PEAK FREAKS leading the way for cleaner climbing practices in the
Himalayas; initiated last year on Everest, carried over to Pumori. We
are the "first" and still "only"
ones to use bio bags for human waste, solar only, buy local, eat organic and asking "can we do more ?"
19, 2009 - Team Peak Freaks celebrates 14 safe
I wanted to thank you for
the great experience on Everest. I think that each one of you, working
individually as well as together working as a team, made the event a very
successful one. The accurate weather forecast combined with Tim's
knowledge and experience led to some very good critical decisions. Other
than that the well written daily blog rightfully attracted enormous amount
of interest whilst Tim's guidance on the mountain led us safely to the
summit and back.
I hope you enjoy the
summer and the quality time you have together before Pumori. Thank you for
Daniel and Shiri (Everest
and Island Peak summiteers).
***This was very complimentary
coming from such a world class athlete as Daniel. Check out is incredible
bio: Daniel Keren
Bernier: Everest 2009 Expedition climber
Becky, Tim and you did a
great job with everything. You have a nice set-up and good Sherpa staff.
Tim is the best expedition leader I have seen. And I have had a tried a
few over there. This gentleman is fair with everyone in the team, if I
return to Everest, it's for sure going to be with Peak Freaks!- Thanks
again! "Team Rebel" Patrick and Karine
You don't want to do this!
Photos: Sultan Alismaili's fingers-
Everest 2008'. This is what can happen if cold digits are not
addressed at the onset. Last year Tim spent 36
hours in the death zone, most of this time without oxygen, performing a rope
rescue of Sultan and rescuing another climber from another team who was left
alone. Today Sultan reports in on the condition of his fingers. He
now knows he was "one lucky guy" with a whole new appreciation for life.
"I have recovered completely
but I lost the tips of three fingers only. Thank god for that after all
what I have gone through. :) am living my life normally happier than ever
Am glad to see the success of this years expedition and send my hot
regards to Tim the man who saved my life. Wish you are doing all well my
good friends and always keep good faith."
Sultan (first Everest climber from
UNDERDOGS" - movie trailer of our 2008' Expedition: SUCCESS, FIRSTS and
RESCUE. Coming soon!
Camera and Production:
Tim Rippel and Scott Mortensen & team
in Namche Bazaar:The flights made it out of Lukla today after
two days of cancellations due weather. Good news for Patrick Bernier, he
made it out to Kathmandu this morning. Tim and the others are now in
Namche Bazaar enjoying a steak dinner with wine and a round of pool down
at the Namche bar. Tomorrow they are going to head down to Lukla in hope
to get out a day early if the skies remain open. It is full on monsoon in
Asia now and all the 300+ climbers want to do now is go home.
"Huge congratulations to the
team! We are climbing our Everest! Just 5 weeks to go and we have
raised enough money to build the foundations and walls for the early
childhood centre....need another $3000 US and we will have the roof and
running costs! The staff start training on Monday. We are delighted
that some supporters have found us through Peak Freaks . Just a bit more
money and we will be there!"
Love Durga and Fionna
First Steps Himalaya
Giving children a childhood
May 21: Base
Camp BASH!.. Beers, cheers and chocolate cake!.. It was late
getting this dispatch from base camp because the boys were having a pretty
good party. Surprise to me, but Daniel is the 5th Israeli to summit
Mount Everest and we don't know for sure, but Gerardo thinks he might be
the 4th Mexican- anyone know if that is right? Tim said he will
confirm with Liz when they rendezvous in Kathmandu.
They are going to check out
of their spot on the glacier on May 24 and trek to Pangboche, May 25 to
Namche where Tsedam Sherpa is organizing another party for all of them at
the Zamling Lodge, then off to Lukla on the 26th, so Liz you will see him
on the 27th :)
Here are our Sherpa summit
names. Remember these guys are all multiple Everest summiteers and are
happy to learn that they will all have work with us again next spring as
our Everest 2010 expedition is just about full.
ALL AT CAMP 2: Insane crowds!!!.. is the word of the day.
Tim said there were no less than 150 climbers on the route going up so it
was really slow coming down, people were switching over trying to get
around each other. They are so glad they made the call to be in the front
push. He said it is going to be really crazy up there for the next
We have the icefall
tomorrow, a day or two at base camp to rest and get organized then it's a
wrap. Do check back though! The adventure is never over till you are on
the plane out of Kathmandu. This country has a way of throwing all sorts
of obstacles at you.
The POOP SCOOP on
did some creative filming while up there. He captured the mess we have
been talking about with regards to human waste. Forget the oxygen bottles,
you don't see those anymore, they are worth money, and this
year- general garbage was too!- the other isn't.
I was happy to read a blog
post from another expedition yesterday that asked their operator to get
some bio bags to use. This is a good start. We have been waiting for 2
expeditions now for someone to follow our lead with this issue that
seriously needs addressed. You can't have 500 climbers up there and
everyone turning a blind eye to the situation. It is not right, this is
the head waters to life of the valleys below. Everest is not remote, the
waters from here do not flow straight to the ocean.
MAY 19: SUCCESSFUL
SUMMIT REPORT... 14 TOTAL: All four
clients that made the final push were all successful. Gerardo Lopez
(Mexico), Todd Lavigne (Canada), Daniel Keren (Israel), Jan Pflugradt
(Germany) and 10 Sherpas names TBA stood on top of the world around 0900hrs Nepal time.
No frost-bite, healthy and very tired. Jan just pulled into the South Col, at the time of Tim's
call just now 08:00hrs (Pacific). He was the last to check in at the col because he got
in behind a
rescue that was underway of a client of a well known commercial operator
who apparently didn't have Sherpa support up there.
Our team is laying low in C4
rather than going to C3. Hydrating and resting and will get out and down at first light.
To catch you up, Tim
remained at the South Col throughout the final summit push. He stayed
there to have them in close proximity should he be needed and to receive
them with boiled water and prepared food on their way down. This decision
was made after about 1 hour into the climb his toes started to go
numb in one foot. He clicked on his trusty electric foot warmers he has
been wearing since 1994' to discover they weren't working. Not a good
thing. Ok, practice what you preach and deal with it now!!! He retreated
to C4, brought them back to life and made the decision he would be more
useful to his team now from this position. We had 10 Super Sherpas with 4
clients, so this was all good.
I had all kinds of
entertainment prepared for everyone to enjoy throughout the climb but due
to the the unfortunate glitch with our server the past 26 hours- "the
entire course of the summit bid"- it wasn't possible. Oh well,
there's always next season.
The climb is still not over,
there is still mountain ahead of them. The climb is not completely
successful till everyone is safe at base camp and there is still the
dreaded icefall to cross one more time. They will likely go as far as Camp
2 tomorrow and then base camp depending how they feel. Stay
The second wave is now assembling
at the South Col.
Good time to change some circuits- Sorry everyone! Our web
service company decided a long weekend was a good time to mess up some
online companies. It appears they have had some difficulties. As soon as
this message gets out "successfully" I will add more. PEAK FREAKS IS CLIMBING
TO THE SUMMIT... and looking for a new web server!!!
May 17: Good
Morning World from 26,000ft-7900m Camp4/South Col...06:15hrs
(Nepal Time) 19:00hrs (Pacific Time)
How is it
that Tim thrives in extreme environments? He is so much at home up there
at 26,000ft. He was his cheery old self joking with Daniel in their tent,
laughing it up while boiling water and talking to me. He said he had
already been out and it is beautiful, light winds and they plan on going
for a walk-about after they eat something.
They endured one wicked
night in extreme winds and they are thankful they hunkered down instead of
going for the summit as frost-bite is not an option. They had to dig
themselves out this morning, the tents were pretty much snowed in from
drifts. Tim said Daniel woke up asking him if they were dead or
Patrick talked to his wife
Karine and informed her that sadly his climb is over. He is a strong
climber and this was his second crack at Everest. He is going to drop down
to Camp 2 and wait there for the others when they come down. You
just never know what will turn a climber around.
The team (Tim, Daniel, Jan,
Todd & Gerardo + 11 or 12 Sherpas) are looking good for an excellent
summit push now. They are feeling terrific having had the entire night to
rest and again all day today. They are stoked. Some of the Sherpas went up
to pull rope yesterday and said the route is in fantastic shape. I warned
Tim that the big wave of 60+ climbers should be pulling in sometime this
afternoon. He is not concerned, he said "bring it on" there's
lots of room for a good party.
The weather is showing high winds today but backing off this evening and
climbable winds through the morning so they are going for it tonight at
about 21:00hrs Nepal Time our morning tomorrow.
Check back soon, Becky
BUGS!!!I was doing some looking around at other team reports
and have learned that there are several climbers, even the Sherpas, coming
down with this vomiting and runs thing starting as high as Camp 2 and
above. I wonder what's up with that? They eat and drink separately,
totally different teams. So I wonder, is it a flu? Talk about bad
May 17: CAMP
4- 7900m-26,000 ft.- and holding. 0:615hrs (Pacific Time), 19:00pm
(Nepal Time) Tim checks in, Gerardo, Daniel, Todd and Jan who is just
arriving moments ago at Camp 4, the South Col. Tim said that Dendi Sherpa
just radioed up to him to report that Patrick Bernier who has been solid
as a rock all along, has been vomiting and has the runs. Tim instructed
him to retreat with Patrick to Camp 3 and rest there in hope he will get
over it. I sure hope so. I wonder if he just started taking Diamox?
Question for Tim when he calls back. My fingers are crossed he can recover
and that he will have enough strength to carry-on.
Tim sounded his energetic
bubbly self and said everyone else is doing good but it's pretty windy.
The weather reports had previously indicated it is to back off tonight
(now) but then the reports started to shift showing the wind lingering a
bit longer and now looking better for the night of the 18th. They have
decided to hold tight. They are comfortable there and have plenty of
oxygen. They realized they were on the edge of the winds but wanted to try
knowing they had a backup plan. The goal was to stay out of the large wave
of climbers that are now coming in their direction tomorrow, putting them
in the number with possibly up to 60 more climbers, possibly making it the
largest same day summit push in history. PLEASE PATRICK.... get better!!!
Meet Jan Pflugradt, age
43, from Germany. "I am living an active life and do all
sorts of sports. I like skiing, sailing,
climbing, hiking, paragliding, diving, piloting little airplanes, and
everything else that can get you exhausted. And I actively practise Karate
since 25 years, where I hold a 3rd Dan black belt of the Japan Karate
Doing so many things I
might be a Jack-on-all-trades and master-of-nothing. But I enjoy it. My
climbing experience I mainly gained in the European Alps which were only
about one hour away by car when I lived in Munich. The highest altitude I
reached was 7600 metres during a 2002 Everest expedition. We got stuck in
bad weather in the 7000 metres camp for one week and a final attempt as
abandoned after 600 more metres when we realised that our high camp had
been blown away. So this time I try to do better.
There were just two
instances that briefly discontinued my rushing from one challenge to the
next. First, when I crashed 20 metres to the ground when my paraglider
collapsed and I broke my back and a few ribs; and second when I almost
died from Trichines that I got in Kathmandu on the way back from the
Everest expedition. So I try to be more careful now, although I think that
I have still have a few cat-lives left.
When I don't travel
around, I earn money for all these adventures. I work as an IT Architect
and Strategist for an international bank. Luckily, even in the current economic conditions, my work
seems to save more money for the company than they need to pay me. "
This year's team seems to
have a few fighters onboard. Jan was down with a sprained foot and then a
chest infection and is back on the crampon's and climbing strong. May your
summit dreams finally come true!
May 16: CAMP
3- 7300m- 24,000ft: Looking good!..20:15hrs
(Nepal Time) 07:30hrs (Pacific Time) "We
are all here, Todd pulled
through and is with us here at Camp 3. We endured the high winds we were
expecting today and it is currently calm. Ang Karsung said it is snowing
again in base camp.
I just spent a couple
hours boiling water and preparing food for everyone so we are in good
We are sending some of
our Sherpas up tomorrow to start pulling rope above the South Col. The
First Ascents team is also sending some so we should have it opened up to
the summit for our push, which is still on schedule for the night of the
Tomorrow we will head up
sometime in the morning to Camp 4. We will hang out there for the day and
try to sleep, hydrate and eat preparing ourselves for the night push to
the summit. If the winds check out, we will leave sometime after 21:00hrs
(Nepal Time) and summit the morning of the 18th. This is all pending the
speed of the winds. If they are too extreme, we have given ourselves
options by supplying enough provisions and oxygen to hold up there till
they die down.
Our summit bid should
take about 12 hours.
The team has asked me to
send lots of love home and to let everyone know we are doing
"awesome", Over and out, Tim "
The climate of Mount Everest
is naturally extreme. In January, the coldest month, the summit
temperature averages -36° C (-33° F) and can drop as low as -60° C (-76°
F). In July, the warmest month, the average summit temperature is -19° C
(-2° F). At no time of the year does the temperature on the summit rise
above freezing. In winter and spring the prevailing westerly wind blows
against the peak and around the summit. Moisture-laden air rises from the
south slopes of the Himalayas and condenses into a white, pennant-shaped
cloud pointing east; this “flag cloud” sometimes enables climbers to
predict storms. When the wind reaches 80 km/h (50 mph), the flag cloud is
at a right angle to the peak. When the wind is weaker, the cloud tilts up;
when it is stronger, the flag tilts down.
From June through September
the mountain is in the grip of the Indian monsoon, during which wind and
precipitation blow in from the Indian Ocean. Masses of clouds and violent
snowstorms are common during this time. From November to February, in the
dead of winter, the global southwest-flowing jet stream moves in from the
north, beating the summit with winds of hurricane force that may reach
more than 285 km/h (177 mph). Even during the pre-and post-monsoon
climbing seasons, strong winds may arise suddenly. When such storms
develop, sand and stones are carried aloft, as well as beating snow and
ice, post problems for climbers.
Tim once witnessed a large
cornice rocket off near the summit of Everest on the North side and
completely disintegrate before his eyes, gone! Enough warning for him and
his client to lock down and get the heck out of there.
Precipitation falls mostly
during the monsoon season yet unexpected storms can drop up to 3m (10 ft)
of snow on unsuspecting climbers.
Base camp at 5400m (17,600
ft); receives an average of 450 mm (18 in) of precipitation a year.
Many thanks to Encarta for
helping explain this.
KEREN, age 48, from Israel- Please
allow me the long overdue introduction of some of the other climbers.
Getting information on this humble lot was like pulling teeth. I have to
sneak around behind their backs and eventually get their family and
friends to spill the beans.
Daniel Keren is an
ex-banker, and is now running a successful venture capital. He is an
acclaimed marathon runner, the founder of the fast-growing Tel-Aviv's
Running Club, and one of the leading extreme sportsmen in Israel. Among
his long list of completed extreme sport challenges world-wide are the
Marathon des Sables - the 250 km long marathon in the Sahara Desert,
climbing the world's toughest peaks, (Denali, Elbrus, Cho Oyu, Matterhorn,
Mt. Blanc, Kilimanjaro and Aconcagua and many rock and ice routes),
crossing Greenland's ice sheet, and an expedition to the North Pole. He is
re- married to Shiri and a father to Ish-Shalom age 18 and Meshi age
Daniel has been very strong
throughout the expedition, mentally prepared and should do well come
summit time. A cheer of good luck goes out to Daniel from all the people
back home who are following him.
