NEWSLETTERS - Cho Oyo Expedition 2003

Newsletter 629 September 2003

Summit

As you will know from the previous newsletter we were a happy team having had seven of our members summit and all return safely! Since then, the second summit team: Kevin, Rob and Jo together with two sherpas, Lopsang and Karsang made a summit bid on 27th and thankfully were successful, of course with much elation and exhaustion (this does not include the sherpas who seem to have endless strength at altitude !!).

We had a 'fresh'! start with a bit of wind but a clear starry night at 3.30am and had cleared the rock band by dawn. Rob made it to the summit first, at 8.45am with the rest of the team shortly behind. We were all welcomed by the most breath taking (literally - so thank goodness for oxygen bottles!!) and stunning views. Everest stood crystal clear and majestic only a 'biscuit toss' away (25km), and with all the other peaks it made a sight that was such a precious reward for the truly huge mental and physical effort of getting to 8201m! We finished our long day by descending past camp 3 and 2 to camp 1 at 6400m, arriving at dusk, very, very, very (you get the point!) tired. The next morning, loaded like pack horses with all our gear we descended to ABC for food, drink, celebration with the succesful Japanese team (4 members) and a good nights sleep - horray!

Our success on this huge mountain would not have been at all possible without the incredible set up that Russell has created....the infrastucture on the mountain, the team of sherpas, the cooks at ABC and the yak herders (and of course yaks!). Not to mention all the other details including the clean mountain policy, the medical back up, communications, weather, info, access and being a leading player in establishing the fixed ropes on the mountain.....all of which not only made the summit possible for us but also gave great benefit to all the other teams, both private and commercial, on the mountain.

Jo, Rob and Kevin Below are a few personal comments from the second team. While some of our sentiments have been reflected in the above newsletter, a few other brief thoughts on our experience on Cho Oyo ....... An 8000m peak - well.... indescribable physical, mental and emotional effort - repeatedly working beyond what seemed to be our limits. Unbelievable reward - the team work, the views, the sense of achievement. The relationships - the simply amazing Tibetan and Nepali team, their tireless and happy disposition. Himex - Russell's creation..... head and shoulders above, always professional, with incredible attention to detail. Our blessings - a safe summit and return with all our digits and most of our sanity!!!

Rob and Jo Gambi In the first newsletter, my teammates Julien and Morgans wrote that conquering ourselves was perhaps essential to summiting Cho Oyo. While I'm not sure I succeeded in conquering myself these past weeks, I do know that only with the great help, support and encouragement of my team mates, and especially that of Russell and his great team, was I able a couple days ago to realize my dream of conquering this 8000m peak. The emotional, mental and physical challenges have all been worth while as I leave the mountain on a wonderful high!

Kevin M. Goldstein
29th September 2003