- 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 03/2012
We woke to a bluebird day and enjoyed a view of Ama Dablam while we ate breakfast. But bluebird often comes at the cost of warmth, so after a breakfast of (oh, you already know what we ate) we bundled up and hit the trail. The first part of the trail lead us through a forest of evergreen and rhododendron and sloped downward to a bridge across the Imja Khola. Once across the bridge the forest gave way to scrub and the trail started up. It was easy to overlook the effort of climbing with stunning peaks vying with chortens and Buddhist memorials for our attention.
Mid-morning found us in the village of Pangboche. Our plan was to visit the Lama Geshe for a blessing and we arrived just as he was finishing up his morning clean-up and relaxing in the sun. We spent the next hour with him. He performed the blessing ceremony and we shared a cup of yak butter tea with him. I would gladly experience the ceremony again; but once is enough for yak butter tea. I should have taken Mark’s advice.
Personal note: I have been accused of being a Buddhist shaman in another life and I swear the Lama Geshe and I had a connection.
Leaving the Lama, we wound our way through the village with views of walled fields below us. The trail was punctuated by many memorials for climbers and Sherpa. It was a reminder that the mountains belong to no one and that we are here as their guests. It is with respect and caution that we must undertake this trek and climb.
We stopped for lunch in Orso at a small place with a delightful sun room overlooking the valley. It was there that we met a man who was apparently suffering from AMS that was waiting for a helicopter to take him to a lower elevation. He said he had been waiting for about four hours already and his local guide was off trying to sort things out. It was impressive to see Mark assess the situation and take action. He had the guy drinking electrolytes, pressure breathing and forcing food down in no time. Within 20-30 minutes he was sitting up saying how much better he felt and talking to us. The helicopter showed up a couple minutes later which was impressive on a whole other level. In either case, both Kim and I feel lucky to have such a competent team leader.
As has been the pattern in the afternoons, the weather rolled in so we beat feet out towards Pheriche. It was a short hike, but included an appropriate amount of up before we rolled down into town. Not long after we arrived the other RMI team rolled in. We’re now one big happy RMI family - if only for the night. —John
A big shout-out to Ms. Barnes 5th grade class today! We are taking a lot of photos of erosion for you.
On The Map
The temperatures at Everest Base Camp were a big concern among the group for the days, weeks, and even months leading into the trip. Knowing that, before dinner last night we pulled out a special surprise for the group: A First Ascent Down Suit for each member of the trip to use while at Base Camp. Needless to say, they were a big hit. We sat around the dining tent toasty warm, discussing the best ways to go about the daily tasks in our new Base Camp attire - from sleeping to brushing our teeth to using the toilet tent.
It was a crystal clear night here last night, every star in the sky shining brightly in the blackness above. Around us the mountain was alive with activity: the glacier creaked and cracked, rocks occasionally came crashing down distant slopes, and chunks of glacier from far off collapsed sending low rumbles through the valley. Despite it all we were comfortable in our tents, cozy warm in our sleeping bags and down suits and the night passed smoothly.
The sun finally roused us this morning and we sat down for a delicious breakfast. Not a cloud was to be found in the sky and we enjoyed the time to sit around and talk, with nowhere in particular to be. Around mid morning I headed out into the lower stretches of the Khumbu Glacier with the three climbers heading to Island Peak and we set up a small ropes course on the ice features of the glacier. We focused on how to climb with crampons on firm glacial ice, the best techniques for overcoming steep obstacles, and then jumped onto fixed ropes and familiarized ourselves with ascending a fixed line, how to use an ascender on the rope, and how to rappel. The climbing team was soon zipping around the ropes course, clambering up and rappelling back down the large ice fin upon which we were practicing. Once we felt comfortable with using the equipment and moving across the terrain, and sufficiently winded from the 17,000’ elevation, we headed back to camp to meet up with the rest of the team.
We’ve spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in camp, resting from the days of hiking it took to get up here, and preparing for the hike out tomorrow. The team is doing very well, sending our best to everyone at home, and eager to share more stories from the adventures we’ve had thus far.
On The Map
Good fortune continues here in the Everest Region for our team. Clear morning with great views of Mt. Everest out our dining room window here in Deboche. Tomorrow’s climb will take us out of the forest. I have mixed emotions on the thought of leaving trees for a while. The forest of birches, rhododendrons and conifers are nice to see at over 12,000 ft. Many times my program would mean it would be a couple months before I get back to trees, but the plan for me is a round trip from Lukla to Island Peak then back to Lukla before I head back up and settle in to the 2012 RMI Everest Expedition. That makes for trees again in my near future. I always look forward to spending time in high mountains (must be why I do this for a living) but I do have a soft spot for trees.
