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 2008 EXPEDITION NEWS- Nepal  

  • " Gone Green Climbing Team"

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We are proud of this year's expedition on Everest. We managed to get six out of seven who attempted the summit push, along with seven out of 11 climbing sherpas, on the summit this year. Ratio-wise, compared to the other large expeditions there this year, we did pretty darn good.

We started out with nine, including myself, and by the time the summit bid had come around we were only seven, plus all of our sherpa climbers.  Nabs became ill late in the climb and was not able to recuperate by the time summit bid time slot came around. Saad's rapid ascent mission quickly came to an end when he slipped on a ladder in the ice-fall early in his climb, injuring his leg enough that he was forced to call off his climb.

 Our team members were an amazing mix of talents, personalities and cultures who all contributed to our excellent team dynamics and will be friends for life. Even Sultan, who gave us a good boxing match up high on the mountain, claims he still cares about us. Sultan doesn't remember anything about the events that took place the night of his rescue. 

 Sultan was new to climbing as many who attempt Everest are today. He was cautioned about how slow he moved on the mountain, and told this could be a serious problem for him in light of how many people there going to be on the route. He had all the information on how important it was to not push beyond his abilities come summit time and to be in tune with his body and the effects of altitude. He assured me he understood.

 I believe we did something right that helped everyone perform the way they did on summit night. On May 11, after the mountain was open again and the military pulled out of BC, I suggested we go to Camp 2 and not return to BC until we had summited. We agreed to go to Camp 3 for acclimatization and stay two nights instead of the normal one. We stuck to the plan and didn't retreat to BC before the summit bid but, instead, stayed at Camp 2, making the summit push from there. I think we were stronger because of it and well acclimatized. The good weather was also working for us. We had 85 bottles of oxygen in place and 11 climbing sherpas which would be one to one plus two personal sherpas and back-up.

We headed out from the South Col - C4 the night of May 20 at 10:00pm joining in the long line of climbers headed for the summit. I had positioned myself in between the stronger members and the slower members to be in the best spot for both of them should they need help.

 I made my check-in calls to Becky in Canada, who was online with Farouq's sponsor, Bader, throughout the entire summit bid night via MSN messenger. Bader was also in sat phone contact with Farouq so we had a four-way conversation going. At one point I called Becky and told her I thought Farouq and Sultan had turned back.  I was disappointed for them but, at the same time, relieved, for safety reasons, that they made the right decision. Becky corrected me saying "No, they are still coming”. She had Bader on MSN, who was talking to Farouq at that very moment from his sat phone. Farouq was expressing concern to Bader because he had been asking Sultan to turn back just above the balcony but he refused.  I learned later that Willie Benegas, while on his way down from the summit, passed Sultan on his way up and also told Sultan to turn back, but he continued.

 Soon it was the morning of May 21. After a full night of climbing, we were all gathering on the summit:  Dom at 7:00am, followed by Larry at 11:30am, Scott at 12:30pm, and myself with George at 1:15pm.  George, Scott and I were just starting to take our summit photos when I got a call from Sultan that he was dehydrated. I told him to borrow some water and head down and that we were on our way and I had more water for him. We passed Farouq on his way up, traveling with his personal sherpa Mingmar, and he was in good shape. He was late, from moving so slowly with Sultan, but the weather was better than perfect today and I didn't have reason to be concerned for him to continue. He was in very good hands. What we didn't know was that Farouq had been having trouble with his glasses fogging up, which caused him to develop snow blindness. We didn't learn of this till the next morning. When wearing glasses under goggles, they tend to fog up, so Farouq was lifting his goggles to clear his glasses, allowing too much sun reflection in, which resulted in burning his eyes.

 When we got to  Sultan it was now 2:00pm, he was at the South Summit 8800m, sitting up at this point but refusing to move. The rescue mission began. He was now starting to go in and out of consciousness and at one point quit breathing. It was clear he was not going to walk off this mountain on his own accord.  I had to remove his crampons as he was lashing slices in my down suit and punctured my Everest boots kicking at me whenever I tried to get near him. I asked Larry to go and cut some old rope for me so I could set-up a rope rescue system to lower Sultan down. As a mountain rescue professional and examiner, I improvised a system with what we had and instructed the sherpas on the system and we began lowering him.  I knew this was going to take some time, energy, oxygen and water, all of which was depleted by our longer-than-normal summit bid time due to the record breaking 75 climbers on the route this day. It was clear we needed help. Scott was just about out of oxygen so I sent him down to C4 to get some help.  I asked Larry to give his bottle of oxygen to Sultan and get out of here, get down. We had more oxygen at the balcony they could get to in good time. When George came by I sent him down also, behind Larry.  On his way down he came across Larry resting, (not lying in the snow as previously reported, an apparent exaggeration, which Larry cleared up with George later on at the team’s debriefing). However, Larry did need George's help sharing his oxygen bottle until they were safely down.  I knew Farouq would be on his way down from the summit soon and I would need his help to communicate in Sultan's language. Not that Sultan didn't speak and understand English well enough, but I thought any help I could get to convince Sultan to keep moving was now urgent.  I radioed to Lhakpa Sherpa, our rescue sherpa whose responsibility was to stay at C4 in the event of an emergency. He came up with more oxygen, water and food.  Now there was Farouq and his personal sherpa Mingmar, Dendi and Lhakpa with me working and lowering Sultan bit by bit. 

 As we were working our way down, we came upon a climber in distress - an older Korean fellow we had seen earlier in the day dragging an empty bottle of oxygen bottle behind him, heading to the summit. Scott checked the man’s gauge and confirmed it was indeed empty, so I got the word out to one of Jamie McGuiness's sherpas to give him some oxygen if he could and the Korean continued to the summit. This was the same guy we found on our way down, sitting on the route, stuck in old fixed rope, with the new fixed rope pinching his shoulder in a position such that he couldn't move. I managed to cut the old rope under him, move the rope from his shoulder that had trapped him, and slid him down and to one side.  He was obviously terrified. When I moved him, I discovered he had been sitting a puddle of his own urine.  Poor fellow, I couldn't help him much more than that my hands were full with Sultan. I did however have him and his pack now properly hooked up to the new fixed line and he managed to scoot down on his butt, and eventually showed up at C4.

 Meanwhile, Scott had made it down quickly to C4 calling out for help, but no one responded.  Scott resorted to offering money, twice, raising the ante each time, but no one was prepared to acknowledge his request. Finally, someone pointed him to Willie Benegas’s tent, saying he might be able to find help for you. Willie found a sherpa from another team who was going up the next morning to do a carry of oxygen to the balcony and asked him to also carry a sleeping bag, stove and fuel to prepare Sultan for a night out.

All Sultan wanted to do is sleep. We were now prepared to let him do exactly that.  There was no way we could physically carry him.  At this point, Sultan had become violent and a danger to his rescue party. At one point he heaved a rock at me, hitting me square in the forehead, knocking me off balance, and almost sending me down the South Face. Luckily I was stopped by a sherpa on his way up. The sherpas were no longer interested in the events that were taking place and I respected that. We had been working extremely hard to lower and drag Sultan; it was now over 32 hours we’d been up there, most of it without oxygen. We were dragging Sultan and would pendulum him through the steep pitches. The rocky flat sections were very difficult having to semi-carry him and drag him, trying not to rip open his down suit.   

 It was now 3:00am May 22, at around 8100m we put Sultan in the sleeping bag and tied him off on a ledge so he wouldn't roll off, straight across from Scott Fisher's dead body, hoping Fisher might tell him to get out of there, that was his place, go home!  From what happened next, maybe he did? I managed to get some water and fuel in Sultan. I tried to get him to take the oxygen but he kept throwing it off.  I covered his face with his Oman flag, tucking it in around his hood to protect it from the elements.  I told him I would be back in a couple hours - we were much closer to C4 now so I figured I could quite easily make it back up in good time to take over where we left off, after we rested. We decided to go at once and get some rest for all of us, warm our feet, and get more provisions.  It was around 4:30am I retreated to C4, with the sherpas, and we crawled into our tents. It was just a short time later a sherpa came down without actually looking at Sultan reporting that Sultan was dead. Willie passed this news on to me. Needless to say, I was devastated. I had just left him, how could it be?  I was in shock. The feeling inside me was something I had never felt before. 27 years guiding and I have never lost a client, it didn't seem real.

 Around 7:00am I heard someone yelling, "Tim, Tim, Sultan is alive!" I looked out of my tent to see two sherpas from the Indian Army escorting him down. I couldn't see him at first because I was looking for someone carrying him down but then my eyes focussed in on his familiar boots, he was walking!  Apparently the Indian army sherpas passed by him and saw him rustling in his sleeping bag. He was wide-awake now and somewhat refreshed, got up and walked down to the south col. This was music to my ears, not only did he come back from the dead but he walked down too and I didn't have to go back up and get him.

 That morning, we were all re-united again at the South Col, except for Dom, who had summited first then went all the way down to C2 unaware of any of the problems we were dealing with till we caught up to him.  Willie escorted Farouq down from C4 to C2, Sultan retreated with George and Ang Pasang to C3 and I went all the way down to C2 after 38 hours in the death zone.  The next day Scott, Dom and Larry went to BC.  I stayed at C2 with Farouq until his eyes were well enough to travel through the ice-fall to BC, and also to wait for Sultan to make his way down too. I was concerned Sultan would have difficulties because of his fingers in the ice-fall but it worked out

 Sultan is now home and he will probably lose two, maybe three, finger tips to frostbite but other than that all else checks out just fine.

 The sherpas and I weathered well up there. We have all our fingers and toes and the oxygen deprivation didn't seem to effect us.  At least Becky says I check out so far. Though I may be able to milk this one if needed.

Tim Rippel

A word from Sultan:  ''Once again I would like to thank everyone in the team for the rescue efforts and being  lovely companions.  Special thanks goes to Farouq, Tim, Scott, Larry, Dom, George and Nabs. Plus to the sherpas who played a major part in our success in every stage and to Becky for her lovely coverage and support.

It has been a great experience and no doubt that these days were one of the great days in my life.

Take care all and wish you all a pleasant life,''


  •   13 Peak Freak team members stand on top!  LIVE DISPATCH FROM THE CLIMBERS HERE at Camp 3 pre-summit bid.


  • EXPEDITION REPORT: Tim will be providing a full expedition report upon his return to Canada June 8. Including detailed rescue efforts.

News from Tim. Sitting in Namche Bazaar with longtime Everest climbing partner Constantin Lacatusu, . Tim was with him in 1997 when he became the First Romanian to stand on top of Everest.  Rendezvous in the Himalayas are infectious among world climbers. Never a "been there done that". The Himalayas continues to lure world climbers back again and again.

May 28, 2008- TIBET RE-OPEN DOORS: Our Tibetan contact informs us today that China has agreed to re-open Tibet for tourism again beginning the end of June 2008. We are told that it will be for sure this time, hmmm?  We will be offering our independent Tibet Overland Jeep tours again for the summer for anyone interested.


Rescue excerpts from MSM's journal.

I was about to deliver two rescue breaths and begin CPR when Tim tried the old school precordial thump—a hard fist to the chest which is a desperate attempt to provide enough stimulus to get the heart beating again.  Whatever the physiological reaction was, Sultan inhaled again and though he denies ever losing consciousness it was clear to me that we were still in serious trouble.  Successfully rescuing a patient from this high in the Death Zone was a rarity in the annals of mountaineering—especially, when the would-be rescuers were exhausted from a grueling two days of climbing.

“Larry, go down and cut that rope.”  Tim was now issuing directives with one thought in mind…save Sultan’s life.  Though I had certifications in Rope Rescue Systems I and II as well as Mountain Rescue I couldn’t believe how fast Tim was tying his figure eights, adjusting his prussiks, and setting anchors for Sultan’s descent…and all this without oxygen.  Tim’s bottle was empty.  I descended about 10 meters to help Larry with the receiving end of the hand off.

“Tim, what do you want me to do?”  I asked our guide.

            “We’re going to need more help.” He replied



Tim spent  38 hours at the death zone, the latter part mostly without oxygen. Scott rousted a sleeping bag and stove sent up by Lhakpa sherpa thanks to Willie making the connection with the only taker Lhakpa, while Willie came to bat and brought Farouq down from C4 to C2.   


This is where I am going to leave you. The team will all be back in Kathmandu tomorrow. Now in Kathmandu is Dom, Farouq and Sultan. George, Scott and Larry tomorrow and Tim and Dendi in two days time and Rum Doodles is calling. Speaking of Rum- Tim handed off his congratulations bottle hand delivered by Ang Nima all the way from Kunde when he heard the news.  I think he said Jamie McGuiness and the boys were currently enjoying it next door. Let the parties begin!


Snow Blindness climber Farouq attended by Tim Rippel

Tim Rippel rope rescue of client on Everest 2008

Sultan survives the night on Everest

Willie and Tim fixing up snow blind Farouq for the descent from C4 to C2

Sultan Rope Rescue with Tim , Dendi and Mingmar

Photos: MSM

Sultan arriving at the South Col- C4. 


Larry Williams Everest summit 2008May 26, 2008- FIRST SUMMIT PHOTO TO SHARE-  Larry Williams Mt. Everest summit May 21, 2008.

"To all the students from Spanish Springs High School in Reno Nevada who didn't know where I was.  See you all soon! "

Larry was able to dispatch this photo from Namche Bazaar in the Khumbu Valley on his way home from the summit of Mt. Everest. Scott and Larry will be up first thing tomorrow morning to begin the 13 mile walk to Lukla. Getting out of there will be dependant on good weather. The monsoon rains are starting to move in now which can back log flights for several days forcing them to wait it out for good enough weather to fly. 

Once we spent six days in Lukla waiting.  We don't want to think about that.   

Congratulations Larry!!!!



May 25, 2008 - Dingboche- working our way home!  

Blog #5 - by MSM

Scott MortensenThe moon over Nepal was shedding its pink luster while the sunrise over Tibet was growing in amber.  In between, Mt. Everest split the man-made boundaries like an upside down thunderbolt.  It was officially the most beautiful dawn I had ever witnessed.  A single tear froze inside my goggles.  I was going to make it.
Standing in line at the Balcony, waiting my turn to change an oxygen bottle I was unaware that though my way up Everest would be a summit of splendor, the way down would be a complete circus of the bizarre.  For starters, I couldn't understand why I was using up oxygen so fast.  My flow rate was a measly 1.5 liters per hour.  With the slow motion progress of the crowd ahead of me, I didn't need anymore than that.  But something was wrong.  I kept checking the gauge on my TOP OUT system.  I was losing pressure too fast.
Hours later, about a 100 meters from the summit, I ran into Karma Sherpa.  I told him I would have to turn back because though I had a few hours of O's left, the crowd was too thick for me to make it back to the Balcony in time to swap out bottles.  Physically, I could make it to the summit, but I would be breaking one of my cardinal rules of mountaineering....SAVE EVERYTHING FOR THE WAY DOWN.  It was disappointing that I would not reach the summit, but not as disappointing as dying on the mountain.  While I was thinking the matter over Karma Sherpa offered to exchange bottles with me.
"No way." I replied without hesitation.  The only thing worse than dying myself, would be causing someone else to...but after convincing me that his brother had extra  I finally, gratefully accepted Karma's offer.  My summit hopes were restored.  Needless to say, I was extremely thankful.
After spending 45 minutes on top of the world, I headed down just ahead of our Peak Freaks guide Tim Rippel.  I've read the books and was ready to roll.  For me, summiting Mt. Everest was akin to running up to the penthouse of a burning building, grabbing your precious photos and then trying to make it out alive.  Yet, everyone was moving so slow!  An uneasy feeling was growing in my stomach....
I am currently in Dingboche, writing as fast as I can...the internet here is too costly!!!!  Therefore, I will blog you all tomorrow in Namche--with rescue photos!  There is so much to say about this year on Everest. I would like to say that there are shining stars in the darkness. The rescue efforts of Tim Rippel, Willie Benegas (MOUNTAIN MADNESS) , all the Super Sherpas, and Peak Freak members who played a hand in the amazing rescue of Sultan and Faruq had me in awe.  I was proud to be a part of it.
On our way down from the summit, Tim and I came across a disoriented man from the Korean team.  He was out of oxygen and still trying to push for the summit.
"Tim, this guy is a dead man." I said after inspecting his pressure gage.  Goose eggs.
"So am I if I don't get out of here soon."  Tim replied.  I checked the medicine in his bottle.  He was at lower liters than me, but still took the time wrangle two Sherpas to help the man out by providing more oxygen.  Meanwhile, I tried to convince the Korean that the summit was in the opposite direction---DOWN--to no avail.  He staggered and stretched for a summit that was still an hour away.  A radio call interrupted my ineffective ruse.
"Tim, this is Sultan.  I am at the South Summit.  I am very dehydrated.  I need help."
"Okay, borrow some water from someone we're on our way down."  Tim assured him.
Later we passed Faruq who was still heading towards the summit with his personal Sherpa, Mingmar.  I thought someone would turn him around.  It was way too late to push forward....or maybe not????  Though I didn't trust it, the weather was absolutely perfect. 
"Tim, I want to get the hell off this mountain."  I said after another lengthy delay waiting for a man ahead of us to take ten minutes to swing his leg over a rock.  My sense of unease was now an absolute feeling of impending doom.
"Me too."  Tim said.  "Me too."
The harrowing events that followed may change my life forever.
Will write more soon...much love to you all.  Thank God we are all safe.

May 24: Everyone at BC:  All Peak Freak members are at BC.  Most are heading out tomorrow but Tim and some of the sherpas will stay a couple more days to sort and dry equipment to store in our Khumbu cache to be ready for our Everest Training climb on Mt. Pumori Oct. 2 this year. 

Some are asking "what is snow blindness" Explores Web has a good climbers description. Farouq had two days to heal at C2 and then was able to climb down from C2 to BC without a problem. Sultan also did really well and everyone is whistling away this morning (May 25 Nepal time) packing up. 

BLOG WITHDRAW SYNDROME:  Our readers are emailing complaining about suffering from blog withdrawal so I am getting some help till Scott has a chance to put something together. One reader said our expedition and blog was like following a Reality Everest Series.

PHOTO: Kristene Perron- good friend:  While Becky waits for Scott to send her some more of his wonder words from the mountain, she has given me the great honour of writing a little piece with my thoughts and opinions of the climb. And who am I? Well, I’m not a mountain climber, in fact all of what I know about mountaineering in general, and Everest in particular, comes from Tim, Becky, and few lousy Hollywood movies. I am a friend of the Rippels, I’m also a fan…but then, anyone who knows them for more than five minutes usually is.

 If you’re like me, then you’ve probably been following the team and their ascent from the comfort of your home. Cheering their triumphs, laughing at their misadventures, and waiting, so very impatiently, for that magic day when they would stand on the top of the world. (Hey you guys up there on the mountain, if you think scaling a wall of ice is stressful, try sitting at home, frantically refreshing Peak Freaks “Everest News” page every five minutes!)

 At last the day arrived; the team was on their way. Would the weather be kind? Would they summit? Would we ever find out why Scott is single??!

 From Peak Freaks’ Cook Islands Base Camp (elevation .5m), my husband, Fred, and I kept a constant vigil on the MSN Messenger – Becky had strict instructions to inform us the second she heard anything. With each ping, our excitement grew – “They’re on the move”, “They’re at the South Summit”, “Farouq is 450m from the summit and the others are ahead of him.”

 And just when we couldn’t take anymore, finally, the word, “They made it!” I’m sure I don’t have to explain how thrilled and relieved we were.

 But the drama was not over.

 Apparently, one of the team members, Sultan, was in a bit of trouble. Details, as tends to happen when you are communicating via sat phone half way across the world and 27,000 feet above sea level, were sketchy. The team was making their descent but Tim, Farouq, and two or three Sherpa’s were staying behind to try to rescue Sultan. We didn’t know much more than that when Tim passed into a dry zone for the sat phone. The next almost twelve hours were spent biting our nails down to the nub.

 Let me take a moment to tell you just a little bit about my friend Tim. On the Decency and Ethics Scale, Tim falls squarely in the top five percentile. In an emergency, I would not hesitate, not even for a heartbeat, to put my life in his hands. He is levelheaded, experienced, and able to assess, and respond to, danger with logic and determination. (Though he has been known to chase bears from his yard, naked, with only a broom for defense…go figure). On the mountain, without having ever climbed with him, I can swear to this, safety is his priority; his clients and team mates come before his ego, always. 

