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By Colin Wallac

30th April:

Jagged Globe – Leader: David Hamilton UK, Ian Ridley UK, Phil Purdy UK, Jeff Crooke UK, Nick B UK, Bruno B UK, Brett Hammond UK, Cian O’Brolchain (Ireland), Warmer R UK

The team are all back in Base Camp resting for a few days following their second trip onto the mountain. Everyone spent four nights sleeping at Camp 2 (6,400m). The first few nights were uncomfortable for most of the group as they struggled to get used to sleeping at this altitude, but by the end of the trip everyone was coping well with the thin air. The Sherpa cooks (Hem & Lapka) did a good job of keeping everyone well fed and there were no instances of ‘high altitude loss of appetite’. On Thurs 26th the whole team climbed to the foot of the Lhotse face at 6,750m, where they were able to watch a combined team of Sherpa’s place the fixed ropes on the face up the height of Camp 3 (7,300m). In the next few days the ropes will be extended to the south Col at 7,950m. The next day the group had a practice session with the oxygen equipment that they will be using higher on the mountain. They did get a few strange looks from the other climbers in Camp 2 as they walked through Camp and onto the trail leading to Camp 3 wearing oxygen masks. Hopefully this early familiarisation with the masks will prove useful later on in the expedition. The group were able to see a large avalanche sweeping the lower section the Western Cwm as they descended towards Camp 2 in the mid-morning. They later learnt that this had damaged a number of tents in Camp 1. On the return to Base Camp the following day they were pleased to learn that the Jagged Globe Terra Nova tents had withstood the wind blast much better than the tents of others, confirming the fact that these tents, although slightly heavier than their North Face and Mountain Hardwear competitors, are much stronger. The team will be leaving Base Camp early on 1 May for a four-day trip onto the mountain. During this they hope to spend three nights at Camp 2 and a single night at Camp 3. At the same time there Sherpa team will place stores and equipment at Camp 4 on the South Col over the next ten days. If the acclimatisation programme of the team goes well they should be in a position to aim for a summit bid in mid-May, as long as the weather is suitable.

Adventure Consultants – Leader: Victor Saunders UK, Neil Beard UK, Paul Keleher UK

Although the GPS gives a direct line between Base and Camp 2 of only 5.5km; the height gain of 1200m and the winding tortuous route makes for a tiring day. They all welcomed a rest day there today. The jet stream continues to blast the tops of Lhotse and Everest and all night there tents were shaken violently by the descending gusts. Under the current conditions a journey up the Lhotse Face to Camp 3 is out of the question, so tomorrow they plan a trek up the Western Cwm to the base of the Face to reinforce there acclimatization. Meanwhile they wrap up well against the wind and cold, many of them deciding to wear there down suits around the camp. Inspite of the buffeting squalls, they have passed the day in reasonable comfort, drinking tea in the sturdy Camp 2 mess tent. Friends from neighbouring teams have passed by as have conversation and food. Life at 6400m continues to be almost normal.

Himalayan Experience (Walking With The Wounded): Leader: Adrian Ballinger UK, Martin Hewitt UK, Jaco Van Gass South Africa, Karl Hinnett UK, David Wiseman UK, Francis Atkinson UK

Both Yak and Yeti teams have been acclimatising at Camp 2. “Everyone is doing great and they are actually eating well up here,” Adrian said over the radio. The main thing for the climbers at Camp 2 is to acclimatise and rest, however, they have walked to the Bergschrund, which marks the beginning of the Lhotse Face. The Yeti team, which was the first to arrive at Camp 2, is due to be back at Base Camp on 2nd May. The Yaks should be back on 3rd May,

Summit Climb – David O’Brien UK, Richard Maybank UK

All members of the team arrived safely back at Base Camp on the 27 April. The last few days of sloth-like behaviour have been critical in allowing them to recover from various small ailments, like the Khumbu cough and colds. While at Base Camp, these ailments may seem insignificant, but at higher elevations, they can quickly become debilitating, forcing them to go down earlier than planned. Tomorrow, in the wee hours of the morning, the majority of the team will be heading back up the Khumbu icefall once more. This time, they will bypass Camp 1 and go directly to Camp 2 where they will be spending some 4-5 nights.  There foray will also include a trip up to Camp 3 as the lines on the Lhotse face are now fixed and ready.

Alpine Ascents – Mark Shuttleworth UK, Leanna Shuttleworth UK, Laurence Clark UK

The team rounded the Puja at 3am this morning kicking off their second rotation up Mount Everest. The day began at 2am with scrambled eggs, bacon, and wild berry walnut steal cut oats for a protein packed way to kick off the rotation. The team moved all the way to Camp 2 in good style. They are getting ready for a nice dinner before settling in for the night. Meanwhile, in Base Camp, Jenny tamed the stove while Joey whipped up a batch of his famous Honey, Oatmeal, Raisin, Butterscotch, Walnut, and Shredded Dark Chocolate Cookies to send up to the team. The extra energy will help maximize tomorrow’s rest day at Camp 2.

