- Melissa Arnot
- Alex Barber
- Gabriel Barral
- Jake Beren
- Zeb Blais
- Katie Bono
- Anne Gilbert Chase
- Sean Collon
- Leon Davis
- Elias de Andres Martos
- Cody Doolan
- Paul Edgren
- Mark Falender
- Leah Fisher
- Eric Frank
- Steve Gately
- Josh Gautreau
- Thomas Greene
- Casey Grom
- Dave Hahn
- Walter Hailes
- Tim Hardin
- Mike Haugen
- Andy Hildebrand
- Mike Hinckley
- Joe Horiskey
- Nick Hunt
- Tyler Jones
- J.J. Justman
- Levi Kepsel
- Mike King
- Adam Knoff
- Katy Laveck
- Ben Liken
- Josh Maggard
- Paul Maier
- Linden Mallory
- Lindsay Mann
- Andres Marin
- Jeff Martin
- Erik Nelson
- Billy Nugent
- Brent Okita
- Logan Randolph
- Tyler Reid
- Dave Reynolds
- Kel Rossiter
- Geoff Schellens
- Shaun Sears
- Garrett Stevens
- Jason Thompson
- Mike Tomlinson
- Mark Tucker
- Mike Uchal
- Pete Van Deventer
- Alex Van Steen
- Ed Viesturs
- Maile Wade
- Mike Walter
- Seth Waterfall
- Solveig Waterfall
- Peter Whittaker
- Win Whittaker
- Bryson Williams
- Dan Windham
- Robby Young
Posts for Everest from 05/2011
RMI Guide Mark Tucker reported from Everest Base Camp that RMI Guide Melissa Arnot and her climbing partner Dave Morton have safely returned to Base Camp. Unfortunately, they were unable to summit Mt. Everest on this expedition but we are all glad that they are back safe and sound.
The season on Mt. Everest is complete and the tent city at 17,575’ which came alive in mid March with expedition members, trekkers, Sherpa and Base Camp staff is now bare of tents and people.
Congratulations again to RMI Guides Dave Hahn and Linden Mallory on their successful summit climb. Thank you to Mark Tucker and all the staff at High Altitude Dreams for another safe and successful season on Mt. Everest.
Hello from Everest Base Camp,
We have been enjoying some warm sunny days relaxing at Base Camp with Dave and Linden after their return from the summit. We were joined in Base Camp by RMI Guide Melissa Arnot and her climbing partner Dave Morton. For the past two months, while our team was at Everest Base Camp acclimatizing and preparing for our Everest summit bid, Melissa and Dave were doing the same for an ascent of Makalu. They are now resting at Everest Base Camp in preparation of a summit bid on Mt. Everest. The weather looks good and they plan to leave Base Camp in a few days.
Dave and Linden will also be departing soon. Making their way down valley to Lukla, flying to Kathmandu and spending a night or two before boarding flights for home. Everest Base Camp is getting pretty quite but there are still a few teams here.
We will keep you posted.
RMI Guide Mark Tucker
It has been three days since Dave, Tshering, Kaji and I reached the summit of Everest. Our short and fast summit bid was a whirlwind of a climb, an exciting and tiring endeavor up and back down the mountain’s upper reaches.
Leaving Camp 2 in the early hours of the 20th I was full of excitement and anticipation, eager to finally be setting out on our summit bid after so much time here on the mountain but also nervous about heading to altitudes far higher than I had been to before, uncertain of how my body would react. Within minutes of leaving Camp 2 those thoughts were pushed from my mind, replaced by nothing but pleasure: it was an incredible time to be climbing. The waning moon was still so bright that the entire Lhotse Face shone above us, our shadows stretching across the glacier of the upper Cwm. We switched off our headlamps and climbed by nothing but the light of the moon, easily making out the ice and snow features of the Face as we ascended. We managed to climb at the same rate as the moon’s descent so that the moon hung just above Nuptse’s Ridge, never managing to slip behind it until daylight was well upon us. Dawn found us reaching Camp 3, passing by the tents of groggy climbers just waking up for the day.
Strapping on oxygen at Camp 3 changed the game. Dave, Tshering, Dawa, Kaji and I cruised past other teams that were just leaving Camp 3. I was amazed by how much stronger I felt, even at the relatively low flow rates we were using. Before long we had crested the Yellow Band and navigated through the Geneva Spur, arriving at the South Col by late morning. Above us clouds gently swirled off of Everest’s South Summit and we could pick out climbers descending from the summit. Dave spent some time explaining the route above to me, pointing out notable landmarks and their elevations and what to look for as we passing them in the dark. Soon we crawled into our tent for some much needed rest after our push up from Camp 2, now sitting a vertical mile below us.
