2004 Everest Cybercast


May 27- BC- Final Cybercast Dispatch

Well, here we are back in our home away from home- BC. But it wont be for long. We are just finishing packing our bags and getting ready for the 3 day hike down to Lukla. From Lukla well take a flight back to Kathmandu and begin the real journey home.

Wow. What to say. Weve had a great experience here on the mountain. From the wonderful Nepali staff weve gotten to know to the other international groups on the mountain- its all been quite a ride. Despite the dehydration and spent bodies the team is still enjoying a high from having been to the top and come down safely. Last night we had a celebration with the Sherpa climbing team complete with Nepali pop music and beer, wine, whisky and dancing. The team expressed their great appreciation for the excellent support of the Sherpa. Our team was blown away by how attentive and experienced our Sherpa climbers were on summit day. There certainly developed a quick bond. This morning were all a bit smelly from Lhakpa repeatedly shaking up cans of beer and spraying them around the dining tent.
We were very fortunate to have had such a spectacular summit day. It was astounding. Even at the exposed portion of the route up on the south summit and Hillary step we had just puffs of wind. The views down the Khumbu valley to Namche Bazaar were totally unobstructed by clouds early in the morning and we found ourselves looking down upon the massive peaks of Pumori, Ama Dablam, Cho Oyu, Gyachung Kang, etc. The views out towards the Tibetan Plateau early in the morning were equally spectacular. There was a blanket of clouds over the plateau as the sun rose. Looking back along the ridge towards Makalu was all that it was made out to be- idyllic.
This morning is also a calm and clear one. The last teams of the season are going for the summit today. BC has started to turn into a bit of a ghost town. Well certainly contribute to that as our large camp moves out completely tomorrow. The prayer flags will all come down along with the tents and rock structures weve created.
The entire team would like to thank all of their friends and family out there for their support and enthusiasm throughout this expedition. This was a goal for many that sometimes is difficult to support. But without that support it wouldnt be the experience that it is. So thanks from all the members here. We also want to thank once again our grand Nepali local staff. It wouldnt be possible without them.
Vern, Jim, Ellie and I would like to thank the team for their enthusiasm and patience throughout the expedition. Though sometimes pushed to limits they all stayed focused and motivated to make this happen safely. Once again wed like to compliment them all on how strong they were. This was quite an exceptional team.

Thats it from all of us here at Everest. We'll see you soon to tell the stories!

Namaste and Tashi Delek-

Dave and the team



May 25

Hello friends, family and loved ones,

This is Vern Tejas reporting that we have succeeded in our goal of safely climbing Mt. Everest. All team members have made it to the top, and we have now successfully descended down to camp 2 at 21,143 feet. We have set some new records. We have the youngest man to have completed the seven summits - that is Britton Keeshan. We also have Holt Hunter, the first man from the Caribbean to summit Mt. Everest. And we have Haruisha Watanabe, the youngest Japanese man to climb Mt. Everest. We also have Mills Davis, the first lady from Kentucky to climb Mt. Everest, and the first man from Tennessee, Scott Graham. We also have the third Canadian to complete the seven summits, which is Jeff Dossett. So we have a real all-star cast, including Mills, the first woman summiter for Alpine Ascents. We had a wonderful showing; everyone came safely down the Lhotse Face, a very dangerous part of the trip. We were very fortunate to be able to come down in a very timely fashion on a very blustery day. We did seem to have picked the right day for the weather. Right now it's very cloudy and windy up toward the summit, so we're very happy to have had the weatherman on our side.

Tomorrow we head down to base camp where we'll celebrate our success and enjoy our first beers in a long time. That's all for now. Thank you very much for tuning in.

Ciao for now, Vern

Note from Ellie: I was just doing a little math and discovered that Alpine Ascents has put 48 people on the top of Everest in three years: 17 in 2002, 14 in 2003, and 17 in 2004. Good work, team!


May 24-S. Col

Have I mentioned yet that this team is amazing. It's 1:30 in the afternoon and they are already starting to arrive back at camp 4 at the South Col. That's hours ahead of when our groups normally get down. It sure makes it easier on those of us who are trying to monitor their progress. This has been a very efficient and trouble-free summit night - may it continue until everyone is safe back at base camp. The good weather continues to hold, with clouds mostly here in the valley and good conditions up higher. I'm sure the folks will be happy to sip on some tea and climb into their sleeping bags for a well deserved rest.

Tomorrow the team will head down from the South Col to spend a night at Camp 2, and then on down to base camp the following day. They won't believe how thick the air is here at 17,600 ft. compared to where they've been.

So for now I'm going to join them for a nap. It's been a long night and I could use some sleep as well.

