April 25, 2011
Yesterday in base camp we awoke to a few inches of fresh snow
on the ground, and enjoyed an Easter Sunday service led by Mike Gibbons in our
Alpine Ascents Mountain Hardwear Space Station movie tent. Various members of
the team participated in the service and afterward we enjoyed a lunch of fresh
sushi! Today a few members are hiking to Pumori base camp to stretch their
legs, so far the day is clear but a bit windy and colder than usual. Relaxing
in base camp is a pleasant experience with opportunities for shaving,
showering, and evening films. We've been sorting our food and meals for the
higher camps and resting for a few more days before we begin our second
rotation on the mountain, currently we're aiming to head up to Camp 1 on the
The 2011 Alpine Ascents Everest & Lhotse team is
doing great! Currently we have 2 teams operating on slightly
different schedules. The main team composed of climbers Mike, Louis,
Thomas, Marshall, & Gary with guides Garrett, Ben, & Lhakpa Rita
descended yesterday from Camp 2 to base camp, successfully
concluding our first “rotation” on the mountain. The other team
composed of climber Rob & guide Michael is currently up at Camp 2
tonight and will descend to base camp tomorrow, concluding their
first rotation as well. The main group is resting in base camp and
sorting our gear for approximately 4-5 more days before heading up
for our second “rotation.” Base camp is great, we were able to take
hot showers & do laundry today, and enjoy a few good meals. The air
feels much thicker down here at base camp (17,500') compared to our
camp 2 where we just spent 3 nights (21,300'). Our first
rotation went exceptionally well. We climbed up the Khumbu Icefall &
spent 2 nights at Camp 1, then climbed up the Western CWM to Camp 2
where we spent 3 more nights. During our time up at Camp 1 & Camp 2
we had some great views of both Everest & Lhotse. We went for a
short hike above Camp 2 for additional acclimatization. The time
spent at altitude will help us acclimatize so that on our second
rotation we can climb higher. While we were up at Camp 2 we
experienced some strong winds which forced us to keep a close eye on
our tent anchors. Here in base camp the winds are significantly
reduced, so we are able to relax and enjoy our time to rest and
April 20, 2011
I just radioed up to check on the folks at Camp 2 and
it sounds like more of the usual up at 21,300 feet; which is to say
they were all in their tents resting :-) Rob and Mike made their way
up to Camp 2 to join the rest of the team today as well. The guys took
a two hour hike up the Cwm and are probably settled in their tents
tell dinner time. They'll be waking up early tomorrow to walk all the
way back down to Base Camp, just in time for Lunch.
The big news here in base camp is that Adrian has
mastered the chemical and pressure challenges of baking with 1/2 the
atmosphere. This means the guys are going to have fresh bread with
lunch tomorrow. Adrien also baked up some hand made buns for Polish
sausages we've been saving for a special occasion. Add in some
caramelized onions, real Dijon mustard…wow…I can't wait for lunch
tomorrow :-) Joe
Day 2 at Camp 2
April 19, 2011
The team took a true rest day today with no scheduled acclimatization
hikes, just reading and relaxing in the thin air. Although, I heard a
few people walked halfway up the Western Cwm trying to find cell phone
reception :-) It seems the guys have finally made it beyond the reach of
technology or, at least, cell service. Sat phones and radios still work
fine on up the mountain. Michael and Rob opted to stay in Camp 1 another
day and will meet up with the team tomorrow. They did take a quick hike
toward camp 2 today, making it all the way to the giant crevasse spanned
by 5 ladders. They decided to call it a day and turn around there. Most
Sherpa won't even tackle the 5 ladder crossing and instead go for the 15
minute detour around the precipice. All's good here at base camp. Joe
The boys took an hour
long hike out of Camp 1 and up the Western Cwm today. That means the
rest of the day was designated to eating food, sipping tea and relaxing.
