2003 Cho-Oyu Cybercast

October 4, 2003. Kathmandu, Nepal.
Hello everybody- We have been extremely busy finishing up this expedition. I believe the last email was sent the night we were in Zhangmu on the Tibet/Nepal border. Well that evening (9/30) we finished our stay in Tibet at a night club that had a wonderful show of traditional dancing. That morning came early as we stood waiting for the boarder to open and process us through. Jiban, our Nepal agent was waiting at the boarder with our van and truck, to take us back to Kathmandu. The traffic that day in Nepal was busy since it was a major 9-day-long holiday called Dashain festival.

Everyone was relieved once we pulled into the Yak & Yeti hotel. That night we spent hours eating pizza and beer at the Fire & Ice. Matt was the first to leave the next day but not before we all went to the Barber for straight razor shaves, Oh did that feel good. So the trip closed at Kilroy's Streak House for the closing meal.

10/3 Holt departed midday and is spend time in Thailand, meditating and recovering. Perry left today but not before Lhakpa had us over for some real recovery, home made cooking of Dal baht. Thanks everyone for such a great trip. Without the understanding from our families and friends it wouldn't have been possible to climb Cho-Oyu.

So I hope everybody will enjoy the photos and stories the team is coming back with. Thanks again, we will see each other again on the next adventure. Eric Larson signing off for the last dispatch of Alpine Ascents 2003 Cho Oyu expedition.

September 30, 2003. Zangmu, Tibet.
Hello everybody, Its Eric Larson reporting from Zangmu on the border of Tibet and Nepal. It's been a couple of days since a cybercast. We departed ABC on the 29th at 9am and went down to Base Camp. It took us about five hours in a blowing storm to break camp and make it to base camp. We arrived at around 2pm and spent the time at a make shift tea house drink beers waiting for the yaks. They showed up at around 6pm and we jumped on the Land Cruisers to make it into Tingri.

This morning started at 6am as we drove down off the Tibetan plateau into the jungle gorge of the border. The road from Nylam to Zangmu follows a tight gorge and the road is carved out of the side to slowly make it down to Nepal. So tonight is our last night in Tibet and we hope to find some local music and celebrate our successful climb. We will give you call from Nepal and tell what else has been going on. Until then, Eric Larson signing off.

September 27, 2003. BC, Tibet.
Hello from Base Camp! everyone (and everything - all our stuff!) is safe and sound in BC. We had a bit of a celebration yesterday night with plenty of food, cake, and lots of drink options. The last two days have been beautiful weather and lots of people have been moving around on the mountain with quite a few summits - All following the trail set by Lakpa, Eric and Perry. Our next two days will be spent waiting for Yaks and organizing gear. I think with all the summits there will be a few celebratory get-togethers around this sizable tent city!

We were able to change our departure date (just barely!) since we were a full week early - if we had been any later we would have had to wait until the 2nd of Oct. for our Yaks! We should be back in Katmandu on the 1st of Oct. if all goes well. Our plans, planes and logistics will vary from there.

We want to leave this amazing place as we found it as best we can. It is surprising the impact that so any expeditions have on an area. We will try and do the best we can but it is hard to make up for some of the less respectful groups. This year there is a very conscientious LO (Liaison Officer) from the Chinese Mountaineering Association. He is planning to hire local Tibetans to clean up Camp One and Base Camp when the season is over. We appreciate this act and support these kind of local cleanup efforts.

We all thought of you on the summit Dan! We missed you as part of our team and want you to know we raised a glass to you and will continue to until we go our separate ways. So many people played a part in getting 6 of us to the summit - We are all a team and success is clearly shared by all. Many of us would not be here without support of family friends and loved ones - they are just as much a part of our team and success. Thank You all! -Andy

September 26, 2003. ABC, Tibet.
Hi this is climber Perry Solmonson for Alpine Ascents Cho-Oyu 2003. Great news, today is Friday September 26th and both groups have returned safely and successfully from the summit of Cho-Oyu! Today Andy, Holt and Tsering returned to Advanced Base Camp with great fanfare and a successful summit. It's been a great evening here at ABC, we have had a great dinner and looking forward to a return with the yaks on September 29th to Chinese Base Camp and ultimately back to Kathmandu on October 1st. So all is well here from Advanced Base Camp and thanks for tuning in.