Photo: Daniel on top
of Kala Pattar a few weeks ago with new wife Shiri who is also an
accomplished climber. Everest in the background.
15: Camp 2- Day 2... 07:30hrs
(Pacific Time) 20:15 (Nepal Time) "Our
plan is to stay here 2-nights at
Camp 2, tomorrow (May 17) to Camp 3, next day (May 17) to the South Col
and leave 21:00hrs (Nepal Time) for the summit, arriving sometime in the
morning of the 18th. Strong wind is expected in the afternoon of May
16 and possibly the 17th. I think we can weather it okay and be in
position for the 18th. We have ample oxygen and provisions at the South
Col to hold up and sip oxygen for another night if need be."
"We may have to do
some rope pulling to the summit as no one has been up here since May
6. There appears to be some climbers up here that are just now
getting into their Camp 3 acclimatization routine. I am not sure how many
will be going for the summit push with us, maybe 30 or so? We are half of
that including our Sherpas by the looks of it. I can confirm that Phil
Crampton's team and Peter Whittaker team and Ed Viesturs are all in the
same groove as us. Hopefully it will be a good stomp to the top.... There
was a lot of movement to the South Col with Sherpas carrying oxygen up to
today for other teams. We completed all carries early May so are ready to
have at her and avoid the crowds."
It is currently calm at Camp 2 and was calm all day. There is only about 3
inches of snow on the Lhotse face. The temperatures today were about 28c
when the sun was out and it has dropped to about -10c now that the sun has
One more down. Craig
has made the decision to call it a climb. He has been suffering the past
week from loss of appetite and indigestion. Craig was on the thin side
when he arrived. After the body fat is consumed, your body starts to eat
muscle. The stomach problems are usually a sign this is going on, a
chemical upset and the result being zero strength. Tim has seen this
before and experienced himself in 1994 on Everest North when he was with a
team of Canadians that were hoping to summit with out oxygen. Their
thought was that if they spent 3 months at altitude, before a summit push,
they would become "Sherpa" and their haemoglobin would change
making an oxygen-less attempt possible. Not the case, they were too weak,
their bodies were consuming muscle and they all looked like stick men when
they came home. Number one word of advise Tim gives climbers when
training for a climb "GAIN WEIGHT" the last month instead of
intense training. Back right off and eat donuts.
Possibly another one
down. Todd was in rough shape today. He took a winger off one of the
ladders in the icefall yesterday and pulled a groin muscle. Jan watched
the fall and said he was completely upside-down suspended over the mouth
of crevasse. He had a good look from an angle you just don't want to see.
He managed to sort himself out and climbed back up onto the ladder.
He has been trying to work it out today but was experiencing a great deal
of pain. Come morning we will have a better idea on his status. He has
been a real fighter and has demonstrated a great deal of determination to
get the job done. I wish him a miraculous recovery come tomorrow
PHOTOS: Peak Freaks Camp
2 - Crossing a ladder on the icefall.
ACONCAGUA:We just put on a second Aconcagua Expedition departure
due to popular demand. Jan. 31 is full,
now booking second one for Jan. 3.
May 14: CAMP
2- 6500m 21,300ft 07:30hrs-
(Pacific Time) 20:15hrs- (Nepal Time):
Everyone is now snuggled in their
sleeping bags and Tim reports that everyone is getting excited that the
push is on. Craig turned back half-way, he is suffering from cement feet.
Some days a climber wakes up and finds his energy has been completely
zapped. It can be due to lack of sleep pre-summit push or other factors.
He retreated to EBC for a rest and will try again tomorrow.
Tim says "There are
just a few of us here who made the move up to C2 today and a ton!!!!! of
Sherpas. I even saw some climbers going from Camp 3 to the South Col which
means they are positioning themselves for a possible summit bid
"Our plan is still the
same that we set about a week and a half ago. We bumped it back by one day
to go for the 18th summit window. There are high winds expected on the
afternoon of the 16th so we didn't want to be on the South Col then,
instead we have positioned ourselves to hunker down at Camp 3 during that
time and move the next day. We are still pretty much on track as we said
16th or 17th, it will be the night of the 17th and hopefully on top the
morning of the 18th. It will be a colder ascent than last year at this
time and more wind but we are up for it. Over and out!" Tim
May 13: SUMMIT
PUSH DAY 1 of 4 19:53hrs
(Pacific Time) May 14: 08:35hrs (Nepal Time)
Tim checks in.. "I'm through
the icefall, the weather is beautiful, the others are about half an hour
behind me and doing good. I'll call you tonight, it's cold so I am going
to get moving.Over and out"
Here is our stacked
summit team roster (2) Western Guides (5) Participants (12) Sherpa
Patrick Bernier (Canada)
- Lhakpa Bhote / Dendi Sherpa
Photo 1: Ang Karsung
cooking up breakfast, summit style.... The past few days since everyone
returned back to base camp we have been loading up with protein heavy
meals getting ready for the summit push. Momos with yak meat, roasted
chicken and last night we enjoyed sizzling buffalo steak burgers. Bellies
Photo 2: ... catching
the jet-stream to the summit!
May 13: Someone
is poisoning the Sherpa's A young Sherpa was heli evacuated
today. Yesterday a Sherpa from another team nearly lost his life from
Methanol poisoning consumed while drinking Everest Whiskey. Word has it
that 11 lives were lost in Namche Bazaar and area this year due to someone
tampering with the bottles, diluting them with Methanol. The amazing docs
here at base camp saved this young man's life. Tim was blown away and so I
am on how they did it. They gave him alcohol- interesting! They fed him
vodka by intravenous as an antidote. He is in good care now at the Kathmandu
hospital and there are some people determined to get to the bottom of this
and find the culprit responsible for lives that have been lost.
PUSH IS ON!!!...
In 7-hours from now, first light (currently
22:30hrs Nepal Time) The team
will be on their way for their summit push. Tim says, "We are looking at leaving the
South Col the night of the 17th and hopefully topping out sometime the morning of
the 18th. All batteries and climbers are charged and ready to go for
it." Stay tuned!
climber faces compliments of trekker Cynthia Elliot from California. Ang
Nima and his sherpa trek crew and couple of the trekkers. Everyone is
happy, healthy and ready to go!
May 12: Holding
in Base Camp20:30hrs
(Nepal Time) We have
decided to back off here a bit as high winds continue up above
above Camp 2. It did snow again today but that is not as much of a concern
as high winds are. Right now everyone is checking around to see who is
doing what and who knows what. This is the scenario I spoke of earlier
unfolding. When the weather is good, teams arm wrestle over fixing so they
can be in the lead. If it snows heavily, teams will wait for other teams
to do the trail breaking. However with the current wind there may not be
too much snow to burn through, but rather slab formations that will have
to be carefully analyzed. We do see a plan in our weather reports that
looks pretty good, and we have a strong team prepared to break trail, but
the mountain will call the shots. In the meantime we will leave you with
this- "You will know-when we go" Stay tuned!
PHOTO: Solar equipment
charging. As the leader in "GreenClimbing" we value the sun. When it snows we still seem to
get enough solar rays. If it does trickle down, that is ok too, it is
worth the quiet. We just adjust usage as needed. Sat-phones, recharging
radios, and cameras have priority. They were watching a DVD tonight so
they must be running on full capacity throughout the snow storm.
Last year we were approached
by two film producers that wanted to join our Everest climb. One said they
needed generators to run all their equipment. The other said they could do
it without. We took the second one.
Speaking of charging and
priorities. We are getting asked by individuals, schools, and media
outlets from around the world, if they can call base camp and talk to the
climbers at this time. Last week we would have said sure! but now
everything will need to be charged to full capacity prior the their 4-day
summit climb. We are now in pre-summit conservation mode and phone calls
are limited to immediate family members. Sorry! If things change and
they are at EBC for longer than intended then check back with us and we
will see what we can do.
May 11: SNOWING
...The trekkers left today and it snowed most the day. It
is still snowing lightly at the time of our conversation 21:00hrs Nepal Time.
Tim said the Sherpas are starting to think the monsoon has arrived.
Possible, but typically the precipitation lies mainly down lower in the
valley. Tim says, "to have some snow now is a good thing. This will
allow boot steps to be put in up the Lhotse face making it safer for
travel and not so icy." Snow is not a concern currently for our team.
Of course it will depend in how much more we get and how it is bonding.
The snow today appears to be bonding from the warmth it got when the sun
did pop out briefly. Tim said, "it is hot, hot, hot today when the
sun broke through for a bit."
Peak Freaks has two snow
pro's onboard this year. Both Tim Rippel and Craig Evanoff have extensive
training and experience in avalanche forecasting. They are both Avalanche
technicians certified by the Canadian Avalanche Association, the leading
authorities in the world, both actively working as professional members.
They are comfortable with the current conditions. We are still on track
for our summit push: May 12 to C2 and upwards from there. There is no
longer a need to stay at C1, it is used for the initial altitude training
phase. Now they are acclimatized enough that they will push past it to C2.
Summit window is still set for May 16 or 17. The only thing that will
effect their plan is unforeseen high winds on the summit at this time.
Weather reports are being carefully scrutinized.
Tim also said there were
about 20 or so climbers who followed the first waves lead, setting
themselves up for a summit push on the 12th that didn't happen. This is
tricky as a Western climber can usually only handle one summit push. They
are normally too fragile to give it a second go. Unfortunate, but there
will less on the route, sorry guys! Tim also assured me he is not too
worried about the crowds. Thankfully, because of the double ropes up and
down and the three on the Hillary Step. There should be room for everyone.
side trip!........ The full moon is now waning so it's a good time to
nudge everyone that was thinking about our "Once in a Blue
Moon" Kilimanjaro New Years Documentary Climb." This
climb is going to be filmed and produced in documentary format by Scott
Mortensen and his Tarzen Diet team. Many of you who were following our
Everest blog last year will remember Everest summiteer and Adventure
Filmmaker - Scott Mortensen as the one who kept us entertained with his
wonder words fed to the daily blog when we weren't suppose to:) He is also
well known for his efforts in standing tall on the summit for Tibet and
Human Rights. Check out the Tarzen Diet
site to learn more about the documentary and their mission
The urgency now, is for
interested members to get their air seats organized. This trip takes place
during peak Christmas air travel time in and out of Europe, the gateway to
Tanzania. If you were pondering joining this trip, this week is the week
to get it locked in or you won't get on. Sorry, but it is Once in a
Blue Moon that the Full Moon happens on New Years Eve.
Photo: Tim checking
out the big meltdown on Kilimanjaro glacier last January.
May 10: THE
TREKKERS ARRIVED .. Tim was tickled with the arrival of the
trekkers. I am sure this is the best part of an expedition for him. He
gets so excited for their success and their excitement is refreshing for
the climbers. This is always a good time for them to arrive. Just when the
climbers are starting to feel a little weary. A boost for them. They
delivered letters from home and Tim got his gummy bears and clean
socks. Everyone has made it except for Melissa, Heather and Helen
who are just down the trail at Loboche. The altitude was wearing on them
so they have decided to do the right thing and hold tight where they are.
He was most impressed with Fiona Turpie from Ontario, she is a doctor and
is an insulin dependant diabetic. She sprained her foot getting off the
plane when she arrived in Kathmandu but nothing was going to stop this
gal. Darcey, Helen's husband is a Paramedic, kept her foot wrapped up and
supported properly the whole way. She apparently demonstrated incredible
tenacity, and hobbled into base camp today. Tim ran to greet her and
held her arm for the last few steps to base camp, she cried all the way!
.... He was impressed with her determination, wow.... so I am.
Other members, Damir and
Irina Prelovec, who are Canadian's originally from Croatia, dropped off
their donation of dental supplies to the Namche clinic which were very
much appreciated. They also made a visit to the all woman's Croatian Mount
Everest team at base camp to cheer them on. Everyone else is doing great.
Member Tobias Ruffer from Germany is off to climb Island Peak and the rest
of the team will start heading down tomorrow. Some will do Kala Pattar and
then catch up in Namche with the rest. Good times are reported by all.
It is currently snowing at base camp. This creates a very pretty
experience and photo ops for the trekkers. Tomorrow Tim is going to walk
them up to the icefall. Sometimes if there is a ladder around he will rope
them up and get them on it or a photo. Great fun!...
SUMMIT WINDOWS: Hmmm,
ho hum... We had calculated carefully with our weather resources, and
discussions with other teams, and selected our optimal summit window with
all our facts to be May 16 or 17. Now the other teams who apparently
did the same are being chased off the mountain by winds that they have
decided they don't want to climb in. Tim is a bit concerned now that a
replay of last year of "way too many" climbers all going at the
same time. There really is no way around this unless permits are limited
and this isn't going to happen. One mountain, one goal and many climbers.
We will make the best of it. Again, number one question we get asked: What
does it take to climb Everest? Answer: Patience.
The climbers and trekkers
want to pass on to all the mom's at home a big -"HAPPY MOTHERS
DAY- I LOVE - DON'T WORRY!"
Sabastian and Elias- we
love you and miss you!
Shiri, I will call you
tomorrow, I love you!
Gina, I got your letter.
I love and miss you and the girls. I will be home soon!
Bonnie, I miss you more
than Abby and I am eating everything except the green stuff.
CHARITY PROJECT: Tim
manage to get another wager call out with BETONLINE.COM. He is placing
wagers from the highest place on earth. The company BETONLINE is donating
$20,000US to one of two charities that you get to choose. It's a fun site
to view, so give it a shot! BETONLINE.COM/EVEREST
Reuters has just picked up the project story so there is a lot of action
May 9: I
ran away from home!... No blog until later tonight. I am
enjoying a little getaway from the phone and regular blog duties because I
know what's coming. I will be on 24/7 from May 12 till everyone is
confirmed safely back down at EBC. So a little rest is now needed. Been
there done that, live and learn. Here's a TIDBIT for you to fill the
Cell phone service
coming to Mount Everest
Nepal Telecom is planning to start offering cell phone service on Mount
Everest by June. They'll connect a base station via satellite, and will
handle up to 3,000 calls at a time.
Question: Do you think 3,000 will
be enough? Right now you can use a cell phone, line of sight to the tower
installed in Namche Bazaar. Last autumn during our Everest Training Climb
on Mt. Pumori, I was using a cell phone in Kathmandu and Tim was
updating me there from via his sat-phone. We couldn't talk during the day
because the lines were overloaded. They apparently have sold more phone's
than their capacity can handle and the lines were constantly jammed until
late at night.
Back to the garden :) Becky
is looking up! Today the icefall let off a big internal bang
that chased Tim out of the tent to have a look. It was so explosive he
thought a propane tank had exploded at Camp 2. Dendi Sherpa confirmed it
was just the glacier. As Tim was talking to me from his tent tonight, he
described the nightly massage he gets from the glacier. It is constantly
moving, cracking and gurgling underneath him.
Patrick and Gerardo are now
back at EBC and Sylvia just departed to today. She should fly to Kathmandu
on the 11th. Craig, Daniel and Todd will be back in a day or two.
