Okay, okay I have not been
eschewing my duties sending updates. No I didn't abandon my post at base camp
to go trekking in the Khumbu...we have had many days of horrendous weather!!!
There was so much fog, snow, and lightening that my laptop battery was drained
as I tried to charge the solar panels in the snow storm and thus why the
4/21: Matt and Scott have
moved to Camp 2 (6100 m; 20,000 ft) today. They will back carry to Camp 1
tomorrow to get the remainder of their cache. They are all doing well and I am
sure they are feeling quite inspired from the team that summited today at 3pm.
As I type (6:37pm) Adrian Hayes & Lakpa Wandi Sherpa are still descending and
are at the Dablam area. As darkness and the fog is encroaching and they have
been climbing since 3 am this morning I am sure they are ready to be back at
Camp 2 where they started from!!!
4/22: A few inches of new
snow are at Camp 2 and Matt & Scott are quite tired from their back carry. In
fact they are still on the ridge just after the Yellow Tower and have not made
it all the way back to camp yet. Scott had a very difficult time on the Yellow
Tower due to losing feeling in his hands on the ascent and at one point gave
up on the overhanging jugging of the fixed lines.
He then dug deep within and
powered up and over the overhanging buttress of the tower afterwards saying, "
(climbing up the Yellow Tower for the second time) was the hardest thing he
had ever done in his life!" (The Yellow Tower is a pitch of 5.9 rock at 20,000
ft). Lars & Laila carried to Camp 2 and moved part of their things today. So,
everyone will have a rest day tomorrow. Matt & Scott still have their dry
hacking high altitude cough and everyone's Oxygen Sats are moderate. I was
able to watch Matt & Scott on the Yellow Tower through the binoculars which
made me feel at least I knew where they are and what they are up to on the
4/23: Rest Day....
10 am check-in: 2" of new
snow at Camp 2. Oxygen Sats: Scott=85, Matt=78. Scott took Diamox last night
but Matt did not; hence, the discrepancy. Lars & Laila still have a cache of
food and gear on the ridge near Camp 1. Scott's hands are doing great today
and have remained warm since. (Scott had some frostbite this winter ice
climbing in Alaska in -20F to -25F with fairly large blebs on his pinky
fingers; hence, the concern and precautionary behavior on his part to keep his
hands warm!) Adrian had a bit of an epic coming down the Grey Tower by himself
in a white out and exhausted so Matt and Scott have decided not to go for the
summit from Camp 2. On the next good weather day they will scout the route to
Camp 3 and/or move to Camp 3 for a summit attempt. Matt and Scott decided
months ago to climb Ama using bivy sacs instead of a tent. Which means they
have versatility and can camp in places that are too small to set up a tent,
which there are many on Ama. Lars & Laila do however have a small mountain
tent which allows a more comfortable time when waiting out weather or bad
conditions. Matt & Scott will be sharing a blueberry crumble freeze dried meal
for lunch today and are quite excited.
At the 5pm check-in it had
snowed most of the day...Scott did not get out of his bivy sack all day except
to kneel over the 4,000 ft face to pee off of. In fact his Bibler Bivy was
anchored in with a #8 Black Diamond stopper & a #1 Cam so as to prevent any
rolling off the ridge in his sleep. Yup, Camp 2 is quite a tight place to
sleep and I don't know if you would call it sleeping....Scott's nice new bivy
kept him snuggly warm and dry in fact it's REALLY long even for a 6 foot tall
guy so he could stuff it full of all the electronic gadgets and clothing one
needs up high. Matt's on the other hand was an older OR version that had been
neglected over the years and showed it up in the wet snow. He reported that
everything of his was damp and he was hoping for any beak in the clouds to try
and dry his things with the sun. Lars & Laila only have a few days (2-3) of
food up at Camp 2 and thus might have to get their cache soon or go down if
the weather doesn't improve....
4/24: 10am check-in: Matt &
Scott are going to re-con the Grey Tower, Gulley and may move to Camp 3 if
possible. They say they have only gotten 3" of new snow but Base Camp received
what seems like more than 3", possibly 5-6". Matt also reports that it is
clear up high with winds out of the east which seems to look like a change in
the weather pattern. Matt & Scott only have 3 days left of food so if they
can't make it up to Camp 3 today then they will have to come down to Camp 1
for the retreat. However, if they do go up to Camp 3 & the head wall looks
stable then they will go for the summit tonight with a 3am start. Lars & Laila
will be getting their food cache below the Yellow Tower today.
