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 Summitclimb: Cho Oyu Expeditions, Autumn 2011--Summit Push


24 September, 2011
Today we will leave Advanced Base Camp for our summit push.
According to the weather forecast from Fugro Geos the next two days we can expect a little more snow, but on the night of the 26th it should clear and better weather should be here. This weather forecast is a huge advantage for me, helps me a lot making a decision.
Just received a radio call from our Sherpa's, they are close to Camp 2 at the moment and will try to reach Camp 3 at 7450m to deposit tents, oxygen and food we need for our summit attempt. Tonight we will see them in Camp 1 again and we will climb up together to Camp 2 the next day.
Our plan is to attempt the summit on the 27th, but this might change if the weather changes.
So all is well and we are excited to go up the mountain again.
Greetings,
Arnold Coster, expedition leader

23 September, 2011

Hello everyone! This is Magnus reporting in from SummitClimb’s autumn Cho Oyu Expedition.
After two rest days at Advanced Base Camp, today we are moving up the mountain for our summit push. If all goes well with health, weather and stamina, we may reach the summit in the early morning of September 27th. Arnold will report in by phone during the summit push so please listen to his dispatches.
The two days at ABC has been filled with maintenance such as laundry and also by great food by our kitchen staff and great movies every night in the dining tent from Arnold’s projector. Yesterday night we must have been close to 20 persons in the little tent.
Lastly, I have a very special “HAPPY 5th BIRTHDAY” to my daughter Luna from all of us here at the expedition. We hope you have a great birthday!
Thanks for following our expedition and make sure to listen in to the exciting dispatches in the coming days.

 

 

22 September, 2011

The day before yesterday we left camp 1 at 6400m early for our first
encounter with the famous ice wall. The ice wall is a 20m ice cliff we had to conquer to reach Camp 2 at 7050m. The lower part of the wall is not so steep, until you reach a gully in the centre of the wall. From here the route shoots straight up; hard work with a big backpack at this altitude!



After the ice wall the route zigg zags up between seracs. About half way through there is an other steeper section on a serac. An absolute killer at this altitude. After this serac the route is not very steep until you reach Camp 2. The terrain looks a bit like sand dunes in the desert, you think after every snow hill the camp must be there, but that is an illusion. The route continues like that for hours!
 


This day was a big test for our team. We all reached the camp between 6-8 hours. For most of us it was the first time at this extreme altitude and it was hard to take care of ourselves in the camp. After you reach the camp another job starts; collecting snow and starting to melt it into water to make drinks and food to keep us strong. This process takes a couple of hours before you can go to sleep and rest!

The next day going down was easy. An hour before ABC our cook boy greeted us with tea and a beer for the leader. This boy understands what I need! After a superb dinner made by our cook Samdien and a movie, we all crashed in our tents.

Today and tomorrow we will rest. There are some politics going on with the rope fixing and also I need to make up my mind weather wise, but it looks likes our summit push is coming soon...
 


Stay tuned,
Arnold Coster, expedition leader

21 September, 2011

Two days ago we were surprised by an earthquake.

Everybody was in the dinning tent when it happened; we were watching "the Hangover" movie. Our tent started shaking heavy; quickly we turned off the movie and the heater. The Advanced Base Camp was surrounded by sounds of avalanches and seracs collapsing, but nothing near our Base Camp.

I radioed Camp 1 to make sure our Sherpa's were alright, but besides the shock, nothing was wrong. So we started the movie and the heater again and had a laugh all the way through the movie.....

The next day I spoke with our office in Kathmandu and also nothing major happened there. Besides a few minor damaged buildings everything is fine. The epicenter of the earthquake is still quite far from the area where we operate.

Nothing much has changed on the mountain, besides a few slab avalanches, everything is the same. Actually the earthquake helped us to get rid of most of the avalanche danger......

