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  Summitclimb Everest Nepal 2012: Dream Summit


29 May
Report compiled by Richie Maybank, UK.

If the first summit attempt was described as a nightmare, then the second Summit attempt must truly be a dream, with regards to the weather only as it still took about ten hours to get from Camp 4 (7950 meters) on the South Col to the Summit. At 1930 on the evening of the 25th May, the team assembled outside of their tents in order to start the second Summit bid. To give the Summit two attempts in a season is a fairly rare thing as only, even if a respectable number try, the success rate is extremely low due to fatigue suffered from the first attempt.

With this in mind the team set of from the South Col to the Summit in near perfect conditions. The difference between the two attempts was immediately striking as on the first attempt the amount of traffic descending was a constant obstacle needing to be overcome. On this second attempt the descending traffic was non existent. After approximately four and a half hours the team reached the Balcony (8500 meters) where oxygen bottles were changed to allow for the Summit push. It was at this point and slightly beyond where the team turned around on the first attempt due to extreme high winds, cold temperatures and snow.

From the Balcony, the team steadily climbed upwards towards the South Summit. Looking up, the South Summit could only be represented by a steady stream of head torches steadily climbing upwards. Luckily in the dark, the feature itself could not be seen. But after a further four hours the South Summit was achieved allowing the team to steadily cross grain across the narrow South Ridge and onto the Hillary Step just below the summit.

From the Hillary Step it was a mere thirty minutes more for the team to reach the highest point on Earth. John reached the summit at 0330 with the remainder of the team comprising of Sandra, Steve and myself all having reached the Summit by 0530 on the 26th May. Due to the teams' early arrival on the summit, the notorious traffic jams were at a minimal and largely avoided.

Over the next two days, the team gradually descended and was all back in Base camp by the afternoon on the 27th May.

With all high altitude climbs, the above would never be possible if not for the super human efforts of the Sherpa's.

27 May
I had a talk with the high camps this morning on the radio and it looks like that everybody will manage to get all the way down to Base Camp today.

Steve, Richie and Passang Sherpa spend the night in Camp 3 last night.

Sandra and John made it all the way down to Camp 2 together with the other Sherpa's.

I have send some more Sherpa's up to Camp 2 this morning and if we really lucky we can even carry all our group equipment down, like our camp 2 kitchen etc and have a feast with all our staff and members in Base Camp!

Arnold Coster, Exp. Leader
 

26 May
This morning Jangbu Sherpa and John reached the summit of Everest at around 3:30am. Sandra, Richie, Steve, Chauwang, Lakpha and passing followed at around 5:30 am. The weather was beautiful and quiet. No winds and not too much people. They are all back at the Southcol taking a rest, before they will descent further. Depending how tired they are; some will continue to camp 2 others will decide to descent only to camp 3.

So all is well and this evening I will have more details.

Arnold Coster, exp leader

..................
Today the two summit groups joined in camp 3. John and Sandra left BC yesterday to climb straight to Camp 2 and camp 4 today. Ritchie and Steve rested in camp 2 and climbed to camp 3 yesterday. This morning they all met in camp 3 and are climbing to camp 4 together.

The weather looks nice and this morning some other groups summited already.

Our team will rest a couple hours on the south col this evening and probably set off for the summit push around 8pm.

Arnold Coster, exp leader

 

24 May

I am back in base camp for a day now organizing a 2nd summit attempt.
Richie and Steve waited in camp 2, but all the others decided to go down and try to recover in the thick air of base camp.

For most of our members our summit attempt on the 20th had a big emotional and physical impact. Most of us were prepared to see some tragedy, but not on this scale. So only 4 members decided to try again. Tomorrow John and Sandra will scale the icefall one more time to join Ritchie and Steve in C2.

Our plan is to summit on the 26th, early in the morning. According to the weather forecast there are low winds again; which gives us a chance to climb high.

Stay tuned for more news,

Arnold Coster, Expedition leader

 

May 21:Dispatch from Arnold Coster, Leader of the expedition, calling from Camp 2, 6400m.

