Mt. Everest Expedition: RMI Climbing Team Safe at Camp One

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | April 25, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 19,900'

This is Dave Hahn with RMI’s Everest Expedition.  This morning, early this morning we got up from Camp 1, five climbers Jeff Justman, Chhering Dorji and myself.We completed a good circuit, climbing up to 21,300 feet Advance Base Camp and back to Camp 1.  We were here about 11:30, 11:15 this morning. And then shortly after that, at about noon, there was a major earthquake and resulted in avalanches off of all the mountains around us.  Our camp was in a good place we got dusted but here at Camp 1 we were just fine. Our concern then shifted to Base Camp. We are hearing reports of some pretty destructive action down there, injuries and loss of life. Our entire team is ok.  We have talked with our Sherpa team down below and with Mark Tucker [at Base Camp]. And so our team is okay About the same time as the earthquake a pretty good snowstorm commenced up here in the Western Cwm and down at Base Camp.  We’re sitting things out safely at Camp One. But we don’t have the ability to travel right now, good mountaineering sense dictates that we stay put and ride this storm out.  This may take a little time to ride the storm out and that’s what we’ll do.  It may take this a little time but we are okay. We are self sufficient up here and our concern is with our friends at Base Camp.  We’re hearing the strenuous efforts that our Sherpa team and Mark Tucker are going through down there trying to help with the injured and those who haven’t fared so well. We’ll try to be in touch. We obviously are in a situation where we won’t have great communication. It’s likely that the earthquake destroyed any cell service around the Base Camp area.  We are calling you on a satellite telephone, we got some batteries and we will nurse those batteries to make them last. 

RMI Guide Dave Hahn


RMI Guide Dave Hahn calls from Camp One with update on the RMI team.

On The Map

Sign Up For Everest 2015 Email Alerts

53

Dave - glad to hear you and your team are well. Thoughts and prayers with all on the mountain. Robb Fickman,Houston

read more

Posted by: Robb Fickman on 4/25/2015 at 8:25 pm

JJ and Dave
the brothers and I are so thankful you and the team are safe. We got the news earlier today and have been keeping you and those… read more

Posted by: Laura Gallimore on 4/25/2015 at 8:09 pm


RMI Guide Alex Barber Safe At Annapurna Base Camp

Posted by: Alex Barber | April 25, 2015
Categories: *Guide News

Just a quick note to you that everyone here at Annapurna is safe. Yesterday everyone came down off the mountain to wait out some heavy storms. It had been snowing steadily all day today when the large earthquake struck just before noon. It was so forceful! It felt as if we were inside a snow globe being shaken by God. The storm kept us from seeing much but we could hear avalanches ripping down the mountains all around us. The roar was so loud I thought we’d surely be hit. Annapurna Base Camp is situated on a muddy ridge clinging to an adjacent mountain. During the earthquake large sections peeled off and cascaded down some 800ft to the glacier below. Totally insane, but nothing made it to us, and everyone is safe here.

My thoughts go out to everyone in Nepal, especially my friends in Kathmandu and over on Everest.

Climbing Update:
The 24th of April I descend all the way from Camp 4 at 7000m on Annapurna to base camp.
But before I get into why I descended without attempting the summit I’ll talk about the earthquake. It had been snowing steadily all morning today when, at around noon, a large earthquake struck. The earthquake was so forceful, it felt as if we were inside a snow globe being shaken by God. The storm kept us from seeing much but we could hear avalanches ripping down everywhere. The roar was so loud I thought we’d surely be hit. Annapurna Base Camp is situated on a muddy ridge clinging to a adjacent mountain. During the earthquake large sections peeled off and cascaded down some 800ft to the glacier below. Totally insane.
As I write this another roar of what sounds to be a massive avalanche rips down Annapurna.
On the 23rd I made my way up from Camp 3 to Camp 4. The route is straight-forward. It starts with a low angle section of ice up a serac out of camp 3. To a traversing section of steep snow then a long ramp to C4. The ramp connects the German Rib with the summit area of Annapurna. The ramp is a slope of 30 to 45 degrees and it was covered in fresh deep snow up to waist deep.
That afternoon myself and another team set up camp underneath a serac at 7000m. Their plan was to start out that same night with their 4 Sherpa guides to leave at 8pm to break the route and the 4 members of their group to follow at 9pm.
I decided not to attempt the summit because:
- Too cold of a night to climb without supplemental oxygen
- Retreat would be difficult at night as the wind was blowing too much snow and covering the track.
- no previous time spent above 18,000’, so I was not properly acclimatized.
- too much technical ground below us - with forecasted storm by Noon the next day.
- high risk of avalanche if caught above camp 2 after the storm.