Greetings,

Arnold Coster, expedition leader
 

19 September, 2011
 

Hello SummitClimb News. This is Arnold, the leader of the Cho Oyu expedition. I’m calling again from camp 1 at 6400 metres, 21,000 feet.
Last night it was a bit exciting in ABC because we felt a small earthquake. We were in the dining tents watching a movie and everything started shaking heavily. At first we weren’t sure what was happening. Today we found out that it was an earthquake of a 6.8 magnitude.
Everybody is fine. Today while we were climbing up we could see some small avalanches had been triggered by the earthquake, but nothing major. So don’t worry. Everybody is doing well.
We’re planning to continue climbing to camp 2 at about 7000 metres/23,000 feet. This will be our first night in camp 2 and finalize our acclimatization. Everybody is looking forward to go up. Right now it’s snowing every evening so far. The weather report predicts better weather after the 21st, so that’s good. We’ll see what happens. We’re going to finish our acclimatization and probably go back to ABC on the 21st. Stay tuned for more news. I’ll will in again tomorrow from camp 2. Bye, bye

18 September, 2011
During the course of the 16th - 17th, the team spent their first night at Camp 1 at an altitude of 6400 metres. It was the team's second ascent of the now infamous Horrible Hill section of Cho Oyu. The second time up was easier (mentally at least).
The night was a cough filled pleasure and I think I can speak for everyone when I say that the team cannot wait for their next night at Camp 1 and Camp 2 at an altitude of 7000 meters. Following the night at Camp 1, the team partook in an acclimatization climb from Camp 1 to an altitude of 6650 meters, still 4 hours short of Camp 2.
The trek back to ABC was uneventful enough with the team complete back in location within 5 hours of leaving Camp 1 after a short rest following the acclimatization climb.
The expedition is now about to reach the more serious stages of the game and morale remains high.
Richie Maybank - UK Expedition Member

16 September, 2011

Hello SummitClimb News. This is Arnold Coster the leader of the Cho Oyu expedition calling from camp one at about 6400 metres
Today the whole team climbed to camp one for the second time, only this time we are going to spend the night here. Everyone’s doing fine and I think we have a really strong team. We made great time coming up here. At the moment it’s snowing. The weather’s been like that for the last couple of days. The mornings are fine, the afternoons are a little bit overcast with snow, but temperatures are high and the winds are low so that’s good.
Tomorrow we plan to climb a little bit higher.
Then we will go back down to ABC again for a few days rest and then we will climb back up to camp 1 again for the third time.
So once again everything is fine up here, everyone is doing well and we will tell our stories once we get down. Bye
 

15 September, 2011

So we flew out of camp at 9am yesterday, or more accurately 7am Nepalese time, which is what it felt like. That said however the weather was beautiful to say the least, cool and sunny.

The team following in our big Dutch-leader's shadow at what he calls a "leisurely pace", the rest of us mere mortal city-dwellers. Nevertheless we made it ALL the way up Horrible hill from ABC in just over 3 hours 15 mins, the last one to arrive took only 4 hours! An AWESOME time in Arnold's opinion.

We plonked down in the snow at Camp 1 eating and drinking happily joking about the morning's experience. After a short acclimatization-rest at Camp 1 we headed down the hill and the 700m in altitude gained back to our tents in ABC. Getting back to our "home" at ABC, felt goooood. Everyone happily exhausted, rehydrating like race horses, with mild non-concerning headaches and spending the rest of the night watching Angelina Jolie as CIA-agent "Salt" for movie night.

We slept like logs and today we have no plans doing anything except for chatting, resting and looking forward to another movie night.

Paul Liebenberg, South African Expedition Member
 

13 September, 2011
After a delicious breakfast of porridge, Belgium waffles, pepperoni sausage and fried eggs we packed our rucksacks and walked to the glacier close to camp. Because of the pressure of the ice the glacier has moved up in many places, creating the perfect practice grounds for our expedition.
Lakpha Sherpa climbed up; faster than Ueli Steck! A few minutes later we had a nice ridge to climb up, a small traverse to the rappel point and a rappel. We practiced several techniques like: ascending fixed lines, passing anchors, rappelling with figure eights, arm wrap rappels, overcoming a knot in the rope while rappelling, etc. It's always good to review techniques, even with a group of experienced mountaineers.
Our other sherpas went to camp one today to pitch a tent. Tomorrow we will all go to drop off some gear. It will be a good test to see if we are ready to go higher on the mountain.
The movie nights in our camp are a great success. Our dining tent is very comfortable and it's surprising how many people can fit inside!
Greetings,
Arnold Coster, Expedition leader


