2008 Everest Base Camp Trek-Island Peak Cybercast

April 22, 2008
Hi friends and family. This is our final cybercast for the trip. It has been an incredibly memorable experience filled with lots of laughter. Hiking down we were battling a few coughs, but we were feeling strong as we approached the lower altitude of Lukla at 9000 feet on the 20th. The group charged up the final hills, and began celebrating immediately. We enjoyed a mixture of top 80's hits and Nepali music in the Irish Pub. It was a fun filled night with lots of dancing with our Nepali staff. We had little sleep and followed this with an early rise and a long wait at the airport at 7am the next morning. The flight was fairly smooth, and we were soon deposited back into the hectic city of Kathmandu. We enjoyed dinner last night at the Rum Doodle, a famous restaurant in Kathmandu, that feeds Everest summitters for free. Many famous names are seen on the walls here. Today we took a tour out of town to Baktapur, an historic city center with lots of temples from the Malla period starting around the 8th century. After an informative tour and lunch in a garden, we battled traffic back into Kathmandu. The group is out now working on their barter shopping before flying home tomorrow. Highlights of the trip were the amazing views of the Himalayas, cultural interactions with the Sherpas and Nepali, and friendships made within the group. I am sure there are many more to share when everyone arrives home. We appreciate your support! Until next trip, Namaste!!

April 19, 2008

Team Yakpi Island Peak Group Hello from Namche Bazaar. It is nice to be here relaxing after a long hike. We have enjoyed warm showers, a bit of shopping downtown, and now we are looking forward to an evening celebration. It was once again wonderful views today. We soaked in an Everest panorama from Tengboche this morning. Hiking down from here the Rhododendrons were stunningly beautiful and in full bloom. We are fighting a cold that has been passed around and this is keeping us sniffling along. We are enjoying the descent, and often find ourselves pensive on the trail. Tomorrow we will head to Lukla, and we hope to fly out the next day to Kathmandu. We are gearing up for a long one heading all the way from Namche to Lukla. Thanks for keeping up with our travels. Namaste! Winslow

April 18, 2008
Team Yakpi Island Peak group!

Hi friends and family. Liliana, Matt, Diane and myself are now on our way down. We hiked from Island Peak Base Camp this morning to Pangboche. Our Yaks were missing in action. They had left base camp for greener pastures, and it took our staff a day to find them all the way down in Dingboche. This was the second time they journeyed down valley wile we were climbing Island Peak. I guess it is hard to carry enough grass to keep them happy up there. So far on our descent it has been clear but windy. The views are amazing and well appreciated since we had so many cloudy days in the begining. We are eating in the lodges now as most of our staff went back up to Everest Base Camp to assist the expedition. It is not quite the same as the high quality we have been experiencing so far. In Pangboche this afternoon we had some time to rest and play hearts with Mingma, our young Sherpa staff. Tomorrow we will head to Namche! Namaste! Winslow

April 17, 2008
Hi this is Winslow with Team Yakpi Island Peak group, 17th of April. When we awoke this morning to go to the summit it was dumping snow and lightening and thundering so we crawled back into our beds for a bit. Soon after it cleared and was a beautiful morning, the moon was out and the stars were amazing so we headed up towards the summit. It was a very challenging day today, the snow was covering a lot of the rocks which was making it a little bit tricky walking and a slick trail. It was very windy although it was clear and beautiful it was probably 30 mph all day gusting up to 50 at times but we made it up. The fixed line was more challenging than I have seen it before, it was icy, all of the snow had been blown off and had big ice steps in it and the ridge was also very challenging. Everyone did really well; determination, courage and team work were the key factors for success. It was a long day about a fourteen hour summit day so we are very tired, looking forward to a good night sleep. Tomorrow we are heading down to Pangboche and we are beginning our descent back to Lukla, Kathmandu and then home. We are very excited that we were able to come up here and looking forward to the journey back down the Khumbu. Namaste.

April 17, 2008

Hi All,

We just arrived in Kathmandu and are excited to get showers. It has been a great trip. All the trekkers were very strong and we had a great time up high.

Yesterday we trekked from Monsu to Lukla ( about 4 hours). In the evening we had a farewell party with our Sherpa Staff. It went on late into the night with lots of dancing and singing. All the trekkers became experts at Sherpa (Tibetan dance) then progressed into Nepali free style. It was very entertaining and everyone was quite sleepy this morning as we flew out of Lukla. As always, a very exciting flight with a fast takeoff at 9,000 ft and then fantastic views of the mountain.