I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is the whole Lhotse team summited at 9am...We had a helluva day. Very very windy very difficult summit. All the people who tried Everest were forced to turn around...it was just so very windy you cannot imagine. It was so hard to stand up. I'm very proud of my team making the call to go down and not get in trouble because on the same day we saw a lot of other teams getting in huge trouble. So I'm happy everybody is safe now. Most members are in base camp already except some of us still in Camp 2...We will still try to make a plan B because I think we still have time for a second try. Nothing is lost yet...Everybody is still healthy and strong and keen to go. I will keep you updated tomorrow when I am in Base Camp. Thank you. Bye bye

 

May 18:Our Everest Nepal and Lhotse team called in today to say they have reached camp 3. They plan to go for the South Col and camp 4 tomorrow leaving at 5:00 a.m. All of the members and sherpas are feeling really good, strong and excited for the summit push. They will call in another dispatch as soon as possible with more news of their progress. Thanks to everyone for following along and good luck to our team as they try to go for the summits of Everest and Lhotse tomorrow!

 

Tomorrow the 16th the whole team will head up to camp 2 for the last time.

The weather looks good for the 19th and 20th, so we are going to try to summit both Lhotse and Everest. Today hundreds of people went up the icefall, we believe most of them will try to summit on the 19th. If there is any chance for us to summit on the 20th, weather wise, we will choose this day to avoid the crowds.

At the moment some of our Sherpa staff is carrying loads to Lhotse camp 4, mainly ropes for the summit day. Our Sherpa's will assist in fixing the rope to the Summit on the 18th.

So things are looking good and the whole team is happy to leave Base Camp and finish what they came here for.

Stay tuned for the voice dispatches from the higher camps.

Arnold Coster, Expedition Leader
 

Earlier:

We had a couple of days rest in the lower villages, but we are back in Base Camp. Soon the weather will change to the better, but we still need some patience. There are a lot off rumors here in Base Camp about the weather, but no one knows exactly what is going to happen. This is the beauty from climbing, you can plan what you want, but at the end the mountain decides what will happen.

Luckily I have a very good weather forecast from Fugro Geos, this helps me a lot in making the right decision. Among with all the other information I have to carefully balance this an choose the right day.

For now we are not going anywhere and tomorrow we will have another full day to relax in base camp,

Greetings,

Arnold Coster, exp leader

 

May 10

Yesterday we all went down to Dingboche to breath some thick air. Dingboche is located at an altitude of 4380m. We spent our day eating, sitting in the sun and drinking.
 
Meanwhile, as we are resting our Sherpa's have the hard job to get everything ready for our summit attempt. This will take them a couple of days and then there have to be ropes to the summit also.

Our plan is to go to Lobuje tomorrow and be back in basecamp on the 11th again, then the real waiting game begins. We have to choose the right day for our summit attempt. It's all about timing

Greetings,

Arnold Coster, exp leader

May 6

(1st - 6th May) The Khumbu Icefall, the Western Cwm and the Lhotse Face......

On the morning of the 1st May the team entered the Khumbu Icefall for the third time in order to move from Base Camp to Camp 2 at an altitude of 6400 meters, a height gain of 1000 meters in what can only be described as a really enjoyable 9 - 12 hour slog.

The move from Camp 1 to Camp 2 across the Western Cwm was only problematic from the point of view that Camp 2 can be seen from quite a distance away and just doesn't seem to get any closer.

On arrival at Camp 2, a 24 hour down period to allow rest and further acclimatization ensued. After this period, acclimatization walks ranging from only approaching the bottom of the Lhotse Face to actually touching Camp 3 were conducted over the following few days.

The 4th May saw the team head from Camp 2 to Camp 3 at an altitude of 7200 meters and a height gain of 800 meters made in one day. The route consists of a very gradual ascent of the Western Cwm to the Lhotse Face, and then a fairly steep climb up the face to ascend a further 400 meters to Camp 3.

