Everest 2013 Expedition Dispatches
Update – May 22, 2013
Below is the summit list. More details of the times will come later. Phil, Margaret, Edita, Ole, Pasang Ongchu, Tarki, AngGelu, Pemba, Pasang Gelu, Lhakpa Tenzing, and Chongba. The team is expected to be back in Kathmandu on the 25th, while Phil and the Sherpas have the arduous task of packing, and will return to Kathmandu on the 27th.
Everyone is safe and well. The team is in the process of descending to a lower elevation and once there, an update will be posted with much greater detail. We did have some team members summit and some team members turn around due to very cold conditions.
Update – May 21, 2013 – Camp 3
The team is now at Camp 3. They are resting before the summit push tonight.
Update – May 20, 2013 – Camp 2
The team is remaining at Camp 2 and will proceed to Camp 3 tomorrow. The wind speeds were double what were predicted, making it a risk for frostbite. This means the target summit date is now May 22.
Dispatch #25– May 19, 2013 – Camp 2
The team and all our Sherpas are now at Camp 2 at 7,800 meters (25,590 feet). The weather is beautiful. There is no wind, and it was actually too hot during the ascent.
Dispatch #24 – May 18, 2013 – Camp 1
9 members and 13 Sherpas have safely reached Camp 1. Holly is now back in Kathmandu. A Chinese team with 6 clients and their Tibetan guides reached the summit on the 17th. The team on the 18th did not summit.
Dispatch #23 – May 16, 2013 – Advanced Base Camp
I am deeply saddened to hear the news that a friend of mine, whom I have climbed alongside with in Pakistan several times before, has died on the south side of Everest. I send my condolences to Alexei Bolotov's family and friends. He was one of the strongest climbers I have ever known and the Himalaya has lost another legend way too early.
This morning the team consulted the latest weather forecast and collectively made a decision on our summit date. Several teams are now moving up from advanced base camp hoping to make the summit from the 17th onwards. We have opted to play it safe and avoid the larger groups' summit days and go when the wind speeds are predicted to be at their lowest. All going to plan, we should leave advanced base camp on the 18th for the North Col. We will spend the following evenings at camp two (7,800m) and camp three (8,300m) respectively before hopefully reaching the summit on the morning of the 21st.
We will post short messages from the high camps letting everyone know of our progress.
Dispatch #22 – May 14, 2013 – Advanced Base Camp
The group has just returned to advanced base camp after spending the night at the North Col. We had hoped to complete a second rotation to the Col some time ago but we kept finding excuses with the weather.
We combined this rotation with a possible early summit attempt but as our weather forecast had predicted, the winds were too strong to venture safely above the North Col without the chance of frostbite injuries.
The team will now rest for a few days here at ABC and then we hope to summit sometime from the 20th onwards when the forecast predicts the high winds to drop.
Dispatch #21 – May 12, 2013 – Advanced Base Camp
Acting on our latest weather forecast the team decided to make a 5am departure from base camp yesterday for advanced base camp. Most of the team completed the walk in between 5 to 8 hours. The high winds and jet stream that have been constant over the mountain recently are meant to leave the region soon so we wanted to make sure we were in position for a summit push.
We are still unsure about any firm plans as the weather changes daily but we hope to make an attempt in this next weather window. It feels good to be back at the higher elevation of 6,400-meters and to join our Sherpa team once again.
All of our oxygen, tents, stoves and fuel are now in position at camp one, two and three respectively and now all we are waiting for is the green light from our professional weather forecast service from Seattle.
Dispatch #20 – May 10, 2013 – Base Camp
Twelve of our Sherpas made a load carry to camp three at 8,300-meters yesterday and today they will once again repeat this carry. Upon reaching high camp yesterday they watched the Tibet rope fixers close to reaching the summit. We have no official word if they fixed all the way to the summit but we hope so. If not completed yesterday, the Tibetans should finish the job today.
We continue to check our professional weather forecast each day looking the lowest wind speeds for our summit attempt. Many teams are making statements when they plan to go but we are still unsure as the winds are still a huge factor for our chosen day.
The team members are keeping healthy although the wait for the summit window is now starting to show and some are now officially bored of base camp life.
The above photos a cool evening at the Junkies base camp and a view of the “Big E” without it's trademark plume, perfect day for rope fixing to the summit.
Dispatch #19 – May 7, 2013 – Base Camp
The weather conditions now seem to be heading in the right direction although maybe not as quick as some of us would like.