Other news is that Walter
and Bernice, the two involved in the avalanche, were taken out of base
camp today by helicopter. He was not in as good of shape as he thought he
would be. The two of them have been under close observation by the
EverestER doc. Walter started to experience some chest pains so it was
determined it was time to call it quits and go for some tests. Tension on
Everest since the death of Lhakpa Sherpa is evident. A team of Sherpas
went up to the area the slide hit in the icefall to look for Lhakpa but
came back with nothing. No more clues. Here is some information on
what climbers might be experiencing at this time. ANXIETY AND STRESS REACTIONS IN
probably a good time to sit back and enjoy the calming effects of the full
moon that will be shinning down on the climbers tomorrow night. I
will be posting information on a full moon event this weekend to share.
Different time, different place, same moon!
a great weekend!
Moon shinning over Everest lighting up Peak Freaks Everest Base Camp 08.
Taken by Peak Freak Everest Summiteer- Dominque Gilbert from
May 7: 10:00hrs (PDT)
Canada: More details
confirmed:As Tim had said to me last night, but I waited for
confirmation from climbers
that were present and families were notified that they are safe, before I
posted names. There were three involved in the crevasse burial. Walter
Lasserer and Bernice Notenboom, both from Austria on the Asian Trekking
team and are both fine. Their Sherpa, Lhakpa is confirmed missing. There
are two Lhakpa Sherpa's on this team so I don't know which one, but his
family has been informed. So sad, so so sad.. I will light a tea candle
for him now. My heart aches....Word has it that some expeditions are
pulling the pin, no doubt freaked out. We are locked and loaded with all
sights on the summit now. As explained below, Tim feels much lighter about
the safety up there with the concerning chunk now gone from the West
07:00hrs (PDT) Canada:
Sad but also a sigh of relief!... Very sad...Missing is a
Sherpa climber who has not been accounted for. Only his backpack and boot
was visible after the avalanche came off the West Shoulder crashing down
in the icefall on the route creating a huge cloud of ice crystals, and an
incredible wind blast.
There where about 22
climbers passing through at the time. One climber, Walter Lasserer from
Austria, who was blown into a crevasse, he was visible and was rope
rescued out of it while preparations for an evacuation were underway. Peak
Freaks sent two of our strong Sherpa climbers up to the scene of the
incident and sent two of our Sherpas over to the helicopter landing pad to
be on hand there. As it turned out Walter was able to walk down off the
mountain in the end, heli rescue operation was called off. He is staying
on to finish his climb. Talk about courage! The missing Sherpa's name is
not known yet till someone reports him missing. We will let everyone know
just as soon we do.
The relief part is because
now that big chunk we have watching has fallen off- GONE!!!!.... Tim is
very happy about this. In this YouTube video
"AVALANCHE" click on this linkyou can see the large chunk
lingering above where the avalanche came down. Tim said he had been
listening to it early in the morning cracking a letting off skiff's of
debris and thought it would be anytime now that that thing might come
Tim had his camera rolling
for the biggest blast this year. He captured it coming at him until he was
being showered by ice crystals intensely and harsh, that he took shelter
in the dinning tent, but managed to get the camera back outside to
continue filming the blast.
Now they can freely finish
the climb without this literally hanging over their heads. He said there
is one more piece up there but it is far enough to the left, when it goes
it will land far away from the route. Phew..... now we have that behind
Ok, now back to "Slippery
Slopes" and global warming.... is this enough proof? Do
Summit Plan: In a perfect
world with perfect weather, this our plan:
May 11: Our team of
support trekkers arrive to boost the team to the top.
May 12: Camp 2
May 13: Camp 2
May 14: Camp 3
May 15: South Col
May 16 or 17: Pending
weather - SUMMIT!
Incident on Everest!....
May 6:Tim reports in: 22:54 Nelson, B.C. Canada (PDT) - I
used to wait to report things like this till names are released, but
I have learned that it is very painful for family and friends who hear the
news that trickles in and fear sets in. There are so many avenues of
news sources today that word starts getting out almost instantaneously,
so to help alleviate anxiety I want to confirm that "no Peak Freak
members were involved". All our members were either down the
valley or at base camp.
The West shoulder that has been calving
on the icefall consistently this spring, released another big one this
morning, Nepal time. Except this time it took out two climbers who were on
the route. One member was sent into a crevasse and one member
survived. Here is thelinkto theYoutube video that captured the slide that happened a
few days ago. It was the same location, the ice above breaking off and
This morning when I talked
to Tim I could hear two avalanches coming off of Mount Pumori over the
satellite phone. Pumori in the spring always offers the Everest climbers
good entertainment. But the one this morning had an unusual sound of rock
in it. Nasty.... I haven't talked to him yet to see if there are any
visible changes from where he can see. We know there is a team up there on
the standard route because one of the poop boys working with the S.P.C.C (Sagamartha
Park Conservation Centre), went there to do a collection a couple days
ago. He complained to Tim that he had
to climb way up on the route to do the collection, this is how we learned
someone was up there.
Something like this
happening now when everyone is getting set-up for their summit push puts a
very negative light on everything. The Sherpa's for one take death caused
by the mountain herself as an omen, "you are not welcome this time
around." This is a reality check for everyone. Heads up up
there....Stay tuned.. more in the morning.
This might be a good time to
refer readers to the article Tim wrote recently called "Slippery
Slopes" Climbing Everest is Getting Harder. Featured in the
In-Flight magazine in Hemisphere, United Airlines.
May 6: Risk
Management, Mountain Safety and Summits! Six Sherpas summited
Everest yesterday after fixing the route to the
summit. Sliding in behind them was one Western climber David Tait.
Tim made his rounds
yesterday talking to Eric Simonson and Damien Benegas to name a few to
open conversations about summit waves and spacing. Everyone seemed happy
with Tim's efforts. However last year we thought we had communicated
spacing too when 77 people showed up on the same day for the summit.
Eric agreed that an up and
down rope sign is a good idea. Most of the commercial outfitters
communicate but we have to remember there are private teams there that
tend to stay to themselves, and have language barriers because of the
International attraction to Everest. Eric agreed it is the 'white rope up'
and the 'red rope down' as Tim pointed out to the guide who was not
sure. The event provided for a good run through for risk management
and a sign will now be fixed.
ROPES: This year Everest will have 2 ropes up and down on
the Lhotse face, 2 ropes up and down to the South Col and 3 ropes on the
Hillary Step. This is fantastic news! The Yellow Band has also been bolted
and about 10 or so old ropes have been cut and removed from the
Tim is not only is taking
rocks to build an Inukshuk on the summit, but he is also taking rope. For
the readers back home you might
think this is standard piece of equipment in every climbers pack. That's
not the case on Everest. There are ropes, but the climbers don't actually
carry them after the route is fixed. The ropes are pooled by 'most'
participating expeditions and given to the lead Sherpa team to go ahead
and fix the safety ropes for all the expeditions to follow. The lead team
this year was determined by a little tug a war. Last year we were in the
lead without a tug a war. Each year is presented differently depending on
the politics and mountain conditions. Too much snow, no one wants to lead
risking burning out their Sherpa's boot kicking to the summit for other
teams to follow their lead, and sometimes giving up their own personal
summit success to do so.
Tim has calculated a risk
factor with all the old rope being cut and removed from the route. Last
year he was able to save a life because of old rope and one life needed
saved because of old rope. When one our clients collapsed at the
South Summit, Tim rigged a rescue system using old rope to pendulum him
down and to secure him to the mountain. During the rescue mission Tim and
his mates came upon another climber from another team who was tangled in
old rope, out of oxygen and out of everything else too. All of this
happened while in the death zone. Tim had to untangle this lone
climber and send him down the mountain on his butt. In any case Tim has
decided he will be well equipped with a 10 meter section of rope as a
backup for rescue should he be faced with a similar situation this year.
Voyage to Sylvia: Not up- but sadly down. Sylvia woke this
morning with difficulties breathing again, she got checked out by
EverestER doctor and she seems to be struggling with this. This won't work
for her higher up. Tim had a good heart to heart with her and she has
decided to call it a climb. Sylvia, a single mom with three kids at home
waiting for her and who were happy to receive her call letting them know she
will be home for Mothers Day. I feel bad for her knowing this would
have been her 7th summit. I also know she will probably be back, if she
Photo: Inukshuk at
Camp 1, Todd heading up the Lhotse face in the storm with Tim and Jan.
DISCUSSION: Tim is pleased with the one up and one down
lines that have been fixed this year to handle the traffic, but!
He was climbing up the other day when a guide from another team was coming
down on the same rope. This isn't good!! The guide informed Tim he was on
the wrong rope. Tim expressed to the guide that he didn't agree but moved
over anyway, but not before explaining to the guide that it was obvious
that the rope that he had been asked to move off of, was the "up
rope". It was tight and had boot steps created by the Sherpa's going
up. The other rope is slack, which is what you want for rappelling, and no
boot steps, and with drops in appropriate locations which would indicate
it is being used as the down rope. Tim moved over and gave it a try. He
said he had to do handovers in various locations on this rope which could
be dangerous for up climbing on. The
other rope he thought was too tight for rappelling effectively. The last
thing you want up here come summit time is people unclipping to switch
over on a line, especially since the Sherpa's have gone through all this
work to fix two lines for crowd control.
Tomorrow Tim is going to try
and track down other guides to see if they can have a discussion on the
tight and slack factor. He wants to see if any other guides feel the
same way about the ropes as he does. Either way- a highway has been
created, so now we need some traffic rules and regulations. Maybe some
SYLVIA is back and ready
to climb! She had a change of heart and is ready to get back on
that horse and go for it. She will head out tomorrow for her
acclimatization routine. The walkabout served her well. Right on Sylvia!!!
Craig headed out today for a
break, Jan, Daniel and Todd will head out tomorrow. Gerardo is coming back
tomorrow and I think Patrick too, not sure. Tim has instructed them all to
be back by May 9. You know what that means...... :) woo who...!
May 4: Global
Warming is kicking us up here!... We are all down safely at
base camp. More ice today fell off the West shoulder
and dusted Jan and Nima Sherpa when passing through the icefall. Tim said
he heard it let go and thought- oh boy! what's this going to do? He went
back to check on Jan and Nima and found them laughing and dusting
themselves off. Later when they were at base camp another big one let go,
this time off Nuptse, the other side of the icefall. Tim said "it is
just a matter of time we will be looking up at rock on both sides of the
glacier instead of snow and ice."
"It is really warm
at base camp, we all enjoyed hot solar showers, a shave and food unique to
Peak Freaks, our infamous Sushi with BC Wild Salmon. The main course was a
scrumptious chicken dinner. "
"Gerardo and Patrick
are down at Dingboche, Craig and Daniel are heading down to Pangboche.
Myself, I am quite comfortable here in my home away from home for the past
18 years. Plus I will be meeting with the other expedition leaders to
start discussing summit push waves. A couple of Sherpas are going to go up
and do some house cleaning and tweaking at Camp 2 to make sure everything
is absolutely perfect for our summit push. Over and out" - Tim
notes: Several years ago I taught Tim how to make sushi and asked him
to show Ang Karsung (our cook) how to do it. We brought Nori
sheets, a bamboo roller, and the condiments. Ang Karsung watched and
nodded, went into the kitchen the next day he came out with this!!!... By
the way, Tim's looked nothing like this. :)
"AVALANCHE" YouTube video- click on this link
There are no reported
incidents involved in this avalanche. All our members were either above it
or below it.
Kathmandu protests in the
streets: Our trekkers got of Dodge just in time avoiding political
meltdown in Kathmandu. Our Nepalese friends in the capital city are
emailing us saying they don't know what's going on. There are protests in
the street. The Maoist Premier sacked the Army Chief. This move was not
supported by the other ruling members so tension is building. To settle
things down the Maoist Premier asked the Army Chief to stay put. We will
be watching closely. None of this should effect tourism as hasn't in
May 3: Mission
accomplished! "We have all completed our Camp 3
acclimatization. Jan, Todd and myself hunkered down and climbed to Camp 3
in the storm cell that we have been watching today. We encountered howling
winds and were for the most part blinded by swirling snow. Todd commented,
"arrrr!..this is real mountaineering" it was obvious he
was enjoying every moment. When we were approaching Camp 2, the storm
quit, the sun broke out and man was it hot. We felt blessed. Had the sun
been out when we were climbing the heat could have been unbearable. The
three of us are here in Camp 2, tomorrow we will retreat to EBC to join
the others, take a rest, then we are ready to go."
TIDBIT: Folks back
home are taken back when we speak of the sweltering heat when climbing big
mountains. It can go from the
high +30's to minus -30's in seconds once the sun goes down on a glacier.
Most climbers prefer cold over heat. In the cold climbers have clothing to
add heat and can climb harder if they are cold. Heat is another story, you
can't dress down too much for fear of sunburn and exposure causing
dehydration and it's painful to move fast.
"All our oxygen is
now in place at the South Col. We intend to approach the summit with the
same strategy as we did last season. Superb acclimatization was attained
by spending two nights at Camp 3 on our summit push. Most teams will only
spend one night here before moving up to the South Col - and then on to
the summit. This is our added safety element. Should something go wrong we
aren't as dependant on oxygen supplements.
The route to the summit
will be completed any day now. We are all taking days off including the
Sherpa's. I will be discussing summit bid waves with other teams to get an
understanding of how we will fit into the BIG picture in the next week.
Stay tuned! " - Timalaya
QUESTIONS TO THE TEAM
from the Grade 4's and 5's at the St. Angela School in Saskatoon.
1. How many people have
died trying to climb Mt. Everest? "Total number of
deaths on Everest are now in the neighbourhood of 200+ and over 3000
successful summits on Everest. It is hard to get an exact number on both
of these stats because of the poor record keeping in this part of the
world combined with the fact that many of the Sherpas have the same name
which complicates the process. Many get missed or added multiple
2. Have there been any
avalanches this year that necessitated a rescue?"No, there
have been a few icefall collapses and the West shoulder of Everest has
been causing us some concern. Large ice chunks have been breaking off and
crashing down near the route. We are working around it as best we can. It
is warming quite rapidly right now so we have to be on our toes and move
swiftly while climbing under that section for fear of more coming
down." Peak Freak Mt. Everest Team 2009'
May 2: Jan
is climbing!.. Yeah! That was good news. He is going to go for
it. Tomorrow Tim, Todd and Jan will go up to Camp 3, hang out and then
retreat to Camp 2 or EBC depending how everyone is doing. Craig and Daniel
had a nice easy day to Camp 3 and back. They said there were both feeling strong. Tomorrow
they will retreat to EBC. Patrick and Gerardo are now both in EBC.
Tim said, "The snow
looks like it will be just the typical low valley monsoon snow storm. It
is snowing down the valley, up here at Camp 2 we are getting just skiff.
This is all good."
on Everest!!!! read about it below!!!
"May 3 or 4, all
members will be back at EBC. Once the route is finished to the summit,
which is just about any day now, the Sherpas will all retreat to EBC. We
will all take a rest, including the Sherpas. A good four days for
everyone is what we would like to see, maybe more. Some of the climbers
may opt to retreat down the valley to refresh their oxygen saturation
levels. We need to try and figure out who is going when so we aren't in
the middle of the masses all going at the same time. This is the tricky
part because there are so many people up here and so many TV cameras with
filming agendas. All climbers seem to climb with a video camera these
days so there will be a lot of footage come out of Everest this year.
