Island Peak Cybercast

10/30/07
Beter Late than nEverest!! We are lucky today as we all have safely arrived back in Kathmandu. We did have to split up into 3 groups to fly out. I was a bit worried as it was cloudy in Lukla today, but the runway stayed clear, and here we are about to enjoy another celebration dinner.

Many people enjoyed a straight blade facial shave today that includes a head and shoulder massage and a better trim than you have ever seen in the states. The guys are looking young and smooth!! The shower is never so appreciated when you have the luxury every day, but today it felt better than ever. We are heading to a traditional Nepali restaurant tonight that includes several creative Nepali dances after the meal.

We are looking forward to one more meal together as a group including our phenominal Sherpa staff, and Jiban our main man in Kathmandu. Tomorrow morning everyone is heading to the airport. Check back in for a final report!! Namaste!! Winslow

10/29/07
Better Late than nEverest!! Hiking from Namche to Lukla is a long day. There are many ups and downs. We descended back down into the more tropical region of the Khumbu, and with each drainage we trodded down to the river and back up the next ridge. It is representative of our mental and emotional experience as well. The journey has been moving in many ways, and we appreciate friendships made among group members. At this reflection we are sad, yet we are looking forward to seeing loved ones, sleeping in our own beds, and the comfort of our own bathrooms. There are many other powerful things we have experienced such as seeing some of the Sherpa culture in the Khumbu, observing and playing with heart grabbing kids that grow up watching trekkers come and go, and seeing some of the most amazing mountains in the world. We feel both fortunate and sad on our last day of trekking.

We had a wonderful celebration in Lukla with another unbelievalbe dinner, Gopals' best cake yet, and this was followed by dancing and singing with our entire crew of locals that made this trip happen for us. They have some of the biggest smiles, and the best attitudes you can find. Without any practice the song we wrote to them was tolerable put to the beat of "We will , we will Rock You!". The Nepali song that they sang back to us, however, was great. Our gratitude went out to them all for their hard work and support and fun was had all around. We are lined up to fly to Kathmandu tomorrow, so we are hoping for good weather.

Thanks as always for joining us. Namaste! Winslow

10/28/07
Better Late than nEverest! Hi friends and family,

We have safely arrived in Namche Bazaar, the big city of the Khumbu. We had a great day today enjoying the thick air as we descended down to 11,300 feet. We really lucked out today as the Mani Rimdu festival was taking place at the Tengboche monastery. It was a real treat to see the dancing and the different mask and costumes. It is good fortune to attend the festival that celebrates the beginning of Buddism. We also enjoyed snacks at the Bakery again, still shocked to get chocolate donuts at 12,000 feet. It is amazing how things look different on the way down. The hill sides are filled with beautiful fall colors. Dave H. took a swing with the 25lb. sledge hammer that is used for breaking rocks during trail construction. After seeing him sweat we all gave donations to the cause. We are now all showered and looking forward to another dinner celebration. Many members have headed downtown to do some more shopping.

Tomorrow we will hike to Lukla, and fly to Kathmandu on the 30th. Namaste! Winslow 

(Photos to come)

10/26/07
Hi, this is Winslow calling in for team Better Late Than Neverest. We had an absolutely gorgeous day today heading up to Island Peak with a full moon and beautiful stars. Everyone had a great day. It was very calm and not a cloud in the sky. I have some quotes from the team explaining a little bit about their day. We had two groups that left today- one early group that left at 1am and the other group left at 2:40.

A quote from Dave H: “Tommy is my daddy and the juice was worth the squeeze”. This is from Bruce …(transmission break)… This is from Dave M: “Hardest thing I have ever done. It’s like 8 hours of great scrambling, but with a plastic bag over your head. The headwall was freakin’ phenomenal”. From Elaine: “I left my brain at the fixed line. The summit ridge was spectacular with views of Ama Dablam, Makalu, Lhotse, and Nuptse.” “Early Happy Birthday to Emily and Sophie, love Uncle Tim”. Also from Tim “Worth the price of admission.” From Jeff: “…(incomprehensible)…still rocks and living the dream”.

Today it was a group effort from the cook staff and the guides. They prepared two breakfasts in the middle of the night. Juice was delivered to 19,000 ft. Sherpa staff masterfully drove the summit push to beat the crowds, weaving the first group in and out of mass amounts of people in order to avoid a crowd. They were one of the first groups on the summit. Everyone is now getting ready to head to bed and enjoy a well earned evening of sleep. Tomorrow we will head down to the town of Tengboche. It will take us three days to get down. We’ll go Tengboche, Namche, and then Lukla and we will be flying back to Kathmandu the next day. Thanks for tuning in. Namaste!

