Thursday, September 4, 2008
We have combined forces with the Barrie Rotary clubs to do a presentation at Georgian College on October 3, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. All the family is coming home for this presentation and net proceeds go to Royal Victoria Hospital and Rotary House. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to reserve a seat. Hope to see you there!
Friday, August 22, 2008
Although Mt. Vinson is not as high as Everest the hike will be long since you start at just slightly above sea level. Everyone in the family will have to do some reading and make their own personal decision as to whether they want to come or not. Since the children are beginning to make their own lives (work, potential partners etc.) new parameters are coming into play.
Climbing Mt. Everest this year was a rushed decision. Most people take a year to plan and we only took 6 months. It also cost us money since many potential sponsors said they did not have enough time to set things up. We are glad we did it however since it may have been the only year all of us could have gone.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I extend my thoughts and prayers to the families of the K2 climbers.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
Hatch really laid out the red carpet for us and we are very thankful for all their support. Alan did an excellent job talking about our adventure and showing a lot of our best pictures. Everyone had their own little story to tell (accompanied by pictures) at some point in the presentation so it was a family affair. Lots of good questions during the Q & A period after the presentation. They really made us feel like celebrities.
Dan did a presentation for extended family and friends at the cottage. The family always wants to hear all the details and see lots and lots of pictures so Dan's presentation was much longer than Alan's. We had an intermission with dessert half way through. The family was awed.
Presently, we are looking at potential dates and venues in the Barrie area. If we get a good response we will expand our area.
I will continue to keep this blog up to date. Ask questions and make suggestions. This is a learning experience for us.
We all strongly feel we have a wonderful story to tell.
Friday, July 18, 2008
If anyone is still reading this blog we would like your opinion.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
In my opinion, the Chinese are trying to appear progressive and environmentally conscience but in reality they are really just trying to further their own political agenda. It is oddly coincidental that 2009 marks the 50 year anniversary of the Dalai Lama's forced exile from Tibet. Furthermore, China has not shown any concern for the environment to date. In Tibet, there is major deforestation, dumping of nuclear waste, and lots of mining going on (http://www.mounteverest.net/news.php?id=17375) - far greater environmental concerns than tourist garbage.
I have to ask myself the question who will be removing the garbage - the Tibetan sherpas?
I think Nepal pays the sherpas $60.00 to bring down the old oxygen cylinders. Infact, our family was told to leave their empty cylinders behind. This is a way for the sherpas to earn extra money. Our outfitter encouraged people to use purification tablets or a water filter rather than buy bottled water.
In Nepal, the average yearly wage is $50.00 U.S. The developed countries are more environmentally conscience with their reuse, reduce and recycle programs but then they can afford to be. I am not making excuses for the tourists. There should be a pack in/pack out policy and maybe Nepal will adapt that in the near future or at the very least a garbage fee with the money paid to porters to bring the garbage off the mountain. The problem is what do they do with it once it is off the mountain?
Thursday, June 19, 2008
When hiking up Mt. Aconcagua Dan & Adam met a man hiking down and Dan asked him if he had been successful. The man replied that that depended on how you viewed success. He had spent 5 days in a blizaard at high camp with very little food or fuel to melt water. He had survived and was hiking down the mountain. Was he successful?
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
We have been interviewed by A Channel, CTV Canada AM, CBC Newsworld, and several radio stations.
The family all lost weight. Since none of them had a lot of fat on them in the first place a lot of the weight was muscle. Adam lost almost 35 pounds (17.5 kg). His clothes are quite loose. It will take a long time for their bodies to fully recover.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
We were asked about the "scarier" moments of the trip. There were several - the crossing of the horizontal ladders as many and 4 sections lashed together over gaping crevasses; Laura throwing up blood at around 20,000 ft; Laura and I watching boulders whip by us while climbing the very steep Llotse face; the safety rope breaking at camp 3 where a slip would send you off the Llotse face. All these made your heart stop for a second but clearly not hearing from Laura and her Sherpa on their summit attempt day by 9 am the next morning, that was my worst day! We tiried to reach them all day by radio and no word until mid afternoon. If there had been a fall or some other injury or incident, a rescue attempt would have been almost imposible. No planes or helicpoters would have been able to make the rescue and it is utterly exhausting to be navigating at the altitude between 26,000-29,000 ft. I/we could not have gone back up to look for her or even assist in any way. Even if we had the strength which we did not, we needed to find oxygen and it was not readily available. It was a big relief when we heard from them mid afternoon and learned of their inability to communicate because of radio battery problems.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Thanks to everyone for their ongoing support.
Friday, June 6, 2008
In the immediate future. Team Mallory have been asked to do some media interviews. They also plan on doing some speaking engagements so check the blog ocassionally to see if there is going to be a presentation near where you live. Adam and Laura still have some university exams to write. Dan and Alan have to return to work. Barbara has to heal.
No news of the flight home yet. I will keep you posted.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
We all were joined together at base camp on May 29.
