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EVEREST 2008 EXPEDITION DEBRIEF- by
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 10:00pmjoining
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
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
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.
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.
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.
will be providing a full expedition report upon his return to Canada
June 8. Including detailed rescue efforts.
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.
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
from MSM's journal.
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
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.
go down and cut that rope.”Tim
was now issuing directives with one thought in mind…save
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.
what do you want me to do?”I
asked our guide.
going to need more help.” He replied
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.
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
Tim fixing up snow blind Farouq for the descent from C4 to C2
Rope Rescue with Tim , Dendi and Mingmar
arriving at the South Col- C4.
26, 2008- FIRST SUMMIT PHOTO TO SHARE-Larry
Williams Mt. Everest summit May 21, 2008.
all the students from Spanish Springs High School in RenoNevada
who didn't know where I was. See you all soon! "
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.
spent six days in Lukla waiting. We don't want to think about
25, 2008 - Dingboche- working our way home!
#5 - by MSM
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.
A QUICK EXCERPT...
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
"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
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 ourEverest
Training climb on Mt. Pumori Oct. 2 this year.
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)
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
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.
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!)
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
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.”
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.
the drama was not over.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
on fellow Canadian climber Andrew Brash's website with Tim
in C4 upon his return from a night high up.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
OTHER CLIMBING LANDMARKS
AFTER THE SOUTH SUMMIT ARE:
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
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.
close! - I just picked up word that one team has
just summited. This could mean our team is right behind them. Stay
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.
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
FROM THE INSIDE" by Nabil Lodey
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
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
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!
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.
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
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!
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
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 :)
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-
May 19- Sleep at Camp 3 one
May 20- To the south col-
Camp 4 - rest a few hours and then head for the summit in the
May 21- 0900- or earlier on
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 !
Photo: ByDominique Gilbert: -
Freaks Mt. Everest Base Camp South Ridge, Nepal
- more photos here.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
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
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.
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.
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 "
Our base camp
cook Ang Karsung has been working with Peak Freak's for
now 17 years. It has been a real
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
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.
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.
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
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 and
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
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:
Your Weight Loss on the Mountain
Lutz MPH, RD
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.
is a common consequence of climbing and mountaineering at
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.
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.
energy needs while climbing at altitude requires a concerted
are the most efficient source of energy to consume at high
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
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
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
·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
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
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
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-
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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."
shown: Tim and Saad- Camp 2 dinning tent
CONTRIBUTION TO THE TIBETAN PEOPLE:
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
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.
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
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.
Retreat to BC- or C2 and rest.
May 17: Good
weather for a summit bid from the 17th to the 21st and
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
P.S. Roger and Mario were successfully lifted by
helicopter today to Kathmandu.
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.
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".
"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".
weather has turned bad and its cloudy, windy now
and the helicopter is unable to fly in this weather. We have
scheduled a flight for tomorrow morning. we will get
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.
8 - Scott in Namche 0718hrs Nepal Time: Hey
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
HAS BEEN TORCHED
2008- this picture distributed by China's official
Xinhua Nws Agency
SUMMIT- Here are a couple sites to
check it out.
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
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
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
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
Wishing them all
safe travels and Mario a speedy recovery! They are missed very
much by the rest of the team. - Becky
6, 2008- To worry about what you don't have, is to waste what
you do have!
Blog # 4- by
you ever wonder why someone would want to climb the world’s
prefer adventures that are a little more off the beaten path,
like taking a couple of mountain bikes across the
(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.
climber, Nabil Lodey’s quote still rings true (he’s from
), “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.”
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
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?:)
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
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.
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
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.
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
team Peak Freaks remember?In honesty, we didn’t do anything except film the
the hour, the proper phone calls were made, permission was
granted, and Mustafa was getting molar #31 yanked right out of
got it all on film.Can’t
wait to edit it together, add some music, and post it on
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.
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.
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
.But on the
bright side, we all made it to
before we got booted out of there.Our team spent a couple of restful nights at the
equivalent altitude of
…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
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
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
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.;)
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.
MSM- filmmaker/writer and good
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.
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
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!"
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
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!
2, 2008-Base Camp Support trek team have all arrived in
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.
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.
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
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!
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
Saad Naseer checked
in. He went from Lukla to Namche in just under six
hours. He is now sleeping in Pangboche..
Day Rapid Ascent"The team is
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.