 Knowing this gave me some comfort as I waited for news. If anyone could survive a night on the mountain and get everyone down safely, it was Tim.

 And then came the, now all too familiar, MSN ping. I clicked open the screen, “Tim is alive.” Good, I can breathe again! Soon I would learn that he had held out with Sultan, until he saw the lights of other climbers. And later, both men would find themselves at Camp 4, sipping tea and recovering from a long ordeal. I don’t want to write more until I hear the full story, (rumours and speculation on Mt Everest? Impossible!) but suffice it to say we are all thankful to know Tim and Team are safe and sound.

 I think what I’ll take away from this latest Peak Freaks Adventure is a bit of a head shaking. Everest has become such a popularity contest, the “in” thing, a must-do for the challenge-oriented, that it’s easy to forget how very real the danger is. I tell people, “Oh my friend Tim’s climbing Everest right now,” as casually as I might say, “I think I’ll have a tuna sandwich for lunch.” How often do I really stop and consider the magnitude of what he’s doing? Not often enough.

 I’m not a mountaineer, I’m an ocean person. But both are extreme environments, both deserve to be approached with humility, with respect. You cannot “conquer” an ocean, nor a mountain. Everest, for all her beauty, can shake climbers off as easily as a bad case of fleas. I know Tim understands this; his understanding, his humility, his respect is what makes him more than an expedition leader, it makes him worthy.

 To all the Sherpas, thank you, bless you for taking such good care of Tim and his team. To the team members who did not summit, you attempted the near-impossible and that makes you mighty. Besides, you did summit because I know the rest of the team carried you with them in their hearts. To the team members who did summit, congratulations, may this experience enrich you and those you love. To Becky, we love you, and thanks for keeping us updated; we miss you most at times like these.

 To Tim, what can I say? You are my hero.                    


Kristene Perron

Consider our Peak Freak Everest Toe Warmer Program - Great for the body and mind. An opportunity to put salt and oil back into your body, warm and effortless!

May 23:  Tim calls in from C2. He had actually gone all the way down to C2 and didn't stay at C4.  Sultan stayed at C3 with George. Tim is with Farouq in C2 helping entertain him while his snow blindness heals and waiting for Sultan who arrived at C2 today with George. All considering Sultan was very lucky. Tim said he will probably only loose the tip of one finger. Dom, Scott and Larry are all down at BC now. 

Tim wants to give a big shout out to good friends Willie Benegas and the Indian Army sherpas who came to the aid of the team when it was most needed. Tim asked Scott to roust someone up at C4 who could carry a sleeping bag and stove up to boil water for Sultan that night. So a big thanks to Scott for making that happen too!  

The expedition is still not finished so stay tuned... Not finished till everyone is at BC... Tim hopes Farouq's eyes will be ready tomorrow for travel and it looks like Sultan will be able to manage travel through the ice-fall too. 


  1. Dom Gilbert  (Canada)

  2. Larry Williams (USA)

  3. Michael S. Mortensen (USA)

  4. George La Moureaux (USA)

  5. Farouq Alzuman (FIRST FROM SAUDI ARABIA)

  6. Tim Rippel (CANADA)

  7. Mingma Sherpa (NEPAL)

  8. Lhakpa Bhote (NEPAL)

  9. Gelgan Sherpa (NEPAL)

  10. Karma Sherpa (NEPAL)

  11. Dendi Sherpa (NEPAL)

  12. Kajee Sherpa (NEPAL)

  13. Ang Pasang Sherpa (NEPAL)


May 22- Hi everyone!  I have just been prompted to make a report by our readers. Sorry, I have been so faithful until now. That is because this was show down time and I

Andrew Brash Photo- with Tim Rippel

Photo found on fellow Canadian climber Andrew Brash's website with Tim in C4 upon his return from a night high up.

 have spent countless hours responding to both concerned and happy readers.  Just want to say "SULTAN IS DOWN" but word is that he and Tim are still at high altitude, Camp 4. When I last talked to Tim he was packing up to get down to a lower elevation but apparently they are too exhausted. Tim and Sultan had spent 38 hours at extreme altitude so they (Tim and Sultan) will sleep at Camp 4 before stumbling down. All is good and thank you to everyone who has been giving us good vibes and incredible support throughout this journey. Our team  totaled 13 summits, 7 sherpas and 6 members.

SUMMIT REPORT!   Sorry everyone for the delay in getting the post updated. It has been a busy night.  Dom, Larry, Scott, George, Farouq and Tim have all summited.  Everyone except Farouq, Tim and Sultan are now down at C4. Sultan collapsed just below the south summit. Tim and 2 sherpas have been roping him down all night, Farouq is now with them helping too. Tim sounded very positive in that Sultan will be fine, they are refreshed after the arrival of Lhakpa Sherpa who came up from Camp 4 up to help and supply them with drinks and eats. Tim says it should be clear sailing now getting him down to C4 from where they are.  More later when the satellite reception improves.

Sat phone calls: Tim also said when he called in that I may not hear from him again till he gets back down to the South Summit because of something to do with reception.  So if you are wondering why no word for a bit that would explain it.


Saad's Naseer's Rapid Ascent didn't happen for him: He will offer an explanation to the site after the dust settles from the Everest summits.

Dominique is the first Peak Freak to summit, Larry is closing in from where Tim is watching, Scott is in there too, and George is not far. Tim is in between everyone watching for Farouq and Sultan who are behind them. Tim says everyone is moving slow now as there are now about 50 people in front of him. 

Farouq checks in:  Farouq just checked in with sponsor 0845 Nepal Time- he is 450m from the summit and the others are in front of him. Stay tuned!


THE CORNICE RIDGE: A 400- foot long horizontal section of rock and wind-carved snow, this is easily the most intimidating section of the climb. Climbers must carefully traverse a knife-edge ridge of snow plastered to intermittent rocks. This is the most exposed section of the entire climb, and a misstep to the right would send climber tumbling down the 10,000- foot Kangsung Face. A misstep to the left would send one careening 8,000 feet down the Southwest Face, were it not for the fixed ropes. 

THE HILLARY STEP: The most famous physical feature on Everest, the Hillary Step, at 28,750 feet, is a 40- foot spur of snow and ice. First climbed in 1953 by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, the Hillary Step is the last obstacle barring access to the gently angled summit slopes. Modern-day climbers use a fixed rope up here to ascend the Hillary Step. We marvel at Hillary and Tenzing's achievement in climbing this impressive mountaineering obstacle without fixed ropes and using what is now considered primitive ice climbing equipment. 


Getting close! - I just picked up word that one team has just summited. This could mean our team is right behind them. Stay tuned!

APPROACHING THE SOUTH SUMMIT ! ! ! !-    0330hrs- Nepal time, just moments ago - I missed the call but he left a great message. He sounds terrific and says he and the team are approaching the south summit and he will call in again shortly. Everyone is strong, Farouq and Sultan are behind them taking a slower pace. With him is Larry, George, Scott and Dom.. the weather and the view is beautiful. He would have called earlier but the Chinese air space was somehow interfering with his connection. Good news, I am so proud of these guys.  

THE SOUTH SUMMIT: The climbers first small victory of the day, the South Summit is a ping pong table-size dome of snow and ice at 28,700 feet. From here the climbers can obtain the view of the final obstacles ahead of them: the Cornice Traverse, the Hillary Step, and the final slopes to the summit.  It it's late in the day or the weather is deteriorating, this is the place to make the all-important decision to turn around. Having said that, they are in good form.



Dear Becky,

Obviously I am disappointed to have fallen ill so late in the trip. I knew that being strong and healthy was one thing but staying healthy requires luck and

 it's quite heart-breaking to have suffered fatigue at such a crucial time in the expedition. The last few climbs after I recovered were tough and I knew that I was at less that 60 per cent strength which may have taken me to Camp 3 and the South Col but it would have been foolish to have attempted the summit. So my expedition has come to an premature end. I leave with some amazing memories, new friends, and a spiritual peace of mind that I found on this special mountain. I came to summit but left with more than I could have imagined - it really was a life changing experience and am sure that as I reflect over the next few weeks I will draw many more positives.

For now, my thoughts and prayers are with the other members of the team and I wish them every success for the summit push.  I would like to take this opportunity to perhaps offer a "view from the inside" of the team.  If only to give Scott a well deserved break from writing and let him concentrate on climbing.

I will start with Scott as he's the man behind the pen and the video camera and therefore not in the limelight as often as the rest of us.
Scott is most people's idea of the "all American hero". He's blessed with good looks, an athletic physique and a great sense of humor. It is impossible not to like him right from the outset and, if I add that he is also incredibly thoughtful and sensitive, I am sure that many girls will be wondering why he's single at the moment. Scott always has time for the other members of the team and I enjoyed many conversations with him and Larry as we huddled in a tent whilst it snowed heavily outside. My only concern about Scott was that he seemed to take great pleasure in throwing rocks at my tent!! This happened wherever we were: Base Camp, Camp 1 (no rocks here so he threw snowballs) and Camp 2! He informed me that this was a sign of true friendship. In the UK we just buy each other a beer...... perhaps things are done differently in California, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and look forward to a few beers when we next meet. If you will forgive me for lowering the tone, my lasting image of Scott will be seeing the immense delight on his face as he became the first member of the team to use the mountain poo bag. For those who don't know, Peak Freaks are the first company to use a biodegradable human waste bag on Everest to ensure that all human waste is brought down from the mountain and not left to pollute the environment. It is an excellent policy and I hope other expeditions will follow suit. However, "the bag" requires significant practice using one of the three techniques demonstrated by Tim early in the expedition (I will refrain from outlining the techniques in this forum).  Scott mastered it at the first attempt whilst balanced in a quite precarious position near a crevasse.  This was hardly a surprise - did I mention that he appears to be naturally gifted at nearly everything I have seen him attempt for the first time.  The grin on his face as he held up the bag and shouted his delight to me was priceless!!  I will be absolutely overjoyed for him when he summits.

The first time I met Larry he told me that he was a big fan of birds. "So am I" I replied.  It would appear that this was our first transatlantic difference in the English language. He was referring to the feathered species whilst I confused this innocent hobby with a liking for the fairer sex.  Over the last two months, Larry's enthusiasm for bird-spotting has spread to the whole team and is a typical example of how Larry's passion and enthusiasm for life is so infectious. One particular bird-spotting incident springs to mind which, interestingly, did not even involve Larry. Scott, Dom and I were walking up the valley one day when Scott saw a particular breed of pheasant and immediately got out his camera to capture the moment for Larry.  Dom then shouted that he had spotted another breed of bird which Larry had declared was his favorite of the region - we were excited at spotting this bird and looked forward to showing the footage to Larry - I can only speak for myself when I say that I would have never paid any attention to such things had I not met Larry.  I have no doubt that, as a math teacher, he possesses the unique ability to make math an interesting subject and I am sure that hundreds of pupils have been incredibly lucky to have been taught by him. On the mountain, Larry is the most experienced of the group and whilst a few of us spent the first few weeks sprinting around the ice fall probably using up too much energy (actually that may have just been me), Larry kept a steady pace which will now pay dividends as they approach the end of a long expedition and the final goal. Having already climbed 3 of the "7 summits", Everest will send him further towards deservedly becoming a member of an elite group of climbers who have climbed the highest peak on each of the 7 continents.  One final note on Larry - for us "younger" members, he was a shining example of a family man. I remember that as he received a package from his family half-way through the expedition (containing photos, letters and sweets) , Scott looked at me as if to say "so that's what happens when you're married!!" Team Williams really is a family effort and having heard so much about his wife and daughter I hope to meet them in person one day.

Dominique, my new friend from Quebec, is generally fairly quiet yet when he says something we are in stitches with laughter. I must admit that during the first few weeks I never knew what he looked like. A skilled ice climber, he is so strong on the mountain that he was far ahead of the rest of team and I am not sure any of us saw him break into a sweat. As a result, I only knew what his rucksack looked like because that's all I ever saw as I was way behind him.  I got to know Dom better when we went down the valley to Namche Bazaar and I thoroughly enjoyed his company and dry sense of humor. 

Farouq - What an ambassador for his country! He generally enters a room (or in our case, a dining tent) with an impact - namely, a beaming smile and a huge amount of positive energy. I think I would struggle to find anyone who could possibly dislike Farouq.  He had us regularly laughing with his stories and observations from his time in the US. So much so that we decided that a TV series called "The Adventures of Farouq" would be a huge success in Saudi Arabia.  I say that he is a great ambassador for his country because on numerous occasions he more than held his own during discussions about his culture and religion - in the face of some quite interesting debates and he educated us all on the culture of the Gulf States.  They say that one should never discuss sex, politics or religion at the dinner table. Aside from climbing, I don't think we talked about anything else!! There was always an interesting discussion and it was enriching to have a mixture of nationalities with differing outlooks.  As potentially the first Saudi to summit Everest we often remarked that he will soon become Saudi Arabia's most eligible bachelor and I wish him every success in the future; no one deserves it more and I am privileged to call him my friend.

George arrived a few days later than the rest of us.  As soon as he arrived we were bombarded with statistics and facts regarding his chosen charity "America's missing children".  Before too long, we were also able to recite the figures from memory due to the numerous occasions that we were reminded by George.  I only mention this as it is indicative of George's energy and passion to promote and do everything he can do assist others, and in this case, a very worthy cause.  In the short time I have known George I have never heard him say a bad word about anyone and he was possibly the most courteous and polite climber in Base Camp who would always go out of his way to help anyone.  He has a heart of gold yet it is his bladder that is more impressive as we were all amazed at George's incredible ability to fill a 4 litre bottle with urine each night!!  (the pee bottle phenomenon is also the subject of much discussion at base camp). Finally, I feel that it is my duty to inform his family that George is now addicted to the series "24" with Kiefer Sutherland.  Every night, when George rose from the dinner table and placed himself in front of the DVD I knew that it was time to set up for the evening's episode.  George's family would be well advised to buy a few of the box sets of "24" to assist George on his return to civilization.

So to our leader Tim (or Timalaya as we sometimes referred to him). Tim brought together a group of determined climbers and created a team with his spirit, humor and professionalism.  As we proceeded up the valley to Base Camp, Tim was forced to remain at Kathmandu to work hard to secure a climbing permit due to the political circumstances at the time.  We knew all we needed to know about the man when we saw the immense amount of affection with which he was greeted by the Sherpas at his arrival at Base Camp.  Tim and Becky have created an adopted family in Nepal and wherever we were in the Khumbu valley, just mentioning his name would ensure that we had special treatment.  It has been a privilege to climb with Tim.  On the technical side I have learnt a great deal from his enormous wealth of experience, and on the social side I have thoroughly enjoyed his easy-going company - not only would I recommend Peak Freaks to anyone who may be interested but I look forward to welcoming Tim and Becky, as friends, to the UK.

I cannot finish without mentioning the team of Sherpas - both the camp staff and the climbing Sherpas.  Anyone who visits Nepal will be struck by the incredible hospitality shown by this wonderful race of people.  I heard a saying that the Sherpas are the world's elite climbers without the salary or the ego that one would expect from someone who is at the top of their profession.  The former is a great shame, the latter is such a rare quality that we can learn much from their honest and sincere outlook on life. 

So that's all from me.  It's been an incredible journey - right now it is tinged with a huge amount of personal disappointment that I cannot be with the other members of the team as they push for the summit.  I am not the first to be in this position and I certainly won't be the last.  If I learned anything about high altitude mountaineering over the last few months it is that a climber who takes unnecessary risks is one that does not understand either himself or the mountain he climbs.  It was an honor to be able to climb on the slopes of Mount Everest and to experience one of the most beautiful places on the planet.  I hope one day to return but, in the meantime, there are other dreams to follow.












May 20 -Where is Nabs you ask?  "Nabs picked up an illness from his trip down the valley.  This kept him in base camp whilst recovering. However,  he never regained full strength and on the way to Camp 3 it became clear that he would not be able to sustain a strong summit push so he was headed back down the valley to recuperate. Unfortunately time was not on his side and this illness, so late in the expedition, effectively ended his climb." He is very much missed by the team. They are all so tight.  Nabs will be writing a little piece I will put up shortly on his "view from the inside".  Stay tuned!

May 20-Sherpas punch route through to the summit!  Ropes were successfully fixed to the South Col and trail broken to the summit by two sherpas. Theirs are the first two summits for this year. Tim and team haven't checked in yet. Stay tuned!

TEAM IS ON THEIR WAY UP TO C4 They will be checking in once they all have arrived. Enjoy the video with messages from the climbers.

May 19- Tim checks in:  Everyone is rested and feeling terrific! Tim expressed concerns about some clouds forming that may bring snow creating instability on the  Lhotse face for their decent.  The winds are calm but there is considerable precipitation in the reports for tomorrow. Many sat phone calls have been going on for the past few hours comparing weather information and everyone agrees that the bad weather for the 20th should stay heavy and low and they are going to go for it.  Here is the plan:

Tim says, "There is a strong enthusiastic team of sherpas are up at the South Col right now. They are almost at the balcony with rope and tomorrow they will be spreading it all out and start working it to the summit. He also added that the Korean's summited Lhotse today."

May 20- Nepal time: 0700hrs - Leave Camp 3 for Camp 4- arrive around 1400hrs - rest on oxygen till 2100hrs and begin the push to the summit.

I have some audio feed from them this morning  that I will have up shortly. (as soon as neighbor Jason wakes up that is, so I can have him convert it to a windows file!!!!!) JASON!!!  WAKE UP!!!!   Stay tuned!


New photos up on the support trekkers page:



May 18- Tim checks in: Everyone is now at C3 sleeping, including all of our sherpa climbers. For some of them it will be their first crack at the summit so it is pretty exciting for them.

Tim said, " there's a lot of giggling going on right now from our circle of tents here at C3. Tomorrow we are going to climb a little higher to get out and keep our legs moving and try not to burn too many calories at this point.  We are still on schedule and everyone is doing remarkably well. No headaches!.. the weather is perfect. There's hardly any wind. In the mornings we are seeing low cloud down below but by afternoon it is burning off. With us up here is Project Himalaya, Mountain Madness and Altitude Junkies. Our joint teams of sherpas will be finished fixing the route to the south summit tomorrow. The next day the second team of sherpas will be fixing the route to the summit while we are tucking in behind them. Over and out -tons of love to everyone back home from all of us and a big thank you for all your support and summit wishes throughout this journey."

Tim and team

Tim also expressed that overcrowding won't be a concern this year as previously thought because of the interruption of the Olympic Torch relay. They got lucky. There is a nice window of weather for several days now so everyone is spacing out nicely. We should see another good season of summit stats on Everest for 2008.  

For me, I anxiously await news of everyone standing on top then safely back down and Scott's blog when it's all over :)  


May 17- Tim checks in:  SUMMIT PUSH STARTS TOMORROW MORNING!!!! - Tim calls from his sleeping bag at which he complains is too hot because he dressed to climb in the wee hours of the morning up to Camp 3.  Everyone is nestled in and probably enjoying some good high altitude dreams right now. The team is heading up, this is it! 


  • May 18- Climb to Camp 3- sleep
  • May 19- Sleep at Camp 3 one more night
  • May 20- To the south col- Camp 4 - rest a few hours and then head for the summit in the night.
  • May 21- 0900- or earlier on the summit!

Many teams are still down low, some in the Khumbu Valley, some at base camp and some at Camp 2. The first wave looks like Peak Freaks, the Indian Army, the Nepalese women's team, and Project Himalaya.

Photo of Tim opening his care package delivered by the support trekkers. He is holding a picture of himself climbing, artists- Ethan our seven year old grandson and the most important person in the world to Tim,  next to me that is, we often wrestle for position between number one and number two.  GO GRAMPY GO! 

We are going to try and organize some footage and audio to post to the site when they go for the summit- stay tuned ! 

Support Team blog updated: Good times and pictures to share. 



Mt. Everest Route Map South Col

Route Map - click to enlarge

Dominique Gilbert Photo Everest Base Camp 2008

Photo: By Dominique Gilbert: - Peak Freaks Mt. Everest  Base Camp South Ridge, Nepal    - more photos here.