10/25/07
Hi this is Winslow calling in for team Better Late than Neverest. We had another lovely day here in Island Peak base camp. We slept in this morning, ate breakfast, went over skills on how to ascend a pick line, how to get down, repelling, and we rested this afternoon. We’re going to bed early, 6 o’clock, and getting up at midnight to head up for the summit.

(Remainder of transmission garbled)

10/24/07
This is Jaye checking in for the Betterlate than nEverest. Every one is fine. We all have Hymalayan tans. The last few days were intense. We summited Kala Pattar 18,500' in time for the Everest Rocks concert. The band left one hour before us and summited with us. They dragged themselves and their equipment up the mountain, puked, passed the wiskey bottle and put on a great concert. I know I can speak for the whole group, we tip our hats to the band for their tenacity and overall GOOD ATTITUDE. The next day we made our way to Everest Base Camp 17,500' where wetook a picture infront of the Kumbu Ice Fall. The picture can't do the Ice Fall justice. It is a massive, beautiful, dangerous pathway to the first base camp. On the way home Mother Nature treated us to a spectacular  Avalanche approx 2-5mi away on Nuptse. It took about 5min for the cool breeze and pieces of ice to hit our faces. What the tuff guys and gals agree on.... The worst place to be is in a snow cave socked in by weather and the best place, well thats easy,   it is with all of you. I love and miss my two daughters Marissa and Kiana. I'll be home soon. Mom

10/23/07
Hi this is Winslow calling in for team Better Late than Neverest we had another gorgeous day today. We headed down from Gorak Shep to Dingboche at 14,000 feet where the air feels quite thick down here comparatively. We hiked on a few trails that were off the beaten path on these high plateaus with amazing views, again. This is our last evening together before the trekkers descend and I would like to read to you a poem written to by Elaine, it sums up some of our journey here in Nepal.

When the Monks give you a blessing and the Yaks haul all of your gear the mighty winds can blow the dust right into your eyes and ears, you know you are in Nepal. When the porters haul their baskets and the trekkers walk the trail you can hear the sounds of breathing as you watch the prayer flags sail, you know you are in Nepal. When the mountain views surround you and you stare at them in awe, your cameras cant do justice to the wonders that you saw, you know you are in Nepal. When you hear the Namaste greeting and you eat a Dal Bhaat, the hardworking Nepalese people cause you many things to feel, you know you are in Nepal. When you are squatting in the toilet and the bucket shower is near, your clothes are drying on the rocks, hand washed by ones that care, you know that you are in Nepal. When the hot water is delivered to your tent at morning light, the breathless smells are in the air as you hurry out for a bite, you know you are in Nepal. When your guide is acting silly putting rocks in someones pack, the snowballs that bombard her are meant to hit her in the back, you know that you are in Nepal. When everyone retires to bed in tea house, lodge or tent, we can thank our lucky brilliant stars for participating in this event, we know we are in Nepal.

Thanks to Elaine for that and we will be calling you tomorrow, the trekkers will descend down to Namche and the climbers will head up to Island Peak and have a rest day up there and then go for the summit the next day. Talk to you soon. Namaste.


Bridge to Thame


Camp in Thame


Thame Monastery


View of Ama Dablam from Tent

10/22/07
Hi this is Winslow calling in for team Better Late than Neverest, we had another truly brilliant day today. We went up to the Everest Base Camp it never did cloud up today, it was a little cold and windy at base camp but it was really neat to see the Kumbu ice fall. There is one team up there and we saw a few people hiking up through the ice fall today. On our way back we stopped for some juice and a nap. As we were looking across at Nupste we saw four small avalanches and just as Dave got out of his mouth ‘wouldnt it be cool if we saw that whole big thing break off, it did. About three seconds after he said that, we saw a really large ice fall avalanche. It was a really long distance from us so dont worry but it was really cool to see and about five minutes later we got a little blast of snow from the avalanche and a lot of folks have videos and pictures that they took. Gorak Shep is really nice right now, everything is dusted with snow and there is a three quarter moon out so it is illuminating the mountain all around. We had a beautiful sunset as well and a lot of folks got some nice sunset pictures of Everest. Tomorrow we will be heading down to Dingboche which will be our last night together as a group and then the trekkers will head down with Daves group and the climbers will continue on up to Island Peak Base Camp. Thanks for tuning in, lots of love to friends and family. Namaste.

