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 Alpine Ascents Everest 2012: Summit & Lhotse Fixing

May 18:

The team is doing well in the South Col and are enjoying hot drinks in their tents this morning.  They will be resting through the day today and leaving for their Summit bid around 10pm tonight.  The sky is perfectly clear this morning with some light breeze currently at the South Col.

 Alpine Ascents Guide Ben Jones is in the region doing a little personal high altitude climbing.  He is currently fixing lines on Lhotse with Damion Benegas.  They departed early this morning and are making great progress, fixing the lines as they go.  At 27,940 feet, Lhotse is the 4th highest mountain in the world, and its proximity to Mt. Everest provides the opportunity to link two 8,000 meter peaks in under 24 hours.  Currently only three people have managed the task; Alpines Ascents Guides Garrett Madison and Mike Horst, and Alpine Ascents climber Tom Halliday.  Garrett Madison is hoping to repeat the feat this year along with climbers Leanna Shuttleworth and Mark Shuttleworth.  They would become the 4th and 5th people to do so and Leanna would be the first female to climb two 8,000 meter peaks in under 24 hours.  Thanks to Ben and Damion for their hard work preparing the route and we look forward to following our climbers’ progress.

 First things first…Mt. Everest.   The team has the full day still to rest and prepare for tonight’s climb!!

Stay tuned,

 Joe

 

Summit!! Everest has just seen its first summits of the year by 7 Sherpa who have fixed lines for all climbing teams to use. Alpine Ascents Guide Lakpa Rita has been coordinating the fixing from high on the mountain and Alpine Ascents' Sherpa Kami Rita is among today's summiteers. The fixing Sherpa enjoyed perfectly calm, sunny weather for most of their fixing effort. Our Team is currently moving to Camp 4 in the same beautiful weather. They have passed the Yellow Band, a geological layer of marbled yellow rock visible across many of the highest mountains in the Himalaya, and will be approaching the Geneva Spur soon.

There are numerous other teams climbing to the South Col along side us at the moment.  Alpine Ascents schedules our team members to enjoy a full rest day in Camp 4 before making their summit bid. This provides our climbers with 24 extra hours of well deserved rest and allows us the flexibility to choose our summit date from the highest camp on the mountain.

The Prayer flags are hardly moving with the calm winds and we are enjoying the sunny weather here in Base Camp :-)

Joe

 

May 17:  It continued to be a beautiful day here on Everest. Camp 3 sits at 23,000 feet, higher than any mountain outside of Asia! Surprisingly, even at such great elevation, the chief hardship of the afternoon was escaping from the heat. The winds were completely calm all afternoon and it can really heat up with the sun reflecting off all sides of the Western Cwm.

Lakpa Rita has been coordinating Summit fixing for all teams on the mountain. Lakpa’s brother and Assistant Sirdar Kami Rita is on the fixing team and just called in saying the lines are fixed to the Balcony. All the ropes, ice screws and pickets are in place at the Balconey to complete the Summit Fixing. This means Everest should see its first summit of the season tomorrow and that the path will be laid for our climbers to make their push on Saturday night!

The weather forecast is looking favorable for our summit push and we look forward to following our team up to the top of the world.

Standing by at Base Camp,
Joe

 

May 16:  The team moved to Camp 3 today and are enjoying some hot drinks and resting on oxygen. Garrett described the weather at Camp 3 as the best he has ever seen. It is perfectly calm, sunny and warm. The team will move to Camp 4 tomorrow, putting them in position for their Summit bid in two days time.

Jenny and I have been entertaining ourselves here in base camp with bouldering, ice climbing and some guitar playing with the Sherpa. During the Drop Back, we were even able to squeeze in a quick trip to Imja Tse  (Island Peak), a beautiful 20,308 foot peak in the Khumbu Valley that can be incorporated into our Alpine Ascents Everest Base Camp Trek. After gaining the steep headwall and traversing the summit ridge to the top, we were rewarded with great views of Ama Dablam, Thamserku, and Kangtega to the South and Nuptse, Lhotse, and Makalu to the North.

