD. World Wildlife Fund, and the Nepal Tourism Board are partners in this initiative. Many other environmental organizations have shown keen interest to participate in the Imja Tsho Action Event. 2009. 

Forty persons representing the national and international media are being invited to cover the event and to give it maximum publicity.  We feel that this would be an excellent opportunity for the Nepal Tourism Board to have a stall at the Festival in Khumjung to display its commitment to responsible and environmentally sensitive tourism. 

Before leaving for the Khumbu, my son Dawa Steven and his iDEAS team also organized an Art Exhibition titled “Garbage Out of Thin Air” at the Imago Dei Café Gallery in Naxal, Kathmandu on 03 April 2009. The garbage brought down from Mt. Everest by the Eco Everest Expedition 2008 Team, has been used to create works of art with a message rather than just being disposed of randomly. 

Venerable Rinpoche of Tengboche, Ngawang Tenzin Zangpo, inaugurated the 10-day exhibition.  The garbage and debris was used by Artists of the Kathmandu University Centre for Art & Design to create sculptors and art. We hope that these art works will be valued by people who recognize the importance of Mt. Everest not only in mountaineering as the highest peak on earth, but also for the mountain’s cultural importance. 

At the function the Venerable Rinpoche of Tengboche  handed over a Tendrel Nyesel Bumpa to 18 time Mt. Everest summiteer Apa Sherpa.  The Bumpa (sacred vase) will be carried by Apa to the summit of Mt. Everest and installed there during his climb of Mt. Everest for the 19th time.

Venerable Rinpoche of Tengboche also handed over three other sacred Bumpas to Asian Trekking to be taken by Asian Trekking Sherpa Climbers and installed on the summits of Mt. Manaslu, Mt. Makalu and Mt. Lhotse. The installation of these scared vases on these mountains is intended to restore the sanctity of the Himalayan beyul (sacred valleys) and spiritually empower the people to cope with negative impacts of rapid environmental and social changes. 

The vases contain over 400 different precious ingredients including samples of holy relics, texts, medicinal plants, valuable substances of the five elements and many more blessed components. A long and elaborate ceremony has been carried out by Venerable Rinpoche of Tengboche and the monks of Thupten Choeling at Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche’s monastery to bless the sacred vases. 

As a part of Eco Everest Expedition 2009, Dawa Steven Sherpa will continue this initiative to create awareness among the local people and among climbers to help keep Mt. Everest and the Khumbu clean.

iDEAS has joined hands with The World Wildlife Fund Nepal (WWF Nepal) in a year long campaign to bring world attention to the plight of the Himalayas in the wake of climate change. The overall objective of the campaign is to raise awareness on climate change in the Himalayas at national and international level through a series of events as part of WWF’s year long Awareness Campaign on Climate Change in the Himalayas.

Best Wishes,

Ang Tshering Sherpa

Earlier: Eco Everest Expedition 2009 (Mt. Everest (8848m) - 2009 [Spring]) 1. Dawa
Steven Sherpa - Leader and Organizer
2. Apa Sherpa (Record 18 times Everest Climbed) - Climbing Leader
3. Pertemba Sherpa (Everest Summiteer from three different routes) -
Expedition Manager
4. William Bill Burke -USA - Member
5. Bud Allen            -USA - Member
6. Yuri Pritzker        -USA -Member
7. Jesse Easterling  -USA-Member
8. Henry Voigt        - Germany - Member
9. Nicholas Cunningham- USA -Member
10. Will Cross               -USA -Member
11. Walter Lasserer - Austria - Member
12. Dagmar Wabnig  -Austria - Member
13. Bernice Notenboom -Austria - Member
14. Thomas Arnold      -Austria - Member   
15. Felix Stockenhuber -Austria  -Member
16. Morgens jensen     -Denmark - Member
16. Naga Dorjee Sherpa -Nepal - Sirdar
17. pemba Tenzing Sherpa - Nepal- Climbing Sherpa
18. Lhakpa Nuru Sherpa      - Nepal - Climbing Sherpa
19. Tenjing Dorje Sherpa     - Nepal - Climbing Sherpa
20. Phurba Sherpa              - Nepal  -Climbing Sherpa
21. Phu Tashi Sherpa          - Nepal  - Climbing Sherpa
22. Mingma Sherpa             - Nepal   Climbing Sherpa
23. puchhanga Bhotia         - Nepal  - Climbing Sherpa
24. Pemba Tshering Sherpa - Nepal  - Climbing Sherpa
25. Nima Tshering Sherpa    - Nepal  - Climbing Sherpa
26. Samden Bhote              - Nepal  - Climbing Sherpa
27. Nawang Tenzing Sherpa  - Nepal  - Climbing Sherpa
28. Thukten Dorjee Sherpa   - nepal  - Climbing Sherpa
29. Phurba Jangbu Sherpa    - Nepal  - Climbing Sherpa
30 Lhakpa Nuru (B) Sherpa   - Nepal  - Climbing Sherpa
31. Ang Mingma Sherpa       - Nepal   - Climbing Sherpa
32. Ang Pemba Sherpa        - Nepal   - High Altitude Cook
33. Tenjing Tsheten Sherpa - Nepal  - HA Cook
34. Nima Sherpa                 - Nepal  - HA Cook
35. Birbal Tamang              - Nepal  - BC Cook
36. Gyalgen Sherpa            - Nepal  - BC Cook
37. Bhuwan Singh Limbu     - Nepal  - BC K.Boy
38. Narayan Rai                 - Nepal  - BC K.Boy
39. Bir Kaji Tamang            - BC K.Boy
40. Krisna Bahadur Sunuwar - Nepal  - BC K.Boy

 

Everest from the South Side in Nepal

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 you’re leaving C4…it’s 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 there’s not much holding the rope and a fall could be serious. Fortunately it’s 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. There’s 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 you’re getting set up for the rappel. Wearing an oxygen mask here can create some footing issues during the rappel, because it’s impossible to see over the mask and down to the feet. For that reason, some people choose to leave Camp 4 without gas, as it’s easier to keep moving down the Spur when it’s 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 aren’t so steep, where fixed ropes through here are solid. At this point, it’s 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.

 

 
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