5pm check-in: Matt & Scott
are still at Camp 2 getting pummeled with 1 foot of snow. Lars & Laila broke
camp at 12 noon and are retreating to Camp 1. Everyone will be at Base Camp
tomorrow. There are avalanches ripping off the face of Ama and other
surrounding peaks. Scott has officially spent 35 hours in his bivy without
actually leaving the bivy (meaning he has not put on his boots and walked
4/25: 10am check-in: Matt &
Scott are leaving Camp 2 now with only 2 days worth of food left. Lars & Laila
arrived Camp 1 at 7pm last night but still have their cache below the Yellow
Tower they will need to retrieve tomorrow. Lars & Laila will have a rest day
today at Camp 1. Matt & Scott still plan to make it to Base Camp tonight.
5pm check-in: Matt & Scott
are having "the epic of our lives"!!!!! They still have not reached Camp 1 due
to all the snow on the ridge that is making it virtually impassable. They are
still looking forward to Base Camp and will push on in the dark with their
headlamps. They will want food, hot drinks, and tents when they arrive.
8pm check-in: "We are lost in
a white-out somewhere below Camp 1 and above Base Camp. I don't know where the
hell we are and we have set up our bivys for the night. We are so exhausted
and cannot push on until the morning. I have had the toughest day guiding in
technical terrain in my life...." said Matt.
4/26: At 9am after I had my
breakfast, the sun came out to burn the clouds off so I was able to do some
binocular searching of the ridge. No movement at Camp 2 or Camp 1 but I see
one person coming off the summit ridge and footprints in the snow on the ridge
out of base camp. I nearly fall out of my chair in excitement that its Matt &
Scott coming down so I yell to my cook crew that I see them. As I watch the
person he is slowly going uphill & my cook crew tells me of an American who
arrived last night and went up early for a hike. Then as I continue searching
the hill I see two people staggering their way down. Without a question of who
it is I round up the Sirdar and head cook to go up with myself and help the
weary souls with their loads.
10am check-in: I am hiking
up to reach Scott & Matt but I still haven't reached the guys and don't know
exactly what has gone on up there yet. Lars & Laila will try and go get their
cache today but their is so much new snow that they are unsure that they will
make it. Laila is scared! Meanwhile, I am getting heat from the Sirdar who
just got back from a "holiday" to Namche Bazarre to get his daughter her
citizenship card, that we only have a few days to get to Lukla and the Yaks &
porters arrive today to take everything down. I tell Lars & Laila to hurry up
and that we only have a few days left to get to Lukla & Matt chimes in that
they will take their time on that ridge; its deadly if its taken carelessly!!!
I reach Scott & Matt whereupon the Sherpas have already harnessed Scott &
Matt's packs and are heading down. Matt & Scott are staggering like they have
been out drinking at the bar all night long and they say we haven't eaten
dinner in 2 days. I throw them a candy bar and a Luna Bar to eat since they
drank a smores dehydrated meal for their breakfast. Scott staggers down the
hill and Matt sits down and starts complaining saying he dislocated his
shoulder, bent his Petzl ascender in half, broke a Hotwire carabineer, broke
the fixed lines on the Yellow Tower, and ripped a pin out of the granite! I am
dumfounded and don't know what to say except I am glad you two are alive.
5pm check-in: Lars & Laila
tried to get their cache but their was too much snow and they turned back.
They will try again tomorrow morning. We tell them that their lives are more
important than gear and they should keep that in mind when attempting the
ridge again. Laila replies, "my favorite ice axes are up there and they are
not made anymore so I would really like to get them if possible." We tell them
that 3 porters and myself are going up to Camp 1 tomorrow to get Matt &
Scott's cache and some of their stuff if needed.
4/27: 8am check-in: Lars &
Laila will definitely be down in Base Camp tonight whether or not they can get
their cache. I am hiking up farther behind the Sherpas and the weather is
blistering. As I get to a cache at 18,500ft the sherpa have already been up to
Camp 1 and are on their way down in what is now a snow storm. The Sherpas
climbed from 15,200 ft to 19,000 ft in 3.5 hours when it took Matt & Scott 7.5
hours when they moved up! The sirdar said Lars & Laila got the cache and will
eat some food, break camp and be down later. I sighed with relief that
everyone and everything was soon to be off the mountain.
