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 Mt Everest 2007: SummitClimb Nepal Everest / Lhotse:  Philip Ling reports in


Philip Ling with Fausto de Stefani and Sergio Martini at Camp 3 at 7350 meters

Philip Ling, from Sydney, Australia, and St.Anton am Arlberg, Austria, is an Austrian certified ski instructor and alpine guide, who for many years worked for the Ski School Arlberg in the Arlberg region of Austria, guiding people down some of the most extreme off piste terrain in Europe before switching his focus to climbing the highest mountains on the planet. After two unsuccessful attempts on Pumori, 7167m in 2005 and 2006, he summitted Cho Oyu, 8201m in October 2006 without using supplementary oxygen.  In April 2007 he climbed Lhotse, 8516m also without oxygen. Here is his summit day report .

After more than 6 weeks of acclimatising, the process of allowing the human body to accumulate extra oxygen carrying red blood cells as it compensates for the reduced oxygen levels at high altitudes, on the 20th of May, 2007, I set out from Everest/Lhotse Camp 3 at 7350m for Lhotse Camp 4, at 7850m.

 

I was climbing without bottled oxygen. All my team mates and Sherpas were climbing with it, as was nearly everyone else from the other teams. In fact I can only think of three other climbers apart from myself on the mountain who were climbing without O's, the Italian legends Fausto de Stefani and Sergio Martini, both of whom have climbed all 14 mountains in the world above 8000m. (Only 12 men have ever climbed all 14) and their younger climbing apprentice, Roberto Manni. A few weeks earlier their Sherpa had been killed by a rock or block of ice at the bergshrund at the base of the Lhotse Face. I helped Sergio bury the body and clean up the mess, and we lent them one of our Sherpas.

The climb to Camp 4 without O2 was somewhat tiring and apart from my summit day on Cho Oyu in October 2006, perhaps the hardest day of my mountaineering career. 9 hours of constant up and across the Lhotse Face on sheer blue ice covered in about 2 inches of fresh snow. Crossing the yellow band at 7600m, I caught up with, and overtook Fausto Di Stefani. He was on his hands and knees on the yellow band, gasping for air, as I had also been during that one long day. Despite this I made reasonably good time to camp 4, arriving only 30 minutes to an hour after our fastest member. When I arrived I saw that one of our tents had not been set up and worse still, the tent's platform had been prepared either. At almost 8000m, on a pitch of around 45 degrees, it took over 2 hours to dig a ledge big enough to accommodate the small two person tent that I would be sharing with Dan. This was valuable time that would have been better spent resting and rehydrating. It was 7.30pm by the time we had finished. I was exhausted and dehydrated and as soon as the sun went down I would be freezing cold, and in less than 8 hours I would be setting out for the summit.

Not long after we crawled into the tent Pemba Doma Sherpa stuck her head in. She had asked us in Base Camp if she could climb with us, but she was not officially part of our team. Pemba Doma was the first Nepalese female ever to summit Everest and make it safely back down, and the first Nepalese female to summit Everest from both sides. We were very surprised to learn that somehow she had no tent and was intending to sleep outside just in her sleeping bag! This was extremely dangerous and unacceptable due to the altitude and the cold. So we asked her to share our tent. This meant that we were now 3 in a very small 2 person tent, and our gear including our boots had to be stored outside. I was not happy about the boots, and looking back on it I should have insisted they be kept inside.

By the time we had boiled enough water for the next day it was approaching 9.30pm. Dan and Pemba decided to sleep on oxygen on a 1 litre flow. Again I resisted using the O’s, and during the night I actually felt very good, with none of the headaches and sudden gasping for breath normally associated with this altitude. 

