DABLAM IS NO LONGER SAFE! Global warming
is to not be taken lightly when playing in the mountains. Taking risks that we
feel we have little control over is not what Peak Freaks is about. We are
moving our Everest training climb to another Himalayan peak. For immediate
information on the move you can email us or check back here in the next few
days. We like the change, you will like it, our Sherpas and their families
like it and your family will too. As mountain safety professionals with a 100%
flawless safety record, we intend to keep it that way. Read Tim's full
25, 2007- In Kathmandu
suspected the team is ripping it up having a good time in Kathmandu. Our guide
in training, Paresh Shrestha has
just opened the first climbing gym in
Kathmandu so the team spent the their first day playing there. That evening they
went to Dendi Sherpa's new restaurant he just opened. Dendi is our climbing
sardar of several years and just recently married and has new baby of 6 months
old he wanted to show off to the team. The team is busy doing shopping and
trying to organize early flights out but most airlines are full so it is a
waiting game at this point.
of the members have headed down to the Chitwan Jungle to do an elephant safari
and if time permits they are talking about doing a rafting trip on the Trisuli
River which will be great fun. Many people come to Nepal to see and climb or hike
the mountains. But Nepal offers so much more that usually gets bypassed. As
for Tim, it is all work for a few days dealing with post expedition details.
have included a photo of four of the five that summited Island Peak and a photo
of the Ama Dablam team members at breakfast in BC. Thanks Nic for the shots!
is the one taking the picture of the Island Peak team. Remember, the honeymoon
couple? That's them!, Karena from Calgary to the right, then Sona Sherpa, Walter
Hopf from Edmonton and then Jangbu Sherpa. Good work team!
will have a final assessment of the climb available here upon his return from
Kathmandu. Until then, over and out. I won't be reporting anything more as the
team is making their way home
over the next few days.
for Peak Freak's we will keep on playing. Our next climbing expedition is to the
top of Kilimanjaro for New Years, Aconcagua in February and skiing and teaching
Avalanche Courses all of December and January and come March, it's back to
and Tashi Delek
22, 2007- In Namche Bazaar
team has left base camp and are now making their way back to Kathmandu. We will
cover a bit of the parties in progress ""when available" and if
suitable for the internet. :-) They were in Namche yesterday
having "too much fun" and will fly to Kathmandu on Oct. 24.
Photo taken last year-
Oct. 2006 just before the chunk fell off the Dablam landing on Camp III
killing 6 climbers. Photo of Tim fixing rope under the dablam to
help but it into perspective.
19, 2007 - 2130PDT
- Global warming and the mountains? Things are changing and changing
Michael, Grant and Akira have just woken up from their sleep at Camp II and are
heading down to ABC right now. They didn't get any rest at Camp III the night
before so have decided to rest at CII. There is no danger of ice fall or
avalanches between CII and base camp and CII is perfectly safe. There is nothing
above them where they are. Hugo booked it all the way to base camp and is joined
there with Tim, Steve and Hans. The sherpas are bringing the gear down and the
yak team has been ordered and flight arrangements are being made out of Lukla.
teams are packing up and heading out while some are still indecisive. There is
talk of a team with a couple of very strong climbers discussing the
possibilities of attempting to summit from Camp II eliminating a night at Camp
III all together.
effects of global warming in the world of mountaineering is changing fast.
Roads in mountainous regions around the world are being blocked from avalanches
and mudslides, The Swiss Alps' icy soil that glues its rock faces together is
thawing, causing instability and this is a concern for the future of Ama Dablam.
It is quite obvious that the hanging glacier "dablam" will be coming
down. But when? Already, Switzerland's Matterhorn had to be closed to some
climbing at times because of recent summer rockfall. The Eiger at 3,970 metres
above sea level is one of the most renowned mountains in Switzerland, with its
north face offering a major challenge to climbers. Just recently it lost a large
part of its feature when a huge rock fell off.
scheduled this year on Mount Cook were all cancelled to the top of New Zealand's
highest peak because global warming has made it too dangerous. The Linda
Glacier, the most popular route to the 3745 metre high summit, which would
normally be 10 metres thick, was now wafer-thin and climbers had to use a track
with ice cliffs prone to avalanches on either side. .
we are concerned about the future of Ama Dablam's popular route. What happens
when the ice is gone, the glue? Then there will likely be rock fall to deal with
ended his conversation with me this evening by saying his favourite line.
"Oh well, the mountain isn't going anywhere" then he stopped himself
and chuckled with the new realization saying- "BUT IT IS' , "IT IS
18, 2007- SLEEPLESS IN CAMP
is safe but.......
risk and decision making is why we believe we have a flawless safety
record. Last night could have changed things. But we do have
choices, educated choices, and after reading you will understand why the
expedition is officially called off.
III is very small with no place to go if things start coming down from above. As
it turns out, the first summit team had "zero" sleep last night.
Avalanche after avalanche of ice chunks pounding down too close for comfort and
no place to go. Hugo our most experienced climber of 20 years, a solo on Denali,
Cho Oyu and pneumonia on Everest and who just recently lost his climbing partner
on Kanchenjunga tells Tim over the radio "this could be it ". If
you recall we talked earlier about the bad vibes one of our Sherpa's mother had
because of the problem area on the mountain, the dablam, the chunk that
broke off last season landing on Camp III killing 6 climbers. This area is still
too unstable for comfort. We believe it has everything to do with global warming
causing the ice to release from the rock. We had hoped it had settled
since last year but apparently not. A Russian team went up yesterday and
on their way down discovered their rope had been ripped off by the movement.