12 September, 2011
After a good breakfast we had our Puja ceremony. A Puja is a Buddhist ceremony to ask the mountain god of Cho Oyu for safe passage. The ceremony includes prayers and offerings to the turquoise goddess of the snow, which is what Cho Oyu means. The ceremony also has a social aspect, other teams will join to share a drink or two and usually it's the ice breaker between the staff and the members. We are safe to travel on the mountain now and we can start preparing our logistics.
Tomorrow our staff will go to camp 1 at 6400 metres to pitch some tents, so we can go up the next day to deposit some of our gear.
We will do some rope practice tomorrow on the glacier nearby camp, just to review all the techniques for safety. Yesterday we already practiced the use of the Gamow bag. This is a portable pressure chamber to treat high altitude sickness.
Greetings,
Arnold Coster, Expedition Leader


11 September, 2011
Hello everyone, this is Magnus reporting from SummitClimb's autumn Cho Oyu expedition.
Yesterday we hiked up from intermediate camp to ABC (Advanced Base Camp) at around 5700m. The Chinese construction development is incredible and they were literally building a road in front of us as we were walking. Unfortunately we did not fully realize that the yak drivers and the yaks carrying our equipment suddenly took another trail and when the road construction suddenly ended we had to do a little bit of improvisation to get back on track again.
In any case we arrived at ABC a few hours ahead of schedule and were met with incredible views of the surrounding mountains and with hot noodle soup made by our top notch kitchen staff. It's amazing what these guys can cook up at 5000m, hamburgers, salads, stir-fried meats and vegetables, French toast, pancakes, etc. etc. The yaks soon arrived and in no time the Sherpas and our Tibetan staff had put up all the tents (kitchen-, storage-, toilet-, etc.) and we were feeling at home again. Except for a few minor headaches from dehydration and altitude gain, everyone was feeling great.
Last night it snowed a bit and when we woke up this morning there was a thin layer of snow on the ground that matched perfectly with the clear blue sky and even better views of the surrounding mountains than yesterday. We have learned from Vicen, our team member from Barcelona that September 11th is the Catalan day so in the spirit of staying positive, this is what we will celebrate today!
We now look forward to three days of relaxing, rope training, showering, watching movies and acclimatization before we do our first day trip to camp 1. The group is great and we are having loads of fun together. Thanks for following our expedition and please come back for more updates

10 September, 2011

We all arrived in Advanced Base Camp healthy and strong. It was a long day and everybody is tired. Our camp is almost completely pitched, there are just a few small things we have to finish tomorrow. We will stay here for at least three days before we will move up higher on the mountain. The plan is to rest tomorrow, do a rope practice the next day and the Puja the day after.
Tomorrow I will send a more detailed dispatch with pictures from our walk up. Now its time for bed!
Good night,
Arnold Coster, Expedition leader
Cho Oyu Expedition



13 September, 2011
After a delicious breakfast of porridge, Belgium waffles, pepperoni sausage and fried eggs we packed our rucksacks and walked to the glacier close to camp. Because of the pressure of the ice the glacier has moved up in many places, creating the perfect practice grounds for our expedition.
Lakpha Sherpa climbed up; faster than Ueli Steck! A few minutes later we had a nice ridge to climb up, a small traverse to the rappel point and a rappel. We practiced several techniques like: ascending fixed lines, passing anchors, rappelling with figure eights, arm wrap rappels, overcoming a knot in the rope while rappelling, etc. It's always good to review techniques, even with a group of experienced mountaineers.
Our other sherpas went to camp one today to pitch a tent. Tomorrow we will all go to drop off some gear. It will be a good test to see if we are ready to go higher on the mountain.
The movie nights in our camp are a great success. Our dining tent is very comfortable and it's surprising how many people can fit inside!
Greetings,
Arnold Coster, Expedition leader

Practicing glacier travel, ascending and descending above ABC (Arnold Coster).