Things were a little busier here at Base Camp today. We held a second
Puja ceremony for Michael Horst and Rob Hart who will be leaving bright
and early tomorrow morning for their first rotation up the mountain. The
whole team should be crossing paths in Camp 2 the day after tomorrow.
As you may have heard, this is our first year having cell phone
reception in Base Camp. The word is that a few of our guys at Camp 1
were able to tilt their heads the right way and call home to friends and
family from their mobile phones. And, amazingly, those calls are cheaper
then when I make instate phone calls back in Alaska. That might not be
saying much, since we are a bit out there in Alaska :-) Still though,
technology sure does have a way of making it to every corner of the
April 16 to Camp 1
Nothing like a nice early start to the day! We got a 2:45
am wakeup call and enjoyed a hot breakfast at 3am. Everyone was geared up
and ready to round the Puja by 4am, then off they went up the Icefall. We
just got our radio call from Garrett that all members have arrived safely
at camp 1. They are all enjoying some hot drinks and looking forward to
hot meal prepared by the Guides.
It sounds like they'll be the only team at Camp 1 so
they will have the whole place to themselves to relax and acclimate to a
new Everest high point. Camp 1 is right around 20,000 feet or 6,100
meters, that's just a bit shy of Denali!!
It was a wonderful sunny day down in Base Camp. We busied
ourselves with laundry and basking in the sun while sipping Sherpa Tea.
Rob and Michael will be heading to Camp 1 in a few days. They took
advantage of the sunshine to walk up to the first few ladders of the
Icefall and were back in time for Lunch.
No, these pictures are not from 4am this morning. I took
these yesterday as the team ventured a short ways into the icefall. But
they do take the same route out around the Puja in the morning; offering
rice to the great mountain and burring Juniper…it's just a bit darker and
colder at 4 am :-)
Winter turns to Spring the world round and in the mighty
Himalaya; the great peaks of the world emerge from their snow covered
slumber. This Spring as in past years, climbers will walk past the
blossoming rhododendron, in pursuit of the world highest mountain. While
preparing for Everest is an arduous task, we are always excited at to get
another season up and running, as we have been doing since 1990 !
This morning (March 25, 2011) we load boxes (years ago we
designed boxes that work well for the flight and yak travel) of food, gear,
communications equipment into the van and will make our way to the airport.
These same boxes will eventually be strapped to the feisty yaks, and make
there way through the Khumbu region of Nepal to Everest base camp.
Meanwhile staff in Nepal started preparations weeks ago,
purchasing and checking Oxygen bottles, procuring gear and food supplies,
checking lodging and dining tents and cordoning off our 2011 base camp home.
Given the terrain at base camp, our Sherpa team must make platforms for
every tent, a tough task at 17,500 feet. Our Sirdar and co- leader Lakpa
Rita Sherpa oversees this portion of the prep.
Along with our climbers, a group of trekkers will walk with
climbers to base camp, stopping at villages, monasteries and visiting
friends along the way. This always makes the trek in festive while allowing
all to absorb Sherpa culture and experience the warmth and hospitality that
have always been a part of this cultural sharing.
So onward and upward we go, into another Everest season and
we look to share our experiences with you via this cybercast page. Our
trekking team will be led by Suzanne Allen. Lead climbers for our Everest
ascents include a very skilled and experienced group of guides including
Lakpa Rita Sherpa, Garrett Madison, Michael Horst, and Ben Jones with our BC
manager, Joe Kluberton.
This years climbing team (please see team roster and bios)
have been prepping, training and climbing for months leading up to the
expedition. We do hope you will join us in sharing our good wishes and
Namaste’s and follow along as we track the 2011 Everest season.
LAKPA RITA SHERPA
JOE KLUBERTON: Base camp manager
4/9: The team has reached Everest Base Camp, and is settling
into their new home for the coming weeks. They are experiencing a few
technical difficulties with the satellite modem but expect regular
dispatches to begin tomorrow.
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