Joe

 

The Summit rotation is off to a good start. The team has made it safely up the Khumbu Ice Fall to Camp 2 after rounding the Puja at 4AM this morning. Everyone showed off their acclimatization from the first two rotations by improving travel time through the Ice Fall by well over an hour! They will spend the day in Camp 2 tomorrow, resting and relaxing, before continuing to Camp 3 and on to the top of the world.

We celebrated Mark's Birthday yesterday with some home made "British" coffee cake. Another great creation from Jenny and crew in the kitchen. Here are a few shots from Oxygen School as well. :-)

Joe

Earlier:

Today our Everest & Lhotse climbing team has returned from a week of rest down valley. Our Sherpa team has finished stocking our South Col high camp (camp 4), so we will likely take 1 or 2 days of rest here in base camp then head up on our summit rotation. We have coordinated with a few other teams to finish fixing the route, but due to unfavorable weather In recent days, the route from the South Col to the summit is currently not fixed. We will fix on summit day if necessary as we previously did in the 1990s.

Earlier:

Greetings from Pheriche Everyone,

Today we enjoyed a leisurely walk from Deboche on up to Pheriche, about 4 hours, with everyone feeling great from all the rest. Lots of eating followed our walk, and we are now headed to bead for another 10 hours of great sleep in the oxytgen rich air.

Tomorrow we will head up to Lobuche, about a 3 hour walk, to approximately 16,000', just past the terminus of the massive Khumbu glacier.

Everyone is doing great and feeling the benifits of all the rest. We plan to arrive back to Base Camp maintaining as much of this strentgh as we can!

All The Best

Eric, Jose and the Team

Earlier:

Greetings from Deboche Everyone,

The team is all doing great after 3 days relaxing, sleeping, reading, and eating double portions at every meal!

Life here at the Rivendell Inn, elevation 12,100' is a marked contrast to Base Camp and above. We have all been soaking up as much of the thick air as we can, whilst enjoying the trees, flowers, birds, sunshine, and clear views of Nupste, Lhotse and Everest. Every morning has dawned sunny and clear, while the afternoons have brought rain and snow up higher.

We all feel we have benefited greatly from the drop back, both mentally and physically. Tomorrow morning we will all head back up valley to Pheriche, then the next day to Lobuche, arriving to Base Camp on the 12th. We plan to have several rest days before beginning our final push to the roof of the world, weather conditions depending.

Currently Alpine Ascents and IMG, along with Patagonian Brothers, and a few other groups hope to have the route fixed to the summit, before the winds pick up on the 12th. This will put us in a great position for our summit window to begin around the 20th of May- weather depending of course.

The entire team sends their best back home to all following along on the cybercast.

All Our Best!

Eric & Jose and the Team

 

Earlier:

The Alpine Ascents Everest & Lhotse climbing team is resting in Debuche (12,000'), for the next few days then will make their way back up the valley to base camp.  During this time the route fixing team will attempt to fix the lines to the summits of Everest & Lhotse.  All team members are resting on the drop back except sherpas and guides Lakpa Rita, Garrett Madison, & Ben Jones who are staying on the mountain to supervise the route fixing plans.  At least one large team has decided to leave the mountain, deeming it unsafe to climb, but we have decided to stay and continue climbing for the time being, applying our usual safety standards to the route.  When the team returns from the drop back in about a week, we will evaluate the weather forecast and make a decision regarding our summit bid(s).  Photos: Jim Matter climbing the "new route" up the Lhotse Face

Earlier:

We just returned this afternoon from our 2nd rotation on Mt. Everest. Our 5 nights spent above base camp helped us acclimatize, as well as gain important practice climbing on the Lhotse Face. The climbing above Camp 2 has been unusual in that the Lhotse Face has been much drier than in previous seasons, this means that the hard ice is not covered by snow, making climbing more difficult, and increasing the danger of rock fall. Several climbers from other teams had been injured by rock fall in the preceding days on this section of the route, and this hazard we were not willing to accept. Our team along with help from two other teams fixed a new line up the Lhotse Face to Camp 3 that avoided this rock fall hazard. We then climbed this route on our acclimatization trip. We now plan to drop back down the valley to rest and recover from this last trip up to Camp 3. During this time we are strategizing how we will fix the route to the South Col high camp, then to the summit. Everyone is doing well!
 

