Climbing up the Hillary Step in icy
Today all climbers have either begun the hike
out from base camp or taken a helicopter from base camp to Kathmandu. Last
night we had our celebration with our Sherpa team, and thus have concluded a
Our May 20 summit was not an easy one, the day turned out to be colder with
higher wind speeds than anticipated. There were other factors that
complicated our summit day, however in the end 3 guides, 5 climbers, and 6
climbing Sherpa made the summit together. 2 of our climbers and 2 Sherpa had
to turn back before reaching the top on our summit day because of
complications resulting from the harsh weather conditions, and thus we avoided
any injuries. We were the only team to climb to the top on the South side
route after the large scale attempt on May 19, and I don't anticipate any
climbers going to the top until May 25 at the earliest based on the current
We decided to cancel the Lhotse extension climb because the route up the
Lhotse couloir was not in suitable condition by our standards for guiding. We
are thankful for our strong and supportive Sherpa team that helped us achieve
our goal of climbing Everest and making it back down safely. Thanks for
View from the South Col high camp after
returning from our summit
The entire team is safely back in Base Camp. It
almost feels like summer here and people are sunning out on the rocks,
enjoying cool beverages, and reminiscing about the climb. We would like to
congratulate Alpine Ascents Guide Eric Murphy who summited Lhotse yesterday at
3:41pm. We would also like to congratulate Jim Matter
on his Everest effort. Jim reached the Hillary Step before impending frost
bite to his fingers forced him to turn back to the South Col. The Hillary Step
is a section of technical climbing only 200 feet below the summit at an
altitude of 28,870 feet. That is more than 600 feet higher than any other
mountain in the world and is certainly an amazing achievement! He was able to
avoid frost bite to his fingers and has fully recovered. A few of our team
members will be departing on Helicopters early tomorrow morning and the rest
will be walking back to Lukla through the rich oxygen and forested trails of
the lower Khumbu Valley.
The team has safely descended the Lhotse Face
and are back to Camp 2. The weather is surprisingly nice today given the
forecast and our climbers will be enjoying a fine afternoon in the Western Cwm
before returning to Base Camp tomorrow. We can’t wait to see them again and
congratulate everyone on a job well done!
Recap of the Team's Progress on May 19:
The team has successfully descended the Hillary
Step, passed the South Summit, and are currently on their way down the South
East Ridge. Nice work!
The team has just radioed from the Balcony. They are doing well and everyone
is in good shape for their descent through the Triangular Face back to the
South Col tents. The Col is fairly windy at the moment, but those tents will
still be looking pretty good to our climbers!
The team has made it safely back to the South Col. They are filling up with
hot drinks and getting into their down sleeping bags. They will rest at the
Col for the remainder of the day and night before descending to Camp 2
tomorrow. The team will be back to Base Camp the next day and we are excited
to welcome them safely back to camp soon.
The team has reached the top of the world!!
Climbers Rob Sobecki, Laurence Clark, Mark Shuttleworth, Leanna Shuttleworth,
and Marc Hester reached the summit of Mt. Everest along with Guides Garrett
Madison, Lakpa Rita and Jose Louis Peralvo. The climbing was tough with
gusting winds and some driving snow, we could not have done it without are
amazing Sherpa Team. Joining us on the Summit are Kami Rita Sherpa, Karma
Sarkee Sherpa, Ang Passang Sherpa, Ningma Tsheri Sherpa, Pemba Tenzing Sherpa
and Ang Nuru Sherpa. No one climbs Mt. Everest alone and we are especially
thankful to all the family and friends who have supported us day in and day
out over the last two months. We could not have done it with out you.
Unfortunately, not all of our climbers were able to make it to the summit on
this attempt. They gave their all and worked hard, but were forced to turn
back due to various reasons along the way. We are fortunate to have them as
members of our 2012 team and congratulate them on personal achievements
obtained during the climb.
A huge congratulations to today’s summiteers as we continue to follow them
back down the mountain. The top is only half way and we will continue to
monitor the climber’s progress as they descend back to the South Col for some
well deserved rest.
May 19: The Team has made the South Summit at 28,700 feet!! They are reporting
some good winds up there, but they pressed on through the night and have made
great time. Daylight is just arriving as they break for food and water before
traversing to the Hillary Step and then on to the Summit. They are only a 300
vertical feet from the Summit, but the traverse and climbing the Hillary Step
will still take up to a few more hours.
Here is a picture of Everest's South East Ridge from the summit of Lhotse. You
can see the Triangular Face on the lower third of the mountain, followed by
the South East Ridge leading up to the South Summit, and finally the traverse
to the Hillary Step and the Summit. Many thanks to Michael Horst for the great
picture from last years Everest Lhotse link-up and a huge congratulations to
Ben Jones who reached the summit of Lhotse at 11:11am yesterday morning!
The team has made it above the Balcony. The winds have kicked up and the going
is a bit slow, but the weather is clear and the team is pushing on. The South
East Ridge is not as steep as the Triangular Face although it can be a fairly
exposed at times and there are still several more hours of climbing from the
Balcony to the South Summit. There are nearly two more hours until the first
rays of sunlight begin to reach Mt. Everest. Our climbers are doing some great
work up there, so let’s wish them the best through these final hours of the
It is time! It is 9pm and our climbers are just
waking up to “breakfast” and hot drinks before departing on their summit
push. They will check in with me periodically through the night as they make
there way up the mountain and I will be checking in with you.
Their first task will be to make it up the
Triangular Face to the Balcony at 27,300 feet. The Triangular face is a
section of fairly steep climbing that begins 400 feet above the
South Col. It will take the climbers four to
five hours to reach the Balcony where they will take an extended break for
some snacks and fluids before heading up the South East Ridge toward the
Summit. We wish them all the best
on their climb and big a big thanks to everyone out there for following along
and supporting us as they go!!
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
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
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!!
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 :-)
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,
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
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.
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. :-)
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.
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
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
All Our Best!
Eric & Jose and the Team
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
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!
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!
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 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.
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
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!
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.
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!
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.
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