September 25, 2003. ABC, Tibet.
Hello everybody, this is Eric Larson reporting from ABC. Perry, Lhakpa and myself arrived at ABC around 2:15pm today. Matt was holding the base camp down, he surprised us with a welcome home snacks and Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.

The other team reached the Summit around 12 noon, Congratulations! Holt, Andy and Tsering reported in at Camp III at 3:00. They are breaking down camp three and continuing to Camp II. Tomorrow they will continue to ABC, passing through Camp I and finishing to clean up the mountain. Today Perry, Lhakpa, myself cleared three tents, 10 O2 bottles, stoves and kitchen, etc. from Camp II. Three Tibetan porters met us at C1 and helped clear the rest of the mountain. The Yaks have been order and will arrive on the 28 and bring ABC down to Chinese Base camp on the 29.

We will continue to Zangmu and overnight the 30th, we will drive to Kathmandu during the day on the 1st. So that's the skinny on what's been happening that past few days. We will send more cybercasts and photo in the next two days once we have eaten and rested. See you on the next cybercast. Eric Larson signing off.

September 24, 2003. Camp II, Tibet.
Hey everybody this is Eric Larson giving you a call on the 24th. It's 6:00 in the afternoon and we're back at Camp II after a successful summit! Unfortunately it was only myself, Lhakpa and Perry that went to the summit today. It was sort of high winds and some snow was moving around, so it was tough trail-breaking. It took us most of the day, we reached the summit around 1:30. It was a little odd timing to give anyone a call back home in the states so we elected to call back here at Camp II.

Andy Tsering and Holt are at Camp III right now and hopefully the weather clears for them tomorrow so they can have a summit go. The trail conditions are pretty tough, it took all of our energy to break trail. Let's keep our fingers crossed for the second team that they go up tomorrow. The first team should be dropping down to Camp I or ABC tomorrow and we'll be cleaning the mountain and getting everything to Camp I so we can have a bunch of Tibetan porters bring the rest of the stuff down. We'll give you another cybercast tomorrow when we're a little more rested and alert. This is Eric Larson signing off.

September 23, 2003. Camp II, Tibet.
Hey everybody this is Eric Larson giving you a call from Camp II on Cho-Oyu. Today is the 23rd and it's about 4:15 in the afternoon. We're just winding up dinner right now and everybody has their bottles full and we're getting to bed early so we can try for a summit attempt tomorrow morning. We're going to plan on waking up at 11 at night and hopefully if all goes well, we'll be kicking out of Camp at midnight. We're expecting a 12-14-hour day. Conditions are pretty good, the weather has been sort of overcast, light snow but really low winds. The trail conditions look really good, there's been a lot of people summiting in the past few days so the track's been plowed all the way to the summit, which helps. We're going to be leaving from Camp II and going on oxygen from there, we'll have three bottles each and that should give us plenty of time to get up and down.

Everybody's feeling pretty good, it was a slow slog of a climb today, we're a little tired, but everybody's feeling pretty good, I think we're all sort of anxious to get this done and back down to Base Camp and then back to Kathmandu, to lower altitudes. But we're going to be carrying the phone with us and we'll give you an update from the summit, this is Eric Larson, out.

September 22, 2003. ABC, Tibet.
Hey everyone! We are back in base after a bit of a false start. We got to camp one then checked the weather forecast and called our weatherman. That information made us decide to return to base for a bit of a wait. Today weather information has lightened up and we are actually prepping to head up to camp one again after lunch! The team spirit and motivation dropped after we got to base yesterday but picked up by this morning it then rose sharply as we realized the possibility of rallying this afternoon! So we hope for a summit attempt on the 24/25th.

Perry says: "This time feels right - 5th time up the devils pig pile is plenty and we are staying up there until we give it an honest try." (weather permitting of course!) Wish us excellent weather - or decent at least! Until soon! Andy

Message from Matt: Hi this is Matt McDonald, one of the Alpine Ascents expedition team members. Since being here I have had great difficulty eating enough to maintain adequate energy levels to sustain my climbing. Most climbers to one degree or another have this same difficulty. Unfortunately I seem to have suffered with this more than normal. The consequence is that after spending a night at camp 2, I felt left with insufficient energy reserves to safely push for the summit leg of this climb. Before leaving for this expedition I promised my wife, family, and friends that I wouldn't do anything that might jeopardize my safety and health. So it is with great regret I have elected to remain back ABC and watch my fellow team members go for the summit. I will be cheering them on and anxiously awaiting their safe and successful return. To all my friends back home thanks for all of your support and soon will see you with photos and stories of the completion of this expedition.

