Just want to report that my friends Denise, Paul & Cindy reached the summit of Mount Everest a few hours ago (Wohoo!) and are at Camp 4 resting before making their way down to Camp 2 tonight ..
Mountain Trip Report
Didn't mean to keep y'all hanging without a report, but I wanted to wait until they made it.
We were all there at base camp to support our friends after-all ...
Uploading photos for you now!
Last edited by He219 on Sun May 23, 2010 12:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
We started off on April 15th with a 13.5 hour direct flight to Hong Kong ...
Fritzilla in the streets of HK
The city has grown a lot since my last visit, when it was still a British colony.
Partial ETE group shot in HK - 23 of us went up to Everest Base Camp
We arrive in Kathmandu, Nepal, 34.5 grueling hours after leaving LAX - along with a stop-over in Dhaka, Bangladesh! We lost contact with the Kathmandu Control Tower a couple of times during a thunderstorm. After multiple aborted landing attempts and after circling for almost 2 hours we finally arrive around midnight!
^ This Sadhu was 103 years old!
Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists all live together in relative harmony ..
Symbols of good fortune
Back of Durbar Palace
After a stay at the Yak & Yeti hotel we head to Lukla in two small planes and a turbulent flight to the base of the Himalaya Mountains.
Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla. There are only two airports in the world higher in elevation.
That's awesome -- keep it coming man! How did you like staying at the Yak & Yeti hotel?
The Yak & Yeti is a pretty sweet joint. Used to be one of the Royal Palaces.
You never know who you're going to run into there. It was especially sweet after almost 3 weeks on the trail.
The shower, food, clean bed, rooms and real flushing toilets were regarded with great appreciation upon our return ..
The Yak & Yeti was an oasis in a town overwhelmed by Maoists staging a general strike by shutting down the city and local transportation upon our return. I think it's still going on. Luckily the people are non-violent and the riot police gave some measured sense of protection.
Good thing we saw the city in a different light when we arrived.
Great pics. What kind of distance is it from Lukla to Namche and Base Camp?
Not quite sure, but it's about a 75 mile round-trip from Lukla to Base Camp climbing from 9,000 to 18,500 feet in 10 days, 3 of those being rest days to acclimate. The medivac helo flew multiple times a day up along the route rescuing climbers and trekkers suffering from AMS. Without travel insurance that flight would cost you 8-10k for service to a hospital in Khatmandu!
You lose about a half a day flying into Lukla and hike for 4-5 hours up to Phakding and then 6-9 hours a day including breaks. We stayed at nice lodges, all compartmentalized into 6'x8' sleeping quarters constructed of thin 1/4" plywood with two berths each. You'd hear people snoring in the rooms around and you would shake when they move. Still a lot better than sleeping in a tent. The bathrooms were to be desired, a hole in the ground and a bucket of water to flush. The stench is overpowering, especially with an exotic diet of curry, lentils and garlic. I almost lost it a couple of times and retreated whenever possible.
Our lead guide, Natang, is a bit of a local celebrity. He came out of retirement to help out Mountain Trip when our original guide, Heidi Kloos (RiP), was killed in an avalanche at her home in Colorado just two weeks before our trip. Natang was a top Nepali climber but his wife forced him into retirement and into managing a lodge after 4 members of his joint Nepali-Indian Army climbing team perished 200 meters below the summit of Everest many years ago. Natang runs the Moonlite Lodge high on Namche. That's where we stayed. We had 6 or 7 porters, 5 Sherpa guides and Natang for the 23 of us.
Things really start to get interesting from Namche up. We took an acclimation day at Namche and hiked up to Syangboche and the Everest View Hotel to get our first views of Mount Everest.
April 20th, 2010 (Day 3):
View from the Moonlite Lodge overlooking Namche Bazar
First views of Everest and Lhotse from Syangboche. Ama Dablam on right hand side
Everest with the plume and Lhotse South Face.
Ama Dablam West Face
Everest View Hotel
And back down to Namche.
A short visit to the Sherpa Museum and some shopping in Namche
Loads of mountaineering clothes and equipment, mostly inexpensive knock-offs.
Bought a traditional Nepali-Tibetian fox fur hat ..
Your pictures bring back some of the best memories I have.
You've done the trek, Sam?
Day 5: Tengboche to Dingboche (14,250 feet)
The trail passes trough the Rhododendron Forest, a magical place. The whole time I kept thingking that a Unicorn would cross our path ;]
After decending to Debuche we crossed a truss bridge over the Imja Khola and then climbed up to Pangboche among the mani stones.