The next day, the team descended to Camp 2, followed by an early morning start to once again tackle the ladders of the Khumbu Icefall for the forth time in order to return to Base Camp on the morning of the 6th May, nearly a week after initially venturing out on our second and last acclimatization round.

The team is now as acclimatized as it can be and shall now leave Base Camp to rest for a week at a lower altitude to allow our bodies to repair from all the various ailments picked up over the previous few weeks.

The next time we set foot on the mountain it shall be for the summit bid....

Richie Maybank - UK

 

May 4 Dispatch from Arnold Costner:

We're all here at Camp 2, 2400m. Over the next couple of days, we will make our way to Camp 3. All members are strong and healthy and looking forward to going higher.

 

1 May
Today most off our team headed up to Camp 2 again at 6400m. This means it was a 2 am wake up call again in base camp. After some porridge and egg and toast everybody set off in the dark to scale the icefall once more. The whole team made it in good time to Camp 1 and after a short tea break they continued to camp 2.

The last couple of days our team off Sherpa's worked extremely hard to cut ledges in the ice to pitch tents for us in camp 2. They even managed to set up a full kitchen and a small dining. This makes camp 2 our Advanced Base Camp and a comfortable camp to hang out to optimize our acclimatization.

A few off us needed more time in Base Camp and are heading up to Camp 2 tomorrow. Our plan is to spend some days up high and finally sleep in Camp 3 at around 7200m, but camp 3 is only partly pitched at the moment and we still have some work to do there. This 2nd rotation will take about one week. Once everybody slept in camp 3 our acclimatization is finished and we will head back to Base camp for our final rest before the summit push.

Once I reached Camp 2 I will call in voice dispatches about our progress.

High Altitude Greetings,

Arnold Coster, Expedition Leader

Earlier:

All members of the team arrived safely back at base camp on 27 April, 2012.

Since then, we've been hard at work sleeping, making ourselves presentable to the general trekking public - who, let's be honest, deserve to see a good show of rugged, handsome and clean mountain climbers, washing - in some cases our two pairs of underwear, eating everything like there's no tomorrow and watching thriller movies on the big projector Arnold installed in the mess tent.

More importantly, these last few days of sloth-like behaviour have been critical in allowing us to recover from various small ailments, like the Khumbu cough and colds. While at base camp, these ailments may seem insignificant, but at higher elevations, they can quickly become debilitating, forcing us to go down earlier than planned.

The team is now also smaller: Grace went down to Pheriche two nights ago to meet up with a friend. Yesterday, Rob (a.k.a. Pumba), who is on a shorter schedule to reach Camp 3, was feeling strong enough to head back up to Camp 2. Simon and Jess - who made it to base camp for a visit - left us to go back to Kathmandu. Evelyn and Eric's time was also up and they departed as well. As a result, our meal gatherings are noticeably smaller. We make do and huddle closely together, coughing in chorus under the soft glow of the propane heater.

Tomorrow, in the wee hours of the morning, the majority of the team will be heading back up the Khumbu icefall once more. This time, we'll bypass Camp 1 and go directly to Camp 2 where we'll be spending some 4-5 nights. Our foray will also include a trip up to Camp 3 as the lines on the Lhotse face are now fixed and ready. We're all excited to be on the move again and to continue our epic adventure. -Sandra Leduc

Earlier:

Hello there at home!

Last night we had the second night at camp 1. Stormy night but very warm. We had to get up at 6am and try to get going around 7. Of course the speedy's from our group were gone before that time but we got away around 7.15. It was still very stormy and cold to start up. Last day up to camp 2 was just going steady up. We just stayed there for around 20 minutes and then headed back to camp 1.

Going down to basecamp was not completely the same route as we did on the way up. Some avalanches had destroyed the original path set out by the "ice doctors" a couple of days before. Some of the places where there was a ladder to get over the seracs were still there but right next to that there was a complete new path which everybody took. The group scattered down because everyone has there own pace to get into which feels comfortable for them. I use the slow way because I am not fully acclimatized yet and it wears me out. Marlies also. But I get the impression we have a strong and focused group. Both for Everest as well as the two women (Mia and Grace) going to Lohtse.

