Dispatches

On their first acclimatization rotation, the team is sleeping at Camp 2 (6533m/21,434ft).  They are spending a couple of nights there before descending back to base camp.  Here’s Garrett’s recap of the day:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Mount Everest climb.  Today we woke up at 5am at Camp 1, had some breakfast, got packed up and then climbed up to Camp 2.  We had a beautiful day, the Sun was out and it wasn’t too hot.  We made our way around some big cevasses and got up to Camp 2 here about mid-day, had lunch, and now just relaxing and getting ready for dinner and a good night’s rest.  Everybody’s doing really well up here and we look forward to a couple nights up at Camp 2 and then we will head back down to base camp.  Thanks!

 

Durning today’s acclimatization hike above Camp 1, the team had a scary moment and needed to perform a crevasse rescue as expedition leader, Garrett Madison reports:

Hey, this is Garrett calling in for the Mount Everest expedition team. Today we had a good acclimatization hike above Camp 1 here in the Western Cwm on Mount Everest. However, one of our team members punched through a snow bridge into a hidden crevasse and fell down about 10 or 15 feet. But, thanks to quick action by our guide team and some other friends who were on route, he was able to get out of the cevasse quickly and without any injuries or complications. So big thanks to Ryan Waters and Tashi Sherpa from Mountain Professionals who were on the scene and helped out. All’s well that ends well. So we are all back in Camp 1 having a good dinner and looking forward to a move up to Camp 2 tomorrow. Thanks for checking in.

Crevasse rescue 1

Crevasse rescue

Crevasse rescue 2

Crevasse rescue

Crevasse rescue 3

Crevasse rescue

Crevasse rescue 4

Crevasse rescue

Camp 1 from above

Camp 1 from above

Hanging out at Camp 1

Hanging out at Camp 1

Today the team made their first climb up through the Khumbu Icefall and is spending the night at Camp 1.  Garrett provides this update from Camp 1 (6055m/19,865ft) on Everest:

Hey, this is Garrett calling in for the Mount Everest climbing team.  Happy Easter!  We are up at Camp 1 on Mount Everest.  We had a great climb today up through the Khumbu Icefall from base camp to Camp 1, gained about 2,000 ft. (610m).  It was a beautiful night, a Moonlit night, almost didn’t need a headlamp to see.  Then the Sun rose and eventually it warmmed up.  Just a beautiful day, a really fun day.  Easy climb through the icefall relatively – it didn’t feel too dangerious.  So we are all up here at Camp 1 and our plan is to spend a couple of nights here before heading to Camp 2.  All is well.

Climbing up through the icefall

Climbing up through the icefall

Randy Perkins at a rest break

Randy Perkins at a rest break

Nearing the top of the icefall

Nearing the top of the icefall

Look back toward base camp

Look back toward base camp

The Everest team is preparing for the first rotation up the mountain – early in the morning on April 21.  Network connectivity at base camp was very poor and expedition leader, Garrett Madison, made this audio dispatch via satellite phone.  The audio quality is poor – below is our best attempt at a transcription.  Today, our team assisted in flying over 700 kg of rope fixing equipment to Camp 2.  This gear will soon be used by our Sherpa team in fixing the route to the summit.  The return flight brought down almost 190 kg of trash that was collected by our Sherpa team over the past few days at Camp 2.

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Mount Everest climbing team.   Today our team ventured into the Icefall and climbed up to the first few ladders.  We got some great views of base camp, and then came back down for lunch.  So, it was a good exprience for us to get a sense of what the Icefall feels like.  [garbbled] [Tonight] our plan is to leave base camp and climb up  to Camp 1 to start our first rotation on Everest aclimitizing […garbbled…] then back to base camp.

 

We got to help this afternoon with the helicopter operations to shuttle rope fixing equipment to Camp 2 [for placing the fixed lines up the route to the summit of Mount Everest] and we also flew down almost 190 kg of trash, that our Sherpas collected, that was left by teams in the past at Camp 2.  So, great job to our Sherpa who worked hard the past few days up there collecting that trash and bagging it up.  Then putting in the helicopter for flying down to base camp here.  We were able to […garbbled…]

 

Great day on Everest today, very productive and possitive day!

With ~700 kg rope fixing equipment at helipad

With ~700 kg rope fixing equipment at helipad

Loading the helicopter

Loading the helicopter at EBC

Helicopter pilot Maurizio Folini flying loads to camp 2

Helicopter pilot Maurizio Folini flying loads to camp 2

Flying into the Western Cwm

Flying into the Western Cwm

Everest Camp 2

Everest Camp 2

187 kg of trash our team collected from Camp 2 and flew to EBC

187 kg of trash our team collected from Camp 2 and flew to EBC

The Everest team did some acclimatizing today with a hike above base camp.  While taking in the views, they reflected on the tragedy that occurred in Khumbu Icefall five years ago on this day.  Garrett Madison has this update:

Hi, this is Garrett calling in for the Mount Everest expedition team.  Today we had a great day in remembrance of the April 18, 2014, Khumbu Icefall avalanche that killed 16 Sherpas.  We took a rest day and went on a hike up above base camp.  We had beautiful views across base camp, up onto Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse; the whole valley really.  Just a spectacular day, no clouds initially.  Took our time come back down to base camp.  Had a nice lunch and just been taking it easy today.  Just a really, really great day here at Everest base camp.  Saw a lot of friends, got to catch up with other teams here in base camp.