Ellie


Summit

SUMMIT! We have just been notified that all members (except Jim Williams, who turned around last night) of the 2004 AAI Everest Expedition have reached the summit of Mt. Everest. The first ones arrived at the top at about 9:00 am. Nepal time, with the last ones coming in about 45 minutes later. Well done, team! Congratulations go to guides Vernon Tejas, Dave Morton,and Jim Williams, and to members Mills Davis, Justin Adams, Haruisha Watanabe, Scott Graham, Jeff Dossett, Holt Hunter, and Britton Keeshan.

Special recognition also goes to our hard working team of sherpas: Lakpa Rita, our amazing sirdar, and his assistant sirdar and brother, Kami Rita (Thapkee). Our summit team of sherpas also included Mingma Tshering, Passang Sona, Tsherri, Tshering Dorjee, Pemba Renjee, and Mingma Dorjee (congratulations to Dorjee for his first time to the summit). Thanks also goes to our sherpa support team of Zhang Bu, Natemba, Gelek, Pemba Nuru, Nema, Furba Tenzing, Passang Rita, Fura Cancha, and Mingma Rita. It takes teamwork do do a job like this, and these guys are the best.

We will now be monitoring the team as they begin their descent back to the South Col, and I will try to report periodically on their progress. We're looking forward to seeing them all safe and sound back at camp 4 - and I'm sure they'll be glad to be there.

Way to go, team! Ellie


May 24 eight oclock

Yahoo! Everyone was at the South Summit by about 7:30 am.. Conditions are still excellent. The sun is out, which I'm sure the team really appreciates after the cold night. And there is still not much in the way of wind. I was a little concerned when I saw a little spindrift blowing on the West Ridge, but the report is that there is no problem with wind up higher. I am amazed and thrilled with the 7:30 South Summit time. This is the earliest any group has arrived at the South Summit in my four years as base camp manager. As Ong Chu has been saying this entire expedition,"these guys are really strong". A few sherpas from neighboring camps are already starting to drift over to our camp for tea and hopefullly to help us celebrate the summit in a couple of hours.

We are also being treated to a rare sight this morning - there are a couple of ultralights flying around up toward the Western Cwm. The sherpas think they flew up from Shayngboche, and that there are a lot of them over around Pokhara. This is the first time I've ever seen one here. I guess that just proves the conditions up there are good.

More soon, Ellie




May 24-fourforty am

Hello from Mt. Everest,

It is 4:40 in the morning and I have just been talking to Lakpa through Ang Tsering at camp 2. Lakpa reports that the climbing team is at the balcony and heading up, still in good conditions. It has been cold, but everyone is doing well. Finally it is starting to get light out but we won't get full sun for another couple of hours yet. I'm sure the team will appreciate it when the sun hits and starts to warm things up a bit.

We have also been told that Jim Williams has turned around and returned to the South Col. Sounds like he is having an off day and just wasn't feeling strong enough to go all the way to the summit. So congratulations to Jim for getting as far as he has. He is fine and will now be able to contribute as part of the back-up team.

Ellie


May24-three am.

May 24, 3:00 am. - Well, it's dark and snowing again at base camp, but things seem to be going well on the climb. I still have not had radio contact with the climbing team, which is what we expected given the cold up there. So be patient, we should start seeing some daylight in a bit over an hour. I'm expecting they will be getting up toward the balcony by then. In the meantime things are pretty quiet here at base camp. Ong Chu is sleeping, and Gopal headed that way a while ago as well. We'll trade off the radio watch again in another hour or two.

Keeping the juniper fires burning,

Ellie


May 23 Midnight

Hello from Everest,

It's now midnight, and Lama Geshe seems to be right in saying this is an auspicious day to climb. So far things are going well. The wind has dropped, and even here at base camp the stars are beginning to come out. When the climbers left the South Col at 10:00pm. all we could see down here was clouds and snow. I have not had a radio call from the team for a while, but from the time schedules of previous Everest expeditions they are still plodding their way up the triangular face. I don't expect them to get to the balcony for another two or three hours.

Here at base camp we are trading shifts for monitoring the radio. Ong Chu and Gopal had the first shift while I got a little shut-eye. Now they are now heading off to bed while I take over for the next few hours. I have a nice propane heater going, a lantern, my book, and a thermos of dudh chia (milk tea), so I'm set to go.

