Mt. Everest Expedition: Team to Organize Safe Retreat From the Mountain

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | April 28, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

We’ve come to the inescapable conclusion that Everest summit for 2015 is out of reach for our team.  Besides the rather obvious and glaring philosophical difficulties of pursuing a recreational venture in the midst of a national -and local- disaster, there are the on-the-ground mountaineering realities that will not permit us to look upward again.  We have no viable route through the Khumbu Icefall and the Earth is still shaking.  We couldn’t think of asking anyone to put themselves at the risk required for re establishing that route under such circumstances.  The effort at this advanced stage of the season would normally be focused on building a route to Camp 4 rather than to Camp 1,  nobody will be able to say when the aftershocks will end, but it will -without a doubt- be too late for fixing the upper mountain and stocking camps before the normal advance of the monsoon.
We’ll put our efforts into an organized and safe retreat from the mountain.  Nobody harbors illusions that travel in this stricken and damaged country will be simple, but we’ll head for home now in any case.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Dave and crew.  Godspeed and safe travel.  Best wishes.

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Posted by: Brent Weigner on 4/28/2015 at 10:01 am

Ai man it is such a pity that a lifetime experience comes to an end this way. I was enjoying your blog and read up on all the stages you… read more

Posted by: Francois on 4/28/2015 at 9:56 am

Mt. Everest Expedition: Dave Hahn Details the Days Events as the Team Arrives Base Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | April 27, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

At Camp One, we were up before dawn, boiling cups of instant coffee and hurriedly packing.  It wasn’t going to be an ideal scenario, by any means… Being “rescued” from 20,000 ft on Mount Everest, along with perhaps 180 of our closest friends… But we weren’t likely to get any better offers… The Icefall Route that should have been a two hour descent to Basecamp was decidedly out of order and couldn’t be fixed while the earth was still shaking.  We got out in the cold shadows in our down suits and thankfully saw clear and calm conditions.  Perhaps we all did have a chance to escape the Western Cwm.  It seemed unlikely that ninety plus landings and take offs -at what was a record breaking rescue altitude for helicopters only twenty years ago- could be accomplished without chaos or catastrophe… or at least unworkable delay, but sure enough, the first B3 powered on in at 6 AM and the great Everest Air Show began.  A fear of the team leaders was a helicopter mob scene ala Saigon ‘75, but we’d arrayed our helipads in a way that didn’t allow for mobbing and everybody seemed to understand the need for superior social skills on this day.  There was one way out and nobody wanted to get put on the “no fly” list.  Eventually there were four or five birds in the air at any time, flying a dramatic loop from BC to Camp One to BC.  A line of climbers with packs formed at each pad and a stream of climbers from Camp 2 made their way into what was left of Camp 1 and then joined the queues.  It took four laps in Kiwi pilot Jason’s B3 to get our team down.  Although it seemed already like a full day, it was only about 9:30 AM when Chhering and I got off the final RMI chopper.  There was no back-slapping.  No cheering.  No high fives.  We’d put down at the epicenter of a disaster and we could barely believe our eyes.  Whatever relief each of us felt at being off the mountain was quickly replaced with sadness and awe at the destructive power on evidence all around us.  Hearing on the radio about the quake triggered Avalanche that blasted BC did nothing to prepare us for experiencing the aftermath first hand.  It was as if an enormous bomb had detonated.  We each walked slowly through the obliterated camps, stopping to understand how much force had bent this or that bit of steel.  We finally understood the enormous death toll and the nature of the numerous injuries to the survivors.  When we reached our own greatly altered camp and heard a few stories from neighbors, we finally understood Mark Tucker’s heroism of the last few days, helping to stabilize and transport dozens upon dozens of seriously injured, bloody and broken people.  He and our Sherpa team had gone immediately to help others, even though their own camp was largely destroyed.  By now, we are not even mildly surprised to learn that they somehow found time and energy to rebuild camp for our arrival.  Our “ordeal” seems trivial by comparison… we had to stay a bit longer in a beautiful and legendary hanging valley and deal with a bit of uncertainty.  Now back down to earth… we understand just how lucky we’ve been and we are sad beyond words to learn how unlucky others have been.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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I am saddened to hear of this great loss.  I appreciate you taking the time to update us all on how everyone is doing.  Our hearts are with you and… read more

Posted by: Beth (Maui, Hawaii) on 4/28/2015 at 8:42 am

Wonderful news that your entire team is safe, but this note is especially to Tuck, who was our guide up Kili in January 2006. He lead a group of 10… read more

Posted by: Lori & Curtis Johnson on 4/28/2015 at 6:59 am

Mt. Everest Expedition: Team Flown from Camp One to Base Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | April 26, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

April 26, 2015 9:23 pm PT
RMI Guide and Base Camp Manager Mark Tucker just called to confirm our team is safely back at Everest Base Camp.  We have not yet spoken with Dave, but wanted to pass this information along as soon as possible.
We will update when we know more about the team’s plan to descend from Base Camp.

Jeff Martin

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Thank God you were rescued. I know you’ll continue to help the people around you any way you can. It’s no mistake you’re there.
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Posted by: Sue Hladik on 4/27/2015 at 6:31 pm

JJ so glad you are safely back and the team.


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Posted by: Joann beaver on 4/27/2015 at 11:33 am

Mt. Everest Expedition: Dave Hahn Checks in from Camp one

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | April 26, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 20,000'

Dave Hahn calling from Camp One on Mount Everest 20,000’. That was a day of waiting and watching for us.  The weather improved a little bit, this morning it was sunny and clear.  And couple of helicopter and courageous helicopter pilots made use of that time flying out from sick and hurt people from Camp Two to Camp One.  But the big work that they did was trip after trip flying casualties out from Base Camp. We followed some of that on the radio.  Our efforts to get our selves out of here, two of our Sherpa team Wingen and Sunam, made a valiant effort coming up from the bottom of the Ice Fall, to see how far they could get before the damage of the earth quake stopped them.  They got about a third of the way.  Additionally, we were part of supporting a team, coming down from the top trying to do the same thing. They probably got about a third of the way down, luckily both teams, got out safely. There was a massive aftershock this afternoon at about 1 o’clock local time. But it seemed almost as powerful as yesterdays quake.  And we are worried, as everybody is, about putting people in the Ice Fall again.  That is probably not going to be our exit plan. And now we are looking to helicopter out in the next day or two to get down to Base Camp.  And that probably will be what we do, but the timing is still up to mother nature. If it keeps on snowing as it did this afternoon, and making flying impossible. But perhaps we’ll keep you updated. We’ll let you know how it goes. We are safe. We are in a good spot. And we are not in panic mode. Thank you.

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

RMI Guide Dave Hahn calls in from Camp One with an update.

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Hi Dave! Praying for you and everyone else on Mount Everest and the people of Nepal.. Safe descent.

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Posted by: Jean Tanner on 4/27/2015 at 8:27 pm

Where is the rest of the blog that was there a few days ago. It had a lot of detail that I would like to read again.

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Posted by: Greg on 4/27/2015 at 6:27 am

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

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Our family has been praying for Mark and all of you since the news broke.  Mark, you guided us up Kili in 2012 and I have no doubt were one… read more

Posted by: Dennis Mulherin on 4/28/2015 at 3:42 am

JJ, glad to hear you are safe!  Worried when we heard the news.  We’re sad to hear about all the casualties, and our hearts are with everyone in Nepal!

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Posted by: Leslie on 4/27/2015 at 10:02 am

More Entries

Expedition Stats

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
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  • 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