10/21/07
Hey cyberworld, this is team Better Late than Neverest reporting. The inmates have taken over the asylum we have placed enough sedatives in Winslows coffee to knock out a bull. I believe that it was a sedative and not a laxative oh well either way we have got some time. First off we would like to give a big shout out to our Sherpa staff, they feed us like they are leading us to slaughter. They set up and break down camp and spoil us in more ways then you could possibly imagine. They are the happiest, hardest working people you could ever have the pleasure to meet. And we are all big fans of Winslow our lead guide, she is so strong she daily makes me question my manhood. Actually several people have questioned my manhood on this trip but that is another story. Winslows child like enthusiasm and positive spirit have truly made this trip a joy for us. Today we traveled from Lobuje to Gorak Shep. After lunch we hiked up Kala Patter and had great views of Everest and attended the worlds highest altitude concert, just another day in paradise. Well better rap this up before Winslow regains consciousness or finishes in the ladies room. We send our love to all our friends and family, good night and be good.Thanks.

PS: A big Happy 9th Birthday to Griven from Dad.

10/20/07
Hi this is Winslow calling in for team better Better Late than Neverest, it is the 20th of October and we are in Lobuje this evening. We awoke this morning to an incredibly, beautiful day. Our day consisted of eating and hiking and eating some more and hiking some more and resting and eating. We had a beautiful lunch spot as well, it was the first time that I have ever been bombarded by snow balls by the entire group, I guess it was a little deserving as I had been (… transmission break…) the last few days. The view is all inspiring and 360 degrees (… transmission break…) Up on top of a hill there was a band playing music (…transmission break…) it started snowing, covering everything with a white dusting, it is fairly cloudy right now, keeping things pretty warm here. We are headed to Gorak Shep and in the afternoon we will climb up to Kala Patter, it is about 18,500 feet. We are hoping for good weather and a good night sleep. We will try you again tomorrow. Thanks for tuning. Namaste.

10/19/07
Hi, this is Winslow calling in for team “Better late than Neverest” on the 19th of October. We slept in, having breakfast at 7:30 instead of 6:30. You may tired of hearing this, but we had another gorgeous day. It was again 25* today and everything was covered in frost including the yaks. We took an acclimatization hike up to 16,700 feet with a total gain of 2,900 feet today. The group continued to be stunned by the majestic high peaks that surround us in every direction. The views included Cho Oyu, Island Peak, Nuptse, and Makalu, to name a few.

Many members reached their personal high point. I did hear one description of the steep switch-backing trail as brutal. Dave M was in heaven as we did a little scramble through some boulders to reach a lovely lookout point and I cant tell you how excited Dave H was, as well. A few more highlights of the day were Todd reciting poetry and seeing an eagle with a 4 to 6 foot wing span soaring in the cold breeze that was blowing across the ridge. I have to mention the food today as we are continually surprised at what the staff produces at 14000 feet on the stove. We had California rolls for lunch, pizza for dinner, and cinnamon cake for dessert. Tomorrow we head up to Lobuje, now putting us three days from Everest base camp. A few folks are fighting off a cold that seems to be making its rounds in the group. Yet everyones spirits are high and the acclimatization is going well. Thanks for tuning in. Well chat again later. Namaste.

10/18/07
Hi, this is Winslow with team “Better Late than Never”. Today we woke with perfectly clear skies at a brisk 25*F with brilliant views of Everest, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam. It stayed clear all day today- a first for this trip. We enjoyed views of island peak as we climbed above tree line and crossed a beautiful high plateau. The group exhibited their advanced yak dodging skills on the narrow trails. We arrived at Pheriche at 2pm in time to sit in on a very interesting high altitude lecture at the Himalayan research center. Half the group got in hot showers as well. The group is doing a great job learning Nepali as we have a word of the day each day. So far, they know how to say “no problem”, “its a beautiful day”, “its delicious”, “maybe” with a Sherpa nod, and “what are you going to do”. Everyone is feeling well and complaints are non existent. Thanks for tuning in. We will talk to you soon.

10/17/07
Better Late than nEverest

Hello friends and family, We are having the time of our lives up here in the Khumbu. It has been a spectacular day. We are now in Tengboche enjoying the views of Everest, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, and Kantega. We induldged ourselves at the Bakery with donuts, chocolate cake, and brownies. Then we visited the Eco Center for shopping, a lesson in Buddist history, and a video about the Tengboche monastery. Some people went into the beautiful monastery for the afternoon ceremony as well.