They are the lucky ones! They got their summit and made it down safely.
are huge expeditions on Ama Dablam again this year. Some teams are 40+ members
and there are a lot of heads in hands this morning contemplating what to do. Tim
looks around as he is talking to me and says " there are several
climbers packing up and heading down right now and our team will be in that
number". It will be interesting to see what develops over the next
few days and we will be covering it for a while.
of our members have no hesitation in packing up and getting out of there. Then
there are some that ponder the what if, maybe I can? But the energy is not
favorable right now among the Sherpas or the experienced. After some time to
think everyone agreed to call it a climb. After all this is a training climb and
these climbers have just learned lesson #1- decision making. In our opinion- the
most valuable tool in mountain climbing.
hey! fun is what climbing is about and they certainly did have a lot of that. A
friend of mine had a good way of putting it "if it were all about
summiting the sport would been called mountain summiting and not mountain
now Dendi Sherpa, Jangbu Sherpa, Hugo, Grant, Michael, Akira and Rick have
packed up and are coming down from Camp III to spend the night at Camp II. Tim,
Paresh, Steve and Hans will vacate Camp II moving down to ABC to make
room, and together tomorrow they will all hike back to base camp.
chang party will be in order at Peak Freaks base camp tomorrow evening.
Chang- (sherpa rice wine), to me it is like sake and served warm too!
happy your guys are all safe, I certainly am.
18, 2007- GOING UP!
time for sitting around was the impression I got last night- (Tim's morning). It
was about 10:00am Nepal time when Tim called in. He didn't take the time to stop
and talk. Instead he walked the talk. He just kept on boot'in it up with the sat
phone in hand talking to me. Amazingly enough he didn't sound winded at all.
That is how proper acclimatization is suppose to work. I could hear the ground
beneath his feet. Hiking with him was Steve, Hans and Paresh (our Nepalese guide
in training). They were moving fast to ABC where they would then change
over into their climbing gear and then they would be heading straight to Camp I
for the night. Camp I at that time would be vacant now because Hugo, Grant,
Michael, Akira and Rick were on their way to Camp III. And early tomorrow
morning Nepal time they will be making their summit bid.
says the weather is amazing. Beautiful blue sky. He was giggling at how
lucky they have been with the weather. He said he could see Ang Pasang and Kami
Sherpa just above the rock on the face half way up the face punching in the
trail to summit as he was speaking to me. He couldn't see our first wave members
from where he was but he knows they were on their way up to Camp III at that
we are in the heat of climb I will be posting again this evening after I hear
from Tim and the team.
looks like the team may be in Kathmandu for Halloween so I wanted to share the
photo below with you. We introduced Halloween to Nepal for the first time back in 1998 after
the successful summit of all members on Ama Dablam. Try explaining what they
were doing to the locals. Fortunately the Nepalese people are very playful
and they joined in with our celebration and parade down the streets of Thamel.
Many asking "what are you doing"? When we tried to explain it, which
was difficult I must say, and we know we didn't succeed in that part, but
they decided to join in our fun anyway. Boys just wanna have fun and they
certainly earned it.
update! All Everest Base Camp trekkers have safely arrived back in
Kathmandu and were out for a night of local culture, dinner and dance last night
or should I say now?
- Namaste from Ama Dablam BC and Karena!
news today that first came via Jangbu Sherpa then an email from Karena who is
now in Namche Bazaar. There have been successful summits on Island
Peak! Walter, Karena and Nic have all summited and are now enjoying life
in Namche Bazaar, the rich air some treats from the bakery. I have included
Karena's email below.
just a quick note that Walter, Nic and I are back in Namche. We all made it
to the top of Island Peak. It has been a great trip and we are sorry that it is
almost over. Of course we'll be spoiled in future having the whole kitchen with
us at ABC Island Peak.. Karena
out to the team for their hard work and success. Karena and her new husband Nic
from Calgary are on their honeymoon. What a great way to celebrate by topping
out on Island Peak together. On our 1996 expedition "the first
Canadian expedition on Ama Dablam" Tim and Carrie Thurston from Nelson B.C.
married at Pangboche after the climb. Lama Geshi married them "sherpa
style" it was great fun. When Tim returned to Kathmandu last year he
was invited to a wedding of a Nepalese couple that were married on an elephant.
This is quite significant in Asia as the elephant symbolizes, wisdom, good luck
and strength. Hmmm, now here is a new concept for a Peak Freak adventure-
sorry, back to some very important news! SUMMIT PUSH IS ON ! ! !
Hugo, Michael, Rick, Akira and Grant are on the move. The team is
ahead of schedule. The five climbers left in the morning Nepal time
up to Camp I ( now sleeping), tomorrow Camp III and then a summit bid on Oct.
19. Tim, Steve and Hans will follow in the next day or two. I am not sure
what their schedule is yet but I will let everyone know when they leave and more
information on the progress of the others as I get word. So hold on,
exciting times ahead for everyone. Tim says the team is strong, high energy and
doing well with all aspects of the climb.
16, 2007- Namaste from Base Camp!
Tim reports in: Actually he
reported in yesterday too but all I got was “we are all fine, we are in base
camp and tomorrow we are resting at BC” then “ caaaaaaaaaaaaaaa”. Yip, we
were cut off, my fault, slit my wrists. I didn’t get the SMS card topped up
with time for the sat phone minutes. Sorry! :(
So, back to today’s report.