Earlier:

The Team tackled some moderate winds yesterday on an acclimatization hike out of Camp 2. They sorted through climbing gear and rested today in preparation for a hike up to Camp 3 early tomorrow morning. They will spend a bit of time at camp 3 before returning to Camp 2 for the evening and then back to Base Camp the next day.

We are excited to see everyone again soon and look forward to all the stories from their second rotation. 

Here is a picture of Everest, Lhotse, and Nuptse taken from Pumori Camp 1, a nice day hike from Base Camp.  You can fallow the Khumbu Ice Fall up from Base camp and see the Lhotse Face which the team will be hiking up tomorrow!

Earlier:

It was especially sunny here on Everest making for a great rest day. After moving all the way from Base Camp to Camp 2 yesterday the climbers took maximum advantage of the good weather to rest, relax and lay low. Tomorrow will be another rest day in Camp 2 with an acclimatization hike thrown in to stretch the legs a bit.

Jenny and I kept ourselves busy with Base Camp chores like refining radio communications, sprucing up community tents, organizing our vast supply of food, and tackling laundry. By the end of the day the sunny weather won out against our motivation and we participated in some high altitude lounging in the hammock.

Earlier:

The team rounded the Puja at 3am this morning kicking off their second rotation up Mt. Everest. The day began at 2am with scrambled eggs, bacon, and wild berry walnut steal cut oats for a protein packed way to kick off the rotation. The team moved all the way to camp 2 in good style. They are getting ready for a nice dinner before settling in for the night. Meanwhile, in base camp, Jenny tamed the stove while Joey whipped up a batch of his famous Honey, Oatmeal, Raisin, Butterscotch, Walnut, and Shredded Dark Chocolate Cookies to send up to the team. The extra energy will help maximize tomorrow rest day at Camp 2 :-)

It's another beautiful sunny day here in Base Camp. This is our last full day of rest and relaxation before we depart on our 2nd rotation. Climbers save been enjoying a variety of activities around Camp. Reading in our Mountain Hardware Space Station is always popular. The 800 square foot dome is carpeted, decked out with lounge pillows, and boasts wonderful views of the surrounding mountains. Joe caught Marc utilizing the space for some Yoga and stretching this morning as he went to take pictures for the Cybercast. Others opt for a friendly game of cards in our heated dinning tent and there is nothing like a good game of Ping Pong on these calm windless days! Even with all these great ways to pass the time, the most popular activity seems to be an afternoon nap in the heat of these lovely sunny days. After a hard day of reading, card playing, Yoga, pong and resting it is important to fuel up with some good food. Our chief, Jenny, prepared another delicious Sushi dinner last night and followed it up with some home made brownies for dessert. To wind down after a hard days rest we watched Casino Royal on the big screen set up in our social tent. Everyone is doing great & we are looking forward to our climb up tomorrow morning on our second rotation, hopefully in a few days to reach Camp 3.

Earlier:

Today we enjoyed another rest day in base camp. Some of our team members went on a hike to Gorak Shep to stretch their legs and to enjoy some 3G service on phones, Ipads, and personal computers. Back at our Alpine Ascents dining tent we enjoyed "Mexican night" with burritos, corn souflet, and award winning pineapple black bean empanadas. Having tamed our oven and mastered high altitude baking, Jenny was able to make some amazing homemade apple pie for dessert. We're doing our best to rest & recover from our first rotation up on the mountain, and looking forward to our next rotation in a few days time. Everyone is doing well here at base camp

We just returned from our first rotation up on Mount Everest.  We were up at our Camp 1 and Camp 2 for a total of four nights.  We went on an acclimatization hike above our Camp 2 and had marvelous views of Everest, Lhotse, and Nuptse!  Team members did very well and acclimatized well.  Yesterday we descended down from Camp 2 to base camp through the Khumbu Icefall.  Everyone is now resting in base camp and enjoying the thicker air and great meals here in base. 

 

The weather was beautiful up and down the Khumbu Icefall today. At the top of the Icefall the climbers had a leisurely morning before taking an acclimatization hike up the Western Cwm. Everyone enjoyed a nice meal in our Camp 2 dining tent and they will be heading to bed soon so that they will be fresh for an early morning trip back down the Icefall to Base Camp.