Kumar, one of our porters ..
Ama Dablam South Face
Everest beyond the Lhotse Ridgeline, Lhotse on the right
Vegetation diminishes as we enter Alpine territory
Day 6 we hiked up to the village of Chukhung to the east, Lhotse Base-camp approach.
Ama Dablam North Face
Lhotse debris field
Cold and windy at 17,125 feet overlooking Ama Dablam and the Lhotse debris field. A small group of us decided to suck air and climbed Chukhung Ri.
Natang during our daily briefings at the Snow Lion Lodge in Dingboche. The ususal Yak-dung fired stove in the middle of the great room ..
Day 7, Dingboche. We did a small hike to another local peak and I used the time to do some badly needed laundry. Met the climbers of the Kazakh Army Climbing team CSKA (Central Sports Club of Kazakh Army) while staying at the same lodge at Dingboche. These guys are tough as nails. A couple of Latvians in our group translated through the Russian language and we got the lowdown on their expedition. After losing a climber last year descending the Lhotse face, they are attempting to summit Lhotse again this year; no Sherpas, no Porters, no oxygen. They approach using Everest BC and veer right at the South Col in lieu of left to Everest. These guys are rock solid and never crack a smile. All they do is climb 8,000+ meter peaks .. totally self-sufficient.
Never did finish, so here it is..
Approaching Everest Basecamp from Gorak Shep:
Nuptse West Face heading up
View up the lateral moraine towards BC and Tibet on the other side of the distant ridgeline
You can just start to make out Basecamp on the bottom left hand side ..
Mount Everest. You can clearly see the South Summit and Hillary Step.
Entering Base Camp and walking through camps of the various expeditions ..
And finally entering our camp with Mountain Trip, greeted by Scott Woolumns and Bill Allen.
Cindy Abbott, poking out of the Dining Tent
Our friends Paul & Denise who summited just two weeks ago
We got red-carpet treatment!
View up the Khumbu Icefall
My tent, 3rd right
The Khumbu Icefall. I just gazed at it for about an hour. It's awesome.
At night you hear the creaking and popping of the Khumbu glacier moving below you. Rocks falling all day and night.
Cindy had this deep cough, but she made it to the summit!
Just missed one of the many avalanches
Some of the climbing Sherpas getting back
We had a Puja ceremony for the safe climbing of our friends. The head Sherpa was also a Lama (Buddhist Monk).
A full rainbow circle formed directly overhead.
Then the drinking began and continued the entire descent
Mountain Trip's Sherpas and our Sidar, Natang
With Pushkar Shah, Everest Peace Expedition 2010.
He rode his bike through 150 nations and summited Everest two weeks after this photo.
Pushkar Shah planted 150 little flags of the nations he visited on top, including the one I'm holding!
There are something like 30+ ladder crossings on the Khumbu Icefall.
Makes the one on the Ingraham Direct route on Rainier that Simonov & I crossed look like nothing!
Some consisted of three ladders lashed together!
'Saw a bunch of broken ladders at basecamp ..
Here's a video of them crossing an easy one using a Hero helmet cam:
Then another 4 days trekking out again ..
Ama Dablam down in the distance
All in all it's one of those epic journeys that difficult to put into words.
The sights, tastes and smells can only be experienced in person.
That's why it's difficult to put in words and pictures all that we experienced.
I'm grateful for having been there and having had a great group to share it with.
Congratulations Denise, Paul & Cindy along with everybody with Mountain Trip!
That is one fantastic operation. Five paying clients and 2 Guides, all made the summit along with 11 Sherpas.
The most Sherpa to client ratio on Everest 2010.
Bill Allen - Mountain Trip
Scott Woolums - Mountain Trip
Sherpas to reach the summit:
Da Wang Chhu
Congratulations also to our group of 23 in the Everybody to Everest Crew.
We raised a combined $104,671 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation with this trek to Everest Base Camp!
Incredible footage! Simply amazing! Did you notice the constant coughing in the background? Someone was in great pain there. The crevasses are just mind numbing -- it feels as if the ropes and ladders are just barely hanging on. I can't even imagine what the "ice doctors/Sherpas" go through rigging all this up and keeping it from failing throughout the season. My hat goes off to these people. _________________ TTLJournal - Random Excursions K2H - Knives 2 Have
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