It is getting EXCITING !!! that was definitely Tim’s tone this morning-his
evening. They all came down yesterday to rest at BC. Meanwhile the high camp
organization is in the making. Dendi Sherpa and Gumbu Sherpa are up at Camp II
and pushing up to Camp III tomorrow with tents and equipment and our good
friends who we worked with in 1991 on Everest North, Ang Pasang Sherpa and Kami
Sherpa are working just below the dablam (hanging glacier) right now fixing the
route that leads to the summit. Once this is fixed it is up up and away.
Today the climbers enjoyed a
relaxed day at base camp playing bocce ball, reading books, updating their
diaries, doing laundry while snacking all day long to build up their energy for
the big day.
The summit push days are now
set for Oct. 20 and Oct. 21 and they all appear to be ready for it. The mountain
was described as being in excellent condition. Tim says there is hardly any snow
on the route until today that is. They had an entertaining storm with thunder
and lightening and the electrical output has obviously jazzed them so the first
wave is heading up tomorrow to prepare and be in position for the Oct. 20 summit
push. The storm put 4 inches of snow on the mountain followed by beautiful
sunshine which melted it all off later in the day.
don’t have the names of the first summit push team as it won’t be decided
till morning when everyone wakes up and has had the chance to do an assessment
on how well their rest went. I do now that Hugo Searle will be in that number.
Hugo is our most experienced participants this year. He has been climbing for 20
years. His high altitude experience includes Cho Oyu, a solo on Denali and an
attempt on Everest via the north ridge last year but was turned back due
to developing pneumonia. Tim tells me that all team members are inspired
his experience and stories.
That is it for now as I want to
get this report out to all of you who have probably been checking quite often in
the past 24 hours for some news. Enjoy! Becky
Team enjoying the view. Right: A photo from
our 98' expedition of Canadian climber Frank Lutick taking a breather who at the
age of 50 held the record for the oldest Canadian to summit Ama Dablam. On the
same expedition we also held the record for the youngest Canadian - Dan Rollert
19 years old from Quesnel B.C. and Bonnie Hooge from Prince George, B.C. was the
3rd Canadian woman to summit. The entire team 8 out of 8 summited. This year if
Hans Korn from the Kootenays summits there will be a new record to beat of 69.
14, 2007- Update from the trekkers!
healthy happy and lov'in it in Namche Bazaar, perhaps a little skinnier though!.
Altitude has a way at eating away at fat and this is one reason we suggest to
our altitude climbers to bulk up as much as they can a couple of weeks
before they arrive. Fat is fuel for staying warm..
again to Paul Pargeter for organizing the photo dispatch. The trek team was
successful in reaching Everest Base Camp on Oct. 11, they climbed Kala Pattar on
Oct. 12 and Oct. 13am where the photo is taken from they were just leaving
Dingboche to Namche Bazaar where the photo dispatch was sent from. . Paul
reports that the weather was great, great photos and everyone is healthy. It is
now our morning Oct. 14 and therefore the team should now be sound asleep
enjoying the rich air either in Pangboche or are still in Namche Bazaar. We had
built an extra day for inclement weather and/or acclimatization if needed but it
appears they didn't need it as they are ahead of schedule. Not sure who made it
how far. We provide options for trekkers to go their own pace. Should they
become tired or need more time to rest, they can. Everyone's goals are not the
same and we acknowledge that and keep our itineraries flexible for that reason.
Sounds like everyone is fine form though.
from the trek team at Dingboche was the Island Peak team who joined everyone up
to Everest Base Camp and Kala Pattar. They are now well acclimatized for their
ascent of Island Peak. There summit day is set for Oct. 15 and their
arrival back in Kathmandu will be Oct. 19. Well after their new friends have
already departed Kathmandu for home. The photo below was likely their parting
won't have a dispatch from Ama Dablam today. The climbers are hard at work on
the mountain and time of writing resting Camp 1 after working on Camp II today.
No news is good news! Other than I know they are very tired right now....
tuned and I hope you enjoy looking at these familiar faces...
Everest Base Camp Trek
Team and Island Peak climbers say goodbye at Dinboche.
13, 2007- Update from ABC
about Rick? I forgot to update Rick's location yesterday. He also went to ABC and
is doing very
well with all aspects of the climb. He had caught a bit of cold from his
international travels but the team pulled together at Namche Bazaar and helped
medicate him and made sure he had plenty of rest. By the time he got to base
camp he was is in primo condition and ready to climb.
team who was at ABC last night all went to CAMP I today and are currently
resting in ABC. Tomorrow they will climb up to CAMP II and then retreat to ABC
and then BC the next day for a much deserved rest. Hugo, Michael and Grant
having already been up to CAMP II will retreat to BC tomorrow. Everything is
moving along well this season. The weather has been cooperating so far. However, it will be only one of the determining factors of the teams
success, the other two being stamina and health.
progression will be for everyone to be acclimatized comfortably at CAMP II
which will take another rotation to base camp for a rest. Once CAMP III is in
place and everyone is acclimatized the summit bids will begin. CAMP III is yet
to be established.
are anticipating summit bids will take place sometime between Oct. 19 and Oct.
23. We have added extra days for inclement weather should things change giving everyone their best shot possible.
a great weekend! I will post some photos of the route up to Camp II tomorrow.
The fun part of the climb.
Tim performing a
demonstration on oxygen use
Advanced Base Camp
12, 2007 – No
news is good news!
Due to a lengthily power outage
here at home I was unable to receive a call from Tim yesterday. However we
connected last night and all is good. Life at base camp yesterday was restful
and educational with a second rotation of oxygen use demonstrations for our
aspiring Everest climbers and technical skill reviews.