September 19, 2003. ABC, Tibet.
Rest day number two. We all seem to be sleeping well and are trying to fatten up before our big summit push. Last night we had a bit of entertainment with a movie night. We watched Matrix Reloaded - from a Nepali pirate DVD. It is a beautiful day today and we are getting excited - the weather forecasts look good enough for us to start up tomorrow to Camp I. We will sleep at C1 then C2 If the weather is still looking good we will then move to C3 for the first time. We will sleep/rest at C3 with the aid of some oxygen then start our summit push super early on the 23rd (all going well).

We fitted and practiced with our oxygen masks today and packed our food for this excursion. It sounds like there will be a couple summit attempts before ours (none today that we can see) This will actually be great if there is a bit of broken trail toward the summit! The bulk of the summit attempts will happen later in the month. We will try and do cyber dispatches with our Satellite phone from up on the mountain so stay tuned! We are all thinking of our friends family and loved ones! Thanks for reading and check out the slideshow for some recent photos. -Andy

September 17, 2003. ABC, Tibet.
Hi folks! We are all safe and healthy back at ABC. We spent 2 nights at Camp I then climbed up to Camp II and slept there last night. We all felt good though it was a tiring and challenging climb for some. The travel from C1 to C2 has a number fixed lines that we clip into with an ascender and a carabiner tether. It took about 7.5 hours to travel up to C2 from C1 and about 2 hours to return. There is one steep ice step that can get backed up with people trying to get through. 2 lines are used for rappelling and one is used for ascending, though that gets a bit shuffled depending on which way most people are going. We were backed up today with some inexperienced rappelers.

There is rumor that a Korean team summited two days ago, though that is unconfirmed, they were well established on the mountain when we arrived in ABC. There are now a few teams ready and preparing for summit attempts, some have been on a bit quicker schedule than ourselves. We are now ready to give the summit a shot, but first we need a couple days to rest and eat - both tough to do higher on the mountain. The weather has been pretty good so far so we are hoping there is a good stretch starting in about 3 days. Thanks Gopal (our excellent cook) for the fabulous cake on our return! Until tomorrow! Andy

September 15, 2003. Camp I, Tibet.
Hello everyone, this is Eric Larson reporting to you from Camp I on Cho-Oyu. Today is the 15th and it's about 6:00 at night and we're just starting to brew up our dinner. Tings have been going pretty good. We hiked up to Camp I yesterday and had a good sleep last night here to acclimatize. Today we did a lot of hanging out at Camp, a short hike toward the ice steps, which took a couple of hours.

This afternoon we've pretty much playing a lot of hearts and reading our magazines. Tomorrow our plan is to continue up towards Camp II and sleep at Camp II for one nigh to acclimatize and hopefully everybody's strong enough, and we'll be coming down to rest for our summit bid after that. So we'll wait for a window after sleeping at Camp II. And once that window shows up, we'll start our summit attempt. But we'll give you a call from Camp II tomorrow. The weather outside is a bit cloudy and it's been snowing all afternoon, so we hope it will clear for tomorrow's climb, but we'll call you from Camp II and let you know how it went. This is Eric Larson, signing off.

September 13, 2003. Advanced Base Camp, Tibet.
We are enjoying a snowy and overcast rest day. The wash pot is getting a workout - clean faces and hair all around. There is also a bit of laundry on the line. We are gathering our energy to make the long hike to Camp I again tomorrow. We hope to spend a couple nights there then move to CII for a night and back to base. This long acclimatization process is getting exciting though, since after this foray we should be ready to give the summit a shot.

Lakpa, Tsering, and Lakchun are going to spend the next 6 days carrying loads and equipping the upper mountain. Today they are supposed to work on fixing some lines on the already broken trail to Camp II. We all super-appreciate their efforts for us and are in awe of their ability to scoot around at these elevations while we huff and puff just walking to our cook tent. This climb would not be possible for us without their support.