Let's pray for no drama. If the weather holds it should work out just fine
spreading everyone out. If the window gets squeezed because of weather,
then we have a problem, otherwise I am sure we can all work together
moving climbers up and down safely." Over and out- Timalaya
Support Trek group:
They have all arrived in Kathmandu and are ready to fly to Lukla tomorrow.
Helen and team are anxious to get out of the sweltering heat and into the
cooler mountain air. Support
Tibet- Our trek group
is now in Lhasa and should arrive at Everest Base Camp in Tibet on May 7.
They are well on their way with no problems.
Luxury Trekkers- Our
small team left for Lukla today. These treks are for those who want to see
Everest while living in the lap of luxury. Without sleeping bags, private
bathrooms, and with or without going to altitude extremes. We offer 4 to 8
day treks and also offer a first class trek all the way to Everest Base
Camp. Everest View or Everest Base Camp
timber out!.... The Koreans are hauling this wood off the mountain. I
wonder why and what they intend to do with it? One of our old timer
Sherpa's told us that this wood was thought to have been hauled up Everest
and used in place of ladders during the what seems now like- the
prehistoric climbing era.
1: Camp 3 and climber status: Jan is now at Camp 2 but didn't arrive
in very good shape. He pulled a calf muscle on the first section in the
icefall but continued and is now resting at Camp 2. Gerardo and Patrick
went up to Camp 3, Patrick returned to Camp 2 to sleep. Gerardo opted to
stay up there and sleep.
Tomorrows plan is for
Gerardo to retreat to Camp 2 where he and Patrick will join and go all the
way down to EBC. Then they will take a few days off to go down the valley
to refresh their oxygen saturation levels. Craig and Daniel will go to
Camp 3 to sleep then retreat possibly to EBC the next day.
Tim and Todd will hold back
with Jan tomorrow at Camp 2 allowing him the opportunity to recover. They
will do a day trip on the Lhotse face together to see if Jan's leg is
going to work for him and then the next day go for a Camp 3 overnight.
Climber current location:
Camp 3- Gerardo
Camp 2- Patrick, Tim,
Todd, Daniel, Craig and Jan
Other- Sylvia on her
Camp 3- Gerardo
Camp 2- Patrick had been
to Camp 3 but he may or may not still need to sleep there. I didn't
get a clear understanding on his plan, as in whether or not he decides
to wait for his Camp 3 sleep on his summit push, which is possible.
Our team did it that way last year and it worked well for them.
Everyone else is acclimatized to-date at Camp 2 except for Tim. I
think he must be perma-acclimatized to 8000m+ :)
Photo: Tim Rippel
making the highest wager in the world by land.
Very cool interactive
website you must check out!!! Have fun!
April 27, 2009,
PANAMA CITY, PANAMA- BetOnline.com one of the web's most popular
online betting destinations, today announced that the company is embarking
on an expedition to the summit of Mount Everest. The Peak Freak team
led by Tim Rippel will attempt to
create a new world record- the highest altitude wager ever placed from
land. 'We intend to prove that our slogan: BetOnline...From Anywhere!' is
more than just a slogan. With BetOnline.com, "you really can bet from
anywhere, " said Eddie Robbins III, the company's CEO.
The company will
donate $20,000 upon successfully summiting the world's highest mountain to
the charity which received the most votes from Facebook and Twitter users
and is on the right side of the record-breaking bet.
Please come inside our
Peak Freak tent and climb with us.
Bring the kids, they will love the
April 30: Tim
reporting from Camp 2-"Daniel, Gerardo, Craig, Todd,
Patrick and myself are all here. It was a good climb and we are all
nestled in our tents zzzzzz.... is coming from various direction around me
right now. Tomorrow we are going to hang here for a rest day. The next day
everyone except Gerardo is going to go up to Camp 3 and return to Camp 2
to sleep. Gerardo's plan is to go up
to Camp 3 the next day, sleep there, and then retreat all the way to
Everyone's Sherpas have
pooled together and are now fixing above the south col. Looking
Over and out, Tim"
April 29: OLD
GROWTH LOGGING ON EVEREST- This tidbit Just came in from Tim.
He was out and about today around the glacier and came across the Koreans
packing very old trees off Everest. Logging on Everest??? say
what?..... apparently they were used on Everest before the day of ladders
to cross the crevasses. Photos to follow shortly. Just an example of
more goodies to surface due global warming.
DOING WHAT WE CAN
Recently I was asked for an
interview with Everest News blogger, Alan
Peak Freaks is ahead of so many other companies in 'green
climbing". What caused you and Tim to adopt this philosophy?
One of the things I pointed out in the interview was how we make it
priority to buy local in giving back to our aging climbing Sherpa
businesses. This allows them to continue to care for their families after
their Everest slogging days are over.
If you have been on our
gear discussion page, you will see we have been pushing the Everest
Hardwear down clothing in Nepal for sometime. Ang Sonam Sherpa
from the Solo Khumbu and his wife Norky started making these suits about
five years ago from their small Kathmandu factory. Norky borrowed Tim's
summit suit for a couple days to cut a template, it's been all uphill
"in a newdirection" ever since. The suits are
tried tested and true. The all Nepalese Women's Everest expedition wore
them, The Nepal Lions Club Everest expedition in 2007 wore them, including
creator Ang Sonam who summited for the first time in his new line (see
The best suit test was when our client Sultan Al Ismaili, the first climber
from Oman to attempt Everest, spent the night high on Everest last season
and with added ventilation that was created in the butt area. This was
caused by Tim dragging him down the mountain by his boots when Sultan gave
up and wanted die. A little leakage was created sending feathers over the
Kangshung face, luckily both Sultan and the suit survived the epic
night in the death zone.
Photo: Nepal Lions Club
Everest 2007' Da Jemba Sherpa, Lhakpa Gelgan Sherpa, Kami
Sherpa, Ang Sonam Sherpa (Owner)
Ang Sonam and
his son Dawa
CLIMBERS: Syliva left
today for her walk-about and will be back in about three days. Jan is
laying low with the sniffles. Tommorrow Tim, Patrick, Craig, Gerardo, Todd
and Daniel are heading up to C2 and hope to tag C3 and return to C2 before
the snow comes, which looks like possibly May 3.
Bernd checked in after
kicking back enjoying a yak steak and glass of red wine at Tsedams house
in Namche. He will make his way towards Lukla tomorrow and will arrive
just in time to meet up with our trek group in Kathmandu before they start
their journey up the Khumbu.
April 28: Support
trek team now making their way to Nepal.Helen Lutz, our support trek leader and team Dietitian and husband
Darcey, have arrived in Kathmandu and send us their comments: "Hi
everyone, I wanted to send you a quick note to let you know that we
have arrived in Kathmandu. There were no plane delays enroute and after
the 17 hour flight from LA to Bangkok we were ready for anything. Or so we
thought....Kathmandu is absolutely overwhelming in every way. Smells,
sounds, traffic, street kids begging, people trying to coerce you into
their shops,...Darcey put it sort of like "it feels like we have been
dropped into boiling oil". We have just finished dinner and
plan to head to bed pretty quick. We are bumping into walls."
The rest of the trek
team will be arriving in the next couple of days. On May 3 they fly to
Lukla and should arrive at base camp on May 11. In a perfect world this
would be the day before the team heads out for their summit push. We
planned it that way to give them all a boost to the top.
said his good-byes and should be in Lukla in about 3 days. Sylvia is
heading out tomorrow to hike around Gokyo
and see if she can get a grip on her claustrophobia. Though she has
climbed six of the seven summits; she is learning how Everest is a whole
new ball game. Everest is a mental game, crossing the icefall being the
biggest challenge. The waiting game is also hard on climbers, spending
multiple days living in a tent due time needed to acclimatize and
sometimes extended weather delays. Other climbs you tend to be on the move
more, climbing each day.
Tim has said to me
numerous times that climbing Everest is boring for the avid climber. He
says there are two crux's on Everest: One the icefall, and two the waiting
game. This is one of the reasons we introduced our Everest
Training Climb at the foot of Everest on Mount Pumori. You are in
the eyes of Everest the entire time. You can visualize what you will be up
against from high on Pumori. You will also see the icefall and the entire
route to the summit from the north side in Tibet and south side in Nepal
at the same time. The air is thin, the temperature is cold and the wind
blows, all of which you will experience on Everest. Mental preparedness
through mental training is a huge factor in successfully climbing Everest.
When your body is struggling on summit day, it is you mind that will pull
During Sylvia's walk-about she will have the
opportunity to stand back and have a look at Everest from a distance.
Sometimes you need to do this. The problem with Everest is that once you
are at base camp you don't see Everest anymore. All you see is that darn
icefall, haunting you, creaking and groaning 24/7. Visualization
is a powerful tool. Good luck with this Sylvia.
Teamsters at work on the glacier.
TIDBIT ON NAMCHE BAZAAR
We feel so lucky in that
Peak Freaks continues to attract people in a position to help our friends
in Nepal. This year trekker Irina Prelovec from Oakville, Ontario, a
dentist and her husband Damir spent the last couple of weeks organizing a
generous donation of
dental supplies that they will
deliver to the clinic in Namche on their way to base camp.
In 1981 Dr Brian Hollander, who worked at
the American Dental Clinic in Kathmandu, found that Sherpa children on the
Everest trail had four times the degree of dental decay than children off
the trekking trail. Possibly from trekkers handing out candy which we very
much discourage. His dream of a modern dental clinic became a practical
possibility when Namche Bazaar received electricity from the hydro plant
at Thamo. The building was paid for by the Everest Marathon Fund and the
American Himalayan Foundation, Brian installed modern equipment and the
clinic opened in February 1991. Nawang Dhoka, a Sherpani from Namche, was
trained as a dental therapist in Saskatchewan, Canada, and she graduated
in June 1991. Two years later Mingma Nuru Sherpa from Khumjung completed
the same course, financed by the Everest Marathon Fund.
BIG THANKS out to Irina and Damir.
Saskatoon is on our mind
this year. Climber Rob Smith owns the Tim Horton's in Saskatoon,
Nawang's Saskatoon connection and the St. Angela grade 4 and 5's students
from Saskatoon will presenting a series of questions to the climbers that
we will be posting here for everyone to read.
PHOTO: From Everest
laying low: Our Sherpas are the clever ones. Tim reports many
teams camps were trashed from the high winds at Camp 2. Our Sherpas acted
quickly flattening everything and weighting it down and retreated first
light. Except for the sherpas working up on C3, they continued. Nothing is
erected up there but they continued to carry loads to stock everything
Next step for the Sherpas
will be to start moving equipment up to the South Col. The fixing of ropes
has been completed with both up and down ropes. In the next day or so
talks with our sherpas and other team sherpas will begin to discuss fixing
rope from the South Col to the summit.
Bernd did his packing today
and will begin his journey home. Peak Freaks is waiting and watching a
system that has potential to dump snow mountain in a few days. Jan went to
Everest ER for advise on a nose bleed that has been bothering him. Tim
been wearing a mask which helps keeping his nasal passage moist. The
doctor confirmed that was exactly the problem and he should wear one when
climbing and breathing heavily- the dry mountain air.
Riki checks in and sends us
some photos from her time at the Hillary Khunde School. She was there
during registration for the next year (see photos). Her paralegal typing
skills were put to good practice. She typed a 100 paged - manual for
Mahendra, the school master.
Riki said, " I could
only type for ten minutes at a time and then I had to sit on my fingers
for a full minute to promote circulation. I did learn that I can
type with surprising accuracy with absolutely no feeling in my fingers!
That Friday afternoon
Mahendra and I celebrated the completion of the manual with a treat at the
Everest Bakery and then said goodbye.
I poked around Khunde on
Saturday, including a walk up the ridge to visit the Hillary Memorials
(one for his first wife, daughter, and the newest one for him).
Back in Kathmandu, I was
picked up on the back of the Peak Freaks motorcycle and as Kiran and I
bombed around the streets of Kathmandu, I learned about Rob's fall. I met
up with him that afternoon and we hung out in Kathmandu before we both
left Canada on Friday." Adjacent photo:
I see the Peak Freak sticker on the bumper- good work Kiran!
trekkers to a game at altitude
April 26: Wind
Storm kicked C2Everyone
is back in base camp. High winds hit Camp 2 and for fear of loosing gear
and tents if our camp remained upright, the Sherpas unassembled the tents
and loaded them with rocks while the climbers
retreated to EBC. It looks like a storm is moving in with
considerable precipitation on May 1 from what I see on my weather report.
Tim sees a dark cloud moving in that direction now. What does this mean?
It means that all is normal for this time of year. The fact it had been so
dry and calm was not normal. Reality sets in. Just when the climbers think
it's going to be a cake walk, nature reminds you who's is in charge.
Doctor Bernd Wittmann's climb is over. He had
taken a fall a few days ago in the icefall and cracked a rib. Labouring
with shallow breathing just doesn't work here. He is feeling the onset of
a chest infection so it's time to go home. Good work Bernd!!!.. He has
been a valuable player in team dynamics and will be missed by the team.
was having a hard time at C2 with Cheyne-Stokes. I so relate- been there,
April 26: I
love sat phones!!! Why am I content to be married to a high
altitude mountain guide? Because he is always so considerate of my
feelings. Much like the husband that pulls out the cell phone on a freeway
to say he will be home soon- 08:45hrs Nepal time, phone rings- "Hi hun, I just came
through the icefall, I'm at the top of it now, it's freezing cold so I
will call you again tonight from my tent to let you know how everyone else
is doing. I love you... :) :) :)
April 25:Now what.......do you do at
Camp 2? Sleep, eat, read, hike around, socialize, play cards, tell lies
and spend a lot of time thinking about everyone at home and dream about
how your summit bid will play out and other dreams not so pleasant. One of
the unexpected side effects of high altitude living has been lucid,
nightmarish, often apocalyptic
dreams. But hey, consider yourself lucky if you do sleep. Cheyne-Stokes
is something almost all of the climbers will experience in their
acclimatization process. Here is a link to the Everest
that gives a good explanation of what they are likely experiencing and why
for some, it's so hard to sleep.
Todd is now at C1
the rest are at C2 except for Tim and they are all doing well. Tim had a
little something in his chest he wanted to make sure was cleared up before
going high. He is also pretty much acclimatized still from his recent
guiding ventures to high places. He sure misses the gang though and is
looking forward to catching up with them by late morning tomorrow at C2.
He was already up there a few days ago so his speed should be swift.
Lhakpa Bhote and a
couple other Sherpas managed to get some C3 tents in yesterday. Tomorrow
one more ledge to be built for a tent, then this team of Sherpas will
retreat for a rest while the next wave of Sherpas will head up and start
putting in camp at the South Col.
In the next couple of days after everyone's
health and acclimatization is checked. It will be time to move up to Camp
3. Once the climber is acclimatized to Camp 3, they are ready to summit.
Not to say they are going for the summit so soon. There is still work to
be done from the South Col up on the route to the summit and oxygen needs
to be stocked in C3 and C4. Tim is happy how everyone and everything is
The weather has been cooperative.
Hey guys... thanks for the promo!
April 24: JANU HO!....
Nepalese for "Let's go"...That was the word around camp early
this morning as everyone was rustling in their tents gathering up
everything they will need for next 8 days up on the mountain. Aren't
Ipods great? No more heavy novels, yeah!
