Entries By linden mallory

Elbrus Expedition: Mallory & Team Arrive in Moscow

Posted by: Linden Mallory | July 07, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Elbrus Southside

Dobrye Veycher from Moscow! The RMI Mt. Elbrus Team arrived into Moscow throughout the day today, making the hour long drive from the airport to our hotel in the heart of the city, across the Moscow River from the Kremlin. With climbers coming in from all over the globe, it has been a long couple of days of traveling for the team and we had a mellow evening, finding dinner in a small restaurant down the street from the hotel.

This far north, it is still daylight at 10:30pm as we turn in for the evening. We are excited to be here and looking forward to exploring Moscow tomorrow, visiting the city’s most famous sites - from Red Square to St. Basil’s Cathedral to the Kremlin. We will check in tomorrow after our city tour.

RMI Guide Linden Mallory

Walls around the Kremlin

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Everest Base Camp Trek: Back in Kathmandu!

Posted by: Linden Mallory | April 04, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest BC Trek
Elevation: 4383

We woke up to the sound of rain pounding on the roof and a sinking feeling descended over me: rain meant cloudy weather and no flights into Lukla and I began to wonder if we would be forced to spend the day waiting for clearer skies in order to fly back to Kathmandu. I hesitantly looked out of the window of the teahouse and much to my relief it was only a light rain falling from a thin layer of clouds above. By the time we packed up our bags and sat down for breakfast the skies cleared and soon airplanes began making the harrowing approach into the narrow strip of runway in Lukla. 

After wrapping up breakfast we said goodbye to our porters and Sherpa staff and walked the hundred yards up the trail into the Lukla airport where we checked in for our flight. We reweighed all of our bags, once again amazed at the loads our porters were able to carry for the duration of our trek, and then found a seat in the waiting area. Every loud roar accompanying the landing of an airplane we would jump up to stare out the window to see if the plane arriving was ours. Finally, after a couple of planes came and went the green tail of our Tara Air appeared on the runway and and we lined up outside of the idling aircraft to take our seats.

The flight back to Kathmandu lacked the views of our flight in and the plane was forced to take a long route around all of the clouds already building by mid morning before we finally began the descent back into Kathmandu. We landed safely and stepped out into the thick and warm air of the city, a very different feel than the mountains above. Once all of our gear was loaded into the back of the van we set out for our hotel. Needless to say, the melee of cars, motorbikes, horns, buildings, and throngs of people is a radical change from the relative quiet and calm of the Khumbu and it is taking us a good bit to make the shift back into the scene here in Kathmandu.

We arrived at our hotel but not all of the rooms were ready so we sat down next to the pool behind and ordered lunch: fresh salads, vegetables, and burgers (even in Nepal!). It was a feast. We then turned our attention to showers and clean clothes - another luxury for us. By late afternoon, showered and dressed in fresh clothes, we headed into Thamel, the heart of Kathmandu, and spent a few hours wandering the streets and taking in the scene. It feels great to be back in Kathmandu but hard to believe our adventures are over; we’ve settled into our trail and routine and it’s a bit strange to not have to wake up tomorrow, pack the duffel bag, and start walking. It’s going to take a bit to readjust. We are heading out for our celebration dinner tonight, looking forward to another good meal. Tomorrow is our contingency day, just in case weather prevented us from moving at some point during the trip, and we are using it to check out a few of the sites in Kathmandu before our flight home the following day. The team is all excited to get home and share their stories, thanks to everyone for following along with us.

RMI Guide Linden Mallory

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Everest Base Camp Trek: Long and Rainy Walk Back to Lukla

Posted by: Linden Mallory | April 03, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest BC Trek
Elevation: 9,350'

A forest fire burning lower in the valley gave the skies a light haze this morning over Namche and we could catch glimpses of the smoke rising from the valley sides further down as we left our teahouse. It was warm as we walked out of Namche and descended the hill to the valley floor but by the time we reached the bottom, clouds crept up the valley to block out the sun. As we crossed the suspension bridge above the river the first few droplets of rain began to fall. Soon the rain was falling in force and thunder echoed in the mountains above, and the smoke from the fire began to dissipate. We walked through the villages below Namche, crossing back and forth across the river on suspension bridges, while the rain came and went. Before long thunder was rolling through with hardly a pause between claps and we sought refuge in the nearest shelter we could find, piling into a tiny shack on the side of the trail already full of porters also seeking refuge. 

