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.
Our family has been praying for Mark and all of you since the news broke. Mark, you guided us up Kili in 2012 and I have no doubt were one of the best to deal with the tragedy you faced. Continued prayers for your safe return. Dennis
Posted by: Dennis Mulherin on 4/28/2015 at 4:42 am
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!
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.
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 TuckerDave Hahn called in after reaching Camp 1 and his audio is posted below.
RMI Everest Expedition Leader, Dave Hahn, calling in from Camp 1.
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.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
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.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
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
Posted by: Bonny Rogers on 4/21/2015 at 3:36 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 are responsible guides - safety first!!!
Good weather and good luck for your next steps.
Best wishes to Hans from hot and sunny Germany - Ute
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.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
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 the weather is moderating, which I hope will facilitate more progress soon. A special hello to J J and thanks for the birthday greeting to my son, Zac (Zeke).
Best wishes to all for a safe, successful ascent.
Posted by: Everett Moran on 4/21/2015 at 7:45 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
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.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
The storm may be coming to an end. We hope. It was still snowing yesterday, and predictions had it continuing today, but despite a great deal of cloud and moisture in the air... we've got sunshine on Everest Base Camp.
There is no climbing activity in the Icefall today out of respect for the Nepali men who -one year ago- lost their lives in the avalanche off Everest's West Shoulder. This somewhat grim anniversary has been made a little worse by our recent inability to get through the glacier. The reasons... bad weather and shifting glacial ice, are perfectly normal in this game, but against the backdrop of last year's season-ending tragedy, the barrier to the Western Cwm seems more formidable than ever. Early yesterday morning I accompanied our Sherpa team into the start of the difficult sections, but we along with perhaps 70 Sherpas from other teams had to turn around when a combination of vertical ladders was discovered to have been destroyed by shifting ice. We were back in camp before the normal wakeup and breakfast time... and it must be admitted that sitting in a chair sipping coffee beat balancing over treacherous and tedious crevasse crossings, but... as I say, it would have been a major boost to morale and to the team's progress to have made Camp One. That will now have to wait until the route is repaired and the storm has exited. It will happen. In the mean time, our team is simply in the same situation as a couple dozen others... maintain mental and physical readiness. We did it yesterday afternoon by going on a brisk hike toward Pumori Camp One. Today, it seemed best to give the team their freedom... some chose a hike down to the tea houses of Gorak Shep, some chose showers and good books in basecamp. Realistically, there will be more waiting to endure. The Icefall Doctors need to do a fair bit of work to make the route passible tomorrow and the climbing teams have decided not to crowd them in their labors. So we'll wait. And we'll be ready when our chance for climbing comes.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
Pardon the typos and bad “cut and pastes”. I’m just so excited, and interested in the challenges facing Emily, and all of the climbers up there this year, and with the new Khumbu icefall routefinding (so important right now). May all the Buddhas, Bodhis, Arhats, and Tulkus, past present and future, be with the Sherpas and climbing teams as they move forward and upward. :)
Posted by: Susi Johnston on 4/19/2015 at 7:00 am
I’m writing to you from my home in Bali, Indonesia. Just to say three cheers for RMI, always a solid team of solid climbers. The RMI legacy of Everest pioneers and the amazing training ground you have on Mt. Rainier is unsurpassed. Just one favor I need to ask. Can you kindly go find my sister Emily Johnston at IMG the basecamp tents and give her an enormous hug and lots of love from her big sister, Susi in Bali? And please, ask her if she is wearing Bruno’s gold talisman. Thanks. Emily as an IMG and RMI seasoned guide is always so totally focused on the climb, the mountain, and the team, to “waste time” sending messages out. :) x x x
This is Dave Hahn with the RMI Everest expedition. Sorry to leave you hanging last night. We didn't get a dispatch out before all the power shut off and all of our forms of communication ended. It has been a stormy week here, so not quite as much solar gain as we would have hoped. Systems all through the valley are running on short time that way. Cell service, internet service, all of that was being affected by the storm. We're doing okay here. We tried to get up the Icefall yesterday morning, the Sherpas and myself, but it was not to be. We, along with perhaps 70 other Sherpas from other teams got turned around where the route has collapsed during the storm, natural movement of the glacier. The route needed some maintenance- some ladders put back in place. So without even getting to the midpoint of the Icefall, we were turned around, brought everything back down. Hoping to go up with conditions improve. Still storming here. Still windy up high, still cloudy. We are down at Base Camp today. I'll try to get a real dispatch out this evening. Bye now.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
Once again, we (the Sherpa team and guides) were ready to go up through the icefall on a recon mission. Once again we nipped it in the bud at three in the morning due to falling snow and cloaking clouds. The clouds were still thick as clam chowder when the team assembled for breakfast. That didn't stop us from gearing up and going for a walk in the new snow for an hour or so along the route to just where things get steep and serious at the base of the Khumbu Icefall. It was eerie and beautiful to have the giant towers and walls of ice drifting in and out of our view as we trudged quietly through the snow. Out in front in the whiteout, it was nearly impossible to tell anything as to whether the next step would be up or down or sideways, but we managed to find the route by braille in any case. The goal was to get some exercise and some more practice and -as much as anything- to occupy the mind in what could be construed as dull circumstances. There is still a blanket of snow over everything and so hiking Pumori's ridges (as we've done to reach both Pumori Camp One and Kalapathar) doesn't seem wise, what with shallow powder over uneven rock. We passed the afternoon playing games and monkeying around with internet/3G connectivity.
Tomorrow, for sure... up and at 'em.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
Dave - really enjoy reading your daily updates, and as always love the photos when there are some posted. Wishing you and your team the best at the best, and a summit for the count. Billy Idol has a wonderful song for the climb—Sweet Sixteen.
Climb on :))
Posted by: Mary on 4/17/2015 at 5:51 am
Hi Larry, JJ, Dave and Team ... We are reading your blogs everyday. Keep your spirits up ... As we know you most certainly are! Fred K