- 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 from 04/2011
Our Climbing Team was up early again today with Camp 1 as the goal. It was still a little windy at Base Camp but not as much as yesterday so our climbing Sherpa headed out in front of the group again to set tents at Camp 1.
We have a nice spotting scope here at Base Camp that allows me to follow the teams progress for the majority of the climb to Camp 1. It can be a beautiful dance the way you climb in the Khumbu Ice fall or an ugly representation of how not to do it. If I were a judge on Dancing with the Stars our team would be moving into next weeks competition.
Dave and Sara were very fluid in there ascent working as the lead team with Linden and Bill right behind.
As Expedition Leader Dave Hahn sets the highest standard and expectation possible of his team this making this hazardous endeavor the safest possible.
Lots of challenges exist on this push to Camp 1 which we cannot eliminate, but moving with strong technique, knowing the smartest and safest places to take a break and when to push a bit harder and faster will get you to camp in reasonable shape. We want everyone arriving at Camp 1 feeling good and with enough reserve to help your body recover after such a work out.
We received a radio call just minutes ago informing us that the climbing team is minutes away from Camp 1. Nice work team!
Till next time
RMI Guide Mark Tucker
Early this morning two members of our Sherpa team left Everest Base Camp en route to Camp 1. The plan was for them to arrive before the climbers and set up tents for the group. The Jet Streams winds were camped above the mountain and word on the Base Camp “street” was that several tents from other teams had been destroyed at Camp 1 due to big winds. Our climbing team headed out of Base Camp but turned back before reaching Camp 1. The climbing Sherpa reached Camp 1 and secured our gear before descending back to Base Camp also. It is even windy here at Base Camp now.
The team is feeling well, resting and will try again tomorrow to reach Camp 1.
Let’s see what happens.
Til next time,
RMI Guide Mark Tucker
Sara and I left for this adventure on March 23rd, which seems a long time ago. Since that time we have had many treks and climbs, but it seems that “the next climb” - whatever that is - is the “most important” climb, and the one that will be the hardest and the biggest test. Our climb tomorrow is no different - it is our “most important climb” so far.
Tomorrow we will be climbing from Everest Base Camp (at about 17,500 feet) up to Camp 1 (at nearly 20,000 feet) through the Khumbu Ice fall. The climb through the ice fall would be difficult at sea level, but the altitude makes it much more challenging. Dave Hahn and Linden Mallory (our guides) have spent weeks preparing Sara and me for the climb tomorrow. We have been “coached” on most everything - from what to eat before and during the climb, how to wear all our equipment, how to go across crevasses on ladders, how to use our crampons on vertical ice - I know that there is not a situation we will face that they have not prepared us for.
But I still worry. I hope that my months and months of preparation are enough. And I hope that we have good luck. But if we are strong (and fortunate) enough we should be arriving at the top of the ice fall for 3 nights by mid-day. Then, once we make camp we will spend one of the days climbing up towards Camp 2.
One of the reasons that I climb is that I get to spend time with Sara. And every time I climb with her I come away more and more impressed. She is such a confident young woman - so easy to share her thoughts and feelings, and so easy to laugh. It is great to hear her talk about her friends, her classes, and the sports teams she plays on. I like to hear about all the details about the social situations, but I really love to hear how she thinks about things. The only way I get to hear about these things is to spend time with her - she is like a ship passing in the night at home. I wouldn’t even know to ask questions about the things we talk about on these trips. I will treasure the time I have spent with her forever, for I know in two years she is off to college. But I will always have in my memory the months we have spent climbing together.
Thank you for following our blog.
There were many bright spots to what was otherwise a very cold, snowy and windy week on Mt. Rainier. Our team met on Sunday for our six -day Expedition Seminar and our day of prep was well used as we got our gear all ready for a possible push to Camp Muir the next day. However, the weather on Monday was marginal for moving to Muir, so we got a great day of training on the mountain and camped at about 6,200’ below Panorama point.
Tuesday was blue bird and made for excellent hiking conditions to Camp Muir which the entire team reached in good shape. From there the weather conditions deteriorated and Wednesday saw temperatures reaching 2 degrees F with winds averaging 30-40 mph. But that did not keep us from training. Our team only ascended a few feet higher than Camp Muir at 10,188’, but we had a great experience and learned a ton, much of which came courtesy of Mother Nature. Friday the winds abated enough to allow us to descend back to Paradise, although it was still windy, snowy and a white out much of the time. But everybody did really well cramponing and snowshoeing down to Paradise.