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.
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.
climbing bio includes:
every notable mountain in the continental United States
including a solo summit of Mt. Rainer and a solo summit
the Grand Teton.
Mount McKinley twice, once via the west buttress and once
via the west rib which he did solo from 16, 000 feet on.
Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside of the Himalayan
and Karakoram ranges over 23,000 feet.
Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in just three days.
Matterhorn, a much coveted cllimb as well as the Eiger,
one of the most technical climbs and the Monch and the
Jungrau in Switzerland.
Mount Blanc in France.
Mount Cook and Mount Aspiring in New Zealand.
Mount Alpyamay, a very technical climb, Mountain Quitaraju
and Mount Huascaran and climbed through the Peruvian
the Ministry of Tourism of Nepal is anxious to record his
summit in the Nepalese Mountaineering records for a non-
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
LEADER VANESSA HIGGOTT and Santi from the HOPEFUL
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
EVEREST COMMUNICATIONS BAN NOW OFFICIALLY IN EFFECT-
April 15, 2008
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.
TEAMMATE NABIL LODEY - FUND RAISING FOR UNICEF - JUST
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
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
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
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
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
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."
14, 2008- Meeting on communications ban 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.
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.
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.
some of the restrictions in the agreement expedition leaders were
asked to sign as a condition of being granted a permit this year:
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
BLOG by MSM
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
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.
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.
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 !!!
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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.
Pumorithe daughter of Everest.
Enjoy the photos
above....be sure to click on them to enlarge them.
Have a good
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
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
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.
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.
I’d like to delve into a “profile of courage” for one of our
team members, Faruq from
.I told the boys that
I am going to try and write about them all while I
Alzuman- First climber from Saudi Arabia to climb Mt.
like them and am not freezing cold and exhausted up on the
mountain…So the first shout out is for Faruq Alzuman of Saudi
the pressure of being the first Saudi to summit
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.
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
is the birthplace of Osama bin Laden as well as 15 of the September
11th hijackers, you may harbor negative connotations of
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
further study, I learned that
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.
sealed their first commercial handshake on March 3, 1938 in the
Persian Gulf city of
.That handshake was
covered in oil as
petroleum companies and King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud completed a
successful drilling venture in the region.Today,
hosts over one fourth of the world’s oil reserves and with it, the
power to influence nations.'
is from Saudi’s capital city,
which is an ultramodern testament to the power of global enterprise.As in
, 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
is not just another conservative country trying to deal with change.Their nation is the birthplace of Islam and the keeper of
history is rich in tradition and progress.When Europe was still staggering through the dark ages,
was making profound developments in science and philosophy.
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.”
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
, 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
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.
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
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.
miss you all.
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.
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.
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
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
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!
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.
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
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
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
canread herePUJA CEREMONYEveryone
is doing fantastic! Acclimatized, healthy and eating lots!
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".
3, 2008- EMAIL FROM ONE OF OUR READERS!
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
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
3, 2008- CLIMBER LARRY WILLIAMS email
finds its way home.:
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
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.
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:
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.
The rest of the mountain will be
open after May 10.
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!
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!
2, 2008- Hmmm!
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
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
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
DISPATCH FROM MSM:
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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 head
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
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
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
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
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
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
, the cultural climate was
Team receiving a
personalized demonstration in Kathmandu by inventor Ted
Atkins on the use of the new
TopOut oxygen mask system.
a boil. Exasperated travelers returning from
were happy to touch foot where the Chinese protests were much less
my opinion, shutting down
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
and fortunately, it looks like our climb is on.
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
as his country’s first to
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. .
climber with less than snowy roots is Sultan. What a cool
name. Sultan is from
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
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
, 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.
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.
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.
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.
am looking forward to getting to know some of our other team
members. Nabil is an international lawyer from the
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
is an outdoorsman from
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.
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.
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.
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 main
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
March 21, 2008
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!
Team member MSM Photos
March 20, 2008
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
March 19, 2008
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
ASKS NEPAL TO NOT ALLOW CLIMBERS TO CLIMB EVEREST DURING THE OLYMPIC
TORCH RELAY THIS YEAR!
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
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.
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
1. Farouq Alzouman-MISSION- To be the first climber from Saudia Arabia to stand on top of
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!
THE NUT"Our in
house specialist on nutrition for high altitude climbing.
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!
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)
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.
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