On May 30, we descended from base camp to Lukla in 3 days which would normally take 9 or 10 days to ascend from Lukla to base camp but we were extremely acclimatized. We were completely exhausted when we reached Lukla.
On June 2 we flew from Lukla to Kathmandu where we are staying at the Annapurna hotel and enjoying some well deserved pampering of good food, a soft bed, and warm weather. We are on a waiting list for an early flight home around May 8 but if not available we will be leaving on June 13 according to our current tickets.
We have many fantastic digital photos and video of the climbing experience which we will put together for presentations on our return for groups or organizations that are interested. Interested groups can email us according to our web site. Looking forward to seeing everyone on our return.
Monday, June 2, 2008
They tell you to bring your own snacks and freeze dried food. I took over a bag weighing over 20 kilos just with snack food in it for the family. Snack food included nuts, granola bars, power bars, chocolate bars, canned tuna and chicken, sesame seed bars, mints, dried fruit, fruit jube jubes, beef jerky and power gel.
Altitude suppresses you appetite, you often feel sick to your stomach and you get tired of the same food all the time so you have to force yourself to eat. You are using up a lot of energy hiking and at higher altitudes breathing and surviving. Most people take a diuretic to help them acclimatize. It is natural to lose weight but it is not a weight loss program I would recommend.
After being on the mountain for awhile you really crave things like fresh fruit and vegetables, a hamburger, steak. There is a lot more variety in Kathmandu but again you never eat anything in a third world country unless it is well cooked, you bought and washed it yourself with safe water, or it is a high class restaurant you trust.
When everyone arrives home I can't imagine my grocery bill.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
Mike is safely down at base camp. He was the last person in the Summit Climb group to try for the summit. He successfully reached the summit before running into difficulty.
A huge thanks to Summit Climb staff for keeping everyone safe. You are awesome!!
On May 26, 2008, Dan Mallory and sons Adam age 25, Alan age 23, and on May 27, daughter Laura age 20, were successful in reaching the top of Mt. Everest, the world's highest mountain. Laura is now Canada's youngest female summiter and, with her father and brothers, part of a family of 4 to reach the summit.
Adam, Alan, and Dan left high camp on the South Col at 8:30 pm in a strong cold wind to begin the final ascent traveling all night by headlamp reaching the summit at 8:15 am the following morning. After resting an extra day at Camp 4, Laura left for her summit climb at 7:00 pm similarly climbing all night to summit the following morning at 9:00 am.
The challenges are extreme, the risks are great, but the rewards on the top looking over the world are beyond words. We are looking forward to our return home to family and friends.
Dan, Adam, Alan, Laura
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Heretofore, the summit of Everest was utterly out of reach for helicopters. In fact, just landing at base camp, 10,000 feet lower, was considered a life endangering feat. Several attempts resulted in crashes. KC Madan, a Nepalese military pilot , became a hero when he landed his machine at Camp II to rescue Beck Weathers and Makalu Gau after the 1996 tragedy. Now, pilot Didier Delsalle has landed on the summit, where he remained for two minutes.
I was absolutely amazed.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I spent several days with Mike in Kathmandu. He helped me with my shopping for the climb and entertained me at dinner. The rest of the family will have spent time with him in Base Camp. He is an experienced climber who leads climbing expeditions in the Alps. I am so thankful my family had a safe summit. Please add Mike and the rescue Sherpas to your prayers.
My family met the Ottos. Christian is a doctor and was doing some medical research on the mountain. Among other things he was doing some tests with Viagara. It is believed that Viagara may increase the oxygen carrying capacity of blood. Christian also cared for people in need of medical assistance on the mountain, my family included. Eric will be attending University of Western Ontario next year in London so he and Laura can compare notes of their adventure.
Congratulations to the Otto brothers for their successful summit.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
The Mallorys still have a lot ahead of them before they are off the mountain. Their minds and bodies have been tested to the limit and it will take quite awhile for them to fully recover. I am anxious to get a medical report from each of them.
Hopefully, when they reach base camp Dan will contact either Susanne (our web designer extrordinarie) or myself and we will have some stories to relay. I will also post some info about high altitude mountain climbing incase we have inspired any of our blog readers.
Keep those comments coming. I know the family will want to read them and all the positive comments and encouragement from family, friends and strangers have been a great comfort to me.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Sorry about that, it was a mistake in the transcription. Laura is on her way to the summit now with Pasang Gyaluk, a very strong and experienced sherpa.We are praying for their safety.
I will hopefully get news either later tonight or tomorrow morning as to whether she went up or not and if she was successful. I will post any info as soon as I know about Laura. The Mallory men should be resting in Camp 4 now. They will probably wait there for Laura unless they feel unwell in which case they would have to descend for safety reasons. I am sure they are exhausted.
Keep the prayers and positive thoughts going their way.
