Entries By mark tucker

Mt. Everest: Hahn & Team Arrive in Lukla

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman, Mark Tucker | May 02, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 4,383'

Another surreal day of spectacular hiking and beautiful mountain vistas… mixed with up-close and sad recognition for the cost of lost homes and disrupted lives in the Khumbu Valley.  I suppose it is surreal because we would never have chosen to be “tourists” in a disaster area… But here we are.  We left Namche at around 8 this morning under perfectly blue skies… And fervently hoping that this meant that the fixed wing planes were coming and going freely from Lukla… Dispersing the crowd we’d heard so much about.  The first part of the day was spent in the forests… Where there was little sign of the earthquake.  But the bigger portion of the day was spent in the succession of farms and small villages in the valley bottom outside the National Park boundaries.  Of course, many houses and buildings were untouched… but a significant number were cracked and damaged beyond reasonable repair.  Very few had collapsed… And we were told that there had been few injuries and few deaths in these areas… Probably because Sherpas would have been outside and working hard at midday when the quake struck.  And sure enough, the phenomenally strong work ethic in the area had men out moving rocks, plastering and repairing damage wherever possible when we strolled by.  People without any form of insurance stood in front of ruined structures, in this fabulously beautiful setting, and smiled and bid us “Namaste” as we passed.  Those that we knew, asked us first if we were all ok before acknowledging that they themselves would need to start over completely.  We walked until about 2:30 PM to reach Lukla just as the raindrops began to fall.  The town and the airstrip appear largely intact… And thankfully, the crowds (mobs…as we’d heard them described a few days ago) seem absent.  So far, so good with our plan for coming down the valley slowly so as to allow things to normalize in front of us.
One of our Sherpa team startled me today as we took tea in his sister’s place in Monjo… He thanked me for saving his life.  I was baffled and embarrassed until he explained that my decision (which had actually been made in consultation with Jeff Justman and Chhering Dorjee) to have the Sherpas drop the loads they were carrying for Camp II at Camp I on the day of the big shake had meant they weren’t in the Icefall later in the day at the exact wrong time.  As I say… I was startled… Hadn’t done the math myself.  We’d asked them not to carry on to CII because of the threat of snow and avalanches off Nuptse… Not because of imminent earthquakes.  But I’m now so incredibly glad that they were well down the icefall and safe for whatever reason.  I deserve no credit whatsoever for getting lucky… But our team can take generic credit for having put safety first, once again, and having reaped unexpected benefits.
We are “scheduled” for the first wave of flights to Kathmandu tomorrow.  Perhaps luck will still be with us.

Best Regards,
Dave Hahn

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Mt. Everest: Hahn & Team in Namche Bazaar

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman, Mark Tucker | May 01, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 11,300'

Thankfully, it was another sparkling sun and blue sky day.  We got out of Pheriche by 8:15 AM and got walking out of the alpine zone and down into the land of the living.  Helicopters continued to buzz back and forth overhead, traveling to Everest Base or to Gorak Shep, most likely.  We encountered a few more trekkers and porters still heading up valley today, but drastically fewer than normal, which made for another quiet and easy day on the trails.  We took our time, stopping in Pangboche to check on acquaintances and to pay respects to victims, but then we moved on across the river to Deboche and up to Thyangboche, which was abnormally calm and quiet.  The classic and grand monastery was visibly damaged and seemed abandoned for the moment.  We sat and rested in the quiet for a time before heading down the big hill and into waves of blooming rhododendrons.  Then it was up the next big hill and along the dramatic traverse trail to Namche.  We saw plenty of eagles and lammergeiers, Himalayan Tahr… And lots of evidence of massive rocks having crossed the trail in the quake.  We’ve found our way back to our favorite place in Namche… Camp De Base.  Damage in Namche seems slight, but we have been reminded that the earth isn’t through moving yet.  There have been aftershocks that we apparently haven’t noticed in our tent environments.  But here in town, everybody seems much more aware of them in a place where buildings shake.