My night was busy stuffing a
duffel bag with care packages for the trekkers to take to base camp.
Things like letters for climbers, pictures from home, jelly beans, a
newspaper, The National Inquirer, a bottle of Banana Rum (shhhh...thanks
Justin and Pierre), clean socks, gifts of children's clothing for our
Sherpa family homes and more.
Anyone from home that wants
to send me an email that I will print and send up the valley to the
climbers to receive on May 11, please do so no later than 7:00pm Pacific
It is always fun to receive snail mail.
EBC- Tim and
Todd, heading up to C2 in the morning.
C1- Craig and
Sylvia- heading up to C2 in the morning.
Gerardo, Daniel, Jan and Patrick
C3- About 5 of
our Sherpas, the rest are at C2 taking good care of the climbers. The
Sherpas at C3 were busy chopping out ledges today to make flat spots
for the team tents.
"The icefall is
quieter now. The nights seem to be colder than they were when we first
arrived. I have been talking to a couple of my mountain guide buddies.
Between us we try to analyze behaviour to see if there are any patterns.
We have noted that all the activity seems to be between 0400hrs and
0600hrs and then it is quiet for the rest of the day. Based on this we
start our movements after that time." Tim
For the folks back home keep
in mind the glacier is living and movement on this one, or any other one
for that matter is perfectly normal. All you can do is listen and be in
tune. It talks to you too!
Photos: To follow -
as I know you are anxious for news this morning, check back soon for more!
April 23:Movies and Steak dinner!...
The teams personal shopper arrived today from Namche Bazaar with a basket
full of fresh veggies, fruit and steaks. TIDBIT: The cooking of
fresh meat, potatoes and rice at altitude is extremely
slow and high in fuel consumption. At 21,000 feet water boils at 185F
compared to 212F at sea level. To get around this, the use of a pressure
cooker is now an essential piece of equipment on any Himalayan expedition.
I wouldn't want to be the Sherpa carrying it to Camp 2, ugh!
Tim said they
watched a movie tonight, and slowly everyone was slipping out of the tent,
one by one before it had finished. They’re all wanting to get a
good nights sleep for the climb to Camp 2 tomorrow. It's hard to sleep the
higher they go. They will have a couple of rough nights until they
acclimatize fully to the new altitude.
CAMP 3: One of our Sherpa's
reached Camp 3 today and has successfully staked out spot.
Bernd and Daniel are
now sleeping at Camp 1 and will join the others at Camp 2 tomorrow.
Speaking of Bernd, remember, he is 68. A friend of his did some research
and has shared it with us:
"It is reassuring
to know that for Bernd, while the chance of summit success may only be
16%, his chance of dying on the mountain while trying is only 1.6% -
actually lower than the younger guys! Does that mean that age really does
bring wisdom??? It is also lower than the general average death rate in
the USA for that age group, so in fact, attempting to climb Everest at 68
means that you actually have a better chance at living longer."
and out.... "goodnight from the EBC to all our loved ones and
followers and thank-you for all of your encouragement and possitive energy
you have been sending our way. Tim"
From Everest 08' climber Nabil
Lodey I will share.
I must say that it is quite exciting reading the blog updates from
the "other end" this year and it has brought back so many fond
memories. In fact, when you put up the picture of last year's base
camp I was quite nostalgic to see my tent again. It was a wonderful
Hope all is well with you. And
keep the blogs coming - I can see how people were hooked. I was
amazed by the stone carrying to the Summit for the Mascot but I sort of
suspected that Tim put stones in his bag anyway just to make things more
challenging given the machine that he is !! - Nabs
DAY! Tim and the Sherpa's have built an Inukshuk at base camp. The
Inukshuk was used by the Inuit
people to say- “WE WERE HERE” Tim plans to build another
one at Camp 1, Camp 2, Camp 3 the South Col and is taking rocks to the
summit to build one there. This is our way of celebrating both the 40th
anniversary of Earth Day and the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. The
Inukshuk is the official Olympic logo and also Peak Freaks Everest 2009
Climbers have taken all
sorts of matter and debris to the summit of Everest, some good and some
totally bazaar. We feel this contribution to the top of Everest will be
inline with our “green theme” local and
natural and giving back.... :)
Tomorrow Bernd and Daniel will climb to Camp 1. The next day the rest of
the team will climb to Camp 2 and all of them will join together at Camp 2
the next day. They will up on the mountain for next 8 to 9-days.
Sherpa's will be moving gear up to Camp 3 tomorrow and the team will make
their way up to acclimatize there before retreating to base camp, or?
April 21: Ice-fall is getting violent!Tim reports a section on the ice-fall ripped
out very early this morning in the popcorn section. It would have trapped
climbers from going up and coming down for a bit till the Sherpa doctors
managed to set a new section around it.
Tim says, “we are making it priority to limit our time in the
ice-fall this year because of the activity being created by rapid warming.
Once we're acclimatized to Camp 3, we won't come down again, instead we
will stay high and go for the summit without retreating for a rest."
Now there are two BIG
reasons climbers have to move swiftly this year. On summit bid day because
of the long line-up, and now the ice-fall breaking-up. You don't want to
linger in there.
Peak Freak members are at EBC.
Peak Freaks in the ice-fall
April 20: ALL
BACK IN EBC: Bernd is up in C1 right now and everyone else is
back in EBC. They are all feeling terrific! In three days the team will be
ready to go sleep at Camp 2, while the Sherpas continue hauling up to Camp
3. Everything seems to be moving along just fine.
Wow, is the word of the day
reported by members to Tim upon their return to EBC today. The route
through the ice-fall looked completely different from when they went
through there two days ago. All the seracs are falling in on themselves
because of considerable melt-down. The route problem up by the west
shoulder has been pulled away from the wall and Tim is now happy about
Today I would like to introduce team member and assistant to Tim this year
on Everest, Craig
Evanoff , a long-time friend who hails from the interior of British
Columbia town of Prince George. He and his wife Bonnie Hooge operate Dezaiko
Lodge-NorthRockies Ski Tourswww.northrockies.bc.ca
and offer professionally guided and catered skiing vacations.
sports are a dominant part of his family's life and he spent his youth as
an alpine ski racer before turning to ski mountaineering and climbing in
his early twenties. He and Bonnie have climbed and skied extensively in
what they consider their 'home' range of the Rockies, as well as the Coast
Range of BC, Alaska, New Zealand, Nepal and Patagonia.
have known Craig and Bonnie for sometime now, having enjoyed several
Himalayan expeditions together and from time to time we run into each
other here at home while participating in avalanche and guiding seminars.
is one of their favourite places and they have made several trips there
trekking and climbing. Imje Tse (Island Peak), Ama Dablam and an attempt
on Pumori have all proved to be rewarding experiences and now Craig hopes
to realize a boyhood dream to climb on Everest.
PHOTO: Craig and his
#1 girl- Abby... who Bonnie says he misses more than her :)
There's more.... Craig's
father George Evanoff who I knew from my travel office days, inspired me
to get out of the office and into the outdoors, and this is when I met
Tim. As you can imagine I am incredibly grateful having met George.
When Craig and Bonnie were
on Mount Pumori with us in 1998 - George was killed by a grizzly. A book
been published and is now available. I am very much looking forward to
reading it. Check the link for more information.
The Mountain Knows No Expert
epitomizes George Evanoff's philosophy towards the outdoors, while
presenting an intriguing contrast with the man himself. Widely regarded as
an "expert," he was a knowledgeable, experienced, and practical
outdoorsman, teacher, and mentor, yet ironically lost his life in the
mountains in an encounter with a grizzly. Son of a Macedonian immigrant
family, George was raised in Alberta, and went on to become a mountaineer,
guide, avalanche specialist, and pioneer in ecotourism in British
Columbia’s North Rockies.
April 19:WHERE IS EVERYONE?
Since Tim had a day off I took one too. Colds seem to be making
around the expeditions, nothing new, but it is for Tim. He has been
blessed to be able to ward them off in the past. Not the case this time.
He reports from his tent stuffed up and taking care of himself.
Here is everyone’s current location at the time of this dispatch.
Rob Smith is back in
Kathmandu. After being seen by the doctor there and getting his required
paperwork for the evacuation/insurance process, he will be making his way
Tim Rippel resting
in his tent nursing a cold after seeing Rob off.
Bernd Wittmann went
up to Camp 1 yesterday and returned to his tent at EBC. He also has the
cold so he is now resting. If feeling up to it, will move up to Camp 1 to
spend the night tomorrow.
Gerardo Lopez, Daniel Keren, Todd Lavigne, Craig Evanoff, Patrick Bernier
and Jan Pflugradt, spent the night at C1 yesterday. Today they went to
Camp 2, hung out for acclimatization and retreated to Camp 1 for the
night. Tomorrow they will all come down to EBC, rest two days, then go up
to Camp 2 and spend the night. The sherpas will go ahead while they
are resting, and start carrying oxygen supplies up the mountain over the
next few days.
Tim says, “it
seems to be really calm for this time of year. In a normal season around
this time you would hear howling winds off Everest from base camp, that
doesn’t seem to be the case right now”
So I checked into our weather source today. I am
seeing winds steadily around 50km/h on the summit and increasing a bit around April 21
and 22 and then it drops off again. This is good news! Hope it holds for
everyone. Especially for the Russians so they get up and get down, and
anyone else that is in position to do so. This will create quite a bit of
excitement for everyone. Ye we can! Yes we can! :)
Lonely in base camp
I took the day off....All is good, Rob is in Kathmandu. I
will report April 19 in the next little bit. Becky
Smith's climb is over:His knee is
damaged enough that he won't be able to continue the climb. The team
pitched in today making him a crutch and wrapping his knee so he is able
to hobble around camp. Tim has organized a horse for him for tomorrow. Rob
will ride to Pheriche, an altitude of 14,200 feet/4240 meters, where a
helicopter has been called out to make the evacuation to Kathmandu.
Helicopters can safely make it up to this altitude. Rob's constant
enthusiasm about just about everything will be missed. Tonight the team
was enjoying some good laughs, but tomorrow will be a sombre day when Rob
leaves the team.
Today Tim and some of the
boys, not sure who the boys are? he usually uses the word in reference to
went over to toss some boulders around to make the heli
Tomorrow everyone except
Tim, and Rob, will be going up to Camp 1 and stay overnight. Tim is going
to wait till Rob is
packed up and safely on his way. The next day Tim plans to leave early, go
straight up to Camp 2 to organize things there and come back to Camp 1
picking up with the rest of the team and come back down to BC.
Tim said a serac fell off the West shoulder today causing some concern.
Patrick had his camera out with the big lens watching it. We had some
Sherpas up there, so Tim discussed the situation by radio with them and it
was determined that the route in that section needs to be pulled away from
that part of the mountain should more decide to come down. The ice-fall
doctors are now working on the change.
Ice-fall doctor at work. Name given the amazing team of Sherpas who
provide safe passage for the climbers. Everest size kutos out to these
April 16: BIG
MEETING- ALL IS A GO!The big ho-down happened today as
planned. Tim said there were about 30 people there.I am not sure if that number was all leaders, or if it was combined
with filmmakers. In any case it was busy because Discovery Channel was
The meeting was successful in organizing
shared ropes and more. Russell Brice is putting up a good supply from the
South Col to the summit, Eric Simonson is pushing his Sherpas ahead
starting tomorrow with rope up the Lhotse face and our team and others are
contributing rope and Sherpa power to fix the route.
Other topics of importance they discussed
were safety issues. One in particular was that the team leaders need to stress
to their members how important it is "if you are slow" to
move over and let faster climbers pass. This is a biggie and very
Peak Freaks and Alpine Ascents have
volunteered to jointly make a heli-rescue pad.
Tim has experience with this being a Heli Ski Guide for 17 years- BUT-
this is very different. Here there are no overhead clearances to be
concerned with, you don't have to ski into a remote location with a
chainshaw in hand to cut trees, but rather very large boulders to move. If
it is a garden size rock at home, it will have the weight of a
gigantic boulder at altitude.
Russians!!! Tim was impressed. The expedition leader, whose name
Tim couldn’t get the spelling right and being a Russian one, I won’t
even try. Tim thought he was about 50 but Bernd thought he was 70. He is
Russia’s 7-summiteer, very strong and a mountain guide. I will research
him later to get his details. The Russian team's coach trained Anatoli
Boukreev- what does that tell ya? The are .approaching the climb with much
aggression this year. They want up and out of there quickly and it will
likely happen for them. If they can climb sideways or on their knees in
120mph winds, which is very possible. Tim has reported doing this before
and says that's the way it used to be, hunker down, get on your knees if
you have to. Today is much different for reasons.
Everyone is stoked now and ready to move
but we do have some bad news. Today when the team went up to Camp 1, team
member Rob Smith got hurt. An anchor popped out on him. When the next
anchor caught him as it should, the jolt torked his leg and damaged his
knee. Our team Doctor, Bernd Wittmann said it
doesn’t look good but they will make a call tomorrow on the fate of his
week from April 16 to April 23 marks, Half way to the summit time!
in a normal year!
What's normal? A
normal summit would take place during the transition of weather patterns
from winter to summer. The jet stream with 100mph + is currently
over Everest. During the transition the jet stream will get pushed north
and off the summit of Everest when the warm monsoon weather starts to come
in. We watch The Bay of Bengal, as this is the direction that the changes
will come from. The monsoon blows from South West, but moves mainly in a
North Westerly direction. This transition time frame to climbers is called
the "window of opportunity" for a summit bid. This typically
presents low to moderate wind and little or no precipitation up high.
Right now the winds are holding around 100mph to 120mph at 8200m.
Following are some
Everest Summit stats that would indicate we have reached Hump Week. Based
on the fact that the climbing permits are valid April 1 to May 31 each
year. The climb typically takes 60 days in total, including the time needed
to complete acclimatization climbs to prepare the climber for survival at
altitude. Camps also have to be stocked with tents, fuel, oxygen and food
before a summit bid can take place. It all takes time and patience.
April 15: Day
of Celebration and Puja!.. Sounds like a blast! Celebrating the
return of Shiri and Mingmar from their successful ascent on Island Peak
yesterday, and our Puja.While our
cooks, under the instruction of Master Chef- Ang Karsung Sherpa, prepared
yet another awesome meal from our Organic Kitchen. But not before a
shaving party to prepare for the special event. Tim describes four of them
in a circle, tunes playing, having a joyous shaving party while Craig
filmed them. I just shake my head, and say no more about that on this blog
TO CAMP 1- Gerardo dubbed the "Mexican jumping bean",
because he can't stand still, is quite happy about this. They will have an
early morning start, spend sometime up there and return in the afternoon.
LEADER MEETING- TOMORROW! Tim made a visit to a couple of teams
to start the discussion of shared ropes, sherpa power and radio
frequencies. It has been determined that 1600hrs tomorrow the expedition
leaders will meet to lay down a plan.
On another note, I have
managed to flush out some biodegradable and green companies through our
publicity on our "Green Theme" policies. I am learning of some
new implementations we can apply next year- exciting!
As Tim was talking to me on
the sat phone from his tent, he paused for a moment to listen to a big
avalanche peeling off of Pumori. That time of year! It's
starting to warm up.
