Mt. Everest: RMI Expedition Ends

Posted by: Dave Hahn, J.J. Justman, Billy Nugent, Mark Tucker | April 23, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

We began the day with hope that we might be getting closer to resuming climbing.  Billy and JJ took the climbers hiking while Mark Tucker and I met with a number of other climb leaders and Sherpa sirdars.  Those meetings convinced us that the right course was to give up on Mount Everest for Spring 2014.  In future dispatches, we’ll try to quantify the reasons for such a decision.  But for now, suffice to say that the risks outweigh the possibility of success.

This week has been a roller coaster of emotion for many of us, from the horror that came with the avalanche of April 18, to the confusion that followed it regarding the right course to take for balancing respect for the dead, concern for team safety and summit ambitions.  Following the accident, our list of serious obstacles to an Everest summit was always significant, but we believed it worthwhile to continue looking for some way forward.  Our climbers, Sherpas, guides, and outfitters had put too much into the planning and execution of this trip to let go of the goal with less than our best effort.  We’ve given that now.

We’ll start heading for home soon.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Mt. Everest, Nepal. Photo: Jake Norton

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50

A very tough decision to make I am sure - but the best one in light of the previous days events.
Safe travels to all….

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Posted by: Jeff Hall on 4/24/2014 at 4:59 pm

Nicole and team, I am so sorry.  This is history in the making and you were there to bear witness to this tragedy.  Pray for the lives lost.  Come home… read more

Posted by: Sandy Murray on 4/24/2014 at 4:35 pm


Mt. Everest: Mark Tucker Checks in

Posted by: J.J. Justman, Billy Nugent, Dave Hahn, Mark Tucker | April 21, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

The skies were sunny with warm temperatures today at Everest Base Camp.  Our climbers took a few short hikes around the lower glacier and then a bit of cards and board games to keep our minds busy.  There is community gathering for a remembrance scheduled for tomorrow.

RMI Guide & Base Camp Manager Mark Tucker

The view from Everest Base Camp, 17,575 ft. Photo: Dave Hahn

On The Map

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Nicole Lobiondo: Hope you are okay during this tough time. My Dad and I took our Walk in Long Branch and drove by your house. All looks good! Mufasa must… read more

Posted by: Nicole Howard on 4/23/2014 at 5:11 am

Nicole,  Be safe with your team.  Love you Sandy

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Posted by: Sandy Murray on 4/22/2014 at 5:13 pm


Mt. Everest:  Sherpa Support Fund

Posted by: | April 21, 2014
Categories: *Everest

Thank you for your calls, inquires and support regarding the tragedy on Mt. Everest last week.

American Alpine ClubIf you would like to make a donation to be used to help the families who lost loved ones in the avalanche and those who were injured, you can do so through the American Alpine Club - Sherpa Support Fund.

Thank you,
The RMI Expeditions Team

Mt. Everest, 29,035'.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Nicole Lobiondo: Hope your trip is a once in a life-time event. The Kenny’s wish you a safe trip home and are praying for your safe return. I am sure… read more

Posted by: Terry Kenny on 4/23/2014 at 7:55 am

Nicole Lobiondo: Thinking of you all during this time. Stay safe and positive. Love, Nicole

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Posted by: Nicole Howard on 4/23/2014 at 5:09 am


Mountaineering Training | Make The Most Of Rest Breaks

Posted by: | April 21, 2014
Categories: *Mountaineering Fitness & Training

How do you utilize rest breaks in your training and climbs? Do you take a break to eat? And another when you are thirsty?  Perhaps when your legs get tired and uncomfortable? A quick bathroom break on the side of the trail?  It’s important to take care of all of these needs but they need to approached strategically to prevent rest breaks from turning an otherwise long endeavor into an epic.  Learning to manage your rest breaks and keep them efficient makes a big difference on summit day. 

At RMI, the oft-used cliché is that we take “maintenance breaks,” not rest breaks. Consider all of the needs that need to be taken care of mid-climb: you need to relieve yourself, take in enough calories to maintain your energy output, hydrate, adjust your clothing layers to changing conditions, perhaps take care of a hot spot so that it doesn’t become a debilitating blister, get a few minutes off of your feet, and just maybe snap a couple of photos.  This list can easily turn into a half an hour of tasks, even if each only took just 4-5 minutes to accomplish.  After thirty minutes your legs will likely start to stiffen and your temperature start to drop, not to mention that a few half-hour breaks together can turn a 10 hour day into a 12+ hour day in the mountains, stretching the limits of how long we can climb safely and maintain our focus. 