I have some good news. This morning at 8:00 a.m. local time, Dan, Alan, and Adam Mallory summited Everest. I just spoke with them on the radio. They are doing fine and they will soon start their descent. Unfortunately Laura Mallory left camp 4 last night, but didn’t feel too good so she turned around. She wants to try again this evening with a sherpa. Also, Linda turned around last night and she’s back safely in camp 4.
From the very brief conversation I had with Dan, I think Laura has what Adam & Alan had. Laura is strong and very determined. The family will have to decide if it is safe for her to try another ascent now or if she should descend, recover more and try later. Climbing is not all physical.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Dan, Adam & Alan are standing on the top of the world. Regrettably, Laura got ill and was unable to continue. Short conversation. Congratulations to the boys and speedy recovery to Laura. Now the most dangerous part of the adventure begins their decent.
The Mallory family and Linda just left the South Col, together with Pasang Norbu, Jangbu, and Sange Sherpa for the summit push. I hope tomorrow at about 10:00 a.m., we get some news from them from the summit. So far they are doing fine and they have a whole night of climbing ahead of them.
Anyone expecting a call from the summit might be woken up in the night. Remember they are 9 hours and 45 minutes ahead of us. You do the math. I for one do not expect I will be getting much sleep over the next few days. I hope their guardian angel is not sleeping.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
The Mallorys left this morning to climb to camp 3 and have all arrived. They are probably resting now and getting ready for the long haul to the South Col tomorrow.
This is it. The South Col is Camp 4. Camp 4 (8,000m/26,000ft.) is the beginning of the Death Zone. Your body does not acclimatize at this height and it starts to deteriorate and die. A person can only stay in the Death Zone for 2 maybe 3 days.
They should attempt the summit on Monday if the weather holds. It has been clear near the top but snowing below 7500m. Nepal is 9 hours and 45 minutes ahead of Ontario time.
Pray for their safety and good weather.
They have communication but will only use it when they summit or for emergencies.
If they miss this weather window, they get another chance to summit after they come down and have a rest. Something they will not want to do but they might have to. Safety and health have to be the number one priority.
The waiting is hard.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
They hiked for 12 hours yesterday, were exhausted and resting in tents with snow blowing all around them. My guess they are at Camp 1. They will meet Adam at Camp 2. Poor connection and short conversation.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
First, my hike to base camp on the Tibetan side of the mountain was cancelled just before I left Canada.
Second, the guide I was supposed to hike with, Dan Mazur who is famous for rescuing Lincoln Hall in 2006, fell and broke his leg in 2 places 2 days prior to my departure.
Third, I was unable to spend as much time with the family or climb as high as I had hoped because of my injury.
On a positive note:
I met great people from all over the world and had some fascinating conversations
I climbed to Everest base camp at 5,380m/17,700 ft. saw the hustle and bustle of tents being set up, prayer flags flying and the famous Khumbu Icefall.
I climbed to Kala Pattar at 5,545m/18, 187 ft. where you get the first view of the summit of Mt. Everest and views of all the high 8000 meter peaks around Everest.
I climbed over 5700m/18,700 ft. in the dark with a torn Achilles tendon on Island Peak deciding to turn back when the climbing became too technical for me to trust my injury.
I experienced a new 3rd world country & learnt a lot about the Hindus & the Buddhists of Nepal and how they live and interact.
I also learnt first hand how super powers like China control smaller poorer nations like Nepal.
I learnt that I can survive on a mountain and in a 3rd world country on my own.
My injury was an accident. I stepped on a flat stone that was much like a teeter totter while crossing a river, my heel dropped down and I tore my Achilles. I had it bandaged and then I tore the muscle attached to the Achilles when I fell hiking down from Island Peak. The next few days were a real challenge for me both physically and mentally. The group I was with was hiking down off the mountain and I was hiking on my own with my porter Dawa to meet the family in Pheriche. What should have taken 3-4 hours took me 8 hours. The next day I met the family and saw the doctor. They hiked up and I hiked down.
People have trouble conceptualizing how high Mt. Everest is. The following are some approximate heights above sea level that I hope will help.
Barrie ON 500 ft./150m
CN Tower 1,800 ft./550m
Kathmandu Nepal 4,400 ft. /1,350m
Lukla Nepal 9,100 ft. /(were you fly to to begin the trek) /2,775m
Base Camp 17,400 ft. /5,300m
Summit of Everest 29,000 ft. /8,840m
Commercial jet flies at 37,000 ft./11,280m
Friday, May 16, 2008
Today our last 2 members who slept in camp 3, Linda and Laura, went down to basecamp for the final rest before their summit attempt. The only member who is coming up to camp 2 today is Adam Mallory. He is trying to catch up for lost time, so we will see him here soon.
All of the members are eating well and resting a lot for their final attempt for the summit. It’s going to be a couple of hard days for them.
Right now all of our sherpas are doing a marvelous job. They have to carry more than 100 oxygen bottles to the South Col at 8000 metres/26, 200 feet. They also have to pitch tents and stock food, so they are pretty busy right now while our members are resting to make everything ready for their summit attempt.