          Tim               (Guide/ Operator) Nabs Larry MSM Sultan Saad Farouq Dom George

Sherpa Staff

Support Trekkers


Today we would like to  introduce the eldest member of our team - George LaMoureaux 51 years old, a realtor and cartoonist from Anchorage, Alaska. George's mission for climbing Everest is for the purpose of filming  "The First National Missing Children's Telethon" going from the "Coldest Mountain on the Planet" (Denali) to the "Tallest Mountain on the Planet" (Everest) and back to the "Studio Audience, Lost and Found Children, Law Enforcement, Supporters and Celebrities Endorsements along with Film Shorts for Peak Freaks"  Scott Mortensen, Tim Rippel and sherpa supporters will be behind the camera. 

LaMoureaux has been on a seven year mission to help find children is also fighting another battle; as a "Recent Cancer Survivor" that has had five Cancer Surgeries in the last two months and is on a “Customized All Natural Nutritional Recovery Program” for pre-climb, during the climb and post climb of Everest from sponsor Steve Plante’, owner of the Organic Oasis. “This program will strengthen LaMoureaux’s immune system and create the strength to climb Mt. Everest” said, Plante’. LaMoureaux, also received substantial recognition and support from the Lance Armstrong Foundation for inspiring and empowering people effected by cancer

LaMoureaux, who summited the 20,320 ft. peak of Denali in 2002, which was filmed by a FOX / Olympics Camera Crew, where he and his team went up Denali with only 17 days of food, because of bad weather conditions stayed for 31, consequently half the team turned around and went home, but LaMoureaux stayed until the other half of the team summited, which will be a part of the broadcast event.  Good luck George! there are many prayers coming your way.

A Child Is Missing Program is now in all Fifty States Nationwide and to date we have over 325 safe assisted recoveries to our credit. We work with the US Marshal’s Service, FBI, State and local law enforcement agencies, attorney generals offices and other child safety groups. The program has been used successfully for over 11 years. We also assist in school lock downs, CART, Airport Alerts for children and people with Alzheimer’s.

May 16, 2008- Tim checks in: "Expedition leaders and sherpas gathered yesterday to discuss next steps of fixing the route to the summit. The sherpas need some time to rest and prepare and the winds were high today so everything has been bumped back a bit. Seven sherpas have been contributed from various teams to head out when the winds die down probably around the 19th or 20th.  Peak Freaks will head up behind them on the 20th along with quite a few others from various expeditions to line up for a summit bid beginning May 21st . This should be the first wave of summits. That is the plan as of today. Weather from here on out will dictate how it will go. Everyone has been watching the May 21st window for sometime now and it hasn't changed much. Have a nice weekend everyone back home. We will be enjoying life at Camp 2. Food as usual is good, our infamous Peak Freak's sushi parties are as always a real spirit lifter. We are getting fresh chicken ferried up to us with fresh vegetables and eggs for breakfast so we aren't hurting in the food department. Pass the jelly beans please!  Over and out - Tim "

Ang Karsung cooking at Peak Freaks Base Camp Everest 2008

Ang Karsung Sherpa

Our base camp cook Ang Karsung has been working with Peak Freak's for now 17 years. It has been a realSushi Party Peak Freaks Everest Base Camp pleasure having such a talented cook and friend. Several years ago I taught Tim how to make sushi, he bought the equipment and condiments and spent one afternoon showing Ang Karsung how to do it. Ang Karsung nodded his head, Tim went on his way, and for dinner out came the most amazing sushi 100 x better than Tim's.  I think we should organize a sherpa cook off for the cooking channel. Can you imagine Hell's Kitchen up here!

Really!... having good food is a very important element in the success of an expedition. Maintaining good health through appetizing easy to digest food at these extreme altitudes is essential. Knowing what foods will keep well and eat well takes experience. Nationalities and their tastes are also a consideration for cooks. Because of this Ang Karsung is very good at preparing  international cuisine.  If you are reading other expedition blogs at this time you will see everyone is talking about food. That is because this is the main event from now till summit time.

Support Trek Team- Is now back in Kathmandu. Pictures coming soon. Some are getting ready to depart home tomorrow. Tonight they will be enjoying a Nepalese cultural dinner and dance as part of their Peak Freak bon voyage celebration.

Ang Pasang Sherpa Peak Freaks Everest Expedition 2008

Ang Pasang Sherpa

SHERPA MARATHON on May 29, 2008.  THE HIGHEST MARATHON IN THE WORLD! The original Everest Marathon was created and listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the highest marathon in the world. It is the world's most spectacular race and has been held twelve times since 1987.The start line is at Gorak Shep 5184m (17,000 feet), close to Everest Base Camp in Nepal. The finish is at the Sherpa town of Namche Bazaar at 3446m (11,300 feet) and the course is a measured 42 km (26.2 miles) over rough mountain trails.  This race traditionally consists of foreign racers. This year the sherpas are busy organizing their own right now from base camp. They are anticipating a start date of May 29, 2008 ,the end of the Everest season.  

Peak Freak's is sponsoring Ang Pasang Sherpa who has already made several trips back and forth during this year's climbing season.  All the yaks should be off the trail andPeak Freaks Everest team 2008 on the ice-fall at base camp by this time collecting expedition equipment so they should be able to really move. Epic!  what a great way to end the season.  Go Pasang Go!


May 15, 2008- Tim checks in: "The weather has been awesome and the team is also doing awesome. Sultan (first Everest climber from Oman), did his acclimatization climb to Camp 3 and is now back at Camp 2 resting. He is doing terrific! Farouq (first climber from Saudi Arabia), will be going up to complete his acclimatization day tomorrow and then we are in position to begin our summit bids. More oxygen is doing up and everyone is getting pumped. There are a lot of climbers on them move right now making their way up to Camp 2 from BC getting in position for the big summit push. "  Over and out- Tim

The cyclone we had been watching in the Bay of Bengal has now been down graded to a tropical storm.  We may have some precipitation rolling in around the 21st for a couple of days but the high pressure will hopefully keep it down in the valley. The team is now looking at a summit window around the 18th - 19th in hopes to avoid the crowds on the 21st onward. 

In the meantime Helen Lutz our team dietitian is working with the team and the cook to help build the climber's energy for the feat ahead of them. I will share with you some of her valuable information:

Eating for Everest:  Minimize Your Weight Loss on the Mountain

Helen Lutz MPH, RD

High altitude mountaineering is an immense physical and emotional challenge.  Eating and drinking are essential to maintaining energy and hydration for best performance.  However due to significant body changes and stresses at high altitude, eating and drinking can be an enormous challenge for many climbers. 

A number of changes happen to mountaineers when they reach altitudes higher than about 3000 m or 10,000 ft.    Many of these changes directly affect how well the body is able to eat, digest and use the food and fluids that are consumed. 

Weight loss is a common consequence of climbing and mountaineering at altitude.  Some researchers estimate that climbers can burn over 6000 calories per day in such extreme environments.  Yet food intakes of climbers at altitude have been shown to fall by 10-50% depending on the rate of ascent and individual tolerance. Just when a climber needs food energy the most, a high altitude, low oxygen environment immediately reduces a climber’s appetite and interest in eating.   

Weight loss at altitude represents the loss of lean muscle mass.  Those lean muscles are the ones that are needed to get you up (and down) the mountain.   Excessive weight loss caused by loss of appetite, exhaustion and stress can lead to further weakness and may mean the end of a long awaited trip.   

Meeting energy needs while climbing at altitude requires a concerted effort.   Carbohydrates are the most efficient source of energy to consume at high altitude.  Complex carbohydrates are found in whole grain bread and cereals, potatoes, dahl, rice and pasta.  These foods take several hours to digest, but provide the body with a sustained long lasting source of energy.  Simple carbohydrates on the other hand are digested very quickly and provide instant energy for working muscles.  Choosing food and fluids that provide the most energy with the least amount of digestive “effort” is the best choice while at altitude.  Research has shown that aggressively loading a climbers diet with carbohydrates, particularly sweet fluids, can be helpful.  Here are some additional strategies to minimize weight loss:

  •   ·       Seek out foods that feel good in your mouth, sit well in your stomach and are more likely to stay down.  Common “hiking” foods such as jerky, trail mix,  

  •        chocolate, cheese or nuts may be unappealing, and take too much energy to chew, swallow and digest. 

  • ·       Include protein rich foods in small servings throughout the day when possible.  Examples include lean meat, hard boiled eggs, skim milk powder added to hot drinks, small servings of nuts and cheese (they digest slowly), and dahl / rice meals.  Protein foods are helpful for repairing muscles tissue.    

  • ·       When you have the time and are feeling well enough, try to eat a larger sized portion than normal. 

  • ·       Snack on small amounts of food frequently throughout the day and be sure to keep these within easy reach.    Examples include hard candies, crackers and jam, instant breakfast drinks, small bites of meal replacement bars (with fluids), small bites of dried fruit (with fluids), dry sweetened breakfast cereal, soft candy such as gummy bears, and cakes.    

  • ·       Drinking sweet fluids that are high in carbohydrates is helpful.  Examples include apple cider, hot jello drinks, hot iced tea mixes, Gatorade, and sweet tea 

  • ·       Develop a schedule for regular, enforced drinking of sweet fluids

  • ·       Drink warm beverages if and when possible.  They are great physical and emotional boosters.

  • ·       If nausea strikes, sip on fluids frequently

  • ·       Most experts will suggest avoiding caffeinated beverages at altitude.  However, some climbers find relief from high altitude headaches by drinking a double strength cup of coffee.      

 May 14, 2008- Tim checks in:   "Nabs is on his way up to C1 then C2 tomorrow. Farouq has arrived at C2 and Dom completed his C3 acclimatization. Tim expects the Indian Army team is probably in the best position to make the first summit bid on May 17. Our sherpas are still working our oxygen supplements up to C4, 21 bottles went up and there is much more to go. We most definitely want to give these guys some days rest before the summit push.  We will make that priority. The ropes are just about completed to the south summit.  

Our summit bid will be the 17th or 18th of May. There is some wind on the 19th that will want to avoid and then there is a calming trend again on the 20th of May. There is a lot of talk of teams looking at the 20th to the 23rd. We are leaving ourselves open for the 17th or 20th depending on the status of our climbers and sherpas and their stamina around those times." 

At this stage of the climb the climbers are starting to show the effects of living at altitude. They loose incredible amounts of weight at altitude. It has been seven weeks now and a week or more to go before the summit push. They have by now lost all fat reserves and even continue to do so while resting. In this harsh environment the body will start to consume muscle when there is no fat left. It is always such a balancing act when climbing Everest. Acclimatization with health, time needed to recover, trips up and down to avoid AMS, hauling loads, sitting out weather. The down time with the Chinese invasion didn't help matters adding another consideration in the equation. Thankfully the weather isn't hammering them too bad this year. There is another cyclone developing off the Bay of Bengal but again, it is not expected to cross over Everest but never say never. They will be watching it closely. The spin off may throw some wind their way and unexpected gusts may develop. They will be watching!  Speaking of watching.... what a roller coaster of emotions for me watching "Storm over Everest" last night. We knew some the people that didn't make it and the sherpas that were put in a very hard position. The amazing David Breashears documentary of the 1996 disaster known to many by the book "Into Thin Air". A must see!!!  Riveting...This is the best climbing documentary you will ever see. 

Tomorrow our team dietitan will giving advice how to maintain body weight at altitude. If you have a particular question about nutrition for the high altitude climber. Now would be a good time to ask our High Altitude Nut - Helen Lutz MPH, RD    Stay tuned!

STORM OVER EVEREST BEGINS TODAY- MAY 13 ON PBS or Watch it online at Frontline- PBS



 MAY13- Vanessa EBC support leader checks in from Namche:     " around 10am that morning, Tim and group radioed from the top of the Khumbu Glacier to tell us all to come outside and look with our binos. They were waving to us! How cool was that???? They were 4 wee peeps standing at the top of the last ladder."  ....more here

Tim checks in: Today Tim, Scott, George, Larry did their acclimatization climb to Camp 3 and are now resting at Camp 2.  Sultan and Dom took one more day of rest at

 Camp 2, Dom will go up tomorrow and Sultan wants to wait till Farouq and Nabs get up and are rested. 

Tim says, " It was quite the visual the day before yesterday watching a steady stream of climber's butt to butt making their way up to C3, granted most of them were sherpas, but it put it into perspective of how many people there are up here. At base camp everyone is in tents and spread out so you really can't see the scale like we do now. The two ropes up and down from the south col will work well. Also the multiple summit windows on the horizon should make a smooth sailing for those who have been able to maintain strength, both mental and physical. "

 He also added that the route up to C3 was no longer icy. There had been some snow and now with sherpas stomping the steps down combined with the extreme temperatures during the day it is all compressing and making the route straight forward and easy to travel on. They went up in about 7 to 8 hours up and 2 hours down. 

May 12- Climber's going up and trekkers going down!- The trekker's left BC today. There was a storm yesterday and the clouds are still socked in so the trekkers that were thinking of climbing Kala Pattar for the popular photo advantage of the Khumbu glacier and Everest will instead head on down the valley making their way down to Namche to meet up with the rest of the team. 

Nabs and Farouq who took a rest day yesterday at Base Camp were stuck there today because of the storm. Tim, George, Dom, Larry and Sultan had a nice day above the clouds and storm at Camp 2 resting, reading and enjoyed a fresh chicken lunch, ham and veg snacking throughout the day and pasta and soup for dinner. They are comfortable, eating well and gearing up for Camp 3 in the early morning. There is plenty of time for Nabs and Farouq to catch up as Tim is talking about two waves for summit pushes. There are two windows right now. One is May 17 with higher winds increasing on May 18 and slowly tapering off offering another good window on May 21 to 23.  

As noted yesterday the south col Camp 4 is now fixed and our sherpa staff are now ferrying loads of oxygen up for the summit pushes. All is moving ahead in good speed. Good cooperation and everyone is still having fun but are at the same time starting to get anxious to get on top and get home to their loved ones and land of the living. 

May 12- China's earthquake and the Everest region!- Nothing was felt in the Khumbu Valley as far as I know. Nepal has not reported any quake activity there and Tim called this morning oblivious to there having been one.  Rest assured everyone is fine.  Updates coming in the next hour on the climb.  Becky

May 11- THE SUPPORT TREKKERS HAVE ARRIVED AT B.C.   Trekkers at base camp include: Vanessa, Bud, Val, Lisa, Tim, Kim, Sabrina, Naomi, Anne and rumor is out that Scott W. is on his way up today after taking a day off. Some may make a summit bid of their own on Kala Pattar while others start the decent back down valley. Ginette developed a cold by the time she first arrived at Namche which unfortunately developed into a chest infection, Hugo was not doing well from the altitude so he went with her and Bill is chill'in in Namche. Ginette's blog for the Canadian Nurses Association:  Roger and Mario got their heli pick up and are seeking medical attention on his foot in Kathmandu.  A BIG CONGRATULATIONS out to super star Bud Price from Nevada- 70 years old and who has just undergone a hefty dose of chemo treatments, is at base camp!.  Everyone is stoked for him.  Larry has asked if he could guide him up to Camp 2 tomorrow.

Tim called in from Camp 2: "Nabs and Farouq are taking a day of rest at base camp after their long walk back from Namche Bazaar. At Camp 2 right now is: Tim, Sultan, George, Larry, Scott and Dom. Tomorrow is a rest day at Camp 2 while Nabs and Farouq will ascend to Camp 2 to join them. The next day they will all push up to Camp 3. The route to Camp 4- (south col), is now fixed and loads of oxygen are on their way up to stock Camp 4." 

Everything is moving along swiftly now and news of summit bids are going to start coming off of Everest soon.  Exciting times!   Our team is looking at May 17 for a summit bid. The first summit bid window for this year. If they miss that one the next would be May 21. Everyone is doing remarkably well at this point but the hammer comes down now as the altitude really starts to kick in.  It will be a hole new experience for most of them. However they have one common strength that we believe plays a major role in the success of an expedition and that is their positive attitudes and team spirit." 

May 11, 2008 "HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY"- This is a prayer that Nabil's Mum composed for Nabil and for all the members of the Peakfreak expedition lads for the their final ascent. And this perhaps would reflect the prayers of all the other Mums who like me would want to wish them all a successful summit climb and a safe return.   Suhaylah


May the hardness of the mountains inspire you to remain strong, both physically and mentally.
May the Lhotse face so steep and shiny, hold your every step with firm embrace.
May your strength and stamina never fail as you negotiate the path across its face.
May the mountain spirits be around you, to guide you and lift you up and calm you.
With oxygen masks and crampons on, may you navigate your way safely through the maze of fixed ropes.
May you watch your every step over the slope of Geneva Spur, and sandy stones of yellow band, and lose no hope.
May the rose tint skies await you on your morning summit day,
With light wind on tow you shall ascend Earth's glorious peak in  May
Please do not linger for long up there, as your body cannot endure the hardships of the pressures abound.
You need the strength to be homeward bound.
You will return a Hero,  life's ambition fulfilled -  so rise and rejoice as your family and friends  await you.
God Bless You.

AND I BIG HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY TO ALL OUR MUM'S,  MOM'S and WIVES!  We will be very good.  We all know-  " The summit is optional and that coming home is mandatory." 

Peak Freaks Everest Team 2008 hanging out at Camp 2

Not shown: Tim and Saad-   Camp 2 dinning tent


May 9, 2008- We have our BC village back to ourselves - Tim checks in: Our military friends said their good byes yesterday thanking us for our cooperation and our hospitality. They are now packed up and gone and the mountain has been given back to the climbers on the south side only. China had announced in April it was going to re-open Tibet May 1 to foreigners again and a few days later made the announcement to keep it completely closed till after the Olympics is finished in August.  What this means for us on the south side?  

It means climbers can now wear "Free- Tibet" t-shirts and mention those words, we can have sponsor banners back on our tents, we have our mountain radios back, sat-phones, computers and video cameras returned to us, our freedom of speech, say what we want on our website and the best part is the mountain is now open to climbing to the summit!!!  

Last night was a very noisy night. The mountains were alive train wrecking all around us. Big chunks were slamming down off Mt. Pumori and the ice- fall was crashing and groaning. The days are getting warmer which will start to deteriorate the structure of the ice-fall. Have no fear though because the ice-fall doctors have built the route away from any of the dangerous areas and will be maintaining the ladders throughout the day. 

Everything is moving along swiftly right now. The ropes are in to Camp 3. Some of our sherpas headed out today to start chipping out tents spots at C3 and everyone is contributing sherpa man power among their teams to start fixing the route to C4- the south col.

Our teams climbing plan currently looks like this:

  • May 11: Team climbs up to C2 - sleep there two nights.

  • May 13: Team climbs up to C3- sleep one night.

  • May 14: Retreat to BC- or C2 and rest.

  • May 17: Good weather for a summit bid from the 17th to the 21st and possibly beyond. 

Depending how well the climbers recover from their sleep at C3 will determine how the summit bids will play out.  Scott, Farouq, Dom and Nabs are due back from Namche excursion tomorrow. As well the trekkers are now at Lobuche and should arrive at BC tomorrow.  Tim said the Peak Freaks camp looks like a little village of its own with many tents assembled for the trekkers scattered around them. It will be bustling with activity tomorrow night if they are on schedule. 

It has been quite fun for the trekkers and the climbers because of the break down to Namche. With everyone being scattered out down the valley during the closure, they have had the opportunity to become acquainted and really feel like they are part of the climb too and they are!  Their moral support does a lot for the climbers and what perfect timing! They will see everyone off on May 11- big celebration...  The last celebration was yesterday. It was Saad's birthday. Ang Karsung whipped him up a beautiful sherpa cake for the team to share with him. Nice!

Stay tuned! - summit fever is just around the corner....          P.S.  Roger and Mario were successfully lifted by helicopter today to Kathmandu. 

May 8, 2008 - A Larry spotting!- Trekkers spent the night with Larry May 8, May 9 at 0300hrs he sprinted off to base camp. The others will take it easy as Scott has an sprained ankle he needs to treat it with tenderness.

May 8, 2008- Chinese torch put helicopter rescue on hold. Now a trekker is stranded and very sick.  Emails from our headquarters in Kathmandu..


"The helicopter was ready to fly early this morning but the army suddenly stopped the flight as the Chinese are taking the Olympic flame up to the summit this morning. The Army received an order from the Ministry to ground helicopters.   The scheduled Lukla flights have operated but they are not allowing any helicopters to fly to Everest region.  They have put a temporary hold order on helicopter flights.   We were told by Dynasty airline that maybe we can do the flight after 10.30 am when they expect the Chinese will have completed their bid to the summit.   I have explained all this to Roger, and Tsedam is with them at the helipad in Namche waiting for the chopper".

