Entries from Cho Oyu
October 5, 2010
The team has safely returned to Kathmandu.
We left base camp early on the morning of Oct. 3rd and walked about 10 miles to get to our ride out. It was a cold and windy day, but we made good time. Once in our vehicle we drove for many hours across the beautiful Tibetan plateau. After several hours we reached the valley that leads to the border between Tibet and Nepal. It was a amazing to drive through this huge valley that descends over 10,000’. It had been a month since we had seen anything green and it overwhelmed our senses. We spent the night in Zhangmu and crossed the border in the morning and headed for Kathmandu. It was another long day but everyone was happy to be back to Kathmandu and it was quite the culture shock. After getting checked into our hotel we headed out for dinner where we ran into many of the climbers who were also on Cho Oyu and a few friends from other expeditions. It sounded like everyone had a tough climbing season.
It was a great trip and certainly the summit would have made it better, but it’s nice to be healthy and headed home after such tough weather and climbing conditions.
Should be home soon.
October 1, 2010
Hey RMI and everybody back home. This is Casey checking in from the Cho Oyu Expedition.
Just wanted to let everyone know that today we officially decided to pull the plug and not continue to climb on the upper mountain. The snow conditions continue to exist. It’s a relatively high level of avalanche hazard as well as no one has been on the upper mountain in the last few days. We are certainly not going to be the first team to be up there and stick our necks out. Add that to the forecast that we have, which is some high winds and cold temperatures as the jet stream approaches and we are actually even seeing that today with some winds and some clouds building. The majority of the expeditions here have all packed up and are heading home currently. There are a few individuals left that may stick their necks out and give it a shot, but again, we think that it is foolish for our team to take that risk.
Everyone’s doing great. Today we actually hiked up to Camp 1 and picked up most of our gear that we had left there. We got the majority of that stuff back to Advanced Basecamp here. Our plan is to relax here for the next day and then our yaks come in on the 3rd to pick up all of our loads to carry that stuff back to the main road, which is about a day-and-a-half trek. Our plan is to leave on the 3rd and try to get to the road and hopefully catch a ride on the 4th. Then we’ll drive from Basecamp to Zangmu, on the border of Tibet and Nepal. Our plan then on the 5th is to possibly arrive in Kathmandu if everything goes well.
I’m happy that everyone feels good with our decision and we look forward to coming home and seeing everybody and telling you all about our adventure. Thanks a lot you guys.
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September 28, 2010
Hello everybody, this is Casey checking in from the Cho Oyu Expedition.
We wanted to let everybody know that the entire team has safely returned to Advanced Base Camp where we are now enjoying warm, wonderful meals from our cook Kumar.
Yesterday we made a valiant effort to try to reach Camp 2 but were turned around due to high winds and cold temperatures. There has also been a fair amount of exploration by some of the top Sherpa on the mountain to try to get a route kicked in to the summit. But it still looks like the avalanche danger is significantly higher than we would like it to be. Looks like a number of expeditions are all leaving and headed home.
We have a few more days here so we are going to wait it out and see if the weather or avalanche conditions can improve in the next few days before we make our decision as to head back up the mountain or head home a little bit early. We are going to take three rest days here and then most likely make our decision.
Stay tuned and we will let you know as the events unfold.
September 26, 2010
Hey RMI, this is Casey calling in from Camp 1 on Cho Oyu.
We woke today to some pretty blustery skies and some snow whirling around so we decided to drag our feet a little to see if the weather would change a bit in our favor. Unfortunately, it did not. It seems like the jet stream is still a bit close to us here. It has made for some pretty miserable climbing conditions. Pretty high winds and snow blowing off of the surface which would make it challenging to see while climbing.
The team has been hunkered down here at Camp 1, or as we like to call it, “Camp Fun.” We have been stuck in our tents for basically the last 24 hours and trying not to go stir crazy.
Everybody’s in good spirits and we have our fingers crossed hoping that tomorrow proves to be a little nicer and allows us to sneak up to Camp 2. Everything else is going great and we’ll try to touch base again tomorrow.
September 25, 2010
Everything is going great, in fact, things couldn’t really be better. The last two days have been incredibly sunny and warm, which was oh so needed. The whole team got showers yesterday, we did laundry, basked in the sun, and dried everything out. It was a nice finish to our rest days.
This morning we got up and had beautifully clear skies and a leisurely breakfast about 10 a.m. We then hiked about four hours to reach Camp 1 where we currently are. It sits about 21,000’ and we have a great view of the upper mountain conditions and climbers. There is a bit of wind blowing off the summit and it’s scouring some of the snow that has been deposited over the last ten days of snow we have gotten.
Everyone is doing great and feeling good. We are getting settled into our tents for the night. Firing up the stoves to make ourselves some dinner, then into our sleeping bags before the sun goes down. As soon as it does it gets chilly up here. We will be making ourselves as comfortable as can be. Things are going well. Tomorrow we are hoping to push all the way up to Camp 2 and spend the night there at around 23,000’.
We’ll check in tomorrow if we can get ourselves up to Camp 2. All right everybody, hope everyone’s doing well back home. We miss you.
September 23, 2010
“Tah-shi de-leh.” Hello everybody. “Tah-shi de-leh” is a Tibetan greeting that is used when greeting people and also when you say “Good-bye.”
This is Casey checking in from the Cho Oyu Expedition.