There is much movement on the
mountain today. Camps are starting to be assembled at Camp II and sights are on
establishing Camp III in the next few days. Grant and Michael from Vancouver and
Hugo from the US moved up to ABC and spent the night.
Today (Nepal time) the trio went up to Camp I and returned to ABC.
They were later joined by: Steve from the US, Akira from Japan and Hans
from the Kootenays and eventually Tim joined the entire team after completing
chores at BC. This is their first on mountain acclimatization sleep.
The conditions on the mountain
look pretty good. The snow line is lower this season than it has been in the
past years but the higher you go the less snow there is. There has been snow at
BC and at ABC which is uncommon but it has melted now and there is no snow on
the route up to Camp II, which is odd but good.
Ama Dablam: What is in the
name: “Ama” means mother, grandmother or even world. “Dablam” means
charm box, and is a special pendant worn by elder Sherpa women that holds
precious items. The mountain has a hanging glacier that resembles a dablam and
the extending ridges are outstretched like a maternal embrace.”
Last year on November 13th
well after our expedition had departed a piece of the dablam known as serac in
western terms broke off and landed on Camp III killing six climbers. This
created a bad omen among the Sherpa people. So much so that a mother of our
youngest climbing Sherpa forbids him to climb this year, understandably so.
No one has been up since to assess the changes it has made to the route.
Tim had commented to me earlier that he feels the desired route should be safer
now that the serac fell off.
The on mountain conditions look
favorable so far. Tim reports more snow than normal at lower elevations but the
higher up there is less than normal. There was snow at ABC and BC off and on,
but it melted and no new snow higher up during these dumps. The route to Camp II
our climbing sherpas report no snow, this is good news! And higher up no new
snow reported recently either. The majority of the weather is still settled in
the lower elevations which is caused by the pulling out of the monsoon. The cold
winter air moving in from the Himalayas is pushing the heavy wet monsoon weather
down the valleys. They can see down the valley from ABC to Lukla and it has been
completely socked in for several days now. Climbing above the clouds! This is
when you know you are high.
Everything is moving along as
it should. Big hellos out to everyone at home from the climbers. They are
starting to miss all of you very much as life in this remote and hostile
environment does take its toll on them. We try to help making it feel not so
hostile and remote. We provide music at base camp, heat, led quiet lights,
solar patio lights outside around camp and then the service from our Sherpa
staff makes it all feel like a holiday and not all work. Your morning starts
with a quiet voice, half singing "Namaste" outside your tent as you
awake to a hot cup of tea being delivered to you. Not so bad!
I will be posting some photos
later this weekend and we should be getting a note delivered to BC shortly from
the trekkers and Island Peak soon from one of our Sherpas who is connecting with
them. Stay tuned!
Good night from everyone at ABC
and Paresh and Jim at BC.
10, 2007 Sleepy in base camp!
the team went up to advanced base camp at (5424m) and are now back at base camp
tired but all are doing well. Our sherpa staff carried on up to Camp I
(5975m) and established camp here today. Tomorrow they will carry some
rope up so we can start working on the route to Camp II (6326m). Camp II is
where the real climbing begins.
we have a rest day to allow time for everyone’s bodies adjust to the new
altitude they experienced today at ABC. For tomorrow we will do demonstrations
on the PAC- personal air chamber used mainly on Everest to stabilize a climber
should they encounter difficulties with acute mountain sickness. The treatment
for AMS is to descend but this is not always possible when mountain climbing and
especially at high altitude climb. The climber may be suffering from
fatigue, injured or inclement weather doesn’t allow for movement. The
altitude chamber has the ability to simulate a descent of up to 900m. Refer here
for information on the PAC or Gammow Bag. There will
be oxygen use demonstrations and more technical training over the course
of the day tomorrow.
night from everyone at BC!
Oct. 9, 2007- QUIET AT BASE CAMP!
checks in: Though large teams are pulling in each day Peak Freak’s base camp
is quiet today. Our Everest Base Camp trek team and the Island Peak have
departed to continue on up the trail to achieve their objectives.
I am told it was a sad parting as the group has become all good friends during
the past few days. Tonight the trek teams will sleep at Dugla 4995m after
taking in some
breathtaking views along the way of the North face of Ama Dablam and the Lhotse-Nuptse
ridge before making a sharp left turn on up the Khumbu Valley. They will cross
the drainage coming out of the Khumbu Glacier today before arriving at
Lhakpa’s house. Dugla is not a full time village. It has one house and is used
mainly for a rest stop for trekkers needing more time to acclimatize before
heading up to Lobuche. Most overnight in Dingboche, but because our teams spent
time at Ama Dablam base camp they have established enough altitude for
acclimatization and can push a little higher.
I used to
like the old house in Dugla. There were tiny little rooms with sod placed in the
little squares as the bedroom floor. The bed was a rock platform piled high with
Tibetan carpets. I found the sod floor to very cozy and warm and so were to the
carpets made from yak wool carried over the pass by the Tibetan nomads. Today it
has a wooden floor the rooms are much larger and beds are board with a thin
mattress. It is not nearly as warm but looks appealing for the western traveler.
We are not too practical are we? I
also remember the only water was unfiltered water that came from the river
rushing buy. This water came right out of the Khumbu icefall and was filled with
crunchy silt bits. The drinking water was boiled here but you had to allow
enough time for the debris to settle. I remember one time almost breaking my
teeth on a potato that had harbored a chunk of the glacier inside it through the
cooking process. Ouch… And not to forget the outhouse toilet, it was the best!