Hi Becky,

"The Olympic torch has reached the summit and its on the way back 
down.  We are now getting permission for the helicopter to take off 
in about 15 minutes".


"Unfortunately the weather has turned bad and its cloudy, windy now 
and the helicopter is unable to fly in this weather. We have now 
scheduled a flight for tomorrow morning.  we will get them out 
tomorrow for sure".

Mario Trinchero had been bitten by an insect in Kathmandu before the trek and it has turned into a staph infection. The antibiotics are not working and he needs to be hospitalized. 

May 8 - Scott in Namche 0718hrs Nepal TimeHey Becky, Did our "GO! China mantra finally pay off? We have late breaking word that the summit was torched. I'm packing my bags in Namche Bazaar along with Farouq, Nabs, and Dom for the 26 mile walk back up to base camp. We'll take it easy as not to fry our legs. If the rumours are true we should be up to Camp III next week and then summit ourselves sometime before the end of the month...

Again, this info is all communicated via the Sherpa wireless but it has been quite reliable so far... all family and friends wish us luck. Hopefully we can now start ffilming, calling, and communicating. We are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers and you are with us every step of the way... Godspeed,   M. Scott Mortensen


May 8, 2008- this picture distributed by China's official Xinhua Nws Agency

CHINESE SUMMIT-  Here are a couple sites to check it out.

Live torch coverage at CNN website      Live torch coverage at Beijing website    CCTV- Beijing Official Internet broadcast

May 7 - Chinese going for the summit right now?    Go China go!!!!  I am sure the climbers on the south side would be beside themselves to join in the celebration. Out of a courtesy for all that they have been through they should be allowed to help cheer them on.  Can someone in China please wake them up share the news? I am serious! -  Becky       Posted: 1300hrs PST.

May 7, 2008 - Tim calls 0800hrs PST from Base Camp - Three days to go till Sagamartha (Nepalese name for Everest) is suppose to be given back to the world according the permit agreement. Our team members are slowly making their way back from Namche enjoying every minute of the land of the living. A place where things grow and body cells mend. Speaking of which- I sure hope Scott's sprained ankle is on the mend. 

Some of our Sherpas have been given permission to carry rope up to Camp 3 to start getting ready for the opening of the upper mountain. 

The weather is favorable from where I sit at base camp, but higher winds prevail on the summit. The weather reports show higher wind spikes in the next few days and dropping back down around May 13 but nothing significant. The skies are clear up top. This is all normal weather patterns for Everest. Traditionally the calmer wind transition doesn't take place till mid to late May so all is normal.  

Saad has had a successful acclimatization stay at C1 and C2 and will be ready to sprint in Rapid Ascent style whenever he is given the word "go" and the oxygen is in place at Camp 4. 

Everyone is doing well, spirits are still high, everyone is having fun but anxious to get on with what we all came here for. Planes were flying around Everest again yesterday but still no word from the Chinese.  Over and out- Tim

Our support base camp trek team who the climbers enjoyed an evening with in Namche should now be sleeping in Pangboche. Home of Lama Geshi, the Yeti Skull, Nima Dorjee and his wife Lhakpani. Tomorrow they will be moving up to Dingboche for two nights. We should be getting word from them by that point. 

A party of three on the trek team had a helicopter evacuation this morning out of Namche Bazaar.  Mario Trinchero from the USA had been bitten by an insect in Kathmandu that turned into a staff infection. He has been on antibiotics and bed rest but it is not healing. He needs hospital care. His father Roger returned with him and friend Paul Krsek who has been doing a dynamite job taking care of the them with the help of Lhakpa Sherpa and coordinating logistics. All three are returning to Kathmandu. Roger and Mario went by helicopter and Paul will walk out to Lukla and fly by fixed wing from there to meet up with them in Kathmandu.  Mario will likely go on intravenous to combat the infection. 

Wishing them all safe travels and Mario a speedy recovery! They are missed very much by the rest of the team. - Becky

May 6, 2008- To worry about what you don't have, is to waste what you do have!

Blog # 4- by MSM

Do you ever wonder why someone would want to climb the world’s tallest mountain?  Me too.  Usually, I prefer adventures that are a little more off the beaten path, like taking a couple of mountain bikes across the United States (hi Matt!) or surfing some secret big wave spot (Derrick, get the jet ski ready;)  No cameras, permits, hype, or fuss.  Despite, my low-pro preferences, this year on EVEREST is proving to be quite a unique adventure.  Other adjectives I would throw in are: frustrating, scary, scandalous, painful, harmonious, and successful.

Fellow climber, Nabil Lodey’s quote still rings true (he’s from UK ), “I’m trying to reduce the variables on a trip where there seems to be no constants.”  Since, only my family knew about my plans to go to Everest—and that was only two days before my flight left for Kathmandu—I would like to inform all my other loved ones of my intentions….For those of you who don’t know, my quest atop the world’s highest mountain is a goal that includes finishing an independent film, completing a book, and helping to shoot “Climb for America’s Missing Children.”


So far it’s going great.  Great that is, until I decided to escape the BASE CAMP theatrics for some R&R down the valley.  On the walk to Namche Bazar, I tweaked my knee in a downhill, Sherpa-led sprint.  (“Don’t compete with the Sherpas,”…Gold Team Leader is often quoted as saying, and once again he is right.) Additionally, in the last 800 meters of the 26-mile trek I sprained my ankle in foggy, white-out conditions.  I was trying to film scenery while passing some Euro-dudes, chain smoking cigarettes…What can I say, I’ve never been good at multi-tasking, so maybe “don’t compete with trail-blazing Euro-dudes sucking on coffin nails” is another motto I should add to the cache.  I doubt either injury--the knee, nor the ankle, is serious.  I just find it ironic that I thrashed myself in pursuit of rest and relaxation.  Some Advil and ice and I’ll be fine….I think.  I have a terrible innate ability to judge the severity of my pain.  Years back, I missed a landing at Mammoth Mountain ’s Snowboard Super-park and broke my neck.  I didn’t go to the doctor’s office until four months later because it was the middle of track season.  I was trying to break the four minute mile…not my neck.  By the time I got the MRI, the bone (C-7) had already healed.  On the flipside of my pain-threshold meter, sometimes a hangnail keeps me hurting for days.  Or, I worry that the brown mole on my forearm has turned into a cancerous melanoma and I’ve only got weeks to live…Humans, we’re neurotic to the bone aren’t we?  Hello?  Anyone?  It’s not just me is it?:)


Anyway, I only bring all this up because our friend Mustafa is attempting Everest for the third time.  Sponsored by the KING of JORDAN, he has battled chest infection, ulcers, and now a vicious toothache in his pursuit for 8850 meters.  This year is his third attempt.  He too traveled to Namche Bazar, though his mission was a bit more crucial than mine.  In his previous two attempts injury caused him to turn around very close to the summit, and this time he was taking no chances with the toothache.  At altitude, a caving cavity, crown, or canal can wreak havoc.  Fortunately, a brilliant Sherpa dentist, Nawang Doka Sherpa has a dental practice in Namche.  Unfortunately, she left for a week one day prior to Mustafa’s arrival.   Without an expert opinion, he was looking at another risky summit attempt.


Enter Team Peak Freaks. Nabs, Larry, Faruq, Dom and I were sharing pepper steaks at our favorite Namche spot, the illustrious Zamling Hotel, when we overheard the table near us talking about dentistry.  Sure enough, there was a dentist in the house.  Also, an assistant or two.  And for no extra charge all three of them, Rebecca, Kelley, and Amy also happened to be beautiful.  The Charlie’s Angels of Dentistry if you will.  Now all we had to do was find Mustafa.

Peak Freaks Mt. Everest team 2008

Team Peak Freaks .


In a simple twist of fate that often accompanies adventurers (and ankles for that matter) we happened to find Mustafa in the town square the very next day.  Too bad for him, the Charlie’s Angels of Dentistry had already left for Khunde, as scheduled…or so we thought.  We found Rebecca, Kelley, and Amy conveniently postponed in a bakery around the corner.  Now all we had to do was break into the vacant dentist’s office and Mustafa’s summit hopes would be restored.  No problem.  This is team Peak Freaks remember?  In honesty, we didn’t do anything except film the whole ordeal.  Within the hour, the proper phone calls were made, permission was granted, and Mustafa was getting molar #31 yanked right out of the socket.  It was gruesome!!!!  I got it all on film.  Can’t wait to edit it together, add some music, and post it on YOUTUBE.


So the molar of the story, (sorry, had to be done) is that for those who believe it all works out in the end.  At least that’s my motto.  On the bright side, my knee and ankle do not hurt at all when climbing, only descending...so who knows, maybe I’ll bring my snowboard to the summit and try to land that rodeo flip somewhere over the ice fall.


In all seriousness, I am very thankful that Rebecca, Kelley, and Amy could be of assistance for our friend.  Their group is doing great non-profit work with children in the area.  Mustafa, though down a tooth, is all smiles and I feel very confident that he is going to make it to the summit this year—and more importantly, back down again all in one piece.


For those who want to know what’s going on at base camp, trust me, you don’t.  It’s like a town of circus freaks without the carnival up there.  They shut down the mountain!  I didn’t even know you could do that.  I mean, it’s not Disneyland .  But on the bright side, we all made it to Camp II before we got booted out of there.  Our team spent a couple of restful nights at the equivalent altitude of Denali …and felt great.  So, keep the faith…I am sure it is going to work out for us just like it did for Mustafa.  And in keeping with the Olympic spirit let’s all cheer on the Chinese climbers.  May 2008 forever be known as the year Mt. Everest got torched.  Our summit aspirations rests on their early success and resultant permission to climb on…so from the bottom of my heart…GO China !!!


In a closing serendipity, the Peak Freak trekkers just entered the Zamling hotel.  Our numbers are growing—from 9 to 25.  Also increasing is the positive energy that abounds when adventurers of like mind assemble together for a unified goal.  You’ve heard about the high altitude horror stories in years past—thieves, cons, and careless crusaders… I’m happy to report that among our group, there is none of that.  It seems that the more adversity that is dumped on our heads, the more our team rises to the occasion.  So thanks to Tim and Becky for assembling an amazing crew…Next year, you might want to think about adding the Charlie’s Angels of Dentistry--Rebecca, Kelley, and Amy.  Oh, and if the King of Jordan happens to read this, a small donation to Nawang Doka Sherpa’s dentist office in Namche might be in order.;)


So many stories, so little time,




Trek team now have their own blog page: SUPPORT TEAM

Saad Naseer- RAPID ASCENT UPDATE: Saad has received special permission from the authorities allowing him and Pasang Sherpa to go up to Camp 1 for acclimatization. 

May 5, 2008- 

MSM- filmmaker/writer and good friend! 

"Just checked in and found out that my friend Scott is on your Peak Freaks expedition this year to Mt. Everest.  I just spent the last 30 minutes reading through the amazing blogs.  I came away utterly hyped by the entire teams endeavors!  I was struck by how often in Scott's blogs he praises his team members, which tells me (as he does not praise lightly) that they really are brilliant.  It is typical of Scott's style however to place others on top. (in spite of his competitive nature).  Scott truly is humble. In his service to others he continually puts their needs above his own.  Regardless of a deadline he may have looming - if you have a need; a project, an orphanage, a film to edit, a film to shoot, a charity that he believes in , you come first.  Always.
He has written about those on the team but who will write about him?  He, amongst his friends is a powerful magnet.  They flock to him (like birds migrating North) as if to receive by osmosis, a part of the energy and life spirit that emanates from him.  He motivates and inspires everyone around him. Even from a distance - his feats, his projects, his undying desire to serve makes a person feel ashamed if they live anything less than, the talents God has blessed each with.
I just wanted to let you know that while he writes of the greatness of those he climbs with, they too are in the presence of greatness by having him as part of their team.
God speed to each of the members and it's my prayer that each succeeds safely in his personal journey!"


May 4, 2008- Climbers in Namche Bazaar:  Now resting in Namche Bazaar is Dom, Farouq, Nabs, Scott and Larry.  Dom was there since yesterday, Farouq, Scott and Larry left early in the morning from BC and Nabs left later. Apparently there was quite the snow storm and Nabs reports in from Namche before the others who left in the morning. I have since received more news from Farouq and photos so we can rest assured they are enjoying some yak steaks and apple pie and may be taking in a few beers at the local pub downtown Namche. Good times!  While Sultan, Tim, George and Saad are holding out at base camp having their own good times. 

Where are the Chinese? no one seems to know and there is much confusion at base camp in Nepal. One day you can make a sat phone call, the next you can't but someone else can. Yes you can send out messages, no wait a minute- now you can't. Organization of the rules at base camp seem to be playing out the same way. Everyone off the mountain- wait.... no... okay maybe you can take some rope to Camp 3. Everyone not on the permit must leave at once.... wait...well okay you can stay.  What a season on Everest this has been. It has been hard to get organized when everything keeps changing.  No matter, so far everyone is making the most of it and doing well and spirits are still high, all of which is most important at the end of the day.    

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST!   Helicopter crash Makalu Base Camp: Many expeditions that were scheduled to climb Everest from the north side in Tibet and were cancelled without prior notice opted to go climb Mt. Makalu Elevation (feet): 27765. Elevation (meters): 8462 in Nepal. Check this video out of an unfortunate landing. All seven survived!


May 2, 2008-Base Camp Support trek team have all arrived in Kathmandu. Between power outages due conservation practices and natural ones caused by recent thunderstorms they have managed to get a team photo dispatched from our Kathmandu base camp hotel.  Right now they are all sleeping peacefully after a long day of touring the city and visiting the Hopeful Home orphanage children and delivering clothing and educational supplies. Good job on Vanessa's part getting everyone organized in their team shirts for the photo op!  Not an easy task when everyone is tired from their long flights. They look pretty darn good.  What a team!


As for the climbers, most of them other than Tim, Sultan, George and now Saad,  have decided to go all the way down to Namche Bazaar instead of Dingboche. It is quite possible they will meet up with  the support trekkers while there. The trekkers are scheduled to depart tomorrow morning to Lukla. Day 1 of the trek. They will walk to the village of Phakding situated along side the Dudh Kosi river that comes out of the Khumbu Glacier. The climbers were reporting earlier that Everest is really dry this year. However things could change at anytime as mid to late May is the onset of the rainy (monsoon) season. They don't need any snow loads on the icy face leading up to Camp 3 at this stage of the game. They were expecting some yesterday but it is hopeful it will melt because the days are starting to get very warm. 


May 1, 2008 (Nepal time)-- Khumbu Chronicle urgent update-  Apparently the agreement that the expeditions signed as a condition to climb this year isn't worth the paper it was written on. The mysterious Chinese visitor that arrived at BC by helicopter a couple days ago was a Chinese official who came to insist the Nepalese military completely close the mountain down from May 1 to May 10, contrary to what the expedition leaders signed as a condition of being granted and paying for a permit.  A couple of hours of negotiations with the Nepalese military Major (who went to bat for the climbers) reached an agreement before the Chinese official started to get dizzy from the altitude and had to leave. Sigh.

The new verbal agreement will now allow 2 sherpas per team to stay at Camp 2 but they have to rotate every two days. All persons at base camp that are not on the climbing permit have to leave base camp from now till May 3 or thereabouts??? whatever that means. This includes many expedition leaders who don't take out a spot on a permit since they don't actually climb on Everest. Crazy!  Also any base camp managers and support people must leave and no trekkers are allowed in during this time. Everyone's permits were checked one by one so there are a lot of people packing right now.

Yesterday- April 30-  there was a plane doing circuits around Everest  passing from the north side to the south side dipping down to film the north face of Everest.  Word from official Nepalese sources "in the know" in BC said the Chinese were filming. They also said the Chinese may have summited but apparently they couldn't keep the torch lit so they are going to try again.  This is likely why the closure is still in affect and security is being beefed up.

Our team is heading down to Dingboche right now to do some communicating with loved ones, if the line up isn't too long. Gee, I wonder how much per minute calls are going to be at Gorak Shep and Dingboche today? Tim is holding at base camp to greet Saad who will be arriving tomorrow and get the oxygen supplements sorted for carriage to Camp 4 whenever things settle down and life on Everest returns to normal.

Stay tuned as nothing seems to be written in stone.

April 30, 2008- Khumbu Chronicles update- Our team should now be sleeping at base camp as the mountain is closed starting tomorrow. Originally climbers were allowed to climb as high as Camp 2. Now it appears they have to vacate the mountain completely. They are now only allowed to have 2 sherpas per team at Camp 2 due to Olympic torch relay security.  During this time our climbers were planning on retreating down the valley  to Dingboche or Pheriche  to rest in the richer air. We may even get another dispatch from Scott while down there. 

As for the Chinese, the torch is rumoured to be at  Base Camp on the north side in Tibet but there is little news coming out of there because journalist are falling ill due to altitude sickness. They weren't given much time to prepare by doing the  normal acclimatization layover schedule before arriving at BC because of confusion on who was going to be allowed if anyone at all.  No one has seen the torch and probably never will because journalist aren't allowed to go past base camp. 

There was a worrisome cyclone in the sea of Bengal headed in the direction of the Himalayas but it looks like it will miss the region, thankfully. Calming wind trends are in the forecast starting May 2 to 6 so it is possible for the Chinese to summit with the torch and get out of there so teams on the south side can have a crack at it.  There is still much work to do before this can happen. Our team needs to stock camp 3 and 4 and undertake one more acclimatization climb to Camp 3 in order to be ready for a summit bid if another window of good weather opens like the one forecasted for May 2 to 6.  "IF" is the part we are worried about. If a second window doesn't open we are in a bad position competing with the Chinese for the" next window" once again.  If it does open this week, but happens to be the only one, we are also in a bad position.  Talk about being between a rock and hard spot. 

THE PERFECT SCENARIO: The Chinese summit May 2 or 3.  The weather holds all of May, no winds and no snow. Wouldn't that be grand? but not realistic. There is a storm coming in the next day or two bringing snow to the lower elevations. 

Let the show begin!

April 29, 2008- Peak Freaks Khumbu Chronicles- Our team should be sleeping at Camp 2 still. They have been up there for a few days now getting the most out of their acclimatization opportunity before they are shut down. 

Because no one is allowed into Tibet to give a report we have no confirmation on what the Chinese are actually doing. Rumors are that the torch is at Everest base camp on the Tibetan side of Everest and because they have asked that the Nepal side of Everest be closed May 1 to May 3 and the weather forecast is showing a couple days of calm, it is thought that they are planning on going to the summit during this time. It is odd that such a large international event would be kept so secret.   

  • Everest south had a  brief helicopter visit with Chinese officials who took a walk about Everest base camp on the Nepal side. No one knows what they were doing there. 
  • The teams at Camp 2 are coming down reporting a sign being placed there saying  "Dear climbers, do not go past this point." There is also military police on duty at Camp 2. 
  • Saad Naseer checked in.  He went from Lukla to Namche in just under six hours. He is now sleeping in Pangboche.. 


April 28, 2008- "21- Day Rapid Ascent" The team is now complete! Last team member arrives in Luka this morning.  Allow me to introduce Saad Naseer from Chicago. This is one climber that hasn't been affected by the Chinese closure of upper Everest.  Saad's plan was to arrive in Kathmandu April 27and attempt a "record breaking rapid ascent of Mount Everest in 21 days or less."  Saad is scheduled to arrive in base camp sometime before May 8 in time to celebrate his birthday at the foot of Everest with the rest of the team, and to be ready to attempt the summit with only one acclimatization climb to Camp 2 before heading out for the summit. He will be in position to climb immediately upon the opening of the upper part of the mountain which is currently closed till the Chinese have completed their torch relay on the Tibetan side of Everest.

Saad's 21- day ascent from Kathmandu to the summit and back if successful, will be done in one third to one half the time of a normal mountaineer- without the standard four to six weeks of acclimatization and pre-summit bid. " I have nothing to justify my desire OR guarantee my success but I have the heart and the experience to give it my best shot" says Saad.