We spent the day melting snow and doing our best to recover from the climb. The winds picked up in the late afternoon, gusts shaking the tent walls, but I managed to drift off for an hour or two of restless sleep. Before I knew it we were firing up the stoves, filling our waterbottles with boiling water, and choking down a little bit of food before heading out. Above us we could see a string of lights bobbing up the Triangular Face - climbers who departed a few hours before us. By midnight the evening winds died and we set out - walking across the Col to the base of the Triangular Face. The approach to the Face is far longer than it looks from Camp and I felt like we were making hardly any progress, the silhouette of the mountain above us in the darkness seemed to retreat with each step towards it. But as soon as we hit the Triangular Face and began to gain elevation the mountain side slipped quickly by as we climbed. Before long we had passed the climbers we had seen on the Face from camp and were cresting onto the ridge, pausing on a small bench known as the Balcony, no bigger than the backseat of most SUVs.
After swapping out our partially used oxygen bottles we continued up the ridge towards the South Summit, still some 1,200’ above us. We continued upwards, bracing against sporadic gusts of wind sweeping down from above, and battling the frozen condensation that formed on the masks, occasionally freezing the valves. Entering the rock bands below the South Summit Dave stopped and pointed off to the east where a thin line of purple and red was spreading across the horizon. The sky gradually lightened while we navigated the short rock steps and soon the sun found us, suddenly turning the snow and rock brilliant orange around us. The sun brought me a new wave of energy, we were just a handful of vertical meters shy of the south summit and my excitement was growing with each step. The sharp cold we battled throughout the night dulled slightly and my fingers and toes pulsed with warm. Within minutes we were standing at 28,700’ on the South Summit looking across the narrow ridge line to the top of Everest just a few hundred feet above.
The final portion of the climb was a blur. Traversing the ridge line to the Hillary Step demanded intense focus with the 8,000’ of exposure on each side. We followed the route crossing back and forth across several rock outcroppings, and up the narrow choke of rock and snow up the Hillary Step, moving over the awkward step around at the top of the Step, and up the gentle snow slopes to the summit. The views from the top were stunning, it was incredible to gaze northwards into the Tibetan Plateau, to the south into the middle hills of Nepal, and to the east and west ran the Himalayas, a jagged white strip piercing into the horizon in both directions. Below I could make out the peaks surrounding Base Camp - Pumori, Lingtren, Khumbutse - looking tiny compared to the prominence they hold from below. We spent some time on the summit, snapping a few photos and exchanging celebratory hugs before heading down, reaching camp back at the South Col by late morning.
We rested for a short moment at the South Col before breaking camp and heading back across the Geneva Spur and down the Lhotse Face into a high altitude furnace. Clouds settled on the face, trapping the sun that bounced off the face and rocketing the temperatures. Wearing down suits and carrying big loads, it felt like as much of a battle to descend the face in a couple of hours as it had to ascend it the day before.
Camp 2, at 21,300’, never felt so good. We covered a lot of ground in the 36 hours since we left Camp 2 and my legs felt the effort, my toes screamed from the 8,000’ descent that day, but the grin on the faces of Dave, Dawa, Kaji, Tshering - and doubtlessly me- told the the bigger story: we were all elated to have had such an incredible climb.
We slept soundly that night and it took us a long time to get moving in the morning, lethargically packing our gear before leaving Camp 2. By the time we walked into the sun while descending the Western Cwm I began feeling stronger, the sun again bringing much needed warmth and energy. We made a furious and fast descent back down through the Khumbu Ice fall, well acquainted with the ladders crossings and tricky sections of the route by now. Emerging from the Ice fall our pace quickened as we climbed up and down the dozens of large pressure ridges of ice back to Base Camp, despite our tiredness we were eager to put the final stretch behind us and just make it back to Camp. Cokes, flip flops and a big meal awaited us.
We’ve been back at Base Camp for two days now, drying out our gear, sitting in the sun, eating, drinking and recovering from the climb. Melissa Arnot and Dave Morton arrived in Base Camp today; already acclimated from 45 days spent climbing on Makalu, they are hoping to make a fast attempt on Everest before the end of the season. It has been a blast to sit around today swapping stories from the past month and a half of climbing on our respective mountains and catching up with them - it has been a spring full of adventure.
