Entries By j.j. justman

Mt. Everest: Hahn & Team Stroll Into Deboche

Posted by: Dave Hahn, J.J. Justman, Billy Nugent | March 30, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 12,325'

We moved up-valley to Deboche today.  Morning in Namche was pleasant but we had places to go and things to see.  We hit the trail by 8:30 and walked easily along the traverse trail leaving town.  At first we were mixed in with a few trekking groups and strings of pack animals, but after a little while we had the trail to ourselves.  We’d have loved to have been able to hang on to our hard-won altitude, but it was necessary to give plenty of it back as we needed to drop all the way down to the river to get across and take on the Thyangboche Hill.  We worked slow-and-steady up the hillside trail, gaining about fifteen hundred vertical feet in an hour and a half.  Along the way, we got great views of Kangtega with its giant walls of rock topped by hanging glaciers, but these views were surpassed when we reached the hilltop and saw Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse and Ama Dablam spread out before us and doing battle with the wind and clouds.  Thyangboche Monastery sat like a palace at the ridge crest behind elaborate and ornate gates.  We took our packs off for a few minutes and tried to take it all in, but we were only twenty minutes walk from Deboche at this point and lunch had taken on great importance to the team, so we shouldered packs once more and set off down through the rhododendron forests to our lodge at 12,200 ft above sea level.

The afternoon passed with food and naps and a break from the distractions of the internet, since WiFi was not readily available.  We are not quite in the wilderness yet, but we can see it from here.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Looking towards Everest on the trail from Namche. Photo: Linden Mallory Tengboche Monastery. Photo: Casey Grom

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Mt. Everest: Dave Hahn and Team Rest Day in Namche Bazaar

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Billy Nugent, J.J. Justman | March 29, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 11,200'

This was our easy day in Namche.  No big hikes, no packing, no training… this one was for resting, for catching up on personal business and for exploring the Sherpa capital at one’s leisure.  Above this point in the trek/climb, we won’t have such ease of communication and certainly not the opportunity to shop for good climbing gear.  There was some important business to attend to though as Chhering Dorje, Lam Babu and I went to the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee office to review procedures and policies for getting garbage down the mountain.  We signed our sincere intention to play by the rules.

Some of the team traveled several hundred feet up in altitude to the Namche suburbs in order to visit the fine Sherpa Culture Museum with its fascinating Everest history exhibit.  Some went for massages and cheeseburgers downtown.

As the gang assembled for dinner in the early evening, we were pleased to find that Apa Sherpa was sharing our Tea House for the night.  Apa, the all-time leader in Everest summits -with 21- is bringing a trek in to explore the Khumbu. 

All of the RMI climbers and guides are healthy and well-rested.  Tomorrow we’ll hit the trail and go higher once again.

Best Regards,

RMI Guide Dave Hahn & Team

Dave Hahn talking with the team in Namche Bazaar. Photo: Billy Nugent The Everest team exploring Namche Bazaar. Photo: Billy Nugent The Everest team heads above Namche Bazaar to explore for the day. Photo: Billy Nugent Views above Namche Bazaar. Photo: Billy Nugent

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Mt. Everest: Dave Hahn and Team Rest and Enjoy the Views

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Billy Nugent, J.J. Justman | March 28, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 11,200'

As planned, today was our hiking and acclimatizing day at Namche.  Since we are now well and truly “at altitude” it pays to go slowly.  We’ll actually spend three nights here at 11,200 feet before ratcheting up the sleeping altitude again.  Light exercise on such days can enhance acclimatization, and so we went for a fine hike.  First, we climbed straight up and out of Namche to reach Syangboche, at close to 12,000 ft, then we moved East to gain ridiculously good views of Ama Dablam, Lhotse and Everest.  Combined with the already insane vistas to our South and West of Thamserku and Quangde, respectively, it was nearly overwhelming… too much to fully take in.  So we walked to the Everest View Hotel, sat on an open terrace and sipped hot lemon juice while pondering the view.  It looked quite windy and nasty up high on Lhotse and Everest (Nobody tries to summit in March for good reason) but where we sat it was sunny and calm.  We then walked over for lunch in the village of Khumjung and finally up to Khunde before crossing the forested ridge line once again for Namche.

