Entries By dave hahn

Mt. Everest Expedition: Team Descends to Pheriche

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman | April 30, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 13,950'

Our last night at Mt. Everest Base Camp was made more pleasant by a visit from Meagan and Rachel, the two doctors from the Himalayan Rescue Association.  We’d lured them to our dining tent with high praise for Kumar’s farewell pizza dinner.  The two were homeless, as the HRA clinic tent was wiped out by the Avalanche air blast.  We are in absolute awe of the performance of these two in managing the medical response to the Base Camp tragedy.  They were hurt themselves in the blast and lost virtually all of their personal property, but went on to care for at least 80 patients over the following day -many with critical injuries.  We all enjoyed the pizza, but felt terrible that the two docs were still prone to violent coughing from having taken in the super cooled, ice laden air of the powder cloud that accompanied the air blast. 
Kumar kept his final night tradition by baking cakes (with and without gluten) for the team.  Alas, these didn’t say “congratulations Everest summiteers” but nobody complained. 
This morning, we enjoyed a little sunshine for a change, which made it a little easier to put final touches on our packing. We were on the trail by 10 AM.  A very different trail than we’d become accustomed to… No Trekkers, no porters, no traffic.  Of course, the reason for the empty trails is sobering, but the effect is wonderful.  Nobody has put the dire national situation out of their minds, but the value of a day spent walking peaceful trails through beautiful mountains can’t be overestimated.  We stopped in both Gorak Shep and Lobuche without seeing too much damage from the quake, but things in Pheriche are obviously worse.  Many of what had seemed to be the more substantial structures in town are badly damaged.  None-the-less, we’ve found comfortable and safe lodging. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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Mt. Everest Expedition: Team Readies to Depart Everest Base Camp

Posted by: JJ Justman, Dave Hahn | April 29, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

Our expedition is rapidly winding down. Everest Base Camp is becoming empty of foreign climbers (that’d be people like us).  Three of our team…HP, Hao, and Hans were able to catch a heli down toward Lukla this morning.  The rest of us have spent the day packing, sheltering from snow showers and reflecting on the surreal situation and surroundings.  We’ve each taken walks out to icy cyber, where the cell service almost works, and been stunned by the amount of heavy camp gear… Tents, barrels, tables, boots, helmets etc that are strewn hundreds of meters from base camp.  These sad items testify to the force of the blast that hit Base, fully obliterating the camps in about the middle third of the mile-long cluster of tents along the medial moraine.  Mark Tucker estimated that the blast was perhaps a hundred and fifty miles per hour (up from zero in a second or two).  We are all still a bit jumpy, although there hasn’t been a recognizable aftershock in a day or two.  It sure seems like the biggest hanging glaciers have had ample chance to relieve themselves already, but we start out the tent to see every crack and boom these days.  We’ll walk out of this place and down toward an easier and safer world tomorrow.  But plenty of uncertainty still lies ahead in this altered world.  Mostly we just expect it all to take patience, and we have that.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

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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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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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Dave,
I have always enjoyed your writing, but this entry should be the sensitive beginnings of a greater account of this tragedy from first hand.  I knew you could… read more

Posted by: Jeff Olson on 4/27/2015 at 11:42 am

Dave and Team, I’m so thankful that you all are safe. And, Dave, way to keep your great sense of humor in tact even in the worst of times.

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Posted by: stephanie pearson on 4/27/2015 at 11:15 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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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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Glad that you are able to post updates.  We hope & pray for your well being & for a safe return for everyone involved.

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Posted by: Suzanne Delaney on 4/26/2015 at 12:01 pm

You are in our thoughts and prayers Dave. Come back safely.

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Posted by: Bob Schmedake on 4/26/2015 at 11:44 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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Hello Dave, I am glad you and your team our safe!  My thoughts and prayers are with you, I know you will make the best decisions for everyone to make… read more

Posted by: Rob Millman on 4/25/2015 at 2:47 pm

glad you are all safe. Thoughts are with you and everyone else affected.

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Posted by: Jacob on 4/25/2015 at 1:29 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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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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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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