That's all for now, Ellie


23 May 9:45 pm.

Hello in Cyberland,

Well, it's "showtime"! This is Ellie reporting from base camp because the team has their hands full drinking tea, putting on boots and down suits, and getting ready to go. I just talked to Lakpa at the South Col and everything is looking good for the summit attempt. The team spent the day at the South Col eating, drinking, resting, and breathing oxygen to get their strength up of the long night going to the summit. The skies have been clear and sunny, but there was a bit of wind during the afternoon. Lakpa now says that the wind has dropped and conditions and good. Our appreciation also goes to Kami Rita (Thapkee) and Passang Sona, who spent the day climbing almost to the South Summit making sure all the fixed lines were in good shape. They are now back at the South Col and ready to do the climb all over again with the team.

I have told the climbers to be careful about calling in. If there is any danger of frostbite they should not take their mittens off to try to use the radio. I will send in reports every couple of hours, but if it is very cold up there I may not have any new news. This will be a case of no news is good news.

Here at base camp we have juniper burning and are saying prayers as the climbers start on their way.

Ellie


May 23- Camp 4

Mt Everest, Nepal
7,800 meters-25,590 feet
2 pm

OM MANI PEDMI HOM - a Sherpa prayer

We are planning to begin our summit attempt at 10 pm on the 23 May 2004.We will climb throughout the night and hopefully reach the summit in 10-12 hours.

Today we awoke to the first clear sky in nearly a week. The team has spent the day eating, drinking and breathing supplemental oxygen. We will continue to rest throughout the day. After dinner we will start dressing around 8 pm. Our planned departure is 10 pm.

Today two of our top climbing Sherpas went to the South Summit to check the route. We are all greatly endebted to our Sherpa team led by Lakpa Rita Sherpa - an Alpine Ascents International Senior Guide and Expedition Sirdar [leader].

At the moment we are keeping our eye on the weather and hoping for another summit day.

Off to sleep before we begin!!!

If we begin tonight Ellie, our BC manager, will be sending in our cybercasts throughout the attempt.

Tashi Delek, Jim Williams


May 22- Camp 4

Hello one and all,

The team is very happy to be in camp four after a breath taking day. We are tired from the effort of the climb but settling into our sleeping bags and eating a hot dinner. We love our Sherpas. It been stormy all day and yet we are doing well at the highest camp on earth and that's in a large part due to this wonderful experienced team of high altitude professionals we have working with us. Our group of climbers are the strongest I've been on Everest with. Now all we need is a good rest and some reasonable weather....which according to at least two of our weather reports is just around the corner. Stay tuned.

A big congrats to Middlebury Class 2004!

Here's the gang making their way onto and over the yellow band.

Namaste,
Vern and Crew
143



May 21, 2004. Camp III. Evening

Hello there cybernauts, this is Vern Tejas with Alpine Ascents Mount Everest 2004 expedition. I just want to tell you that we are on our way, we are up at Camp III, currently breathing oxygen and trying to cook dinner on a 45 degree slope made out of ice, it is wonderful, I wish you were here. It is the first time that we have been on oxygen and it feels quite nice. It allows us to sleep calmly and soundly and thats a good thing.

It is dark now and were trying to get dinner on and everybody fed and watered. So stay tuned, stay with us, the weather is hopefully improving, we are in clouds, had some snow today. That was actually good because it kept us cool, the sun can be quite intense at this altitude. We plan on going up to Camp IV tomorrow and we are looking forward to getting some calm winds and hopefully then the sunshine comes through these clouds.

So ciao for now, we are thinking of you, bye bye.


May 21- CIII

We've arrived here in CIII amidst cloudy skies and everyone is feeling solid. Our climb up from CII was for the most part in snowy skies but there was no wind at all. Not a puff. It's around 9 pm now here in Nepal and I'm only up to top off a couple more water bottles. The team are all tucked away in warm sleeping bags breathing a 1 liter flow of oxygen. They're all drifting off into la la land by now. Tomorrow we'll move on to CIV better known as the South Col. We most likely will spend all of Sunday there resting. That will be our chance to send a longer cybercast. The team is strong and healthy.

Here's a shot rolling into CIII today.

All our best,
Dave and the gang



May 20- Camp II

21,015 feet

Snow, snow and more snow plagued us most of the day here at Camp 2. We were able to take advanrage of the day and rest as planned.

Much of today was spent mulling over all the different weather reports trying make sence of it all. At the moment we still plan to stick with our scheduled summit attempt on the 23-24 May.

Today we also reviwed the use of our oxygen system. We will begin to use supplemental oxygen tomorrow night at Camp 3. We will climb the rest of the way to the summit with supplemental oxygen.

No photo today but tomorrow we'll definitely include one.

Up early and off to Camp 3 in the morning if all goes well.