High Adventure Expeditions – Leader: Hugo Searle UK, Amit Kotecha UK, Nawal Saighal UK

They done everything they can to make Camp 2 a comfortable place to rest and recuperate as much as one can at 21,300 feet. The mountain, however, is not cooperating as much as it could! They have spent two days at Camp 2 trying to rest and recover. The 50 mile per hour winds buffeting the slopes of the South Col haven’t made it as comfortable as they would like. These high winds are forecast to last for at least another 24 hours before the weather takes a milder turn. The team is planning to ascend the Lhotse face to Camp 3 tomorrow and spend a day at 23,500 again exposing there bodies to the rarefied atmosphere and making more red blood cells.

29th April:

Alpine Ascents – Mark Shuttleworth UK, Leanna Shuttleworth UK, Laurence Clark UK

It’s another beautiful sunny day at Base Camp. This is there last full day of rest and relaxation before they depart on there 2nd rotation. Climbers have been enjoying variety of activities around Camp. Reading in the Mountain Hardware Space Station is always popular. The 800 square foot dome is carpeted, decked out with lounge pillows, and boasts wonderful views of the surrounding mountains. Others opt for a friendly game of cards in the heated dinning tent and there is nothing like a good game of Ping Pong on these calm windless days! Even with all these great ways to pass the time, the most popular activity seems to be an afternoon nap in the heat of these lovely sunny days. After a hard day of reading, card playing, Yoga, pong and resting it is important to fuel up with some good food. There chief, Jenny, prepared another delicious Sushi dinner last night and followed it up with some home made brownies for dessert. To wind down after a hard days rest they watched Casino Royal on the big screen set up in the social tent. Everyone is doing great and is looking forward to there climb up tomorrow morning on the second rotation, hopefully in a few days to reach Camp 3.

Adventure Consultants – Leader: Victor Saunders UK, Neil Beard UK, Paul Keleher UK

The clatter of cereal bowls and coffee cups at 12.30am nearly gave them away. Under the care of there expedition Sirdar Ang Tsering, Juniper was burning in the puja altar and the sound of muted Tibetan Chanting filled the air. Ang Tsering was praying for there safety, as once again the time had come for them to enter the Dragons Liar, the infamous Khumbu Icefall. As they rounded the Puja Altar clockwise they threw rice 3 times with there right hands to summon good luck and safe passage. Is there such a think as ‘Stealth Mode’ when you’re kicking ice with crampons to get purchase on steep terrain? Perhaps not, but there footprint was kept to the minimum. The lack of conversation was mostly induced by the pace which had them breathing on the edge of there comfort zones. Concentrating always, keep moving, keep moving. Breaks were few and short. Then the wind got up, and it was cold! They all made Camp 1 in less than 5 hours which is good going. But just when they felt deserving of a rest, the wind really got up and it was freezing. The sun hitting them in the upper Western Cwm was a major relief and between 9-10.00am they all happily flopped into the comfy Camp 2 chairs. The rest of the day was spent resting and catching up on last night’s dearth of sleep. Tomorrow is a planned rest day at Camp 2.

Adventure Peaks – Ceri Harris UK, Conor McGahon UK, Ian Spalding UK, Peter Ellis UK

All the team are now at Base Camp. The first Lhakpa Ri team have now left Base Camp and are heading to Lhasa. The wind has been particularly savage at ABC and above the last week although the Sherpa’s are making steady progress in stocking the North Col and are hoping to establish Camp 2 tomorrow. The team have practised with their oxygen and used it on a walk along the frozen river at night to get a feel for what summit night will be like. They are planning to head back up to ABC on the 2nd May to then make there second foray to the North Col and spend a couple of nights up there. The jet stream appears to be moving away around then so all being well the winds will subside for the team, so they can progress up to 7500m.

28th April:

Adventure Consultants – Leader: Victor Saunders UK, Neil Beard UK, Paul Keleher UK

The time for waiting is over and all three AC teams will move to Camp 2 in the early hours of tomorrow morning. They are still watching the forecast and are hopeful that the predicted drop in high level winds will eventuate in a few days time. Hence it was action stations here in Base Camp this morning as members selected their food for their one night at Camp 3. This will be their only night at this altitude without the benefits of supplementary oxygen and as such it is sure to be a tough one. Meals were selected with care to ensure some attempt at nutrition whilst taking into account the reality that appetites will be suppressed at this new altitude. The rest of the day was spent showering, packing and generally relaxing ahead of there second and last acclimatization phase.

High Adventure Expeditions – Leader: Hugo Searle UK, Amit Kotecha UK, Nawal Saighal UK

They rose early from the tents at Camp 1 anxious to reach Camp 2 and 21,000 feet. Situated higher on the mountain, Camp 2 is much more expansive than Camps 1, 3 and 4. It generally serves as a form of ‘advanced base camp’ providing some of the luxury that they have became accustomed to at Base Camp. Again, they have tents for the climbers with a separate, larger tent for them to gather, cook and eat in more comfort. They will stay at Camp 2 for several days finding the time to make a trip up to Camp 3 as they continue there acclimatization.

