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April 29, 2014

Mt. Everest Southside

Mt. Everest: Dave Hahn and Team Return to Kathmandu

In Lukla, roughly eight thousand vertical feet below our Everest Basecamp home of the past three weeks, we were pretty comfortable.  But just for one night.  The team was awake by five am yesterday, eating by 5:30 and walking over to the airport check-in at six.  We watched -partly in awe, partly in horror- as Twin Otters, Dorniers and A-Stars roared in and out of the compact one acre loading and unloading zone, pirouetting into place, revving engines, disgorging trekkers, cases of beer and heavy bags of rice at a frenetic pace.  When summoned by frantic hand gestures, we shouldered our packs, walked out onto the tarmac and took over the seats in a Twin.
A few minutes later, we were in the air, over a few craggy passes and cruising toward Kathmandu.  Upon landing, we were no-longer climbers, or even would-be climbers, we were happily transformed to overdressed tourists.  As such we took off a few layers and began showering, shaving and eating eating eating. 
Although we are still far from home, the program is finished.  We continue to enjoy each other’s company, we still rely on one another to make sense of the sad events and unexpected turns our trip has taken.  The team is grateful that so many have followed our journey on the blog and offered up kind words and support.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Watching the Discovery Channel broadcast on the Avalanche.  Thank you Dave, Mark & team!

Posted by: Susan on 5/4/2014 at 7:13 pm

Dave - We’ve been thinking about you guys every day for the past two weeks. Glad to hear everything is well with you.  There will be many more days to climb.  Stay safe.

Posted by: James Woodwell on 5/2/2014 at 9:24 pm

April 27, 2014

Mt. Everest Southside

Mt. Everest: Hahn and team finish their trek

Billy Nugent led the way out of Namche, down the big hill and into the valley of a thousand farms and small villages.  We made it in six hours to a comfy tea house next to the airstrip in Lukla.  The rain caught us for the last hour or so, but didn’t actually bother anybody enough to make them put a raincoat on.  We ate the afternoon away in our new low-altitude home.  Mark Tucker made a surprise appearance for dinner, having finished up his duties at Basecamp today and figured out a way to heli-hike in minutes what had filled up three days for the rest of us.  We are now poised for an early wake-up and some airport hustle that may or may not get us to Kathmandu by fixed-wing aircraft.  All depends on the weather.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Nicole LoBiondo: I hope you have safe travels back home and I am so happy to hear that you and your team are safe! I’ll see you soon! Much love, Sammy

Posted by: Sam Borneman on 4/28/2014 at 8:25 pm

I hope you all have safe travels back home! I can’t wait to hear all about your adventure at Copper Canyon with a margarita! And of course the salad with the bacon, fish tacitos and the steak!!!! Love ya Nicole!

Posted by: Lisa Taddeo on 4/28/2014 at 7:13 pm

April 26, 2014

Mt. Everest Southside

Mt. Everest: Dave Hahn & Team Back to Namche Bazaar

Today was a big walking day, up and down the hills of the Khumbu Valley from Pheriche to Namche.  Right out of Pheriche, where we started hiking at 8 AM, we crossed the river, climbed a hill and turned into the inhabited portions of the Khumbu.  We turned our backs on rocks and ice and walked down into rhododendrons, pine trees and villages.  JJ led the way as we rolled through Shomare, Pangboche, Deboche, Thyangboche, and Phunky Tonga.  We got hot enough to sweat a bit, which was a novelty, we passed a million trekkers and heard about a million helicopter laps as the B2’s and B3’s flew over us on their way back and forth to Everest Base.  Finally, at midday, we got working our way up the giant dusty hill that would put us on level with Namche.  It took us about six hours to reach Namche -still quite familiar to us since we spent three days acclimating in town on the way in.  This time… no acclimatization needed… so fine to be below 12,000 ft for the first time in close to a month.  The team enjoyed a fine evening at comfortable Camp De Base.

One more big day of hiking to go before Lukla International.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Nicole Lobiondo: Safe travels from Lukla to you all! Nicole H.