After talking to Saad it quickly came to our realization that if anyone could do it,  he could.  He has several factors and some preparations that will all be working on his side. He has spent the past five weeks sleeping in a High Altitude sleeping chamber designed by a Canadian company based out Ontario called - ALTITUDE TECH. They claim that sleeping in the tent will change Saad's oxygen saturation slowly in his blood stream helping him to acclimatize well before he even arrives at the mountain. If this proves to be true, it may be that climbers in the future won't need to take so much time away from work and family to attain the acclimatization needed to climb Everest.

Saad has demonstrated an ability to acclimatize faster than normal, an ability that he attributes at least in part to genetics. Saad has not only proven to climb with above average speed but his choice of mountains and summit record is extremely impressive.

Saad's climbing bio includes:

  • Summited every notable mountain in the continental United States including a solo summit of Mt. Rainer and a solo summit the Grand Teton.
  • Summited Mount McKinley twice, once via the west buttress and once via the west rib which he did solo from 16, 000 feet on.
  • Summited Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside of the Himalayan and Karakoram ranges over 23,000 feet.
  • Summited Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in just three days.
  • Summited the Matterhorn, a much coveted cllimb as well as the Eiger, one of the most technical climbs and the Monch and the Jungrau in Switzerland.
  • Summited Mount Blanc in France.
  • Summited Mount Cook and Mount Aspiring in New Zealand.
  • Summited Mount Alpyamay, a very technical climb, Mountain Quitaraju and Mount Huascaran and climbed through the Peruvian Andes.

If successful, the Ministry of Tourism of Nepal is anxious to record his summit in the Nepalese Mountaineering records for a non- national record.

April 26, 2008- Moving up!  According to the plan as passed on by a friend in valley, the team was headed up to Camp 1 yesterday Nepal time and should be sleeping there now. Next they will be going up to Camp 2 to acclimatize then drop down to Camp 1 to sleep. The next day they will climb to Camp 2 and sleep there for about 4 nights before retreating to base camp for a rest. 

A little village will be forming at Camp 2 in the next few days as teams start to stock their camps. They will have like base camp, a dinning facility, cook tent,  toilet tent and their sleeping tents and storage. We will be powered by our trusty solar panels and LED light. Fresh food will be cooked 3 times a day for the climbers and sherpas. In between Base Camp and Camp 2 when there isn't a dinning and kitchen tent set up,  they will enjoy their yummy organic boil in the bags of curries and vegetables and some MRE (military rations) for the meat eaters on the team. 

During the day it will be extremely hot. Temperatures can reach the high +30c's and drop down quickly to -15c to -20c at Camp 2 as soon as the sun goes down. The higher they go the colder it will get. 

April 25, 2008- Plan B in effect.......  Team news- thanks to "Communications Plan B" and MSM. 


April 19th -A large slab of glacier falls off the Col between Lingtren & Pumori and trains wrecks its way down the southeastern face. our team is safe of course, watching the big show from an icy precipice on the other side of the upper Khumbu valley. We are at 5900m, finally through the popcorn patch of the ice fall where sketchy boulders of snow and serac give way to rolling plains of glacier.

"Wow, this one might dust base camp." Tim says over the din of rumble that reverbs off the mountain walls. The rest of us stand drop-jawed, a little less accustomed to gravity's white rampage.

As the avalanche unravels, speeds & spills a fine mist settles over the rocky basin thousands of feet below. Fortunately base camp- nomadic sprawl of multi-colored tents & prayer flags prove to be a safe harbor. A prevailing southerly blows the now impotent cloud back towards Tibet. heart rates return to normal. 

As always, after witnessing one of these natural extremes (I.E. A big wave, a big storm, a big avalanche) I am left awestruck. Only hours before this event, Tim, Dominique, Nabs and I were taking a snack break on a relative flat part of the ice fall known as "The Dam"  I was only one nibble into my cheese and salami cracker when something deep inside the bowels of the glacier dropped - and along with it all of our stomachs. The ensuing echo sounded very much to me like a loud "GULP" was something trying to swallow us? Instead of sticking around to find out, we retreated to higher ground where the glacial anatomy was a bit less ravenous. Sure enough, a passing sherpa informed us that three of his colleagues had perished in this precise location last year.  Words from a 1982 Canadian Everest rattled through my head. "The ice fall is not a proper mountaineering route." no matter, we carefully graciously emerge unscathed to as far as the fixed ropes would take us. At 12:45pm, about an hour away from Camp I, the whole team stopped for lunch. After rest & re-hydration we unloaded the contents of our packs, down-suits, sleeping bags, thermarests, and all the necessary gear we'd need for Camp I. In  two days time, we'd be back.

April 21- Yesterday, Tim, Sultan, Dominique, Larry , Nabs and I made it to Camp 1, not without our share of adversity. Nabs (The guy from the UK :) Valiantly fought his way through injured intercostals cartilage, a bout of Khumbu cough, and black nail on his left foot resulting from a bad case of hammer-toe. "oh yeah, you're going to lose that nail for sure." I calmly reassured him. nonetheless, he dealt with the pain, marched over the final snowy perch & dropped his pack at our camp I tent. Tonight we were going to be roommates. 

As we melted snow for our dinner of curry chick peas, lentil soup and hot tea a cold wind started to roar. The chill slowed our cooking progress so I dug into a half frozen MRE composed of mystery casserole and a crumbled oatmeal cookie. Delicious actually. At various times during the night, the wind seemed angry enough to rip our tent apart at the seams. The payoff being that under the deafening cacophony, I could scarcely hear Nabs' incessant cough. Poor guy.

As for the rest of the team. Larry "Gold Team Leader" Williams & Dominique "The Dominator" Gilbert are proving to be among our hardest charger's. Both of them climb with stealth and style. Larry is a gritty veteran who knows the power of proper pace. We share a lot of things in common- we sport the same mid-90's Dana Designs pack, we wear size 13 Scarpa Inferno plastic mountaineering boots, we even have the same "personal best" in the 800m from our high school track & field days. Finally, we are both devotees of the same Magic Mountain Elixir that has ensured our high altitude health over the past month. (Product classified.) in the end, I think Larry will make my top ten all time hero list as his knowledge of bird, French, World War II Trivia, and episodes of "my name is Earl" far surpasses mine. 

Dominique looks a lot less like an assassin now that he's lopped off his 12-inch goatee. nonetheless, I stand back a few meters when he's double fisted with ice axes, free soloing up our base camp practice wall. 

Sultan (first Everest climber from Oman) is acclimatizing well after a challenging start. Tim, as he does with all of us, is assisting his progress. It must be difficult making the transition from mountains of sand to mountains of snow, yet he is climbing stronger everyday. 

Speaking of fearless captain & coach, Tim is proving to be a guide with endless energy. experience, and the enthusiasm to share his abundant mountaineering know-how. His skills are a comforting commodity in an atmosphere often flooded with more ego than ability. His care for the team is apparent on the mountain and off. For example, he hooked me up with a loaner pair of foot warmers (thanks Mr. Henry Todd!), he manages the eco-friendly solar panels for our rest-day movie nights (Nabs provides the DVD player), and he deals with an endless barrage of ridiculous & redundant questions. ("are there hot dogs at Camp III?")

As you may recall from the report, Farouq had a crampon blowout only minutes into our first ice fall training run. Though we all searched for his "missing link" the tiny piece of medal was lost for good. Or so we thought! nine days later, refusing to give up Tim found it on a small ledge within a crevasse. Those odds have to be greater than a proverbial needle in a hay stack. 

Oh yes, here's one final "I appreciate our guide "Tim" story. On the night Nabs and I were tent partners, I noticed that our floor was leaking like a sieve. "Hey Nabs." I said, "with this wind chill and a swimming pool for a floor I'm pretty sure we'll be frozen solid by morning." Nabs' only reply was another torturous coughing fit which I translated as "GOLLY GEE" , and all this on top of I've forgot my tea & crumpets! " or something to that effect. 

Fortunately Tim walked by at that exact moment. "Hey Tim, I know there's nothing we can do about it now but all our down gear is getting wet because of this soggy floorboard." Before I had a chance to discuss the heat loss properties of wet down Tim had ripped the fly off a storage tent and chucked it inside our cubby hole. "There you go boys, use that for your footprint." he whistled and walked off into the sunset. Out of growing respect for our Canadian patriarch, I am now a committed fan of maple syrup, ice hockey, Pamela Anderson ....whatever parts of her that are still Canadian that is. 

Okay, it's getting late and I am now delirious. Let's rap this up. Farouq, our faithful, Saudi Trooper got a late start to Camp 1. After battling a chest cold with a round of antibiotics (Cipro) he charged his way up there. his positive energy never left him and he's right back on the track with the rest of us. George on the other hand fell into a crevasse a few days ago. (A mini-crevasse according his sherpa, Ang Pasang. Maybe even a regular hole.)  He reports, " I was about 500 meters from base camp when I fell in, twisting my knee & ankle in the process." Fortunately, a daily regimen of ice, aspirin, and light duty seems to be healing him quick. Like Farouq, George is a man with no shortage of inspiration. As a recent Cancer survivor (cell carcinoma of the head & neck) his energy is astounding. In his own words, "three months ago they said I was a dead man...I'm not giving up this easy." I am certain he will be fully recovered when we head out for Camp II in a few days.

It is now dark and cold and everyone has gone to bed. in the rising moonlight a late show avalanche props down the Lho La Pass...the mountainous saddle that separates Nepal from Tibet. There is so much to say, but for now I just listen. The snow cascades like metal at velocity in this silver moonlight, spilling its gust over a rocky shelf and landing in the thunderous applause hundreds of feet below. Again, I am awestruck. Good moves in these acts of creativity & deconstruction. 

I am freezing cold now, but I am not tired and there is one more piece of blank paper waiting for some ink. Besides, the sherpas are still carousing about in the their communal tent and their frequent laughter is warmth enough despite the fact I have no idea what they are saying. 

I suppose I will finish this discourse by answering questions I intend to ask of everyone present..."why do you climb?".....For me, climbing is a passionate pursuit that works as a simple life metaphor. I enjoy the hard work it takes to "move upward." I love the creative force required to "get over." and I thrive in the leap of faith that comes when you finally make it "on top." The new perspective earned through adversity allows me to see how every stop along the journey carries its own special purpose. Such is the nature of hardship....self-imposed or otherwise. you refuse to quit, keep pushing, reach for that state of higher being & eventually you'll come up with a view that transforms all the agony into ecstasy.

Finally, being able to share this adventure with family, friends & fellow climbers is an awesome gift. And thought his year on Everest seems to carry an extra dose of adversity the end result will be similar to years past: An entity that is alive is reduced to the lowest common denominator by one that is not. Our team is hopeful that in this education, we will have what it takes to reach our goals.


April 24, 2008- The route to the summit and how it will work:  The main hazard climbers face on Everest is the famous Khumbu icefall,. Many say this is the crux ofKhumbu Ice-Fall at sunrise the climb on the south side of the mountain within Nepal. It is  located not far above Base Camp and in our case this year, we are camping right at the front door. The ice-fall  is caused by the rapid movement of the Khumbu glacier over the steep rock underneath. The movement breaks the ice into sérac (large, pointed masses of ice) cliffs and columns separated by huge crevasses, and causes repeated icefalls across the route between Base Camp and Camp I. Many people have died in this area. Exposed crevasses may be easy to avoid, but those buried under snow can form treacherous snow bridges through which unwary climbers can fall.

The standard climb of Mount Everest from the south side ascends the Khumbu glacier to Base Camp at 5,400 m (17,600 ft). We use four camps above Base Camp; these camps give the climbers an opportunity to rest and acclimate (adapt) to the high altitude. The route from Base Camp through the great Khumbu icefall up to Camp I at 5,900 m (19,500 ft) is difficult and dangerous; it usually takes one to three weeks to establish because supplies must be carried up the mountain in several separate trips. Once Camp II, at 6,500 m (21,300 ft), has been supplied in the same manner using both Base Camp and Camp I as bases, climbers typically break down Base Camp and make the trek from there to Camp II in one continuous effort. Once acclimatized, the climbers can make the move to Camp II in five to six hours. Camp III is then established near the cirque of the Khumbu glacier at 7,300 m (24,000 ft). The route up the cirque headwall from Camp III to the South Col and Camp IV at 7,900 m (26,000 ft) is highly strenuous and takes about four to eight hours. The South Col is a cold, windy, and desolate place of rocks and snow slabs.

From the South Col to the summit is a climb of only 900 vertical m (3,000 vertical ft), although its fierce exposure to adverse weather and steep drop-offs poses many challenges. The section between 8,530 m (28,000 ft) and the South Summit at 8,750 m (28,700 ft) is particularly treacherous because of the steepness and unstable snow. From the South Summit there remains another 90 vertical m (300 vertical ft) along a terrifying knife-edged ridge. The exposure is extreme, with the possibility of huge vertical drops into Tibet on the right and down the southwest face on the left. A little more than 30 vertical m (100 vertical ft) from the summit is a 12-m (40-ft) chimney across a rock cliff known as the Hillary Step; this is one of the greatest technical challenges of the climb.

Our sherpas left yesterday for Camp 2 and the climbing team will follow in about 3 to 4 days - weather pending. Once they reach Camp 2 they plan on staying at least 4 nights to completely acclimatize to this altitude.  They will then retreat to Base Camp and wait it out to see what card the Chinese will play in taking ownership of the mountain this year during the Everest climbing season restricting all climbers to only climbing  to Camp 2 until they are finished with their torch relay. Keep in mind the Khumbu ice-fall is not climbable after May 31. Warmer weather starts to melt the glacier making it completely unsafe for climbing the end of May beginning of June.. 


 April 21, 2008-  SUPPORT TREK TEAM SOON TO DEPART TO NEPAL ....Members from our Everest 2008 Base Camp support team are gathering  in Kathmandu next week to begin the trek up the 

Peak Freak trek guide Vanessa Higgott


Khumbu Valley to help boost the expedition up to the summit. They are scheduled to arrive at base camp May 10.  This is the same day the team will be allowed to start climbing again beyond Camp 2 to the summit. This season we have a group of 16 trekkers combined with our18 sherpa staff members and our 9 climbers who will be taking up a very large spot at base camp when all 43 of them gather together to celebrate the onset of the summit bid. 

Our support treks are not only meant to help give our climbers a moral boost. The word "support"  has another meaning. This years trek will be lead by Vanessa Higgott from Ontario who is organizing a scholarship fund for the HOPEFUL HOME. She will be taking our trekkers who have been busy gathering clothing and other items much needed by the home. They will have the opportunity to meet the children and drop the goods off to them.  The fun kind of giving!

We will be covering the trek in to base camp (thanks to their contributions coming soon to this page) and maybe even hear some base camp tales that may filter down through the Khumbu Chronicles gossip column since we won't have our communication reinstated till May 10. 


  • Vanessa Higgott- trek leader from Ontario - Vanessa's bio 

  • Lisa Wood- Utah

  • Valerie Littleton- Utah

  • Sherell Price- Nevada

  • Sabrina Lemire Rodger- Ontario

  • Paul Krsek- California

  • Ginette Rodger- Ontario

  • Scott Webber- Manitoba


  • Hugo Fortin- Ontario

  • Kim McCloy- British Columbia

  • Tim McCloy- British Columiba

  • Roger Trinchero- California

  • Mario Trinchero- California

  • Annie Garneau- Ontario

  • Naomi Garneau- Ontario

  • Bill Winters- Florida


 Good luck to all of you!  


April 20, 2008- Permission granted for an uncensored satellite phone call.  Tim checks in this morning to confirm the team is all doing great. Everyone has been up to Camp 1 except for George and Farouq. Farouq leaves tomorrow to do his acclimatization sleep at Camp 1 while the others continue to put their time in at base camp waiting for Camp 2 to be completed.  Our team was on the route between Camp 1 and base camp when Gelyzen Sherpa who was working for another team collapsed and was diagnosed as having suffered a stroke.  Our sherpa team helped take him down off the route and he is now safe and sound in Kathmandu. 

The route to Camp 2 is just about completely fixed with ladders and ropes.  Our sherpas have  been up to prepare the area where our Camp 2 base will be assembled. The team expects to be taking their first trip up to the highest elevation so far to Camp 2 in about 2 to 3 days time.  They will sleep there getting their bodies adjusted to the new altitude for one night, maybe two,  and then retreat back to base camp to recover once again.

The winds have been battering them a bit in exposed sections on the route. Nothing out of the norm that is. This time of year battling wind is common due to the warming spring weather pushing the colder winter air out of the region.  When the spring weather has won, it will create a calm period on the mountain (briefly), before the clouds and storms start to move in caused by the onset of the monsoon season, which brings a lot of moisture with it in the form of heavy snow fall and poor visibility. This calm period is what is referred to as " the summit window". The summit window  traditionally takes places every year mid  May and it is, or "was" their intentions to be in position with all camps stocked and all members acclimatized to the altitude of Camp 3 when the summit window arrives.

The wind is expected to linger a couple more days and then drops off quite a bit on the 23rd to 25th of April. Then come the 26th of April some of the highest winds yet should be expected.  Possibly as high as 120km winds on the summit of Everest.  

It has been rumored that the Chinese were hoping to put the torch on top of Everest on the Tibetan side as early as April 28. If my wind predictions are right this may not happen. However if they get it there earlier this week, say for April 23 to 25th, it could be possible.

It is a fine balance between health and weather that makes a successful summit climb on Everest.  So far we have health and the weather is considered to be all of normal so far. 

I don't know when the next report from the mountainside will be out so keep watching! We have some Plan B communications in progress and will be posting when they are received.  Tim also says that everyone is warming up at base camp. When they first arrived they were wearing the heaviest of the fleece clothing and now they are starting to sport their 5500m beach wear.   :)

Stay tuned!


April 19, 2008- AT CAMP 1 - According to expedition plan our team should be sleeping safe and sound at Camp 1. This would be their highest sleep so far at 6065. There was a report that got out from base camp via a Sherpani women in the area that a sherpa climber from another expedition had collapsed in the ice-fall complaining the side of his body was numb. He was brought down and taken out to Kathmandu by helicopter. He has summited Everest twice so it was considered odd he would have difficulties this time around. He was able to walk and talk with no problem prior to his evacuation. 

April 17, 2008- Chinese at 7500m on the north side of Everest- Tibet. Still along ways to go and high winds today have held them back. Sorry, no news on the south side within Nepal because of the Nepalese ban. However, it looks like my weather graph reading was right telling Tim in one of our previous pre-ban conversations to expect high winds April 17.

April 16, 2008- No News Is Good News!- In a perfect world....I would be reporting a conversation I just had with Tim. But in the case of the communications ban we will go with assumptions. They were ready to head up to Camp 1 and return to base camp. Because we haven't heard otherwise from the military, it will be safe to say that they are now sleeping like babies safe and sound in base camp.


Families of the climbers will not be left in the dark. We have established limited communication to let everyone back home know the status of their loved ones while climbing. Plan B is now in effect.  Readers don't go away for too long. We will be posting some great information to fill in void during the communication gaps up until the ban is lifted May 10.

My last conversation with Tim he said the team was heading up to Camp 1 tomorrow as planned. Jim Carter scientist from Nassau is at base camp this year performing a study on the effects on the brain of a climber at altitude. They have selected our Peak Freaks team to help them with these test. They will have tested our climbers at base camp and will also test them throughout their climb. This is the same test that is performed on astronauts while in space. They will be tested as they ascend and descend by a series of questions and functions to perform. Tim said the team is really excited about it.  It will give them something else to think about and do. Climbing Everest believe it or not can get quite boring. 


Excerpt from the Business Times Online:

[ Lodey’s attitude might come across as cavalier, but it is not. Indeed, a glance at his CV reveals a predilection for life on the edge allied with finely calibrated risk-taking.Peak Freak climber Nabil Lodey This is a man who, fresh from his degree in economics at Queen Mary, University of London, joined the Royal Navy. He soon found himself seconded as a UN observer to the de facto independent Caucasian republic of Abkhazia in the midst of its secession attempt from Georgia. “My role involved a blend of diplomatic and legal skills,” he says. “We’d often be called to meet the opposing sides on the ceasefire line and assess what had happened.”

In his 11 years with the Navy, during which he qualified as a barrister, Lodey also saw service in Baghdad, Basra and Afghanistan before joining Freshfields last year. A year later, he had itchy feet. “It had always been a dream of mine to take on a really big adrenalin challenge. I’ve always wanted to find out what my personal limits are. For family reasons, too, I was keen to do something for charity.” Because he used to row competitively, Lodey toyed with the idea of rowing the Atlantic. Ultimately, though, the allure of Everest took hold. As if this isn’t dangerous enough, Lodey is forfeiting job security for the climb.