It was constructed with stone and had a wooden door but no roof. It was a great
idea for odor control and the view was pretty darn good too.
Ama Dablam BC: Hugo returns from his trip up to ABC in fine form. The Everest
Training camp was underway today performing skill reviews and learning some new
ones. Our sherpas and some team
members under the guidance of Timalaya (new nickname for Tim) will head out
tomorrow morning to ABC and the sherpas will head up to start establishing Camp
1. There are no fixed ropes in place or camps above Camp 1 at the time of this
night to everyone back home!
THE OLD KOOT from the KOOTS....
Meet Hanspeter Korn a lifetime Kootenay resident and adventure extraordinaire.
Hans lists of adventures are long. Hans is the elder of this seasons Ama
Dablam climbing team at the age of 69. Some say it is ithe water (could
be?), but we believe it is the healthy lifestyle we are fortunate to
enjoy here in the Kootenays. A couple years ago we attracted another
Koot from the Koot's Norman Thyer who successfully climbed Island Peak at
the age of 73. Then there is my friend Maxine Werner, what is it now
Max, 65? I know your are reading this, busted!
Maxine has traveled solo around the Himalayas and is now planning
something outrageous in Ladakh. She is going to look for Cynthia Hunt,
another Kootenay resident doing amazing things in remote areas of the
Himalayas. You must check out the DVD "Magic
Mountain" if you get a chance, a Pat Morrow production (Pat also
a Kootenay resident). The film won the Best Canadian Mountain Film and
the Peoples Choice award at the Banff Mountain Film Fest. If
Maxine survives the winter in Ladakh she has hinted that she may end
up meeting Tim and the team on Everest by spring. Good luck out to
Hans. Pull up your socks you young 'ins on the team.
There are other old farts
this year too! Check them out here
Oct 8, 2007- HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all of our
Canadian families at home!
Everyone woke up feeling terrific. They marveled
at their restful sleep in the tents and headaches were now behind them for the
time being. A very healthy bunch this season. Some of the trekkers walked
up to ABC to get a different perspective of the Himalayas and the disappearing
Khumbu valley now far behind them. Training sessions took place at BC for the
Island Peak climbers and the packing of mountain food duties were performed
throughout the day.
Today was the big base camp Puja
where Lama Da came and performed the ritual of blessing the climbers and
their climbing equipment. Lama Da builds a little temple of sort made out of
Tsampa (roasted barely flour) and tea. This is a staple for the Tibetan and
Sherpa people. They mix the Tsampa with tea in a bowl. Make a ball and it is
then ready to eat. Portable food. They also feed it to the yak's where there is
no food available. But today Lama Da makes a temple of it and decorates it with
food from the expedition supplies. Smarties are a favorite for decorating. Then
the juniper is lit and the chanting begins. The climbing equipment is all piled
in a heap as the smoke swirls around everyone and the climbing equipment to
bless everything and everyone for a safe expedition. It is quite the
spiritual sensation created by the smoke and you can't help but get into it.
Everyone reflects on the environment around them, the mountains, the climb, the
folks back home and more importantly themselves. Mystical moments!
This evening Ang Karsung prepared Thanksgiving
dinner. They had roasted chicken brought up from down the valley, potatoes, rice
with veggies and sushi. Yep... sushi... it is one of our Peak Freak favorites,
followed by Papaya for dessert. At the time of Tim's call everyone was in their
tents hunkered down for the night.
Tomorrow the climbers and sherpa training
sessions will begin except for experienced high altitude climber Hugo Searle who
recently lost his climbing partner on Kachenjunga will be heading up to ABC
tomorrow to touch the sky.
Good night, over and out from Ama Dablam
Tim and team
Oct 7, 2007- We have arrived at base camp!
After a our spiritual lifting
Puja ceremony this morning with Lama Geshi every one has arrived at base camp!
Reunited with the Everest Base Camp team and the Island Peak team. All climbers
and trekkers are excited about their new digs. There was much laughter coming
from the base camp tent this evening and some darn good food was being served by
our master chef, Ang Karsung Sherpa. Everyone
seems to be doing fine so far with the altitude. However, changes in one’s
body are usually not noticeable till night when you are trying to get some
of adjusting include a headache that can be relieved by sleeping with your head
elevated and insomnia for others. One of the odd reactions at altitude is a
symptom called Cheyene Stokes. This can be quite alarming to your tent mate. As
you relax and begin to drop off into a state of sleep, the lack of oxygen your
body is receiving sends a signal to your brain to gasp for more air. This can
keep the climber awake and sleepless which in time can wear one down. Or, some
sleep through it fine but scare the heck out of their tent mate. For a moment it
sounds as though your partner has quit breathing altogether and then suddenly he
or she will gasp for air. Either way if these effects take place and in
particular if you are sharing a tent, someone is going to get very tired. In
time, as your body starts to adjust these symptoms will go away.
this evening there will likely be some headaches and sleepy climbers come
morning. Some will feel no effects at all, the lucky ones. There is no
particular physical make up of one’s body that would indicate who will have
difficulties and who won’t. It has everything to do with your hemoglobin, the
changes that take place in the climber’s blood and how they are able to adjust
to it. For more reading on AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness)
have quite the roster of staff who all play an important role in our success.