12 September, 2011
After a good breakfast we had our Puja ceremony. A Puja is a Buddhist ceremony to ask the mountain god of Cho Oyu for safe passage. The ceremony includes prayers and offerings to the turquoise goddess of the snow, which is what Cho Oyu means. The ceremony also has a social aspect, other teams will join to share a drink or two and usually it's the ice breaker between the staff and the members. We are safe to travel on the mountain now and we can start preparing our logistics.
Tomorrow our staff will go to camp 1 at 6400 metres to pitch some tents, so we can go up the next day to deposit some of our gear.
We will do some rope practice tomorrow on the glacier nearby camp, just to review all the techniques for safety. Yesterday we already practiced the use of the Gamow bag. This is a portable pressure chamber to treat high altitude sickness.
Greetings,
Arnold Coster, Expedition Leader back to top

Team practicing use of the Gamow bag. Our fun puja ceremony in ABC (Arnold Coster).

11 September, 2011

Hello everyone, this is Magnus reporting from SummitClimb's autumn Cho Oyu expedition.
Yesterday we hiked up from intermediate camp to ABC (Advanced Base Camp) at around 5700m. The Chinese construction development is incredible and they were literally building a road in front of us as we were walking. Unfortunately we did not fully realize that the yak drivers and the yaks carrying our equipment suddenly took another trail and when the road construction suddenly ended we had to do a little bit of improvisation to get back on track again.
In any case we arrived at ABC a few hours ahead of schedule and were met with incredible views of the surrounding mountains and with hot noodle soup made by our top notch kitchen staff. It's amazing what these guys can cook up at 5000m, hamburgers, salads, stir-fried meats and vegetables, French toast, pancakes, etc. etc. The yaks soon arrived and in no time the Sherpas and our Tibetan staff had put up all the tents (kitchen-, storage-, toilet-, etc.) and we were feeling at home again.
Except for a few minor headaches from dehydration and altitude gain, everyone was feeling great.
Last night it snowed a bit and when we woke up this morning there was a thin layer of snow on the ground that matched perfectly with the clear blue sky and even better views of the surrounding mountains than yesterday. We have learned from Vicen, our team member from Barcelona that September 11th is the Catalan day so in the spirit of staying positive, this is what we will celebrate today!
We now look forward to three days of relaxing, rope training, showering, watching movies and acclimatization before we do our first day trip to camp 1. The group is great and we are having loads of fun together.
Thanks for following our expedition and please come back for more updates. back to top

Trekking towards ABC (Arnold Coster).

10 September, 2011

We all arrived in Advanced Base Camp healthy and strong. It was a long day and everybody is tired. Our camp is almost completely pitched, there are just a few small things we have to finish tomorrow. We will stay here for at least three days before we will move up higher on the mountain.
The plan is to rest tomorrow, do a rope practice the next day and the Puja the day after. Tomorrow I will send a more detailed dispatch with pictures from our walk up. Now its time for bed!
Good night,
Arnold Coster, Expedition leader back to top

Our sturdy and friendly yaks bringing our supplies up from interim camp to ABC (Arnold Coster).

9 September, 2011

Hey, this is Fergal Savage from the Cho Oyu SummitClimb September expedition. I'm currently at Chinese base camp at 4790 metres. We are all getting on very well heading to Interim camp early in morning. Special dispatch for my son Tom who is 7 on the 9th. Happy birthday big man. And to everyone else Hello as well.
 

5 September, 2011

Hello, this is Grace McDonald (Shishapangma member) with a dispatch for September 5, 2011 for the Cho Oyu and Shishapangma Expedition Autumn 2011.