Tashi Delek, Jim Williams


May 19- CII

Well here we are back on the "hill" and in cozy CII. Unfortunately we left one of the essential cables for cybercasting down at BC yesterday. So we're not sure what all of you out there heard from us up here. The night at CI was pleasant and calm with a symphony of rockfall coming off of Nuptse and the West Shoulder. It was far enough away that the sounds were actually strangely soothing.

We had beautiful broken clouds with occasional precipitation as we climbed to CII today. The group's feeling well adjusted to this altitude and even able to 'walk and talk' at the same time. This afternoon we had a bit of snow- something the forecasts had been calling for. Now, at 8:45 p.m., it's broken and the skies are clear. Our plan for tomorrow is to wake up and check the most recent forecast and then decide about moving to CIII or staying here for a rest.

I can assure you each and every member is healthy and hanging in there. It's difficult being patient as the summit gets so close. A couple smacks upside the head has kept everyone in line!

We're keeping everyone at home close in our thoughts.

All our best,
Dave and the team





May 18th. Camp I

Well we are back up on the hill again, despite forecasts calling for precipitation and moisture, the day has been spectacular. Just now, fog is rolling into Camp I to engulf us, but still no precip. It is now around 3:30 in the afternoon, everyone is snuggled in their tents. It is not totally quiet though, I can hear people giving each other a lot of trouble, a recent past time.

Our ascent through the icefall included getting to congratulate many summiters on their way down. There were some wobbly legs and some knackered looking faces. There were plans for summits today as well, and by the looks of the day there may have been successes. This morning the winds up high did look a bit strong though. Tomorrow we will head on up to Camp II as soon as the sun hits. We are continually getting quicker with each trip so the climb to Camp II should be nice and short.

Today we arrived in Camp I by 10:30. Once we settle into Camp II, we will do another evaluation of the forecast and weather and then make a decision as to our next move. Everyone here is healthy and hanging in there for this last push.

We send our best, Dave and the team.



May 18 cybercast

Hello in cyberland,

Last night a few people claimed they slept well. But for most of us the excitement was building in anticipation of the first day of our bid toward the summit. Ong Chu woke us all up at 3:00 this morning, and yes, it was still dark out. We could tell who was getting up by the flash of headlamp light on the tent walls. By 4:30 the whole team walked out of base camp past the puja altar and burning juniper and headed for the fixed lines of the Khumbu Icefall. Here at base camp we could watch them as they climbed up through the broken section known as the "popcorn", and then disappeared into the ice seracs of the upper icefall. A radio call about 11:00 a.m. told us they had all arrived safe and sound at camp 1. I suspect a few members were out napping and sunbathing this afternoon after their early start this morning. Tomorrow the team plans to move on up through the Western Cwm to camp 2, where they will once again be sending you the cybercast from the mountain in person. Seems an important telephone cable was inadvertantly left in base camp this morning, but it will be sent up to camp 2 via sherpa express first thing in the morning.

That's all from base camp, Ellie


May 17- Everest BC

Hello friends, family and loved ones,

Well, this is the night we have been waiting for. Tonight we shift from phase three to phase four. No longer are we resting and recuperating&..we are now shifting into high gear. We are now climbers. And though the weather forecasts are less than stellar we will be getting up at 3:00 am to start our final ascent. With good conditions the process will take a week, in bad conditions we probably wont make it. We are to a tee, all very stoked to actually be in position and ready to go. Itll be tough to sleep tonight.

We are sad to report that Sticky wont be joining us as she has withdrawn from the expedition with respiratory problems. She gave it a very noble effort yet in the end she didnt want to hold the team back. We will miss you Sticky, may you get well soon.


Please join us for the next week or so as we aspire to stand on top of the world. It could be fun or it could be challenging but it certainly will be exciting. So come along for the ride as we give it our all.

Namaste,
Vern Tejas and Team



May 16- Everest BC

BC- 5,269 meters 17,285 feet

The entire team returned to Base Camp from our R&R trip to Debuche. All the members have returned to Base Camp healthy and eager to begin the summit push.

Many teams have summitted in the last two days. The number of climbers to reach the summit over the past few days has been in excess of fifty (50). Over the next few days most of the other teams will finish their summit bids and begin to pack to leave.

Our team is preparing to begin our summit bid. If all goes according to plan and the weather cooperates we will follow this plan:

17 May 2004 Rest and pack the last items for Summit push
18 May 2004 Begin the summit push. Base Camp to Camp 1
19 May 2004 Camp 1 to Camp 2
20 May 2004 Rest at Camp 2
21 May 2004 Camp 2 to Camp 3 (sleep with oxygen for the first time)
22 May 2004 Camp 3 to Camp 4  South Col (first day climbing with oxygen)
23 May 2004 Camp 4  rest and prepare for late night departure for the summit
24 May 2004 Summit day  return to South Col
25 May 2004 Return to Camp 2
26 May 2004 Return to Base Camp
27 May 2004 Base Camp
28 May 2004 Pack and begin the return journey

Many things can change but if all goes well this is our plan. We will let you know as things develop here at Base Camp. We are watching the weather closely and it will be the most influential factor in our decision to begin our summit bid.