Best to all

Todd

April 16, 2008

Hi this Winslow calling in for Team Yakpi Island Peak group. We are snuggling in now to our beds, getting ready for our summit bid. We had a great day today, we practiced ascending a fixed line and repelling, got our harnesses set up, ran up and down the hill a bunch of times working on that, reviewed self arrest and hung out for the rest of the afternoon. We are going to get up at 1:00 am in the morning, have a little breakfast and be hiking on the trail by 2:00 am. We probably have about a 12 hour summit day ahead of us, it is a little bit chilly here so we are carrying lots of layers but it has been fairly clear in the mornings. We are looking forward to a great summit day and will call and let you know how it goes. Namaste.

April 15, 2008

Hi this is Winslow with Team Yakpi Island Peak climbers. We had a lovely day today, we trekked from Chhukhung up to Island Peak Base Camp. We have our own little camp here today and we will be spending a few nights in tents. The food has continued to be spectacular; we enjoyed chocolate-coconut pastries today, apple fritters and wonderful pizza. We did a lot of eating and listening to music, along the trail today we played a few games such as twenty questions and the band game. We had a relaxing afternoon, we got our harnesses and ascenders set up. Tomorrow we will have a skills day, learning how to go up a fixed line and repel down and then we will leave in the middle of the night for the summit. Our focus is now turning towards getting up Island Peak and everyone is getting excited. Today we also had few photo opportunities with yaks and we did a little hike up at the Imja Tsho Lake that is close to our camp here. Everyone is doing well, we are missing our fellow trekkers and looking forward to hearing how their journey is going. Until tomorrow we are signing out. Namaste.

April 14, 2008

Hi All,

We are in Namche today and will head down valley towards Lukla for the night. Yesterday we had magnificent weather and great views of all the mountains. We are all strong now from the acclimatization and we are enjoying the thick air down here. Dr. Bret gave an injecting into Lama Geshes knees yesterday as he has a Gout problem. It's great when we have doctors along who are able to give such needed help.

Last night our good friends at the Panorama Hotel made an excellent dinner of curries and chicken. Everyone is shopping today and relaxing in the sun. We will head down the valley in a few hours. That is all for now. Will call in tomorrow.

All the best

Todd

April 14, 2008

Hi this is Winslow calling in for Team Yakpi, it is the 14th of April, I am with the Island Peak climbers and we are heading up; Diane, Liliana, Matt and myself. It was very sad this morning to say good by to the trekkers as they headed down, hopefully they will be sending in a note as well, they were all doing well this morning and looking forward to seeing their families. We really enjoyed hanging out for the last few weeks and getting to know them and now our much smaller little group, is heading up to Island Peak Base Camp tomorrow. We are in the small town of Chhhukhung this evening. We just finished up some wonderful apple pie, had a short hike today so it was nice to hang out and shower and relax a little bit this morning. Anyway we are looking forward to a good climb and we hope that you will keep tuning in. Namaste.

April 13, 2008

Hello this is Winslow calling in for Team Yakpi it is the 13th of April we are now in Dingboche after a long day. We started early this morning, awoke to perfectly clear skies and hiked up Kala Pattar to 18,500 feet or so. It was a little bit of a rock scramble to get to the summit there and we had spectacular views of Everest, the South Col and even the Hillary Step as we glanced at it through Dougs very long lens on his camera. Everyone did really well, we descended from Kala Pattar all the way down to the town of Dingboche, it was basically; walk, eat, walk, eat, walk, eat and sleep. We had along day and everybody is really tired but it was a great day. This was our last night together so we had a celebration cake and tomorrow morning we will have one last meal before the climbers head up and the trekkers head down. We are a little bit sad to be saying good bye but are happy to continue on our journeys. Thanks for checking in, we are looking forward to a good nights sleep. Namaste.

April 12, 2008

Hi this is Winslow with Team Yakpi, it is the 12th of April. We had a beautiful day today we hiked up to Everest Base Camp. There was a lot going on up there, beautiful camp, lots of prayer flags, we saw people practicing on the ropes and on some ice pinnacles. We got to see the Alpine Ascents climbers camp which looked very nice and cozy and really enjoyed hanging out there at base camp for a little while. The Khumbu Icefall was spectacular. We had in and out weather, it snowed a bit and it would be sunny for a while and clear up and then we had a bit more snow but over all it was a spectacular day. Tomorrow we are keeping our fingers crossed for good weather so that we can go up to Kala Patter in the morning and get some good views of Everest from there. Then we will descend to the town of Dingboche and spend our last night together before the climbers head up towards Island Peak and the trekkers head back down. It has been a wonderful journey and we all send out our love. Namaste.