Altitude Junkies – Leader: Phil Crampton UK, Ian Cartwright UK, Mark Dickson UK, Mark Horrell UK

Yesterday they broke down the sleeping tents at advanced base camp to avoid any damage by the constant high winds that are predicted for another several days. The complete team except for two advanced base camp cooks descended to Base Camp where Da Pasang Sherpa welcomed them with Tuborg beer. After a great dinner and several glasses of wine they all called it an early night. They will spend the next several days eating, reading and relaxing and watching movies on there extra large screen courtesy of there projector in the recreation dome. When they receive a favourable weather forecast with lower wind speeds predicted they will head back up to advanced base camp and then hopefully spend a night at 7,050 meters and tag the 7,500 meter mark.

27th April:

Dream Guides – Leader: Kenton Cool UK – Mollie Hughes UK, Roger Owen UK

One whole day after descending from Camp 2 and they already have itchy feet.  It’s not that they have been idle, Keith has been working away on a couple of edits for Samsung while Kenton has been making sure every is ready for the next phase of the expedition. The good news of the last few days has been Keith’s cough, it’s been getting better (albeit slowly) and last night he managed almost a full night’s sleep without waking. We went to see the HRA doctor yesterday who gave us the good news that although Keith’s cough is nasty his lungs are in good shape. The only issue is that at 5300m coughs don’t disappear quickly so it’s a waiting game. Yesterday was quite eventful in the Icefall.  In the morning there were a couple of small collapses high up where the trail comes close to the W Flank.  No one was hurt but it left the Serac very unstable.  A couple of the teams Sherpa’s didn’t like the idea of playing Russian Roulette so they wisely retreated to Camp 1 where they drank tea for a couple of hours.  Late in the afternoon they returned to the area and sat and waited.  It didn’t take too long before a huge collapse occurred, filling the top part of the icefall with clouds of snow and ice.  Watching from Base Camp it was quite frightening but then through the clouds of snow one could see all these little dots.  Over a dozen Sherpa’s had been waiting, as soon as the collapse had occurred they charged through the area to safety, you could see them almost running through the area of broken ice. The Camp has been quiet today, some of the Sherpa’s have dropped down valley to see their families so there is quite a lazy feel about things.

Alpine Ascents – Mark Shuttleworth UK, Leanna Shuttleworth UK, Laurence Clark UK

Today they enjoyed another rest day in Base Camp. Some of the team members went on a hike to Gorak Shep to stretch their legs and to enjoy some 3G service on phones, Ipads, and personal computers. Back at there Alpine Ascents dining tent they enjoyed “Mexican night” with burritos, corn souflet, and award winning pineapple black bean empanadas. They are doing there best to rest and recover from there first rotation up on the mountain, and looking forward to the next rotation in a few days time. Everyone is doing well here at Base Camp.

Adventure Consultants – Leader: Victor Saunders UK, Neil Beard UK, Paul Keleher UK

There next rotation above BC has them aiming to spend the night at Camp 3 which reaches the lofty height of 7350m.

High Adventure Expeditions – Leader: Hugo Searle UK, Amit Kotecha UK, Nawal Saighal UK

It was a solid day of preparation for moving up the mountain, as they prepared for a climbing day tomorrow. They spent there time in camp organizing gear, clothing, food, snacks and equipment in preparation for the journey up through Camp 1 and even higher on the mountain. With good weather, they will be at it early, moving up through the icefall and onto the glacier to the environs of Camp 1 at over 20,000 feet.

Himalayan Experience (Walking With The Wounded): Leader: Adrian Ballinger UK, Martin Hewitt UK, Jaco Van Gass South Africa, Karl Hinnett UK, David Wiseman UK, Francis Atkinson UK

