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  Alpine Ascents Everest Expedition, 2011: High winds force team to delay 

Today high winds over Everest have resulted in several teams aborting their summit attempts (several teams reported reaching the south summit but then turned around). Several teams that were at the South Col high camp in position for a summit attempt tonight (camp 4) are now packing up and going down. The weather forecast shows high winds for the next few days, so we are not going to climb from base camp to Camp 2 tomorrow as planned. We will remain in base camp and monitor the weather forecast, and make our move up to Camp 2 when we receive a favorable forecast. Our climbing team currently at Camp 3, guide Michael Horst & climber Rob Hart are planning to spend the night at Camp 3 and evaluate the weather in the morning.
Garrett Madison

May 11, 2011    

The climbing team of guide Michael Horst & climber Rob Hart are planning to move up to Camp 3 tomorrow morning. The weather is holding out, and summit winds look very manageable. If all goes according to plan they may summit Everest on May 14th. The main climbing group reviewed oxygen systems today and sorted gear in preparation for our move to Camp 2 on May 13th. Everyone is doing well!
Garrett Madison
May 5, 2011    
Our climber Mike Gibbons, who suffered a crevasse fall at the base of the Lhotse Face a few days ago, returned to the USA and visited with doctors who have diagnosed his arm as not broken. Mike is planning to fly back to Nepal ASAP and rejoin our expedition! We are very excited to have Mike rejoin our climb and have our team reunited! If travel logistics go well for Mike hopefully he will meet us on our drop back in a few days in the village of Debuche.

May 5, 2011    
Today the Sherpa teams are aiming to fix the route from the South Col high camp to the "Balcony" and tomorrow, weather pending, they are planning to fix from the Balcony to the Summit. The weather is holding steady for the fixing teams and hopefully their work will be completed by tomorrow as planned. Our loads of oxygen, food, tents, etc. will be carried up to the South Col high camp over the next few days so that camp is stocked and ready for our summit rotation. After the load carries are completed the Sherpa will return to base camp to rest for a few days before the summit bid. Our plan is to drop back today to Pheriche, then spend 3 nights in Debuche, then another night in Pheriche before making our way back up to base camp for our summit rotation.
Garrett Madison

May 3, 2011    

We have just arrived back in base camp this afternoon, having descended from Camp 2 (our Advanced Base Camp) earlier today. We had a successful 2nd "rotation" on the mountain, sleeping at Camp 3 (23,600') for 1 night. We spent a total of 5 nights above base camp on this last rotation. Climbing the Lhotse Face up to Camp 3 was exhilarating, steep ice and great views of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse & looking down the Western CWM. At this time we will take a rest day in base camp then descend down the valley to a lower elevation for our "drop back", a strategic part of our recovery & acclimatization from a night at high altitude without supplemental oxygen. Attached are a few photos from our recent trip up to Camp 3.  Garrett Madison

May 2, 2011    

The team successfully descended the Lhotse face today with good conditions and sunny weather. They are back in Camp 2 resting, relaxing, and preparing for their 5am start down through the Ice Fall tomorrow morning. We sadly have to say farewell to a great member of our team. Mike Gibbons has broken his arm and will be heading back home to mend with family and friends. We will miss him greatly here on our Everest Expedition.

April 27, 2011

Today we awoke to a few inches of fresh snow on the ground in base camp. We were planning to climb today to Camp 1, but with the new snow we have decided to postpone our ascent until tomorrow morning. The current plan is for the team to depart base camp at 4 AM on April 28th for our second rotation. We plan to climb through the Khumbu Icefall & spend 1 night at camp 1, then climb through the Western CWM to Camp 2 and spend 2 nights there. Then, weather pending, we plan to climb up the Lhotse Face to Camp 3 and spend 1 night. We will then descend down to Camp 2 for a night, then back to base camp for our final rest before our summit rotation. All members of the team are doing well & looking forward to climbing! Stay tuned! Garrett Madison

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 27th.


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 recover.
Garrett Madison


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

April 17:

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 world…

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 :-)
Joe Kluberton


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.


2011 Guides
JOE KLUBERTON: Base camp manager
2011 Climbers
Robert Hart
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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