We’ll keep our guard up, but we’ll also avail ourselves of some quality 11,000 ft sleep… The kind we haven’t experienced in a month.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Everest team greeted by Nepalese child as they trek back to Namche. Photo: JJ Justman Group of children begin their day in Namche Bazaar. Photo: JJ Justman Hahn & team trekking out. Ama Dablam looming in the background. Photo: JJ Justman

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Mt. Everest:  RMI Guide & Base Camp Manager Mark Tucker Checks In From the Khumbu

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman, Mark Tucker | March 29, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 13,000'

Walk a week or fly an hour? A very popular phrase with the bush pilots in Alaska.  Here in Nepal, I will take the walk a week option.
If I were going to climb the tallest mountain in North America, “Denali”, I would opt for the hour flight into the mountain, which drops you at about 8,000’ to begin the ascent to 20,320 ft.
Here in the High Himalaya, with that hour flight they could drop us at Everest Base Camp, it sits around 17,300’, you would be in a world of hurt, that is a bit too much of an altitude jump for 99.9% of all humans.  So here I sit in a nice Tea house at 13,000’, half way through my eight day trek to Base Camp.  Kind of a long commute to work, but traffic has not been to bad.  Yep another season of life on the Glacier for this Himalayan Veteran.
Excited for RMI 2015 Everest Expedition?  I sure am.
No wonder RMI was voted #1 Outfitter,with the return of the finest Guides, for the climb and trek.
The reason I continue these wild adventures is the RMI solid commitment, time and again, to provide the best available resources and infrastructure.
The team is looking forward to sharing this Expedition with you as best we can over the next couple of months.
I wish you could be here. I know the challenges you will face in everyday life may not be as unusual as ours but in there own way just as impressive. Climb your own Everest.  Get out when you can!

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

Special shout out to -
MOM
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Love, Mark

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Mt. Everest: Dave Hahn & Team Gather in Kathmandu and Celebrate a Birthday

Posted by: Dave Hahn, JJ Justman, Mark Tucker | March 23, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 4,383'

We had climbers circling the thunderclouds, climbers flying back and forth to Delhi, planes delayed back on the Great Plains… But ultimately, we had the entire RMI Mount Everest 2015 climbing team assembled on time and with all gear at the Yak and Yeti Hotel in Katmandu.  Six climbers, two base camp trekkers, two guides, one base camp manager and one Sherpa Sirdar enjoyed a fine dinner together- without so much as one person falling asleep at the table.  Quite a feat considering all the time zones and datelines crossed.  We didn’t discuss intricacies of Everest climbing just yet.  Rather we caught up on each other’s jobs, families, pets and hobbies.  Finally, we sang Happy Birthday to Peter Rogers and devoured the cake commemorating the occasion.
Tomorrow is for packing and prepping and perhaps a few naps.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

RMI Everest Climber, Peter Rogers, celebrates his birthday in Kathmandu. Photo: Dave Hahn The 2015 RMI Everest team meets for dinner in Kathmandu. Photo: Dave Hahn Yak & Yeti Hotel in Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo: RMI Collection

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Kilimanjaro: Tucker & Team’s Last Safari Day Ends at Kikoti Camp

Posted by: Mark Tucker | August 16, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Yet another stellar Safari. Some clouds made for very pleasant temperatures all day. Tarangire National Park was the place to be. A bit of a terrain contrast from the crater, neither one better than the other, just different. Wide open big sky country out here. Mammals galore, in a very natural setting, as you can imagine. We ended up here at the luxury tent camp called Kikoti. The team has injured their stomachs by over indulgence. We are now sitting around a nice wood fire digesting our pains away. Very peaceful spot, the perfect setting to finish off this adventure.

We will make tracks back through the park in the morning on our way to the Dik Dik Hotel to pick up some gear, than off to the airport.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

Kikoti Camp, Africa safari. Photo: Jeff Martin

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Kilimanjaro: Tucker & Team Visit a Maasai Village

Posted by: Mark Tucker | August 15, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