I expect our members back in a couple of days in camp 2. Our first attempt for Lhotse is planned right now for the 19th of May, if the weather stays good of course. The first attempt for our Everest group will be on the 21st, also if the weather allows of course.
To read the full dispatch from Summit Climb go to www.summitclimb.com
Thursday, May 15, 2008
The last report on May 2, 2008, was from “the village” of Dingboche as we had trekked 18 km down to it to better recover from higher elevation and they had an internet café (highest in the world) . We rested there and trekked 18km back up to base camp at 17,800ft / 5,425m (it changes slightly daily with the changing barometric pressure).
Unfortunately Adam and Alan were ahead and on entry to the base camp the Nepalese army checked their bags, found a satellite phone, and confiscated it (afraid of the negative news from the Chinese Olympic Everest climb).
After one day of rest on May 8 we were up at 3:00 am to set off through the Khumbu Icefall for 8 hours to reach Camp 1 (elev. about 19,500ft / 5,945m). After leaving the icefall, there is about 1 to 1 ½ hours which is the start of the Western Cwm that feels like you are in an oven, even though there are many crevasses to go over or through to reach Camp 1 - very hot!
After one night in Camp 1, melting snow for drinking water, we begin to get ready to set off for Camp 2 (elev. 20,600ft / 6,280m). However, Adam had developed a serious bacterial stomach infection that forced him to return through the icefall to base camp for medical attention. He lost three to four days there as we continued higher.
Camp 2 is situated just below a steep mountain-side slope of “seracs” (chunks of ice). It is a regular occurrence to hear avalanches. A somewhat difficult thing to hear because the next day they could be falling on your head.
After one rest day, up at 5:00 a.m. and Alan, Laura and I set off through the Western Cwm to the Lhotse Face. Camp 3 is carved into the very steep wall about a 5 – 7 hour mountain climb. We had a short time to acclimatize, then back to Camp 2. Falling rocks are an issue as Laura and I had two fly by us on our left and right like missiles and to be hit would be serious. You have to be on the alert.
On Tuesday May 13 the three of us departed for Camp 3 (elev. 23,500ft / 7,160m). The highest point ever for me and in the Himalayan Mountains; no higher mountains in the world. The normal acceptable elevation to ascend per day should be limited to under 2,000 – 1,500ft (610 – 460m) and if we are going up about 2,950ft / 900m, there is a real danger of serious high elevation conditions like pulmonary and cerebral edema. A climber above me left a trail of blood on the ice and snow and on the ropes – he should have descended.
We all needed to rest after many hours of climbing. In camp 3 the tents have ropes between them and if you were to slip, you would certainly fall off the ledge (that happened a few years ago). The heart is racing the whole night to compensate for the low blood oxygen levels, making for a very sleepless night.
Up at 4:00 am to descend to Camp 2, pack any extra gear, and return to base camp to recover. We met Adam that afternoon at base camp and the next day he set off at 4:00 am to continue climbing. We are set to leave base camp May 20. That’s still a questionable date.
Camp 2 is where we’re going to meet up with Adam, then up to Camp 3, then over the rock outcrop, up to the Yellow Band and over and up to the South Col (Camp 4 at 26,300ft / 8,000m). Then the 18-hour summit along a narrow ridge and up the Hillary Step for the summit attempt (29,028ft / 8,848m) hopefully on May 25 – Yahoo! We made it!
One of the greatest challenges is related to culture shock. People are writing long notes, missing family and their friends and all that’s familiar and things they enjoy -- very easy to become depressed.
The end is in sight!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Tonight Christian, Eric, Michael, Andrew, and the three Mallorys will sleep in camp 3 to prepare for their summit attempt. They will go down tomorrow and rest in basecamp. In that time, all of the sherpas will start carrying all of the oxygen to camp 4 and prepare the high camp so that everything is ready for our members to summit.
I estimate that the first members will summit around the 20th of May, if the weather allows us of course. Everybody is quite healthy and strong.
So we’re doing well here and everybody is getting pretty excited to go to the summit. The clock starts to tick now. In a few weeks we’ll probably be finished. After all of the delays with waiting for the Chinese to summit everything is going very fast now.
Where is the 4th Mallory? Adam must be below camp 2. I assume he is still recovering or on his way up to camp 2. There are sherpas and other members in the larger Summit Climb group he can climb with when he is ready.
There are several satellite phones on the mountain but where they are and whether they are charged and/or working is the question. They have to be charged from a solar panel at base camp when it is sunny.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Reasons for the pollution:
1) The shape of the Kathmandu Valley is like a bowl and the pollution sits in the bottom of the bowl.
2)There are lots of old cars with no pollution or exhaust controls. Everyone seems to own a small motorscooter or motorbike. No helmet laws and sometimes as many as 4 people on a motorbike.
3)The streets are full of pot holes. Very dusty - you always feel gritty.