After an absolutely sleepless night due to the cramped conditions in the tent which left me pushed up against the wet, cold canvas on one side, the next morning we set out for the summit. Just before leaving I paused at the oxygen bottles stored outside the tent. With my acclimatisation to 7850m, I could easily take two bottles and almost guarantee myself a summit. Or I could attempt what I came for and go for the summit without using the juice. I kept to my original plan and left the bottles behind. However soon after setting out my toes started to get cold due to my boots having spent the night outside the tent. As I climbed above 8000m however, I surprisingly felt very strong, better than I had felt climbing up the day before despite the higher altitude, and most likely due to the extra red blood cells I had accumulated by climbing without O's above Camp 3 and not sleeping on oxygen in Camp 4. However my toes were cold. As I approached the Lhotse Couloir at 8100m my toes were very cold. I looked at my watch, and estimated it would be at least another 3 hours before the warming sun would reach my position. I pushed up again. 

I was facing a difficult decision. Do I continue or turn around? By now I could not feel my toes at all. I had spent 7 weeks getting here. I was around 400m and 6-7 hours away from summitting Lhotse without using oxygen. My lungs and legs felt strong and my head was clear. But my toes were freezing. Do I keep going or not? I pushed up again. Up ahead I could see someone descending. As they approached I saw it was my mate Will Cross, who was climbing with another expedition. He told me he had turned around due to cold feet. Will has climbed the 7 Summits and walked to both the North and South Poles. ‘The mountain will always be there’ he mumbled through his oxygen mask as he climbed down past me. He was right. I had seen first hand climbers who had pushed themselves too far and ended up either with severe frostbite or paying the ultimate price. I decided to trust my intuition and turn around, before being forced to by dire circumstances.

Reluctantly I turned around and started the long descent to camp 2 at 6400m.

Meanwhile, Pemba Doma Sherpa was approaching the summit of Lhotse at 8516m. As a Sherpa, she had inherited the genes over hundreds of years to enable her to climb high and fast at altitude. The bottled oxygen gave her an additional turbocharge that very few non sherpas could keep up with. At around 11.30 am she became the first Nepalese woman ever to summit Lhotse. But on the descent, at around 8400m, she slipped and fell over 900m to her death. As I descended I heard Dan above call over my radio ‘There's been an accident! Not one of our team! A Sherpa! Oh my God...was that Pemba Doma....?’ 

Thanks to Dan Mazur from Summitclimb and Thai International Airways.

Looking down the Lhotse Face and the Western Cwm from around 8100m on summit day. Pumori, 7167m in the centre of the photo with Cho Oyu, 8201m looming behind. In October 2006, I was standing on the summit of Cho Oyu looking in exactly the opposite direction. Shortly after taking this photo I reluctantly turned around.

 

 

 

 

Dispatches

Dan Mazur who has reached the summit of 7 of the world's highest mountains, including Everest and K2, and has led and/or organized expeditions to more than 60 Himalayan, African, and South American peaks will return to Everest again in 2007. Below is some information on this Everest / Lhotse expeditions.

EVEREST - NEPAL The original first-ascent route. Places are still available in our 2007 expedition. Full Service price reduced to: $26,450. Expedition leader Dan Mazur. Leading Everest climbs since 1991. 29 March to 6 June, 2007 and 2008.

Often spelled: "Chomolangma", "Sagarmatha", "Qomolungma", "Chomolungma", "Qomolongma", "Chomolongma", "Qomolangma".

The most coveted peak in the world from the easiest route, with the highest chance of success. 

From left to right: Everest, Nuptse, and Lhotse. A picture postcard view.

We provide generous discounts for groups of two or more.

When you see the high level of service we provide, as well as low budget options, you may agree that the cost is affordable, inexpensive, even cheap.

29 March to 6 June, 68 days in Nepal in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Daniel Mazur on the summit of Everest, after climbing it from the Nepal side. Don't forget to take off YOUR oxygen mask for the photo, when YOU reach the summit. Makalu and Kangchenjunga in the Backround. (Photo: Roman Giutashvili)

The route first climbed by Tenzing and Hillary in 1953

Arnold Coster from Rotterdam, our leader in advanced basecamp at 5600 metres (Roland Debare). Daniel Mazur, in Everest basecamp (J.C. Pratt) .Greg Mills, Murari Sharma, Dan Mazur, and Troy Chatwin at Everest basecamp in April 2004 (Murari Sharma). A meeting on the roof of our hotel, where we describe the plan of our expedition. The audience, our trekkers and climbers (Franck Pitula).