Last night the Himalayan Experience camp stirred to life at midnight with half of the group getting ready to leave for Camp II. This time, the ‘Yetis’ (Greg, John B., John C., Joe, Jeff, Javier, Hector, Valdes, Kristina, Amanda, Annie as well as there guides Adrian, Jaime and Brian) are a day ahead of the ‘Yaks’ (the Walking with the Wounded Team, including their cameramen Alexis and Petter as well as the three ‘civies’ Mark, Sergej, Pierre and guides Harry, Bruce and Woody), who will leave at 1am on Saturday morning. Most of the ‘Yeti’ team had arrived at Camp 2 by 10am with Amanda, Annie and Jaime stopping at Camp I for the night. “The three made it to Camp I in six hours, which is just within the cut-off time. However, they only arrived at the Camp at 6,100m at 7am, which is pretty late in the day to make it to Camp 2 comfortably as it can get very hot,” Russell explained. The Cwm, which is the U-shaped glacial valley leading from Camp I to Camp II, can get as hot as 40C in the sun slowing the climbers down significantly. While the ‘Yetis’ were making their way up to Camp 2, the ‘Yaks’ were being briefed on their trip through the Khumbu Icefall in the White Pod. “I am very excited to finally get to the mountain, even though the Icefall is a bit of a worry,” Pierre said. During the briefing, the crew was told what to bring and what not to bring as well as what to wear and what not to wear. “Try and keep your gear to the minimum but make sure you have your warm clothes with you,” Woody told the team. Apart from their personal gear, including their downsuits, everyone will have to carry food for one day, which they will use during their acclimatisation night at Camp 3. “We will stay at Camp 2 for four nights during which our kitchen team will provide us with food,” Harry explained during the briefing. The guides also emphasised that the amount of edibles to be taken to Camp III should be kept to the minimum as appetite is usually pretty limited at the altitude of 7,300m (24,100ft). ‘You will find that even your favourite food will not go down well at this high elevation,” Harry continued. During their four days at Camp 2, the team will go for a walk across to the ‘Bergschrund’, which connects the Western Cwm with the Lhotse Face and generally rest there to be acclimatised well enough to climb up to Camp 3 on the fifth day.

Summit Climb – David O’Brien UK, Richard Maybank UK

Last night they had the second night at Camp 1. A stormy night, but very warm. They had to get up at 6am and try to get going around 7am. Of course the speedy’s from there group were gone before that time but others got away around 7.15am. It was still very stormy and cold to start up. Last day up to Camp 2 was just going steady up. They stayed there for around 20 minutes and then headed back to Camp 1. Going down to Base Camp was not completely the same route as they did on the way up. Some avalanches had destroyed the original path set out by the “ice doctors” a couple of days before. Some of the places where there was a ladder to get over the seracs were still there but right next to that there was a complete new path which everybody took. The group scattered down because everyone has there own pace to get into which feels comfortable for them. Coming down in Base Camp is like coming home to more luxury although it’s still basic there. But food and drinks are available. Everybody is a bit happy with the fact we get two rest days.

26th April:

Jagged Globe – Leader: David Hamilton UK, Ian Ridley UK, Phil Purdy UK, Jeff Crooke UK, Nick B UK, Bruno B UK, Brett Hammond UK, Cian O’Brolchain (Ireland), Warmer R UK

The Everest team have just radioed in to report on their progress at Camp 2. Everyone is doing well and today the team have reached the bergshund at the bottom of the Lhotse Face (6,750m). Now back in camp, they will spend another night before returning to Base Camp.

Alpine Ascents – Mark Shuttleworth UK, Leanna Shuttleworth UK, Laurence Clark UK

The team have just returned from there first rotation up on Mount Everest. They were up at Camp 1 and Camp 2 for a total of four nights. They went on an acclimatization hike above Camp 2 and had marvellous views of Everest, Lhotse, and Nuptse! Team members did very well and acclimatized well. Yesterday they descended down from Camp 2 to Base Camp through the Khumbu Icefall.  Everyone is now resting in Base Camp and enjoying the thicker air and great meals.

Adventure Consultants – Leader: Victor Saunders UK, Neil Beard UK, Paul Keleher UK

The weather forecast suggests they hold on here in Base Camp for at least one more day before setting off for there Camp 3 cycle. So here they have yet another day of gentle treks to keep the limbs free, yet another day of excellent meals here where the appetite for food is no longer affected by altitude, yet another day of banter and tea and coffee, of blue sky mornings surrounded by the most stupendous of mountains. In other words, yet another day in paradise. Two of the teams leading Sherpa’s, Da Zangbu and Kami Rita have spent the morning working hard with colleagues from neighbouring expeditions. They have fixed seven hundred metres of rope up the Lhotse Face to Camp 3. This means the way is now open for the next cycle and they wait only for the wind to drop for a night at 7350m.

High Adventure Expeditions – Leader: Hugo Searle UK, Amit Kotecha UK, Nawal Saighal UK

Today has been a difficult day in the High Adventure Expeditions Base Camp as Nawal came to the decision that he will not be climbing Mount Everest this year. This morning, Nawal announced that he has decided to go home. After Nawal made his decision, Dendi worked hard wheeling and dealing and was able to arrange for a helicopter flight back to Lukkla, where Nawal will wait for his flight back to Kathmandu. The rest of the team have spent the day coping with this news and his departure. The expedition has been reduced by one, but the 2 westerners and 4 Sherpa’s who remain will now focus all our efforts up the mountain.

Altitude Junkies – Leader: Phil Crampton UK, Ian Cartwright UK, Mark Dickson UK, Mark Horrell UK

The winds were howling all last night at advanced base camp and in the morning they awoke to see some carnage in the way of destroyed tents from other expeditions. Fortunately for them there trustworthy Mountain Hardwear tents stood up to the conditions unscathed. There tentative plan was to go and tag the North Col today but the winds implied different. At breakfast they decided to make a run for the Col and if any of them got cold to turn around as it was only an acclimatization rotation. The team did amazing in the windy conditions experienced from advanced base camp all the way to the top of the Col. The first rotation is now complete as the weather forecast predicts high winds for several days which will not allow them to get above the Col. Tomorrow they will break down there sleeping tents at advanced base camp to avoid any damage in there absence and head down to Base Camp for a well deserved rest at the lower elevation.