We took a few short hikes to get the blood moving, but took it easy in anticipation of the altitude change of tomorrow. A well rested body seems to have an easier go at the physical adjustment process we must endure as we go higher. This kind of approach has worked well in the past, so if its not broken why fix it. You can really set the tone for what is to come above by what you do below. We must take exposing ourselves to these altitudes seriously and give it the respect it deserves. That could be why the whole team is in great shape!
The clouds have moved in with a bit of a mist while we get ready for dinner. I just put in my request of grilled chicken with vegetable fried noodles, same thing as last night, once again ” if it’s not broken”. Going to move over toward the hot stove and listen to some One Direction. Our direction….........up.
RMI Guide Mark Tucker
P.S. A special shout-out to Ms. Jerome’s 4th/5th grade class.
On The Map
The sun took awhile to reach us this morning, the shoulder of Nuptse standing 9,000’ above blocked the sun rays and cast long shadows that gradually crept backwards as the sun rose. By the time we stepped out of the tea-house after 8:00 am the sun hit us and almost instantly began to chase away the nighttime chill. We left Gorak Shep in good spirits, eager to complete the final few hours of walking to Everest Base Camp.
The trail becomes notably less defined this far up the valley. In addition to seeing less traffic, the path is ever changing as the loose moraine settles and shifts with the passing glacier and the pull from gravity. Despite Everest Base Camp being a relatively short distance from Gorak Shep as the crow flies, no more than two miles, the trail itself is much longer as it twists and turns over the rough landscape, descending through boulder fields and climbing back up loose scree gullies. We picked our way along it, stepping from rock to rock and occasionally catching glimpses of the tent tops of Base Camp off in the distance.
About two thirds of the way to Base Camp the trail finally drops off of the side moraine bordering the glacier and crosses onto its surface. This low down on the glacier the surface is covered in rock that was pulled down from the mountain side further up and large features of ice, pushed up by the pressure of the glacier above, are interspersed with giant pools of frozen water that sit on the glacier surface from when the ice melts in the warm afternoon sun. The walking, while relatively flat, is tricky as every rock lies atop a sheet of ice below and the footing is continually shifting underfoot. Nevertheless, the group navigated the trail well and by midday we crested the final rocky rise and walked into RMI’s Everest Base Camp.
Our Sherpa team has been busy working up here for the past two weeks, hacking away the shifting ice and rolling the rocks aside to create large platforms on the glacier’s surface for our tents to sit on. With the creative eye of a designer, they set up a very comfortable camp here. Our dining tent looks right out at Everest, the lower stretches of the Khumbu Icefall filling the view out the door from inside. A series of large stone steps leads from the Dining Tent to the sleeping tents sitting in a semi circle on a small rise above. Just in front of them stands our Communications Tent, with direct sight to the mountain above for the best radio reception and good exposure to the sun as it tracks across the sky for the solar panels that power all of the equipment. The Kitchen and Storage Tents are just below, with a large stone path leading between them and the Dining Tent above.
The Sherpa team greeted us enthusiastically when we arrived, showing us around before we settled down for lunch. Kumar, the Expedition Cook, pulled together an incredible meal complemented with fresh baked rolls and steamed veggies. The change of pace from the typical tea-house food is refreshing and the food was excellent. After lunch we settled into camp, unpacking our gear in our tents and relaxing in the warm afternoon sun. We are all very happy to be here, pleased that we don’t have to turn around and walk back to the tea-house this evening and enjoying the life around Base Camp. Everyone continues to adjust well to the altitude and hiked well today. We are spending tomorrow here in Base Camp, enjoying this place for a bit and covering some climbing training in preparation for those of us that are headed to Island Peak next. We want to thank everyone for the great comments on the Blog, we read them aloud over dinner last night and enjoyed hearing the snippets from home.
RMI Guide Linden Mallory checks in from Everest Base Camp.
On The Map
Hey RMI, this is Linden Mallory calling from the Everest Base Camp Trek. I am calling from Everest Base Camp. We weren’t able to push out photos and a written dispatch today so I’m calling from the SAT phone instead. Just to let you all know that we are all doing well and made it to Base Camp and everyone is so happy to be here. Keep your eye out for the dispatch tomorrow. We’ll do our best to get it out if conditions allow. Besides that the weather’s gorgeous and we are looking for to spending some time up here. Take care.
Linden Mallory and team arrive at Everest Base Camp.