It was a great stretch of the legs and lungs on uncrowded and garden-like trails.  The afternoon back down in Namche then seemed just perfectly made for napping.

Best Regards,

RMI Guide Dave Hahn & Team

Team Hikes above Namache. Photo Dave Hahn Team Enjoys Views of the Himalaya Range. Photo Dave Hahn Rest break with a view! Photo: Dave Hahn

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Mt. Everest: Dave Hahn & Team arrive in Namache Bazaar

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Billy Nugent, J.J. Justman | March 27, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 11,300'

Yesterday’s clouds drifted away in the night.  We woke to crystal clear skies over Phakding and unimpeded views of giant snow-covered mountains.  After a fine breakfast, the gang was on the trail just after 8:30 AM.  Although I’d warned over and over that the trail would be busy with trekkers, porters and pack animals, we had it pretty much to ourselves.  The trail wound up and down along the constant whitewater of the Dudh Khosi.  We strolled through pine forests and picturesque farmland at the bottom of a deep gorge.  We entered Sagarmatha National Park and stopped for lunch in the small village of Jorsalle, sitting outside in the sunshine.  Then it was all business, up through the big trees and the big hills leading to Namche Bazaar.  A new suspension bridge had been built at the foot of the big hill, taking us hundreds of feet in the air across the gorge.  The team went at the final hill with gusto, taking a break partway up to enjoy the first distant glimpses of Mount Everest.

We rolled into Namche and our home for the next three nights at about 2:30 PM, leaving plenty of time for naps, shopping and internet.

Best Regards,

RMI Guide Dave Hahn & Team

Everest 2014 team arrives in Namache Bazaar. Photo: Billy Nugent Dave Hahn by the Prayer Wheels in Namache Bazaar. Photo: Billy Nugent

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Mount Everest: Dave Hahn & Team Safely Land in Lukla and Trek to Phakding

Posted by: Dave Hahn, J.J. Justman, Billy Nugent | March 26, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 8,700'

Yesterday was a whirlwind marathon of packing and prepping in the chaos of Kathmandu.  This morning was the staccato hurry up and wait of getting up and out to the airport and hanging to see if the weather would permit flying.  Flying conditions weren’t perfect when we got through security at the domestic terminal in Kathmandu.  We ended up waiting several hours -swilling coffee, listening to music and people watching- until the pilots felt good about taking off for Lukla.  Once up and out of the smog layers of the Kathmandu Valley, we were treated to stupendous views of the Himalaya.  Those with port-side window seats could pick out Mt. Everest as the flight progressed.  But we were only up about 45 minutes before the pilots put the Twin Otter into a dive.  They had Lukla’s crazy-angled airstrip in their sites and it was clear from the steep mountain walls all around that this was our one shot at parking the plane.  Heart rates shot up, cameras were clicked on and the wheels touched down perfectly.

A few minutes later, we were out of the plane and sitting in a quiet Tea House in the lower Khumbu Valley.  We ate a leisurely lunch and got walking up valley.  It only took a bit more than three hours to reach Phakding And Joe’s Garden… Our lodge for the night.  By that point, things had clouded over, but our luck held and the rain didn’t fall.

The team ate dinner and bedded down to the soothing sounds of the nearby river churning through endless rapids.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

The 2014 RMI Everest Expedition group photo as they leave Kathmandu. Photo: Dave Hahn The world-renowned Lukla Airstrip. Photo: Jeff Martin

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Mount Everest: Dave Hahn & Team Getting Going

Posted by: Dave Hahn, J.J. Justman, Billy Nugent | March 24, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 4,383'

The 2014 RMI Expeditions Mount Everest climb has begun.  Slowly.  The seven climbers and three RMI guides made their separate ways around the globe- from Canada, from Poland, and from all corners of the United States, to convene in Kathmandu and get the party started.  All made it on schedule and with their luggage… a small miracle.  The team fought off jet lag long enough to accomplish a few important preliminary tasks.  With the help of Sagar -our Nepal agent, and Lam Babu, our Sirdar, we gathered at the Nepal Ministry of Tourism to receive our climbing permit and a short orientation slideshow from the ministers.  They emphasized how important it was to bring trash off the mountain and to treat others with respect.  They wished us luck and shook our hands.