The group collectively decided not to make a second tag of the North Col with the high winds we have been experiencing for the past several days at advanced base camp and above. Some of the group had picked up nasty coughs and we wanted to play it safe and keep them down at base camp with the warmer conditions and better food. I am happy to say that all the aches, pains and coughs have now disappeared and the team is a very healthy one indeed.
Our Sherpa crew are now in position at advanced base camp and will make two carries to 8,300-meters over the next few days when the winds are supposed to drop to a manageable level. All the Sherpas are using oxygen above 7,000-meters for load carrying so we are confident they will complete the task even if there are still some winds present.
The team members are keeping their fitness levels up in different ways at base camp. Some are taking daily hikes up the surrounding hills whilst others have their own individual ways of staying in shape while we wait for the summit weather window.
The above photos show our amazing cook, Da Pasang Sherpa, preparing another great meal in his stainless steel kitchen with carpets to avoid dust and Nelson doing his cross fit training to keep in shape for the upcoming summit push.
Dispatch #18 – May 4, 2013 – Base Camp
Base camp continues to be hammered by strong winds and the visible plume coming off the summit from the jet stream is longer than the entire length of the Northeast Ridge. Our latest weather forecast expects the jet stream to stay in position for several more days leaving us stuck down at base camp.
Our Sherpas returned to base camp yesterday after spending two weeks at advanced base camp and above. They explained that advanced base camp is a miserable place indeed at the moment with the constant wind and that many tents belonging to other groups have already been destroyed by the high winds. We know of several teams in position at ABC waiting to climb to the Col but unfortunately the forecasts are not looking so good for the next several days.
We continue to occupy ourselves at base camp and eagerly look forward to each daily weather forecast that will hopefully allow us and the rope fixers to move up the mountain in the next few days.
The above photos show our Sherpas relaxing with beer in their dining tent and some of the team members enjoying the early morning sun waiting for the latest weather forecast.
Dispatch #17 – May 2, 2013 – Base Camp
Our latest weather forecast from Seattle and that of the European forecast both predicts very strong winds on the mountain for the next several days. The jet stream is supposed to be directly above us on the 7th and 8th so with this in mind our Sherpas are now breaking down our advanced base camp to avoid us losing the campsite with the predicted winds. The Sherpas will descend to base camp tomorrow for a well deserved rest.
The team were hoping for around a weeks rest at base camp before heading back up the hill and possibly an early summit attempt. This now is not possible so we will have to find ways of entertaining ourselves for the extra several days we now have at base camp. Javier has now started his daily stretching class inside the movie tent.
The conditions at ABC were pretty bad today according to our Sherpa crew with very strong winds and blizzard like conditions. We have been experiencing some snow and very strong winds all day at base camp so we can just imagine what the conditions are like higher up on the hill.
The above photos courtesy of Ole Mose Nielsen show the entire view of base camp from a high vantage point and Javier demonstrating to Holly the correct way to stretch to stay in shape during the bad weather delay at base camp.
Dispatch #16 – May 1, 2013 – Base Camp
The jet stream is now directly above us for the next few days resulting in very strong winds at base camp and higher on the mountain. With our forecast that also matches other forecasts we have decided to hold off on another rotation until the winds have dropped as we will be unable to tag the North Col again with the predicted high winds.
This morning was the quiet before the storm to say, so our Sherpas took advantage of the good weather early this morning and deposited tents and oxygen at our camp two which lies at 7,900-meters. The Sherpas have now returned to advanced base camp and will resume carries to camp three at 8,300-meters when the winds once again subside.
Nelson insisted that we shall not be outdone by some wannabe Harlem Shake's out there from the south side of Everest so he orchestrated our first of many Junkies Shake's at Tibet base camp and higher.
The above photos show the stillness of the “Big E” early this morning and the opening scene from the Junkies Shake take one which can be seen in full on You Tube.
Dispatch #15 – April 29, 2013 – Base Camp
The winds continued to hammer the North Col so we decided to descend to base camp yesterday. The team seemed very pleased upon arriving as our head cook Da Pasang Sherpa made sure we had plenty of beer and wine to accompany our daily happy hour. Chris went a step further and broke out his 40-year old cognac for us to taste after dinner.
Our Sherpa crew remained at advanced base camp in anticipation of the winds dropping. Today they made their final carry to the North Col and if the weather allows they will start to carry loads to camp two and three respectively over the next several days. The Sherpas use oxygen to carry loads above 7,000-meters and they will each have two bottles for their two carries to the high camp at 8,300-meters.
The team are now catching up with emails and blogging as they were off the grid for a week at advanced base camp. We decided to use the BGAN's at ABC for weather forecasts only and not for blogs so they could focus on the objective in front of them. I'm not sure on how happy they were about this but it doesn't seemed to harmed them too much not having all their gadgets with them for the past week.