April 14: Icefall is
completed and Camp 2 is established: Well that wasn't so bad. All
seems to be moving along like clockwork. The late arrival in Lukla due
weather seemed to work out just fine. Arriving just in time for the ice-fall to
be completed, it's great! Our Puja will take place tomorrow. A good
excuse to drink some beer and throw sumpa. This is a fun time with the
Sherpas. Though very spiritual, also very playful, the good nature of
Buddhism is nice to be around.
Some of our Sherpas
managed a Puja earlier allowing them clearance with Sagamartha to push ahead
and stake out our spot at Camp 2. Tomorrow ropes will be going up to start
fixing the route before the gear heads up to Camp 1 and then Camp 2.
We have a SUMMIT... Shiri
Heffer, new wife of Everest member Daniel Keren, has just checked in to
confirm her successful summit on Island Peak
6189m, with Mingmar Sherpa
today. She says, "Mingmar is the best", Congratulations Shiri
and Mingmar! They are currently in Dingboche and will be back in EBC
April 13: Goodbye's
and training! "After the first wave of trekkers
left this morning we got straight to business. We did our Gammow bag
training, rehearsed oxygen use, reviewed knots and rescue scenarios and
then tomorrow we will get out on the glacier and put these skills to
Now that I have more time
to look around and assess base camp, it really doesn't look like there are
that many people here. It actually feels like less than last year
considering the closure of Tibet for the entire season. I had feared
the worst but it looks pretty good. It helps that one of the largest
expeditions has their camp setup away from this area. We are looking
forward to tomorrow, getting the crampons on and doing some climbing. Over
Tim sounded quite chipper
being back in his mountain environment. The ropes and ladders are
just about complete through the ice-fall which this year will be offering
climbers two lines up and down through the glacier due to the size of a
couple of expeditions. If they were to go in one wave, and if the window
of opportunity is small, this will be good thing. This will be the first
time this section will have been setup this way for the masses. Good to
I would like to take this
opportunity to introduce Riki Lawson, a Paralegal from Vancouver, British
Columbia. When Riki joined the trek she asked if there was something she
could do to help the Sherpa people. I love this kind of introduction from
a trekker. We never run out of ideas on how one could help. Turns out her
skills and the time she has to share, would be a perfect fit for teaching
the students at the Hillary High School in Khumjung computer classes.
A couple years ago Korea
kindly donated some computers to the school. Unfortunately they have been
sitting there under
dust covers ever since. We learned from our Sherpa friends that there
isn't anyone there who can provide instruction on how to use them.
Riki to the rescue!!!
Riki is well traveled, New Zealand, Australia, Tanzania and Rwanda.
Fuelled by chocolate and her ambitions to volunteer around the world,
jumped at the opportunity to help.
Riki will arrive tomorrow on
her return from Everest Base Camp. She will be stay at Ang Nima and
Kamaritha's house in Kunde, only a hop skip and a jump "at high
altitude" from the Hillary High School. A BIG SHOUT OUT OF THANKS TO
RIKI!!!!.... We also have someone lined up for next spring who will
put in a good long stint teaching.
PHOTO: Riki at the
school - she has promised to offer this blog some updates of their
progress. Stay tuned!
April 12: Happy
Easter! In base camp!Everyone has
arrived and are happy campers. We so enjoy this moment, the
first time our team see their new home for the next 7 weeks.
says, "We have the same location we usually have which is close to
the ice-fall. I prefer it here because of the quick access to the route,
going up and going down saves our climbers energy and access to the
training terrain is right out the door and the bonus being - we get to be
social with the daily passing of other teams. The location has changed so
much so that it looks like bulldozer went through here. I was told both
summer and winter were very warm, it certainly shows here. The
TENTS!!!!…there are so many tents here, I can't believe it!
from Canada came over to introduce himself. He knows Lucille who summited
Aconcagua last month with Peak Freaks. Hi Lucille and Ted from Donald and
Denis, Karine and
Patrick made it here after a successful climb up Kala Pattar. Daniel was
here when we got here and we met Shiri on the way out as she is on her way
to Island Peak and will come back to say good-bye.
The team was
happy to check-in to the their tents and shuffle the contents of their
expedition bags. Assembling solar panels and Ipods, lofting out
their bags on the comfortable foam mattresses we provide, while Ang
Karsung cooked up Easter dinner, chicken!!!...."
All is good,
everyone is tucked in the for night, over and out!
season, spring 2008- can't wait to compare with a new one.
April 11: Sleeping
spelled Lobuche. Tim checks in to say, "everyone is doing well. It
is crazy busy up in this part of the Khumbu right now." It tends
to get congested here as Everest Base Camp trekkers, Kala Pattar trekkers,
dead head yak teams and more, all merge in Lobuche at the same
time of day, both coming and going. The lodges in this area are
seasonal lodges and not full- time inhabited villages so there isn't that
much accommodation up here. Tim also says, "there are a lot of
people right now with no place to stay". Fortunate for us
we have our trusty system that makes sure we have beds for our gang, even
when weather gets in the way of original plans. Magical Sherpa land....:)
Also in Lobuche
right now is a team with Nepal's EMI-Environmental Management Initiative,
who are measuring Brown Air, a term used for air pollution.
Karine and Denis will split from the group to summit Kala Pattar together
before making their way EBC the next day. The rest of the team will go
straight to Everest base camp tomorrow. Our Sherpas will be very
happy to see the team. Lhakpa Gelgan has been up there since
February. He goes up with a couple workers to reserve our spot and start
working the rocks on the moraine to make a flat spot for our tents. Keep
in mind the glacier is living, the lay of the land (rather rock/ice) will
not be as we left it last spring.
It will be
interesting to hear Tim's impressions on the size of EBC this year. Stay
April 10: Sleeping
Everyone did well today and are acclimatizing on schedule.They had their
first summit. They climbed a peak above Dingboche, I am not sure how high
it is. Loboche will be tomorrow with one or two nights there, and
then it's base camp! Tim for one will be happy to be back in his tent. Did
you know that Tim lives six months a year in a tent?
WEEKEND " to everyone back
home from Lama Geshi's house in Pangboche..
Looks like Rob found the trance...:) This
morning the team was blessed by our good friend Lama Geshi who opted to
jump in for the group shot. You can read all about Lama Geshi and the
ritual he performs here: Lama Geshi and Puja's.
The Sherpas won't climb without Lama Geshi's blessing. Tim is given a
little cloth pouch he wears around his neck from this moment on, till he
his safe back home again. The pouch is filled with juniper and adds extra
protection. We believe that Lama Geshi gives this to him because he has such a
large responsibility on the mountain. Most are given a sanji (red
string) to wear around their neck. The string is first given the protection knot tied by lama Gheshi and blessed with chant and breath,
and then tied on your neck. Tim is quite spiritual about this blessing. No
matter where he goes climbing, South America, Canada or heli-skiing, he
pulls a sachet out of the drawer and wears it till he is safe at home
joining with a Peak Freak climbing support trek, where you go in with the
climbers, you are privileged to be part of the this ritual. Like next
autumn on our Everest Training
Pumori climband EBC trek.
April 9: Team
in Dingboche- Tim checks in: All are feeling great and IT IS
SNOWING TONIGHT!!!. The Sherpa people
are very happy about this. The fields are incredibly dry. The Sherpa
families are telling Tim that it was a very odd winter. It was very warm
and no precipitation. It is colder now than has been all winter.
Dinboche is at 16,175 feet or 4720m, they are getting up there now.
This is a location where they will spend two nights, allowing their bodies
to adjust, just as they did at Namche Bazaar. Tomorrow they will "go
high" and "sleep low" , a day trip up to Chukung and back
should help make the change in their chemistry.
The fields in Dingboche are
very important to the Sherpa people of Namche, Kunde and Khumjung. Much of
the land in Namche has now been consumed by the construction of newer and
bigger lodges, they don't have the space for gardens. The families that
worked in the climbing business in the Khumbu prospered as they were able
to acquire land in the Kantega base camp area, Chukung Ri near Island Peak
Base Camp and Dingboche, which is warm enough and flat enough to grow
crops of grass, barley and potatoes. It is not possible to grow past here
because of the altitude and cooler temperatures. Dingboche is literally
the last straw.
The fields are surrounded by
stone walls. The walls protect the crops from the howling winds that blow
through this section of the Khumbu. In the summer someone in the family
will take a turn, or more common today they will employ someone to guard
the crops day and night. This is to prevent people from taking their yaks
to feed off of someone else's crop of grass when their backs were
In Sherpa land you can't own
yaks if don't own land to feed them. It is a careful balance that we as
tourists have to be careful not to tip the balance. The saying "the
rich get richer and poor get poorer" is quite evident here. This is
why we like to share who carries loads to make sure it all doesn't go to
the yak owners.
Some folks from the western
world once started a movement to save the porters backs. We had mixed
feelings about this. Yes, make sure they have a fair wage and aren't asked
to carry too much, but PLEASE, let them carry! When children play in our
world, they play house, or office, or driving a police car, truck etc. In
the Himalayas, they play porter. Little two year olds with trumps (jute
strap) that is used to suspend their woven grass basket to their head, and
pretend they are carrying a load. It is so cute
One of the reasons tourists
get out into the Himalayas more than any other mountain range, has a lot
to do with how easy it is to get around while there. You don't have to
carry all your necessities with you to survive. Here in Canada, ha...
wouldn't that be grand if we had porters here in Canada? and we as
tourists would pay them a fair wage to do so.
Thank goodness for
Everest!!!.... The benefits are a real blessing to the people of Nepal and
Tim and I are proud to be part of it.
PHOTO: Sherpa women
tilling the soil in Dingboche- (who waved them to go away while taking
photos). They are very superstitious about taking a photo of the crop. You
may be bring bad luck by doing so. There are only two main lodges here and
they are seasonal. No one lives up here in the winter or summer, just the
person on crop watch and they would stay in the rock hut seen in the
April 8: Chanting
with the monks- Today the team passed through Tyangboche or
Tengboche, the one thing you will quickly learn when going to Nepal, is
that there are several spellings for everything. You will always however
see "boche" at the end of each village name no matter how it has
been spelled. "boche" means village. There, that is the TIDBIT
The climbers didn't get to chant with the
monks, but our support trekkers will. The climbers have
Pangboche on their agenda today, home of Lama Geshi. When our support
trekkers make their way up here in early May, we always schedule their
trip so they overnight at Tyangboche. There is now a Buddhist interpretive
centre they will check out upon arrival and then before dinner
they will be at a magical place upon a noel, where one should be lucky
enough to get a sunset shot with Everest in front of you, and behind you a
very pretty shot of the valley they just came up and Kawndge in the
background. Our trekkers will sleep here and wake up to a couple more
magical moments, the sunrise over the Himalayan giants and the sound of
chants coming from the monastery. You are allowed to go in and be part of
the early morning ritual, very cool!
Back to the climbing team. They are now
sleeping in Pangboche in the arms of Mount Ama Dablam. Tomorrow morning
they will make their visit with Lama Geshi.
In 1996, we were the first Canadian team
to attempt Ama Dablam, we also experienced the first wedding of a western
couple. Our good friends Tim and Carrie Thurston were married by Lama
Geshi after the climb. It was most interesting how they had to be in the
right place at the right time, as instructed by Lama Geshi, who performed
the ritual. If the
stars and the moon weren't perfect, their blessing would not be good.
Guess he was right on because Tim and Carrie are VERY happily married
today with two boys. The eldest thought to be conceived that night after
the blessing. I just had a flash back moment I will share. It was
priceless when the Sherpas met Carrie. Upon introducing herself they would
giggle. She would giggle back, but a very confused giggle, wondering why?
We found out it was because of her name, that was the job they do
"carry", and that struck them as being quite hilarious as she is
Team member Patrick Bernier and his wife
Karine who has joined him on the adventure once again,are making their
second visit to Lama Geshi. Apparently they were blessed by Lama Geshi
after they climbed Island Peak for their wedding which took place when
they returned to Kathmandu. Now they are back for another blessing, but this time
it is for a safe and successful climb to the summit of Mount Everest and
back- not to forget the "back" part.
Lakpani in Pangboche (Namaste Guest
House) receives a new sweater from me. Thanks Tim!
Patrick and Karine
April 7: A
day of learning:Today the team did the
tradition acclimatization visit day up to the twin Sherpa villages of
Kunde and Khumjung, home of many of the climbing Sherpas. They visited the
Hillary School and introduced Riki to the schoolmaster. This is where she
will be spending sometime teaching the children computer skills, There
will be more on this later.
The big news today was
meeting Dr. Kami Sherpa at the Kunde Hosptial. This is something team
member Dr. Bernd
Wittmann had been dreaming about for sometime. Bernd is an Obstetrician
from Summerland, BC, just over this hills from our place here in
Nelson, BC. Bernd has practiced around the globe sharing
his expertise with other worlds. His latest out of country work was in Oman. Child
birthing had been a major obstacle in the minds of Sherpa women. The
attending western doctors from New Zealand and with financial aid for the SEHF
(Sir Edmund Hillary Fund) from Canada, made it possible to introduce
midwifery to the Khumbu. I am certain the two had much to say to each
Bernd was here 20 years
ago, the concept of a hospital had already been born, but was very
rustic to say the least. We at Peak Freaks recall the old way ourselves,
having been working in the valley for 18 years now. We feel lucky to
be in a position to help make connections for medical expertise and supplies for
the hospital. Once we tried to bring an x-ray machine, we have organized
vaccines, and delivered the MERCK pharmaceutical
handbook, which is still there today!
Last year our Peak Freak
trek leader Vanessa Higgot sent up a bag of Polysporin tubes and another
time a dentist donated a very large box of toothbrushes and toothpaste.
This was accepted with big smiles because it represented a gift to the
people directly, so they all came and wanted one. Just how we hoped it
would work. This way the doctors could see the people, for most it was the
first time and it enabled them to open a medical record on them. I
recall talking to
New Zealand doctors Rachel and Jim Lynch who were the attending doctors
for a two year stint, telling our trek group that it was so difficult to
create files because they all have the same name. They all end in Sherpa
and are named for the day of the week they are born. Lhakpa- Thursday, Dawa-
Tuesday and so on. The toothbrush and paste gift, was also a way to
show the Sherpas the facility and explain how it works- what it looks like
inside etc. They were so fearful of the hospital. In their eyes when
people went their, they died, why would they go there?
TIDBIT: Sherpa is a
tribal name and not a porter. "Porter" is the title to the
work they do: read more here: SHERPA
Dr. Kami Sherpa's
story is inspiring. Born in the village of
Thame, just around the bend from Namche towards Tibet in
1959; Kami was the youngest of four children. His father died before he
was born, leaving his mother alone to raise him and his three sisters.
As a 14-year-old boy, he walked six hours
back and forth to school in Khumjung each day. His hard work paid off with
a Hillary scholarship to high school in Salleri. After finishing high
school, he worked as a teacher and a part-time village health worker in
the community where he was born.
It was while working as a health worker
that he began to dream of becoming a doctor, like the men and women he met
in the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation (SEHF) hospital in Kunde, which had
been established in 1966. In 1978, Kami was offered a job at the Kunde
Hospital, and for the next 19 years he worked as a paramedic.
He also proved himself a capable administrator by managing the hospital's
finances and overseeing the SEHF's re-forestation program.