Adventure Peaks – Ceri Harris UK, Conor McGahon UK, Ian Spalding UK, Peter Ellis UK

Cerri and the Lhakpa Ri team are planning to head up to the North Col tomorrow. Cerri is now feeling much better. The rest of the team are recovering at Base Camp and will wait for Cerri to come down and rest before heading back up. The weather is looking like it could be windy for the next few days coming in from the west, but for those climbing to the North Col, all being well the head wall of the North Col will keep them well protected.

25th April:

Alpine Ascents – Mark Shuttleworth UK, Leanna Shuttleworth UK, Laurence Clark UK

The weather was said to be beautiful up and down the Khumbu Icefall today. At the top of the Icefall the climbers had a leisurely morning before taking an acclimatization hike up the Western Cwm. Everyone enjoyed a nice meal in there Camp 2 dining tent and they will be heading to bed soon so that they will be fresh for an early morning trip back down the Icefall to Base Camp.

High Adventure Expeditions – Leader: Hugo Searle UK, Amit Kotecha UK, Nawal Saighal UK

Today Amit and Hugo took there first steps above Base Camp on an acclimatization climb. After reaching there temporary camp one, they enjoyed some fantastic views of Everest’s North Col and the Lhotse face before returning to Base Camp. Camp 1 is generally situated around 20,000 feet, just above the icefall so it was an important day for them as they expose there bodies to thinner air.

7 Summits Club – Leader: Noel Hanna UK

Some of the team are now at an altitude of 6400 meters in ABC (advanced base camp). This is the first team. The second team is in the intermediate camp at 5800 meters. Weather, in general is not too bad. The sun is shinning, however, there are clouds in the afternoon. Today they made a reconnaissance, they want to make a new route across the top of Changtse for there ascent on Everest.

Altitude Junkies – Leader: Phil Crampton UK, Ian Cartwright UK, Mark Dickson UK, Mark Horrell UK

Today the expedition finally started to climb with the Sherpa’s making a carry to the North Col at 7,050 meters. First loads up were 28 oxygen bottles. The team members are also acclimatizing well and tomorrow, if all goes well, will make their first rotation to the North Col to tag and then return to ABC (advanced base camp). There plans are still open and they will decide what to do next tomorrow evening over dinner. If all goes well with there first foray onto the mountain they may plan to move up to Camp 1 in a few days and then try and tag the 7,500 meter mark before descending back to advanced base camp.

24th April:

Alpine Ascents – Mark Shuttleworth UK, Leanna Shuttleworth UK, Laurence Clark UK

The climbing team moved up to Camp 2 today, also know as Advanced Base Camp.  The camp sits higher than any point in North America at 21,000 feet. The team will spend two nights in Camp 2 acclimatizing before descending back to Base Camp to recover from their first rotation.

High Adventure Expeditions – Leader: Hugo Searle UK, Amit Kotecha UK, Nawal Saighal UK

After a chilly night in camp, -13˚C / 9˚F they woke up to a much needed day of rest and recuperation and stayed around base camp. After several days of acclimatization hikes, icefall practice, and camp work, it was time to catch up on laundry and even take showers. While existing in an environment like Everest base camp, the relaxation of a rest day seems that much more precious. There Sherpa’s didn’t have the luxury of a rest day, however, as they completed yet another carry of equipment to Camp 2.

Himalayan Experience (Walking With The Wounded): Leader: Adrian Ballinger UK, Martin Hewitt UK, Jaco Van Gass South Africa, Karl Hinnett UK, David Wiseman UK, Francis Atkinson UK

All the Yaks and Yetis were back in base camp on Monday. After about one week at Lobuje camp, everyone is enjoying the luxuries of base camp, having showers, washing their hair and doing their laundry to be ready for the second acclimatization rotation, which will lead the team to Camp 2 on Everest. In order to prepare the team for the Khumbu Icefall, there guides Adrian, Shinji and Harry prepared a course in the icicles near there camp to mimic the most difficult parts of the icefall. “It is a great course and it certainly helped everyone to increase their technical skills,” said Adrian. “Everyone was doing really well and it will definitely help them to move more confidently through the icefall.” While the members are still practicing their technical skills, there Sherpa’s have already been through the icefall a few times to carry everything that is needed to Camp 2, including oxygen, food, tents, sleeping bags, ropes and hardware for the rope fixing. Fourteen Sherpa’s from different teams should start fixing the Lhotse Face on Wednesday. The teams Puja, the Buddhist ceremony that will bless there expedition to climb the mountain, will take place on Today. “I am looking forward to our Puja as it is very important for the Sherpa’s and it gives the members and staff the opportunity to bond ahead of tackling the mountain,” Russell said.