I wanted to add a very nice part of our day yesterday which was seeing Lhakpa Rita's and Kami Rita's parents house. We enjoyed tea and a special blessing from them.

We are now only 20 minutes from our next camp in Deboche, a lovely small village in the Rhododendron forest.

Tomorrow we will enjoy a hike to Pheriche where we will stay for 2 days. Everyone is doing well. Though a few people are battling some cold symptoms, they have not let it slow them down.

Lots of love to family and friends!

Namaste! Winslow

10/16/07
Better Late than nEverest

We awoke to crystal clear skies this morning and wonderful mountain views 360 degrees. Last night Jaye describes the sky saying, "It is like someone opened up a bag and dumped billions of stars into the night". It seems out here that you can see so many more than other places. In the morning we hiked up to the Thame monastery on the way catching a view of Cho Oyu. We had a unique experience at the monastery of being able to listen to the morning prayer ceremony that involves chanting and playing of instruments such as the bells, drums, conch shell and horns.

We then hiked to the town of Khunde where the hospital is located. This hike is about 5 miles and involves 2000+ feet of both up and down. Things began to cloud in during the afternoon bringing thunder showers. We made it to camp just before the bottom of the sky fell out bringing first rain and then snow. We were very grateful that our tents were set up already when we arrived. The snow poured for an hour or so and then abruptly cleared leaving enough daylight for Elaine to build a snowman in camp.

Tomorrow we will check out the hospital here, the only one in the Khumbu. Then we will head 15 minutes down the trail to Khumjung where the Hillary school is located. Our hike will take us down to the river and back up to Tengboche. We will visit the monastery and enjoy the vies from the bakery, and then descend 20 minutes down into the Rhododendron forest to camp in the village of Deboche.

Thanks for joining us!

10/15/07
Better Late than nEverest

We began our morning by hiking up to the Sherpa Museum which is a 3 part experience: First we saw a collection of traditional Sherpa tools and prayer room with instruments. Second was a very interesting slide show on Sherpa culture and history in the Khumbu. Third was the photo galleries with pictures of Sherpas, first ascent teams, historic articles, and stories of the Yeti (which we are still looking for).

Next we visited the National Park Visitor's center and lookout point seeing the impressive Ama Dablam (aka the Mother Jewel Box). This was followed by a visit to the Namche Gompa which is very colorful and glowing with the burning of the butter lamps.

Quote or the day: "Pictures and words can't begin to describe this experience, you have to see it" Todd

Highlights of the journey to Thame included fall colors through a lovely pine forest; the hydroelectric plant that supplies Thame, Khunde, Namche, and everything in between; and the elaborate constructed trails used for commerce. Geoff described the river today as an intimidating raging torrent. Although he though about kayaking it, I don't think this will happen. We saw several loads of clothes, blankets, and shoes from Tibet making their way on yaks to Namche Bazaar which takes about 4 days. There were mostly yaks and locals on the trail, a much welcome break from yesterdays crowds created by the four day delay. Another unusual sight was the drying yak dung patties on a large boulder that are used for fuel.. Subsequently our lodge this evening was very warm heated by these patties.

The evening brought us delicious homemade pizza and lots of fun with our new found 9 year old friend Lhakpa Tenzing who was beating Bruce and Tim at their own card game.

Namaste! Winslow

10/14/07
Better Late than nEverest
We had another wonderful day today hiking to Namche Bazaar. We saw our first views of Everest and Lhotse, it is hard to describe how grand it is. Everyone made it up the Namche hill with no problems. I have not even a headache to report so far. We arrived by noon which gave us time to shower, hand over some laundry, and explore downtown Namche. We are having a great time, and we are looking forward to traveling to Thame tomorrow. We will keep you posted. Lots of Love to our friends and family. Happy Birthday Brent! Namaste! Winslow


Bridge over the Dudh Khosi


Everest and Lhotse on the trail to Namche

10/13/07
We have a team name! We are team "Better Late than nEverest"!! The day began with a very greatful, but extremely packed helicopter ride. Some of us in the back had six inches between our noses and the seat in front of us, and it was a group initiative getting everyone on board. After a safe landing we rejoiced our arrival to Lukla. I have been impressed with this group as they have embraced the Buddhist philosophy of accepting what you have and letting go of what you have not! In addition, all the time, seeing the bright side of things inspite of a four day delay.

Here are two quotes of the day: "This is the most beautiful inhabited place I have ever seen!!" and " YEAH!!!"