The staff in Kathmandu managing every logistical detail coordinating arrivals of
members, meeting them and getting them and their gear to the hotel and back and
forth and months of emails and paperwork to make sure everything runs smoothly
with the Nepalese ministry of tourism and more. To the yak herders and porters
who transport our base camp equipment, climbing equipment and our participants
personal gear. Base camp crew, cooks and helpers. Runners who go down the valley
to freshen up our veggie and egg supply. Then there is all the behind the scene
people, our mandatory Liaison officer who makes sure everyone is legal with
permits etc. And of course the ones who are most note able, the climbing
sherpas. Here is our roster for
Sardar- Ang Nima Sherpa
Sardar- Dendi Sherpa
Camp manager and cook- Ang Karsung
Camp assistant cook- Desh Kumar
Camp helper- Lhakpa Gelgan
- Ngima Sherpa
- Jangbu Sherpa
- Gumbu Sherpa
- Paresh Shrestha- in training.
- Sona Sherpa
yak herder- Num Phutti Sherpa
there are a dozen porters and yak herders whose names I have not been provided
who all contribute to the expedition along with all the teahouse owners and
helpers. Our ratio of staff and participants as you can see is significant. We
at Peak Freaks believe in giving back to this wonderful country we play in by
employing as many helpers as we possibly can fit into the budget while keeping
our prices affordable. For us, it is all about doing what we love and being with
the wonderful people of the Himalayas.
camp is stacking up with expedition arrivals from around the world today. A
massive climbers village is developing fast over the next few days. Expedition
leaders are teaming together to discuss fixing of the route and sharing rope and
climbing Sherpas to get the job done.
weather is still doing its normal sunny morning and cloudy afternoon pattern and
should settle out in the next week. During this time Tim’s climbing clinic
will be underway for both our Sherpas and our climbers to insure everyone is
climbing in sync. For more information on the clinics and techniques you can
refer here: Mountain Skills Training.
will drop you some photos tomorrow.
(Nepalese greeting. Meaning: I greet the spirit within you). The Tibetan version
is Tashi Delek. Now that the teams are above the Solu Khumbu, they will be
meeting locals on the trail with a "Tashi Delek" a gentle nod and
Everest Base Camp team and Island Peak have arrived in Tengboche, the bridge
crossing was pretty straight forward as it has been temporarily repaired. We are
looking forward to our chant with the monks early tomorrow at the monastery
before reuniting with the climbing team at base camp. Everyone is doing really
well. – Ang Nima Sherpa
Tim calls in from
Pangboche: "Nima Dorjee and Lhakpani pass on a warm Namaste to all our
climbers who stayed with them last year. We are now reduced to just the Ama
Dablam climbers this evening but will meet up again with the EBC and IP trekkers
tomorrow at base camp after our Puja with Lama
Geshi. Our base camp was set-up today by our team of sherpas and the weather
appears to be getting better each day.
Talk about meeting up with
old friends in the mountains. Tonight I sat and sipped on a glass of chang (rice
saki) sherpa style, with Simon Yates. Simon and I have
rendezvoused in the Khumbu and Kathmandu on various occasions". Who is
Yates was immortalized in the film and book 'Touching the Void', the now
legendary story of Joe Simpson, a mountain climber who shattered his leg on the
descent of one of the world's toughest peaks. Alone with Joe as they struggled
to defeat the impossible and make their way down this man ultimately had to make
a decision few of us could imagine-cutting his climbing partner Joe loose from
the rope and leaving him for dead. As fate had it that choice ended up saving
both men's lives and fuelled an incredible story of survival. Joe managed to
climb out of the crevasse arriving nearby calling out just moments before Simon
and the others pulled out of base camp. This is one of the best mountaineering
films we have seen. It is real! There
is no Hollywood in this story. The book is absolutely a must read!
Team above Namche Bazaar
you Paul for the resend of the photo. Check out the grins at 3900m.
2008 at 2000hrs:
Earlier this evening Paul went down to the Internet café in Namche to do the
resend. He ran into someone that pulled out a business card and wrote a note on
the back and asked that it be passed on to Tim. When Paul returned, he passed it on as
instructed. To Tim’s surprise it was from Peter Habeler. Who is Peter Habeler
some of our readers might ask?
one time partner, Reinhold Messner, used to say of Peter Habeler: -"He's
like a sky rocket, really impressive once the fuse is lit!".
Born in the Austrian Tyrol in 1942, he took up climbing at the age of six, and
the time he was 21 had become a certified mountain guide and skiing instructor.
In the mid-1960s, Habeler began a climbing partnership with Reinhold Messner.
The two gained their first high altitude experience in 1969 with an ascent of
the east face of Yerupaja, and first ascent on Yerupaja Chico in South America.
In 1974 they climbed the Eiger north face in what was then a record time of ten
hours. In 1975 their Hidden Peak climb turned the tide of high altitude
climbing. The lightweight "fair means" ascent became the stylistic
ideal. The first oxygenless ascent of Everest in 1978 was the last climb of
met Peter on Ama Dablam in 1996, while climbing on the first ever Canadian Mt.
Ama Dablam expedition. Tim had also met Reinhold Messener in the early 90’s to
get some insight on the effects of an oxygenless ascent on Everest he was
preparing for in 1994.
the spring of 2000, Peter returned to Mount Everest a second time, where he and
Tim met again, Peter never made it to the summit due to fluid in his lungs and
Tim had also turned back due to the freezing up of video equipment he was
carrying for a client and unfavorable weather.
has climbed five 8,000 meter mountains: Mount Everest, Hidden Peak, Cho Oyo,
Kanchenjunga and Nanga Parbat.
