On Friday, 20 May 2011, eight Himalayan Experience clients, three guides and 10 Sherpas reached the top of the world between 5.50am and 7am. “The weather was great and fortunately the team did not have to deal with a lot of wind,” Russell said looking tired after having been up for most of the night following his team on the radio.
Everest Crew reaches South Col
“Everyone has arrived here at Camp IV - there is a light wind and it is beautiful,” we heard Adrian say over the radio on Thursday afternoon. The same morning at 6am, the Everest team left Camp III to make their way up towards the South Col. Their path took them via the Yellow Band, a rock band that sits between Camp III and IV and requires a little bit of mixed climbing over rock and ice. For the first time during the expedition, the team used supplementary oxygen during the night and will continue to do so until they return from the summit to Camp III. “Everyone is feeling good and we are all psyched to go to the top tomorrow morning,” Adrian continued.
Everest Summit Push is On
Once again, apologies for not having sent an update for a few days, however, the Lhotse team, including your blogger, has been to Camp II and Camp III and has been away from modern technology for four days. We have just arrived at base camp and we are all happy to be back in the luxuries of the White Pod. “The facilities we have at Camp II are still amazing considering it is nestled in the Western Cwm at 6,400m,” said Sissel upon our arrival at base camp this morning.
Everest and Lhotse teams meet again at base camp
Apologies for not updating the newsletter for a few days, however, the Lhotse team was staying on the summit of Lobuche East for two nights and finding an internet connection up there was rather difficult. Sissel, Chris, Liang, Jing, Mike, Jonny, Narly, Brian and I climbed the 6,119m (20,180ft) for the second time on Monday and spent two nights on the top in the tents that were carefully pitched on nice platforms by the Sherpas.
Latest updates on Everest and Lobuche Base Camps
This is just a quick update on what's been happening both at Everest and Lobuche base camp. The Lhotse group, including John and Mike, left for Lobuche base camp a couple of days ago and ascended to high camp on Friday afternoon. It took the group about an hour and as they arrived at around 2pm they had plenty of time to settle in, make a brew and sleep before Lobsang and Nuru woke them up at 4 o'clock the next morning.
First team reaches the top of the world this season
On 5 May 2011 at 4pm Nepali time, nine climbers reached the top of Mount Everest becoming the first team to reach the summit of the 8,848m (29,028ft) mountain this season. What is special about these summiteers is that they were not only braving the high altitude and difficult conditions above 8,000m, they were also fixing the ropes for the many expeditions that are currently preparing to reach the highest peak in the world.
Some go up, some come down
Wednesday morning saw a lot of activity in the Himalayan Experience camp with the Everest team arriving from their acclimatisation rotation from Camp II and the Lhotse team preparing for their first acclimatisation rotation on Lobuche East. “The Lhotse Face was a lot less frightening than I imagined,” said Matt from Australia plonking himself into one of the chairs in the dining tent and ravenously digging into his breakfast. “I have been waiting for this moment for ages,” Adam agreed looking up from his cozy position on one of the sofas in the White Pod.
One night at Camp III and then slowly back to base
While the Lhotse and trekking group have been on an acclimatisation trip to the 5,500m (18,150ft) high Kala Patar just outside Gorak Shep, the Everest group has finally arrived at the last station of their acclimatisation rotation - Camp III on the Lhotse Face.
Special Camp II Pizza Delivery
While the Everest team has spent their second night at 6,400m (21,120ft), two Sherpas nipped up to Camp II at the crack of dawn on Saturday to deliver pizza for the group to enjoy after their first trip to the bottom of the Lhotse Face. “We left at 6 this morning to have a first glimpse of the Lhotse Face and it took us about three hours return,” Adrian reported by radio. At 9am, the group was back at Camp II for another relaxing afternoon and even though exhausted, all of them were feeling well and enjoyed their exquisite lunch.
The first nights below the Lhotse Face
On Thursday morning, we were woken with a loud ‘Good morning’ by our kitchen staff pretending it was the usual wake up call. However, looking at my watch, it was different this morning as the team was shaken out of their sleep at 2am – one hour before they were due to leave base camp to go to Camp II. Shortly after the wake-up call, the climbers slowly crawled out of their sleeping bags and were greeted by a starry and calm night. “I know it might be clear out there but I just don’t want to leave my warm sleeping bag,” we heard Woody moan from his tent.