4)Littering is a problem.
5)Dogs and cows run freely through the streets. 80% of the population is Hindu so cows are sacred.
6)They always seem to be burning something - candles, incense, bodies of the dead, sacrifical animals, plants, food.
7)This is their dry season and there is a water shortage.
After wandering around the city during the day my throat always felt scratchy at night.
I know this probably sounds terrible but remember this is an overpopulated 3rd world country. It has few natural resources and about half the population is illiterate. It is the 12th poorest country in the world and gets 60% - 80% of its money from foreign aid.
Even with the pollution and problems the city grows on you. I could just wander the streets or sit and watch the world go by because there was always something interesting to see. There are no deadlines, storekeepers open and close their shops at will, vendors don't harrass you. The electricity is off in different parts of the city for 4 to 8 hours everyday. Life is tough but simple.
Kathmandu has character.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Dan, Alan & Laura are well, at camp 2 now and heading up to camp 3 to spend the night tomorrow - weather permitting. They had about 4 inches of snow last night.
I am pleased that they are looking after each other, not taking any chances and making sensible decisions.
I told Adam that they need to check in with either Susanne or myself on a regular basis now that the Chinese have summited. Hopefully, they do that.
You expect certain physiological things to happen as you ascend. Your breathing will become faster and/or deeper i.e. you hyperventilate, you have shortness of breath climbing uphill, your night time breathing changes, you awaken frequently at night and you urinate more. You may develop a headache which can be relieved with aspirin. This is all normal. However, if you develop a headache not relieved with aspirin and some sleeplessness you should stay at the altitude you are at for a few days or descend. If you have a headache not relieved by aspirin and one or more of the following symptoms loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, lightheadedness, difficulty sleeping you must descend immediately.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Today we got the official news the Chinese summited! That means all our restrictions to climb Everest and Lhotse are gone!
Tomorrow Ken, UK John, Irish John, Jo, Harris, Linda and Sofie will go to Camp 2 to join Matt, Berry and the Mallory family, who are already on the way to C2. Camp 3 will be fixed on the 9th and our tents will probably be in place on the 10th or 11th.
Everybody is very happy to start climbing again and spirits are very high.
On the 10th, Laura, Eric, Christian, Michael, Andrew, the Polish couple, Arnold and Maya will go up to C2. This way we have enough tent space in C3 and everybody will have a good night there.
Most members will come down after sleeping In C3 at 7,200 metres/23,600 ft to have their final rest in basecamp before pushing to the summit.
So everybody is fine and we are all excited to start the final stage of our expedition! Cheers, Arnold.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Khumbu Icefall - ice walls, crevasses and huge blocks of ice.
Camp 1 - 6,065m/19,900ft.
Western Cwm or "Valley of Silence" - gently rising glacial valley with huge crevasses in the centre forcing climbers to cross on a small passageway known as the Nuptse corner - can be unbearable hot on clear windless day
Camp 2 or Advanced Base Camp - 6,500m/21,300ft.
Lhotse Face - wall of ice 40 to 50 degree pitch with occasional 80 degree pitch
Camp 3 - 7,470m/24,500ft. on small ledge about half way up Lhotse face
Yellow Band - rock band at top of Lhotse Face
Geneva Spur - steep snow covered black rock outcrop
Camp 4 - 8,000m/26,200ft. on the South Col (pass separating Everest and Lhotse)
The Balcony - small platform to rest
South Summit - 8,750m/28,700ft.
Cornice Traverse - narrow ridge
Hillary Step - 12m/40 ft. rock wall
Summit - 8,848m/29,028ft.
Note: exact heights seem to vary slightly in the literature
Thursday, May 8, 2008
The ban on climbing above Camp 2 has been lifed by the Nepal government. This is a very good account of what has been happening on the mountain.
"Today our liaison officer in basecamp told us that 50 Chinese are in camp 3 right now to push to the summit tonight. They hope to summit on the 8th. This means if they summit tommorow we can move around freely again.
Tomorrow ... the four Mallorys go to camp 1 and then camp 2. Eleven Summit Climb Sherpas are in camp 2 waiting to get the "go" to fix camp 3 ...We are only a little behind schedule and will catch up.
Slowly, through the following days, all members will go up and try to sleep in camp 3 at 7200 metres/23,600 feet. After this we will rest a final time in basecamp and try for the summit when the weather is good. Traditionally this is between the 20-25th of May, but we will see how the conditions are around that time.
We are working closely together with other teams and will make the route to the summit together.
Wishing the team all of the best for a safe and successful ascent!!
All our members all healthy and strong and everybody wants to climb higher on the mountain soon!"