April 11, 2008

Hi this is Winslow calling with Team Yakpi, it is the 11th of April and again I would like to thank Diane for writing the cybercast this evening. Today we hiked from Lobuje to Gorak Shep, 16,900 feet. We walked in a glacier valley surrounded by the jagged yet majestic Himalayan Mountains, it was such a contrast of opposites, dark rock in the valleys and snow capped mountains seemingly in the sky. It was a peaceful and steady hike, making our way closer to the Everest Base Camp. This is our highest camp of the journey and we are very happy to have made it up here. Many people went out today and played some Frisbee on what looks like a beach up here, it used to be an old lake that has drained out. Other people went hiking up higher for a little extra acclimatization and others cruised around camp sighting some Himalayan snow cocks and lots of yaks. Along the trail today hiking there was a bit of a traffic jam, instead of the loud city noises of Katmandu there was a multitude of ringing yak bells coming from both directions. We arrived in Gorak Shep in early afternoon and had our first view of the Khumbu Icefall and Everest Base Camp, wow what a sight. Again it is hard to describe the scale of everything and how impressive the surroundings are. The Khumbu Icefall and the surrounding ridges of the Tibetan Nepalese Mountains make you realized how large life experiences can be if you chose to explore and see it. Tomorrow we are heading up Everest Base Camp to relatively ‘close up views of Everest. Peace to you all from Team Yakpi. Namaste.

April 10, 2008

We are in Lobuje at 16,100 feet, doing well except for a few minor headaches which are to be expected at this altitude. We arrived at 2:20 in the afternoon and had time to play cards and dice games. We watched some lightening and hail storms but things seem to be clearing up. Tomorrow will plan to go to Gorak Shep and hopefully climb Kala Pattar for some views of Everest. On the trail today we passed chorten (stone piles or carvings) memorial for those who perished on the sloes of Everest. After Gorak Shep we plan to make our way to Base Camp Namaste to all – Winslow

April 9, 2008

Hi this is Winslow with the Team Yakpi, it is the 9th of April, we had a lovely day hear in the Pheriche. We went for a little jaunt up and over the hills and visited a Gompa up there, which is a rock hut that is built into the cliff side where monks go and pray in the summer, with amazing views of snow covered mountains. We came back and had some california rolls for lunch and then went to the high altitude lecture this afternoon. We concluded our evening with a very entertaining game of charades and now we are going to enjoy a good night sleep and up to Lobuche tomorrow. Everyone is doing well, having a great time and we all send out our love and good thoughts to our friends and family. Thanks for tuning in.

April 8, 2008

Hi this is Winslow with Team Yakpi, it is the 8th of April and I would like to give a special thanks to Diane for putting together tonights cybercast. Last night we camped at Deboche under a sky full of stars, we were down in a valley surrounded by peaks, it was a dream come true. After a great night sleep, the goal of the day was to climb another 2,000 feet to Pheriche, a small village at 13,900 feet. A small group of us started the day with yoga in a yak pasture; we were following Winslows yoga routine with a yak audience cheering us on, so to speak. After the stretch we put on our packs and made our way through the valley going up, up, up, seemingly a never ending question of going up. Each of us being driven by the call of the mountain and the vast beauty that continually unfolded. It is hard to describe how strikingly beautiful the mountains are, I guess that it is why we all came. Mid morning we stopped at Pangboche to visit the oldest monastery in the Khumbu Valley, 604 years. To the sound of drums we toured the monastery, we had the fortune to be blessed by the Lama Geishe, what a wonderful, spiritual experience in more ways than one. The Lama was obviously at some much at peace and he passed that along to each of us. He was also very personable, smiling and laughing as he gave us the blessing, touching forehead to forehead or ‘butting heads as some would say. In parting the Lama provided us with a wishing prayer that included the words ‘as much as you help others, you help yourself that much. With that in mind we moved onward and forward to Pheriche and a mad dash to the shower, had to sign up and be on a waiting list but it was worth (…transmission break…)