More as we begin the climb towards the summit.

Tashi Delek, Jim Williams





May 15- Lobuche

Namaste all. Its late afternoon here in Lobuche on Saturday the 15th. Weve just gotten word from BC that there were teams with members on the summit today. Its an exciting bit of news for us as the final push now seems like its reality. Tomorrow we will walk the last section into BC and set up for our final push. Weve also heard there are 4 or 5 teams ready to try tomorrow as well. Its definitely gotten us ready to get back to BC and begin our own ascent.

Being in the Khumbu Valley and climbing this mountain is an experience not only because of the actual climb itself but everything that surrounds the idea of Mt. Everest. There is so much history and mythology relating to Mt. Everest that it is hard to imagine this area and these people without it. For the Sherpa here the mountain is intertwined with their culture and mythology and now also obviously with their economy. For us, the physical mountain and the climb hasnt changed much since Hillary and Norgays day, though the logistics have changed markedly. Just knowing that I am typing this note to be sent immediately to our website so that others may read it exemplifies some of those changes. Yet it is within the context of so much history and meaning surrounding Mt. Everest that makes the climb the experience that it is. Weve discussed often the early expeditions to the Tibet side of this mountain with the likes of Lambert, Irvine and Mallory. Also the history here on the south side since Nepal was opened to tourism. The success of Hillary and Norgay as well as the first American expedition and its success and the bold ascent of local Seattle heroes Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld. Weve also sat at CII and looked up at the Southwest Face that the British first climbed. The rich and long history of climbing this mountain is a big part of the present experience as well as the role it plays in the local peoples lives.

Well be setting off early tomorrow morning from Lobuche to BC and hope to arrive in time for one of Ong Chuus excellent lunchtime meals! Im still trying to convince someone to join me for an early walk up Kala Pattar, a spectacular 18,500 ft. viewpoint. I may have a couple takers! The gang is all feeling well and gearing up for our last stay in BC. Weve totally enjoyed our low altitude rest- Monopoly, a bit of beer, and plenty of thick air!

All our best,
Dave and the team




May 14- Pheriche

Big warm howdy to yall, Pheriche, 13,914.3ft.


Twas a wonderous morning for a walk. We sadly bib adieu to Mingma and his lovely wife, who have been our hosts these last three restful days. We trekked our way along the roaring Dhud Kosi river under the shadow of Ama Dablam(one of the prettiest mountains on earth). We are excited about the prospect of returning to the mountain. The weather is good, so hopefully many climbers will take their shot at the top which will allow us to climb relatively unencumbered by other teams. We wish them all the best and await the good news.


We sauntered along at a casual pace breaking above the tree line and leaving the flowers behind. The air is noticeably thinner in Pheriche yet we are revitalized by our R&R and look forward to climbing again. A sense of camaraderie exist now that didnt before and I think we are now ready for the challenge that awaits us above. Please stay tuned.

Namaste,
Vern and Team




May 13- Deboche

13 May 2004
Debouche, Nepal


Life of leisure is finally coming to an end. Today was the final day of our rest at lower altitude. Most of the day was spent resting and eating. Most of the members have slowed down on their food consumption. Members have regained much of the weight they lost earlier in the expedition. It is our hope that we will return to Base Camp fit and ready to begin our summit push.

The next few days we will trek back to Base Camp along the same route we took on the way down. It is our hope we will be able to return to Base Camp and then rest a day before beginning our summit push.

Tashi Delek, Jim Williams





May 12- Deboche

Welcome to lunch in the garden! Today was a wonderful rest day here in the village of Deboche. Were down in the luscious greenery and thick air and loving every minute of it. Deboche is a unique village in that it hosts the only monastery for females in the entire Khumbu valley. It is a quiet and tranquil spot that for the most part is covered with rhododendron trees. Some of the blooms are out now making it even more scenic. We are all enjoying the smell of the cedar trees in the area as well as the sound of the Dudh Kosi river down below us. In the front area of the lodge there is a large area with grass- an unusual thing for this dusty valley. Today a group of trekkers showed up and a had a cricket match there. Yesterday we were visited by 3 horses in that same grassy field- a mother, father, and very young colt that loved to be scratched. Mills and Britton spent some good time with the three of them. All in all it is a very different environment here that were all cherishing for the moment. As you may be able to see in the picture, were much cleaner as well. Most everyone had a shower today and the electric razor was passed around so that the guys could shave or at least trim up their beards!