Sitting crammed in the one room building, we sipped some tea heated up on a fire nearby as the thunder and lightning passed over us and faded away higher up the valley. Once all we could hear was a light rain pattering on the roof we set out on the trail again, picking our way down the trail as we skirted the small streams and puddles forming in our path. We made steady progress back down the valley, finally pausing in the village of Phakding for lunch. The rain kept coming down and we sat around the stove in the teahouse doing our best to dry out as we ate lunch. When we set out and the rain was letting up; with every step we made closer to Lukla the clouds seemed to rise equally as well. Soon we could see the fresh snow covering the base of the peaks above and all of the fields around shone a brilliant green with the arrival of spring in the lower Khumbu Valley. The cherry trees, rhododendron, and piries janponica trees were all in full bloom - pink, red, and white flowers dotted the trees bordering the fields and we kept pausing to take it all in. 

By late afternoon we climbed the final rocky steps of the trail and walked into Lukla. We found our teahouse and shed our packs and damp gear, finally reaching the end of the trail. We are happy to be warm and dry again after the many hours of walking in the rain today and if the weather cooperates and the clouds continue to lift we hope to catch an early morning flight back to Kathmandu tomorrow. It is a bit strange not to have more trail to cover tomorrow but we are excited to get back to Kathmandu and keeping our fingers crossed for clear skies so we can fly out!

RMI Guide Linden Mallory

Baby Yaks in Namche this morning. Photo: Linden Mallory Crossing the suspension bridge below Namche.Photo: Linden Mallory The team walking through Lukla after a wet day on the trail. Photo: Linden Mallory

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Everest Base Camp Trek: Linden Recounts Summit Day

Posted by: Linden Mallory | April 01, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest BC Trek
Elevation: 12,700'

The days since our last dispatch were packed full of activity as we headed out to climb Island Peak. After saying goodbye to the trekking group, we walked up the Imja Khola Valley to the village of Chukung, a small collection of teahouses sitting between Lhotse, Ama Dablam, and Island Peak. Our teahouse is run by a Sherpani woman and her two daughters and they welcomed us warmly, feeding us a hearty dal bhat (Nepali rice and lentils) which we unanimously agreed is the best to be found in the Khumbu. Before going to sleep we pared down our gear in anticipation of the climb, taking with us just the gear we needed for the climb.

In the morning we left Chukung and made the final walk to the base of Island Peak. A sharp wind blew as we walked, making the morning feel much colder than it was, and we made our way through the dusty and rocky terrain bundled up to stay warm. We reached Base Camp by midday and settled into our tents there, enjoying the warmth of the sun through the tent walls. The wind died off by mid afternoon and we spent a comfortable evening in the tents at Base Camp.

The following morning broke clear but again with a cold wind blowing through camp. We packed up our gear and headed up to High Camp. The trail climbs steeply out of camp, making tight switchbacks up the hillside. The thin alpine grasses covering the ground soon gave away to rocks and boulders as we left the last sparse vegetation behind. High Camp is tucked into the rocks on the mountain side just below 18,000’ and the walking between tents required full attention, especially at those altitudes. We spent the rest of the afternoon resting and preparing for the climb. In the early evening the clouds descended over the mountain and left a thin layer of snow covering everything and we went to bed concerned that more snow could abort our summit attempt.

Thankfully the night sky full of stars greeted us when we woke up just before 2am, the climb was on! We forced down a quick breakfast, no easy task at that hour or that elevation, and set off. The first few hours of climbing took us up a series of steep rocky gullies and occasional ledges. The normally tricky walking was magnified by the layer of freshly fallen snow but we made good progress, reaching the toe of the glacier just after sunrise. We strapped on our crampons and climbed up and across the glacier to the base of the headwall below Island Peak’s summit. Clipping into the fixed lines there, we climbed our way up the headwall, crossing the bergshcrund and working our way up the steep icy face. The headwall was a mix of smooth ice and ledges several feet apart and it was difficult climbing, especially with no place to pause and catch our breaths. Nevertheless, the team climbed steadily and before long we stood on the ridge leading up the summit. The final hundred feet of climbing took us up a narrow snow ridge, with thousands of feet of exposure on each side, until we reached the top, a small flat area no bigger than the size of a pool table.