April 7, 2008

Hello this is team Yakpi, it is the 7th of April. This morning we were blessed with blue sunny skies and amazing views of all the surrounding peaks that have so far been hiding in the clouds. We visited the Khunde Hospital that services the entire Khumbu valley consisting of about 7,000 people. We were able to speak to some of the doctors and connections were made with the doctors on our team. We left there with their supply needs list with promises to send drugs their way. Brett was having stethoscope withdrawals so he bartered for one and in turn helped out the hospital. (...transmission break…) While the school was out for winter break we were able to visit a classroom where we saw a picture of our Sirdar, Passang when he was a young student there. Everyone survived the 3,000 foot climb to Tengboche Monastery where we visited the museum, the gift shop, the bakery, the monastery and the internet café. At the monastery a hip young monk in crocs (the shoes) gave us a run down of the history of the monastery and the philosophy of Buddhism. Other highlights today; yakpi our team mascot made his first summit of Ama Dablam, photos coming later, Jenny and Bruce discovered sparks in their sleeping bags, these were later explained as static electricity and we hiked down a rhododendron forest to the lovely camp of Deboche. Everyone is feeling well and we send our love, talk to you tomorrow. Namaste.


Lakpa Rita Sherpa's Parent's house.


A snowman and some of the local kids in Khunde


Trail to Thame

April 6, 2008

Hello this Team Yakpi ‘Little Yak it is the 6th of April. This morning we awoke with four inches of new snow outside the lodge. Sensing the heat a yak dashed in the front door and ran right into the kitchen, causing us no harm but bringing us lots of laughs. We then had a mountain yoga session in the snowy field with the yaks and the local children. The highlight of the trip so far for the group was visiting the traditional Sherpa home of Passang and Lakpa Ritas parents. We drank many cups of tea and learned of Sherpa customs, it was both warming and enlightening. It was a challenging hike today with lots of snows and few steep hills. Whiteout conditions tested Dianes route finding skills but she cunningly found the hidden trail and still had energy upon arriving in camp to build a snowman with the Sherpa staff, local kids and myself, the snowman then became a tourist attraction as other groups rolled into town. In the meantime Todd B. was captivating the group with mountaineering stories. The snow provided lots of entertainment including Brett pulling kids along in a sled and children boot skiing down a hill. We were loving the pizza that we had for dinner tonight, a definite unexpected treat. Charades after dinner provided deep belly laughs and the group came together in a manner of such intimacy that we learned that Brett once waxed his back. Perhaps I have shared too much but I must also mention that the sun did shine through this afternoon bringing us much appreciated views of the stunning Ama Dablam. We are looking forward to another fun filled day tomorrow, Namaste.

April 5, 2008

Hi this is Winslow with Team Yakpi, meaning little yak. Life is great, a few interesting things to report today. First, a cuticle trauma is upon us, Ming and his sensitive fingers are cracking, the jury is out on the cause, perhaps he has been scaling too many rocky cliffs or he could just be a sensitive guy. Shockingly Matt was trying to “visit a man about a horse” and he was visited himself by a few kids asking for chocolate. Finally Doug likes a bridge, crossing a daring river gorge to Thame he actually stopped to look over the side down at the rushing river that has beautifully carved its winding path. Todays hike led us through a gorgeous cedar forest, the morning was good weather and we had a few views of the peaks around. The afternoon brought a wonderful sideways storm; snow is keeping the dust down and adds a different beauty as it covers the trees and hillside. As we arrived in Thame today, people were just relaxing and kicking up their feet and we railed them to head back up another five hundred feet to a five hundred year old monastery on the hill for an afternoon ceremony, we have all been blessed. More news tomorrow, we are heading to the village of Khunde. Thanks for tuning in – Winslow. Namaste.

April 4, 2008
Our name means "little yak". We have enjoyed another amazing day here in the Khumbu. This morning we caught a few nice views of surrounding peaks, and then the clouds moved in bringing a snow storm to town. It has been snowing for hours now accompanied by a chorus of thunder and lightening. Namche is beautifully cover with a white blanket. Ups and downs of the day are as follows: Beth is one proud new grandmother sharing the news with smiles and tears this morning. We hiked up to Syenboche a 1000 feet up or so, and everyone did great. Ginny was told by a 10 year old Nepalese boy that she was "too old", so she proceeded to knock him off the mountain and cruise to the top. (Half of this statement is not true!) Maritial bliss was almost disrupted today as Liliana's poles on her pack nearly poked Matt's eye out. It was a "fun"exchange to say the least (no physical injuries incured). Our ridge descent off the beaten path, was exciting as well. Doug said something like, "That's not a ridge I would normally go on! I'm just glad I did not scream Leona (my mother's name)." On the other hand Brett entertained us with his steep slope side skiing skills. Some purchases were made in town including many bottles as a new use for Nalgenes has been discovered. I guess getting out of the tent 5 times a night is not all that popular in the Yaktak group. Tomorrow will will head up the valley to the stunning village of Thame!