We later celebrated the week and our time together sharing a burger and a cold one at our favorite local restaurant. From the comfort of the dining room I could take stock of the really bright spot of the week: sharing time with a remarkable group of individuals.
RMI Guide Brent Okita
Today was a big day for our climbing team… everyone was keyed up for an early-morning start and nervous about just what surprises the Khumbu Ice fall might hold for us. I’m sure I was responsible for a good deal of the nervousness, having tried mightily in this last week of training to pass on my own respect, fear and awe for the great tumbling and turbulent glacier we needed to sneak through. I’d portrayed this morning’s mission as something of a final exam and a dress rehearsal, all rolled into one. Get up at the normal obscene hour we choose for taking on the Ice fall (we like the thing to be cold and frozen solid underfoot… Less chance for breaking crevasse bridges) then stick to a business-like schedule and pace in climbing safely up to the midpoint of the Ice fall… then come back down, just as safely, just as business-like.
Simple… But not really so simple. Necessary though, in my book, to see that we are strong enough, skilled enough, and acclimated enough to responsibly make the move to Camp One before we actually make the move to Camp One. Even experienced mountain climbers have very little in the way of similar passages in the course of their previous climbs. The track up through the Khumbu Ice fall is unique (thank God). We can’t afford to have an exhausted climber in the upper reaches of the Ice fall, teetering and tottering across ladders and ice fins… and we absolutely don’t want a climber to pull into the extreme height of Camp One at nearly 20,000 ft without adequate strength reserves, inviting possibly fatal altitude illness. So we needed a test… halfway up and down in good time and in good style.
Bill and Sara, Linden and myself certainly didn’t catch any slack from Mother Nature in our attempts to relax during the night before our test. To begin with, there was a spectacular full moon rise over Everest’s West Shoulder… The kind of thing that required a bunch of trips out into the night to observe so that one could be sure one wasn’t missing anything. Once we’d given up on the moon, there were a series of thunderous ice avalanches off Pumori that required an occasional head stuck out the tent zipper in order to see the immense powder clouds billowing in the aforementioned moonlight. Around one or two AM there came a bizarre and violent lightning storm with endless peels of real thunder (as opposed to the avalanche facsimile) and this was followed by a concentrated downpour of snowflakes pelting the tents. I, for one, was thankful when my alarm finally rang at 4 AM, allowing me to give up on the sleep concept.
After such an eventful night, it was stunning to emerge from the tent to find a peaceful, clear and brilliantly lit up pre-dawn sky. We could already count a number of headlight beams swinging back and forth in the Ice fall. Our climbing team convened in the dining tent for a hurried attempt at jamming down calories and coffee (don’t worry, 16 year-old Sara hasn’t taken up the coffee habit… yet) and then we pulled on climbing harnesses and helmets. Mark Tucker got up to see us off and to follow our progress on his radio…At 5 o’clock we shouldered packs and shook Tuck’s hand as we circled the Puja alter, breathing in a little juniper smoke -an offering to the Gods- on the way. Then we were clomping out of camp in our big expedition boots. A few minutes later we were at the base of the first Ice hummock and it was time for crampons. Then came the hard work, an hour or more of careful trudging toward the first ladders… nobody was “warmed up” and nobody was feeling spry, nobody was able to envision feeling better with the passage of a few hours filled with strenuous and dangerous uphill labor. But we smiled at each other and patted each other on the shoulders and we concentrated on good foot placements and steady breathing. When the angle steepened and the fixed rope began, we put the last week’s practice and training to good use. A quick break at the first ladders gave a chance for a few more calories and a couple of minutes off our feet. By now we were mingling with a number of Sherpa teams as well as Westerners out doing variations on our own training program (Lam Babu and our own Sherpa team were taking a well-deserved rest today after having carried round-trip to ABC (at 21,300 ft) yesterday) After the rest we got into more challenging terrain in the “momo” section of the glacier… where the ice towers and jumbles strongly resemble a giant tilted plate of steamed momos… naturally. Safely through that and it was into the “popcorn” section with some steep and breathtaking