The team is doing great. We’ve been relaxing here at ABC for the last two days taking rest days, catching up on sleep, reading, and having lots of social time in our tent because it has been snowing nonstop since we’ve been here. We get these squawls that come through every day for several hours and then some light breaks. With the weather we are going to take one more day of rest tomorrow down here and then head up to Camp 1 the day after.
Currently the upper mountain has a fair amount of new snow and the sherpa teams that are in charge of fixing the route to the summit have not been able to get too far due to the deep snow and avalanche conditions. We are sitting good because we are still about ten days out from our summit bid, which is great. There are several teams here that are itching to go since they have been here at ABC for the last week waiting for the weather to open up so they can go do their summit attempt. We are nice and relaxed here with our schedule.
Kumar, our cook, has been taking great care of us and keeping us healthy. One more day of relaxation and we’ll check in again probably when we head up to Camp 1 two days from now.
Okay everybody, hope you’re doing well.
September 21, 2010
Hey everybody back home, this is Casey checking in from the Cho Oyu Expedition.
The team has safely returned from our first acclimatization foray up on the upper mountain. On Sunday we left ABC and headed up to Camp 1. It took about 45 minutes less than our first climb up there. The team did great. We spent the night again to continue our acclimatization. In the morning we woke up to a beautiful morning so we got up and hiked to almost Camp 2, which sits about 23,000’. We set some new altitude records for a few folks. We headed back down to Camp 1 and had another night’s rest up there.
This morning we woke up early and descended the rest of the way back to ABC. Everyone’s doing great but a little bit tired from all the walking and hard breathing at this high altitude. Everybody’s in great spirits. On our acclimatization hike, the only day we had to go to Camp 2, it actually didn’t snow that day but it did snow that evening. We’ve been here about a week and it has been snowing every day, light accumulation but it is a trend that we’ve had. Been kinda nice but at the same time we are missing the sunshine. Another positive note is that it has been three weeks since we left the states and we are officially halfway through our trip. Hopefully in about two more weeks we are looking to reach the summit. And then maybe in about one week after that we’ll be leaving the mountain.
We are going to spend the next two days resting here at ABC. We will check in again in another day or so.
September 18, 2010
Hi everybody, this is Casey checking in from the Cho Oyu Expedition. Sorry about the lack of dispatch yesterday. We have been under constant snowfall since we arrived at Advanced Basecamp (ABC). We wore out all the batteries around camp. Finally today we got a little break and some sun for a few hours and were able to charge some things. Everything is back up and operational.
Two days ago the team had a rest day here at ABC. We relaxed around camp and packed up a few things for the upper mountain. Started dividing up our loads and food that we will distribute at Camp 1, Camp 2, and Camp 3. We also reviewed our oxygen masks, nozzles and regulators. Everyone got that pretty well dialed in. That was pretty much it for the day.
Yesterday we got up early and went for a nice little hike. Managed to go all the way to Camp 1, just over 20,500’. Everybody did great. Took us almost six hours to get to Camp 1 and about three hours to descend back down. It was a good day- long and hard with snow falling sporadically all day. When we arrived back to ABC, we were welcomed by Kumar and some wonderful hot food for dinner.
Today has been a lot like two days ago. It has been nice and relaxing on our rest day here as we prepare to move to Camp 1 for our first rotation sleeping over 20,000’ tomorrow. The team has again been relaxing and enjoying the little bit of sunshine that we had for a while today. Laundry was done and a few bird baths were taken.
All-in-all everybody seems like they are doing really well. The snow is back as I send this dispatch. It seems like every evening we are getting snowed on. Hopefully we are going to get a break here in the weather pretty soon and have some nice, warm and enjoyable temperatures.
That’s it for now. We’ll check in again from here in another day or two.
September 15, 2010
Hello everybody this is Casey checking in from Cho Oyu.
A lot has happened in the last few days. First off, we left our Interim Camp and have safely arrived at Advanced Base Camp where we will be based out of for the remainder of the climb. It was a beautiful hike across the moraine to reach a moderately flat spot which sits at 18,500’ and makes it one of the highest Base Camps in the world.
The team pulled into camp and immediately began working hard to get camp set up. After most of our yaks arrived, we collected our things and got settled in for the night. It snowed most of the night and we woke up to warm, sunshine this morning which was welcomed by all.
Today we had our Puja ceremony which is a Buddhist ceremony where we ask for safe passage and for a safe climb. A Buddhist holy man, called a lama, presided over our ceremony. It was very surreal to hear the lama chanting while we sat looking up at the mountain we hope to climb. We made some small offerings to the mountain mostly food and drink which the local birds happily cleaned up. It snowed during the ceremony which the lama said was a good sign.
It continued to snow for the rest of the day and we spent time resting and acclimatizing to this new altitude.
Everyone is doing great and we are having fun too.
September 13, 2010
Hello everybody back home. This is Casey checking in.
Yesterday we spent some time hiking around Cho Oyu Basecamp. Fair amount also doing some training and getting some of our gear ready to move further up the mountain, which we did today. We left early this morning and hiked for several hours to our interim camp at 17,500’. One more day to reach Advanced Basecamp, which we’ll be based out of basically for the rest of the expedition. It’ll be our home for the next month. Everybody’s doing well. We just finished a Nepalese meal prepared by Kumar. Currently we are settling into our tents, which are surrounded by all of the yaks that have carried all of our group gear, food, and supplies for this trip. Everybody’s down for the night.
Everything is looking good for us. We got our first snow, just a light dusting but it was nice to see it.
We’ll check in again tomorrow after we reach Advanced Basecamp.
Hope you guys are doing well back home,