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
How best do you use the squat toilet? Do you face the door or the wall? How far down do you squat? Problems can arise. Night visits are always interesting since there are no lights so you just have your headlamp (something you keep in your sleeping bag) to guide you. To make things more interesting at higher altitudes there is ice on the floor and sides of the toilet. Add to this a torn Achilles tendon and things really get interesting. The night I had to do a one legged knee bend on an icy floor in the dark was a real highlight of the trip. Use your imagination! I can see the humour in the situation now but at the time it was no laughing matter.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Although there is an internet at Dingboche where the family is presently resting it does not always work. Power to this area is limited to solar power. No sun - no power. You pay by the minute to use the internet and I imagine there are lots of people trying to communicate with home.
There is a lot of down time on the mountain when you do nothing but rest to prepare for climbing or rest after climbing. On those days there is nothing to report. One of the biggest concerns to this adventure is mental boredom. It is hard to read or do anything in your tent during the day because it is like a sauna and at night it is cold and you have to use a head lamp.
After May 10th news should pick up. Keep your fingers crossed that the Chinese summit by then or we are into more politics.
Monday, May 5, 2008
Saturday, May 3, 2008
The worst teahouse was at Lobuche. The dining room was crowded, smoky, had no windows and mice ran over your feet at night.
The most interesting teahouse was in Pangboche. It was painted pink with a centre courtyard. My room was on the end with beautiful views of two mountains. After supper I was walking back to my room at night and the whole courtyard filled up with yaks returning from their day of hauling supplies. I watched as a man and woman carefully removed their gear and tethered them to a rope just outside my window for the night.
The dining room is the centre of all activity. It is the social centre where you eat and meet fellow hikers and hear their stories. It usually has 3 sides of glass windows with terrific views of the snow capped mountains in the area. Benches covered in Tibetain rugs with long tables infront ring the room. A central pot-bellied stove provides the only heat for the entire building. They burn wood at low altitude and dried yak dung at higher elevations. Depending on the wind, the dining room and if you are unlucky your bedroom is quite smoky.
The bedrooms consist of two beds with a narrow centre aisle and a large window with a view of the mountains. The walls are paper thin and you can hear the person in the next room's every move. Sometimes the electricity in the rooms work and sometimes it doesn't so you always have a headlamp at the ready so you can find your belongings and stumble down the hall to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Some teahouses provide you with an extra quilt at night which is a luxury. All this for 200 rupees a night, approximately $4.00. Considering a person or a yak had to carry all the building supplies etc. up the mountain to the building site you feel quite fortunate to be indoors out of the weather. This is all part of the Everest experience.
Friday, May 2, 2008
It is very difficult to manage disease/sickness at elevation. Most everyone is getting, has, or is recovering from a viral chest infection. Dan has had it and has it. Alan is nearing the end of his sickness. Laura is dealing with the “Khumbu” cough which is widespread. It is easy to get an eye infection which a few have including Dan but he can use sunglasses with a prescription insert (Thanks Doug!) during recovery. A couple of the others are dealing with gastroenteritis with Imodium to the rescue. The immune system is weakened with extreme exertion and high elevations but just another challenge to overcome.
Now the real reason we are here. We did a few acclimatization hikes up about 1000ft. higher on nearby mountains. On Monday April 28, 2008 we were up at 4:30 a.m. with a fresh snowfall and set off after breakfast at 6:15 a.m. from Base Camp at 17300ft. to 19380ft. camp 1 at the top of the infamous Khumbu Icefall. After crossing about 50 ladders strung across bottomless crevasses, carefully placing your crampons on the ladder rungs so they didn’t slip and after 8 hours of this with full packs to leave gear at camp 1, we arrived. Some of the ladders are up to four ladders strung together and vertical to get up and over a serac (a wall of ice). Keep in mind that this icefall is in motion each day!
In 2005, camp 1 comprising 60 tents, was all swept away by an avalanche. Every day and night you can hear and sometimes see these avalanches. They moved camp 1 higher to a hopefully safer location.
The next day, we went to camp 2 (elevation 20500ft.), crossing a few more ladders and returned to camp 1 quite tired. On Wednesday April 30, we descended back down through the icefall, reaching Base Camp after about 5 hours, relieved to be back safe but completely spent.
Since no one can go up for 6 to 10 days we have descended to the “village” of Dingboche at 14300ft. to hopefully rest and get completely healthy before we go back up for our push to camp 3 then back to Base Camp for our summit push after 4 or 5 rest days.
All is well. This internet site is the highest internet café in the world so when we get back up, communication is difficult.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Nancy met me at the airport and drove me home. It was so nice to see a friendly smiling face and fall into my own bed.
The house is full of clothes and housewares from the children's various households which are all now in Utopia. My tidy instincts are coming into play quickly but there are lots of things I do not know what to do with including the new dog that seems to be protecting the house even though no one knows where he or his food bowls came from.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
All of of our members, except the Mallorys and Linda, made it to camp 2. They are all healthy and strong. The Mallorys are a little bit behind schedule, but they are sleeping in camp 1 right now and tomorrow they will come up to camp 2 for a short visit before returning to camp 1.
(No clue as to why they are "a little bit behind schedule".)