climbing over glacial rubble that resembles… well, you know. Then came a section I dubbed the “football field” not because you could play a ball game there but because every ten yards brought a new crevasse line to be hopped. Some of the crevasses required a few careful steps on ladder rungs with fists full of fixed rope to get steady and balanced in the process. But then… after about 2.5 hours we were reaching our goal for the day… “The Dum”, which I am told was the name that early climbing Sherpas applied to the gear dump they made in the area back when it was too complicated to get through the entire Icefall in a day… “dump” being far too long a word to utter in such an oxygen-starved place and “dum” being preferable. Whatever… the Dum is a safe place to sit and it is the halfway point of the Ice fall. Mission half-accomplished, we were happy and relieved… all were feeling good and strong having worked through the nerves, the jitters, and the plain old inevitable discomfort of getting to 18,900 ft. Another quick break in the cool morning breeze and then all we had to do was get back down safe. The test continued… no room for tired steps or fumbled carabiners jumping down through the footballs, the ladders, the popcorn and the momos. And we did it, marching back into camp by 10 AM in strong sunshine (a few hours ahead of the daily snowstorm) and with new found confidence in our ability to get through the rest of the Khumbu Icefall and up into the Western Cwm. A day of rest seems sensible first though.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
Arriving back into Everest Base Camp yesterday afternoon after twelve days of absence was a homecoming of sorts for me - in days since I was last here with our Everest Base Camp Trek and Island Peak team the community here at Everest Base Camp has come alive with the buzz of climbing expeditions that are now settled in. The trails that pick their way between the piles moraine, ice ponds, and clusters of tents, quite faint a few weeks ago, are wearing in and strings upon strings of prayer flags now emanate from the camps, strung up during each expedition’s puja ceremony. When I diverged off the main trail that passes through Base Camp and walked into RMI’s Camp, I was warmly greeted by our Expedition Team; after several days of quietly walking back into Base Camp by myself I was thrilled to rejoin the Expedition and catch up with everyone . Sitting around our dining tent in the evening we raised our steaming cups of tea and hot drinks to finally having the whole team together and our climb underway.
Clear skies greeted us this morning for our rest day and as the sun crept slowly across the valley we brewed up a fresh pot of coffee and pulled the chairs out of the dining tent to sit and watch the morning light gradually awaken Base Camp. Several teams nearby held their pujas today and the slow sound of the lama’s beating drum could be heard across Base Camp while we sat there. With no other objective than to relax and recover from the days of training and walking, we enjoyed a calm morning. The early breeze that blew through Base Camp when we first awoke soon died and the sun quickly warmed up camp. While the rest of us were more intrepid, Tuck was even brave enough to stroll around Camp in shorts for a few hours. With it so warm out it was a perfect opportunity for each of us to grab a wash. After several days of walking back up the dusty trails of the Khumbu, the hot water and steam that filled the shower tent felt wonderful. Very rarely does putting on fresh clothes feel so luxurious.
Despite our objective of rest, we still had a bit of business to attend to in preparing our gear for our upcoming days of climbing. In the afternoon we spent a few hours sorting our gear and preparing for our first rotation to Camp 1 that will take place soon. After packing our warm layers, down suits, and the small necessities we will need up there, Tuck opened up the Base Camp stores for us to go “shopping” for our meals and snacks that we will need during the rotation. Much like the aisles of a grocery store, but on a far smaller but still no less impressive scale given our setting, Tuck opened up the barrels and boxes of dried fruits, salamis, cheeses, granola bars, candy bars, cookies, crackers, trail mix, freeze dried meals, hot drinks, and soups that we have here. Grabbing a zip lock bag in lieu of a shopping basket, we picked our way through selecting the items that we want to eat during the rotation. Bill jumped for the Fig Newtons and a bag of Trader Joe’s Banana Chips and I spied some smoked salmon, cheese, and crackers, also grabbing a couple of handfuls of the bite size candy bars that are my weakness when sitting around the tent. Before long we had all of our snacks and meals portioned out and packed up for the move.