This morning we had a quick breakfast and then went up to Tengboche monastery for the morning chanting and prayers. We had a brief audience with the reincarnate lama (or Rinpoche) and he gave us his blessing for safe passage on the mountain. The reincarnate lama here at Tengboche was the very first Tibetan Buddhist reincarnate to be discovered in the Khumbu valley. Or in other words he was the first Sherpa found to be a reincarnate in a Tibetan Buddhist lineage. He is a well respected figure in the Sherpa community.

This evening we are all relaxing around the wood burning stove inside the lodge and enjoying the warmth. Some are reading and others are just gabbing- our favorite pastime. We have the entire lodge to ourselves tonight so there has been talk of still getting out a movie though I doubt that will happen by the looks of the sleepy faces.

Tomorrow well spend another day here resting and then on Friday well begin our walk back to BC. Our view of Everests summit this morning appeared to show very calm conditions though from here theres no telling. As weve mentioned before there are teams most likely moving into position at CII to be ready for a predicted good weather window on the 15th or 16th. We hope that this turns out to be true as many teams may summit in that window. The more teams to get up and down before us the better as the route up high will be less crowded. Our plan is to be back in BC on the 16th and be fully ready to take advantage of the next weather window.

Know we are all relaxing in good health and good spirits here!

Until later, all our best-
Dave




May 11- Deboche

Hello Cybernauts, Deboche 12,143 Ft.


Oh my goodness, this oxygen stuff is really good. We are reveling in it, drowning in it and more importantly recuperating in it. After a three hour trek down the Duhd Kosi river we arrived at the site of our rest and recuperation the Ama Dablam Garden Lodge. Even though the inn is higher than most mountains in North America it is low enough that our bodies can recover from the last month of living a mile higher. Our appetites have come back with a vengeance. We are eating four times a day and several of us had a double breakfast this morning. Folks are in good humor with more than the usual amount of ribbing going on. No ones safe as even I have taken hits from the team. It just goes to show how cocky we are all feeling. Oxygen is good.

Sleep patterns have improved and most health problems, which are persistent at altitude, have now subsided. We are mending. And this healing will continue for the next several days. Its so pleasant to be here, birds are singing in the trees, the trees are blooming, the blooms are treating our senses of site and smell to pleasures unknown for a month. A young colt shares our lunch with us. We are in paradise.

Namaste (I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells which is of peace, love and the truth of life),

Vern and Team



May 10- Pheriche

10 May 2004
Pheriche  Khumbu Valley, Nepal
4,459 meters  14,360 feet


Rest and Recover  that is the plan for this week. The group left Base Camp and a windy Everest summit heading for greener pastures and lower elevations. We will spend the next few days resting, eating and enjoying the green grass and beautiful flowers that are beginning to bloom.

Base Camp is a buzz with summit fever. Many groups are getting ready for their summit push. We will return by the middle of the month and wait for our best chance.

We have many tournaments going on in our Base Camp but the most competitive is the Mountaineering Monopoly. Last night in a show down game the competitors called it a draw after one of the player admitted some inappropriate moves and the game ended. Hopefully the young Monopoly climber will not try the moves during the climb.

The real focus of the task in front of us now will soon sink in and all members will soon become focused of the final climb that we will begin in the coming weeks. The past month of real life training will pay off.

The team will be enjoying life is the green grass for the next few days. We will share our excitement and observations with you all over the next few days.

Tashi Delek, Jim Williams





Hello friends, family and loved ones, Base camp 17,143 ft.

Happy Mothers Day to all mothers on this beautiful sunny and I might add thoroughly oxygenated day. The air is so thick down here and the oxygen so sweet. The team is responding quite nicely to our acclimatization program. All are eating like horses now that we are down to a lower elevation. We made excellent time through the Icefall as we descended all the way down from Camp 2 to our base camp. Our first order was to grab a hot shower then a cold drink with some salmon appetizers. That was enough to hold us till a big burrito bash for lunch. We gorged ourselves.

We are now entering phase three of our expedition. This is the fun stage where we relax and stuff ourselves. We go on the Seefood diet, thats anything we see, we eat. Then we lay around and let our bodies rest and recuperate. This is all in preparation for phase four, our actual summit push, which is over a week away. In the mean time, please stay tuned and hear us say  please pass me another 3 egg omelet, and may I have a double helping of chicken fried rice?

You are in our hearts and prayers,

Namste,
Vern & Team



May 8- Camp II

A big Hello to everyone following our climb!!