The views from the summit were incredible, the ridge between Lhotse and Nuptse rising directly behind us, Makalu visible in the distance, Ama Dablam off to the side, and the entire upper portion of the Khumbu Valley running out below us. After a brief moment to celebrate, we turned our attention to the descent, carefully picking our way down the ridge to the top of the headwall. As we clipped into the ropes to rappel down the headwall the snow once again began to fall and the temperatures dropped, making the rope changes at the end of each rappel section difficult with cold hands. We slowly made our way down the series of five rappels to the foot of the headwall, and then recrossed the glacier back to the rocks. The final portion of the descent was very challenging with the added snow and tired legs but everyone traveled remarkably well, crossing the slick rock slabs and descending the rock steps with sure feet.

We returned back to High Camp in the late afternoon and after a delicious dinner, collapsed into a deep night’s sleep. This morning we descended from High Camp back to Chukung where we paused for a lunch of Sherpa Stew (thick vegetable soup) and then continued down the valley to Pangboche, at 12,700’. The change of scenery from the rocks and snow on Island Peak to the fields and juniper trees here in Pangboche is remarkable, we have spent many days up high and being back down at these (relatively) low altitudes feels great. And the warm fire burning here in the teahouse is a true treat. The team climbed incredibly well on Island Peak, doing a great job of navigating the terrain and challenging conditions. We are all feeling good and happy to be heading downhill. We descend to Namche tomorrow and will check in from there.

RMI Guide Linden Mallory

Climbing through the rocks at dawn. Photo: Linden Mallory Approaching the toe of the glacier. Photo: Linden Mallory The team on top! Photo: Linden Mallory

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Everest Base Camp Trek: Linden and Team Summit Island Peak!

Posted by: Linden Mallory | March 31, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest BC Trek
Elevation: 20,300'

Hey RMI. This is Linden Mallory calling from Island Peak High Camp. We touched the top today. We had a pretty phenomenal climb. Everybody made it, 100% success! The morning started out clear. We had beautiful stars as we were climbing. Nice morning sun. And then right as we started down, we had more snow. Keeps snowing pretty consistently since early this afternoon. The afternoon made the descent a little tricky with all that new snow on top of the rock, but the team did well. We handled it without too many problems and now we are looking forward to heading downhill tomorrow. We will be down lower in the valley tomorrow and will try and send out some photos and a written account. So that’s the news. We’re all really happy about the climb and happy to be down. And looking forward to getting out of here. Take care.

RMI Guide Linden Mallory

Waking up for the summit bid at High Camp. Photo: Linden Mallory Ascending the final summit ridge. Photo: Linden Mallory


Linden Mallory and the Island Peak team summit!

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Everest Base Camp Trek: Linden & Team Going for Island Peak Summit in the Morning

Posted by: Linden Mallory | March 30, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest BC Trek
Elevation: 17,600'

Hey RMI, this is Linden Mallory calling from Island Peak High Camp. Just over 17,600’ or so. We moved up here this morning and got settled in. Our weather this morning is a little breezy but not clouds. This afternoon some clouds rolled in. A little bit of new snow but it appears to be letting up. We are just about to have dinner and headed off to bed. Planning on going for the summit tomorrow. It appears that the new snow should not be much of an issue. We are looking forward to it. Everyone’s feeling great. The altitude is treating us well. We’re just keeping our fingers crossed and keeping warm and dry. We’ll check in tomorrow and let you know how the climb goes. Take care.

RMI Guide Linden Mallory

Island Peak - Team going for summit in the morning.


Linden Mallory checks in from Island Peak High Camp.

