Newsletter #1518 May 2013
Lhotse and Nuptse success; Everest aiming to summit on 23rd May
Even though Himalayan Experience has been fairly quiet on the Internet over the past few days, our Sherpas, guides and members have been very busy on the mountain, where real expedition life is happening.
After five hard days of rope fixing by Tashi, Ngima, Rita Dorjee and Phinjo Sherpa, our three members Ellen Miller, JingWang and your blogger Billi Bierling as well as our guide Francoise Marsigny summited this technical 7,864m peak on 16th May. “I am so happy we did it, however, without the ropes fixed by our Sherpas, this dream would not have come true for us,” said Ellen Miller from the United States.
The British mountain guide Kenton Cool and the Spanish mountaineer Alex Txikon also took advantage of the fixed ropes and summmited the same day. “The Sherpas did a great job and the route was fantastic,” I heard Kenton express his gratitude for the rope fixing via the radio to Russell.
Considering that the four Sherpas were fixing the rope to the summit the day before the team topped out, joined them on their summit attempt and went back up on the day after to pull some of the rope off the mountain, shows once again the strength of our high altitude workers. “I am very proud that my Sherpa team was involved in the rope fixing work on three mountains,” said Russell. “And I can tell that they are also very proud of it. Fixing the rope on Nuptse was a new thing for them and it was important to them get to the summit before the members did.”
View from Lhotse summit
On the following day, the 17th May, our three Lhotse members, Chieko Shimada, Rene Bergsmaa and Naoki Ishikawa together with our guide Suzanne Huesser and four of our Sherpas reached the top of Lhotse. Even though Russell considered the winds too strong to attempt Mount Everest that day, it was within the limits for Lhotse as the climbers were on the south-west side and well-protected.
Everest team getting ready to go
For our Everest team it has been a long wait but finally our members, guides and eleven Sherpas will be heading up to Camp 2, where they will have a rest day, on Sunday morning. “I know that sitting here has required a lot of patience but I am sure this weather window will be a great compensation for the long wait,” Russell said during the pre-summit meeting.
During the briefing, Russell showed the weather forecast to the team and emphasised that the 23rd of May had been looking as the best summit day for the last 10 days. “The winds are down to about 10 km/h and this is probably as good as it gets,” he said.
With two teams down and one team up, Russell still has a handful to do before he can completely relax. “I trust that the Everest team is as strong as the Lhotse/Nuptse team and I am confident that you all have the strength to summit Mount Everest,” he explained. “However, do not forget that the top is only half way. Everyone needs to save 30 per cent to get down,” he said in his famous “30 per cent speech”.
So, for the time being, all our Sherpas are back at base camp recovering from their previous summits before they head back up the Khumbu Icefall to assist our Everest group reach the summit on 23rd May. The Lhotse/Nuptse teams are slowly packing their bags and either trek back to Lukla or take a helicopter back to Kathmandu. And our Everest team is getting ready to leave for the Khumbu Icefall in the early hours of Sunday morning.
We wish them all the best and we will certainly keep you posted on their progress.
Billi Bierling at Everest Base Camp