Gopal continues to amaze with his cooking and Base Camp manager duties. When we returned to base yesterday it seemed like the camp had doubled in size. It is truly surprising how many people and expeditions are here. Everyone seems nice and there is certainly room for everyone. I hope we can update the slideshow with a couple pictures today. Holt is currently finishing his 15th Pringles can. Andy

September 12, 2003. Advanced Base Camp, Tibet.
Hello everybody, today is the 12th and it's about six o'clock. I thought I could drop a cybercast in before Golpal (our cook ) shows up with momos, rice, and yak meat for dinner. Things went well for our overnight at Camp I, just under 21,000 ft. We went up yesterday with full packs, roughly 35-40 pounds of gear. The crew seemed to sleep well for the first time at a new altitude. We woke up to Andy's cooking of hash browns and bacon at around 7:00AM. This morning we went up to 21,700ft, just below the ice serac step to better acclimatized.

Beside the climbing Holt has been busy attending all of the Pujas at ABC. He seems to be in a meditative- like state as hikes and hangs at ABC.

Jeannine- Matt is missing you and sends his love. He says that he is think of you and your cooking a lot. He sends his love, kisses and lots of hugs.

Perry sends his warm hellos from a cold place to his wife and daughters.

Andy sends a hello to his family. He says hi to everyone in Lander Wyoming and hopes Molly is on for her Odyssey climbing trip!

On another note. We are sad to say that Dan Buck, our Mainer has gone down and out to Katmandu. He was having trouble with headaches and after the second night at ABC he went down to Chinese Base Camp. After two nights at Base Camp, Dan was still having trouble acclimatizing and he decided to return to Kathmandu. We are all thinking of him and wish him a safe recovery and travel home.

September 11, 2003. Advanced Base Camp, Tibet.
Hi this is Perry Solmonson, member of the Alpine Ascents 2003 Cho-Oyu Expedition, leaving the cybercast for September 11th, 2003. We're leaving Advanced Base Camp today, moving up to Camp I, beautiful morning, gorgeous clear skies, We'll spend the night at Camp I and tomorrow move up the fixed lines towards Camp II and return back to Advanced Base. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of 2001, September 11th, and we wish them well. We'll touch base with you tomorrow when we come back from Camp I. This Perry Solmonson signing out.

September 9, 2003. Advanced Base Camp, Tibet.
A beautiful day for a rest. It's 3pm on Tuesday the 9th. We have done a bit of laundry and bathing as well as some tent relocating and general camp maintenance. Spirits are good after a long and challenging hike yesterday. traveling up to and back from camp 1 is one of the longer days we will have. Next time we head that way we will stay overnight there so the day will be a good bit shorter. Of course summit day will be our biggest of the expedition, but given the groups strength yesterday we should be well prepared for that ultimate challenge. Base camp is quite full right now - we are located a bit out of the main camp which is a good thing since it is a bit noisy and messy there right now. Tomorrow we will rest as well and we will but together some food and supplies to take with us up to camp one for our first night sleeping at 21,000'. Thursday we will hike up to Camp 1 and on Friday we will hike up a bit more and then descend all the way back here for a bit of recuperation - this will allow our bodies to keep gradually adjusting to the extreme altitude. On days like this (as well as looong uphill hikes) it is hard not to think of friends, family and loved ones back home. Have a great day! Andy

September 8, 2003. Advanced Base Camp, Tibet.
Well, we are all happy to be sitting down and enjoying cheese and crackers before dinner. We hiked to Camp I today - 3,300 feet of elevation gain and a couple rugged miles of moraine covered glacier travel. The final 1000' to Camp 1 is up a long, loose and steep scree slope. We were all happy to get up there, and just as happy to come back down to 18,500' where the air seems thicker now! So just a short hello today, maybe more tomorrow when we relax a bit and let our bodies work at adjusting to a bit higher elevations. We had an excellent day! -Andy

September 7, 2003. Advanced Base Camp, Tibet.
Hello everybody, this is Eric Larson reporting from 18,500ft Advanced Base Camp. But really this is our Base Camp for the rest of the trip. This morning we had our Puja, it is a ceremony asking for permission to climb the mountain. It consists of offerings of rice, tsampa, food, incense, beer, etc.. The five colored prayer flags were set up covering the camp and the stupa was built for the offerings. The ceremony is Tibetan Buddhist and was performed by Tsering Sherpa, who was a monk before becoming a climbing Sherpa. We all made our offering to the mountain and had our ice axes and crampons blessed with Yak butter for protection.

