Posts for Expedition Dispatches

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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46

Dave could you please describe the avalanche in a little more detail.  there have been conflicting accounts of the slide in various media outlets.. some had the deluge originating on… read more

Posted by: mark on 4/27/2015 at 7:46 pm

When I heard that there had been an avalanche during Everest climbing season, I started worrying about you.  I just knew that you would be on the mountain.  And now… read more

Posted by: A guy named Randy who was a member of a group you on 4/27/2015 at 7:32 pm


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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20

Dave,
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.
Peace.
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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.

Joann

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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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52

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.

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66

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

Good luck Dave to you and the rest of your team.

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Posted by: Michael on 4/26/2015 at 8:32 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.

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21

Prayers for all, Peace be with you.

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

Prayers for all!

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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.

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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


Mt. Everest Expedition: Team Gets Ready to Move

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | April 22, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

Today was a well-earned rest day for all.  But it was also a day of getting ready to go higher; carefully selecting food and gear for what we hope to be a three night stay at Camp One, above the Icefall.  We’ve had a longer stay at comfy Base Camp than we’d expected, and so it will be a little tough committing to the normal discomforts of a camp in the snow at 20,000 ft, but in the plus column, we will be a little better acclimated than we might have been with an earlier foray to the Western Cwm.  And we are eager to get on with the climb… Which is a big plus.
Our enthusiasm is tempered by the looming prospect of bidding a teammate goodbye.  Larry Seaton has been climbing hard and pushing himself to extremes in the face of a number of physical setbacks.  True to character, he isn’t satisfied with staggering up Mount Everest at or beyond his limit… Larry has always been an asset to his climbing teams and won’t chance being a liability to this one.  He’ll bow out and will head towards home in the near future.  Obviously the team feels for Larry and regrets losing a key member, but we all applaud his prudent decision.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Tents aglow at Everest Base Camp on the eve before Camp 1 rotation. Photo: JJ Justman

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10

Is Chhering Dorjee Sherpa with you at your camp?  He has a friend from Castle Mountain, Pincher Creek, Alberta, Canada (Marie Cameron)  who is wondering.

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Posted by: Chris McSweeney on 4/26/2015 at 9:47 pm

I miss you, Larry! Hope you are safe. You are smart for knowing your boundaries.
From,
Tina from Mt. Shasta.

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Posted by: Tina on 4/25/2015 at 4:54 pm


Mt. Everest Expedition: Sherpas Make Camp 1 & ABC, Climbers Take Dress Rehearsal

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | April 21, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

Finally, a breakthrough day.  Our excellent Sherpa climbing team ran up to the midpoint of the icefall where we’d cached gear yesterday.  They put all of that on their backs and busted on up to establish Camp 1 at approximately 19,800 ft.  Two of the guys, Rinjin and Sonam then cruised on up to Camp 2 (Advanced Base Camp), claiming our campsite -which will be crucial with the mountain as busy as we expect it to be- and retrieving our ABC gear from last year (“abandoned” when the season came to an unexpected end last year).  Meanwhile- Chhering, JJ Justman and I guided the climbing team on our much anticipated “dress rehearsal” for the Icefall.  We were up at 3:30 AM, eating at 4 AM and walking by 4:30 AM.  The intention was to travel smoothly and efficiently to the midpoint of the Icefall and return to base… as a check that the entire team would be ready for the committing step of moving to Camp 1.  We did just that on another perfect weather morning.  It was encouraging for all of us, and a little awe inspiring when three of the Icefall Doctors caught up and passed us as if we were standing still -all while carrying heavy and cumbersome sections of ladder to put in place at yesterday’s trouble spot near the top of the Icefall.  About two hours into our climb, we hit our own first real ladders and aced a half dozen awkward crossings.  We took a break at the midpoint, still in deep and cool shadows and then got set for the equally challenging descent to Base.  The team cruised through this test, showing the advantages of two weeks of training and acclimatizing.  We were back down to the luxuries of Base Camp by 9:30 AM, feeling like we’d already put in a full day of hard work.  The remainder of the day was spent resting, talking with climbers and guides from neighboring trips, and enjoying a few hours more of T-Shirt weather before we bundled up again for the late afternoon clouds.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Ascending thru the ladders of the Khumbu Icefall.  Photo: Dave Hahn

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2

Rock on…haha BTW, I recognize the guy in the climbing picture.  Hiking behind Hans.  Give him a hug for me.  Safe travels to Camp 1. xoxo

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Posted by: Bonny Rogers on 4/21/2015 at 2:36 pm

