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October 4, 2012'   now booking for - October 11, 2013'

 

Lobuche EastWelcome to our "Triple Crown" and other Himalayan adventures blog page commencing October 4, 2012.  This is an inaugural expedition offering something unique geared for the beginner, intermediate and aspiring Everest climbers. We'll be doing things a bit different to work around the somewhat busy trail of the Khumbu Valley this autumn.  To learn more about what we are up to and adapt to the changes we are faced with with regards to crowds and global warming, you can follow along and get a feel for what's going on over here.

We are running three different groups who will in the beginning join together with Tim and his Sherpa team to get acquainted with the Khumbu Valley, the Sherpa people, their villages and learn about life on a major Himalayan mountaineering expedition. They will spend the first few days together as one group then split on Day 5 or 6 into three different teams.  We've always been paying careful attention avoiding crowds, keeping our teams small and turning our sights away from peaks that are no longer considered safe.  Our 6000m triple peak offer is something that will get aspiring climbers out in the Himalayas, off the beaten track, and on the move at altitude while testing themselves and learning skills to stay safe in the mountains. This expedition is also used for Everest climbers to come and learn about Peak Freaks and give our operation a test drive before making the big investment in time and money and become - experience wise!

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 29, 2012:  BOOT CAMP SUCCESS!

We are proud to say that the 2012' Triple Crown expedition was a great success! Upon completion we take with three successful Everest participants for Everest 2013' that are strong, competent and experience wise and other participants who don't have their sights on Everest have tools, experiences and new friends to take their climbing ambitions further. Congratulations to everyone on the teams, it was a blast!   Over and out..... Tim    .... see you on Everest!

There are some photos uploaded to face book... enjoy!

 

October 23, 2012  21:30NPT    - Lobuche East- here we come!

Ah... it's so nice and warm and quiet here at Pokalde Camp. The Triple Crown members are back after their successful climb to the top of Kala Pattar. The teams is so happy to be back in the comforts of camp and away from the chaos of lodge dwellers in Gorak Shep. 

Tomorrow we rest till mid afternoon then we'll push up to the high camp on Lobuche East, make a camp there and then do an early morning push to the summit and retreat back to base camp. I'm not taking my satellite phone with me this go so there won't be a post to the blog but we do have radios in the event of an emergency. So wish us luck and we'll report back here day after tomorrow.  In the meantime know that we are having a ton of fun out here on the edges of the busy trail.

What's next? Some more playing around the hills and then gun boot it down to Lukla to catch our scheduled flight out to Lukla at the end of the month..  

October 22, 2012' 21:30 NPT - a little extra!

Kiran confirms that the IP group is now in Kathmandu, they made it out a day early and we expect they are enjoying hot showers and a night out on the town to it's fullest and checking in with loved ones at home.

The remaining Triple Crown team has added a little extra to the itinerary. We summited Pokalde  (5806m) today and afterwards the team continued on over to Gorak Shep. Tomorrow they will take a trip up to Everest Base Camp and climb Kala Pattar for those ultimate photos while I stay here at base camp getting things organized for Lobuche East, our final summit of three.  

Over and out .. Tim

A little trip down memory lane:  I came across our photos from the 1st. Canadian Ama Dablam Expedition in 1996. I forgot what it used to be like, we were the only ones in the valley and on the mountain. So grateful we had that time, it's all so much different now, thought I'd share during this cyber down- time in the Khumbu. 

First Canadian Ama Dablam Expedition 1996 - Tim Rippel photos

Ama Dablam Base Camp- only ones here and at a time when it used to snow heavily.

Tim brewing up on Ama. A time when climbers themselves did all the rope fixing, anchors, carrying loads and building camps instead of Sherpas.

A time when the only way climbers went in to the Khumbu to climb was by Russian cargo helicopter, climbers got in and we piled our gear on top of us. A time when turbulence was not a good thing. 

 

October 20, 2012' 21:30 NPT -  Pinch me !

Tim checks in from Pokalde base camp. He tells me that he is so blown away by the view here and that it's hard to focus on climbing and he needs to pinch himself from time to time to make sure it's not all one big beautiful dream. He can see both the Khumbu Valley and Makalu valley, he can see Makalu,  Ama Dablam, and the entire Himalayan kingdom it seems like from here. They're surrounded by beautiful lakes and their camp location is comfortable, flat and meadow like. He's very pleased with what they've found for climbing here. Great ice, the glacier, a big vertical rock wall and the route to the summit of Pokalde is all a rock this time of year. 

The team is now down to just "Triple Crown" climbers, trekkers are now in Kathmandu and Island Peak climbers are making their way to Lukla for a flight on Tuesday or maybe even Monday to Kathmandu. 