The crew is doing well and everyone is acclimatizing in their own way. This afternoon we will go towards Camp 1 for a couple hour hike to further acclimatize. Tomorrow we carry to Camp 1 with small loads of gear to start the ferry of equipment that is necessary for the ascent. It will take about six hours to C1, since we won't be used to the altitude.

Life at Base camp is pretty straight forward, eating, sleeping, hiking and resting until we go up again. I would like to thank our families and friends who are supporting us for this climb. I know it's hard at both ends to leave for a 45 day climb. So we would like to send our thanks and love to our families and Friends. We will get back to you soon, Thanks Eric Larson.

September 5, 2003. Advanced Base Camp, Tibet.
Hey everybody this is Eric Larson calling you from Advanced Base Camp on Cho-Oyu. Today is Friday the 5th and we arrived at ABC at around 1:00 in the afternoon. Everybody did really well on the two-day trek up. Today we had about three inches of snow fall over the night so it was sort of a messy hike, but the yaks plowed a good trail for us and we got to Base Camp pretty good.

It took us most of the rest of the day to set our tents up, get our kitchen and dining tents up, get the camp together and everyone is feeling really well. We had a good dinner tonight, Sherpa Stew with some pasta, everybody has their appetites, no headaches, people are adjusting to the altitude really well. We're going to be resting at Advanced Base Camp for a couple more days, get use to this altitude until Monday or Tuesday and then do our first acclimatization hike to Camp I. We'll give you a little heads up tomorrow and tell you a little more about what Advanced Base Camp on Cho-Oyu looks like. This is Eric Larson signing off.

September 3, 2003. Chinese Base Camp, Tibet.
This is day 2 at Chinese base camp. Elevation 15,600. This spot is pretty much the end of the road, although they seem to be working on extending it further right now. They are building a bridge about a kilometer upstream that may allow vehicle support even further up valley.

Tomorrow we will pack up our camp and begin moving up to Advanced base camp (ABC). Yaks will carry the majority of our things - each yak can take two ~70lb loads. We are estimating it will take about 26 yaks to move all our things! This mountain is a bit different than some in that we move completely from base camp and generally don't return until we are done on the upper mountain. It will take two moves to get to ABC (18,500) Our yaks will pause with us for the night at 17,000' tomorrow night. We will then pack up again and move up to install for the rest of the climb at ABC.

Our camp scene is is quite nice. We have one large tent for food prep, cooking, and cleaning. We have another large tent for eating, hanging out and general socializing. We also are currently living two people per camp tent (VE-25) - we will probably have one camp tent per person at ABC for that advantage of some personal space on a long climb with a small group of people.

Our group has been rounded out with Gopal - our cook extraordinaire, Tshering - all around good guy camping and climbing Sherpa, and our newest addition from a local village Tibetan, Lakchung - additional camp and climbing hand. Matt, Dan, Perry and Holt hare all doing well and went on acclimatizing hikes today. Eric, Andy and Lakpa are also excellent - Lakpa is busy finalizing our yak logistics for tomorrow.

A few locals have put up a temporary tea and beer house nearby - actually there are three this year and one supposedly is going to move up to ABC! We may check it out tonight for a final moderate indulgence. Then again I bet we will all actually pass until we are moving down the mountain... this is a pretty motivated crew and evening entertainment doesn't fit well into acclimatization schemes! Until ABC, Tashi Delay -Andy

September 2, 2003. Chinese Base Camp, Tibet.
We have all arrived safely in Chinese Base camp elevation: 15,600 ft. Our drivers dropped us off early yesterday and we set up our camp and relaxed for the rest of the day.

Today we are spending the day acclimatizing, eating, and doing some short hikes. There is some excellent bouldering near camp as well. We are unpacking our solar electric systems and charging all our batteries. Our donated Brunton Solar Roll 14watt panel is working great in addition to our larger system.