We are now in the relaxed stage after our first rotation and will make some decisions over the next few days for when we plan to return to advanced base camp.
The above photos show some of the team in our communications tent blogging away and Chris taking full advantage of one of our two chill out domes.
Dispatch #14 – April 27, 2013 – Advanced Base Camp
The plan this morning was to take a 5.30 am breakfast and be on our way to the Col at 6 am. Unfortunately we received some snow last night at advanced base camp and we know there is more at the Col and on the route. With the constant winds present all evening we collectively decided this morning that the chance of a wind slab on the route was too great and we held everyone, both Sherpas and team members back at ABC.
As I am writing this dispatch our tents are being thrown around and I can only imagine the conditions up higher on the face for climbers heading to the Col today.
We will continue to monitor our weather forecasts that have been correct so far and then make a decision if we are able to reach the Col once again on this rotation. If we receive more precipitation this evening coupled with the winds hammering the face we will descend to base camp.
The above photos show our ABC before the present bad weather and the mad crazy winds hammering the Col and Face today.
Dispatch #13 – April 26, 2013 – Advanced Base Camp
Yesterday, our team members made their first foray up the North Col. The weather started out fine but halfway up the Col the winds picked up and near the top of the Col, the winds were unmanageable. Most of the team members made the wise decision to descend just 100-meters below the Col to avoid any cold injuries. The Sherpas and I carried onto the Col and we rewarded with being blown off our feet after depositing our loads at our campsite. All is well with all the team members and Sherpas.
The plan is to rest today and then if the weather allows we will make another climb up the Col tomorrow. We are using these first rotations to get as high as possible as we do not plan to sleep at the Col until the summit push.
The good news is that we witnessed the Tibetan Guides fixing ropes to the high camp at 8,300-meters yesterday. Our Sherpas have over 100 bottles of oxygen already at the North Col so after a few days rest they will start to ferry the necessary oxygen to camp two and three respectively. We are very pleased to state the fact that all of our Sherpas use oxygen for load carrying above 7,000-meters and we think we are one of the few companies that give their Sherpa staff members the same amount of oxygen as the western team members.
The above photos courtesy of Nelson Dellis show a climber approaching the North Col and looking down at climbers ascending the Col.
Dispatch #12 – April 24, 2013 – Advanced Base Camp
Today 12 of our Sherpas carried 60 bottles of oxygen to the North Col. The route is more direct than last season and as usual they made great time and were back at ABC for lunch.
Tomorrow the entire team will try and go as high as possible, some tagging the Col before returning to ABC. The weather forecast predicts some high winds so we will play it safe and retreat if the conditions are too cold.
The Sherpas will make another load carry tomorrow ferrying more oxygen and tents as well as fuel to the Col in anticipation for the higher camps.
The above photos show our all important oxygen and the Sherpas loading their packs for a half day carry to the Col.
Dispatch #11 – April 23, 2013 – Advanced Base Camp
Yesterday the complete team arrived at advanced base camp at an elevation of 6,400-meters. The Sherpas had done a great job of erecting our heated and carpeted dining tent and kitchen as well as 18 Mountain Hardwear sleeping tents.
The group had spent the evening of the 21st at intermediate base camp and we elected to spend only one evening at this campsite because of the bad water source and the fact that the yaks graze here on the way to advanced base camp.
We shall spend the next two days resting in camp and then make our first rotation to the North Col hopefully on the 25th if all the team members feel like it. Our Sherpas will make a second carry to the Col tomorrow as they have already tagged the Col several days ago to rope off our campsite.
The above photos show the view of the summit from advanced base camp and the Team Junkies in their comfortable dining tent at ABC.
Dispatch #10 – April 19, 2013 – Base Camp
Another day at base camp sees the group further acclimatizing for the big jump to advanced base camp in a few days. Our Sherpas are now establishing advanced base camp and tomorrow several of them will carry loads to the North Col whilst the others will continue to dig tent platforms in anticipation of the team members arrival at ABC.
Not much other news to report on except that the word around base camp is that the Tibetan Guides from the Tibet Guide School in Lhasa have already fixed ropes to high camp two at 7,900 meters. We hope that this news is correct and that they can continue with their fast progress and get the ropes fixed to camp three at 8,300-meters in the next several days if the weather allows.
The above photo courtesy of Nelson Dellis shows nearly a full Altitude Junkies team except for four Tibetan Kitchen staff who were too busy fetching water and the like to be available for the group photo.