Posted by: Nicole Howard on 4/28/2014 at 6:27 am

Hey Spencer, So sorry you weren’t able to make it this time. You’ll be back under better circumstances and the summit will be that much more sweet. Safe journey home!
Uncle Matt

Posted by: Matt Pietro on 4/27/2014 at 12:40 pm

April 25, 2014

Mt. Everest Southside

Mt. Everest: Dave Hahn Checks in from Pheriche

Our last night in base was made dramatic by a lightning storm rolling through.  A few inches of snow fell thick and fast, making morning, bright, fresh and beautiful.  At 11:15 AM we filed out of the ghost town that Mount Everest Basecamp has become.  The climbing team, accompanied by Lam Babu, made good time in losing three and a half thousand feet to reach Pheriche in four hours and forty-five minutes.  We each paid Everest’s summit a couple of last longing looks during the march, but then paid more attention to the task at hand; walking an uneven, slippery mountain trail while dodging trekkers, yaks and porters.  The gang stuck together wonderfully, demonstrating what a close knit and fit climbing team we’ve become.  With each village on the descent, through Gorak Shep, Lobuche and Thukla, we each noticed the thicker and easier air.  We coughed less and walked faster.  All enjoyed seeing the baby yaks trying out their legs on our homestretch into Pheriche.  Tonight, we are indoors again… safe, enjoying each other’s company, and quite comfortable.  We hope things are going well for Mark Tucker and the bulk of our Sherpa Team, back at EBC for a last couple of days to button things up properly.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

What a pitiful attitude Bob has!!  Wishing your team a safe journey back home.  That is very admirable for Mark to have stayed back with the Sherpa team!  Again it says a lot about the quality of a team you all are!!  God Bless each and everyone of you!!!!!  Tammy

Posted by: Tammy Doppenberg on 4/26/2014 at 4:47 pm

Oh Spen,
Tuesday’s not gone.  There’s a lifetime of Tuesdays left for you.  That mountain is not going anywhere.  You’re young and strong and we got your back.  Love you, Weasel,

Posted by: jan pipkin on 4/25/2014 at 1:46 pm

April 23, 2014

Mt. Everest Southside

Mt. Everest: RMI Expedition Ends

We began the day with hope that we might be getting closer to resuming climbing.  Billy and JJ took the climbers hiking while Mark Tucker and I met with a number of other climb leaders and Sherpa sirdars.  Those meetings convinced us that the right course was to give up on Mount Everest for Spring 2014.  In future dispatches, we’ll try to quantify the reasons for such a decision.  But for now, suffice to say that the risks outweigh the possibility of success.

This week has been a roller coaster of emotion for many of us, from the horror that came with the avalanche of April 18, to the confusion that followed it regarding the right course to take for balancing respect for the dead, concern for team safety and summit ambitions.  Following the accident, our list of serious obstacles to an Everest summit was always significant, but we believed it worthwhile to continue looking for some way forward.  Our climbers, Sherpas, guides, and outfitters had put too much into the planning and execution of this trip to let go of the goal with less than our best effort.  We’ve given that now.

We’ll start heading for home soon.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

RMI guides make great decisions.  Dave, Billy, JJ.  This is why I’ve climbed a number of summits with RMI—you literally are trusting them with your life to make good decisions. 

While I’m sure this was an extremely difficult decision, I believe it was the right one.  Sometimes you have to listen to what the mountain (and circumstances) are telling you.

Safe travels home.

Posted by: Dan on 4/25/2014 at 7:38 am

So sorry for the loss and for the tough situation it put you all.  I’m glad you are safe and coming home.  JJ—you’ll have many, many more climbs….

Posted by: Randy Christofferson on 4/25/2014 at 5:23 am

April 21, 2014

Mt. Everest Southside

Mt. Everest: Mark Tucker Checks in

The skies were sunny with warm temperatures today at Everest Base Camp.  Our climbers took a few short hikes around the lower glacier and then a bit of cards and board games to keep our minds busy.  There is community gathering for a remembrance scheduled for tomorrow.

RMI Guide & Base Camp Manager Mark Tucker

On The Map

Nicole Lobiondo: Hope you are okay during this tough time. My Dad and I took our Walk in Long Branch and drove by your house. All looks good! Mufasa must be a good guard cat if he is there! Thinking of you and the team and wishing you all positive thoughts for what lies ahead. XOXO, Nicole

Posted by: Nicole Howard on 4/23/2014 at 6:11 am

Nicole,  Be safe with your team.  Love you Sandy

Posted by: Sandy Murray on 4/22/2014 at 6:13 pm

April 21, 2014

Mt. Everest Southside

Mt. Everest:  Sherpa Support Fund

Thank you for your calls, inquires and support regarding the tragedy on Mt. Everest last week.