Back at our comfy hotel, the venerable Yak and Yeti, we sat down together for a “welcome dinner” and discussed briefly our plan for getting down to business tomorrow morning when folks have rested and recovered sufficiently.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Yak & Yeti Hotel in Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo: RMI Collection RMI Guide JJ Justman and the Everest team meeting for dinner. Photo: Billy Nugent The busy streets of Kathmandu. Photo: Billy Nugent

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Dave, JJ, James and team:

Thank you for the post.  Exciting stuff.  So glad to hear you are off to a good start.  Really looking forward to tracking your adventure! … read more

Posted by: Fred Klingbeil on 3/24/2014 at 1:59 pm


Aconcagua: Justman & Team Return to Base Camp

Posted by: J.J. Justman, Katrina Bloemsma | February 19, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 13,800'

We have arrived! Ahhh, it feels so good to be back at Base Camp! Let me tell ya, this team has faced some enormous adversity. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to scare friends and family because this Wisconsin boy has faced worse weather watching the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in December. The weather on this expedition has flip flopped from beautiful to not so beautiful. And wouldn’t you know it, the weather followed us down to base camp. However, it doesn’t matter now. We’ve enjoyed pizzas, fresh fruit and coca colas. And we all deserve it! Everyone says hello and we are looking forward to our trek out.

This is our last dispatch for this season’s Aconcagua expeditions. Thank you so much for following along and thanks for all the comments!

RMI Guides JJ Justman, Katrina Bloemsma and Team

Aconcagua. RMI Photo Collection

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Aconcagua: Justman & Team Return to High Camp from Summit

Posted by: J.J. Justman | February 18, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 19,600'

Hello -
We are back safely at high camp (19,600’) on Aconcagua. We had a long day up and down and everyone needs some food and hot drinks to recover. The day started cold then turned hot and now it is back to cold with blowing snow. We need a break!
We will spend the night here and tomorrow begin heading down hill.

Hasta manana,
RMI Guide JJ Justman

Look down on Base Camp while en route to the summit of Aconcagua.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua: Justman & Team Summit!

Posted by: J.J. Justman, Katrina Bloemsma | February 18, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 22,841'

Hey everyone, I’m wondering if you could just take a listen to this for second… Do you hear that?  I didn’t think so because there is zero wind on the summit of Aconcagua right now! That is where Team Seven is at this moment.  What do you say guys? [Happy yells from the climbers.]  People are excited to be up here. We have a beautiful day climbing. We had a sunny day to begin with; now there’s a little bit of clouds and a little bit of snow. People are feeling pretty darn good, tired but good. We had a great day climbing. Can’t say enough great things about the summit. And now we are going to head down. This is JJ and the team heading downhill from the highest point in the western hemisphere of the world.

RMI Guide JJ Justman

RMI Climbers preparing for the summit bid at High Camp on Aconcagua. Photo: Linden Mallory An RMI Team taking a break on Summit Day on Aconcagua.  Photo: RMI Collection


RMI Guide JJ Justman calls in from the Aconcagua summit!

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Aconcagua: Justman & Team Decide to Wait a Day Before Summit Bid

Posted by: J.J. Justman, Katrina Bloemsma | February 17, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 19,600'

Decisions, decisions! After some careful thought the team had decided to spend one more day at high camp before attempting the summit. We all had a tough day battling new snow and breaking trail to make it here. There’s no need to exhaust ourselves and ruin our chances at the summit. Tomorrow is supposed to be an even nicer day. And after a full day of eating, drinking and relaxing we all should be more recovered to give the summit our all.

RMI Guide JJ Justman

An RMI Team takes in the views from Aconcagua High Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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