RMI Guide Linden Mallory
Our hope was to make the summit bid short and sweet. Not so much because going for the top of Mount Everest is an awful and onerous chore, but more because dragging it out can be. Besides, we believed we were shooting for a discreet patch of calm weather and forecasts for such a patch are generally only reliable a few days in advance. It was to our advantage to cover big chunks of the mountain in a relative hurry. Leaving Everest Base Camp and relocating to ABC in one push was our first real test in this effort and that went quite well. Even so, we’d planned a full rest day at ABC in order to get recovered, re-hydrated and ready for the real test… -all of the Lhotse Face in one shot… about a vertical mile which would take us to 26,000 ft. The rest time was dull and frustrating though, to be honest. Most of our friends were already up poised for the summit and in fact, a fair number had already made the top and were coming back down. Hanging a day at ABC required patience and patience two months into an expedition required discipline. I drank absolutely as much water as I could and fretted over whether I’d be strong enough to keep up with my partners. Tshherring, Dawa and Kaji would each be carrying a bit more than me and Linden would be venturing into new terrain, so perhaps I’d eke out advantages here and there. And if all of those advantages failed, I’d rely on an old guide trick… specifying that my pace was the only one that would get us to our goal with strength intact… only fools would go slower or faster.
The five of us got out of ABC at 2 AM and as usual, walking on a glacier in the dark cleansed my brain of concerns about competing with my partners. It was a perfect night with the peaks all lit by a giant moon. We all seemed to be climbing strong, making it to the base of the Lhotse Face in about an hour. Then we were across the bergschrund and moving steadily up the ropes with our headlights picking out steps worn into the ice. A few hours labor as the world got lighter and we cruised on into our Camp III site at close to 24,000 ft. We each added a ten-pound oxygen bottle to our load at this point, but the big advantage was that we got to turn those bottles on and start breathing right. Linden and I joked during the next hour on steep ice, heading up toward the Yellow Band, that it was the easiest climbing of the entire trip due to the introduction of the O’s. Sunrise on the face helped a little as well, pushing back the cold. We’d begun the Face with only a few other Sherpa teams out and about, but by the time we passed Camp III we were in full traffic as plenty of Western teams were getting out of their camps and heading up. Sure enough, we also began to see folks coming down from the South Col -the day before had been a big one for Everest summiting and this same day (the 20th of May) was going to be even bigger. Eventually, as we climbed through the Yellow Band, we ended up in less-busy space and we were able to stop for a little water, food and photography. It was plain that we were enjoying perfect conditions and this made us pretty optimistic for the climb ahead. The Geneva Spur was to be our final obstacle of the day, guarding access to the South Col, but easy snow conditions and reliable fixed ropes on the Spur made it a cake walk.
We were excited to link up with friends and fellow guides at the South Col and to hear their stories. And then we were excited to dive in our tents and get eating and drinking and resting for the evening. Winds actually increased during our afternoon at the Col and clouds and snow moved in, but we were pretty sure things would ease by the time we were ready for climbing. Linden and I shared a tent and kept reminding one another of things we needed to pack or prepare for the climb. We touched base regularly with Mark Tucker down at 17,500 ft and tried to find out if he had any updates about the weather and the whereabouts of other climbers. As it got dark, we pulled sleeping bags over our down suits and tried to shut our eyes, but it was pretty miserable rest. There were plenty of climbers around us on different schedules, coughing, moaning, yelling to one another, and testing their radios… there was our own anxiety and desire to get moving, and there was the cold and the noise of the wind. When Tshherring gave me a yell at about 9:40 PM, I was happy to get out of the tent and look at the weather. There was already a great string of about forty headlights moving up the Triangular Face below Everest’s Balcony and I was pleased to see we were the only team shooting for a midnight start. The clouds had blown away and the wind was in the process of quitting. It was another beautiful night and it was time to get after some strong cups of coffee.
Just before midnight, we wrestled ourselves into harnesses and crampons out in the cold and wedged Oxygen bottles into our packs. Kaji, Tchherring, Linden and I said goodbye to Dawa, who’d remain at the Col in case of problems, and we checked each other over pretty good before turning toward Everest and the Triangular Face. Kaji took the lead and set an easy but steady pace. In other years, I’d climbed over broken and loose rock on this steep and continuously difficult section of the climb, but this time we found good steps kicked in snow. Eventually we came upon other teams, but passed these without too much trouble since we were only four climbers and we were very capable of unclipping from the fixed ropes and putting things into “four wheel drive” with our crampons and ice axes. We were at the Balcony (27,500 ft) in just about three hours and were by then ahead of all but about a dozen climbers. Now on the SouthEast Ridge, we negotiated a narrow track on a crest of snow bordering the immense Kangshung Face. Winds came up, but not steady or greatly worrying winds… just irritating gusts that blew powder snow all over us for thirty seconds at a time. These quit a little after sunrise when we were coming to grips with the steep and rocky flanks of the South Summit. In the process, we passed a few more climbers and then got onto the South Summit by ourselves. This point allowed clear radio communication with Mark Tucker down in BC and we took advantage, letting him know just how perfect everything was up top. Then we got going on the thrilling traverse to the Hillary Step. The ropes were fixed perfectly, steps were well-kicked in the snow and the winds were non-existent… so when combined with the lack of traffic, it all had me thinking to more difficult and stressful times in these same places. We each felt lucky and happy to swing up and around the boulders of the Hillary Step. We made the top shortly after, at around 6:55 AM. There were a number of climbers there when we arrived, but most had climbed from Tibet (via the NorthEast Ridge). Temperatures were moderate and easy and so we didn’t rush our own summit celebration. Eventually we had the top to ourselves and enjoyed the quiet. After months of life in deep valleys or on steep mountain faces, it was a welcome novelty to experience gigantic and open 360 degree views.