We awoke in Nylam to hot showers (for those of us who started early enough) and hot showers that turned into cold showers (for those of us who did not). The mere fact we have running showers and flushing toilets at the end of the hallway is impressive - certainly to those members who remember accommodations in prior years. Hot or cold, the hotel in Nylam is practically 5 star compared to previous accommodation options.

After breakfast the jeeps were ready to roll on down the road to Tingri and we headed back to the hotel to grab out backpacks. Max, Gary and myself (the Sishapangma team) met a member from another Shishapangma team who is a day behind us but should be arriving at basecamp along with us. He also filled us in on an Austrian team that should be arriving shortly. We understand that's it for expeditions on the North side of Shishapangma - just 4 in total, not many, but by my count we'll have 3 girls on the mountain and maybe more once the Austrian team arrives - girl power!

Over the last couple of days we all been seeing and meeting people from many other expeditions who are heading to Cho Oyu. Should be a much busier place than it was this Spring but the groups seem very multinational and friendly so it's shaping up to be a good year.

Into the jeeps we went, joined by Norbu our liaison officer for the Chinese Tibetan Mountaineering Association. We had a good time getting acquainted/reacquainted and the ride was actually kind of fun. Gary brought Toblerone and Norbu brought Chinese Red Bull; which together spell PARTY. Perhaps not an ideal combination for a drive over the Thong La pass (5300m) but we all enjoyed ourselves. Most teams stopped a the Thong La Pass to take pictures of Shishapangma (gorgeous) and all the prayer flags and then continued on to Tingri. Norbu decided we should have a stop at a location not far outside of Tingri where the grass was long and the view went all the way to Everest (if the big fluffy clouds would have moved out of the way!). It was actually a warm beautiful day on the Tibetan plateau and we walked through a gorgeous field of barley, took a little sample to nibble on for the rest of the drive and watched Norbu take a power nap in the long grass. It was a perfect extra stop to just take it all in.

Tingri, Tingri, Tingri . . . wow that place is changing. It's still pretty much a one street town filled charming dogs, hard lived people, motorcycles, honking trucks, dirt and trash BUT, the new hotel which was partially finished in the Spring is now pretty much complete. We were all treated to double rooms with ensuite. This was pretty unbelievable for people who had been here in prior years. There's also a few new stores and restaurants that have popped up. Tingri - come see it now before it loses it "rustic" charm.

The afternoon was filled with some good entertainment. Gary and I found super light, plastic AK-47 pellet guns at the store next to the hotel. We have big plans for war games at base camp. I might opt for the pistol model. They'll likely break after the first shot but we think the whole "axe in hand" summit shot is so 2010, we're thinking more of a Charlie's Angels pose for 2011. We'll see how it goes.

Most of the gang passed the afternoon at the local Nepali restaurant and stuffed ourselves with "mixed" momos (kind of like dumplings), french fries, tea and coffee. It was a nice way to pass the time, have a few laughs and watch the people and animals of Tingri pass by and also some dogs having a romantic moment. The group is actually getting on really well, lots of great people, good stories and good energy. Everyone seems to be acclimatizing well, listening to the leaders and staying positive.

Later in the evening we met for dinner and one of our members, Paul from South Africa, was recruited to help deal with some currently minor medical issues on other teams. He's a doctor working at Papua and was happy to offer what help he could. He was already called twice in Tingri. Thank you Paul ! Samdien, the cook for the Cho Oyu team also arrived this evening from Lhasa and we found Chimmy, the kitchen helper for Shishapangma, waiting outside the hotel today. He is a traditional Tibetan nomad with a million dollar smile who lives on the Tibetan plateau and hangs around Tingri for us to find him at expedition time. He's headed back to his home on his horse last night but we'll see him back here in time to head to base camp with us the
day after tomorrow.

A few of us were reluctant to call it a night so early so we hung around in the hallways chit chatting, no doubt keeping other teams up and then moved the party into a room - not much of a party as everyone forget to bring beer and food, but a good opportunity to sit around, pass some time, learn a little more about each other and have some laughs before calling it a night.