It's a warm and calm Saturday afternoon here in CII on Mt. Everest. We returned from CIII at around noon after a speedy descent. Our night at CIII was thankfully uneventful and each member at least caught a few zzz's.

It was good to get higher on the mountain once again. Pushing the high point up keeps everyone feeling as though we are making progress. The view up through the yellow band, over the Geneva Spur and on to the south col also provoked some excitement! The gang is all doing well resting here in CII after the restless night up above. Early tomorrow morning we'll again start back to BC and try to get through the icefall before the late afternoon sun.

Our Sherpa team will continue to take loads of oxygen to the south col. The past two days have seen each of the sherpa taking loads of food and tents to the col. They're our stars up here.

On Monday we'll start down valley for our pre-summit rest period. I'm looking forward to being among trees, plants and wildlife and spending some time with this team off the mountain. Our jokes and insults are getting a bit old up here and we need some thicker air to mix things up!

All the best,
Dave




May 7- Camp III

Beautiful clear sky this morning at 6 AM. The morning was cold as we started towards the fixed ropes on the Lhotse face, So cold in fact we had to stop and warm several members as the sun rose. As with many things on this mountain we very quickly went from cold to hot. We record temperatures of nearly100f in the sun.

We are now snuggled in our tents at Camp 3 waiting for dinner.

We hope to return to Camp 2 and BC over the next few days.

Tashi Delek Jim Williams



A View of CII




May 6- Camp II

Hello friends and family,

Vern here with the cyberupdate. Camp two is treating us well. Though it's colder here at 20,714.3 ft. the winds have moderated and that makes for happy campers. As with any rest day entertainment becomes a critical factor in our day. Our team is diverse enough that topics for discussion abound and political hot topics kept us occupied for hours. Of course mental acuity at this altitude is rather diminished, so you can imagine the fun we have.

The team is in a good mood and adapting well. All are looking forward to ascending to camp three tomorrow, so we will be going to bed early tonight. An alpine start will put us in position to spend the acclimatizing. We are just hoping the wind doesn't return as we will be sitting ducks on the exposed Lhotse face. Keep those fingers crossed .

Namaste



May 5- Camp II

Namaste once again. We'll here we are back at our home away from BC, CII. Life at CII is relatively comfortable and more like an advanced BC. We have a large dining tent complete with tables and chairs. The tent itself is a large steel framed structure and we even have a propane heater out during dinner. Our full time CII cook, Ang Tsering, rounds out the package. It's very helpful to have such a place in mid climb for R & R.

We moved quickly from CI to CII today. Everyone's certainly feeling stronger at altitude judging by our time. Or they're trying as quickly as possible to get away from CI and my cooking! I'm impressed with this team. Each and everyone is sleeping and eating well plus moving strongly during the day. We couldn't be happier at this point.

Tomorrow the team will take a rest day in camp while the sherpa take the first loads to CIV. Then the following day we will move to CIII for the night. It'll definitely be a restless first one at CIII. We're hoping the weather will cooperate with diminishing winds as predicted. Some teams we able to touch CIV despite the strong wind today. There are a some people from various teams ready to give it a shoot so we're eagerly watching.

Unfortunately we had our cameras buried during our move today so our selection was greatly lacking. Tomorrow we'll try to get out a couple to make up! We will get a team shot as we know you out there are hoping to see some familiar faces. This image is from CI last night just before hitting the sack!

We send our best,
Dave



May 4- Camp I

Moon set; sunrise that is how we began our day. 3 AM wakeup followed by a 4:30 AM start got us all moving well in the icefall. The pace was slow but steady. We were able to reduce our time in the icefall by two hours.

Camp 1 was setup for us by the sherpas. Boy were we lucky as the wind was gusting hard enough to knock us off our feet. We spent the early afternoon building snow walls to protect the tents. Finally the wind died down and we were all able to enjoy a nice dinner.

In the morning we will pack our bags and head to Camp 2 through the Western CWM. We hope to ascend to Camp 3 on this trip.

We are resting cofortably here at Camp 1. The wind has died down and we are typing this cybercast from inside our tent.

Tashi Delek, Jim Williams





Hello friends and family, Base camp 17,143 ft.


Weve had a busy day for a rest day. We are heading up tomorrow so packing and preparation filled most of the afternoon. Winds are still high but our weather reports lead us to believe they should soon slow down a bit to a reasonable level. Looking four or five days out we want low wind when we are spending the night at camp three. So, wish us the best come Friday, well need all the help we can get.

