Entries By billy nugent

Mt. Rainier: Camp Muir Seminar Summits!

Posted by: Seth Waterfall, Adam Knoff, Billy Nugent | May 29, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

Hi there, we are having a great summit day!  We left Camp Muir at 4 am and reached the summit at 9:15.  The weather has been very nice.  We are making our way down the mountain now.  We’ll check in when we get back to Camp Muir.

RMI Guide Seth Waterfall

May 29, 2014 - Camp Muir Seminar on the Mt. Rainier summit! Photo: Seth Waterfall
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Mt. Rainier: Teams Forced to Turn Due to Weather

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Garrett Stevens | May 25, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 13,000'

The Four Day Summit Climb led by Billy Nugent and the Five Day Summit Climb led by Garrett Stevens were forced to call 13,000’ their high point today.  The teams reported high winds, low visibility, and a descending cloud cap.  The teams will rest for a short time at Camp Muir before beginning their descent to Paradise.  We expect to see them back in Ashford early this afternoon.

An RMI Climber on Mt. Rainier in low visibility. Photo: Ed Viesturs

Mt. Everest: Dave Hahn and Team Return to Kathmandu

Posted by: Billy Nugent, JJ Justman, Dave Hahn | April 29, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 4,383'

In Lukla, roughly eight thousand vertical feet below our Everest Basecamp home of the past three weeks, we were pretty comfortable.  But just for one night.  The team was awake by five am yesterday, eating by 5:30 and walking over to the airport check-in at six.  We watched -partly in awe, partly in horror- as Twin Otters, Dorniers and A-Stars roared in and out of the compact one acre loading and unloading zone, pirouetting into place, revving engines, disgorging trekkers, cases of beer and heavy bags of rice at a frenetic pace.  When summoned by frantic hand gestures, we shouldered our packs, walked out onto the tarmac and took over the seats in a Twin.
A few minutes later, we were in the air, over a few craggy passes and cruising toward Kathmandu.  Upon landing, we were no-longer climbers, or even would-be climbers, we were happily transformed to overdressed tourists.  As such we took off a few layers and began showering, shaving and eating eating eating. 
Although we are still far from home, the program is finished.  We continue to enjoy each other’s company, we still rely on one another to make sense of the sad events and unexpected turns our trip has taken.  The team is grateful that so many have followed our journey on the blog and offered up kind words and support.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Views from the airplane flight between Kathmandu and Lukla.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. Everest: Hahn and team finish their trek

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Billy Nugent, JJ Justman | April 27, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest

Billy Nugent led the way out of Namche, down the big hill and into the valley of a thousand farms and small villages.  We made it in six hours to a comfy tea house next to the airstrip in Lukla.  The rain caught us for the last hour or so, but didn’t actually bother anybody enough to make them put a raincoat on.  We ate the afternoon away in our new low-altitude home.  Mark Tucker made a surprise appearance for dinner, having finished up his duties at Basecamp today and figured out a way to heli-hike in minutes what had filled up three days for the rest of us.  We are now poised for an early wake-up and some airport hustle that may or may not get us to Kathmandu by fixed-wing aircraft.  All depends on the weather.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Mt. Everest: Dave Hahn & Team Back to Namche Bazaar

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman, Billy Nugent, Mark Tucker | April 26, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 11,300'

Today was a big walking day, up and down the hills of the Khumbu Valley from Pheriche to Namche.  Right out of Pheriche, where we started hiking at 8 AM, we crossed the river, climbed a hill and turned into the inhabited portions of the Khumbu.  We turned our backs on rocks and ice and walked down into rhododendrons, pine trees and villages.  JJ led the way as we rolled through Shomare, Pangboche, Deboche, Thyangboche, and Phunky Tonga.  We got hot enough to sweat a bit, which was a novelty, we passed a million trekkers and heard about a million helicopter laps as the B2’s and B3’s flew over us on their way back and forth to Everest Base.  Finally, at midday, we got working our way up the giant dusty hill that would put us on level with Namche.  It took us about six hours to reach Namche -still quite familiar to us since we spent three days acclimating in town on the way in.  This time… no acclimatization needed… so fine to be below 12,000 ft for the first time in close to a month.  The team enjoyed a fine evening at comfortable Camp De Base.

One more big day of hiking to go before Lukla International.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Descending views of Everest. Photo:  Casey Grom

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Mt. Everest: Dave Hahn Checks in from Pheriche

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman, Billy Nugent, Mark Tucker | April 25, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 13,950'

Our last night in base was made dramatic by a lightning storm rolling through.  A few inches of snow fell thick and fast, making morning, bright, fresh and beautiful.  At 11:15 AM we filed out of the ghost town that Mount Everest Basecamp has become.  The climbing team, accompanied by Lam Babu, made good time in losing three and a half thousand feet to reach Pheriche in four hours and forty-five minutes.  We each paid Everest’s summit a couple of last longing looks during the march, but then paid more attention to the task at hand; walking an uneven, slippery mountain trail while dodging trekkers, yaks and porters.  The gang stuck together wonderfully, demonstrating what a close knit and fit climbing team we’ve become.  With each village on the descent, through Gorak Shep, Lobuche and Thukla, we each noticed the thicker and easier air.  We coughed less and walked faster.  All enjoyed seeing the baby yaks trying out their legs on our homestretch into Pheriche.  Tonight, we are indoors again… safe, enjoying each other’s company, and quite comfortable.  We hope things are going well for Mark Tucker and the bulk of our Sherpa Team, back at EBC for a last couple of days to button things up properly.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

An RMI team descending past prayer flags. Photo: RMI Collection Views of the Himalayas near Pheriche. Photo: Casey Grom

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Mt. Everest: RMI Expedition Ends

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ 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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Close call for you on the day before.  Great call for you to make that thoughtful decision on behalf of your many
Nepalese friends. Congratulations!

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Posted by: Chuck Roberts on 4/23/2014 at 7:51 pm

Tough call guys but the right one. RMI Rocks.

Safe travels back home Dave. Maybe see you up on Wheeler soon.

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Posted by: Phillip on 4/23/2014 at 7:44 pm


Mt. Everest: Mark Tucker Checks in

Posted by: JJ 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

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

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ 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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Mt. Everest: Dave Hahn Calls in from Everest Base Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Billy Nugent, JJ Justman | April 19, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

Hey this is Dave Hahn calling from Everest Base Camp.  Today was another difficult day dealing with the tragedies from yesterday.  The team members stayed in Base Camp today, it was cloudy, a little snowy, a little cold.  Three of our Sherpa team, Tshering, Lam Babu and Pemba helicoptered up, with others, to the accident site to continue the difficult and dangerous work that some of us were engaged in yesterday of well, body retrieval at this point.  There are still three missing, is my understanding, and they were not able to find those three.  But they did a great job in going up and working hard and trying to make a difference and we are very proud of them. 
The team is well, obviously, it is a difficult situation, everything is somewhat in limbo.  There is word of a number of teams that are pulling the plug and are not going to climb.  But we will see how these next couple of days play out.  I told my climbers to be ready for anything.
We will keep you informed.

Bye now.

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Khumbu Icefall after the April 18th avalanche. Photo: Dave Hahn


RMI Guide Dave Hahn checks in from Everest Base Camp.

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