I descended from C4 the morning of the 23rd. As I was leaving, the members of the team that had attempted to summit started straggling in from their failed summit attempt. They were too tired to descend from C4. I re-broke the route to C3 in sketchy and quite heavy deep snow. As I dropped down a final steep descent before Camp 3 on an arm wrap rappel, I plunged into a concealed crevasse. I was already feeling quite sick from overheating in my down suit. The sun had come out and started slowly deep frying me in the down suit. But luckily I was stable enough that I could wriggle out of the suit without falling any further. Half way in a hole, about to vomit from overheating and my arm wrap biting into my forearm, I comically rolled down into C3. I was moaning in discomfort, dry heaved a few times, and laid there motionless for a time.
I had to get moving again though, because the weather was coming in fast. I cached a few things at Camp 3 and started rappelling off the serac whose top forms the flat surface of camp 3. The route down the German Rib is steep and riddled with crevasses and alpine ice. But large areas of the route had deep snow blown in from the night prior.
... Another large avalanche is ripping down Annapurna… this place is quite unstable since the earthquake.
Soon after completing my descent from the serac I, twice, stuck a leg into a concealed crevasse while rappelling down the further slope. I shouted to a Sherpa named Pemba from the summit team that we’d better employ the buddy system and re-break the route together. As we started down the visibility went to zero and a heavy fall of snow started.
About midway down we lost our rappel lines and started carefully climbing down without the safety of the lines. Searching the snow with our ice tools for the rappel lines while slowly inching our way down. We were In a couloir with seracs all around and above us, my mind kept telling me we were in a very dangerous place to be moving so slowly. A few minutes before finding the lines again we set off a small slab slide 3 ft to our right. Things were getting spooky!
Finally, we made the last rappel onto the glacier below the German Rib. Now the last hurdle was finding camp 2 in a whiteout. An island of safety in the insanely dangerous glacial field below the crosshairs couloir and sickle ice cliffs. In the reduced visibility we wove through large ice blocks of avalanche debris by GPS. We moved with baited breath - hoping not to hear that tell tale rumble that has become such a familiar sound to me here at Annapurna.
The Korean team a day earlier had had a near miss right in this area.
After having been on the move on a very scary mountain, in terrible weather, for 11 hours I finally arrived at Base Camp at 8:40pm that night. Descending through deep snow and limited visibility all day. At Base Camp I found out that an avalanche had hit the team at camp 4 earlier that night. No one was hurt but they had to cut their way out of their tents. They were also all exhausted from their summit attempt. Including one climber who had frostbite on his hands and one suffering from HAPE. They would later be rescued via helicopter. Three of the 5 teams here at Base Camp are leaving, The team that attempted the summit blew their oxygen supply. Another team’s Sherpas bailed because of concerns that Annapurna wasn’t to be climbed this year. The mountain is angry. Yet another small team’s permit has run out.
I was planning to stay until mid-May as now I am acclimatized and my equipment is cached. However, with recent events I’m not sure what will happen, there’s a lot of hearsay… and Annapurna sounds extremely unstable right now. I’ve heard at least three avalanches while I was writing this.

-RMI Guide Alex Barber

A climber crossing a glacier to Cleaver on the way to Camp 2 on Annapurna.  Photo: Alex Barber
6

I understand you met up with a Canadian AL Hancock , my brother the family have not heard from him since the earthquake, we like to know if he is… read more

Posted by: Ken hancock on 4/25/2015 at 6:10 pm

hello.
do you know one Japanese guy,hirotaka tsurekawa who’s trekking at Annapurna? He is my dear friend,but I haven’t heared from him yet.

maybe he stayed at pengin guest… read more

Posted by: Ami Hashimoto on 4/25/2015 at 5:41 pm


Mt. Everest: Hahn & Team Spend Their First Night Acclimatizing at Camp 1

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | April 24, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 19,900'

Hey, this is Dave Hahn calling from Camp 1 on Mount Everest. A good day for us up here. We got up this morning at about 6:00 in the morning and set out at 8:00 to explore the last couple of ladder crossings in the Western Cwm, they go about halfway to Camp 2. Our intention today was just exercise and getting to know the lay of the land. Our hope is tomorrow to get a good acclimatization hike in going all the way to Camp 2 and then coming back down here to Camp 1 for that next night. The afternoon today after we get back to camp was pretty quiet. It was snowing lightly, kinda socked in. We just took the opportunity to rest and recuperate inside our tents and continue our acclimatization process. Thank you.