Tomorrow we remain in Tingri to acclimatize. Thanks for following these dispatches! We all appreciate knowing our friends and families can follow along on our adventures and we'll do our best to get daily dispatches out but slight delays may happen due to technological challenges in Tibet. All the best.

 
4 September, 2011

Hi, this is Max Kausch writing a dispatch for the Shishapangma and Cho Oyu expeditions autumn 2011.

We're currently in Nyalam, 3400m. Today was our 2nd acclimatization day and our members trekked to a 4300m ridge nearby. It is quite amazing considering that we only left Kathmandu yesterday. Everyone is feeling amazingly well and the team is getting on very well.

Unfortunately our Brazilian member, Bruno dos Anjos, had to leave Tibet early. He has reached Kathmandu today and will be flying to Brazil very soon. We will miss him very much. Take good care Bruno!

Both teams will move to Tingri tomorrow, which is at 4300m. We will spend 2 nights there and then the 2 teams will split up. Our Shishapangma staff is already on the way to BC and will set up our tents there.

We'll cross a 5200m pass tomorrow and will hopefully see Shishapangma for the first time. Also tomorrow, our teams will be able to see Cho Oyu from near Tingri. The views from there are amazing.

We will keep you updated as much as we can.

3 September, 2011

Hi, this is Max Kausch writing a dispatch from Nyalam, Tibet.

Our Cho Oyu and Shishapangma expeditions left Kathmandu together this morning. Our trip to the Tibetan border was pretty impressive. We saw stunning landscapes and many Nepali rural houses. Amazingly we had no incidents on the way, such as landslides or road blockages.

Our members were looking very forward to finally crossing the Tibetan border. By 13:00 today we had lunch in Zhangmu, the first Tibetan city on our way to the mountains. We have 6 jeeps driving our members and staff plus one truck with our 3 thousand kilos of luggage. I'll write more news tomorrow and also send a few photos.

Thank you for following our expeditions!

Max Kausch
 

31 August, 2011

The next couple of days we will finalize our packing for Cho Oyu. The first members will arrive tomorrow and the plan is to enter Tibet on Saturday. We have a nice expedition team from all over the world:

* Arnold Coster - Netherlands (Expedition Leader)
* Bruno Versiani Dos Anjos - Brazil
* Richard Maybank - UK
* Urs Walter Jaggi - Switzerland
* Fergal Savage - Ireland
* Ola Magnus Nerve - Sweden
* Vicen Jolis - Spain
* James Robson - UK
* Paul Liebenberg - South Africa
* Tenji Sherpa - Nepal (Climbing sherpa)
* Lhakpa Gelbu Sherpa - Nepal (Climbimg sherpa)
* Dawa Jangbu Sherpa - Nepal (Climbing sherpa)
* Jangbu Sherpa - Nepal (Climbing sherpa)
* Samdien Khompa - China (cook)

We're all looking forward to reaching the mountains again! Stay tuned for more news,

Arnold Coster, Expedition leader


31 August, 2011

Hi, this is Max Kausch writing the first dispatch for the Shishapangma Autumn 2011 Expedition.

Our plan for the Cho Oyu and Shishapangma expeditions is to leave Kathmandu on the morning of September 3rd together as one single team, then split the teams in Tingri (4300m) on the morning of the 6th. It's raining in Kathmandu in the afternoon pretty much every day and it's not so hot, about 25ºC right now. We really look forward to meeting our first members who start arriving today in Kathmandu. Our staff has been working hard on the preparations and packing before the members arrive.

Thank you for reading the Shishapangma news!

Max Kausch

Team Roster:

* Maximo Kausch - UK (Expedition Leader)
* Grace McDonald - Canada
* Gary Kellund - USA
* Urs Walter Jaggi - Switzerland (combination with Cho Oyu)
* Paul Liebenberg - South Africa (combination with Cho Oyu)
* Jangbu Sherpa - Nepal (Climbing sherpa)
* Gyalje Sherpa - Nepal (Climbing sherpa)
* Nima Dorje Lama - Nepal (cook)

 

 

 

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