Altitude Junkies – Leader: Phil Crampton UK, Ian Cartwright UK, Mark Dickson UK, Mark Horrell UK

There second rest day at Advanced Base Camp continues to see the camp battered by high winds due to the close proximity of the jet stream. The weather forecast shows a drop in winds in a few days so they hope to take advantage of this and sneak up the North Col for an acclimatization rotation. There is not much to do here apart from sleep, eat, read and repeat. Today they reviewed the oxygen equipment to pass time and they will do this again before the summit push. Advanced Base Camp is now totally established with full communications and all that is needed is for them to get some low winds to allow the Sherpa’s to start to stock the respective camps. The team members will follow their personal acclimatization schedules and they will all be looking forward to heading to base camp in a week or so time to enjoy Da Pasang’s steak sizzlers, wine and beer.

Dream Guides – Leader: Kenton Cool UK – Mollie Hughes UK, Roger Owen UK

What a few days it has been.  Keith and Kenton left base camp Sunday, the plan was to climb through the icefall to Camp 1, stay a night there and then continue through to Camp 2 and spend a night there as well.  The whole plan was to try and become acclimatized to the height of Camp 2, that’s 6400m. It was an early cold start on Sunday. The icefall was pretty uneventful until right near the top. Kenton was a couple of hundred meters ahead of Keith when a block of ice carved off and rattled over the path between them. They were super lucky because although both of them were dusted by the cloud of snow and Ice neither of them were hurt. Camp 1 was a particularly windy affair.  All afternoon the wind was gusting, at one point it blew the tent flat with Keith inside. They spent the time snoozing and eating chocolate, not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Sunday night was one to remember, the wind howled all night, blowing spindrift all around and rattling the tent.  Kenton was grateful when 6am came by and it was time to get things ready to move up to Camp 2.  The Sherpa’s came past at about 7am and it wasn’t long after that they were moving upwards as well. The day started bitterly cold, not helped by the gusting wind so it was heads down to Camp 2. Kenton was first to arrive at Camp 2, it was a scene of devastation, all the tents, the cook tent and mess tent had been blown down over night.  The poor Cook and his assistant had taken shelter at a neighboring camp, but even that team had lost most of their tents. Its times like this when Sherpa Power comes into its own, less than an hour passed and there was a Kitchen tent back up, tents for them and the cooks to sleep in. The only issue was the mess tent, when it got blown down a number of poles were badly bent and a couple of joints had been sheared.  This would be a major problem for most but not for Dorje and his friends, Sherpa power took over once again, some string, gaffer tape and brute force ensued and bingo the mess tent was looking as good as new…well almost. The afternoon was spent snoozing and filming for Samsung. This morning finally dawned bright but cold. The plan was to head off before the sun hit so they could be in a good position to film in the icefall on the way down when its rays did finally hit.  It proved to be a full on day, Keith seemed to be coughing less so assumed the position of cameraman, director and editor all in one, meanwhile Kenton was general dogs body carrying all the camera stuff.  It was a long trip down, but this was due to filming, as well as chatting to a few old friends, the heat got to Kenton in the end so Keith didn’t get his final shot because of it (they will be heading back tomorrow to finish off).

23rd April:

Alpine Ascents – Mark Shuttleworth UK, Leanna Shuttleworth UK, Laurence Clark UK

The team had their first alpine start this morning so that they could begin their ascent to Camp 1. The day began with banging pots and pans and various other methods for waking sleeping climbers out of their warm down bags at 2:00 am.  After making a cold and groggy trek to the dining tent, they were greeted with hot drinks, maple walnut oatmeal, cinnamon French toast and crème, and crispy bacon to get their day started off right.  Everyone finalized their packing and excitedly headed for the Khumbu Ice Fall with glowing headlamps, but only after stopping by the Alpine Ascents Puja.  The Sherpa lit a fire made from Juniper, producing smoke which cleanses the climbers as they pass by.   Each climber stops to throw three small handfuls of rice as an offering to Everest for a safe passage through the mountains before heading off.  Everyone made it to camp in good form and will spend the rest of the day enjoying hot drinks and rest. The team spent most of the day today relaxing in Camp 1. They took a small acclimatization hike up the Western Cwm and filled the remainder of the day with more eating, reading and lounging.

Adventure Consultants – Leader: Victor Saunders UK, Neil Beard UK, Paul Keleher UK

With yesterday’s forecast ringing true and the team enduring strong winds throughout the night at Camp 2 everyone was glad to make a return to Base Camp this morning. The winds were described as the kind that have the potential to (and often do) destroy tents at Camp 2. Luckily the AC camp escaped with only a broken pole on there toilet tent – a modification which seems to give the user the added bonus of a backrub while doing their business! Neil also described the winds seemingly abating, only to be followed by the freight-train-like sound barrelling down the Lhotse Face, before the force of the gusts actually hit the tents. The relative peace and tranquillity of Base Camp will be enjoyed by all tonight! Everyone made excellent time, arriving at the lower icefall in less than four hours. Ang Tsering, Karma and Caro met the team with cold juice and hot tea in the Lake District, before everyone made the last 20 minutes back to camp. From there it was a day of hot showers, laundry and siestas, with the occasional break for another cup of coffee, snack or lunch of freshly made sushi. And so the team begins a few days of well-earned rest before the next acclimatization phase to Camp 3.