RMI Guide Dave Hahn


RMI Guide and Everest Expedition Leader, Dave Hahn, calling in from Camp 1.

On The Map

Sign Up For Everest 2015 Email Alerts

21

Prayers for all, Peace be with you.

read more

Posted by: Peter Gregory on 4/25/2015 at 12:56 pm

Prayers for all!

read more

Posted by: Susan on 4/25/2015 at 7:07 am


Mt. Everest: Hahn & Team Success to Camp 1

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | April 23, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 19,900'

The 2015 Mt. Everest season has been a tough start with big snow storms here at base camp, but full steam ahead right now.  The snow that kept us from moving up earlier has blossomed to some nice days.  You would be amazed at the difference on the glacier since last week.  Rivers running, pools forming and a route through the ice fall that has allowed a reasonable ascent to Camp 1, where the team is at this very moment.  I just got off the radio with Dave and word is, all well.  I was able to follow the team’s climb up the ice fall with my tripod-mounted spotting scope.  They were at times obscured from view by huge ice towers and the route taking them down into the depths of the glacier, out of sight, and then minutes later they would they pop back into view. Their training, adjusting to the altitude and experience at this sort of wild climbing paid off with what I can guarantee you was one of the most amazing and memorable days in these mountaineers climbing careers.  So proud of this group as I watched them progress through the Khumbu Icefall working the mountain, assisting each other, and sticking together in pure style and grace. Way to go team!

RMI Guide and Everest Base Camp Manager Mark Tucker

Dave Hahn called in after reaching Camp 1 and his audio is posted below.

Climbers moving through the Khumbu Icefall. Photo: RMI Collection New snow on Mt. Everest, Nepal. Photo: RMI Collection


RMI Everest Expedition Leader, Dave Hahn, calling in from Camp 1.

On The Map

Sign Up For Everest 2015 Email Alerts

5

Phantastic and best wishes to all of you!
You passed the first barrier and I hope you arrived safe in Camp 2! It´s really great to follow your climb!read more

Posted by: Ute Novak on 4/24/2015 at 6:21 am

Dave & Team - absolutely fascinating following your journey.  I wake up at 2 AM to read the blogs now.  They are becoming very interesting—passing the icefalls and making high… read more

Posted by: Mary on 4/24/2015 at 5:35 am


RMI Guide Alex Barber Establishes Camp 4 on Annapurna

Posted by: Alex Barber | April 22, 2015
Categories: *Guide News

Climbed up and established Annapurna Camp 4 today.

The other climbers here at Camp 4 are talking about continuing on and making a try at the summit this evening (leaving here at ~9pm), because there is a storm forecast for tomorrow afternoon. This is not for me, so I’ll have to decide whether to make my summit attempt early tomorrow morning and risk being in a storm as I descend, or turn back and wait for a better weather window.

RMI Guide Alex Barber

Sign Up For Guide News 2015 Email Alerts

2

Good to stick with your decisions and not someone else. 

Godspeed.

read more

Posted by: Mary on 4/23/2015 at 6:57 am

Go concur the world!