What are his chances of a successful summit attempt? Lodey admits that he has read Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, an account of a disastrous Everest expedition in 1996 in which eight climbers were killed and several others stranded by a rogue storm. The book and its events led to criticism of guiding companies that take inexperienced clients into environments as severe and potentially fatal as Everest. “I asked the company a huge amount of questions about the expedition and especially about my lack of experience. I was reassured by its professionalism. The fact is that we’ll be in the mountains for three months and during the first few weeks, at low altitude, we’ll be learning a huge amount about mountaineering.”

There will be those who will say that taking on Everest as an accomplished mountaineer is a high risk, but that attempting it with such relative inexperience is mad. But if anyone can do it, it is the determined former Navy officer from Freshfields.  ]

Nabil Lodey had to resign from his position in international law in the International Arbitration Group at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. He says jobs like this don't just wait while you take time off to pursue other interests. 

The expedition and equipment is completely self-funded, however, he is separately raising money for UNICEF and is pleased to be able to say that every penny he raises will go to charity rather than subsidizing his expenses. To contribute to his fundraising effort, please use the link below.

If successful, to the best of our knowledge, he will be the first member of Middle Temple to climb Mount Everest - and possibly the first member of the Bar.

Tim and I had the opportunity to meet with Nabil together for the first time when we were all headed to climb Kilimanjaro this year at the same time. It was timely that I personally had the opportunity to meet Nabil before the Everest climb started. He is one great guy and the team adores him and values their new found friendship.  His great sense of humor that spilled out at the first moment we met assured me  that the team was in for good time. By the sounds of Scott's blogs, I was right!

A word from Nabil aka Nabs:

"Wherever I go in the world, I am always touched by the innocence and resilience of children, and their ability to play and laugh in any environment however bleak, impoverished or dangerous. Like many other privileged individuals, I am saddened by the injustice that millions of children all over the world still do not have access to even the most basic and essential rights that we take for granted: food, water, medical care, and education. This is why I have chosen UNICEF whose programmes are focussed on the survival, education and development of children throughout the developing world. I hope you will support my fundraising appeal to ensure that those who are most in need benefit from these programmes.
I will be pushing my own boundaries to the limit in order to reach the summit and raise as much money as possible for what I believe is a very worthy cause. I take this opportunity to point out that the cost of the expedition has already been entirely self funded and that every penny that is raised over the coming months by you will go to directly to UNICEF."

April 14, 2008- Meeting on communications ba Today the senior L.O. came over to  introduce Tim and  the head of the Nepalese military along with 4 other members of the military who will be monitoring the unique climbing regulations this year on Everest. The formal meeting with the expedition leaders and the military is scheduled for tomorrow to hand down the procedures and expectations of the climbing teams with regards to their communications equipment. They wanted to meet with Tim to get an idea of what questions and concerns the climbing teams might have so they can prepare themselves.

Tim explained to them that the number one thing expeditions will want to have is a communication link with home, and that this was of the utmost of importance to all of them. The leader of the military group understands this because he is a climber. He himself has summited Everest and has a family too. Tim explained that everyone has gone to great length in preparation and expense to come and climb and that the communications ban was not part of the plan so it is difficult to swallow. They discussed websites blogs. Tim explained that websites that are relaying dispatches from the mountain are doing it mainly to update their family and friends at home and for some it is being used as tool for securing sponsorship funding and was never intended from what he knows of the climbers here today, would be used as a political medium. He told them for us at Peak Freaks like other commercial operators, website blogs help generate tourism for Nepal and that this is a good thing.  They said absolutely no to cameras but are pondering how to best handle communications but are not making any promises. 

Tim also asked them what their plans were for trekkers coming in that have cameras and sat phones. They advised that trekkers will be stopped before entering the base camp area and will be asked to park their cameras and phones for collection when they leave. As mentioned in one of our earlier dispatches, it would be a good idea for trekkers to mark their equipment and perhaps take a photo of your equipment with you for easy identification. 

Here are some of the restrictions in the agreement expedition leaders were asked to sign as a condition of being granted a permit this year:

  1. Climbing between April 1 to May 10 up to Camp 2 only. There will be police on the mountain to Camp 2 to make sure.
  2. The rest of the mountain will be open after May 10. The mountain closes by call of nature and the ice-fall melt May 31. 
  3. All electronic equipment is not permitted on the mountain from April 1 to May 10. This includes all cameras, video and other. Laptops, PDA's and Satellite phones. All items will be collected from expeditions by the Liaison Officers at base camp and locked up till after May 10.

Ice-fall update!  The ice-fall doctors will sit it out tomorrow until  the meeting is over then the next morning, Peak Freaks will be the first to head out tailing behind the ice-fall doctors who will dart ahead to fix the last section to Camp 1. Peak Freaks team will drop a load and hang out getting used to the new altitude before retreating to base camp to sleep.  Tim also said from their little trips up so far the fall is looking good. He said the docs had commented on how good it looks to them too this year. They are pleased!

Larry checks in with his wife Carol Thanks so much for all the updates you're posting; they really keep me going :). I talked to Larry last night (our time) and he was cracking me up. He is just giggling...so I know he is "high", literally, that is...but I'm sure it's not just the altitude, he seems very happy with Tim's leadership and the whole set up, it is just so wonderful to hear how excited he is. So thank you for everything you are both doing! - Carol 

April 13, 2008pm- Ice-fall doctors allowed to return to work on the route. More liaison officers arrived today and couple more teams. The senior L.O. and a few others that Tim has become friends with over the years of working there gathered in the Peak Freak tents for a social this afternoon. A meeting was organized and leaders were told that the ice-fall doctors have been given permission to complete the route to Camp 1 but no one is to climb until the military officials have all arrived and they have their meeting. So one more day in occupying themselves. 

Peak Freaks sent over more sherpas to help work on the helicopter rescue pad. It has been established there for rescues for sometime but because it is on a glacier it needs maintained moving the new rocks that have pushed up since the last season. 

Other entertainment today included watching a DVD brought up from Kunde by Ang Ngima sherpas son Ngima. Nima is our official runner this year. The DVD was a copy of the documentary just aired 2 weeks ago on CBC called "The Climb". The story is about the 1982 Canadian expedition where Laurie Skreslet and Pat Morrow were the first Canadians to summit Mt. Everest.  Ang Nima Sherpa who will be leading our group of base camp trekkers up to base camp May 1 was in the film and was part of that expedition and Pat sent him a copy. Tim contributed DVD footage of Everest to to the film.



Three days ago, we all tried our hand climbing the notorious Khumbu ice- fall. Our base camp is situated as such that we have front row seats to this glaciated freak of nature. The ice fall, as you may know from Everest photos or films is a dangerous amalgamation of sapphire seracs and hanging boulders made of snow. To me, it looks like a whitewater tidal wave frozen mid-explosion. As Dom and I were studying the fragments, searching for a route through the melee, he quipped in his regular French/Terminator style accent, "the" more I look at this, the more it looks like foolishness. He is no doubt, the strongest ice climber out of our crew. 

Our progress was slow, as we were hammered by snow for the duration of the climb. Clipping into ropes with expedition mittens, was cumbersome to say the least. Certainly the altitude was making our legs, crampons, boots, and packs seem all the more heavier. Tim leads the way through the maelstrom with excellent precision, a feat made especially more impressive considering he did it with one crampon affixed to his boot. Poor Faroq had an early "wardrobe malfunction" blow out a spring in his crampon. Tim, being the ever generous and capable guide, switched gear with him and still whooped us all up the mountain. 

As a team , we really didn't get too far. But yesterday delivered a brilliant twist in the weather and with it, a seemingly miraculous spike in our ice climbing ability. Under blue skies and 75 degree F temperatures we pounded our way very close to Camp1- The golden pot at the end of the Khumbu Ice-Fall rainbow! we are the first team to progress this far along with the route established by the legendary ice-fall doctors. The heroic sherpas who risk life and limb to set the ladders and ropes through the frozen maze. 

And though we are all in good spirits about progress, there was a humbling reminder waiting for us at the top. Tracks from a snow leopard bonding to and fro, leaping over crevasses crossing up, back, and down showed us all how the real pros navigate though terrain- and without crampons !!!

April 12, 2008- The Liaison Officers and Military are just outside base camp at the last lodge location at Gorak Shep.  The team saw them on their way back from Kala Pattar today so Tim has sent Dendi our expedition climbing sirdar down to be a fly on the wall.   This could be it!

Other news is that the team is preparing equipment in the morning to head up to Camp 1 or close to depending on the ropes and drop a load. The Sherpas won't be going anywhere. They will wait till more fixing has been established as they prefer to boot it all the way to Camp 2.  This is the plan anyway. Tim said he will update me with what actually happens tomorrow.

Scott prepared a green style dispatch today as a practice run should we loose our new world communications.  I will transpose it tomorrow for everyone to read. I on the other hand have been practicing reading weather reports. If I am right- they should be expecting high winds on April 17 up to 95 km per hour on the summit of Everest.  Only problem is I  won't have confirmation from the ground because they can't see the summit where they are at base camp. If they were to see it, and trekkers could from Kala Pattar or Tengboche, they would see a lenticular cloud formation over the summit of Everest which is the tell tail sign of extreme winds. 

Stay tuned!

April 11, 2008- No idle time for our team During the past 11 days our team has been getting acquainted with their new home, meeting new arrivals and bonding with their Sherpa team mates. They have been practicing ice climbing skills and movement on ladders and are all checked out with 85 to 98 percent oxygen saturation levels at Everest Base Camp's  altitude of 5380 m (17700 ft)

High altitude affects the human body due to oxygen deprivation.  Oxygen is critical to normal cellular function.  The main physiologic effects of hypoxia (low oxygen) alter physical performance, mental performance and sleep.  Our team is well past this stage now and are feeling energetic.

As one gains altitude, there is a drop in the barometric pressure with a corresponding drop in the oxygen pressure.  At an altitude of 3,000 meters (9,840 feet), commonly an altitude encountered at ski resorts, the barometric pressure and the oxygen pressure are 70% that noted at sea level.  At 5,000 meters (16,400 feet) the oxygen pressure is 50% that at sea level.  On the summit of Mt. Everest 8,848 meters (29,021 feet) oxygen is 29% that at sea level.

Persons over 50 years of age seem to be less susceptible to altitude illness.  Women are equally prone to AMS but seem to be less susceptible to HAPE.  Physical fitness is not protective against high altitude illness, although obesity may be a risk factor.  Medical conditions such  hypertension, coronary artery disease and diabetes do not seem to affect the susceptibility of high altitude illness.  Genetics seem to play an important role. 

Having said that, the team has opted to go climb a non-technical trekking peak- Kala Pattar 5600 m (18,500 feet)  that is behind them down the valley. They will keep their legs moving as to not let any muscles become weak after all the training they have done. They will now be able to climb Kala Pattar with good speed and push their lungs hard. Had they done this on the way in to base camp they wouldn't get as much out of it as they will now. There won't be any tricky maneuvers, ladders, ropes or bulky equipment  to slow them down here as there will be on Everest. 

During this time away the ice-fall should open and our sherpa team will start hauling loads up to assemble Camp 1 and then Camp 2. By the time the team returns they will be ready to get up to Camp 1 6065 m (19900 ft) right away.

Tibet  reverses plan to reopen to tourism.  May 10, 2008 we were notified all Everest expedition permits on the north side within Tibet were cancelled and no foreigners would be  allowed entry into Tibet. Earlier this week, April 8, I was notified by our Tibetan contact that Tibet would be reopened to foreigners commencing May 1 but the monasteries would remain closed. Then just today I was notified that this plan has now been  reversed keeping Tibet's doors closed till after the Olympics.  One more disappointment for climbers who had high hopes to climb and acclimatize on the Nepal side and wait till the Chinese were finished with their torch relay to go and have their crack at the summit well  after the Chinese had cleared off Everest.  No hope now of a summit bid on the north side  since the Olympics doesn't take place till August. Autumn on Everest anyone? Not Peak Freak's, we will be busy training for Everest South Ridge spring of 2009  on  Mt. Pumori the daughter of Everest.

Enjoy the photos above....be sure to click on them to enlarge them.

Have a good weekend!

April 10, 2008- While the Ice-doctors work- the climbers will play!  The new way of climbing Everest!  Much unlike the old days where around every  block of ice would be a surprise. Now with the new system, all expeditions pay a fee to employ the brave select sherpa climbers to do what they do best in making the mountain as safe as possible for passage. Tim said the ice-fall is in good shape from their recent trip up to check out the progress. He said there is one spot that looks a little risky and the plan would be to  just move through it as fast as possible and the docs will be watching it closely. Everyday with melting and glacial movement is a new day anyway, all part of climbing. Throughout the climb the docs will  monitor each section and adjust ropes and ladders and the route as needed. The docs came down for a rest today and to collect more rope. One more trip up and Camp 1 will be ready for teams to start assembling. 

I always tend to get ahead of myself with excitement early in the climbs. Everything seems to be working like clock work and visions of an early summit often play in mind. Rarely does it happen, especially on Everest. The winter weather is still in the area which holds back on mountain storms. Timing of an April 1 start works for climbing on Everest as climbers need this time to acclimatize. They do this by climbing high and sleeping low. Then they go high and start sleeping high.  All of which is mandatory to achieve proper acclimatization. Folks back home think they are mad. Why would go high and then go back down so many times? For more information refer to our pages on Acute Mountain Sickness and Surviving Everest

Tim did a walk about today meeting and greeting the new expedition arrivals while other members did laundry and caught up on reading and their journals. He told Dominique that he met two climbers from Quebec while out so Dom went and had a nice visit. Tim reports that BC is quiet. Not so many teams this year as it was thought to be by earlier reports. It was thought that  because of the closure of the Tibetan side of Everest all the teams would come and overcrowd the south side which was a concern. Not true (so far), pretty quiet. I had read someone's blog that they are late getting to BC because they are having trouble getting yaks and porters and are sitting it out in the valley. It is possible that they just haven't all arrived yet. Numbers were thrown out there a week ago that they may be 250 climbers including locals at base camp but I am also told of  news of new climbers just now arriving in Kathmandu. 

April 10 was the Nepalese election day! All seemed to go off without a hitch so far. This could mean the arrival of the Liaison Officers who are selected to search and monitor electronic equipment and enforce the communications ban may be arriving soon. Until then....we are here!

Over and out! Team now sleeping in BC.

April 9, 2008: Several Firsts with Peak Freaks this season!  First Saudi, First from Oman,  21-day Speed Ascent, Climb for "America's Missing Children", Climb for Unicef. Hopeful Home Everest Support Trek. All being featured here over the course of the expedition. 


Today, I’d like to delve into a “profile of courage” for one of our team members, Faruq from Saudi Arabia .  I told the boys that I am going to try and write about them all while I

Faruq Alzuman- First climber from Saudi Arabia to climb Mt. Everest

 still like them and am not freezing cold and exhausted up on the mountain…So the first shout out is for Faruq Alzuman of Saudi Arabia.  You’d think the pressure of being the first Saudi to summit Mount Everest would weigh heavy on his stout shoulders.  Instead, he ambles through the days with a genuine appreciation for the moment.  Whether it is with a Nepalise cook, Sherpa guide, or fellow climber, Faruq is always ready to give his full attention to the person before him and the task at hand.


 Now, if you are a typical American like me, you may not know much about the Saudi region and the rich culture within it.  In fact, because Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Osama bin Laden as well as 15 of the September 11th hijackers, you may harbor negative connotations of the country.  One handshake with Faruq will change all that.  In fact, I believe he underestimates his own capacity as a cultural ambassador for his country.  He quickly inspired me to learn more of his culture and heritage.


Upon further study, I learned that Saudi Arabia and the United States have a lot in common.  Most notably, we are both trying to find our national identities in a world where rampant modernization, mass consumption, and extreme wealth have exploded in the last century.


Formally, the United States and Saudi Arabia sealed their first commercial handshake on March 3, 1938 in the Persian Gulf city of Dammam .  That handshake was covered in oil as U.S. petroleum companies and King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud completed a successful drilling venture in the region.  Today, Saudi Arabia hosts over one fourth of the world’s oil reserves and with it, the power to influence nations.'


Faruq is from Saudi’s capital city, Riyadh which is an ultramodern testament to the power of global enterprise.  As in America , hip kids with cell phones, fast cars, and posh bars line the streets of the burgeoning metropolis.  Apparently, the city’s nightlife is hard to distinguish that of Los Angeles .  But Saudi Arabia is not just another conservative country trying to deal with change.  Their nation is the birthplace of Islam and the keeper of Mecca and Medina .  Their cultural history is rich in tradition and progress.  When Europe was still staggering through the dark ages, Arabia was making profound developments in science and philosophy.


Though Faruq is not sure of the correct English word it sounds like his father works as an Urban Development official which must be no small task for a city that according to some sources “has seen more change in the last six decades than the previous 13 centuries.”


As such, it is no wonder that the youth in Saudi Arabia are at a similar existential crossroads as the kids back in the U. S. of A…namely, what do we do with all this newfound opportunity spawned by an explosion of wealth and modernization?  The luxury is nice.  The availability for education and employment is overwhelming.  Yet where the dollar soars the soul often stagnates.  I call this the Irony of Endless Choice.  The irony arises in this paradox: in a world where everything seems to be at your fingertips, it is hard to get a grip on anything.  As for me, I am undertaking this journey to Everest because it has been a deep seeded desire and now is the right time to pursue it.  For Faruq, his reasoning may be similar.  We both come from modest origins and yet we harbor big dreams.  He once worked as a sign twirler on the streets of Seattle , I was a janitor in a church.  We are both extremely physical and yet deeply spiritual.  Though we have spoken nothing of it, I am sure that together we share a vision of adding some soul to the march of human progress.  Faruq is so proud to be representing his country, it makes me miss my own.  And while every nation has its own particular vice, there is also no small amount of virtue in his homeland.  The Arab culture is one that brought us the modern numerical system, algebra, the paper mill, and my personal favorite, the guitar.


In short, I am looking forward to more time on the mountain with Faruq and am hopeful to see where our imagination can take us, not just on a journey to the top of the world, but also around it.


 On another note when down the valley I had a time out day while the rest of the team when to Kunde and  met Ang Nima Sherpa’s family who invited everyone over for a nice course of Yak steaks and received a khata from his wife to be blessed for our safety on the trip.  Nabil said he would not climb with me as I did not receive the customary red string blessed by the Dalai Lama himself.  I promptly reminded him that the Dalai Lama and I shook hands in 1996 after a peace talk he gave in New Zealand .  Nabil quickly recanted his statement but it was too late.  For a small fee, I may let him climb with me as the eternal fortitude from his highness still permeates my being and most certainly will give us all a holy shot at the summit.  Until next time, be well my beloved family and friends.  


We miss you all.



APRIL 9, 2008- LATE APRIL FOOLS!- Tim went out to investigate Larry's find. After poking around Tim confirmed it was someone's old garbage. The bones turned out to be a hip bone of an animal that was probably the  remains of an old expeditions food supply.

APRIL 8, 2008- REMAINS OF A BODY FOUND IN THE ICE FALL:  Today Peak Freak team member Larry Williams discovered what is thought to be remains of a dead body in the Ice-Fall while the team was climbing.  It appears to have worked its way out of the ice and is now surfacing and will start to thaw in the days to come. Larry reported seeing possibly frozen brain matter and expect the ravens will get at it soon.  Pictures to follow.

Today the teams mission was working on the ice-fall getting comfortable practicing movement with loads while maneuvering on  the ladders. We employed  local ice climbing Sherpa instructor, Lakpa Sherpa this year to help with skills evaluation and being the team coach on the ice. 

New Arrivals! The teams base camp is butt up to the ice-fall so they couldn't see the new arrivals which are now visible from up on the ice-fall. You can't see them from where the Peak Freaks camp is unless you walk back in their direction. They are further back from the glacier and the moraine rubble obstructs their view.  Lama Da set-out and preformed a Puja today for them. 

Our team also  met up with Ang Pasang and Ang Nima (Ice-fall doctors) who say it will probably be two more days, maybe three, then the route will be ready. After that Camp 1 is a go. They managed to put in four more "very" vertical ladders and 400m of rope, almost to Camp 1. 