Today the TC climbers climbed ice, did glacier rope rescue work and got out on the rock. The team is small now so Tim got all our staff including kitchen and porters out on the rope doing some climbing.  The camp crew never get to do this so it was a very rewarding day for all, they had a blast! 

Tomorrow morning they will climb to the summit of Pokalde (5806m), the last 50m or so they will be fixing the route with rope,  it's four hours up and four down. The next day the team will push on to Lobuche East base camp for the third objective of this expedition. 

Tim is giddy, he's loving this - no one except for them here, breathtaking views and a great climbing mix. We are happy that this inaugural expedition is working out so well managing to side step the crowded trails and routes and exploring new playgrounds.

Can't wait for those photos to share!!!!   You can see on SPOT where they are and how they got there...      Becky 

Photo: View from Island Peter Noble (Peak Freaks Island Peak) 2011'

 

October 18, 2012' - 21:30 NPT - High Altitude Rescue 101  

We finally have a summit list, lots going during the summit push, so much so that I needed to get the details clear before posting. That just happened so I will share.

At 06:30hrs at about 5900m Island Peak climber Deborah Ariss from Canmore, Alberta caught her crampon in a way that caused her to twist her ankle to the point of breaking it and a rescue was needed. Tim organized a rope rescue. Helping him on the ropes was Sean Kirkwood from Australia, Dr. Murad Lala from India and Jack Rubens from the US who assisted in lowering her to a platform area where a helicopter could pick her up.  

The winds were not working in their favor, hitting around 20km at 6000m causing the helicopter to be kicked around in the wind for too long resulting in a low fuel gage warning. Finally the pilot was forced to sit it down at Island Peak base camp for about 4 hours waiting to see if the winds would die down and call for more fuel to be flown up.  During that time the helicopter encountered a battery charge issue. While waiting for all this to take place Tim had given his down jacket to Deborah and was starting to get hypothermic, fortunately he had oxygen to give her at which most don't take here and was able to keep her stable and circulation going to keep her warm. Jack Rubens, Paul Pargeter and Rob Morill assisted Tim with Deborah after their summit and the others descended after offering up more clothing to Tim and Deborah. The Sherpas jumped in to hug and slap Tim around to warm him up and he says that worked out, he was able to warm up again. Around 11:30NPT Fish Tail Air helicopter got it's fuel and charge sorted out and Deborah was successfully air lifted to Kathmandu. 

When training on this training climb we prefer climbers sit around at night in the comforts of their chairs by the heater in the tent and talk about things that go wrong and how to deal with it and save lives and setup scenarios to teach rope rescue, but nothing really compares to learning from the real deal. I think these guys got their monies worth on that part of the program at the unfortunate expense of Deborah's painful situation.  

Summit List:  Dean Somes (USA), Michael Boni (Vancouver,BC) Michael Pinheiro (Minaka, Ontario), Paul Pargeter (USA), Scott Driscoll (USA), Rob Morill (USA), Brian Corbet (Kelowna BC), Ngima Sherpa and Sonam Sherpa and a few more.. Tim was pretty tired and not too coherent when we spoke plus the added interference of the Chinese satellite cutting conversations as it passed over the area.

What's next?  IP members heading out tomorrow and the "Triple Crown" team will be heading over to their next objective -  Pokhalde - a 5806m mainly rock climb and then a summit bid on Lobuche East  (6119m).

3G and Internet seem to be bugged (or busted) this year up in the Khumbu so we don't know when we'll see photos, hopefully things are still working well down at Namche Bazaar when the IP team heads through there and they can dispatch some out for us.

Over and out...   Becky

 

October 18, 2012: - 09:30 NPT 

Tim calls in.  Team has summited and are returning to base camp. His call was very brief due to interference. Summit list will be posted in our next update...    Becky

 

October 17, 2012' - (21:30 NPT ) (08:45 PST ) "STOMP TO THE TOP" - Summit push is on!

Tim checks in: 100% participation from both teams, everyone is on the move. This is fantastic! All members from both teamsIsland Peak are in the groove for a summit push right this moment. Tim just called in as they were all pulling out of base camp. His next call will be from the summit at 6119m. Everyone is strong and feeling energized and stoked to be on the move towards the sky.

 

You can follow on SPOT tracker to the summit.... go team go!     Becky

Photo: Island Peak summit ridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 16, 2012'  Everyone is back! 

All climbers are back at base camp and the trekkers are now on their way down the valley and will hopefully get some photos out soon. There'sKala Pattar view of Everest been a glitch up past Namche Bazaar for Internet services this year. We are on the move this expedition, not stationary like we are on Everest so we opted to keep to the tech toys to a minimum and rely on the local services but that didn't work out so well and we are in a location where the 3G signal can not be reached. After Island Peak we will be passing through the 3G zone and hopefully we'll be able to get something out. 