Our good fortune continues. It must be a residual charm left over from the time spent on the mountain during the super moon. Cold and cloudy to start the day up on the Ngorongoro Crater Rim. That is not unusual, this typically being the coldest time of year. We paid a visit to a Maasai Village. Warmed up in one of their huts, while a nice gentleman told us fascinating facts and rich history of this unique group of people. I think you would be surprised at the insulation R-value of the walls of their thatch, cow dung and ash mixture construction. Since the funding goes to children education and the offerings were nice souvenirs, we were happy to invest in some of the village wares. We made the descent into the crater floor and spent a magical day with the other natives of the land, wild animals. So much fun and more to come.  We move to Tarangire National Park tomorrow.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

An RMI team visits a Maasai Village during safari. Photo: Jeff Martin

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Kilimanjaro: Tucker & Team’s First Stop on Safari - Lake Manyara National Park

Posted by: Mark Tucker | August 14, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

All tucked into the team villa here at the Plantation Lodge, just outside of Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, which is tomorrow’s destination. We departed from the Dik Dik Hotel right on schedule and attacked the Lake Manyara National Park with eyes wide open. Great critter sightings all day! Being only two days since summit day, I was impressed with the team’s level of energy. Tomorrow we are looking forward to seeing as many of the 29,999+ mammals that live in what is known as the “eighth wonder of the world.”

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

A giraffe seen on safari at Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania. Photo: RMI Collection Elephant at Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania. Photo: Seth Waterfall

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Mt. Kilimanjaro: Tucker & Team Celebrate Success

Posted by: Mark Tucker | August 13, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro

We are here at the Dik Dik hotel and enjoying it. The team made quick work of the 4,000 foot descent this morning, arriving at the gate well before noon. We had a brief customary departure sign out with the park service, a lunch stop along the way. When we arrived at the hotel, a welcome song greeted us upon our arrival. Then a hot shower to wash away some gathered mountain product, but it couldn’t rid us of a whole bunch of memories made while on the climb. Some of the team has been reunited with loved ones, how about a grandma and grandpa joining us here in Africa. How cool is that? While the rest of the team is jealous, we have to carry on and look forward to a reunion when we get back home.

Tomorrow starts the safari part of our program here. We are getting ready to bid farewell to one of the team who leaves for the airport tonight so as to not miss the start of the fall quarter. Is the summer really coming to a close? Better get out while you can!

RMI Guide Mark Tucker & Team

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Mt. Kilimanjaro: Tucker & Team Reach Mweka Camp

Posted by: Mark Tucker | August 12, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 10,000'

Hello from Mweka Camp on Kilimanjaro!

Horizontal in the tent is the place to be. We had a nice 15 hour stroll today and reached the summit of Kilimanjaro. We must be crazy huh? The reward in the end makes it all worth it and then some. We descended to Mweka Camp, 10,000’, to our final camp and last night on the mountain.  We shared another fine dinner and enjoyed each other’s company until folks were starting to fall asleep in their chairs. Other than some sore muscles, the whole team is doing great. The climb went so well that I better warn all of you back home that this crew is ready for more.

In the morning we will take a short 3 hour to the Mweka gate where our ride will be waiting to transfer us back to the Dik Dik resort. It is just starting to rain on the tent right now, but we are tucked in warm and dry until morning.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker & Team

Hiking out of Mweka Camp on Mt. Kilimanjaro. RMI Photo Collection

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Mt. Kilimanjaro: Tucker & Team Reach the Summit!

Posted by: Mark Tucker | August 12, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Kilimanjaro
Elevation: 19,340'

Jambo! Jambo!  Mark Tucker calling you from the Roof of Africa. With incredible timing we stood on top the moment the sun rose. We had the top pretty much to ourselves.  And I’ve got everybody here with me and couldn’t ditch them.  We’re all standing up here on the summit of Kilimanjaro and everybody is doing great. We are finishing up with the photos.  It’s a little bit chilly a little bit breezy but we are all nice and comfy based upon our precision like accuracy with our clothing. All is well and I’ll check in back at low camp.  You can rest easy, everybody is looking strong, everybody is tight and together, a great climbing team. So we’re all doing well. I’ll check in later.

RMI Guide Mark Tucker

Climbers ready at Barafu Camp to make their summit attempt on Kilimanjaro.  Photo: Linden Mallory Watching the sunrise over Tanzania from the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro.  Photo: RMI Collection


RMI Guide Mark Tucker checks in from the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro

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