But in his heart, Kami longed to be a
doctor. Doctors at the Kunde Hospital taught him a great deal over the
years, but he knew he could never learn it all on the job. Seeing how hard
Kami worked, the SEHF offered to pay for his medical studies at the Fiji
School of Medicine. He enrolled in the medical school in 1997, leaving his
wife and family behind in the mountains of their homeland.
Today Dr. Kami Sherpa is the head doctor
at the Kunde Hospital and is also in charge of teaching and setting the
standards at the other medical facilities in the Khumbu.
Tomorrow our team is off to Pangboche to
visit Lama Geshi in his home and have him bless our members for the
Other news is that support trekker Denis
LaCroix, climber Patrick Bernier's father-inlaw is a year older today. Ang
Phurba, Tsedam Sherpa's wife, co-owners of the Zamling lodge, baked him a
cake today to celebrate his high altitude birthday.
Team arriving at the Syangboche
airstrip location above Namche Bazaar, making their way to the Hillary
Dr. Kami Sherpa invites Peak Freaks in
for visit and show them the hospital in Kunde.
Afternoon lunch at Ang Nima's house in
Kunde, with his wife Kamiritha. Ang Nima has been working with us
since 1991. He has been to our home in Canada and is our company man,
expedition sardar. He is old school sherpa and we love him to
check in and they are concerned about the condition of Island Peak:
An email just came in at 22:00hrs
PDT- from Dingboche from Daniel Keren and his new bride Shiri Heffer both
from Israel. They opted to go ahead of the team by a few days and meet
everyone at base camp. They have heard the team is now a couple of days
behind schedule but want to let everyone back home know they are well, the
weather is fantastic up where they are and they have been having the time
of their lives. Shiri is climbing Island Peak after seeing Daniel off on
his summit climb on Everest. She informs us that no one has managed to
climb Island Peak so far this spring because word has it that the crevasse
which is near the summit is gapping wide-open. Normally there would be a
snow bridge (crossing made possible by compact snow filling the gap)
on this route. Just another sign of the rapid warming!
GLOBAL WARMING IS
"SERIOUSLY" EVIDENT ON EVEREST and the CHITWAN JUNGLE IS IN
Some Sherpas who live in
Kunde have reached base camp and are in shock as a dry Everest stands
boldly in front of them. The article that Tim recently wrote for Hemisphere-
the United Airlines inflight magazinecouldn't be more fitting for
what is being uncovered this year. What is the future of climbing big
mountains? I think the desire will always be there but the way it will be
approached, will have to change to keep it safe. New routes for sure, and
possibly more winter ascents. Either way the Khumbu glacier desperately
needs more snow to hold the ice together for safe passage during the
Everest season. At the time of Tim's call at 21:00hrs Nepal time today, a major
storm was dumping a good quantity of rain on Namche Bazaar accompanied
with bolts of lightening and thunder was reverberating off the surrounding
mountains. This percipitation should blanket the ice-fall with a nice
layer of snow. But will it be enough to keep things cool up there?
Tim seems optimistic that there will be more to come as the spring monsoon
moisture makes its way into the Himalayan range.
Water shortages in Nepal and
the power situtation, is changing the way power is being managed. India has
agreed to cut power from a community across the border from Nepal and send
the power to Kathmandu instead. Not a very Robin Hood friendly way of
doing things, but money talks.
Things are changing rapidly
and though Peak Freaks has a reputation as an upbeat, light hearted
adventure company- it's hard to smile at times. The Chitwan Jungle in the
low lands of Nepal south of Kathmandu; is a nature reserve and very
popular tourist attraction. It is currently sweltering from the intense
spring heat and it isn't going to get any cooler. Trees are missing from
the Chitwan jungle at an alarming rate and has everyone scratching their
heads how this happening? One day they were there- the next they're not.
They have just
recently found out how it is happening. Wood cutters, (the name used for loggers in Nepal)
are posing as villagers who often go into the park to cut grass to renew
their thatched roofs, and to gather grass for their livestock; are wrapping
the grass around freshly cut wood and carrying it out of the park. It's
not only the forest that is disappearing; the animals are missing too, or
rather parts of them. Rhino's are being shot and left to rot with
their horn missing and feet cut off.
THE TREK TO EVEREST BASE
takes 8-days from Lukla if
you are acclimatizing on schedule. There are rules to follow that will
most likely make acclimatizing effortless. The two basics are: (1) go high
sleep low, (2) stay hydrated. Other important steps would be to try
and keep your heart rate down to ward off getting a headache, wear a hat.
Good cardio development before you go trekking is helpful. The "go
high sleep low" system works like this: If your trek rises 300m, you
must stay over one night to allow your body or rather (haemoglobin)
adjust; if you rise 600m in one day, you must stay overnight at that
altitude for 2- nights, you should never rise 900m in one day unless you
are a Sherpa and live at 3000m. Our Sherpas will be scooting it to base
camp in 1.5 days from Namche. Whoa!!!
We have a section on AMS
(Acute Mountain Sickness) for diagnosis and treatment. Altitude does kill
and should be
taken seriously. Today more trekkers are rescued than climbers and more
trekkers die from AMS than climbers. So if you are telling the folks back
home not to worry because you are only going trekking and not climbing;
don't let them read this blog! On the other hand we have been operating
treks in this region for 18 years now and are proud to say that we haven't
had one altitude related trekker rescue. You just have to be smart about
it and listen to your body. Our sherpa guides are very familiar with the
effects on westerners, and will be watching you closely.
Day 3: (Apr. 7)
Acclimatization hike to Kunde and Khumjung (go high, sleep low day 6),
retreat to Namche to sleep again.
Day 4: (Apr. 8) Trek to
Day 5: (Apr. 9) Trek to
Dingboche,next to Pheriche on the map.
Day 6: (Apr. 10)
Acclimatization in Dingboche and area. This is where everyone starts
to feel the effects of altitude.
Day 7: (Apr. 11) Trek to
Day 8: (Apr. 12) Trek to
Gorak Shep if feeling ok, otherwise stay another night here. It would
be good to go high and sleep low here. To climb Kala Pattar and
retreat to Gorak Shep works well.
Day 9: (Apr. 13)
Everyone will likely be at base camp this day, Tim and Sherpas
probably much earlier.
Group Photos taken today
on the trail between Monjo to Namche: Bernd was on this trail 20 years
ago and Sylvia 5 years ago. They are taken back by new developments in
Team happy to be
in the valley.
Porter cooking up
his first meal of the day
enjoying a break and some music.
TIDBIT- NEPALESE PORTER
DIET: Porters and Nepalese in general eat only twice a day. Their
first meal is around 10:00am. For the porters since they start carrying
their loads at first light to escape the day- time heat, they will settle
down along the trail and cook up their first meal. So not only do they
carry the load, they will also carry their cooking pots, stove and rice.
Their meal will consist of rice and dal (lentils, prepared to soupy
consistency to stretch it). This meal is called Dal Bhat (lentils and
rice). For a jiffy fix they like Ra Ra noodles- an Indian brand of Ichiban.
Their next meal will be the last thing they will enjoy before going to
bed. Usually around 8:00pm and it will be the same preferred menu- Dal
Bhat. If they are lucky enough they will have vegetables thrown in, if the
season provides for it. It will usually be Swiss chard or dandelion
leaves- very nutritious. They prefer red lentils and they are very high in
calories, provide some protein and are a source of iron. The rice provides
their carbohydrate for energy and the benefits
from a healthy version of greens keeps these boys strong and
April 5: Do'in
the Mambo all the way to Monjo!... The team had lift off this
morning and are on their way...yahoo!!! They are collecting their bags at
the time of this call 2159hrs in BC, Canada. Breakfast is being served in
Lukla while the bags are being loaded up on the Zok's and they will hit
the trail shortly. The walk to Monjo is will take them about 4-hours,
camera's will be clicking and the excitement builds.
April 4: Nothing
new, still in Kathmandu!
FREAKS IS IN THE AIR!
may not be Lukla, but we are flying around the world right now!
Riki Lawson from Vancouver, B.C.
says, "Are we there yet?" Here is a blog from Riki offering a
more detailed explanation of the visit to Swayambhunath.
Hi Becky! How are
you doing? As you know, as are still hanging out in Kathmandu.
It sounds like we have a pretty good plan set for tomorrow to get us out
Tim asked me to send off a couple of pictures of us waiting and
"doing stuff" over here, so I have attached one.
Also, Sylvia and I wondered if we should take this opportunity to give you
another account our trip to the Monkey
Temple the other day, a telling detail seems to be missing. As we
all proceeded up the stairs, Rob and Gerardo took off faster than Sylvia
and I did. She and I stopped at one point because I wanted her to
take a picture of me with the stairs in the background. She was
holding a little bag of bananas, so I offered to hold them while she took
my picture. Just as we were making the hand-off, a monkey came out
of no where and swooped between us and nabbed the bag right at its
vulnerable point between us. He also scratched Sylvia's leg in the
process and she let out a scream! As we watched that monkey take off
and break into his loot, another monkey who watched the whole thing seemed
to get upset with us for some reason. That monkey then made a move
toward Sylvia and she took off up the stairs. Then he turned and
came at me (arms out in front of him ready to swipe/scratch) and chased me
down a few stairs, and I'm pretty sure I let out a scream, too.
Here's the missing detail: once Sylvia and I got up to the top, we found
our Knights in Shining Armour hanging out at the top. It seems they
heard our screams, but continued along their merry way to the top.
I'm fairly certain that once we arrived one of them asked what took us so
Despite all the waiting, we have definitely managed to get in some good
laughs here and there. Yesterday Rob, Gerardo, Sylvia, Jan, and I
jumped into a teeny tiny Suzuki taxi and enjoyed a calamitous clown car
ride to a fairly uninspiring site outside Kathmandu. I have attached
a photo of our poor little chariot. One must remember that the
driver also had to get in after us!
With any luck, we will be flying to somewhere tomorrow!
Tim said everyone is doing
well as there are always things to do in Kathmandu. Some of the members
headed out of the city today to get above the smog because even though it
is socked in at Lukla it is sunny in Kathmandu adding to the creation of
more fumes. Some of the gang tripped off to see "Resting
Vishnu" a location above the city to escape, but report it wasn't too
enjoyable; the water fountains and falls were all dried up. Sad.
TopOut Ted showed up today
to fill in some extra time we didn't think the team would have to do a
demonstration on the TopOut mask. We use only these masks today. They are
the best and we only do the best we can do; all our climbers are
equipped with this new technology created by Ted Atkins from the UK.
You can check out the OLD verses the NEW on our oxygen
Some of the members are now
starting to get sore throats, but they will go away quickly once they get
into the clean mountain air. Other than that Tim said they had a great
time at dinner last night. The team is bonding really well. They are
having a lot fun, good laughs and many jokes flying around.
Oh well, it is what it is...
The number one question I
get asked is: "what does it take to climb Everest?" My
number one answer is:" Patience" with a capital
Have a great weekend if you
are away from the puter. I am never that far away so I will be posting all
weekend till we get the team up ,up ,and away.
P.S. Yes, I have given Tim what for, for
not sending us some photos of the team members to share. He said it is
really difficult because of the 16-hour a day black-outs - due power
shortages. I told him that was no excuse. You can climb Everest but you
can't cyber me some photos??? :) come on! Tom at Human
Edge Techyou gotta talk to him!
April 2: Stuck
in Kathmandu! Tim checks in: Fog at Lukla didn't clear so
the team remains in Kathmandu. They were
well taken of though. Our buddy Kiran waited at the airport all morning
with the truck loaded with the teams gear while they all waited in the
comfort of the hotel garden for a call to say "it's a go". But
by early afternoon it was apparent that it was not going to happen. All
flights were cancelled to Lukla today.
Tim has also noted that Kathmandu appears
to be quiet this year compared to last. The Ministry of Tourism commented
that they are down 30%. I would think this may be referring to general
tourism which includes sightseeing and trekking and not necessarily
climbing. There are a couple of teams that normally climb via the North
Side that switched over this year due to the closing of Tibet for the
month of March and didn't want to mess around; should the Chinese change
their minds and keep it closed.
Rob, Gerardo, Sylvia and Rikki took a
trip up the Swayambhunath Stupa today. It is one of the important places
for the study of Buddhism; it has a history of up to 2500 years. The Stupa
has the eyes of the Buddha painted on the four sides; it represented the
invisible power of the Buddha. In between the eyes, there is a sign that
look like a question mark (?) at the position of the nose; it is actually
the number 1 in Nepalese language. It represents the unity of the
The Stupa is
known as the Monkey Temple by tourists because wild monkey's have taken up
permanent residence here. They are nasty little critters and you have be
careful not to look them in the eye; they will challenge you. Sylvia
learned how important it is to wear pants here if you are going to eat
bananas. Apparently one scampered up her leg with it's sharp nails which
could have ripped open her skin had she been wearing shorts. An infection
from these guys pre-climb, is not an option. Thankfully the only harm
caused was the loss of her bundle of bananas. They do provide good
entertainment though. On a hot day you will find them jumping from the
trees into the Bagmati river, babies and all. On a cool morning before the
tourists arrive including those offering to the temple arrive, you will see them
hurl down the long
railing that leads to the top of the stupa. Good fun to watch them getting
air off the landings.
Other fun things to do include going for
a ride around town in a rickshaw. I hope we can encourage the continued
these. It would be awesome if all the traffic in Thamel was restricted to
rickshaw's!!! It was much like that in the early 90's due to fact that
there weren't vehicles like there are today causing the air quality
problems and congestion. We have a favourite rickshaw driver, his name KC,
our nickname for him is 33, given from the license plate number on his
bike. He still today "18 years later" works his bike. He is looking a
little older, but is still in great shape- no doubt! These things are heavy
and so are many westerners that use them.
April 1: April
fools we are! Tim checks in: "0500hrs - Rise and shine, 0600hrs
shuffle duffels to the van waiting
outside the hotel. 0700hrs- clearing
airport security- 0800hrs - in the departure lounge - 0900hrs pacing
the floor waiting to be called to board our flight to Lukla. hmmm.... waiting....hmmm...
I am approached by the Yeti Airways rep inside who tells me flight is going to be delayed. There is fog at Lukla at the
moment so we need to wait for it to clear. GOOD.... for those that may
recall the tragic accident last autumn at Lukla due fog, this is all good.
1030hrs. Normal stuff, this happens all the time. 1100hrs I am approached
again by Yeti rep and told the fog has
cleared so we will get you out in about an hour when the first flight returns from
Lukla. Waiting..waiting... tapping toes...Something is wrong. The first
flight people are being brought back to the terminal. Hmmm...this doesn't
look good. What's up?...the plane had a problem with the engine and had to
turn back. We are told we need to wait for another plane. 1200hrs we are
told they have another plane up and running. They usher us out to the
plane but we are asked to wait on the bus because they are waiting for the
fuel truck. Twenty minutes go by and finally the truck arrives and fills
the plane. We all jump on, fasten our seat belts- Hmmm... what is the
pilot doing? He is just sitting there! What's up? Ok everyone off-
WHAT???- High winds at the notch, we can't do it. We will give it another
go tomorrow" ....Sigh
For those at home there is
notch (a mountain pass) that we must fly through just before descending down
into the tight perch above the river where the Lukla airport is situated.