The Island Peak team arrived back at camp yesterday after a successful summit climb to the top of Kala Pattar (5545m). Today we all had a good rest around camp telling stories and discussing tomorrows push up to high camp. We've carried the ropes up and equipment so we're ready to stage ourselves for the first of three summits this expedition will be undertaking starting tomorrow.  

Stay tuned...  over and out... Tim

File photo: View from Kala Pattar of Everest and the Khumbu Glacier.

 

October 14, 2012' - Island Peak glacier skills day... good fun... everyone worked hard...

Yes we are tired tonight, dinner and a good nights sleep is in order. Our Island Peak team should be back at base camp tomorrow. We look forward to catching up on their news and enjoy a day of rest together and do some more work here on the routes then set out for our high camp on the 17th then our joint "Stomp to the Top" on the early morning of the 18th. 

The weather has been holding nicely but the autumn chill is definitely setting in. Sure is nice having the heater to huddle around in the evenings. 

Our evenings are spent playing cards and review of skills sessions and having long talks about Everest, the lure and what it's all about up there, what to expect and how to prepare oneself for success and survival on a major high altitude expedition. 

We eat good up here, Ang Karsung is keeping the calories coming and lots of hot drinks and some fresh baking on those comfort food days. We have the same setup as what we use on Everest minus some of the solar equipment for electronics as we are a mobile expedition this time around climbing three different peaks. Rather than hanging at one base and slogging up and down the same route, we are instead making the most of a Himalayan experience getting around and seeing and climbing multiple peaks. 

I heard from Becky that there is a CBC special tonight in Canada called March to the Top- A Proper Send Off expedition for Canadian war vets that will also be climbing Island Peak, we look forward to bumping into these folks.  If anyone gets a chance to watch it it will have some good coverage hopefully of our playground here in the Khumbu Valley. 

Well that's it for tonight.... over and out... Tim

 

 

October 13, 2012' Island Peak Base Camp- Training Camp today

After breakfast we said good-bye to the Everest Base Camp team who will make their way to Lobuche, they'll be tucked in behind the Island Peak team who will be spending the night at Gorak Shep tonight. Tomorrow morning the Island Peak team will make a summit bid on Kala Pattar and retreat back around the valley to Dingboche where we will once again get radio contact. We are in two different valley's right now so it's a dark zone for communications tonight. 

Puja.... we had Puja today, Jangbu Sherpa and Ang Nima Sherpa preformed the ritual for us and did a really good job. Both have a great deal of experience on this in their villages, I was impressed! 

Tomorrow morning the trek team will move up to make a summit push on Kala Pattar which puts them in a position to take those world class photos of Everest and the Khumbu ice-fall. The next day they will push up to Everest Base Camp and tag the ice-fall, snap that photo and then begin their retreat back down the valley over the next few days. 

The Triple Crown team had a great day today going through mountain skills reviews including anchor building, belaying, rappelling and other skills. Tomorrow we'll get into some crevasse rescue and other rope work on a route here I'm looking at. Soon the Island Peak team will be back and we'll form two teams and climb Island Peak together. Everyone is looking forward to a rendezvous back at base camp in a day or two.

It's pretty chilly at night -10c so I won't linger long on communications, I will now stick my head back in my sleeping bag for some zzzzz's. Everyone is doing well... over and out.. Tim

Photo: Spot Track - IP base camp

October 12, 2012' Island Peak Base Camp-  4900m

The Everest Training team and Everest Base Camp group have all arrived safe and sound at our Island Peak base camp. It's chilly up here so the stove was much appreciated to huddle around this evening. Tomorrow we will have a puja blessing, then I'll be picking up some garbage that hasn't been monitored here by the parks people that funds are paid to to keep an eye on things so this doesn't happen. The rest of the day will be exactly that "rest" allowing everyone's bodies to adjust. 

Next day the Everest Base Camp trekkers will continue their trek up to Kala Pattar and Everest Base Camp. The Island Peak team is in Lobuche tonight, they will climb Kala Pattar the day after and then show up here to occupy our Island Peak camp before making their summit push from here. 