There are a couple GI issues in the group but things are looking up midday and folks are looking forward to a nice hike this afternoon. We will spend tomorrow here as well, then start the two-day hike to ABC on Thursday. We send our love as we enjoy this wonderful place. - Andy

August 30, 2003. Shigatse, Tibet.
Continuing on our road trip across the Tibetan Plateau - we are now in Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet. This morning we toured a monastery with the largest Chorten in Tibet - amazing statues and excellent artwork. We then hiked to the top of Gyantse Dzong for a view of the countryside and a bit of a history lesson.

The Dzong was important during the one British foray into the Plateau. The mission was not directly political it was to establish stronger trading ties with China and Tibet though the British controlled Sikkim. Treaties were signed and Younghusband (the leader) and his army left the area. China now claims the Tibetans valiantly fought to protect the motherland and the British were successfully repelled.

So back to the jeeps for a fast 1.5 hour drive to Shigatse where we toured another spectacular monastery - the home of the Panchen Lama. I will skip the recent political history of the Panchen Lamas, though I recommend you seek more information the subject if you are interested in locating reincarnations and Political kidnapping.

So after a great dinner and evening thunderstorm we are ready to bed down in an excellent hotel. After our final hot shower before the climb we will depart bright and early in the morning for Tingri. The group is in great spirits. Everyone has greatly enjoyed the cultural experiences and exposure we have had so far. Holt seems particularly taken by the Buddhist ideas. Perry is returning to this part of the world after a ten year Hiatus and seems very happy to be here. Matt is zipping around taking photos and asking lots of great questions about the people and places we encounter. Dan (AKA the Mainer) is full of energy as well and keeps our brains engaged with plenty of questions, stories and humor. That is it for now - it may be a day or two before our next dispatch because we are leaving internet access for the rest of the trip. Tashi Delay - Andy

August 29, 2003. Gyantse, Tibet.
Welcome back everyone to another Alpine Ascents International Cho Oyu 03 cybercast. We are reporting from the town of Gyantse at 13,200 ft climbing up west towards to plateau. Today we left Lhasa around 8:30am and drove South west around a huge lake called Doma yomcho. The color was a light green and the shore line went for over 120 km. We have two Toyota Land Cruisers, mid '8Os that are driven 60- 80 km/h on the narrow gravel roads. It's hair-raising to say the least. It took roughly eight hours to drive including the numerous breaks we took at the passes and view points. The two passes we drove over were around 16,200 ft and 15,100 ft. With the high elevations of the towns we are sleeping in and the high passes, we have a good start to our acclimatization.

Gyantse is located between Shigatse and Lhasa, the two largest cities in Tibet. So Gyangtse is 6 -8 blocks square and mostly Tibetans live here. Tomorrow we will do a small tour of the largest Chorten in Tibet and an old fortress used during the early 1900's British invasion. Tune in tomorrow for the adventures of the still nameless expedition as we roam towards Cho Oyu. Thanks and have a good night, this is Eric Larson signing off.

August 28, 2003. Lhasa, Tibet.
This was our second day touring Lhasa, the sacred city of Tibet. We spent a few hours this morning at Norbu Linka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lamas. On the vast park-like grounds there are a number of palaces built for a few of the past Dalai Lamas. The 14th (the current one) spent lots of time in a palace constructed for him on those grounds. In 1959 the Dalai Lama fled Tibet from Norbu Linka and traveled south to cross the border into Bhutan and eventually into India.

After our morning strolling the flat grassy park, we headed up into the Potala Palace. This was the center of government and religion for Tibet. It was also the main Palace of all the Dalai Lamas after the fifth had it built. There are thousands of artifacts, Buddhas, and religious temples housed in the great building. The walk though was excellent and yet another powerful experience to visit such an important site.

Just a couple of facts: the red part is the religious center and the white parts are the government portion (when viewed from the outside.) It was spared during the cultural revolution - one of the few centers of religious, political, and cultural places not to be destroyed during that time (~1967). It is listed as a world heritage site. So after all that walking and exploring we headed into the light for a relaxing late lunch on a shaded rooftop restaurant.

We are spending the afternoon finishing up whatever we need to before we leave the big city bright and early tomorrow. We are still working on a team name - it will come to us soon, it is a topic of conversation and one thing is for sure, whatever the final name it will be: "........ and the Mainer" bye for now, Andy

August 27, 2003. Lhasa, Tibet.
Hello everybody, this is Eric Larson sending today's cybercast from an Internet cafe just steps from the center in Lhasa. Today started out with a huge breakfast at our hotel, the Shang Ba La. The Hotel is center to old Lhasa and steps from the holy monastery of the Bakara.