Down at the base of the Icefall we have been taking advantage of the beautiful weather as well. Laundry was at the top of the list, followed by some showers, and then we went to work polishing up camp for the team’s arrival tomorrow afternoon. We also set up a slack line, a sort of thin balance beam made from climbers webbing. It’s a nice way to take a break from the camp chores J

The climbing team moved up to Camp 2 today, also know as Advanced Base Camp. The camp sits higher than any point in North America at 21,000 feet. The team will spend two nights in Camp 2 acclimatizing before descending back to Base Camp to recover from their first rotation. From the radio calls it sounds as though everyone is doing well and enjoying their time on the mountain. We look forward to seeing them back here in Base Camp soon for some well deserved rest and relaxation!!

The team had their first alpine start Monday morning so that they could begin their ascent to Camp 1. The day began with banging pots and pans and various other methods for waking sleeping climbers out of their warm down bags at 2:00 am. After making a cold and groggy trek to the dining tent, they were greeted with hot drinks, maple walnut oatmeal, cinnamon French toast and crème, and crispy bacon to get their day started off right. Everyone finalized their packing and excitedly headed for the Khumbu Ice Fall with glowing headlamps, but only after stopping by the Alpine Ascents Puja. The Sherpa lit a fire made from Juniper, producing smoke which cleanses the climbers as they pass by. Each climber stops to throw three small handfuls of rice as an offering to Everest for a safe passage through the mountains before heading off. Their headlamps slowly glided between boulders and ice seracs to the start of the ice fall. From Base Camp, we were able to follow their path through the clear night as they climbed towards their new camp. Everyone made it to camp in good form and will spend the rest of the day enjoying hot drinks and rest.

The team spent most of the day today relaxing in Camp 1. They took a small acclimatization hike up the Western Cwm and filled the remainder of the day with more eating, reading and lounging.

We took advantage of our free time here in Base Camp to actually get out of camp for the first time in over a week!! We ventured off toward Pumori Camp 1 which sits northwest of Everest Base Camp at 18,500 feet and gives spectacular views of the Khumbu Ice Fall and the surrounding mountains. The trail was lined with lovely little boulder that we were able to scramble up. Climbers always need to get their fix


Today we made our first foray into the Khumbu Icefall. We climbed
approximately 1/3 of the way up and crossed the first ladder, then
returned back to camp. Everyone did an excellent job today, and we
enjoyed the afternoon in base camp preparing for our first rotation on the mountain. Tomorrow we plan to depart at 3 AM for Camp 1. Our plan is to spend 2 nights at Camp 1 and 2 nights at Camp 2, then return to base camp. We are excited to begin climbing Everest!
 

Earlier:

 

Today we practiced more fixed line training in the lower Khumbu Icefall involving rappelling, ascending vertical ice, ladder crossings, etc. We sorted through our snack food in preparation for 5 days of climbing above base camp. We had some light snow in the afternoon, then clearing before sunset. Tomorrow we plan to go for a short hike in the Khumbu Icefall and then return to camp for another night here in base.

Earlier:

Yesterday we arrived at Everest Base Camp! Walking into camp we had our first good view of the summit . We had our first team meeting at base camp in our Mountain Hardwear Space Station tent . We enjoyed a nice dinner then awoke to clear skies today, and organized our gear in camp. We can look up into the Khumbu Icefall from camp and view the route we will climb to Camp 1 after a few days here acclimatizing and reviewing climbing techniques. Everyone is doing well and we are very excited to be here!

Earlier:

Our hike from Kumjung to Deboche was accompanied by lots of sunshine and good spirits. Before arriving at Deboche, our final destination for the day, we stopped at a monastery in Tengboche, where some of the group members stayed for a ceremony conducted by the monks. The team was especially excited to stop at a bakery just outside the monastery walls, where we all enjoyed the best baked goods of the trip. Fresh baked banana bread, rum chocolate cake, and apple pie were among the favorites. Those who attended the ceremony at the monastery ditched their shoes at the door and sat back as the monks lit incense and chanted in unison, surrounded by elaborately decorated statues and vibrantly colorful wall paintings. From there we hiked down to our cozy tea house for the night where we had dinner, played card games, and as always, enjoyed plenty of hot drinks.

Khumjung to Deboche

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