Today he runs his own alpine and ski school in Mayrhofen, Zillertal, Austria,
founded already in 1973.
Himalayas is truly a place of great reunions. Tim says today over the sat phone,
“meeting up with old friends in the mountains is much more than half the fun
of coming here time after time”.
Oct 5, 2007- Hello Khumbu
Tim reports in 0800PST. The group
is all settled in at Tsedam Sherpa's house in Namche after a glorious day in
Sherpa land. ( Many of our climbing sherpas live in Kunde and Khumjung).
Kunde -3859m Khunjung- 3908m. This altitude gain today will assist
everyone in their acclimatization for tomorrow to Tengboche at 3900m where the
trekkers will sleep. The cilmbers will carry on to the village of Pangboche also
at 3908m. The trekkers will visit the monastery there and chant with the monks
in the early morning hours while the climbers will visit Lama Geshi's house in
Pangboche for their private puja blessing.
Today we visited Ang Nima's home. (Peak Freak's
Trekking Sardar. Ang Nima has been with us since 1991 where we climbed together
on Everest's north side in Tibet). The group was all in fine form hiking up the
300m hillside to his home which looks directly out to the magnificent view of
Mt. Ama Dablam boldly in front of us. To the left you can see Lhotse, Everest
and Nuptse. After lunch with Ang Nima and his family we visited the Sir Edmund
Hillary School, The Everest Bakery for a cup of tea and a donut before
descending down the Namche for our last night out on the village. A little pee
pool, some tunes and beverages are in order.
We would like to introduce Dr. Kambi Sherpa. Kami
walked 6 hours a day back and forth to go the Sir Edmont Hillary school in
Khumjung. Sir Edmund Hillary built the Kunde Hospital in 1965-66 with the
assistance of the Lion's Club of Auckland, New Zealand, and Sir Edmund's friends
who were working in Nepal as part of the Himalayan Trest. The New Zealand
Government contributed financially to this project and up until just a few years
ago it was manned by volunteer doctors from Canada and New Zealand who each did
2 year stints here. Now Dr. Kami Temba Sherpa born in 1959, the youngest son
with three older sisters. Kami's father died before he was born. His high
grades drew recognition from his teachers, and he was awarded a Himalayan Trust
Scholarship to complete high school in Salleri, in the Solu Valley. (Solu
being below Lukla), (Khumbu being above Lukla).
He returned to his village of Thami and worked as
a teacher and part-time health worker. Kami took a job at the Kunde Hospital and
worked there for the next 19 years taking on added responsibilities and
expanding his medical administrative roles. The volunteer doctors at Kunde
Hospital taught him a great deal over the years, but he knew he could never
learn it all on the job.
In 1997 he was admitted to the Fiji School of
Medicine where he did a year of general study before beginning his medical
degree which he completed in 2000, graduating with an MB BS.
Aid Projects Link - Thanks to Shanna Baker and Kris Rice
from the Everest Base Camp team this season for carrying clothes to Nepal for
the Hopeful Home project. Read how a box of tooth brushes and paste made
such a difference.
Paul Parageter kindly sent a couple of
photos of the group trekking today but unfortunately it was condensed too much
to really make anyone out, but you can try! Good luck on that one...
Good night to all
4, 2007- Anyone know these
NAMASTE FROM NAMCHE BAZAAR!- Great day
today, everyone did really well making it up to Namche Bazaar at 3440 metres..
Happy team at our
colorful Namche Bazaar home!
A surprise arrival of Karena Theime and Nic
Ranicar that were behind due to international flight interruptions. They decided
to take a chance and go all the way to Namche in one day. Whew.. They are under
close observation by Tim and instructed to lay low making sure they adjust to
the altitude before going any higher. Everyone is feeling great. Today
they caught their first glimpse of Everest from a little spot through the trees
on the way up Namche hill. At the time of Tim's call, the skies have closed
again and it was raining. This is normal post-monsoon conditions. Clear skies in
the morning and raining in the afternoon. In the days to come the rain should
stop all together. Should that is!
Namche Bazaar if about 9km and 6 hours of
trekking from Monjo. Namche is the administrative center of the Khumbu region.
We buy all our fresh fruit, meats and vegetables from here. This is the last
chance for a hot shower before base camp. Tonight they will take in a game of
Tim's infamous pee pool game at the local hall and mingle with with our Sherpa
friends from the village. Tomorrow is acclimatization day with a visit to the
sister villages of Kunde and Khumjung, home to many of our climbing sherpas.
CLOCK WORK- Our office in Kathmandu
reported that all teams made it out of Kathmandu on schedule and our Lukla staff
has reported they were all packed up and headed up the trail early yesterday
morning Nepal time.
Tim calls in this morning (PST) to say the
weather was very good allowing some excellent views of the Himalayas enroute to
Lukla. Our good friend Nim Phutti was faithfully waiting with her team of Zomo's
to load the gear on them. Zomo's are a crossbreed between a cow and a yak. They
are specialized in the Khumbu by the Sherpa villagers living at altitudes
between 7,000-11,000ft. The males are born sterile and the females are very
fertile. They produce large quantities of rich milk for butter production. The
Zomo's do better at lower elevations than the Yak who is accustomed to
elevations above 11,000ft. The Zomo's are also preferred over the Yak's for
carrying loads between Lukla and Namche due to the tight busy trail. This
section of the trail is steep up to Namche with many porters carrying trekker
bags this time of year and food stores for the teahouses. Passing a yak
team on this section would be very hazardous as they are an extremely large
animal and with duffel bags or expedition barrels strapped on them, a traffic
jam is inevitable. Once they reach Namche Bazaar at 11,000ft they will be met by
Ang Nima and his Yak's to carry the expedition up to Ama Dablam base camp.