On the Hillary Step (DL Mazur).

Jon Pratt crossing a ladder in the Khumbu ice fall at 5600 metres (Dan Mazur).

One of our nine excellent cooks, brewing up another fine meal. (DL Mazur).

   

Ryan Waters on the summit, wearing one of our oxygen sets. Team member and Sherpa oxygen supplies cached in the storage tent in ABC. All of our oxygen is hand checked and the bottles, masks, hoses, and regulators are carefully matched. We guarantee 100 percent of our oxygen to work perfectly. Any oxygen bottles and equipment unused will be repurchased for 70 percent of what you payed. On the far right of the photo, you can see our hot water hand washing water reservoir and soap, where everyone washes their hands before each meal, in order to maintain good hygiene (Ryan Waters).

Descending the fixed lines from the summit. Most accidents occur on descent. Its a time for the utmost concentration and good hydration and nutrition. This is when you find out how fit you really are (Ryan Waters).

Introduction: Climb Everest (8,848 Metres)  

Everest is perhaps the most coveted mountain in the world. The south (Nepalese) side is the route first climbed by Tenzing and Hillary in 1953, and the dates we have chosen feature the best weather of the year. Our proposed schedule allows for two potential summit attempts.

This expedition to Everest maximizes many years of accumulated wisdom of the high Himalaya, a strong record of reaching Everest, K2, Kangchenjunga, and many other 8,000 metre summits, along with an intimate knowledge of the Nepalese officials who regulate the permit system.  We must also give credit to the highly experienced and hard-working climbing Sherpas, cooking and office staff.

Detailed Description

The trip begins in the ancient and colorful city of Kathmandu, and the staff will personally meet your flight at Tribhuvan airport.   You stay in a comfortable, simple, clean hotel, and sample some of the tasty Nepalese, Tibetan and Western-Style cuisine, at minimal expense.  During our free day in Kathmandu, we shall finalize arrangements, and take some time out for trinket hunting, with planned visits to explore the 17th century splendors of the Monkey Temple, the Durbar Square and old Kings Palace, as well as the ancient city of Patan.

Early the following morning we fly to Lukla at 2860 metres., where we meet our yak drivers,  and porters.  If there is time, we will trek to Monjo (2652m), and spend the night. For our full-service members, the cost of this expedition includes one of the most beautiful treks in the world. For more information and photos, please visit our Everest trek site: Everest Trek.

              

Trekking in the Khumbu valley. Yaks carry our gear (Bob Rowe). Crossing a bridge under rhododendron forests. (DL Mazur) Our team in basecamp (DL Mazur).

We will continue our trek up to Namche Bazaar (3446m), the capital of the Sherpa Kingdom. Here we rest for a day to acclimate, then proceed up to Deboche (3757m) for a night, then to Lobuche (4930m), where we have another acclimatization day. Finally, we make the last trek to basecamp at 5300 metres. After resting, organising, and training in basecamp for a day, we will begin our climb. We start with a day hike through the awe inspiring Khumbu Icefall, followed by a trip to the plateau of the Western Cwm, for our first glimpse of Camp 1, at 5800 metres. We return to basecamp for a tasty dinner,  prepared by our skilled cooks.  

  

Anatoly Bukreev and Vladimir Balyberdin at basecamp. (DL Mazur). On the South Col of Everest (Gennady Kopieka)

          

Diane in the icefall (Dan Mazur). Tent lashed to its platform in camp 3 at 7200 metres (Dan Mazur)Climber in the Lhotse Face (Scott Darsney). Chris Shaw on the face at 8100 metres during an early summit attempt (Dan Mazur)

Climbing at 8400 metres above the Kangshung Face (DL Mazur).