Namaste! Winslow


Off the beaten path hiking down a steep ridge back to Namche after our day-hike-club



some of the group outside sherpa museum in Namche as the snow keeps on coming down


Namche equiped with disco ball  

 

April 3, 2008
Hi friends and family!

We have all arrived safely in Namche Bazaar. Todays climb has been likened to a "buns of steel" workout that has you feeling as if it continued as such that one could perhaps win a contest on the finest buns in the state of Colorado. We hiked 3000 vertical feet today, crossing seven bridges, and ascending more than several large stairs! The lodging has been described as a fabulous luxury accomadation equipped with shower and toilet, and today has been quoted as "another day in paridise".

News flash: Exciting news from the middle of the night last night from one member of the group is worth telling. After fighting with his zipper for 15 minutes he made it to the lue to discover creature of some sort in the hole. As it moved closer, he realized the frog was actually smiling at his middle of the night warm shower that was now upon him.. Member is happy to of avoided screaming loudly.

Tomorrow we will take an acclimatization hike and check out the town of metropolis of Namche. We will enjoy another evening in paridise. Everyone sends their love!!

Namaste! Winslow


Not a bad view...


One of many Bridges


Some of the group at Namche


What are you Looking At?

April 2, 2008

Hello (…transmission break…) we had a wonderful day. (…transmission break…) the rhododendrons colored red and pink, the Dudh Khosi , the river is a brilliant color and very peaceful. As we walked through the Khumbu we were impressed with the people here and their brilliant smiles. (…transmission break…) enjoying being in the mountains, it is quite a contrast from the hectic city and we are happy to be in the mountains. Tomorrow we will head up to Namche Bazaar and spend a couple of days there. Thanks for tuning in and we will keep you posted.

April 1, 2008

Hello friends and family,

We are hanging here in Kathmandu, hoping to fly out soon.  It looks like there are some problems with the government and we may not be able to make it into the Khumbu.  We are keeping are fingers crossed for a flight tomorrow.  We are hopeful, but we do have back up plan.  We have been offered a film gig in Bollywood, and we are currently working on our dance routine as we have to compete for the role.  We have some real talent here, and things are shaping up!!  April fools!  Our flight is scheduled to leave in the morning, and we are looking forward to being in the mountains.  No problems at all with the government.  Weather cooperating, we will land in Lukla early and hike down to the village of Phakding which is a lovely spot right on the side of the Dudh Khosi river. 

We had a fun journey today visiting the Swayambhu "Monkey temple".  We saw alot of monkeys, and enjoyed learning about the oldest Buddhist stupa in Kathmandu.  Then we visited the Kathmandu Valley School seeing the students from the Khumbu that are sponsored by the Sherpa Foundation.  It was very inspiring to see their enthusiasm and desire to learn.   They performed a song for us, fed us juice and cookies, and gave us a tour of the grounds including a basketball court, a soccer field, a stage, and of course dormitories and classrooms.  We continued on to Pashupatinath which is the most important Hindu temple in the valley.

I will now introduce you to our team! 

Everest Base Camp Trekkers:
Doug Flowers, Brett Spencer, Terry Isreal, Marvin Middlekauff, Ginny Lyster, Beth Sirles, Bruce Mann, John McMahon, Larry Shore, Al Martinez, Margaret Janicek, Carmel Galvin, and Ming Yue

continuing on to Island Peak:
Matt Hogan, Liliana Woo, Diane Bridges, and Bob Scull

Guides are Todd Burleson, and myself Winslow Passey

Thanks for keeping up with our journey, more news to come your way each day (cybercast are not posted on the weekend)! 

Namaste!
Winslow


The Team at the Monkey Temple

Swayambunath
Swayambunath (The Monkey Temple)

Sherpa Fund Students
The Sherpa Foundation Students say "Hello!"