Coming down in basecamp is like coming home to more luxury although its still basic there. But food and drinks available.

Everybody is a bit happy with the fact we get two rest days. I must say it's a nice group of different characters with the same goal.

If any mistakes in my English sorry for that.

Till my next opportunity to say something on this blog.

Cheers Joost

 

By Dr. Jon Kedrowski for SummitClimb.com -

It was an enjoyable day in the sunshine as the team headed into the lower reaches of the icy and flat sections of the Khumbu Icefall near basecamp for some enjoyable skill practice.

Some buzz-words were spoken often by members:

Super-califrag-alistic-expialidocious, Lethal Weapon, Vertical Limit, Ladder Dancing, and a lot of laughs kept everyone focused enough to update their skills, but still stay serious enough to respect the task at hand and the dangers of passing through the icefall multiple times in the coming weeks.

It's Wind Beneath My Wings, rappelling down an ice cliff, and the wind at 5400m feels good you know. I can't wait, The "IceFall is Sexy", exclaimed one Female member of the team. Mia Graffe was seen tap dancing across the ladders, and made them look easy. This could be a sign of things yet to come for the young lady who is trying to become the first Finnish woman to climb Lhotse, Everests neighbor at over 8500 meters.

The Sherpas seemed to be enjoying the progress of the team as well, and even took time to make some funny faces in a cut-out hole in the vertical ice, much like a cut-out hole at your local carnival. While crossing a double ladder, team members were critiqued by Jangbu Sherpa, who is an 11 time Everest Veteran, and looking to make it a cool Dozen times to the summit. He would giggle, laugh and give his "thumbs-up" approval for each member after a successful ladder crossing.

Arnold Coster expressed the importance of backing yourself up at all times with your safety line, then attaching your Jumar to the rope. "Efficiency is key, and when we go through the Icefall, we leave very early, 3am."

Hopefully we will be acclimatized well enough to go fast at a good steady pace because being fast and going early lowers risk".

Preferably we want to leave Basecamp, make it through the Icefall in 4 hours or less, and be up to Camp 1 above the Icefall before 10am. Getting there before 9am would be even better. Some members will take 4 hours the first time, while some will take up to 6 hours, but Arnold says that he wants everyone to be up there in less than 6 hours, before 10am. The Icefall and hanging Seracs of the West Shoulder of Everest stay frozen the best before the day's warmth hits by 10am. Any later in that area and you are asking for trouble in the form of falling blocks of ice and snow avalanches.

After resting tomorrow the 23rd of April, we will leave basecamp on Tuesday the 24th of April at 3am and go up to Camp 1 which is at roughly 6000m/20000 feet. On the 25th, If you feel well enough you can day/morning hike for 2 to 3 hours up to Camp 2 at the base of the Lhotse Face up through the Western Cwm. This camp is at about 6400m/21,400 feet. Once touching the Camp 2 for a brief Lunch, then we will return to Camp 1 for a second night before descending back through the Icefall very early on Thursday the 26th and then rest in Basecamp for 3-4 days after that. This upcoming rotation will help a great deal with acclimatizing and stimulating Red Blood Cells in the body. We will update again following this upcoming rotation. The team is doing well, and most members are feeling strong, including myself, looking forward to getting up on the mountain and into the icefall! Stay Tuned!


This is Grace McDonald with a dispatch for the Summitclimb, Everest, Lhotse and Everest Training Climb Expedition 2012.

We had a leisurely 8:00 am breakfast and then we were all off to our tents to sort out our packs for our trip up to Pumori Advanced Base Camp at approximately 5,900 metres. This would be our next step in our acclimatization plan. We had nice weather and after a few rest days I think we were all ready to get in a little exercise. The group stayed together as we moved out of Everest base camp and then we all fell into our individual paces as we began the steep walk and eventual scramble up to Pumori ABC.