On The Map
What a wild storm….... a month ago. I have counted about thirty downed trees near the trail since Namche. Big trees ! Word on the trail was about a three day rain event then a big wind storm and there you have it, lots of lumber on the ground. If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it did it make a sound? How about if somebody writes a fantastic blog dispatch but it never gets posted, is it still a blog? Kim is so nice, at least she is not making me feel too bad for deleting (on accident) her amazing dispatch of yesterday. I thought I was in the dog house, but she seems OK. It could be different after we get the summit of Island Peak and my value goes way down, maybe I will hear about it then. Regardless, she has decided to give it another shot just for you all.
RMI Guide Mark Tucker
After arm wrestling the two guys yesterday, I finally won a chance to write the blog. I thought it was wonderfully written, but the men seemed unimpressed. The next thing I was told is that it was “lost” in cyberspace somewhere. Hmm. I seem to be outnumbered here. In any case, I’ll try a new one today and see if it gets posted this time. . .
What a wonderful day we had! We awoke to bluebird skies and a gorgeous view of Namche Bazaar and the surrounding peaks. We departed just after breakfast and hiked up, up, and more up to Khumjung at 12,475 ft where we visited the Hillary School. We have with us a couple of special “flat” children inspired by the “Flat Stanley” book. One flat child took a peek at the school with us.
After a short stop at the bakery in Khumjung, we descended through an enchanting rhododendron forest down, down, and more down to our lunch stop in Phunkgi Thanga (nicknamed Funky Town by Mr.Tuck) at 10,800ft. With full bellies, we climbed up, up, and more up. During our climb, the clouds rolled in and a blanket of fog made our enchanting hike even more mystical. As we hiked, we could hear the gentle clanging of a yak bell calling out from the fog. An occasional person or yak would emerge from the fog, pass us, and then disappear again. Finally, we began seeing the occasional monk emerge from the fog and disappear, indicating to us that we had reached the Tengboche monastery (12,800ft). We will visit again tomorrow, hopefully when the skies are clear. Finally, we descended down, down, (well, just a little down) to Deboche at 12,325 ft. We are spending the evening warming in the teahouse while the fog begins to lift outside to reveal the surrounding hillsides. —Kim
On The Map
Saturday market at its best here in Namche Bazaar. Not so much for tourist but keeps the locals in much needed goods. Had great views of Everest and surrounding peaks till mid day when clouds rolled in. Hope for clearing in the morning for the climb up to Deboche. We will take the longer route to visit Khumjum where the Hilary school, and of course the bakery, are located. We stayed around Namche today opting to see them tomorrow.
Team is doing well and are ready for a move up the hill.
On The Map
Leaving Lobuche this morning we continued up the Khumbu Valley towards Everest Base Camp, following a shallow depression between the moraine left by the glacier pushing downwards and the mountains on the other side. The trail climbed gently, gaining a few hundred feet over the first hour and we all felt good as we walked in the morning sun. Eventually we reached the rock covered Changri Nup Glacier, flowing into the Khumbu Glacier from the west, and we picked our way across it’s rocky surface, climbing up and down through the large gulleys on the surface. After reaching the other side we descended into Gorak Shep, the last village before Base Camp. Sitting in a shallow bowl wedged between the Khumbu and Changri Nup Glaciers and the slopes of Pumori, a large 7000m peak above, Gorak Shep feels a bit like a long lost desolate outpost in the mountains. The tea-houses are notably less luxurious up here and the cold a bit more biting, but when the winds start blowing and the temperatures drop at these altitudes the spartan teahouses begin to feel much more welcoming.
We stopped at our tea-house in Gorak Shep and had a quick bowl of soup before setting out to climb Kala Patar, a rocky highpoint on one of the ridges above Gorak Shep that offers spectacular views of the mountains. It was warm and calm as we began the climb and the roofs of the teahouses soon shrank away behind us as we climbed higher, replaced by the rolling landscape of rock and ice of the Khumbu Glacier and its’ surrounding peaks. Near 17,500’ the afternoon winds picked up and the periodic gusts whipped past us, quickly dropping the temperatures and causing us to pull on warmer hats, gloves, and jackets. But the winds were not enough to deter us as we scrambled up through the large boulders of the final 200’ to the prayer flagged summit of Kala Patar. In front of us we could see from the summit of Everest all the way down to Base Camp sitting along the Khumbu Glacier at its’ base. Around us the peaks of the Himalayas stretched out in every direction. The skies remained clear, except for the small cloud trailing off of Everest’s summit and the low hanging valley clouds creeping slowly upwards from Namche far below us. Despite the winds it was a beautiful view and we spent a good while up there taking it all in. Finally, as the cold began to creep through our layers, we turned around and made our way down the small and rocky trail back to Gorak Shep.