Getting ready for the real deal
After another rest day at base camp the members are slowly getting ready to go up on the mountain for Phase Two of their acclimatisation programme. The team, guides and Sherpas are due to leave base camp on Thursday at the crack of dawn to go to Camp II at 6,400m (21,120ft), where they will be staying for four consecutive nights. “We need the time to acclimatise properly before we tackle the Lhotse Face to get to CIII,” our guide Woody explained.
Resting, rope fixing and roaming for the Internet
Easter Sunday started out like every other day with a hot towel and a nice cup of tea in ‘bed’ or rather on the mat brought to us with a huge smile by Mingma, Kur Bahadur and Phuri from our kitchen team. All 11 members and three guides are happy to be back in their own little tents at Everest base camp after having spent two nights, and in Adrian’s and David’s case even three nights, on top of Lobuche East.
Two nights on top
On Thursday at the crack of dawn all Everest members, apart from David Tait and our guide Adrian who went a day earlier, left for the top of Lobuche East. The climb up the 6,119m. (20,190ft) peak is part of Himalayan Experience's acclimatisation strategy, whereby the team will stay up there for two nights to adapt their bodies to the high altitude.
‘Moni the Medic’ and ‘Billi the Blogger’
While our team is on its way to the summit of Lobuche or already on their way down, I will be wandering up the Khumbu to meet them at base camp in a few days. Until then there might only be sporadic news, however, given a working internet connection I will try and send you short updates on their progress.
Acclimatisation process in full swing
On Saturday after lunch, all members, guides and some of the Sherpas headed down the valley to Lobuche base camp, where they are staying one night before ascending to high camp at 5,400 metres. Together with our Lobuche climbers Hilde and Stephan, the team will head for the summit on Monday. After topping out they will return to Lobuche East base camp, where they will rest for a couple of days before going back up to sleep on the summit for two nights. With this acclimatisation programme, the expedition cuts out too many trips through the icefall and has the chance to enjoy much better views than from Everest’s Camp 1, which lies on the bottom of the Western Cwm.
Rest, Practice and a Glimpse into the Khumbu Icefall
After having enjoyed a slightly clouded view of Everest from Kala Pattar on Wednesday, the team had a rest day on Thursday. In the afternoon, the guides took the members on a practice course just outside the camp in order to get them ready to scale Lobuche East, where they will be headed to on Saturday.
Buddhist Blessings for a Successful Expedition
Tuesday started as usual with a hot fresh face towel and a cup of tea in bed or rather ‘on the sleeping mat’, which is just the right thing to wake up to in the abnormally cold mornings. “Our oxygen bottles are freezing every night,” Adrian reported from his Blackberry. After some general faffing around the camp and the usually hearty breakfast, the whole team gathered around the Buddhist altar for the traditional Puja in brilliant sunshine.
Home sweet home
The group has finally set foot into their temporary home at 5,350m that has been diligently set up by Himalayan Experience’s Sherpa team over the past three weeks.
Lobuche Base Camp – almost home
The team is currently making its way up to Lobuche village (4,910m), where Himalayan Experience has set up a base camp for the acclimatisation climbs to Lobuche East Peak, which will start next week.
From Phortse to Pheriche
After a sturdy breakfast, the group left Phortse and is now on its way Pheriche, which at 4,600m is the next acclimatisation stop for two days. “It snowed on and off all day on Monday and there are a few centimetres of snow on the ground.
Khumjung Main Square turns into Cricket Pitch
The team has spent its first full rest day in Khumjung and according to our guide Adrian some people took the opportunity to rest, but others leaped into action. “There was a good game of cricket going on in the main square with our team mixed with the local kids,”
The adventure begins
On Thursday morning, the team simply had to roll out of bed, have breakfast on the terrace offering a stupendous view of Boudha, Kathmandu’s famous Buddhist monument, and amble down to the helipad of the Hyatt Hotel to catch their helicopter to the Everest Region.
Himex Spring Season is kicking off
It’s the last week in March and Kathmandu is teeming with mountaineers, no matter whether they are first timers or old hands, who have come here to fulfil their dreams. The members of this year’s Himex expedition have also trickled in slowly and all the Everest climbers and guides have arrived at the Hyatt Hotel to get ready for their adventure.