read more

Posted by: David deRoode on 4/23/2015 at 6:55 am


More Entries

Expedition Stats

Kilimanjaro Climb & Safari
1/10 - 1/24/2015
Kilimanjaro - Summit
Aconcagua Expedition
1/4 - 1/27/2015
Aconcagua - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Ecuador
1/6 - 1/19/2015
Cayambe - 17,000' / Antisana - Summit / Cotopaxi - Summit
Ecuador's Volcanoes
1/20 - 1/30/2015
Cayambe - Summit / Cotopaxi - Summit
Aconcagua Expedition
1/11 - 2/3/2015
Aconcagua - Summit
Kilimanjaro Climb & Safari
1/24 - 2/7/2015
Kilimanjaro - Summit
Aconcagua Expedition
1/18 - 2/10/2015
Aconcagua - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Ecuador
2/3 - 2/16/2015
Cayambe - 16,500' / Antisana - Summit / Cotopaxi - Summit
Aconcagua Expedition
1/26 - 2/18/2015
Aconcagua - Summit
Mexico's Volcanoes
2/14 - 2/22/2015
Ixtaccihuatl - Summit / Pico de Orizaba - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter
3/8 - 3/13/2015
Mt. Rainier - 11,200'
Mexico's Volcanoes
3/7 - 3/15/2015
Ixtaccihuatl - 15,300' / Pico de Orizaba - Summit
Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter
3/22 - 3/27/2015
Mt. Rainier - 10,080'
Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter
4/12 - 4/17/2015
Mt. Rainier - 12,400'
Everest Base Camp - Island Peak
3/18 - 4/12/2015
Everest Base Camp - Summit / Island Peak - Summit
Mount Everest Base Camp Trek
3/18 - 4/7/2015
Everest Base Camp - Summit
Sign Up For Dispatch Alerts
  • A climber crossing a glacier to Cleaver on the way to Camp 2 on Annapurna.  Photo: Alex Barber
  • Climbers moving through the Khumbu Icefall. Photo: RMI Collection
  • New snow on Mt. Everest, Nepal. Photo: RMI Collection
  • Tents aglow at Everest Base Camp on the eve before Camp 1 rotation. Photo: JJ Justman
  • Dave Hahn leads the Everest team on an acclimatization hike to Kala Patar. | JJ Justman
  • Ascending thru the ladders of the Khumbu Icefall.  Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Sherpa teams and guide attempt to navigate through the Khumbu Icefall.  Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Sherpa and guides going through the Khumbu Icefall.  Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Horseshoes at RMI Everest Base Camp. Photo: JJ Justman
  • 2015 Sherpa World Championship Horseshoes. Photo: JJ Justman
  • Significant avalanche shown in center bottom of Annapurna photo. Photo: Alex Barber
  • Annapurna route past Camp 2. Photo: Alex Barber
  • RMI Guide Dave Hahn joins the Sherpa in some Icefall exploration. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • A looksee at the Icefall confirms continued storm and busted ladders as they are turned around. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • A looksee at the Icefall confirms continued storm and busted ladders as they are turned around. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • The Winter Seminar team enjoys the sunrise on the upper slopes of Mt. Rainier. Photo: Brent Okita
  • Sunrise on Mt. Rainier with Little Tahoma. Photo: Brent Okita
  • The Winter Seminar Team taking a rest break on Mt. Rainier. Photo: Brent Okita
  • The view of Mt. Rainier after the storm earlier this week. Photo: Brent Okita
  • RMI Climbers testing out their down suits while at Everest Base Camp.  Photo: Dave Hahn
  • The RMI Sherpa team in their down suits at Everest Base Camp.  Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Panorama of Base Camp with Annapurna being the left most peak.  Photo: Alex Barber
  • Khumbu Icefall seen with the new snow from yesterday's storm. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Dave Hahn leading the RMI Everest team in a training session into the lower section of the Icefall. Photo: JJ Justman
  • Everest BC - Mark Tucker choosing to go with his air game. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Overnight snow covers Everest Base Camp. Photo: JJ Justman
  • Hanging out in the EBC cook tent on a snowy day. Photo: JJ Justman
  • The RMI Everest team gather for a meal in the cook tent. Photo: JJ Justman
  • Common Tent at Base Camp. RMI Photo Collection
  • Fun and Games at Base Camp on a Rest Day. RMI Photo Collection
  • Views along the trail to Kalapathar- hike from Everest BC.  Photo: JJ Justman
  • Dave Hahn leading the way to Kalapathar. Photo: JJ Justman
  • The 2015 RMI Everest team at Kalapathar. Photo: JJ Justman
  • Grom & Team celebrate at Baskin Robbins in Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo: Casey Grom
  • The 2015 Everest Icefall Doctors- Stout ladder load. Photo: Dave Hahn
  • RMI Guide and Everest BC Manager, Mark Tucker, crushing the ball. Photo: JJ Justman
  • An RMI team playing golf at Everest BC. Photo: Mark Tucker
  • The Everest team training in the lower Khumbu. Photo: JJ Justman
  • The Everest team practices with crampons on ladders. Photo: JJ Justman
  • The Everest team training on fixed ropes in the lower Khumbu. Photo: JJ Justman
  • The Everest team's training day on fixed rope. Photo: JJ Justman