High Adventure Expeditions – Leader: Hugo Searle UK, Amit Kotecha UK, Nawal Saighal UK

Sunday saw the team take an acclimatization hike up Kala Pattar. This black hunk of rock outside Gorak rises to an elevation of 18,300 feet. The views of Everest and Pumori were stunning. It was very windy, but it’s good that they have some exposure to the elements they will certainly face higher on the mountain.

Himalayan Experience (Walking With The Wounded): Leader: Adrian Ballinger UK, Martin Hewitt UK, Jaco Van Gass South Africa, Karl Hinnett UK, David Wiseman UK, Francis Atkinson UK

Life has come back to Everest Base Camp with the Yaks having finished their acclimatisation rotation on Lobuje East. They returned to base camp on Friday and according to there guide Adrian, everyone performed really well on the mountain. “It was good to see that most people were moving fast and confidently,” he said. In the meantime, most of our Sherpa’s had been up to Camp 2 (6,400m/21.120ft) a couple of times carrying oxygen bottles, food, sleeping bags and tents up to our camp site there. They made the round trip in an amazing six hours. “Each Sherpa carried a load of about 15kg, which is the equivalent of three oxygen bottles and one sleeping bag each. Getting through the icefall is really quick this year,” said Lhakpa Nuru, one of our Sherpa’s.

Altitude Junkies – Leader: Phil Crampton UK, Ian Cartwright UK, Mark Dickson UK, Mark Horrell UK

We are now enjoying our first rest day at Advanced Base Camp at 6,400 meters. The team members all slept for various durations last night and as we spend more time here our sleep patterns should improve.

The plan is to take three to four rest days here and then we will venture up the North Col. The weather forecast still predicts very strong winds for several more days so we are all content to relax and avoid the cold winds that we are experiencing here at Advanced Base Camp.

Pemba Ngtar Sherpa has been taking care of us in the kitchen with plenty of fried eggs and toast as well as both fresh pressed coffee and espresso for breakfast this morning. Our double walled Mountain Hardwear dining dome is a welcome shelter form the constant winds that are battering us.

All of our team are very pleased that they have their own individual Mountain Hardwear Trango 3.1 tent here at ABC, the same as they do at Base Camp. We feel that the first few nights at ABC are essential for a good rest so therefore we do not want the climbers to keep each other awake with their different sleep patterns.

22nd April:

Adventure Consultants – Leader: Victor Saunders UK, Neil Beard UK, Paul Keleher UK

The wind swirled down from the Lhotse Face bringing stinging ice needles and spindrift. There backs to the gale, they had reached there high point for the day; 6800m, just under face leading up to Camp 3. It was bitter, they were all wrapped up, and still the chill wind found gaps in there layers, the gusts throwing them off balance. The AC team hurried down to the protection of Camp 2, where over warm cups of chocolate and tea. Outside the wind continues to buffet the tents at Camp 2.

High Adventure Expeditions – Leader: Hugo Searle UK, Amit Kotecha UK, Nawal Saighal UK

The climbers have been working hard on a training route established in the icefall. They have been crossing ladders, ascending ropes and abseiling (rappelling) practicing for there travels up the mountain. It was hard work but the skills learned and practiced here will make the time on the mountain safer and more efficient. While they were training, the Sherpa’s made their second trip to Camp 2 bringing another load of supplies up to 21,300 feet to establish a comfortable perch partway up Mount Everest. The mood around Base Camp is sombre with the news of another Sherpa’s death. Apparently, an experienced Sherpa fell to his death in a large crevasse on his way to Camp 2.

Summit Climb – David O’Brien – UK, Richard Maybank – UK

The team had a leisurely 8:00 am breakfast and then they were all off to there tent’s to sort out packs for the trip up to Pumori Advanced Base Camp at approximately 5,900 metres. This would be there next step in the acclimatization plan. The group stayed together as they moved out of Everest base camp and then they all fell into there individual paces as they began the steep walk and eventual scramble up to Pumori ABC. Three of them arrived in about 2 hours with one of there Sherpa’s, Pasang and they were feeling pretty good so they took a few minutes to hydrate and helped set up a bunch of tents. People continued to arrive and more and more tents went up. Eventually they were all settled in, two to a tent and they relaxed and continued hydrating. After a few hours of music and playing cards most headed to there tent’s for a sleep. Being up so much higher, the sun hit them earlier and many were up and wandering around before 7 am, taking lots of pictures, snacking on oatmeal and noodle soup, packing up and helping the Sherpa’s take down the tents. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits and some people planned to head over to Gorak Shep for their Internet fix before heading back to Everest base camp. A few of them walked down a longer path over towards Pumori base camp to send off one member to Gorak Shep and then they wandered off back towards Everest base camp where they caught the rest of the group heading down. It was actually a nice day for walking and once everyone got back into camp plans started hatching for showers. They are planning on having a training day tomorrow to show off there hopefully amazing cramponing, jumaring and abseiling skills!  After that they will make plans for there first trip up the Khumbu Icefall.