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Everest Base Camp Trek: Arrive at Island Peak Base Camp

Posted by: Linden Mallory | March 29, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest BC Trek
Elevation: 16,685'

Hey RMI, this is Linden Mallory calling from Island Peak Base Camp. We left Chukung and walked up to the head of Imja Khola Valley right at the base of Island Peak here.  Surrounded by Ama Dablam, Lhotse, Nuptse, it’s a pretty incredible place. Got in midday. We had a little bit of wind and a very, very trace amounts of new snow that came in late afternoon but they are clearing up right now as I call. And we are doing well. Bit chilly up here but otherwise everything is stellar. We move up to high camp tomorrow in midday in preparations of our summit bid tomorrow night. So we will check in from high camp. Hope everyone is doing well and we’ll talk to you soon. Thanks.

RMI Guide Linden Mallory

Hiking in the Imja Khola Valley with Ama Dablam in the background.


Linden calls in from Island Peak Base Camp.

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Everest Base Camp Trek: Up To Island Peak or Down to Namche…

Posted by: Linden Mallory | March 28, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest BC Trek
Elevation: 15,514'

Hey RMI, this is Linden Mallory calling from Chukung in the Imja Khola Valley, it’s a side valley off of the main Khumbu Valley.  In the last days before Island Peak, part of the group headed off back down to Namche today and four of us are headed up towards Island Peak.  We’ll be heading into Base Camp tomorrow to begin the climb.  Everybody is doing well; the weather has been nice so far and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that it stays that way.  We’ll check in with you again at Base Camp.  Take care.

Trekking towards Island Peak.  Photo: RMI Collection Beautiful peaks and prayer flags.  Photo: RMI Collection


RMI Guide Linden Mallory checks in from Chukung.

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Everest Base Camp Trek: Team Departs Everest Base Camp

Posted by: Linden Mallory | March 27, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest BC Trek
Elevation: 13,950'

The weather moved into Everest Base Camp yesterday afternoon, the clouds settling in around the peaks and snow beginning to fall. It continued to snow on and off again all evening and into the night. The weather did have a welcome side effect thought: the clouds above and snow on the tents made temperatures a bit warmer and it never got too cold last night. When we woke up this morning everything was blanketed in a couple of inches of fresh snow. We packed all of our gear up, said goodbye to the Sherpa team at Base Camp, and headed back down the valley.

The new snow on the trail actually made the walking on the glacier easier, filling in between all of the loose rocks and smoothing out the trail. After a cold morning in the shadows packing up, we quickly warmed up not long after Base Camp when the sun finally found us and we made good progress. We followed the trail back to Gorak Shep and onwards to Lobuche, where we stopped for lunch. Finally, we descended from the glaciers, rocks, and new snow above back down into the valley of Pheriche, reaching our tea-house here by late afternoon. It was a long day on the trail, with many miles to cover across difficult terrain at high altitudes, and the tea-house was a welcome sight when we finally reached it. The team was amazing today, toughing out the difficult sections of the trail and enduring the long final hours of walking to get here. We are all tired from the walk, and the many days up high, but happy to be here and heading downwards. We had a blast reading all of the comments on the Blog and want to thank everyone for their thoughts.

Tomorrow, part of the group continues descending to Namche as they make their way home while the Island Peak team heads up the neighboring Imja Khola Valley to Chukung, near the base of Island Peak, to begin our climb. We will check in tomorrow from Chukung. The connection up there is sporadic so we will likely be checking in via satellite phone for the next few days.

RMI Guide Linden Mallory

The team playing horseshoes at Everest Base Camp yesterday. Photo: Linden Mallory Looking back towards Base Camp under the new snow.  Photo: Linden Mallory The team walking through the moraine near Everest Base Camp this morning. Photo: Linden Mallory

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Everest Base Camp Trek:  Experiencing Everest Base Camp

Posted by: Linden Mallory | March 27, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest BC Trek
Elevation: 17,575'

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.

RMI Guide Linden Mallory

The team in our down suits last night.  Photo: Linden Mallory Practicing fixed line travel today. Photo: Linden Mallory Walking through the ice features of the Khumbu Glacier this afternoon. Photo: Linden Mallory

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