American Alpine ClubIf you would like to make a donation to be used to help the families who lost loved ones in the avalanche and those who were injured, you can do so through the American Alpine Club - Sherpa Support Fund.

Thank you,
The RMI Expeditions Team

Nicole Lobiondo: Hope your trip is a once in a life-time event. The Kenny’s wish you a safe trip home and are praying for your safe return. I am sure you are taking lots of photo’s.Love Terry Kenny, Adriana and Gabby

Posted by: Terry Kenny on 4/23/2014 at 8:55 am

Nicole Lobiondo: Thinking of you all during this time. Stay safe and positive. Love, Nicole

Posted by: Nicole Howard on 4/23/2014 at 6:09 am

April 20, 2014

Mt. Everest Southside

Mt. Everest: Meetings Attended by Hahn & Tucker While the Climbing Team Hikes to Pumori Camp 1

Still at Everest Base.  Still a very difficult situation for all involved.

JJ and Billy led the climbing team on a hike to Pumori Camp One today, where they enjoyed awesome views of Mount Everest (during our hike to the same point last week we had no views due to an ill-timed and swirling snowstorm).  Mark Tucker and I attended a series of somewhat tense and serious meetings between team leaders, Sherpas, and the few government representatives present in camp.  It is very difficult to say what will happen going forward but one cannot under emphasize the enormity of the tragedy to the Sherpa community.  Each team, if it has not suffered death and loss directly, has lost relatives, close friends and neighbors to the icefall avalanche of April 18.  In too many cases, survivors saw the friends perish before their eyes or else they dealt with the difficult aftermath of body recovery personally.

Our Sherpa partners love their jobs and love to climb, but nobody is climbing now and all are struggling to come to terms with how to proceed in a way that honors those lost and protects those left alive.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

My thoughts are with all affected by the tragedy. I can only imagine the impact it has had on you all personally. I have no doubt that you, JJ, and all the team members will make the right decision, whether that means retreating or pressing on to the summit, that most honors those lost and respects the memory and wishes of the Sherpa community. Stay strong and climb safe.

Posted by: Everett Moran on 4/22/2014 at 11:56 am

April 19, 2014

Mt. Everest Southside

Mt. Everest: Dave Hahn Calls in from Everest Base Camp

Hey this is Dave Hahn calling from Everest Base Camp.  Today was another difficult day dealing with the tragedies from yesterday.  The team members stayed in Base Camp today, it was cloudy, a little snowy, a little cold.  Three of our Sherpa team, Tshering, Lam Babu and Pemba helicoptered up, with others, to the accident site to continue the difficult and dangerous work that some of us were engaged in yesterday of well, body retrieval at this point.  There are still three missing, is my understanding, and they were not able to find those three.  But they did a great job in going up and working hard and trying to make a difference and we are very proud of them. 
The team is well, obviously, it is a difficult situation, everything is somewhat in limbo.  There is word of a number of teams that are pulling the plug and are not going to climb.  But we will see how these next couple of days play out.  I told my climbers to be ready for anything.
We will keep you informed.

Bye now.

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

RMI Guide Dave Hahn checks in from Everest Base Camp.

On The Map

Happy Easter to all. bc

Posted by: bc on 4/20/2014 at 7:19 am


Good day, I learnt about the tragedy few days ago. Even though I have never been to Nepal, I have always interest in the Everest. Please stay strong. My thoughts and prayers with the sherpas and their families.

Best regards
Kok Wai

Posted by: Kok Wai on 4/20/2014 at 6:25 am

April 17, 2014

Mt. Everest Southside

Mt. Everest: Update 4-18-14

April 17th - 11:20 pm Pacific Time

RMI Guide and Everest Base Camp Manager Mark Tucker reports that RMI climbers, Sherpa and guides are safe at Everest Base Camp.  Around 7 am local time on April 18th an avalanche occured below the West Shoulder continuing down into the Khumbu Ice Fall.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the teams on Mt. Everest.

So happy you guys are all safe! Miss ya kare, I am so glad you are safe!!! Praying for the families of the Fallen Sherpa and for your continued safety.

Posted by: Farah Hedwig on 4/20/2014 at 9:05 am

Hi, Nicole! So relieved to hear you and your team are safe. Our prayers are with you all. Your dad is with me. He says “Be careful, we want you home safe. We love you and am proud of you!” xoxoxoxoxoxox
Dad and Patti Cakes

Posted by: Patti Tebo on 4/18/2014 at 12:48 pm

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