To read the full dispatch from Summit Climb go to www.summitclimb.com and look for the Everest Climb, Trek, Lhotse & Island Peak Spring 2008 link under "News" in the left-hand column (about half-way down the page).
Monday, April 28, 2008
I have arranged a flight home leaving Kathmandu April 29, 2008. My ticket has departure times but no arrival times so the exact day and time are questionable.
I discovered today that even though this is the only time to attempt to summit Everest it is not the best time to see Nepal. I will have to return when things are green and the air is fresh after the monsoon season to get a true appreciation for the country.
No news is good news -right?
Friday, April 25, 2008
My anke and leg show little sign of improvement. I had hoped to be treated at home but may have to see a doctor here. As for now I just keep hobbling around this overcrowded polluted city of blackouts.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I am now back in Kathmandu trying to get a flight out. I was going to do some more hiking but am afraid I might competely severe this tendon and that would be disasterous.
Today is Democratic Day. Lots of military around and I saw the soon to be owsted Prime Minister drive by. The King says he is a Nepali citizen and will remain in the country but he will likely loose the palace and all his possessions and wealth. We will have to see what the Moasists decide to do. Strange that the military which fought against the Moaists now has to protect them. Also, the Moaists are atheists in a country of strong Budhist and Hindu religion.
The front page of the Kathmandu Times said anyone trying to disrupt the Olympic torch possession or cause problems at Everest would be shot dead. Be thankful we live in Canada.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Hello! We have made it to Everest Base Camp along with Adam, Alan and Laura. We arrived yesterday after following the very rocky Khumbu major moraine for a few hours. We are basking in sunshine at 17,500 ft. We are dealing with some altitude issues; not the least being short of breath.
We are surrounded by towering snow-covered peaks where loud avalanches are a regular occurrence.
We have a full view of the challenging and somewhat dangerous Khumbu Icefall that we will be attempting in 2 or 3 days which will lead up to Camp I at about 19,500 ft. We will be crossing multiple crevasses on extended ladders amongst other challenges.
We are ready!
Saturday, April 19, 2008
From Yangji, my guide's wife
The Nepali new year just happened and it is now the year of the rat.
From Ian a Canadian who tried to rent a helicopter
The Chinese are now in control of all of Nepali air space and only offically Chinese sanctioned flights are permitted.
From Kurt a guide who recently was in contact with Everest base camp
An army liason officer has been assigned to each expedition at base camp. Satellite phones and video equipment are being confiscated. This should be interesting since I passed several high tech camera equipment crews on my hike down.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Monday April 14th, we leave Namche (Dan, Alan, Adam and Laura) to go towards Pangboche at 13000 feet. It is a long day starting at 9:00am and ending at 4:00pm and we are all feeling a little elevation fatigue. The route follows the cut-out side of steep mountains where a fall to the side would lead to a 1000 plus foot drop. You soon learn to stay on the uphill side of the trail when the yak trains pass as other wise they would knock you off the trail. Everything is carried by porters or yaks or yak-cow combos called Jobkes.
Tuesday April 15th, we rest in Pangboche and it is a well needed rest for Adam who has not had a rest day since the start of his trek in Lukla.
Wednesday April 16th, we went to visit the local Lama who gave us his blessings of safe travel and this was interesting. From there we travelled along the mountain side to arrive at Pheriche at 14200ft. Here we met up with Barbara and we are now a complete family of five, for now (is that a sigh of relief from my family?). Laura and Adam are climbing machines and are not having to work at all to deal with the trek. Alan is doing very well as well particularly dealing with his troublesome achilles but it has not slowed him down too much. The chest infection that I have is still lingering but does allow me to continue never the less and I hope for a recovery before I reach base camp (in three more days). The lungs have to be working at full capacity in the higher elevations. Now Barbara, this is the first that we have talked to her in almost two weeks. She has been doing some high elevation climbing and trekking but it has cost her as her achilles tendon is stretched with related muscle bruising and she is going to be heading down to recover tomorrow. We will see where this ends up.
The last blog was sent from Namche and there was to be only one Internet sight above Namche at Tengboche however, it was closed. We did learn however, that we could trek from Pheriche to where we are sending this blog at Dingboche a 30 min hike uphill both ways (haha). So glad to have this last opportunity to post. We hope for a continued success to base camp where our next update will occur from 17500ft.
In general, the route is absolutely spectacular with dramatic snow covered peaks in every direction against the clear blue high elevation skies.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
He landed in Lukla this morning and is now only 1 day behind us. Barbara is ahead of us but we have had no communication with her for about 10 days. We hope she is well and we will meet her in the next few days hopefully but it is a big mountain.
Dan's chest infection has progressed further to the bad. Dan went to a Tibeten doctor in Namche today to get a second oppinion on taking Ampicillin (antibiotic). He had never heard of it and he only had herbal medicines. Dan decided to try them and got 3 small packages of 10 days worth of what looks like various shades of rabbit poop. Dan has taken 3 today and so far is still standing. He desperately needs the lungs to clear before he should go higher. Happy birthday to Him today as he celebrates with 'rabbit poop' droppings for dessert!