It is a high pass and there is a notch that the planes going to Lukla must
sneak through to avoid the down winds coming from the high Himalayan
mountains above. Even on a calm day you get kicked around up there
when the pilot makes this transition in the flight path. If the winds are
high, forget it, and that is exactly what happened to them
Everyone is now nestled back
in their beds at the hotel and we will give it a another go tomorrow. This
is all normal stuff in mountain travel- the hurry up and wait scenario.
Arriving Lukla Airstrip
Lukla's very short drop
Crash at Lukla airport
How safe is Lukla airport you ask?
Pretty darn good considering the location of the airport and the number of
flights since it was built in the 1960's under instruction from Sir Edmund
Hillary. It's constantly being challenged by weight restrictions due to the impact
of tourism on the region, no roads and ll combined with mountain weather. I came across
an interesting site where you can see for yourself. AVIATION
Lukla's runway can only be approached
from one direction due to it being snuggled up to a rather large mountain,
is on a precarious 190 angle and has a 2000 foot drop at the end. So
access is restricted to either Helicopter or STOL aircraft, which is leads
to the use of the DHC-6 Twin Otter being the ideal plane.
As Canadians we are proud to say that
YETI Airlines Twin Otters used here are Canadians planes from Ken Borek
Air, orginially out of Smithers, B.C. Canada. What is cool about this
trivia tidbit- is that I likely flew on these same planes between
Prince George and Smithers B.C. when I work as an agent up there, and now
today I fly in possibly the same seat (my favourite one in the back),
today from Kathmandu to Lukla and back.
March 31: Tibet
offically re-opened:There was a meeting yesterday at
the Tibet Tourism Bureau in Lhasa. They
have officially decided to open
Tibet for tourism with immediate effect.
Our Everest 09 team had
their " good-bye to smog" dinner party last night and will depart to Lukla at
0600, tomorrow morning, and that is "no" April fools joke. Lukla
weather has been good and all flights have been getting out on schedule.
Next message will be from Monjo a 4-hour walk from Lukla.
Upon arrival in
Lukla they will meet up with the Zok's, nickname for the crossbreed
between a yak and cow. The real name given is Dzo. The crossbreeding
creates an infertile male and female. They are used on the trail between
Lukla and Namche to carry loads rather than a yak. In the spring the yaks are rutting and
weak after wintering. They also get just a wee bit cantankerous this time of
year. They are larger than the Zok's so they need more room to get around
trekkers and cargo which can create havoc on the congested parts of the
trail. In particular the steep rocky section from the Dudh Kosi river up
the Namche hill. Never mind the infamous bridge crossing where one has to
share your time crossing the bridge with the animals. Ooops! watch that
horn up your trekking skirt- (speaking from experience).
The photos supplied
show the enormous difference in their size. Porters are ideal between
Lukla and Namche. This option provides income for many of the people in
the region rather than one family who owns a team of animals,
benefiting solely from an expedition haul. We use a mix of both.
Porters and Dzo from Lukla to Namche. Yaks from Namche to Everest base
camp, and then we employ local porters to do expedition errands in the
valley. This way everyone gets a piece of the action that only comes
around twice a year. Autumn and Spring.
*Dudh in Nepalese means
milk. The Dudh Kosi River is milky due to the glacier silt so the name is
fitting. The Kosi River flows from Nepal to India, and is one of the
largest tributaries of the Ganges, the other tributary is the
Whitewater rafting is
another popular adventure in the Himalayas. We offer 1,2 and 3 day
adventures with class 3 to 5. WHITEWATER
RAFTING NEPAL for more.
(1)- Dzo`s (2)-
Yak (3) Porters on Namche hill.
When we first started going
to Nepal back in 1991 porters only wore a sarung and had no shoes.
Lifestyle has definetly improved thanks to the big E.
MARCH 30: Everyone
has arrived!Except for support trekker
Rikki Lawson from Vancouver. She arrives tomorrow and then we are off to
Lukla early the next morning. Gerardo Lopez arrived today and later Todd
Lavigne checked in. Jan Pflugradt checked in with Peak Freaks home team
today. He says, "I am having great fun meeting everyone and
getting excited for the climb to begin."
Daniel Keren and his new
bride Shiri, both from Israel, left today to for Lukla. They were just
married a couple weeks ago and this trip is their honeymoon. How cool is
that? He is climbing Everest and she will climb Island Peak. They are
trekking in to EBC alone (for obvious reasons), and will meet up with the
team again at EBC around April 9 or 10. Congratulations go out to both of
Tim spoke to the Sherpa team
at base camp today and they said the new snow as all melted now.lag:
"We are all a bit sleepy today. The frogs and dogs are keeping
most of us awake. We are looking forward to getting out to the Khumbu
Valley on April 1st so we can all get a good nights sleep. It rained today
for about an hour which created reason to celebrate. People were dancing
in the streets getting soaked. What a relief for everyone. We organized
some more personal duffels today and sent them up to Lukla. Now we are
waiting for the arrival of a couple more people and their bags and we are
ready to start this climb- April 1- yahoo!"
Over and out! Tim
MARCH 28: Everest
Weather: Ngima Sherpa checks in to provide a Sherpa style report.
No satellite imagery required from here. Looking at the surrounding
mountains, Ama Dablam, Lhotse, Nuptse and Everest from his kitchen window,
he calls in by satellite phone to report that this winter has been very mild. There isn't
hardly any snow on Everest, it has been warmer than normal, some wind but
not very strong. Ngima also says, "In the past 24 hours we
are starting to get more snow now and the wind is picking up."
Comments from Tim: "It
rained for about an hour and just stopped (9pm Nepal time), everyone is
excited as it has provided a few more drops in the bucket. The mountains
are starting to get a good dump of snow, which is good. Some of our
Sherpas are already at base camp and keeping things open shovelling snow.
This is all good! We will need a bit
more glue in the glacier to hold things together in the ice-fall,
especially as it starts to get warmer. Everyone is here now except for,
Gerardo, Todd and Jan who will arrive in the next day or two. Bernd, our
old fart for this year at the age of 68 will be the Oldest Canadian
(for sure oldest North American, maybe world?) to
attempt Everest this year. Stats stillt come in on who is climbing
from other teams. In 2007 Canadian Werner Berger summited Everest
at the age of 69. Bernd is not only our team doc and oldest climber,
but he has also been
figured out to be the one who will most likely provide non-stop comic
relief. Good medicine, oh boy, we are in for a good time!
The rain perked the frogs
up again and I have my sights on one big one from where I stand on the
roof-top tonight making this call. It just slipped under a car. Over and
out, the frog hunt is on. " - Tim
HELP PUT 1
BILLION OR MORE PEOPLE IN THE DARK- Turn off your lights for one hour!
MARCH 27: Permit
in hand...Everything is working as normal this year. Unlike like last year
where a considerable amount of chaos was created when the Chinese decided
to close Everest South, Nepal side during the Olypmic Torch Relay in
Tibet. The result was Tim
having to hang out in Kathmandu for 2 weeks waiting for the Nepalese
government to decide what they
were going to do. This season we were in and out, a few hand shakes with
our Ministry friends and we are ready to climb. Unfortunately this is
not the case for teams who have chosen to climb via the North Side in
Tibet. They are still hanging out in Kathmandu waiting for the final word
from China as to whether or not they will be allowed to climb. It was announced
a couple weeks ago that Tibet is to be re-opened April 1 for
As a result
of the uncertainty, most expeditions had previously committed to climbing
on the South Side in Nepal. Unfortunately this is going to cause
considerable congestion on the mountain. There will be some very
careful considerations in the timing come summit bid time. Last year we were in
the long line-up of 77 climbers who went for the summit the same day. This
is something we certainly don't want to repeat but we may have no choice. We
were lucky last year in that the weather was perfect, so going slow wasn't
much of a problem. If it is cold and windy during the summit window this
season, it could be a different story.
met with Liz Hawley today.
She is very dear to him. They have been hitching up in Kathmandu for 18
years now. Who is Liz? She is Tim's Kathmandu
girlfriend. That is how he refers to her and she seems to appreciate it.
She is also one of the most
important figures in Himalayan climbing and who has
never been to Everest Base Camp, and is not a climber. In 1960, a
young American woman, Elizabeth Hawley, moved to Nepal as a
reporter for Time, Inc. Initially sending home political
dispatches from the kingdom, it wasn’t long before Hawley’s
pen found its niche: mountaineering in the world’s highest
places. She quickly became part of the Kathmandu scene,
socializing regularly with an eclectic group of adventures,
climbers, royalties politicians and entrepreneurs. Liz
is still in Kathmandu today at the age of 86 and has been the unofficial
chronicler of every detail of every expedition mounted from Nepal
in the Himalayas from more than four decades.
You can't fool Liz!
If you think you are going to sneak in and out of the country without her
knowing about it. Quite simply it won't happen. Without you ever telling
her she will know the exact time of your arrival in Kathmandu and which
hotel she will find you at. She will hunt you down in her sharply polished
baby blue Volkswagen which amazingly enough remains dent free in the tight
busy streets of Thamel. Her driver commands a wide berth much like the
sacred cows do that roam the streets in the capital city. If you think you
will omit something in your ascent and descent report, she will know - so
don't bother. You will be asked to describe certain parts of the route,
the location of certain moves on the mountain, what it looked like and the
time it took you to get from there to there. She knows who saw you and who
didn't at certain points on the mountain. She has climbed the Himalayas
through the flow of the ink in her pen, carefully documenting every detail
(still in the lost art of handwriting). She might even ask a climber to draw
her a picture from time to time to demonstrate their moves on the route.
She has met some amazing people during her time in Nepal. She has heard
the good the bad and ugly. She is a very wise woman who shares her wisdom
with Tim, it has been a
honour to know her.
March 28 is Earth Hour!... You can definitely count Kathmandu in
for one hour during earth hour. Tim reports that the power is now being
turned out in Kathmandu for 16 hours a day. He says it is really bad.
There is no water... "It's just trickling. Certainly not enough to
generate a hydro plant. There is barely enough to sustain life and the
valley gardens are in poor condition as a result. They desperately need
MARCH 26: RIBIT..!!!
Tim checks in from Kathmandu: The prime "rib-it" from
the amphibian world has taken up residency in large
numbers at our Kathmandu base camp hotel. It has been so dry this winter that frogs are seeking out water wherever they can. Our hotel has
a lovely waterfall in the garden that they have sought out for survival. This makes sleeping at night a bit of a challenge as they turn
up the volume. Another complication as a result of the dryness is vehicle
pollution. Kathmandu is situated in a valley surrounded by mountains that
hold the pollution in. To complicate matters there are now many vehicle in the city. Everything used to be carted around by rickshaw or on
the backs of city porters and wagons. We have seen a significant increase
in traffic over the years, dangerously so. To add to it as mentioned
earlier, the city is generated by hydro-power. When the hydro is low it is
switched off and the spewing generators take over making air quality
We have asked our climbers
to invest in a charcoal filter mask if they are planning on being in the
city for several days prior to the teams scheduled flight out to Lukla. Or
they can go as is - instead cough it all up on the steep ascent between
Monjo and Namche Bazaar on day two of the trek in to base camp.
Team member Rob Smith is now
in Kathmandu, Daniel Keren arrives tomorrow, the next day Jan Pflugradt,
Syvia Moser, Craig Evanoff and Bernd Wittman. The last to arrive will be
Gerardo on Todd Lavigne on the 30th.
HOUR CREATOR- Todd Sampson- Peak Freak summiteer summited
Everest in 2001 while on expedition led by Tim Rippel. Todd is Canadian originally from Sydney Nova Scotia now living in
Sydney,Australia and is responsible for the global
Earth Hour is a global WWF climate change
initiative. The campaign invites individuals, businesses, governments
and communities to turn out their lights for one hour on one day of the
year to show their support for action on climate change. The event began
in Sydney Australia in 2007, when 2 million people switched off their lights. In
2008, more than 50 million people around the globe participated. In
2009, Earth Hour aims to reach out to 1 billion people in 1,000 cities.
Todd is the CEO of Leo Burnett’s
advertising agency in Australia. Some of the current clients include
Australia Post, Australian Grand Prix, Canon, Colgate Palmolive, Dulux -
Berger and British, Energy Australia, Fairfax, Hallmark, Heineken,
Macquarie Bank, Nestle, Nintendo, Procter & Gamble, and Samsung, just
to name a few.
Peak Freaks continues to attract
like-minded 'mountain huggers' through our "Green
Theme" initiatives while playing in the mountains.
PHOTO: Todd Sampson on the summit of
TRACKER ON EVEREST?... We have been asked by our followers if we
will be tracking our Everest expedition this spring as we just did on
Aconcagua in February. Climber Lucille de Beaudrap from Canada, who we
tracked on Aconcagua this year tried it on her climb on Island Peak last
autumn and couldn't maintain a signal in that region. Sorry! This is
something I had been hoping for for several years. How cool would that
MARCH 24: Bon
Voyage!Tim (aka) Timalaya, is on his way to
Kathmandu today. The team will be closing in behind him during over the next
few days. Kathmandu is choking from smog! It has been extremely drythis
winter. Nepal is powered by hydro so power outages are frequent for
conservation purposes. Unfortunately to subsidize the hydro power,
businesses are lighting up with generators causing considerable pollution in the
The team is scheduled to fly
to Lukla on April 1st and from there it will take them approxiately 8 to 9
days trekking to reach base camp.
SUMMITS:Sylvia Moser at
the age of 53 from Victoria, B.C. may well be the holder to two new
records: The oldest Canadian female to summit Mount Everest, and the
oldest Canadian female to complete the seven summits. She also has a rival
this year for the title of the oldest female in the WORLD to
complete the seven summits. Sylvia is a single mother of three and
breast cancer survivor.
FRONT:PEAK FREAKS friends and home-town Nelson residents
Viktorie Hladik and
Pierre Raymond setting up slope stablizing projects in Nepal.
PEAK FREAKS leading the way for cleaner climbing practices in the
Himalayas; initiated last year on Everest, carried over to Pumori. We
are the "first" to use bio bags for human waste, solar only, buy local, eat organic and asking "can we do more ?"
CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT NEPAL: Friends of Peak
Freaks for many years Fionna Heiton and Durga
Aran, who was born and raised in Nepal, is currently ground breaking in
Kathmandu for the new "First Steps Himalaya" centre.
ALTITUDE COMPUTER SKILLS: PEAK FREAKS with the help of
from Vancouver B.C. is teaching computer skills to the children at the "Hillary
School" in Khumjung.
PEAK FREAKS HOME DIETITIAN- Helen Lutz from Nelson, B.C. is promoting health, wellness and
chronic disease prevention in the Khumbu Valley.
is a Registered Dietitian living in Nelson, BC. Over the past 15 years
Helen has developed expertise in nutrition education, chronic disease
prevention, media and public speaking, and involvement in health
promotion and wellness initiatives. Helen is highly regarded for her ease
of communication and practical approach to translating the
science of nutrition into everyday language and practice. Helen enjoys
telemark skiing, cycling, baking, gardening, and being a mom to her
boys. Helen, her husband and two young sons enjoy adventuring together in
the great outdoors. Helen
has been providing nutritional guidance to Peak Freaks cooks and climbers for
several years now.