This is interesting! Tim talked with Ang Pempa Sherpa in the ice-fall today who was carrying a HD camera filming a documentary on the Ice-doctors for the Nepalese Government. Very cool! This is something that really needs to be done. These guys are the real heroes on the mountain along side the climbing porters and climbing Sherpas. Can't wait to see it!

Our team is quite happy with the menu so far. Tonight they enjoyed fresh organic roasted chicken, potatoes,  greens and banana pie. Tim said the team commented that they are really enjoying the quality time together pre-climb and the location of their camp. They are nestled in a bowl feature making it nice and warm and are just steps to get on the ice-fall.  Lhakpa Gelgan made a trip up to Everest Base Camp in February to set-out our camp area. Needless to say his tip will be grand!

Chinese Moving up!  While Everest south teams are starting to check in no news from the north since the Chinese closed everything up for the Olympic Torch relay. Word has it that they have as many as 50 climbers in progression now starting to work on the mountain and if the weather cooperates they could stand on top as early April 28. We had heard earlier that this would be the "ideal case scenario" for our Everest south climbers canceling the Chinese demands on Nepal to close the route to the summit till after May 10. 

APRIL 7, 2008- NEW MOON PUJA POWER   We couldn't get a better Puja blessing date than today. The skies opened and the sun was brilliant and warm. Our Puja was  priority today. Lama Da made a special trip to BC for Peak Freaks as we have a very large and spiritually connected sherpa team this year and this ceremony is considered critical to everyone's safety. Today was the first day of the new moon. The moon plays a significant role in the Puja. The new moon is the best date according to the Lama's. All the equipment was piled high and the juniper was smoldering, lots of chanting, ceremonials drinks like chang (a rice based drink resembling Japanese Sake, also served warm) easy does it!  and beer. During the chant, offerings of food were given to  Lama Da. He  made a  barley paste from Tsampa (ground barley) temple coated with the climbers favorite candies as their offering to the temple.  During the ceremony everyone is given rice and Tsampa  to throw at each other. Too fun!  Lama Da is going to stay with Peak Freaks till the rest of the expeditions arrive and then he will be very busy making his rounds.

Just a few more ladders and a few more days and the team is ready to go to Camp 1. They are biting at the bit to get at it. When the ice-fall is officially ready the Sherpas will go ahead passing Camp 1 and press on up to Camp 2 to start establishing camp with tents, stoves, fuel, food, toilet etc. to have it ready for the  team's next move after Camp 1.  

We received word this morning from our Tibetan contact that China has officially announced to re-open Tibet to tourism commencing May 1 but not the monasteries.

Lama Da's prayer notes. Equipment blessing Gamow bag demonstration

APRIL 6, 2008- PLAY DAY! - Today the team was practicing skills  in the ice-fall. The ice-fall doctors took a day off and they are expected to be finished fixing the ladders and ropes through this section in about four days time. So far the EverestER medical facility has been assembled and one lone Korean climber has arrived.  Tomorrow Lama Da will be arriving to perform our expeditions Puja ceremony. After the ice-fall is done and the Puja, it is time to LET THE CLIMB BEGIN!  The Sherpas for spiritual reasons will never put foot on the mountain without participating in this very important ritual.  The food is blessed, the climbers and their equipment. For more information you can read here PUJA CEREMONY  Everyone is doing fantastic!  Acclimatized, healthy and eating lots!

APRIL 4, 2008- NORMAL.... That is how we are approaching this climb right now.  Many more questions and concerns are coming about after the hasty release of the regulations to climb Everest this year. There appears to be just too much on the table in Nepalese politics right now and one can't get clarity on several outstanding issues. The Chinese Olympics, the onset of the Everest season and a concerning election taking place on April 10th.  A reliable source in  Kathmandu said in an email a few days ago-- " because of the upcoming election government officials have been assigned jobs for the election and the ministers are in the field to get votes".  


I just spent about an hour reading through some of the daily blogs and your other articles about Everest.  You know, it really moves me to think about what the team is up against.  The weather/climate, the civil unrest, the health issues, not to mention the huge physical and mental challenge of the mountain itself.  "Expedition" is sometime overused in our society, but not in this case in particular.
Your green climb article is refreshing, practical, and inspiring.
 Just generally, as I surf the site, you guys make me proud to be Canadian!  I don't know if I'll ever realize my dream to climb Everest, but you make it at least possible for someone like me to dream it. 
My thoughts and prayers go with the team.  I'll be watching with interest. 
 Scott Dagg from Ontario

APRIL 3, 2008- CLIMBER LARRY WILLIAMS email finds its way home.: 

"The scenery is mind blowing, the food is awesome, the people are sweet and kind, and the birds are amazing.  We are in Namche Bazar for our second day, and after 3 hard days of hiking, morale is still sky high, even though we are a bit tired.  Our team is totally fantastic.  Everyone is motivated, funny, caring and just great.  Our team is very tight, we are fast becoming close friends.  Tim is the perfect leader, very competent but also funny and very down to earth.  We all totally love the guy.  Our sherpas are really cool and look after us very well."

APRIL 3, 2008- WHAT ABOUT THE TREKKERS! - Cameras? Sat phones? - That was another topic of conversation this morning between Tim and I. Each year many base camp support trekkers make their way to base camp to see the ice-fall and all the action that happens around an Everest expedition.. They come fully equipped with video and still cameras and today even personal sat phones. So does this mean they will also have to park them? more than likely, so trekkers beware and make sure you carefully mark your cameras and phones as there may be a very large pile to sort through. 

Fortunately our base camp trek team of 16 members is due to arrive at base camp on May 10 for 2 nights. So if all works that the Chinese get their torch on top, we should be okay. 

APRIL 3, 2008- ICE- FALL FIXING  IS PROGRESSING NICELY - Tim called 0945:  Another Doctor Ang Pasang  Sherpa (ice-fall doctor that is) dropped in for tea with Tim today at BC to report that the ice - fall fixing is moving along swiftly. They have successfully  installed 900m of rope and 7 ladders are in place and are back at it first light. 

We also had more time to discuss the meeting with the Ministry prior to his quick departure to BC. At that meeting all leaders were required to sign an agreement with the ministry on adhering to the new rules for this year only. Those rules were very clear:  

  1. Climbing between April 1 to May 1 up to Camp 2 only. There will be police on the mountain to Camp 2 to make sure.
  2. The rest of the mountain will be open after May 10. 
  3. Communications equipment is not permitted on the mountain from April 1 to May 10. That includes all cameras, video and other. Laptops, PDA's and Satellite phones. All items will be collected from expeditions by the Liaison Officers at base camp and locked up till after May 10.

The communications ban hasn't happened yet to Tim and his team because they are ahead of the Liaison Officers. He expects they will be there in about 4 to 5 days time and when that time comes we will correspond with communications Plan B.  It is rumored that there will be Chinese officials at BC too.

ALREADY AN EVEREST RELATED DEATH IN 2008! - Not a pretty sight on the trail between Lobuche and Gorak Shep. A working yak died on the trail. Tim said the yak drivers were pulling the expedition equipment off of him when he passed by. He said it will be a pretty smelly mess to walk by for sometime because he isn't going anywhere.

Tomorrow the team is heading over the ice-fall to start swinging some ice axes getting ready for the climb.  They are still the only ones at base camp other than sherpas from other teams who are now starting to move rocks and make space for tents.  

Everyone is doing really well.... They are stoked about their camp and how comfortable their home is going to be over the next 2 months. 

Over and out!  


APRIL 3, 2008- ALL IS GOOD!  Tim managed to get a broken up call out last night. His call yesterday didn't happen because of a storm in the area that quite possibly interrupted the reception.  There was no check point at Gorak Shep when he passed through and he hasn't seen any police yet. It is quite possible he is ahead of their plans to set-up security so everyday will be a wait and see. We are waiting right now for his next scheduled call.  Stay tuned!  

APRIL 2, 2008- Hmmm

Tim Rippel and Dendi Sherpa our expedition  sirdar are now reunited in base camp. Photo: Ama Dablam 2006

 No news from Tim this morning.  The old saying " no news is good news" doesn't apply here. This is the first day of silence since he arrived in Kathmandu on March 15.  So your guess is as good as mine at the moment. Did he get his sat phone confiscated? or is there just a technical glitch?  It will be a wait and see at this point.  The last I spoke to him was last night North America time, his morning, he was just heading up to visit Lama Geshi at his house and then hitting the trail to base camp to join up with rest of the  team who arrived at EBC yesterday. Stay tuned! 

APRIL 1, 2008- TEAM 1 IN BASE CAMP-  Just got off the phone from Tim in Pangboche. He opted for the flight to Lukla and a swift trek to Pangboche (11 hrs), the last 2 hours was in the dark walking with his headlamp. He met up with another head lamp on trail making the night run, it was  long time friend Ang Pasang sardar with IMG on the trail. They enjoyed some heart felt hugs and a good chat on all topics of climbing on Everest this year and catching up on family news. 

Tomorrow morning Tim will nip in to visit Lama Geshi's house and get his personal blessing. A very important step in climbing Everest. Our other members already had their blessing  when they passed through a couple days back and there will be another one at base camp in a couple days once the entire team is united with all the sherpas. 

Team 1 is Nabs, Larry, Farouq, Scott and Sultan. Team 2- a couple days behind because of their later arrival in Kathmandu is Dom and George, they are in Lobuche right now. 

We are the first team at base camp as our camp was set-up 2 weeks ago waiting for the permit issues to get sorted out because of the Chinese demands on Nepal. The ice-fall doctors (the sherpas who work maintaining the ice-fall) have already started fixing the ice-fall with the ladders and ropes and should have it ready to start climbing on in about 6 to 7 days, maybe less. Tim says there are  many yaks on the trail right now making the move to collect all the other expeditions equipment and get it up to base camp. The trail will be extremely busy during the next week and our team will be entertained watching the little base camp city quickly develop around them in the days to come.

Mountain Conditions: Tim had a good visit with Lhakpa Dorjee and his wife Tashi yesterday on the trail. They said that this winter was very cold and dry so there isn't much snow on Everest this year. Tim said it is colder than normal right now where he called from in Pangboche. This is all good news to my ears and Tim confirms that as a result the ice fall should be nice and tight.

As for communications Tim is still traveling with sat phone in hand. So as long as he is allowed to keep it we will keep  posting. We suspect he may have it taken from him by as early as tomorrow when he passes through the last village of Gorak Shep just before base camp. Rumors are that this is where they may set-up a check post.  If this happens we will still get word out as best as we can. We will resort back to the way it used to be. They way we used to climb before everyone started carting equipment to base camp.  Have a look here to learn how that might happen:  LESS IS BETTER- on our GREEN THEME  page.


Hi folks,

 I must get off one more speed blog even though I am now dipping into my Sherpa tip money. Internet at 14,ooo feet is not cheap and rightfully so.  I pity the yak that had to carry the satellite dish on it’s back up from Lukla.  Sultan and Faruq seem to be acclimatizing well.  Fortunately, Will continues to supply us with the necessary sunscreen, band aids, and beef jerkey as we continue our push to Everest Base Camp.  Yesterday we did a little hike up to 17,000 feet and I felt great.  I felt great that is until Nabs and Larry decided to do it twice just to display their acclimatization dominance over the rest of us.  So far, they are the studs of this endeavor and I must constantly quiet my competitive voice.  The usual ego driven, “take them out!!!” is thankfully exchanged with a new mantra…. “save your energy.”   The battle for brilliance continues between the two at our nightly conversations.  In a somber moment, Nabs reminded us that for every ten people to summit Mount Everest, one person dies.  Larry, with his quick math genius replied, “Well, we only have nine people so we’ll be fine.”  Nabs has been quoted as saying, “I’m trying to reduce the variables on a trip that seems to have few constants.”  His eloquence with the English language far surpasses mine, but I threaten physical shenanigans every time he out wits me.  (I’m sorry if this blog makes no sense.  

Anyway, Nabs sentiments at trying our best to prepare are widely shared.  The Chinese continue to clamp down on communications for their ever important Olympic torch run up Everest.  Those of you at home probably know more about the situation as we are without CNN and other media outlets.  The latest word is that this may be my last communication until after May 10th, as there are no outgoing messages from Base Camp.  

George and Dominique arrived last night here in Dingboche.  Dominique seems to be suffering from the same stomach flu that I dealt with.  George is on the other end of the spectrum, full of energy and passion.  His mission to Everest is to film our expedition in attempts to raise funds and awareness for America’s missing children.  He has two great HD cameras in his pack which is wonderful, since mine died in Pangboche….another victim of altitude sickness I guess.  Anyway, in a simple twist of fate George is without a cameraman/writer for his mission …so it seems I’ve picked up some more work.  My current goals are to shoot some Everest footage for an independent film I’m working on, cut together a trailer for Tim and Becky of Peak Freaks,  help out George with www.climbforamericaschildren.com, and oh yes, summit Mount Everest.

To all of you rooting for us back home, your thoughts and prayers are widely felt.  Our energy and enthusiasm is growing.    NAMASTE and AGAPE and all the best.



March 31, 2008- PERMIT IN HAND.....Just got off the phone from Tim in Kathmandu. He was packing quickly getting ready to go and catch up to his team. He will jump on a helicopter if there is one going  up that he could slide onto,  or he will fly to Lukla and start a fast pace up the trail. A trek that takes eight days he will do in two because he should still be acclimatized from doing Aconcagua.  The team just arrived in Lobuche today and are doing well. 

As suspected the permit comes with rules. Rules we were afraid of but at this point there is nothing anyone can do if you want to climb Everest this year. Here they are::

  1. Climbers can only go as high as Camp 2 until the period between May 1 and May 10.  The day the Chinese have set to have completed their Olympic torch relay.
  2. No communications till after May 10. That means no sat phones, laptops, or PDA's. I forgot to ask about the on mountain radios. That is a pretty mandatory piece of equipment for emergencies so I sure hope so. I suppose though if they military is there they can be the channel for an emergency. No cameras, videos or other. Everything will be locked in a container guarded by the military till after May 10. 
  3. There will be policing on the mountain and at base camp up until  May 10. 

I will write more in the next hour, I just wanted to get this out ASAP as I know everyone is watching and waiting.



March 30, 2008- Tim, still in Kathmandu!  Those who know him can imagine how much he enjoys being idle. A friend of his Paresh Strestha who lives in Kathmandu ust recently developed the first climbing gym there.  Paresh is an avid  basket ball player and kindly invited Tim to hang and shoot some balls the other afternoon. Tim said Paresh also invited him to play a game with the team the next day but he wisely opted out for fear of twisting something pre- climb. Yesterday he teamed up with another friend and went for a very long bike ride. 

Meanwhile, the team  is all healthy and happy in the village of Dinboche (MAP).  Nabs, Scott, Sultan, Farouq and Will held out for George and Dom to catch up. Saad is coming in the end of April to a 21 day speed ascent from Kathmandu to summit and back and the support trek team will be arriving May 1 in Kathmandu and join up with the climbers May 10 at base camp. 

PHOTO: Lakpa Sherpa hanging out Paresh's climbing wall. Lakpa has summited Ama Dablam 5 times. He is working on the expedition this year. A very strong and skilled climber.

Sorry everyone, not much to report today. Tomorrow is the BIG meeting with all the leaders so I will report to you first thing Monday morning our time to let you know the status of the pending permit and the new rules for this year.


March 28, 2008- Dom and George enjoying life in Namche while the other members are spending another night in Tengboche. Tim on the other hand is still banging his headNamche Bazaar photo against the wall in Kathmandu waiting for the Ministry to organize the meeting with the expedition leaders to discuss as a whole their restrictions for this years climb in light of Chinese torch relay and the complications that have come about because of it.  Tim is being held back as some leaders have not yet arrived in Kathmandu. He did however get a gentleman's agreement and a hand shake from the head minister that he will be on that helicopter to Pheriche on Tuesday no matter what! Thankfully, Tim had just returned from climbing Mt. Aconcagua the highest peak in the America's. His blood chemistry would still be acclimatized at 20,000 feet or more so he could safely do this without getting AMS- Acute Mountain sickness which normally occurs in trekkers and climbers who go too high too fast or in some their hemoglobin make up won't allow them to acclimatize.

PHOTO:  Namche Bazaar - Day 2 of the trek. Market central for the Khumbu Valley.

March 27, 2008- WASTING AWAY IN KATHMANDU- A lonely Tim calls in this morning missing his twice yearly rendezvous with our sherpa families of friends and the friendship in this years Everest climbing team.  The scheduled meeting for his final procedures at the ministry has been delayed once again due to some concerns the ministry has and they are wanting to talk to more expedition leaders who are just now starting to arrive in the capital city. The team is in great spirits and sound to be having a lot of fun. Here is Scott's latest dispatch from Tengboche:

Hello everyone!
A special happy birthday to my little sister Kim who is running my life back home while I am up here in what must be one of the most beautiful places on earth.  Namche reminded me a bit of Portofino, on the Italian Riviera.  Both towns exude a calm tranquility, nestled in a majestic horshoe shaped hillside.  The obvious difference is that instead of an emerald sea for a backdrop Namche hosts a jagged curtain of Himalayan peaks.  Yesterday, we hiked up to Tengboche.  I am feeling much better thanks to a couple jugs of black tea and have lightened my load in more ways than one, as my trekking pack is now without the burden of the camera gear.  (Thanks to the porter)  Sultan has been nicknamed, "Sultan of Steel."  On top of his other ailments, which he takes with a smile, he tried some Nepali hot sauce at lunch the yesterday.  Within moments he was laughing in his homeade shower of sweat as the rest of us looked on in disbelief.
The guys on this team are solid.  I am still trying to figure out who is more brilliant, Larry the Math Teacher/climber/former Army man or Nabil the International Man of Mystery...excuse me, that's international lawyer.  Their conversations ebb and flow between topics ranging from World War II, Renaissance Art, old football teams, and even Brittany Spears (yikes.)  I wish I had my laptop so I could keep track of the genius...or at least google a subject every now and then and pretend I know what they are talking about.  Nabil's dad suggested he try out a high altitude tent before his trip.  For three weeks Nabil slept in this simulated 20,000 foot atmosphere controlled environment and the payoff is evident.  He is kicking our butts up and down the trail.  Now, I must ask my father where was he when I needed such tutelage?  Then I remember, I only told him I was going to climb Everest two days before my flight left.  Sorry Dad.
Going up the switchbacks yesterday a YAK traffic jam caused quite a commotion.  Two teams, one headed up, the other headed down blocked the path for a bit.  The congestion was reminiscent of traffic on the 405, except no pavement, just dirt, no cars, just yaks, no pollution, just the stench of yak dung.  Anyhow, one careless Yak knocked a stone retaining wall down the mountain which tumbled quite precariously down the path below.  We yelled and hooted, trying our best to warn other trekkers in the path of the stone wall avalanche.  One of those speeding boulders in the shin could end a climbing career before it even started.  Fortunately, no one was hurt and we made it up to Tengboche without incident.
All apologies for the haste in these messages but email is getting more and more expensive the higher up the massive satellite dishes are sherpa'd in.  I'm afraid that some of my details have not been properly researched.  But for now here is where we stand. 
This morning I woke up well before dawn after another night of crazy high altitude dreams.  Around 6am I meandered down the magnificent village square.  A black dog, that looked half lab, half Lhasa Apso slept in the open, curled in a perfect ball.  For two dollars, I treated myself to a plain donut and surprisingly delicious cup of coffee at the local Tengboche bakery.  Who would have guessed such creature comforts could be found in a place that seems so remote?  Nearby in the monastery the monks offer their morning chants as the sound of yak bells carry on the wind.  The multi-colored prayer flags ripple and wave a soothing melody and I'm glad my IPOD took a permanent dive after only two minutes of play.
I feel that with Faruq, Nabil, Larry, Will, and Sultan and I, am part of a training academy, not unlike the fire academy that I attended years ago.  Similarly, the next few weeks will undoubtedly be among the most challenging of our lives.  Fortunately, unlike the fire academy, there are no psuedo-military dictators yelling in your face, "Mortensen, you make a mistake up here and you die!"  But the fact remains.  The ice, like the fire, carries heavy consequence to the ill prepared, the arrogant, or the ill-timed.  That's why I am rather ecstatic with our team.  We all seemed very focused on the task ahead yet we are all in good spirits, laughing often and harder than I have for quite some time.
Last evening Larry and I were in tears when our conversation drifted into future base camp activities...chess, reading, frisbee, maybe even darts?  No one had thought to bring a dart board!!!  And we quickly laughed through the scenarios why...."Oh nice shot, you just popped my thermarest."  "Must be the altitude, that last one went through my tent, it's not waterproof anymore!"  "Oh no! My down suit now has multiple air vents..."  So on and so forth...It was really funny at the time you have to trust me....
Anyway, back to the firefighter analogy.  We are all in training and preparation.  We have our heavy boots, our specialized "turn out" gear, our air bottles we carry on our backs, everything down to the axes and the ropes!  But as important as all this gear is the team attitude that is developing.  Members share their knowledge, their expertise, as well as their food, sunscreen, or first aid.  Will, our trekking member is always enthusiastic to help in every way he can.  So, I guess the thing I'm learning is that as we adapt and overcome through the daily trials, we are becoming more cemented in our rock hard mission.  Get to the top.  With this wonderful group of individuals working together for the common goal, I think we can do it...safely and triumphantly. 
Now that my email bill is up to a thousand rupees I best be going.  I won't have contact for a few days, which is a shame because I really want to write about Larry and Nabil some more.  "Nabs" as we call him, doesn't realize that I am still a little sore at the Brits for their part in the American Revolution....I mean, no taxation without representation????  The audacity.  Anyway, he seems to be a good swipe, which may or may not stop me from dumping his English tea off the Lhotse face just for spite.  If you have any good lawyer jokes please send them to me ASAP.  All I can think of is, "How do you get an international lawyer off the Khumbu ice fall?"  "Wave to him."
Okay, that's really bad.  Plenty of time to work on more.  Much love to you all.