The team has been thoroughly moved by many things including the neatly tended fields, the colorfully painted houses, the abundant flowers, and the beautiful smiling children. Animals that we encountered today include two monkeys, several dogs, multicolored chickens, a snake, yaks, horses, goats, and cows. We hope to see the Yeti on our journey to come. I should mention as well that we are not going hungry, as we have had five fabulous meals today. Namaste!!


View at Dhulikhel


Kids in the Khumbu


Hiking along the Dudh Khosi River


Bridge to Namche


Lukla airport with our Helicopter in the background


In the Heli

10/12/07
This is from both groups as we are now on the same schedule. It has been another crazy day trying to fly to Lukla today. We left Dhulikhel mountain resort this morning and camp straight to tthe airport. We played many games such as dodge ball, keep away, and hacky sac. Then we did yoga in the parking lot, and then we played some cards and read our books. We had lunch, and we are still waiting. We have chartered a helicopter, and we should be boarding in a few minutes, so hopfully we can land tonight and begin our trek. Everyone is holding up well considering the amount of waiting we have endured. Yesterday we were able to do some sight seeing and shopping, and then had a wonderful journey into the countryside for the evening. Hopefully the next cybercast will be from Lukla or Phakding in the Khumbu. Namaste!

10/11/07
Hello friends and family, We are still in Kathmandu on a delay of two days now. There may have been a problem with the first cybercast as I have not seen it posted. So I will announce again the team members consisting of 10 climbers and 3 trekkers: Al Aldrich, Linda Comeau, Sam Casoria, David Meston, Elaine Cidzick, Geoff Heigh, Dave Haag, Al Hinrichsen, Bruce Hinrichsen, Todd Vieregg, Tim Archer, Vic Pedersen, Jaye George, and myself Winslow Passey We flew toward Lukla on the 9th and ended up landing on a beautiful plateau in a town called Rumjatar. We had tea and biscuits, and returned to Lukla as the clouds socked in the runway. It was described by one from Lukla as so bad that the crows couldnt get off the ground. We felt fortunate for this scenic flight and country tour, but then we spent the rest of the day in the airport only to return to the Yak & Yeti. The group has become quite proficient at packing and unpacking. We are starting to recognize all the airport staff, and we have given out copious amounts of baggage tips. The airport highlight was the cart races with the Australians and the South Africans. We are happy to announce that we won, and have Geoff (the pusher) and Dave (the rider) to thank for this success. Many members enjoyed bargaining in Thamel for gifts this afternoon while others enjoyed the poolside at the hotel. We had a lovely dinner this evening in an outdoor garden setting with live Nepali music and dancing. We celebrated Allen's birthday (from the other group) as well. We will head back to the airport in the morning for round three, with the other group on round two, so we are hoping for good weather. More news to come , hopefully from Phakding which is where we will spend our first night in the Khumbu. Namaste! Winslow

allen
Celebrating Allen's Birthday!

northfield
Dinner at the Northfield

yak-yeti
Becoming Familiar with the Yak and Yeti Lobby

plane-view
View from the plane on the scenic flight.

10/9/07
Hello friends and family, This is the first cybercast for the Island Peak climb and Everest Base Camp trek for the first Alpine Ascents group. In our group we have 10 climbers and 3 trekkers. I would like to introduce to you the group including: Al Aldrich, Sam Casoria, David Meston, Elaine Cidzick, Geoff Heigh, Dave Haag, Al Hinrichsen, Bruce Hinrichsen, Todd Vieregg, Tim Archer, Vic Pedersen, Jaye George, and myself Winslow Passey. We are now in the airport waiting for the weather to clear in Lukla. We have already boarded the plane only to be sent back inside as it is the runway is not open in Lukla yet. We are very excited to fly into the Khumbu today and begin the trekking journey. The other group will be a day behind us. Although jet lag has a hold of a few, we will adjust quickly once in the Khumbu where things just seem to melt into place. Something about the fresh mountain air, amazing views, and a little hiking seem to get you right on track. Everyone arrived safely yesterday. I am sure that you may hear a few stories of interesting travel detours as some folks had quite the change up in their inteneraries. Last night we enjoyed a wonderful traditional Nepali dinner together, pack our bags, and quickly fell asleep anticipating the 4:30 wake up call. If we get to fly in today, we will hike to Phakding, and be camping in the lush forest by the riverside. As they say here in Nepal, Namaste (blessing the best in you)! We'll get back with the team name later! Winslow

preboard
Scenic Views

Island2007-group
Team Island Peak 2007

 

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