Dispatch #9 – April 18, 2013 – Base Camp
Today we sent our first 60 yak loads to advanced base camp at 6,400-meters. Each yak carries 40 kg therefore we have sent 2,400 kg on the first carry. The majority of our Sherpas have now left base camp and will establish interim base camp today. Tomorrow they will continue with the yaks to advanced base camp.
The team members still have a few more nights here at base camp and if all goes to plan should be at interim camp on the 21st and advanced base camp on the 22nd respectively. We will send another 30-40 yak loads with the team members on the 21st.
Base camp now has all this years teams present and we have been told by the resident Liaison Officer that they are ten teams on this side of the mountain with roughly one hundred foreign climbers. These numbers are very encouraging as it means we should not experience any bottlenecks on summit day hopefully.
The above photo courtesy of Margaret Watroba shows some of the team members enjoying the afternoon of the Puja inside our movie tent sheltered from the strong afternoon winds experienced at base camp.
Dispatch #8 – April 17, 2013 – Base Camp
Yesterday we held our Puja ceremony. It started out with beautiful weather and no wind as three monks from the Rongbuk Monastery performed the service. We then brought the party inside as the wind picked up and there was dancing and card playing for most of the afternoon. As usual the Sherpas enjoyed the Puja day and consumed several cases of Tuborg beer before their hard work begins in a few days time.
We have scheduled the first of our yak loads to head to interim and then advanced base camp on the 18th and 19th respectively. The Sherpas will establish our advanced base camp and hopefully get some loads to the North Col if the weather allows.
Our team members will rest for a few more days and then make the trek to interim base camp at 5,800-meters where we will spend one night before heading to advanced base camp at 6,400- meters. There we will rest for a few days and hopefully be able to make our first rotation to the North Col.
The above photos show our climbing gear ready to be blessed during our Puja ceremony and my dear friend Margaret Watroba and myself before the Puja. Margaret, aka “Super Gran” by the Australian media is participating on her 6th 8,000-meter expedition. She is hoping to add the summit of Everest by the North Ridge to her other 8,000-meter summits as well as her Everest south side summit in 2011.
Dispatch #7 – April 15, 2013 – Base Camp
We arrived at base camp yesterday and found our campsite already nearly complete. The Sherpas had done a fantastic job of erecting eighteen Mountain Hardwear tents, six large dining/comms tents and two toilet/shower tents. When the team arrived we erected three large domes and then called it a day.
Ole has configured our wireless internet so now we can all check our emails and update our blogs. This afternoon we will set up our projector and hopefully be able to watch some movies this evening.
The plan is to spend seven evenings here at base camp before heading to interim base camp and then advanced base camp at 6,400 meters.
Tomorrow is our Puja so I am not sure if I will be able to blog after the event going on recent Junkies Puja's.
The above photos show the Junkies base camp and Robert, Markus and Ed chilling in one of our two chill out domes.
Dispatch #6 – April 12, 2013 – Tingri
We crossed the border surprisingly smoothly on the morning of the 10th. We were glad that we spent the night at Kodari at our friend's Krishna's new hotel allowing us to be the first group to cross into Tibet that day. We continued up to Nyalam at 3,600 meters for the customary two nights to aid acclimatization. I think I had described the town of Nyalam and the conditions pretty accurately to the team members and they were not that shocked upon our arrival.
Today we have arrived in Tingri at an elevation of 4,340 meters. We will spend two nights here again to aid our acclimatization before heading to base camp on the 14th.
Our Sherpas are now establishing base camp and are planning to send yaks loads to advanced base at 6,400 meters in the upcoming days. They will spend a few days establishing this camp and then will start to ferry loads to camp one on the North Col if the weather conditions allow.
All the team are doing well and looking forward to our Sherpa cooked meals once we arrive at base camp. It's quite refreshing to be driving to base camp with just a handful of other teams. Initial reports say that there are around 90 western climbers on the north side of Everest this year compared to a lot more in the more crowded south side.
The above photos show Ed and Robert styling in their Chinese robes in Nyalam and the view of Everest from our hotel in Tingri.
Dispatch #5 – April 9, 2013 – Kodari
We are now finally on our way after a three day delay stuck in Kathmandu. The plan was to enter Tibet on the 7th but had to settle with the 10th as supposedly the CTMA do not have sufficient number of vehicles available for all the groups to enter around the same time so they have staggered the entry dates.
The group has been fantastic with the delay but we are all now glad to be in Kodari and ready to cross the border in the morning. We choose to spend the evening here so we don't have to make such an early start in the morning from Kathmandu.
Our delay has allowed us to finally locate a missing members bag and to visit with some friends, mostly well-known mountaineers who are always in Kathmandu for the spring climbing season.