Ray Bachman on the Ama Dablam team- Everest
climber in training and retired commercial airline pilot was amazed at the
flight operation in this mountainous region. The airstrip was built in the
1960's under instructions of Sir Edmund Hillary. Landing here there is no room
for error. It is 1150ft long and rises over 100ft from the bottom to the top.
Yes that is quite the angle Ray would say.
The airstrip was built by hand by several hundred
Sherpas and was a dirt airstrip up until just a couple years ago when
asphalt replaced the dirt. The sudden stop "reverse thrust" is very
necessary; there is a sheer rock face reaching several hundred metres upwards at
the end! The taking off is just as hazardous; it is then a downhill slope. The
planes become airborne only metres from the end, with a 600 metre drop to the
valley below. Exhilarating stuff!
Crossing over several suspensions bridges they
have arrived at Chombi Sherpa's home in Monjo. The air is rich here and the
sound of the Dudh Kosi river that they will sleep beside tonight, is just
the ticket to get everyone adjusted to the time changes, and feeling terrific
for the days that lie ahead. Tim say's it is so nice to be out of Kathmandu.
From recycled international flight air to barking dogs, honking horns, pollution
and the heat it all has taken its toll on the now weary team. Very hot this year
in Kathmandu, 30C, whew!. At the time of Tim's call everyone was in bed,
sleeping hard with the sound of the river rushing by their windows oxygenating
them with wonderful clean mountain air. Zzzzzz...
They have no idea what they will wake up to
tomorrow morning. The magnificent Thamserku of 6623m (21,729) will be boldly
standing before them at sunrise.
truck, locked and loaded, hmm?
over the Dudh Kosi to Monjo
Welcome to Chombi's house
ALL TUCKED IN- Tim reports from the
rooftop of the hotel while looking on at a star lit sky. He reports that everyone is in
their rooms rustling around organizing last minute packing detail for the 0500
airport pick-up time. They were happy to hear twin otters coming and going
overhead today from various Himalayan mountain airports. Tim doesn't anticipate
any weather related delays tomorrow. Everything looks good! Over and out,
but not before passing on a message from Paul and Walter, Island Peak climbing
members from Edmonton, Alberta.
Paul Neyka: Today I toured the city of
Kathmandu, bought lots of gifts from street vendors. Don't know how I'm getting
it all home. It's very hot.....30C. We want to get on the trail. So far so good.
hi everyone back home!
Walter Hopf: 29 hours in the air. It's
been a very enlightening experience. Have all our gear ready to go. Flying out
to Lukla to start our climb in the morning. Hi to all my family and
friends and grade 3 class in Salt Lake City.
|Team Hotel in
||Tim and Liz
Hawley out on a date
OCT 1, 2007
Let the adventure begin!
FULL HOUSE IN KATHMANDU-
The weather has been unstable in Kathmandu these past few weeks. Fortunately we
had a premonition about this and moved our expedition back by one week for this
season. Thankfully, because every bed in Kathmandu is now full with climbers and
trekkers waiting to get out to the mountains. Clear visibility is mandatory
before landing or even considering dispatching aircrafts to Lukla.
Tim reports in from our
Kathmandu base camp this morning! When Tim arrived a few days ago, the
skies were not looking so good but he is happy to report that the lingering
monsoon rains are now pulling back and all looks like a go for Oct. 3, the
scheduled date for our chartered aircrafts to head out to Lukla. Our teams will
all travel together. Not so fortunate for the independent trekkers that will have to
wait their turn for seats to clear because of the back log.
One of Tim's sherpa buddies just
came down from the Khumbu and reports there is a pretty good accumulation of
snow on the Himalayas this year but it seems it to be settling pretty
We have two Island Peak climbers Karena and Nic
who are delayed to a aircraft mechanical out of Canada. They have managed to
find some seats but the pickings were slim so they will be catching up to
their team in Namche Bazaar in a couple of days. Thankfully only two miss
adventures. Could have been worse with reports of bad weather all over the planet right
Everyone else is experiencing sensory overload
from the sights, smells and sounds of Kathmandu and bonding really well. Tim is
excited about the make up of the teams this year. He says they are all already
having "way" too much fun and hitting it off really well. Who said
climbing mountains was hard work anyway?
Michael Albert writes: I love Kathmandu,
this place is amazing!
Shanna Baker writes: We just finished
dinner at the Third Eye (popular Tandoori restaurant) Kris are
looking forward to some sleep.
So on that note, rest assured everyone else has
arrived safely and enjoying life in Kathmandu.
Oh ya... the temporary bridge is now completed.
Sorry, no side trips this year.
Blow Out on the Everest trail-
News from our Sherpas today that the bridge crossing the Dudh Kosi
River at Phugitenga (between Kyangjuma and Tengboche) was swept away
today. The National Park authorities are trying to build a temporary
bridge ASAP but it may take some time. In the meantime our teams will take
an alternative route via Phortse.
is not the first time for Peak Freaks. During our 17 years of trekking and
climbing in the Everest region it can be a common occurrence during
the monsoon. We have even re-built our own from time to time. Just another
part of the adventure in this remote environment that we all come to
experience. Peak Freak's three teams arrive Oct. 1 in Kathmandu and begin
trekking in the valley on Oct. 3. Let the adventure begin