March 26, 2008- GOT IT!  One step closer to Everest.  Tim, the eternal optimist. Ever since March 10 when news hit about Everest closures and talks started to go down, Tim remained calm saying in his laid back way "ah, it will all happen". We often say that climbing  Everest is the easy part, getting there is the hard part. Be it finding the money.  taking time away from normal routines like a job or even getting the support of your family can be a real big one.  We learned this on our first Everest  expedition back in 1991 when major landslides closed the Friendship Highway, the road from Nepal to Tibet. It took us three weeks to get from Kathmandu to base camp on the north side. A trip that would normally take 3 to 4 days with acclimatization stops. We literally had to move a mountain to get there. But that is a story for another time. 

This is just a preliminary permit. Tim's final meeting with the Ministry is set for Friday. He met with Ang Tshering Sherpa last night, the head the Nepal Mountaineering Association. The agencies, and Ang Tshering in particular have gone far and beyond to make this years climb happen for everyone. They have made some serious guarantees to the Ministry that climbers and their expedition leaders will carefully  adhere to  the  May 1 to May 10 restrictions imposed this year.  We hope everyone will be respectful of what they have done for us in allowing everyone to play in their back yard during this troubled time. We hope everyone will quietly come and climb and let all the magic happen that would normally happen in this peaceful and beautiful place.  The income generated from Everest is critical to sustain many families in Nepal. It would have been a real shame if it had been lost to politics and the Olympics.  We don't have to live there so we should  tread softly.  "We should come to Nepal for a change and not to change Nepal". That is my motto..

Dom and George are on their way up the valley. They should be now resting in Monjo. The others have moved up to Pangboche.

Onward and upward!



March 24, 2008- In Namche Bazaar: Dispatch from climber Scott Mortensen 

Hey Folks,


Just wanted to update you on the climbers, the culture, and the expedition.  I can’t say how excited I am to be here.  When we first got to Kathmandu , the cultural climate was

Everest oxygen delivery system

Team receiving a personalized demonstration in Kathmandu by inventor Ted Atkins on the use of the  new TopOut oxygen mask system.

 at a boil.  Exasperated travelers returning from Lhasa were happy to touch foot where the Chinese protests were much less volatile. 


In my opinion, shutting down Mount Everest for a sideshow torch run, foiling expeditions to the north side, and squashing civil protest is missing the spirit of the Olympics.  The good news is that the incident has heightened awareness for human rights in Tibet and fortunately, it looks like our climb is on.


Tim and Becky did a solid job of arranging our team as well as our trip logistics.  The first climber I met was a young man named Faruq who is representing Saudi Arabia as his country’s first to summit Mt. Everest.  I am keeping my fingers crossed for him because he is such a positive guy.  Everywhere we go he is lighting up the faces of the locals with his gift for the language, not to mention a smile that transcends normal cultural constraints.  . 


Another climber with less than snowy roots is Sultan.  What a cool name.  Sultan is from Oman and so far has been trekking along with quiet determination and some secret hope that I’ve yet to uncover.   He works forensics with the Omani police and specializes in ballistics.  I’m sure he and my retired FBI father would have a lot to talk about.


Next on the list is Larry, who I’ve nominated Gold Team Leader.  Larry is friendly, helpful, and has a family back home that is absolutely rooting for him.  The other day on our hike up from Lukla I pointed out a yellow bird which apparently was a “glow-in-the-dark” green backed tit.  As an avid ornithologist, Larry was pretty stoked.  Right then and there I told him it’d be an honor to be his ‘wingman from here on out.”  As a math teacher from Reno , Larry has a surprising amount of climbing experience and know-how.  I am watching his lead, as his organization, preparation, and knowledge gives him a solid shot at the top.  He seems like the kind of climber who won’t take any unnecessary risks, but at the same time is prepared for anything.


Me on the other hand…I am a different story.  I made the mistake of trying to hump my camera gear in an already heavy pack up about three thousand feet on the first day.  I figured the Sherpas do it so why can’t I?  Well, because the Sherpas are legend and that’s an understatement.  We saw women and children who weighed about 130lbs. carrying loads twice their size…oh yeah, in flip flops.  One guy was carrying six office chairs and a desk all wrapped in twine.  I don’t know who ordered the office furnishings at base camp, but it did not look like an easy haul.

But I am not a Sherpa.  About three quarters of the way through the trek I hit the wall and if it wasn’t for the insistence of Karsang Sherpa who lightened my load I’d probably still be kicking it on a stone bench in the valley below.


Right now, I’m writing to you from an awe-inspiring vista atop Namche Bazaar.  Peak Freaks did not cut any corners with our accommodations which is an absolute blessing.  Though the altitude robs you of your appetite, I forced down a meal, took a hot shower, and now have enough energy to film some of the ridiculously beautiful people and vistas.


I am looking forward to getting to know some of our other team members.  Nabil is an international lawyer from the UK who is raising money for UNICEF in his push for the summit.  We have a lot in common, and fortunately he puts up with my crass Yankee humor.


Will is an outdoorsman from Minnesota who seems absolutely immune to the elements.  He is coming to base camp with us and I can tell there is at least a part of him that would love to come back and climb to the top.  He nearly saved my life with a piece of beef jerky today.  The trail up to Namche is a gauntlet of switchbacks, river crossings, and views of staggering peaks.  As we stopped for a rest at a stone bench there it was, our first view of Everest.  Seeing it helped alleviate my anxiety and replaced it with a tangible vision of hope.  Luckily, my difficult first day reminded me that the mountains are a lot like the ocean whether you’re dealing with big peaks or big waves.  Nature is in charge.  The only way to approach is with humility, respect, and hope.


Miss you all and truly wish I could have brought someone along to share in the pain, I mean the beauty of what lies ahead….Personal love to all my friends and family back home, Kim, Dad, Mom, GP, Danielle, Matt, Brian, Tim, Cole, Bob, Dan, all you’s!!! Nothing but love.




PS: Becky, thanks for posting that half naked shot of me!!!  I’m getting an earful from the guys.


March 23, 2008- On our way! This morning the first set from the team headed off to Lukla and are now sleeping in Monjo.

March 22, 2008 - Photo: MSM packing up his "Never Give Up" shirt at the hotel in Kathmandu. Scott has much to offer this years Everest team. He is an avid surfer, boarder and backcountry enthusiast. He is also a filmmaker and published writer and an EMT and from what I am hearing is also quite skilled in comic relief. 

Packing up and ready to go!  The team is now anxious to get out of Kathmandu. As colorful and entertaining as it can be, the climbers have not lost focus on their mainScott Mortensen in Kathmandu objective. Tomorrow morning everyone except Dom, George and Tim will  be departing on Yeti Airways  Lukla bound. The flight takes 45 minutes. With them will be Dendi Sherpa and Ang Karsung Sherpa. The climbing sherpa team had gone ahead a few days ago anxious to start working on camp, and in time, on the mountain. Dom and George are late arrivals and will start trekking up the valley to Everest Base Camp on March 26 while Tim will go up by Helicopter to Pheriche to catch up to the team who will be making their way in very slowly to allow time for their bodies to adjust to the new altitudes.  The walk  takes 8 days from Lukla to Base Camp. They should be pulling into Camp on March 30 and the permit for climbing would be issued to commence April 1.  

Before anyone can move up onto the mountain the ice-fall will need fixed with ladders and ropes that are maintained by a team of Sherpas referred to as the ice doctors. This can take several days. No one has been working on it yet because of the political disturbances we endured this past week. However, they are on their way now and will get cracking on it just as soon as they can. The team will need some time to rest and rejuvenate and Camp 1 and Camp 2 will need to be established before they can move up on the mountain. 

Everything will happen in good time. When  the Sherpas start working on the route fixing ropes and ladders and hauling loads to establish camps up to Camp 1 and Camp 2, the climbing team's time will not be wasted. After proper acclimatization has been assessed, in house training will begin making sure everyone is on the same page with skills levels and practicing glacier travel and rescue techniques. They will be doing some acclimatization climbs in the area and our professional Sherpa ice-climbing instructor Lakpa Sherpa along with Tim will be running clinics to get all members fine tuned for the big climb to insure the most in safety for everyone while on the mountain

Stay tuned!.

March 21, 2008

GOOD LAUGHS,  Nabs arrived this afternoon in the middle of the color festival. Nabs has recently retired from the British military and is an International Law Lawyer who hadn't been forewarned of this event.  I can't imagine what was going through his head. The team ran around yesterday to get their balloons in order and joined in.  I wished I could have been there to see the smears of dyes in bright shades of pink and purples running down their faces. Nothing on the political front to report as it is a  holiday weekend in Nepal and no new rules or restrictions have been imposed. All is a go!

Color festival Kathmandu- watch out!

Color Festival faces

Team member MSM Photos


March 20, 2008

COLOR FESTIVAL TIME!  Life is back to normal in this playful country.  Although each day at Kathmandu Nepal is festive, joyous and ecstatic, there are certain days that are celebrated in high spirits throughout the capital. The city is full of laughter and no matter what political issues the people are faced with in the ever changing world today, when festival time comes around, it is all play as normal.  Today was practice day and tomorrow is the festival. What a hoot!

The color festival is a day of play at which all the merchants lock up shop for the day. Anyone that dares out onto the streets is fair game as a target for water bombs being rocketed off  roof tops. The balloons are filled with water and colored with the bright florescent Indian dyes. Tim has warned all the climber too look up and wear dark clothing or you will look like a rainbow at the end of the day.  Rules: If you don't want to get wet and colored, stay inside. If you go outside, look up and run!  If you make eye contact with the balloon launcher, he or she will hesitate, but as soon as you turn your back- run like mad! Oh ya!,  keep your mouth shut. You can be sure they aren't filled with bottled or boiled water.

The HOLI Festival  (color festival)  is a Hindu festival of the Tharu people who live in the low lands south of Kathmandu.  This is the only time for 30 days each year that the Tharu women are allowed to travel freely to meet other boys and girls. 

Now sleeping in  Kathmandu  is Sultan, Farouq, Scott, Larry and Will. Dom is currently holding out in eastern Canada waiting for a snow storm to clear the way so flights can get out. Nabs is in the air and arriving later this evening and George will follow in a few days. Tim reports the team is bonding nicely. 

Over and out from Kathmandu!   

March 19, 2008

Green lights are all go ! A successful meeting. A few arms waiving and some yelling but it appears to have all been worked out as best as possible.  Our climbers will be on the mountain climbing once they arrive on or around April 1, 2008. Then as requested by the Chinese, Nepal agreed to insist that all climbers retreat to base camp from May 1 to May 10 while the Chinese carry their Olympic torch to top. The teams will be allowed to move freely between base camp to Camp 1 and Camp 2 but Camp 3 didn't pass. We feel this work out fine because if we had fixed Camp 3 and then were forced to abandoned it from May 1 to May 10, chances are the trail to Camp 3 would have to be broken in again anyway using extra man power that can be saved for closer to the time summit bids normally take place which is the latter part of May. Another reason this will work is that Camp 3 is quite exposed to high winds and there could heavy snow fall and there wouldn't be anyone around to do repairs tie down and keep on eye on things between May 1 to May 10. So at the end of the day, it all works  :)

March 18, 2008

Kathmandu 0900: Tim calls in from the roof-top of our hotel base.  The meetings that were suppose to take place at 3pm Nepal time yesterday but they were cancelled because one of the officials couldn't make it to the table. They are rescheduled for tomorrow and there will be a nomination taking place to organize a new roster for Everest  Liaison Officers who will be appointed. This year was the first year Nepal had decided elect a few elite sherpa climbers for the positions, this has since changed. In light of the turmoil it is thought to be a better idea  to reinstate the positions to the previous officials within the ministry. This process may take a day or two.  

China in the meantime due to the growing violence spreading across China has closed Tibet to foreigners. There goes all the hopes of the north side teams out the window who were frantically arranging  alternatives to climb other mountains in an attempt to be ready to climb Mt Everest when the Chinese are finished with their torch relay to the summit. 

The status today is that everything will no doubt be behind schedule on the Nepal side for the climbing teams. Tim has the flight tickets in hand and reservations in order for flights to Lukla on March 23 in hope that all the paperwork can come together quickly once things are ironed out. 

Our entire team is still all on board, on schedule so far and looking onward and upward. We just need the permit!

March 17, 2008  


Tim arrives in Kathmandu today to meet with the Ministry of Tourism Nepal and other expedition officials to help better understand what conditions of climbing the Chinese are asking Nepal to put on this years season on Everest on the south side in Nepal. They have officially closed access to the base camp area within the Tibetan side to all foreigners allowing only  Chinese Olympic Torch relay members in that area until they are long gone. This date is said to be May 10, 2008.

On the Nepal side- China has asked the Nepalese government to also close the route on the south side of Everest to climbers from  base camp to the summit between May 1 and May 10 in the event a protester on the south side puts a "Free Tibet" sign on top while they are performing their torch relay on the north side. All for the sake of international embarrassment they are asking Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the world,  to give up revenues generated by the climbing of Mt. Everest of over 4 million dollars annually. This has thrown the entire climbing community including filmmakers and Everest sponsors into a state of disbelief and turmoil receiving word of this just days before hundreds of climbers are scheduled to arrive in Kathmandu to begin the 2 month climb. Millions of dollars have already been spent and essentials for expeditions have already been sent up the trail while hundreds of sherpa staff are being alerted to the fact they may be without their annual income as a result of this demand. It is not only the sherpa climbers that are affected, it will be porters, shop keepers, lodge owners and so on. This list is long for a country that relies on tourism associated with Mt. Everest.

We will know more tomorrow after the meetings about how all this will come together as expeditions are scheduled to leave for the base of the mountain in the next few days. On the Nepal side, so far, we have permission to climb up to the south col- Camp 3 before the torch relay begins but are currently being asked to abandoned camps and retreat to base camp between May 1 to May 10 - the day the Chinese have set for completion of their relay. 

We are still in the game and have some back up plans to make this work which ever way it goes. Farouq and Sultan have now arrived in Kathmandu  and Scott is in the air right now. Following are the other members who will arrive in the next few days. We will now likely be a few days behind schedule until which time the ministry has been able to sort out the back log of paperwork they will have to deal when and if everyone is given the green light.  Peak Freaks are in good spirits and remain positive it will all work out. Stay tuned!



1. Farouq Alzouman- MISSION- To be the first climber from Saudia Arabia to stand on top of Everest.

2. Saad Naseer- MISSION - To set the record of a 21 day speed ascent from Kathmandu to the summit and back.

3. Sultan Al_Ismaili- MISSION- To be the first climber from Oman to stand on top of Everest.

3. George La Moureaux- MISSION- An Everest telethon  "America's Missing Children", more details coming!



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 Mount Everest     CAMP ELEVATIONS via the South Ridge in Nepal

BC-5400m -17,600ft
Camp 1- 5900m-19,500ft
Camp 2- 6500m-21,300ft
Camp 3- 7300m-24,000ft
Camp 4-7900m -26,000ft
Summit 8950m-29,035ft


Peak Freaks base camp kitchen at work
Peak Freaks team cheer
Peak Fraeks ice art
Peak Freaks ice-fall ladders
IMGP0854.JPG (115653 bytes)
Peak Freak Everest team 2008
Scott's morning look Everest
Camp 2 mount everest PeakFreaks team
Nabil Lodey resting on Everest
Altitude tech altitude simulation tents
Climber Saad Naseer will need all the help he can get this spring on Everest  in dealing with the extreme altitude changes during his record making speed ascent. A main player who will help make this possible is Altitude Tech, a Toronto based company providing Saad with a  unique pre-climb acclimatization sleeping tent from the comforts of his bedroom before the climb even begins.  Last year 69 year old Werner Berger summited after spending time in the altitude tent and a second test will be the real test performed by Saad who will be doing the 21 day speed ascent breaking all the rules of normal acclimatization as we know it. More coming soon!

TopOut Masks designed specifically for Everest

BIG AIR is in the Himalayan jet-stream these days. A unique system that makes sense, designed by Ted Atkins from the UK.


This new high altitude oxygen delivery system has been designed and developed by me, Ted Atkins while climbing the mountain. Until recently I was a serving RAF Aerosystems (aircraft) Engineering Officer.

The system was designed and has been built specifically for climbing Everest using aerospace standards that I employ with the RAF. This is the only system built specifically for climbing Everest by an aerosystems engineer who has climbed Everest in the process of testing the prototype. No other system has this pedigree.


EVEREST BASE CAMP SUPPORT TREK TEAM On all our climbing expeditions we offer those without climbing skills to be part of the excitement around a major mountaineering expedition. On May 1 a team of 13 trekkers will commence the 15 day trek up to Everest Base Camp. They will be pulling into base camp May 11, just around the time the heat is on for teams getting into position for their summit bids.  Good timing for moral support and to cheer them on. There will also be a small number of trekkers going in with the team on March. 23, 2008 to see them off.   FULL

Our next BASE CAMP SUPPORT TREK- will be joining the Mt. Pumori expedition October 2, 2008, and the next one after that will back to Mt. Everest but on the North Side with-in Tibet: More details here: EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK- TIBET  


MEET THE TEAM: Expedition Leader Tim Rippel
  1.  Dominique Gilbert- Canada

  2.  Larry Williams- USA

  3.  Michael Scott Mortensen- USA

  4.  Nabil Lodey- France

  5.  Farouq Alzouman- Saudi Arabia

  6.  Saad Naseer- USA

  7.  George La Moureaux -USA

  8.  Sultan Al-Ismaili- Oman


  1. Dendi Sherpa - Expedition Climbing Sardar

  2. Ang Karsung Sherpa - Camp Manager

  3. Desh Kumar Rai-

  4. Lhakpa Gelgan

  5. Pemba Nuri Sherpa-

  6. Mingmar Dolma Sherpa

  7. Lhakpa Bhote Sherpa  

  8. Jangbu Sherpa

  9. Galjen Sherpa

  10. Gumbu Sherpa

  11. Lakpa Sherpa- Certified ice climbing instructor 

  12. Kajee Sherpa 

  13. Pasang Sherpa 

  14. Karma Shera

  15. Chotar Sherpa

  16. Ang Nima Sherpa

  17. Lhakpa Sherpa

  18. Ngima Sherpa


Faruq Alzuman- First Everest climber from Saudi Arabia Saad Naseer- Mt. Everest speed ascent climber
Scott Nabs Farouq Saad
George La Moureaux- Everest climber
George Larry Dom Sultan
Tim Rippel- Mountain Guide
Ang Karsung Tim  Dendi Sherpa  Ang Nima Sherpa
 Tim Ripple for the benefit of finding a common spelling mistake used when searching Everest on search engines. 



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