Leaving Base Camp
“Our base camp is pretty much packed up in barrels and boxes, and I am very relieved that all our Sherpas have finished their last trip through the icefall,” Russell said when he rang me a few days after everyone had left base camp to either walk or fly to Kathmandu.
Summit Success on Everest
On 23rd May 2013, 22 Himalayan Experience members, guides and Sherpas reached the top of Mount Everest between 4.40am and 5.40am. “It was actually a pretty uneventful day. My team left Camp IV, climbed the mountain and came back down again. The only thing I would say is: It was a long way,” Russell said tongue in cheek when everyone was on their way back down to Camp II.
Everyone Safe at Camp 3
After a well-deserved rest day at 6,400m, our Everest team left Camp 2 at 6am on Tuesday morning to move up to Camp 3, edging their way towards the summit of Mount Everest, where they are due to arrive on 23rd May.
While our Lhotse and Nuptse teams were climbing their respective mountains, life at base camp continued with its various ups and downs.
Lhotse and Nuptse success; Everest aiming to summit on 23rd May
We are right on schedule and the ropes on Mount Everest have been fixed all the way to the South Col at 7,900m while the ropes are only 150m short of the summit of Lhotse. The Himex Sherpas also used the low-wind-period and fixed the route on Nuptse all the way to 7,400m.
After four nights at Camp 2 at 6,400m and one night at Camp 3 at 7,350m the whole team, including Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse members, is back at base camp enjoying the luxuries everyone has been missing higher up. “This is like coming home and I feel like in paradise,” said Herbert as he was coming out of the shower.
On Sunday, 28th April, our five guides, Woody, Suzanne, Shinji, Bruce and Francois as well as two of our members, Evelyne from Switzerland and David from the UK together with Ang Karma and Nima Sherpa went for a reconnaissance trip to Camp I. They left base camp at 2.30am and they actually had a good run through the icefall until about 5am, when all of a sudden frantic shouting filled the maze of ice. “For f*** sake, run,” Woody screamed. The reason for the panic in the treacherous Khumbu Icefall was that huge ice seracs were tumbling down towards our team, who had just arrived at the top of the icefall moving to Camp 1.
Life behind the scenes goes on, while members ‘hurry up and wait’
Now that the rope fixing schedule is more or less set, the blogger is back ‘in town’ and the communication is working more smoothly, we will be back on track with our newsletters. Once again, apologies for the delay but fortunately it happened before things are getting more serious on the mountain and our teams are moving to the higher camps. At the moment it seems rather slow, however, a lot is happening behind the scenes and the Sherpas are working hard on the hill.
Apologies for the silence, however, the satellite system had failed us for a few days and we were cut off from the rest of the world for a while. Now we are back in communicado and a lot has happened since we posted our last newsletter.
"There is not much to report from here," said Russell when I contacted him on the radio. "Everyone is feeling good and it is nice that the teams are finally together." While most people are at Everest Base Camp, our Japanese guide Shinji, Lhotse member Naoki and two Japanese trekkers are on their way to the summit of Lobuje East.
The Everest team is only one day away from Base Camp whereas the Lhotse/Nuptse crew has just arrived in Pheriche, where they will be spending another rest day before heading up to the comforts of our Lobuje camp.
"Everything is ready for the team to arrive, said Russell, who had gone ahead to make sure everything is running smoothly at base camp. "We are in our usual spot and the Sherpas have done a great job setting up the camp."
While our two groups are trekking up the Khumbu to reach base camp in a few days, the Himex Sherpas have finished setting up our temporary home for the next seven weeks. According to reports from base camp, it is cold and snowy, which bodes well for a better season compared to the warm weather of 2012.
The Everest team has stayed one night in Phortse and is now slowly peeling themselves out of their warm sleeping bags to get ready for their trek up to Pheriche.
All Himex members, guides and base camp staff have now arrived in the Everest region trekking up to base camp, where the first team should arrive around 12th April. “The team has gelled well and everyone seems in good spirits,” our guide Woody told me on the phone while they were sitting in Phurba Tashi’s lodge in Khumjung having a beer and playing cards. “Tomorrow we will either go and visit the Everest View Hotel or just walk up the hill behind the village. Other than that we should relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.”
Enjoying the clean air in Namche and Khumjung
After a sturdy breakfast in Phakding, the first stop on the trek, the Himalayan Experience team ambled along the Dudh Kosi River and made its way up the steep hill to Namche Bazaar, the Sherpa capital at an altitude of 3,300m (12,303ft). They are now inside the Sagarmatha National Park, which was created in 1976 and became a Natural World Heritage site in 1979. It is an important breeding ground for rare birds and ranges in elevation from 2,845 m (9,334 ft) at Jorsalle to 8,848 m (29,029 ft) at the summit of Mount Everest.
Himex team heading off to the Everest region.
Surely but slowly trekkers and climbers are arriving in Kathmandu, hotel lobbies are filling up with expedition leaders sorting their gear before they head off into the mountains and climbers are rushing around in the Nepalese capital to do their last minute shopping. It’s obviously Everest season and like every spring, ‘Sagarmatha’ (the Nepali name for Everest) will certainly be the most frequented peak this spring.