NEWSLETTERS - Everest Expedition 2004

Newsletter 626 May 2005

Dispatch No. 10

Our team was successful in reaching the summit of Mt. Everest on Sunday and Monday, May 23-24, 2004. We had a large group of 23 people summitting on the 23rd and 10 people on the 24th for a total of 33 people to summit from our two teams. The reason for referring to the two teams is that we modified the two originial teams into hybrid teams for the summit attempts.

Reaching the summit were the following people:
May 23
Julian Hazard
Cecilie Skog
Mark Woodward
Dale Darling
Kiek Stem
Derek Chin
Dean Staples
Harry Reeves
+ 11 Sherpas
May 24
Rob Giambi
Joanne Giambi
Barry Roberts
Andrew Marquis
Bill Crouse
+ 5 Sherpas

Reaching a height of 8,600 meters was Paul Hockey from Australia which is extremely impressive for an individual with one arm! Ian made it up to the ridge before frostbite to his feet turned him back.

The weather held true as Russell Brice, our expedition leader, had predicted. The weather will make or break your summit bid on Mt. Everest. Unfortunately, six individuals from Korea, Japan, and Bulgaria learned this the hard way two days earlier than our summit attempt and paid for it with their lives. They did not have the accurate weather information and leadership which our team had with Himalayan Experience. As we looked at the other teams, most had a success rate of less than 15% at having people reach the summit and we had over 80%.

Going up the mountain was great. It took us five days of climbing above 7,000 meters(23,000 ft), one day of bad weather, and one day of descending. These seven days were definitely challenging, as once you are above 7,000 meters you loose your appepitite for food, so you only consume some instant soup, light snacks, no where near enough to fuel your body at this altitude.

On the summit day you leave the top camp of 8,400 meters at 12:30AM. You primarily climb during the dark to gain the ridge, climb through the three rock wall steps and then reach the summit. By the time you reach the summit you are exhausted and starting to get very scared. You become very nervous and scared as you can actually see what you have come up and how steep the individual sections are. Your first intention is to get down as fast as you can and safely before you loose your nerve. Everest is a BIG Mountain with many steep sections of hard rock climbing on the northside!!!!!!!

It has been a great experience and one which none of us will ever forget. It is hard for us to imagine that we climbed it, initially it just feels like another mountain, although we know it is more. In time it will all sink in what has been accomplished here.

A tremendous amount of thanks goes out to all of the supporters, sponsors, colleagues, friends, and of course family who assisted to make this trip happen for all of us. Thank you.

We are all looking forward to returning home and getting into our normal lives:)

Thanks again to all to all of our team members for your prayers, positive thoughts, and well wishes. We all look forward to eating on our return to home as most of us have lost between 7 kgs to 18 kgs of weight.

Best regards,
Dale Darling - Everest Summiter with Himalayan Experience