6 pm check-in: The Swedes are
1 hour away from Base Camp and looking forward to Chuldim's food. We told them
we will be awaiting their return with hot drinks in hand. 7:30pm Our Swedes
show up and we are gleefully calling them in through the fog with our chants
and calls. It turned out to be a "Swede" reunion of everyone at Base Camp with
a huge dinner and early bedtime.
4/28: We get up at 6am to
head to Namche Bazarre for what would be a 6-7hr hike for us. It was a great
morning everyone hiking together actually seeing the terrain up to Ama Base
Camp. We all meet up at Thangboche around 1pm at a great bakery for pizzas and
Danishes. Matt, Scott, & I take a detour to a town we had not visited yet
called Kunde to see the medical clinic. However, we didn't make it since it
started sleeting and snowing on us. We stopped at a tea house to warm
ourselves then meandered down to Namche. Kunde is gorgeous with huge boulders
and beautiful flora. We meet up with everyone and are glad to be greeted with
hot drinks and dry clothes. Another good dinner and early bedtime. Matt &
Scott hit the town bar to have a few beers.
4/29: Matt has to deliver our
expedition trash to the SPCC to collect a certificate to try and get our
environmental deposit back ($2,000 US) in Kat. Everyone meanders through the
shops on their way out of town to Monjo where we will stay the night before
heading to Lukla. We are all amazed by the sensory experience we regain with
many people on the trails, yak jams, beautiful children playing on the trail,
the gompas, mani stone walls, chortons, trees and flowers.
4/30: We had organized a plan
for everyone to stick together on the walk to Lukla in case of Maoist
interactions. Everyone split up from the moment we left Monjo and it turned
out to be fine. No issues. Another beautiful, hot, and muggy day hiking as we
descend into the "low-lands" (9,000 ft). We turned up in Lukla, glad to
finally be there, and greeted by Nepalese army guards falling asleep at their
post. We had an amazing dinner complete with an Ama shaped cake and Bakshesh
celebration where we gave all of our help their tips and gifts of clothing. We
sang and danced traditional Sherpa songs until our 9pm bedtime. We had an
early flight the next morning.
5/1: Laila's Birthday!!! We
all get on the plane with much chaos before hand that reminds us we are in
Asia. With a bumpy ride we get into Kat to be greeted by the heat and sun
again. We head to Hotel Nirvana where the name is so appropriate because we
were all so thankful to finally be in Shangra La again. We had a great closing
dinner celebration at the Rum Doodle restaurant which is famous for its
Everest climbing history, Everest summiteers club, and autographs of most
expeditions that come to the Himalayas.
Ama Base Camp Correspondent
The Ascending Path
Dablam, Nepal 22,493ft/6,865m
This Expedition peak is located in the heart of the Khumbu region; Lhotse,
Nuptse, Island Peak and Everest surround it. Ama Dablam is often sited as
the most beautiful peak in the world. From far distances, Ama's steep slopes
and curving ridges draw ones eyes up toward its spectacular summit. Our
route, the South West ridge, requires exposed granite ridge walking,
ascending fixed lines on steep buttresses and snow and ice climbing at high
This trip is combined with our Basecamp Trek.
As one team, we will
journey into the Khumbu region. After our acclimatizing trek to Island Peak
Base Camp, (and optional summit bid) we climb to the scenic Ama Base Camp
near Mingbo. At Base Camp we will enjoy the comfort and reassurance of
Satellite and email communication with the outside world, hand-held radios
for daily team interaction and a spotting scope to view the route up close.
From here, we say goodbye to our Island Peak Team and begin the climbing
process. We will have the assistance of an experienced, fully insured High
Altitude Climbing Sherpa for moving camps up the mountain. We utilize 3 or 4
camps on the mountain, depending on how everyone acclimates. Our Summit day
client to guide ratio will not exceed 2:1. The "A" team will summit first,
with "B" to follow the next day. This method guarantees the best opportunity
for climber safety, service and success.
Digital Altimeter, Barometer, Compass and Thermometer. Time/Date/Alarms.
Chronograph with 24 hour working range. Timer with stop, repeat and up
function. Rotating Bezel. Leveling bubble. Carabiner latch. E.L. 3 second
backlight. Water resistant. 4" x 2-1/4" x 3/4" 2 oz. Requires 1 CR2032
See more here.