Hi all together, great pictures from the icefall!!!
You are in and everybody is well and feel fine - I hope so! And thank you Dave and JJ, you… read more

Posted by: Ute Novak on 4/21/2015 at 10:58 am


Mt. Everest Expedition: Hahn & Sherpa Team Make Another Attempt to Get to Camp One

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | April 20, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

Another early morning, another attempt to get through the Khumbu Icefall.  Thwarted.  We were still hoping to accomplish a recon/carry and so I headed out with our Sherpa climbing team at 4:30 AM.  As we started, the Sherpa teams ahead of us formed a solid parade of headlights, snaking up through the glacier in the darkness.  We made fine progress though, easily passing our highpoint from the other day.  That last time the weather was poor, and this time it was perfect, so we could see everything we needed and wanted to see about the climbing route.  Our luck ran out near the top of the technical difficulties when we skidded to a stop at 7 AM at the tail end of a monumental traffic jam.  We spent 90 minutes inching upward, stomping our feet to stay warm (we were still in deep and cool shadows), and alternately eyeballing the ice towers hanging over our heads and the nearby site of last year’s tragic avalanche.  Finally, with perhaps a hundred Sherpas at full stop between ourselves and a fairly difficult wall climb, we determined that we’d pushed our luck far enough.  We descended, cached the load at the icefall’s midpoint and got ourselves out of the line of fire and on our way back to Basecamp.  Sherpas and climbers did eventually make camp one and even camp two on this day, but the missions took perhaps three times as long as they should have, with much of that time spent at risk… Not for us.  We reached sunny and safe Base Camp shortly after JJ Justman had departed with our team for a Pumori Camp One hike.  The route needs more work and we conveyed this idea as best we were able to the Icefall Doctors and their administrators.  In general terms, it takes a safer path than the routes of recent years, but more work needs to be done and more ladders need to be fixed in order to handle the Sherpa traffic, let alone the less skilled foreign climbers who will soon hit the climb in great numbers.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide 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

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3

Don’t we go to the mountains to get away from traffic jams! You exhibit that all important combination of dogged determination with prudence that is so important up there. Glad… read more

Posted by: Everett Moran on 4/21/2015 at 6:45 am

Glad you are a safety guy.  Hate to think of the frontline team in the risk zone while awaiting a traffic jam.  Be well. Sending my best. xo

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Posted by: Bonny Rogers on 4/20/2015 at 1:48 pm


Mt. Everest: Hang Time at Base Camp

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | April 19, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

Finally, the storm has fled.  It was about six days of snow or the threat of snow… But the wind blew like crazy last night and our bad weather is now somebody else’s bad weather.  Bright and strong sunshine all day today… T-Shirts were just fine at midday in Everest Base Camp.  The Icefall Doctors were hard at work in the big jumble and the rest of us stayed out of their way, just as planned.  Teams could be seen clawing all over the ice towers close to camp, practicing in their own little chutes and ladders gymnasiums.  We took an afternoon cruise through the maze of ice ridges and towers in the “safe” part of the glacier and then tried to catch up on 3G connections.  Internet access has been a little squirrelly these past days what with the cloud blocking solar power and the wind wrecking reflector dishes.  Word by late afternoon was that the route is almost restored to Camp One… With some difficult trail breaking through new snow remaining to be done.  I’ll try to keep up with our Sherpa team early tomorrow with C1 as our goal (once again).  JJ Justman will take our climber gang hiking.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Horseshoes at RMI Everest Base Camp. Photo: JJ Justman 2015 Sherpa World Championship Horseshoes. Photo: JJ Justman

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2

Larry,

I’m glad you and the team can put the 15-2, 15-4, 15-6, 15-8 behind you and get on the move!

Howard

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Posted by: Howard Norman on 4/19/2015 at 11:40 am

Allez Allez Super Team !

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Posted by: Chrystel on 4/19/2015 at 10:50 am


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Recent Images From Expedition Dispatches

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Climbers walking through the streets of Lukla.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • The views while hiking to Pumori Camp One.  Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Enjoying the views from Pumori Camp One.  Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Looking over Namche Bazaar.  Photo: RMI Collection
  • The Puja Ceremony for the 2015 RMI Everest Climbing team.  Photo: Dave Hahn
  • The Puja Ceremony at Everest Base Camp.  Photo: Dave Hahn
  • Enjoying the friendship and camaraderie at Everest Base Camp.  Photo: Dave Hahn
  • The 2015 RMI Everest Expedition post Puja ceremony. Photo: JJ Justman