Hopefully we have no more delays and we enter Tibet without a hitch and the drive to base camp is uneventful.
The above photos show one of Finland's premier high altitude climbers, Sammuli Mansikka with his girlfriend at the Courtyard Hotel and Turkey's 8,000-meter machine, Tunc Findik with myself relaxing at the Courtyard before we depart for the hills. Sammy is heading to Makalu for hopefully his 7th and Tunc to Shishapangma for hopefully his 8th 8,000-meter summit respectively. We wish them both safe travels this spring.
Dispatch #4 – April 7, 2013 – Kathmandu
We have an extra few days here in Kathmandu so we are exploring ways to share our Everest expedition to our followers back home. The above video is courtesy of Berta Tilmantaite, a Lithuanian filmmaker who is documenting Edita Nichols's ascent of Everest.
Dispatch #3 – April 6, 2013 – Kathmandu
We have received our expedition permit and are now planning to cross the Tibet border on the 10th, the same day as last year. We were hoping to cross the border a few days earlier but the CTMA have informed us that the extra trucks and extra jeeps we have requested are not scheduled to arrive at the border until the 9th. The slight delay actually works in our favor as we still have one members bag missing from the flight to Kathmandu.
There is a bandha (general strike) happening in Nepal on the 7th and possibly the 8th. These strikes paralyze daily life in Kathmandu forcing businesses to close their doors and leaving the roads void of traffic. The bandha is not official yet (they never really are) but rumors are flying around town and with this in mind we have decided to stay close to our hotel for a couple of extra days rather than attempting to drive to a nearby hillside resort where we may get stuck if the bandha continues for several days.
The team officially met as a group at the hotel for the first time yesterday and we discussed the plan for the climb. Many of the group are 8,000-meter veterans and one of the members has already reached the summit of Everest from the south side. Many have climbed on Manaslu and other peaks such as Ama Dablam before. We have a real nice relaxed team and again I think we are in for an enjoyable two months ahead of us.
With a couple of extra unplanned days in Kathmandu the team members are enjoying the bonus downtime as well as running errands with last minute gear purchases and visiting old friends from previous trips whilst others are enjoying the tranquil setting of our hotel.
The above photos show the team members at the informal first team meeting at the Courtyard Hotel and the group enjoying our first group dinner in one of our favorite restaurants in Thamel.
Dispatch #2 – April 4, 2013 – Kathmandu
The Junkies team members are now starting to arrive in Kathmandu meeting at the Hotel Courtyard in Thamel. A few of the team are minus their luggage so we will spend the next several days trying to locate their gear. We still have to finalize some packing of food and gear before we leave the Nepalese capital for the drive to the Tibet border.
Our expedition this year has several former Junkies climbers and we welcome back old friends and look forward to making new ones. The team has six different nationalities of climbers, seven including our all important Nepal Sherpas. The climbers are listed alphabetically:
Phil Crampton (UK/USA)
Nelson Dellis (USA)
Javier Fernandez (Spain)
Christopher Goodwin (UK)
Robert Kay (USA)
Ole Mose Nielsen (Denmark)
Edita Nichols (Lithuania)
Markus Roth (Australia)
Edward Searle (UK)
Margaret Watroba (Australia)
Holly Wright (UK)
The above photos show our Kathmandu home for next several days, the Hotel Courtyard and some of the team members enjoying this exquisite boutique hotel on a warm Kathmandu evening.
Dispatch #1 – March 31, 2013 – Kathmandu
The annual Altitude Junkies Everest expedition is about to start and sees our staff busy packing at our Kathmandu office. We are pleased to have our regular crew of Sherpa and Tibetans under the directorship of our famous Sirdar, Dorjee 'IMAX' Sherpa. This years staff supporting the expedition are as follows:
Dorjee Sherpa (Sirdar)
Pasang Ongcho Sherpa
Kami Neru Sherpa
Pasang Nima Sherpa
Chhongba Nurbu Sherpa
Ang Gelu Sherpa
Fu Dorjee Sherpa
Pemba Zyabu Sherpa
Pasang Gelu Sherpa
Lakpa Tenzing Sherpa
Lakpa Dorjee Sherpa
Da Pasang Sherpa (Head Cook)
Pemba Ngtar Sherpa (ABC Cook)
Our team members will start to arrive in Kathmandu in the next few days and will spend some quality time relaxing at the awesome Courtyard Hotel in Thamel before we head to the Tibet border and start the drive to base camp.
The above photos show our Sherpa team at our Kathmandu office packing food and cutting new carpets for our kitchens.
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