With the afternoon clouds rolling in and the temperatures returning to their normal chilly level, Tuck retired the shorts for a puffy coat in time to host a couple of climbers to a few holes of glacier golf around camp and a round of horseshoes. The horseshoes game came down to a nail biter one point game but thanks to some last minute technique tips from Tuck I managed to hit the winning point, ensuring our victory but sadly disappointing our guests. Nothing a fresh brewed pot of coffee and some cookies couldn’t smooth over before they were soon calling for a rematch.
We are about to sit down to our first Burrito Night of the trip, an occasion that Tuck was kind enough to wait for me to arrive here at Base Camp before serving. After close to three weeks of dining in teahouses my stomach is growling just thinking about the tortillas, fresh cheddar, and salsa. Since first working with our expedition cook Kumar in 2009, it has been a very fun experience to show him some of the western meals that we enjoy cooking and I have now given up making nachos at home as I cannot make them as remotely enjoyable as his.
Tomorrow we are getting up early for our first true foray into the Icefall, hoping to climb up to an area midway through known as the Football Field. In addition to giving us additional exposure to higher elevations above Base Camp and building our acclimatization, it is an important step for our team in putting our training and equipment into action in the lower stretches of the Icefall and preparing us for our move through it up to Camp 1 in a few days. We are feeling well rested after today and looking forward to tomorrow’s climb.
RMI Guide Linden Mallory
Huge icefall last night off of the nearby peak called Pumori. Named by Mallory in 1921 it means sister or Daughter peak. This mountain is rarely climbed, at over 7,000 meters, it being very steep and with no way to the top without exposing yourself to loads of hanging hazards.
A perfectly clear and calm evening turned into a wild scene as I peaked out of my tent after such a rude awakening by the loud crack, as what I can only imagine were millions of tons of ice being pulverized into powder as it hits the rock and ice surface after its 1,500-foot freefall. Being so bright out with so much moon, it was pretty fun to watch this huge dust cloud come barreling at us. Just as it hit my tent I closed the flap and listened to the rattle and knew why in the morning we had this layer of snow covering our camp.
Dave, Sara, Bill and myself just returned from a hike up to Pumori Camp 1, which sits at 18,600’. And no, we were not exposing ourselves to the hazards I just mentioned, those are farther up the mountain. What we did expose ourselves to were some of the best views of Everest you can imagine. I will let Dave’s pictures do the talking.
Linden, who climbed Island Peak this week, just now arrived at Basecamp, so the team is now all here.
RMI Guide Mark Tucker
Today, for the second time, Dave, my Dad, and I climbed up to the first ladders of the Khumbu Ice fall. After a delicious breakfast and saying goodbye to some good friends we’ve made here at Base Camp who were heading home, we set out on our climb at around 9:30am and got up to the first ladders around 11:00am.
Two days ago our team did the same climb. It took my dad and I nearly two and a half hours to get to our high point, (about 18,000 feet) and when we did we were whipped. Standing next to the first ladder this time around I felt significantly stronger- I wasn’t breathing nearly as hard and I actually got a chance to pick my head up and look at the amazing views of Base Camp and the valley below. Even climbing in an Ice fall the temperatures can get very hot, and this morning there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. About half way through our hike, clouds finally began to gather about the tops of the peaks surrounding us and we were sheltered from the blazing sun which is much stronger at these altitudes.
Our team is encouraged by our performance today. We feel much stronger, skilled, and acclimatized then we did even two days ago, and with this can get through the rest of the ice fall much more quickly and safely in the days to come.
Lastly, our thoughts and prayers are with all of our friends and family back home. I think my Westminster Varsity Lacrosse teammates are playing a big game today, and I wish them all the best! As for how we’re spending our spare time, we’re meeting lots of new people, and becoming almost professional dart, horseshoes, sudoku, and card players.
Thanks for following our blog!
On The Map
The last few days have been filled with training, climbing and socializing around our Base Camp. A few observations:
1. Everest Base Camp has now swelled to about 350 people, with all the corresponding tents and equipment. It is massive, and it takes up acres and acres of space on top of a moving glacier. In addition, Everest BC is visited each day by organized groups of trekkers who hike up from Lukla to see the place (and the show). The glacier is not flat, but is a series of small undulations in the moving ice (which is mostly covered with rocks). Yesterday during a training run we climbed a portion of the way up the Khumbu Icefall and, from close to 18,000 feet, we got to see the entire camp. What a sight!