With the sun starting to set over the mountains, we are back in our tea-house for the evening. The months of training and the days spent acclimatizing on the trail are paying off for the team as we reach these higher elevations. Everyone is handling the challenges of living at these altitudes well and we are looking forward to completing the final portion of our trek into Everest Base Camp tomorrow where we will spend the next two days. The team sends their best to everyone at home.
On The Map
Another beautiful day greeted us this morning. After breakfast we reluctantly said goodbye to the accommodations and staff of our tea-house in Pheriche and set off up the valley. The trail ran through small clumps of juniper and back and forth across streams running down from the hillsides, reaching a collection of stone buildings and fields where yaks are pastured in the evenings. The vegetation continued to thin out, the grass getting shorter and eventually the juniper bushes disappearing from the landscape as we made our way higher. Eventually we began the ascent to Thokla Pass, a climb up the toe of the moraine created by the forward push of the Khumbu Glacier. Although a moderate climb in length and height, the elevation makes it challenging and we spent the better part of two hours picking our way up the hillside.
Partway up is the small “village” of Thokla, in reality little more than two tea-houses sheltered from the winds that blow up the valley, but the perfect breaking spot for trekkers and yak herders making their way up the climb. We sat in the sun for a few minutes resting and sipping on tea before resuming our ascent, reaching the top of Thokla Pass at well over 15,000’ by midday. Built along the ridgelines of the pass are dozens of small chortens, each one paying tribute to climbers and Sherpas that have lost their lives on Mt. Everest. With views out to the surrounding mountains and prayer flags streaming from the many memorials, it is a solemn place that commemorates many famous climbers.
Continuing from the top of the pass we ascended into a shallow valley that runs parallel to the Khumbu Glacier, finding our way among the boulders and rocks that border a small stream that was completely frozen over, even in the midday sun. After another hour of walking we reached our tea-house in the village of Lobuche. Tucked into a small recess in the side of the valley, Lobuche was traditionally a summer grazing grounds for herds of yaks but now is more popular with trekkers and climbing expeditions on their way to Everest. Although the landscape is quite barren around us, our tea-house is warm and comfortable in the midday sun. We have all been surprised at how warm the temperatures have been the past few days. We settled into the tea-house and spent final part of the afternoon sipping on tea and reading, focusing on breathing well, even at rest, as we adjust to these higher altitudes.
Tomorrow we head to Gorak Shep, the last village before Everest Base Camp, and hope to climb to the summit of Kala Patar above it in the afternoon if the weather cooperates. The team continues to do well and sends their best to everyone at home.
On The Map
Morning came early in Phakding. We stayed up later than we should have playing cards. Mark taught Kim and I new game that was a lot of fun. Maybe too much fun, somehow we owe him money now! A lot of money.
Seriously, it was a wonderful night’s sleep with the lullaby of the Dudh Kosi in the background. The team met for breakfast at 7:30 and Mark surprised us with French press Kona coffee. What a great treat; it made the already great day even better.
We hit the trail around 8:30 heading for Namche Bazaar - about 1000 meters higher than Phakding. So this was to by our first day with serious altitude gain. We made good time in the cool of the day with Mark giving us a refresher on pressure breathing, rest stepping and pace.
We stopped for lunch in Jorsale. It was nice to linger in the shade watching the zoks and donkeys go by. They certainly weren’t in any hurry to be anywhere - unlike some of the trekkers we saw.
The afternoon’s journey started with a meandering walk along the Dudh Kosi. But it was getting hotter and dustier, too. After crossing the Hillary Bridge the trail began climbing steeply and it was obvious that it wasn’t going to let up anytime soon. The temperature seemed to rise along with our altitude; but we settled into a nice rhythm and in no time we rounded a corner and got our first view of Namche Bazaar. It was a big deal for both Kim and me, as it was something we had both wanted to see for a long time.
We’re settled into the Camp de Base now with the evening in front of us. Tomorrow we’ll spend day acclimatizing and hike to some of the surrounding villages. Onward and upward.
An update to yesterday’s blog from Phakding. We would have included it then, but there was some disagreement among the team. Anyway, we stopped in a little coffee shop in Lukla. While we were there the owner’s 3 year old little boy, Tashi, was sitting in one of the chairs playing with the “Flatulence” app on an iPhone. Oddly, I have the same app on my iPod, so I couldn’t resist pulling it out. In seconds we had a round of dueling “flatulence” going. When he got bored with that (I was still having fun) he came over and took my iPod and started reviewing my collection of apps. I guess some things transcend culture.
On The Map
Previous Page More Entries