Through the following weeks, we  will climb up and down the mountain, exploring the route, establishing camps, and carefully and safely building our acclimatization level. From camp 1 at 6000 metres, the route traverses the flattish bottom of the Western Cwm, to 6200 metres where camp 2 is located. Camp three is on the head wall of the Lhotse face at about 7200 metres. The south Col, is the highest camp, and at 8000 metres it is a windy and cold place. We take our time, climbing up and down to acclimate, which gives us the best chance to ascend in safety and maximize our opportunity to reach the summit during the "weather windows" which generally open in May. The route to the summit winds through snow ice and rock fields, at a 10 to 50 degree angle. These slopes are not considered technical, but there is exposed rock here in the spring, and lines are often fixed. Fixed rope is often placed on the small vertical pitch of the 6 metre high Hillary step, and the summit lies directly above. Truly the most classic route on the world's most classic mountain.  Welcome to our team!

            

Looking up at the summit from the south col. Climbing at 8400 metres above the Kangshung Face. Approaching the Hillary Step. Climbing on the Hillary Step  (DL Mazur)

The view from the summit, looking west to Cho Oyu, Shishapangma, Pumori, and many others  (DL Mazur) .


SUGGESTED DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY FOR EVEREST CLIMB

1. Arrive Kathmandu (1,300 meters).  Hotel.
2. In Kathmandu; visit temples; city tour; shopping.  Hotel.
3. Fly to Lukla (2860m).  Walk to Phakding (2652m). Teahouse or camping.
4. Walk to Namche Bazaar (3446m).  Teahouse or camping.
5. Rest and acclimatization in Namche.  Teahouse or camping.
6. Walk to Pangboche (3757m).  Teahouse or camping.
7. Walk to Pheriche (4250m).  Visit the Himalayan Rescue Association health clinic. Teahouse or camping.
8. Walk to Dugla (4620m).  Teahouse or camping.
9. Walk to Lobuche (4930m).  Teahouse or camping.
10. Walk to Gorak Shep (5140m). Teahouse or camping.
11. Walk to basecamp (5300m).
12. Rest, organization, and training day in basecamp.
13. Rest, organization, and training day in basecamp.
14. Climb partway to camp 1 at 5800 metres. Return to basecamp.
15. Rest in basecamp.
16. Climb to camp 1 at 5800 metres. Return to basecamp.
17. Rest in basecamp.
18. Climb to Camp 1, sleep there.
19. Walk to camp 2 at 6200 metres, return  to camp 1, sleep there.
20. Return to basecamp.
21. Rest in basecamp.
22. Rest in basecamp.
23. Walk to camp 1, sleep there.
24. Walk to Camp 2. Sleep there.
25. Rest in camp 2.
26. Explore route to Camp 3 (7300m), return to camp 2, sleep there.
27. Return to basecamp.
28. Rest in basecamp.
29. Rest in basecamp.
30. Rest in basecamp.
31. Walk to camp 1, sleep there.
32. Walk to Camp 2. Sleep there.
33. Rest in camp 2.
34. Walk to Camp 3. Sleep there.
35. Explore route to camp 4 at 8000 metres, return to camp 2. Sleep there.
36. Return to basecamp.
37. Rest in basecamp.
38. Rest in basecamp.
39. Rest in basecamp.
40. Walk to camp 2, sleep there.
41. Rest in camp 2.
42. Walk to camp 3, sleep there.
43. Walk to camp 4, sleep there.
44. Attempt summit.
45. Attempt summit.
46. Return to camp 2, sleep there.
47. Return to basecamp.
48. Rest in basecamp.
49. Rest in basecamp.
50. Rest in basecamp.
51. Rest in basecamp.
52. Walk to camp 2, sleep there.
53. Walk to camp 3, sleep there.
54. Walk to camp 4, sleep there.
55. Attempt summit.
56. Attempt summit.
57. Return to camp 2.
58. Pack up camp 2.
59. Return to basecamp.
60. Pack up basecamp.
61. Pack up basecamp.
62. Trek down to Pheriche. Camp.
63. Trek down to Pangboche. Teahouse or camping.
64. Trek to Namche, Teahouse or camping.
65. Trek to Lukla. Teahouse or camping.
66. Flight to Kathmandu.  Hotel.
67. Extra day in Kathmandu, in case of delay, and for sightseeing, gift shopping.  Hotel.
68. Fly Home. Thanks for joining our expedition!

 

 

 

 

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