Alan and Laura are feeling quite strong and looking forward to moving up the mountain after Adam arrives.
We did an aclimatization climb yesterday up the mountain about 1500 feet to Everest View Lodge with great views of the high mountains all around.
Dan, Alan, Laura
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Friday April 4th - Dan was up all night at the Mallory Insurance Office getting to bed at 5am and up 1 hr. later at 6am to catch the 11:00am flight from Toronto to Hong Kong and then to Kathmadu. Very long flight (~24hrs total) and glad to arrive in Kathmandu.
Kathmandu is the wildest City you can immagine with completely chaotic traffic flow, impossibly rough and narrow roads, and people everywhere. The air quality is very poor.
We were in Kathmandu 1 day and we were glad to get our early morning flight in an 18 seater Twin Otter plane to Lukla. It plummits out of the sky towards the landing strip and it lands on the shortest runway in existance in the mtns. Fortunatly for us, the runway was uphill which helped slow the plane down. It will be a wild downhill take-off on our return.
The two day trek to Namche (which is where we are now, at 11200 feet in elevation) is remarkable, challenging, beautiful and very steep. The tiny sherpa porters should all be called Galioths with the massive loads they carry - one tiny guy had a chesterfield strapped on his back! The trek is across many towering and long swing bridges and not for the faint at heart or anyone afraid of heights. The trail follows deep valleys surrounded by towering snow covered peaks. There is a turquoise glacier-melt raging river most of the way.
Unfortunatly, Dan caught a chest infection and Alan and Laura are struggling with stiff muscles and joints but other than that we are all well. After a few days we should be good to go. We will be waiting here at Namche for Adam's arrival in a few days. We hope so because Adam arrives tomorrow and that is election day in Nepal and everything (traffic, phones etc.) will be shut down in anticipation of possible riots. We don't even know if he is going to be able to get a ride from the airport to the hotel on his arrival in Kathmandu. It should be an exciting time for him and we hope for the best. Meanwhile we have a beautiful view of snow covered peaks on the steep side of a mtn. with beautiful sunlight and blue skies to enjoy.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Monday, March 31, 2008
Welcome to politics in the third world.
Napel is the 12th poorest country in the world and Kathmandu with a population of 4,000,000 reflects this. Except for a few major roads the city is a jigsaw puzzle of narrow nameless streets and alleys. Pollution is terrible with lots of people wearing masks. Most of the temples I have seen are in various stages of ruin. Electrical wires dangle hap hazzardly from various buildings and poles and scheduled and unscheduled blackouts occur daily. The internet is slow and unpredictable. There seem to be few rules.
In contrast to all this, I feel very safe here and all the people are friendly and helpful.
This is a country with 50 plus gods and a living goddess.
An election is happening in mid April so there are lots of political rallies.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
All three children move home this week and Dan has to finish off all our personal business which should be interesting.
Next news from me will be from Kathmandu.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
You can learn about our adventure either from this blog or on our outfitter's website at www.summitclimb.com under RECENT EVENTS on their home page. The information there will be more general but everyone is encouraged to post something and they will give progress reports.
The list of little things to be done is not getting any smaller because everytime we eliminate one another magically appears. We do have almost all our gear now thanks to our friend Paul who brought a lot back from the U.S. for us.
Sunday is the final packing for Barbara and the pre-pack for everyone else. The situation in Nepal and Tibet is still a bit of a mystery. We are unsure what we will find when we arrive but we do know it will be a great adventure.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Dan, Alan, Laura - April 5, 2008
Adam - April 9, 2008
Expected return for everyone - June 14, 2008
Our departure dates are staggered due to school and work commitments. Schools have permitted both Adam and Laura to write some to their exams upon our return. Earlier departures allow for more acclimatization.
Our home presently looks like a sporting goods store. Each person has their own area for clothes, food and equipment.
This weekend is the final time we will all be together before we meet in Nepal. It takes a lot to prepare for such a trip and also to make sure all loose ends are tied up at home.
We have just heard from our Outfitter Summit Climb and although there may still be some alterations to our plans it appears we are going ahead with a modified agenda. Climbing to base camp is permitted. There is no climbing above base camp on either side of the mountain between May 1 -10 so the Chinese can film the Olympic torch parade from the summit of Everest to Beijing. Alternate routes to acclimatize are being considered.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
We continue to plan for our hike and await the outcome of this latest event.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Dan was in Ohio on the weekend trying on special high altitude boots known as Millet Everest Boots so the toes won't freeze above high camp. We have ordered the special mittens by Outdoor Research to keep our fingers warm. All the gear we plan on buying in Canada and the US should be purchased by the end of this week.
Our next challenge is how best to communication from Mount Everest. I will leave that challenge up to our Computer/Electrical Engineering genius Adam.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008