But not for long. We needed to climb down to safety. This turned out to be a snap with three strong and experienced partners. In fact, we were back shaking Dawa’s hand at the South Col in just a couple of hours. We ate, drank and broke down camp, getting ready to complete the last stage of our blitz… if we could get all the way down to ABC on this day, our bodies would be subjected to far less altitude related stress… we’d recover from the climb a good deal faster. But ironically, we’d have to work much harder in the short term. We hoisted big and heavy packs and climbed down the vertical mile… sweating like crazy in our down suits (but now in cloud and new-falling snow) our arms were getting tired from thousands of feet of rappelling, our toes were getting jammed forward in our boots, and our throats were getting parched from altitude and bottled oxygen… but we were getting lower and safer with every step. We rolled into ABC by mid-afternoon, glad to see Uberaj and glad to see our tents. I was exhausted but confident that I was exhausted in the very place I wanted to be. We were safe and the monkey was going to be off our backs for just a little while.
Of course, the last trip down through the Khumbu Icefall would be in the morning… but worrying about that could wait until real sleep and real food had a chance to kick in and work their magic.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
RMI Guide Dave Hahn summits Mt. Everest for a Record Thirteenth Time. On May 20th, 2011, Dave Hahn, Linden Mallory and their Sherpa team stood on the summit of Mt. Everest on a clear and beautiful day. Congratulations!
The team has safely returned to Everest Base Camp.
Update at 2 p.m. Nepalese Time (2:13 a.m. PST)
The whole team is now off the Lhotse Face and headed toward Camp 2. Time to take a deep breath and figure the big part of the climb is over. Still have the Icefall tomorrow morning but like where we are at.
RMI Guide Mark Tucker
Just got off the radio with Dave calling from the South Col. He reports everybody is down from the summit and in good shape. They are taking a nice break, but will soon begin breaking down the South Col camp, then heading for Camp 2 where they will spend the night.
All in a days work.
RMI Guide Mark Tucker
Downhill from here!
The team’s descent began five minutes ago. The group had the summit to themselves for a while at the end. We tried to do a phone call to the blog, but tough conditions as you can imagine.
Just to make sure you guys hear some of the thoughts that were mentioned by Dave and Linden from the summit:
- Bill and Sara hope to see you on top, another time ,and thought of you two the whole climb up today.
- RMI Guide Melissa Arnot and Dave Morton over on top of Makalu today (we hope), looking forward to seeing you here on Everest in a few days.
- Thanks and couldn’t have done it without our local staff: Lam Babu, Tsering, Dawa, Kaji, Yubarji, Kumar, Raju, Gurung, Jeta, Gelzen, our guys in Kathmandu, Kili Sherpa, and Sagar
- Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. back in Ashford, Washington. You let us run a top notch program.
- First Ascent - the gear to get you there
- All the friends and family back home
- Linden: Wishing his Mom “Happy birthday”, and spoiled old me getting my wishes from the top, for I think about the fifth time, since it being my birthday today as well.
- All the other teams on the hill for such a great season and fabulous cooperation.
- All you for following our blog.
- And Mount Everest, for being so kind to our team.
The team should be back to the South Col in a few hours. Weather still perfect, all systems in the green, guys are still having a great time.
RMI Guide Mark Tucker
6:55 a.m. Nepalese Time
ON THE SUMMIT!
Perfect conditions with some other teams around.
Everybody in great shape.
Congratulations to RMI Guides Dave Hahn and Linden Mallory!!!
RMI Guide Mark Tucker
On The Map
Team at the South Summit and things are great! Dawn came up a half hour ago. The sun came out and what a beautiful day. Clouds lifted and mountains all over- Kangchenjunga, Shishapangma, Cho Oyu, Makalu, as well as many more.
Went through the check list with Dave and all systems green light. They kept saying how much fun they were having, guess these guys have never been to Hawaii.
Not on top just yet, they need to traverse the ridge over to the Hillary Step. And a bit more uphill on moderate terrain before the top.
Two more hours at the most if no other climbers on the route. We are making pretty good time. Just a beautiful day on Mt. Everest!
RMI Guide Mark Tucker