 

Tomorrow we will get back to our training here in the Khumbu Icefall in preparation for a move up to Camp I, probably on the 21st of April.  All’s well here!  Thanks for checking in!

View from prayer flag point

View from prayer flag point

The Everest team conducted training in the Icefall above base camp today.  Garrett Madison provides the day’s summary:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Mount Everest climbing team.  Today we had a training day at base camp.  We went out onto the glacier and practiced ascending fixed lines, repelling down vertical sections, climbing ladders and just getting comfortable with the different types of climbing techniques necessary to go up through the Khumbu Icefall.  Today was our second training day.  Everybody did really good.  We had great weather.  So, it was nice to be out today – some sunshine, some warmth, and then, as usual, it clouded up in the afternoon.  But, we are doing well.  We’re going to train tomorrow as well and then go on an acclimatization hike the following day.  So, all good here at Everest base camp.  Thanks for checking in!

 

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[ NOTE from Kurt:  you may have read about the accident on Sunday at the same Lukla airport used by our team and nearly all climbers and trekkers in the Everest region.  We are thankful that no one from our team or staff was involved in the incident that tragically killed the first officer of the aircraft and two police officers on the ground and injured four others.  We send our prayers to all of them. ]

As the team settles into life at base camp, one of the first orders of business is the truly wonderful and deeply spiritual Puja Ceremony.  Typically a Lama priest will travel up the valley to base camp and conduct a half-day ceremony at the purposely built alter that the team’s Sherpa and support team have painstakingly constructed.  This ceremony is the essential step of prayer for safe passage for all that will be travelling on the mountain.  Expedition leader, Garrett Madison, provides this update of the team’s activities:

Hi, this is Garrett checking in for the Mount Everest climbing team.  We had a wonder Puja ceremony in base camp where a Buddhist  Lama came up.  And we asked the mountain for safe passage for all of our climbers and Sherpas.  Now we are heading out training in the Khumbu Ice Fall, practicing fixed line climbing techniques, repelling and ladder crossing.  Everybody’s doing good here in base camp.  We’ve got some sunshine today, so it’s a nice change from yesterday which was mostly cloudy.

 

We are looking forward to a few days of training here before getting ready to head up to the higher camps in about a week’s time,  All’s well here in base camp.  Thanks!

The Sun presents a good omen

The Sun presents a good omen

MM team after puja ceremony

Checking in from their home for the next 6 weeks or so, expedition leader Garrett Madison provides this update:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the Mount Everest expedition team.  Today we had our first full day in base camp.  We woke up to decent weather – some sun, had a little walkabout around camp to get the lay of the land and put the finishing touches on our camp to dial in everything – getting it just the way we want it.  Everyone’s doing really well.  We had a wonderful dinner here, we’re watching a movie and looking forward to good night’s rest.  Tomorrow we are going to take it easy as well, just acclimatizing, resting, and hopefully do our Puja ceremony, if the Lama can make it up here.  So, all good here in Everest base camp.  Thanks!

Welcome to Everest base camp!  Today the team completed the final leg of the trek from Gorak Shep (5164m/16,942ft) to base camp (5364m/17,598ft).  Everest guide Stuart Robertson provides today’s update:

Hey folks!  Stuart here with Madison Mountaineering.  Just checking in with progress today.  I’m pleased to report the whole team is up at Everest base camp, the staging point for our climb ahead.  Beautiful day today.  We left Gorak Shep this morning and followed up the lateral moraine of the glacier.  Nice, easy day, got into base camp and quite a testament to Garrett and the Sherpa team and [guide] Conan [Bliss] about beautiful this place is (!), and luxurious.

 

The team’s all doing really well, we’re listening to Stevie Nicks at the moment, having some fun.  We just had a great dinner from Deepak, an Indian meal this evening, some cake for desert.  A little bit different from I was here last in the mid 1990’s.  Joyce [Azzam] is saying something in the background, but we are ignoring her because she did this cast yesterday.  So maybe Joyce can do it again in the future.  But again, everyone sends their love.  Thanks for tuning in.  Tomorrow’s going to be a little bit of an active rest day.  We’re just gonna walk around base camp, probably meet some friends, maybe visit HRA, the doctors at base camp, and breath some of that thinner air to continue the aclimitization.  Again, thanks alot for tuning in and bye for now!  (team shouting byes in the background)

Leaving Gorak Shep for base camp

Leaving Gorak Shep for base camp

At the top of Kala Patthar

At the top of Kala Patthar

View from Kala Patthar

View from Kala Patthar

First close up view of Everest approaching base camp

First close up view of Everest approaching base camp

 

Team member Joyce Azzam (@joyceazzam7s) provides today’s Everest expedition dispatch from the final village before base camp, Gorak Shep:

Okay, hello Kurt.  How are you?  So, today is Thursday, 11th of April.  We left the lodge from Lobuche village at 8 am.  We had a beautiful hike.  The views…, we just…, we got Everest, can you imagine?  It was really beautiful blue sky.  All the team got to Gorak Shep now.  All the team got really in good shape and we had a wonderful lunch.  Then, after an hour of break, we went to Kala Patthar.  We all summited together.  One of the team members had a very nice interview with a French channel.  Then we just hang out, played cards, and had dinner.  We just send you lots of kisses.

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