The moral of the story is that efficiency is key: we want to try to take care of all of our needs in the span of ten minutes to leave a few minutes to relax before getting back on the trail and making progress towards the finish line.  Ultra marathoners do this with “walking breaks,” slowing to a walk every hour to make sure that their body is primed for the next hour.  Mountainous terrain doesn’t let us take breaks on the fly, but the principle remains the same.  Taking short, deliberate, and consistent breaks keeps us climbing strongly throughout the day. Making rest breaks efficient takes practice. Learn to multitask in your breaks: take a couple bites of food while you shuffle clothing layers, relieve yourself before you sit down to start your other chores, and sip on water throughout the break.  As you get better at it, you’ll find that you’ve taken care of everything in the first few minutes, and you can relax and let your legs get a bit of recovery for the rest of the break. 

No matter how efficient you are, the time rest breaks take add up.  Taking efficient breaks too frequently can drain just as much time as taking a couple of long breaks. In the mountains, we try to maintain a consistent pace for an hour or so before stopping for ten to fifteen minutes to refuel and take care of ourselves.  This proves to be an effective interval for our bodies in terms of replenishing depleted stores yet still allows us to reach our destination.  Practice this interval in your training too and by your next climb it will feel like second nature. 

Questions? Comments? Share your thoughts here on the RMI Blog!

An RMI Team takes a break at Ingraham Flats (11,200') while descending Mt. Rainier (Jon Mancuso).

Mt. Everest: Meetings Attended by Hahn & Tucker While the Climbing Team Hikes to Pumori Camp 1

Posted by: Dave Hahn, J.J. Justman, Billy Nugent, Mark Tucker | April 20, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

Still at Everest Base.  Still a very difficult situation for all involved.

JJ and Billy led the climbing team on a hike to Pumori Camp One today, where they enjoyed awesome views of Mount Everest (during our hike to the same point last week we had no views due to an ill-timed and swirling snowstorm).  Mark Tucker and I attended a series of somewhat tense and serious meetings between team leaders, Sherpas, and the few government representatives present in camp.  It is very difficult to say what will happen going forward but one cannot under emphasize the enormity of the tragedy to the Sherpa community.  Each team, if it has not suffered death and loss directly, has lost relatives, close friends and neighbors to the icefall avalanche of April 18.  In too many cases, survivors saw the friends perish before their eyes or else they dealt with the difficult aftermath of body recovery personally.

Our Sherpa partners love their jobs and love to climb, but nobody is climbing now and all are struggling to come to terms with how to proceed in a way that honors those lost and protects those left alive.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Mt. Everest with a wind-swept plume. Photo: RMI Collection

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My thoughts are with all affected by the tragedy. I can only imagine the impact it has had on you all personally. I have no doubt that you, JJ, and… read more