Three of us arrived in about 2 hours with one of our Sherpas, Pasang and we were feeling pretty good so we took a few minutes to hydrate and helped set up a bunch of tents. People continued to arrive and more and more tents went up. Eventually we were all settled in, two to a tent and we relaxed and continued hydrating. We had amazing views of Lhotse, Everest, Lingtren, the Khumbu Icefall and down to Everest basecamp. Unfortunately cloud eventually started closing in so we took dinner in our tents and some of us visited other tents for cards and music but most were off for an early night of sleep. Me, Jon and Richie hung out for a while socializing and ended up serenading our neighbors with a rendition of Bob Marley's Redemption song - perhaps not as appreciated as we thought but good fun. We stretched the night out as long as we could but eventually it was time to call it a night and the three of us headed off to bed. Most of us found it was actually a fairly comfortable evening. I think we all managed to get at least a few hours of good sleep - some had their best night of sleep yet.

Being up so much higher, the sun hit us earlier and many were up and wandering around before 7 am, taking lots of pictures, snacking on oatmeal and noodle soup, packing up and helping the Sherpas take down the tents. There was a pretty cool looking ventricular cloud over Everest that attracted a lot of photo snaps. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits and some people planned to head over to Gorak Shep for their Internet fix before heading back to Everest base camp. Before everyone started heading down we watched Rob tape a few shots for his ongoing Pumba video and we managed to surprise bomb him with a bunch of snowballs during his last take. We had a great laugh and Rob enjoyed it as well. I'm sure it will make his outtake reel. A few of us walked down a longer path over towards Pumori basecamp to send off one member to Gorak Shep and then we wandered off back towards Everest basecamp where we caught the rest of the group heading down. It was actually a nice day for walking and once everyone got back into camp plans started hatching for showers. We were also all very happy to meet David, who is also joining us for the Everest climb. Sadly the snow has started falling so it's a bit chilly and people have been removing themselves from the shower line and instead taking to their tents for an afternoon nap. We'll have everyone up a bit later for dinner and a movie - tonight R.E.D. (hopefully we have enough battery power!)

While we were heading out to Pumori ABC, one of our Everest Camp 3 climbers, Evelyn, took an early morning trip through the Khumbu Icefall and stayed at Camp 1. She got back just before we did and is doing quite well. She and Eric are hoping to head back up to Camp 1 in a couple of days. They are on a slightly accelerated schedule.

We are planning on having a training day tomorrow to show off our hopefully amazing cramponing, jumaring and abseiling skills! Should be lots of fun.

After that we'll make plans for our first trip up the Khumbu Icefall.

Thank you for following our adventure here on the South side of Everest. We all appreciate your support.
 

18 April -

Yesterday we arrived in Base Camp. Our staff already pitched most off the tents and our comfortable dining tent. Last night we had the first of our famous movie nights and this evening we watched the 2nd movie.
Tomorrow morning we will have our Puja ceremony. In this ceremony we will ask the goddess of Chomolungma for safe passage. This is a very important ceremony for our Sherpa staff and it's also nice to have everybody together, so we can get to know each other better.
The day after tomorrow we will sleep at Pumori ABC at about 5800m. This will be very good for our acclimatization; this will make our first trip into the icefall a lot easier also.
So everything is going well here and we will have some climbing stories soon!
Greetings,
Arnold Coster, Expedition Leader