The "Triple Crown" team will start working on the mountain day after tomorrow. Everything is going as planned and the weather is holding nicely. Cool and clear.... over and out from base camp....  Tim

 

October 10, 2012'  Happy in Dingboche (4412m)

This is always a fun day as we reunite as one team again after splitting up yesterday. Our base camp trek team enjoyed a morning chant with the monks in Tengboche while the two climbing teams met with our long time friend Lama Ghese in his home in Pangboche for his blessing to our expeditions. Tonight we are all gathered once again at the lodge at 4412m snacking on smoked salmon treats I brought from home and sharing stories of events and sights that everyone enjoyed on the trail today. All is good except for the wireless seems to be sending our photos into cyberspace, as well the satellite signal seems to be having some difficulties this year. Oh well, the only thing that really matters is that everyone is having a wonderful time and are doing really well with the altitude and staying healthy and having tons of fun.

Tomorrow I'll be working with the Island Peak team on mountaineering skills review while the Triple Crown team heads up the adjacent peak for some altitude gain with Tashi Sherpa. The Base Camp team will also do their hike up to a higher elevation to help with acclimatization. The teams will all feel tired by days end tomorrow and the excitement of climbing something starts to kick in now. Over and out .. Tim

Photo: Our base camp support team   +  Facebook upload (will try again tomorrow)

 

October 8, 2012'   Acclimatization day success! 

Beautiful day here in the Himalayas! Today we trekked up to Khunde and Khumjung (3840m) gaining new heights allowing our bodies to adjust to the new altitude gain we will make tomorrow. We hike high and sleep low to kick things into gear and I'm pleased, everyone is did really well. The trail is quiet and the sun is warm. We had lunch at Ang Nima and Kami-Rita's house and were given red strings and kata scarves offering protection throughout our journey.

Tomorrow we move up to Tengboche Monastery (3867m) to check in on the monks there for a little chant. The groups will make a brief split here, trekkers will spend the night in the lovely lodge down my the river in Debouche and the climbers will push ahead to Pangboche (3901m) and then the next day we will all gather again in Dingboche (4412m). This is where things start to get exciting, both due to the altitude and the training agenda begins. 

Our Canadian climbers did not miss out on Thanksgiving dinner after all, tonight Tsedam and his family got things going in the kitchen and roasted us some chickens accompanied with mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables. They even tried to find us a pumpkin but were unsuccessful so we had a chocolate pie instead, yummy!! Our vegetarian participants were also very pleased with what came out of the kitchen for them in honor of Canada's Thanksgiving celebration.

Just a heads up that we are on track with the SPOT tracker so you can follow our footsteps, we are also gathering each evening to send out some photos, they are being posted on my Facebook, log on and subscribe to see them. There are links to both at the top of this page.

Over and out, Tim

 

October 5, 2012 - We have a window.... Thank goodness the skies have opened showing us signs that the monsoon is now pushing out of the Himalayas. We are on schedule flying out first thing in the morning so it's an early night here in the capital city of Kathmandu. Everyone is shopped out and packed up and already having a great time together, it will only get better from here on out.  I'll report back when we arrive in Lukla tomorrow morning. Over and out .. Tim

HERE WE ARE!

 

October 4, 2012- Tim checks in:  21:00hrs (NPT) - Awesome bunch of people!!!

It's been a nice mellow day today meeting and greeting everyone. Almost everyone arrived except for five Island Peak members (good friends/ clients for about 20 years) from Oregon,  they will be checking in in about two hours from now, looking very forward to reconnecting with them.  A good part of the day was spent gearing everyone up from the great selection of equipment available in Kathmandu today.  Gifts were handed on from last springs trekkers to new friends  made here -  they all pass on their big Namastes and thank yous to all of you at home. 

The weather has been nasty in the mountains and we've had some great lightening displays at night. The monsoon is giving us its last shot before the winter air pushes in and lifts the precipitation out of the region. 

Speaking of lingering monsoon we've made the decision based on observations the past couple of autumn climbing seasons on changing weather patterns, we decided to push back our autumn expeditions trekking and climbing by one week. Instead of starting October 4th the new schedule next year will be a start date in Kathmandu of October 11,  for those interested in next season please check your vacation time and make note of this date. There's no point fighting delayed planes and the change will also help in offering a quieter trail and the hills to ourselves.

Everything is working smoothly so far with one exception. Rob Morill from the US  "Triple Crown member" had a bag issue due to someone collecting his bag as hers upon arrival in Kathmandu late last night. Thankfully the woman emailed his sister in the US who in turn got in touch with us and Rob's bag was retrieved from her hotel and given to him.... squeaker! 

Tomorrow some members are off on a guided city tour of Kathmandu we've organized for them, this always proves to be a good bonding adventure. Until tomorrow, over and out.... Tim        PS: Team photos tomorrow... hang tight!

October 3, 2012 - Members arriving one by one ... It's raining and with a good lightening show tonight. Members arriving early have been busy shopping for gear and get to know each other. The remaining team members are arriving tomorrow and that will be all of us.  Very tired, jet lag is doing it's thing- over and out.. Tim

 

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