Altitude Junkies – Leader: Phil Crampton UK, Ian Cartwright UK, Mark Dickson UK, Mark Horrell UK

The team have all arrived at Advanced Base Camp with the exception of Da Pasang Sherpa who will manage the radio communications at Base Camp. Everyone in the team is all in good health. There was a potential cyclone that was threatening to form in the Bay of Bengal on the 25th/26th and this would have played havoc with there North Col and 7,500 meter tag rotations but it seems as if it will miss them now. With making a sudden jump in altitude from Intermediate Base Camp at 5,800 meters to Advanced Base Camp at 6,400 meters they will all take it easy for the next few days to allow there bodies to adjust. When everyone feels good they will head to the North Col.

21st April:

Adventure Consultants – Leader: Victor Saunders UK, Neil Beard UK, Paul Keleher UK

The first night at C2 is always a bit brutal; this is high! The good news is that everyone was feeling fine this morning. The banter around the breakfast table was lively, if not rather crude at times (details best omitted), an attribute of good health. Today they went for a gentle glacial walk towards the base of the Lhotse Face. They are the first group to walk this terrain so far this season. As a pre-caution against hidden crevasses they roped up. The weather forecast has proved accurate, with the Jet Stream roaring like an express train high above us. Afternoon snowfall and blustery conditions, with electrical activity ensued this afternoon. More rest! Tomorrow they have another full day at Camp 2. Thanks to there hard working Sherpa staff for making Camp 2 as comfortable as can be expected. Being waitered on while sitting at tables and chairs at this altitude should not be taken for granted.

High Adventure Expeditions – Leader: Hugo Searle UK, Amit Kotecha UK, Nawal Saighal UK

The teams Sherpa’s left at 3AM this morning to begin establishing Camp 2 at 21,000 feet in the Western Cwm. They carried the first of seven loads of gear up through the icefall and all the way to Camp 2. Once there, they dropped their gear and were able to make it back to Base Camp by 11AM! It was a very quick trip, but they put in a lot of hard work and will have to do the same thing again tomorrow.

20th April:

Jagged Globe – Leader: David Hamilton UK, Ian Ridley UK, Phil Purdy UK, Jeff Crooke UK, Nick B UK, Bruno B UK, Brett Hammond UK, Cian O’Brolchain (Ireland), Warmer R UK

The team got out of there tents on 19 April at 1:00 am and following breakfast they left for climbing the icefall at 2:00 am. The weather was cold and clear. They progressed quite rapidly through the lower sections of the icefall and did not stop for many rest breaks. This was more to do with health and safety than anything else. They arrived at Camp 1 by 7:20. As this was just a further stage in there acclimatisation, they only stayed one night at Camp 1. They got up at 4:30am with a departure time of 5:30am. The weather had caused some deterioration in the ice on there decent back through the icefall. Some of the crevasses were now wider, the ladders more shaky and in one case a serac had fallen over and obliterated part of the route. They were back in base camp for 8:30am for a traditional English ‘fry up’ and a de-brief.

Dream Guides – Leader: Kenton Cool UK – Mollie Hughes UK, Roger Owen UK

Today is rest day at Base Camp for the team. That means resting there bodies, lounging around reading, having a shower, do some washing etc.

Alpine Ascents – Mark Shuttleworth UK, Leanna Shuttleworth UK, Laurence Clark UK

Today the team made there first foray into the Khumbu Icefall. They climbed approximately 1/3 of the way up and crossed the first ladder, then returned back to camp. Everyone did an excellent job, and they enjoyed the afternoon in base camp preparing for our first rotation on the mountain. Tomorrow they plan to depart at 3 AM for Camp 1. The plan is to spend 2 nights at Camp 1 and 2 nights at Camp 2, then return to base camp.

Adventure Consultants – Leader: Victor Saunders UK, Neil Beard UK, Paul Keleher UK

The whole team left Camp 1 early, at 6:30am to avoid the infamous Western Cwm’s heat. The Western Cwm is probably the prettiest high altitude valley anywhere, yet once the sun arrives it turns into an oven, reflecting heat and light; concentrating the rays on any poor climbers caught below Camp 2. This is something to avoid. The team did very well, all arriving Camp 2 before 10am and the heat. There Sherpa team have spent the last few days setting up the tents here, and have done a brilliant job, before returning to base camp for a well deserved rest. This is there first acclimatization cycle, so tomorrow is a semi rest day.