2. Socializing. Last night our group invited over the Base Camp doctors for dinner. The head physician has been running the Base Camp medical clinic for 9 years, so she was well known to Dave Hahn (who, again, seems to know everyone). The Base Camp doctors are incredibly knowledgeable about high altitude illnesses, and their presence in camp has no doubt saved many lives. They are here to treat everyone, including climbers, climbing Sherpas, porters, and trekkers (and anyone else). The ten of us had a great meal, and then played speed scrabble (which encouraged the use of slang words), and then Apples to Apples. As an aside, we all learned some interesting slang words from the different nationalities (Scotland, Nepal, etc.). Sara McGahan even threw in some slang used by 10th graders. I know that I learned quite a bit.
3. It is up to a group of incredibly courageous and talented Sherpas to fix line up Mt. Everest each year through one of the most dangerous parts of the climb - the Khumbu Icefall. These folks - called “Icefall Doctors” - are employed directly by the national park and are paid out of the fees the climbers pay to access the mountain. The Khumbu Icefall is the section of Mt. Everest that is between Basecamp and Camp I, and it is extremely dangerous because it is ever shifting as the glacier slowly moves ahead and tumbles down the mountain, and also because it is susceptible to avalanches from surrounding peaks. When shifting or an avalanche takes place, massive amounts of solid ice moves (and you don’t want to be anywhere in the neighborhood when it happens). The Icefall Doctors also place ladders across huge crevasses and rope up steep sections of the Icefall, which is used by climbers to pull themselves up the mountain, but, as importantly, to “clip into” for safety. There would be literally no way for a climber of my capability to climb this mountain without the Icefall Doctors. They are amazing people.
4. In the incredibly capable hands of our lead guide Dave Hahn, Sara and I have been climbing around Base Camp in order to do two things: 1) continue to acclimatize, and 2) work on the skills that we need to move quickly up the mountain. One of the greatest dangers that we face on Everest is avalanches, and speed is one of our best ways to minimize our danger. We are working hard to be able to move quickly and safely though the icefall. We need to be able to breathe (this always helps!) and to have a comfort level on ladders and fixed line. Dave has spent days with us helping us
with these skills, and we will be continuing to work on them in the days ahead. Only then will we venture up to higher places on the mountain.
5. Fun. One of the reasons that trekkers and climbers alike come to Base Camp is that it is a fun place. Every day people come by to socialize with us. Mark Tucker (our Base Camp manager) is always ready with some kind of game. Mark and I teamed up to win a horse shoe throwing contest, and the other night we had a poker tournament (Texas hold em) with guides from other groups. We have also played golf on the frozen ponds on the icefall, with yours truly hitting a hole in one, much to the chagrin of Mr. Tucker (it earned me 50 rupees - ha!). So, there is always something going on, with people coming and going, and it is one of my favorite things about climbing. The people are adventurous, interesting, international, and fun loving - the best people in the world in my opinion.
So, thanks for following our blog. We are working hard and will have more to report in the days ahead.
Lots of teams carrying loads up the icefall today. This season, now in full swing. We had three Sherpa make the trip through the icefall today , one to C1 and two to C2.
Dave, Sara and Bill are doing a training run today, making a push up toward the first ladder in the icefall. This being just one of a few preliminary rotations.
Jeff Martin has started his journey home, leaving the team with all the tools and support information for a successful climb of Mount Everest. His effort will make living in this hostile environment so much more bearable, he truly is the unsung hero of this expedition.
Base Camp is pretty organized, the condition of our gear and available resources could not be better. Last year RMI made a huge investment into a solar power set up that would eliminate the need of a generator. So far it has been working flawlessly. With all the power needs to support the varied electronics, it’s a wonderful addition. The days of no news is good news is a thing of the past, so with the help of a very reliable power source, loads of computers, phones, and satellite communications devices, we will try our best to bring you solid information from this amazing place.
A bit chilly today with clouds above and below, actually good climbing conditions.You would be surprised how hot it can get on the glacier if it were sunny with no wind.
I feel very lucky to be a part of this team and really enjoy the view from my office. Always tough to be away from home for this length of time, looking forward to my return. For now, the thrill of the hunt for the summit of Mount Everest is so exciting that I can’t wait to see what wild events are in my future.
Lets have a great adventure together!
Everest Basecamp Coordinator
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