Posted by: Everett Moran on 4/22/2014 at 10:56 am


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Expedition Stats

Vinson Massif
11/19 - 12/11/2013
Summit
Kilimanjaro
8/17 - 8/31/2013
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
8/22 - 8/25/2013
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
8/23 - 8/26/2013
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
8/24 - 8/27/2013
10,080'
Four Day Summit Climb
8/25 - 8/28/2013
10,800'
Four Day Summit Climb
8/26 - 8/29/13
10,200'
Four Day Summit Climb
8/27 - 8/30/2013
11,200'
Four Day Summit Climb
8/28 - 8/31/2013
11,800'
Mt. Shuksan
8/25 - 8/30/2013
7,200'
Four Day Summit Climb
8/29 - 9/1/2013
11,200'
Mt. Shuksan Fisher Chimneys
8/30 - 9/2/2013
Summit
Mt. Shuksan Fisher Chimneys
8/30 - 9/1/13
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
8/30 - 9/2/2013
12,700'
Four Day Summit Climb
8/31 - 9/3/2013
12,300'
Four Day Summit Climb
9/1 - 9/4/2013
12,300'
Four Day Summit Climb
9/2 - 9/5/2013
10,080'
Four Day Summit Climb
9/3 - 9/6/2013
10,080'
Mt. Shuksan Sulphide Glacier
9/2 - 9/6/2013
Summit
Everest Base Camp Trek
10/28 - 11/21/2013
Reached Base Camp
Four Day Summit Climb
9/4 - 9/7/13
11,600'
Four Day Summit Climb
9/5 - 9/8/2013
12,900'
Mt. Elbrus - Northside
8/22 - 9/7/13
14,000'
Four Day Summit Climb
9/6 - 9/9/2013
12,300'
Kilimanjaro
9/2 - 9/16/2013
Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir
9/8 - 9/13/2013
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
9/11 - 9/14/2013
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
9/12 - 9/15/2013
Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
9/11 - 9/15/2013
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
9/13 - 9/16/2013
Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir
9/15 - 9/20/2013
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
9/18 - 9/21/2013
Summit
Kilimanjaro
9/14 - 9/28/2013
Summit
Four Day Summit Climb
9/19 - 9/22/2013
12,300'
Five Day Summit Climb
9/18 - 9/22/2013
12,300'
Four Day Summit Climb
9/20 - 9/23/2013
8,000'
Fisher Chimneys
9/16 - 9/18/2013
Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir
9/22 - 9/27/2013
Summit
Five Day Summit Climb
9/25 - 9/29/2013
7,600'
Kilimanjaro
10/5 - 10/19/2013
Summit
Mexico's Volcanoes
10/19 - 10/27/2013
14,700' Ixtaccihuatl / 16,500' Orizaba
Ecuador Volcanoes
12/10 - 12/20/2013
Cayambe - Summit / Cotopaxi - Summit
Vinson Massif
12/1 - 12/23/2013
Summit
Aconcagua
12/9 - 12/29/2013
21,700'
Aconcagua
12/14 - 1/6/2014
Summit
Aconcagua
12/20 - 1/12/2014
Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter
1/5 - 1/10/2014
10,080'
Aconcagua
12/27 - 1/19/2014
Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Ecuador
1/7 - 1/20/2014
Cayambe - Summit / Antisana - 18,500' / Cotopaxi - Summit
Mexico's Volcanoes
1/18 - 1/26/2014
Ixtaccihuatl - Summit / Orizaba - Summit
Aconcagua
1/10 - 2/2/2014
Summit
Aconcagua
1/3 - 1/26/2014
21,500'
Kilimanjaro
1/25 - 2/8/2014
Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter
2/9 - 2/14/2014
7,100'
Kilimanjaro
2/8 - 2/22/2014
Summit
Ecuador Volcanoes
2/11 - 2/21/2014
Cayambe - Summit / Cotopaxi - Summit
Aconcagua
2/2 - 2/25/2014
Summit
Mexico's Volcanoes
2/15 - 2/23/2014
Ixtaccihuatl - Summit / Orizaba - Summit
Kilimanjaro
2/10 - 2/21/2014
Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Ecuador
2/14 - 2/26/2014
Illiniza Sur - Summit / Cotopaxi - Summit
Mexico's Volcanoes
3/1 - 3/9/2014
Ixtaccihuatl - Summit / Orizaba - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter
3/9 - 3/14/2014
Summit
Everest Base Camp Trek - Island Peak
3/16 - 4/10/2014
Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter
4/13 - 4/18/2014
Mt. Rainier - 13,400'
Everest Base Camp Trek
3/19 - 4/8/2014
Base Camp
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  • Mt. Everest, Nepal. Photo: Jake Norton
  • The view from Everest Base Camp, 17,575 ft. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Mt. Everest, 29,035'.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • An RMI Team takes a break at Ingraham Flats (11,200') while descending Mt. Rainier (Jon Mancuso).
  • Mt. Everest with a wind-swept plume. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Khumbu Icefall after the April 18th avalanche. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Last rest break on the mountain. Photo: Brent Okita
  • Group photo near Paradise. Photo: Brent Okita
  • The winter seminar training in tough conditions at Camp Muir. Photo: Brent Okita
  • Night exposure of the Khumbu Icefall. Photo: RMI Collection
  • The Mt. Rainier winter seminar's high point today. Photo: Robby Young
  • Winter seminar training with avalanche transceivers. Photo: Brent Okita
  • The winter seminar traversing the Cowlitz Glacier. Photo: Brent Okita
  • B3 Helicopter Leaving Everest BC Helipad. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Mt. Everest from the Kalapathar summit. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Taking a break on our way up the Muir Snowfield. Photo: Brent Okita
  • Mt. Rainier seminar ascending to Camp Muir. Photo: Brent Okita
  • Beautiful vast views on Mt. Rainier seminar. Photo: Brent Okita
  • View from above Everest Basecamp. Photo: Jake Norton
  • Everest Base Camp and the Lower Khumbu Icefall.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • Prayer flags below Pumori. Photo: Jeff Martin
  • View from Pumori C1. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Dave Hahn descending the Khumbu Icefall. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Join RMI for classes on how to prepare for Mt. Rainier at your local REI store!
  • Everest BC - Puja ceremony. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Raising the mast at a puja ceremony. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Puja lamas and drum. Photo: RMI Collection
  • RMI's Everest Base Camp at night. Photo: RMI Collection
  • The sun setting on the peaks surrounding Everest Base Camp.  Photo: RMI Collection