16 April -
It's a cloudy and snowy afternoon in Thukla, which was only short hour and 15 minute walk up from Pheriche from 2pm to just after 3pm. This is the critical area for acclimatization. I hiked in a snowstorm with Arnold, Sandra, and Urs, and fortunately the snow and wind was at our back. We are all feeling pretty good. My sore throat is gone for now but I'm getting the Colorado cough I had most of last summer for my bivys project in Colorado.
Here they call it the Khumbu cough. For now I can manage it and its not out of control. Fluids, fluids, fluids and also the salt water gargles will continue. You can't really take any cold medicine while you acclimatize because it inhibits your acclimatization. Throat drops while I hike and a buff over my face while I sleep will manage it so that I don't cough up a lung, and it should improve. No worries though I should be ok.
This morning we had some fun in Pheriche since we knew today would be a short day. Last night's snow left a fresh 1 inch blanket and made for some awesome shots of the Himalayas in all directions. It was very cold and crisp before the sun came up but worth getting up early. You could see the 8th highest peak in the world, Cho Oyo 8031m up the valley to the Northwest, probably 30 miles away. It looked windy up there for sure. Crazy to think I will hopefully get higher than that in the coming month.
After Skyping with my parents and visiting with the team for lunch and some brews and good conversation, we headed up to Thukla. This isn't really even a village, we are staying in a typical teahouse with a yak dung burning stove in the kitchen dining area and rooms that are simple beds with a pillow and comfortable mattress that you put your sleeping bag on. Although there is no heat in the hotel itself, it is still easier than a tent. I am sure temps will be in the 20s tonight, still nothing too crazy considering I've had it much worse over the years and was also in a tent the past two nights. I will probably sleep well all night I suppose.
The fog has settled in for the afternoon, but can't wait to see the new views from here in the morning as we will head for a 2 hour short day to Luboche at 4900m about 16,000 feet. Supposedly the views are incredible down the valley from here so I can't wait to see them. If you have any comments on these blog posts, keep them coming and I will try to weave them in as I go to my writing. My labtop should work all the way up to 5500m/18000 feet, which is good considering Basecamp in a few days is just below that height. I had this computer on all 58 peaks in Colorado last year, so I know it can handle work in the field. See you in Luboche!
-Jon

 

Earlier:

13 April -
The team left Namche (3440m) at 8am today. The weather was amazing and the views were breathtaking. Ten minutes into the trek we passed our yaks carrying all our bags and equipment (thanks yaks).
After I finished messing around with cameras and the yaks we walked around the corner and there it was. The Khumbu Valley with the most amazing views of Mt Everest, Ama Dablam and other mighty Himalayan peaks. You could see for miles. The blue sky, still air and great views was by far the best day of the trek to Base camp so far.
Clouds steamed off the summit of Mt Everest. An impressive sight!
It's a small crime that after walking up hill to Namche today we spent 2 hours going downhill to a place with the funniest name ever Phungki Tanga roughly 3000m give or take a few hundred meters. Here I changed my socks soaked up some sun bought a Snickers bar (as I forgot to collect my lunch) and set off to cross Duth Kosi river over the suspension bridge.
Then we set off to tackle the long steep hill up to Tengboche. This took a couple of hours but again the views were great and the sun was still shinning so although it was a long hill your thoughts were with the views.
The mountains were getting closer and closer and there were so many photo moments. After a break at the top we continued our trek for an hour to our final destination Pangboche (3950m)
Everyone is feeling great and as the sun goes down and the afternoon clouds disappears Ama Dablam is right behind our camp site. It seems so close you can almost touch it. Waking up in the morning to such beautiful surroundings will be a joy.
Thanks to you all for reading and everyone sends their love to their family and loved ones as do I.
- Rob Bradley

Earlier:

Team Roster:
Everest Nepal -
Arnold Coster - Netherlands (leader)
Ms. Marlies Neefjes - Netherlands
Ms. Sandra Leduc - Canada
Jonathan Kedrowski - USA
Joost van Hassel - Netherlands
Richard Maybank - UK
Urs Jaeggi - Switzerland
Steve Camkin - Australia
David O'Brien - UK

Lhotse -
Ms. Mia Graeffe - Finland
Ms. Grace McDonald - Canada

Training Climb -
Ms. Maryana Plesh - USA

Ms. Eveline Wessels - Netherlands
Adam Jones - USA
Robert Bradley - UK
Shivesh Ram - USA
Simon Pacione - Australia
Eric West - USA

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