Entries By billy nugent

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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Will continue to pray for you all…for strength, wisdom and courage.  Incredibly tough but wise decision.  Safe travels home.

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Posted by: Susan on 4/23/2014 at 4:53 pm

Honorable and thoughtful! As a client of yours, i thank you.

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Posted by: David Smith on 4/23/2014 at 4:17 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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Mt. Everest: Dress Rehearsal through the Khumbu Icefall

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

Today was an exciting day! The entire team did a “live” rehearsal. What does that mean? Well…the team awoke at 3AM and slid on stiff boots and warm clothing, had a quick but nutritious breakfast and then began climbing the icefall with our headlamps lighting the way.

Climbing in the Khumbu Icefall is impossible to describe. It is impossible to relay what it’s like through photos and videos. However, the best I can say is it is simply spectacular! Giant blocks of ice tower above as you bob and weave, slice and dice your way through the giant maze.

The entire team did absolutely great! This “dry run” of going through half of the icefall inspires confidence so the next time we get up at 3AM we will all be ready and rearing to go through the entire icefall and occupy Camp One at 20,000 feet.

For now however, we are all happy and content after another great lunch with culinary masterpieces allowing us to fully recover. Next, a little tent time to rest these weary bones.

RMI Guide JJ Justman

Night exposure of the Khumbu Icefall. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. Everest: The Team Prepares for the Next Phase of the Expedition

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Dave Hahn, JJ Justman, Mark Tucker | April 16, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

Hello out there. Billy here checking in for the rest of the gang after another day deep in the Khumbu. Not much to report on another rest day here, other than the fact that the NCell tower began sporadically working today after nearly a ten-day outage. Our team was starting to go crazy… I mean it was like camping back in the 90’s where you were in a deep black hole.

Anyway, clear skies this morning meant more helicopters buzzing basecamp as a film production crew has been ferrying tons of equipment up valley. The rumor is that they’ll need more than fifty flights to get all of their gear in, we’re all looking forward to it! Regardless, we’re rested and ready for the next phase of our climb which involves an early wakeup dress rehearsal for tomorrow. It’s the last step before we begin our first true rotation up the mountain.

All for now, will check in again tomorrow after another romp through the icefall…

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

B3 Helicopter Leaving Everest BC Helipad. Photo: Dave Hahn

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Mt. Everest: Mark Tucker and the Climbing Team Summit Kalapathar

Posted by: Mark Tucker, Dave Hahn, JJ Justman, Billy Nugent | April 15, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

Summit… of Kalapathar!  The team took on Kalapathar, and had a great payday of views galore.  Nice weather for most of the day.  The Sherpa team also benefited from weather as they are nearly done with all the makings of Camp 2.  One comment from a Sherpa that it was very hot in the Khumbu Icefall. Seems ironic.

The climbing team is gearing up for a possible early morning test run in the Icefall.  We’ll keep you posted.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

Mt. Everest from the Kalapathar summit. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. Everest: Rest Day for the Team at Everest Base Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman, Billy Nugent, Mark Tucker | April 14, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

Today was a well-timed rest day.  Following our recent daily pattern, it was sunny and calm in the morning and snowing and socked in by noon.  The team took the chance to wash up and get clean during the sunny hours, and then hunkered down within the tents for the afternoon.  The much talked about Everest Basecamp WiFi hotspots and 3G cell coverage have both been dysfunctional in the extreme of late, bringing the teams back virtually to the 1990’s in terms of connectivity… roughing it.  Yesterday was a very popular day for Puja ceremonies and so the drab moraine rubble we call home was transformed by a vast spiderweb of interconnected colorful prayer flags streaming from the numerous chortens.  Tomorrow, our Sherpa team is geared up for a carry to Camp II while the climbers have a conditioning hike to Kalapathar in mind.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

View from above Everest Basecamp. Photo: Jake Norton

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Mt. Everest:  Team Continues Training

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Billy Nugent, JJ Justman, Mark Tucker | April 13, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

Today the team went uphill in a few big ways.  The Sherpa team carried loads all the way to Camp II (ABC) at 21,300 ft before returning to base while the climbing guides and climbers geared up and traveled to the first ladders in the icefall route.  It takes about 90 minutes or so to reach those lowest ladders, but we figure it was pretty good practice.  The “trail” involves a lot of crampon work up and down endless ice ridges before the actual fixed ropes begin.  The fixed lines take a little getting used to when it comes to passing intermediate anchors in steep and awkward spots.  Then we started encountering the much anticipated ladders, the first few this season being short and simple.  But we continued on until we hit a slightly longer set of ladder sections tied together and bridging a pretty deep and dark crevasse.  The team took turns tip-toeing across the rungs and from time to time just standing back to watch Sherpa climbers dance effortlessly across in their descent from a hard day of work.  Descent from that big and worthy crevasse a little over 18,000 ft was pretty good training all in itself.  The team moved better and better as climbers got accustomed to the routines of “arm-rappels” and clipping past snow and ice anchors.  We reached the crampons-off point just as the daily afternoon snowstorm began, but that meant we were only ten minutes from camp.  Once back in our home away from home it was an easy afternoon of lunch, games, naps and good conversation.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Everest Base Camp and the Lower Khumbu Icefall.  Photo: RMI Collection


RMI Guide and Base Camp Manager Mark Tucker checks in with an update on the Mt. Everest Expedition.

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