We began our day with a small hike up to a local monastery for the yogurt festival. That might sound funny, but yogurt is a important part of the Tibet diet. So once a year they start the celebration by revealing a huge tanka. This is a quilted portrait of the lord Buddha about 60 meters wide by 120 meters long. The streets and alleys walking up to the monastery were packed with people being herded up towards the portrait. We finally made it up to it and threw our Khata scarves onto it for our blessings.

Lunch was at a local Tibetan tea house called the Snow Leopard. Once everyone gorged themselves on momos and tea we went shopping. The item of interest was Tibetan carpets. The local warehouse was the destination. The factory gave us a tour on how they dye the fabrics and created the incredible designs. Some of the crew came out of the shop with a few items. They are still wondering how they are going the fly home with them.

All in all it was a huge day with allot of sensory over load going on. Tomorrow we will visit the Potala palace and the Dali Lama's summer home. Until then, I will say good night and will send anther cybercast tomorrow. thanks Eric.

August 26, 2003. Lhasa, Tibet.
Tashi Dele (Hello) from Lhasa! This is Andy giving the latest news on our Cho Oyu expedition. We landed safe and sound in Lhasa today! We packed up early this morning to move though the front of the busy airport lines. We were rewarded with a smooth customs and immigration process followed by astounding views of the high peaks of the Himalaya on the short flight to Lhasa. We leaned to the right to view Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu among others and leaned to the right to view Kanchenjunga and the boundless Tibetan Plateau.

The temperature is about 60 degrees and very dry - a nice change from the heat and humidity of Katmandu. We are staying in a new hotel in the heart of the Tibetan Quarter. After a great dinner most of the group is strolling the Holy Jokhan circuit. This is one of the Holiest pilgrim spots in Tibet. It is very auspicious for Buddhists to walk clockwise around the Jokhang (a temple). Everyone is welcome to join in the constant flow of people and commence on this about four block circuit.

The evening temperatures are perfect and the weather is clear so it is very pleasant to stretch our legs among the dynamic and exotic people of Tibet. Thanks for tuning in, we send our love and some of the powerful vibes this place emits to all of you!

August 25, 2003. Kathmandu, Nepal.
Welcome friends and family to our first cybercast of the Alpine Ascents International Cho Oyu Expedition 2003. Today is August 25th, and our second day of the expedition. Everyone arrived safely over the past couple of days and have been getting over the 25 hours of jet lag that occurred.

Today was a full day of city temple tours, dal batt and Bhutan foods, gear checking, and last minute logistics. Let me take some time to introduce the team, we have Perry Solmonson from Brush Prairie. Dan is a foot surgeon, finished his law degree and waiting for the results from the bar. Our only foreign climber is Holt Hunter from Canada living in the Cayman islands. He has just come off a Denali expedition and plans to climb on Ama Dablam late this fall. Our last climber is Matt McDonald from Vancouver Washington, just fifteen minutes from Perry.

We have the a great staff put together, starting will the experience of Lhakpa Rita Sherpa. Next to him will be Tshering Sherpa and Gopal will be cooking. Andy Tyson and myself (Eric Larson) are coming from the office, working along with Lhakpa. Tomorrow we leave at 6:30 for the airport for our flight to Lhasa Tibet. It will be a long day but we will escape the Monsoon's humidity for the cool breezes of the high lands of Tibet. The next couple of days will be a tour of Lhasa and four days of driving to the base camp of Cho Oyu at about 15,500 ft.

Before Base Camp we will be acclimatizing on the hills around the towns of Gyantse and Shigatse. Driving over pass that are 15,000+ ft helps too. Most of the gear will be coming by truck overland, which will take as much time as we do getting to Base camp.

The team has some messages for everyone; Perry says that everyone is healthy, Holt wants to thank his sponsors, Matt said he will stay close to the team this time and Dan was mumbling something about a rash. I want to say to my wife Kat that I love you and am missing you. We will get back to you tomorrow with more of the journey into Tibet. For now we would like to say chakpu nang and khole phep. This is Eric Larson signing off.

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