Our tummy troubles seem to be abating which is good because we are going to be focusing all our energy on adapting. Weve had a good long rest and the troops are growing restless to move up. Eager is a great way to describe the team. The winds dropping and our health improving so now is the time for action. That will happen bright and early at three AM which is very soon, therefore we're off to bed (19:20) now to minimize our risk in the Icefall. The full moon shall guide us until the sun catches us.

Photo: The chicken dance!

Good night and sweet dreams,
Vern and Team




May 2- Everest BC

Schools back in session. Today we spent the morning modeling the newest fashions in Russian fighter pilot wear& or Everest oxygen systems. It was another rest day here at BC but we learned some skills as we took the day off. Everybody had a good time going through the serious lessons of how to use regulators, masks and change oxygen bottles. We all found a mask that fit well and put together our own kits to bring up the mountain.

In the afternoon we went out to the base of the icefall and went through a mock scenario of being higher on Everest. Everyone donned their oxygen mask, goggles, and heavy mitts and went through a ropes course. What a challenge to breath through an oxygen mask at 17,000+ ft. with no oxygen running through it. Its a bit like running around a track while breathing through a straw! The gang did a great job and I think everyone is more than ready to get back high on the mountain. A couple of us are still recovering from this obnoxious stomach bug but everyone is on the up and up.

Everest BC is in a bit of a holding pattern at the moment. The few teams that are ready to make their move on the summit are hanging back to see if the forecast turns out to be correct. High winds are expected on the upper mountain more or less throughout the week. Therefore plans have been pushed back for many groups. The fixed lines are set up to CIV. The icefall is in great shape though the recent high winds have wreaked havoc on CIII. Weve just this evening had some of the stronger winds yet at BC. In any event our plan is to take tomorrow at BC once again and then start to CI on Tuesday. If the weather cooperates we will be spending our first night in CIII by this weekend. The strong winds up high have made for beautiful days here at BC. The near full moon and clear skies have made looking out ones tent at night a real treat. BC is beautiful under these conditions. The lack of movement up high has also made for more socializing. With nearly all teams in BC now our team has had a good time getting to know the others.

We hope all is well wherever you are.

Dave



May 1st basecamp

Hey there friends and family, Base camp 17, 143 ft.


The weather pattern has finally changed. Rather than sunny in the morning and clouding up in the afternoon, we now have the reverse. The daily snowfall has also ceased. What does all this mean? The jet stream Is pounding the top of our mountain. Plumes can be seen blowing off of High ridges and peaks. Pumori and Nuptse have snow streamers a kilometer long crowing their summits. Fortunately we are snugly sitting it out in the realitive comfort of base camp. Its not very breezy here yet because there in no evening cloud cover it cools down quickly when the sun sets behind Pumori. Everyone scrambles for their down or endures shivering throughout dinner.

Dozer has been fighting a cold and others dealing with tummy troubles so it is fortunate that this time was planned for recuperation. Thats certainly what weve been doing. It looks like we will soon be well enough to give our second acclimatization push a try in a few more days. The group, one of the strongest Ive had the pleasure to climb with, is staying active and is in great spirits. All are eager to resume climbing when the winds aloft calm down, as am I.

Join us tomorrow as we lean about our oxygen systems.


To The Top,
Vern Tejas



April 30- Everest BC

Well, here we are. The only souls who've survived a quick outbreak of the stomach bug. Unfortunately it's been a day where most of the team has stayed in their tents and nursed their aching bodies. Yesterday we seem to have had a GI issue that spread quickly and also should resolve itself quickly. Everyone is keeping their spirits up, hydrating, and trying to put down some food. We're confident that it will all be over soon.

Meanwhile we're beginning to make some preparations for our return to the higher reaches of the mountain. The plan is to leave early next week and spend some nights in CI, CII and CIII. Then it will be back down to the lower valley to rest and restore some weight and strength. Everyone is looking forward to that trip but it is still a while off.

The weather has been spectacular the last couple of nights and people have been thoroughly enjoying it. This evening there is no need for a headlamp as the skies are perfectly clear with a waxing moon nearing full. The first potential summitters were thinking of around the 6th or 7th but forecasts are looking as though there may be jet stream winds during that period. It's always interesting for everyone in camp to watch the progress of the first potential teams to the top.

We've been all catching up on showers, laundry, etc. A couple of days ago we had a "straight eye for the straight guy" session with Justin. We finally pulled out a new set of clothes and spent some time trimming up his beard. He's looking a little less like his dogs he misses so much!!!

Mills wishes her mother a very wonderful birthday today!

All our best,
Dave and the team


Cybercast 4/29

It's Thursday, April 29, and here's the news from a typical rest day at Everest Base Camp. The team awoke to sunny skies and the cheerful voices of Kumar and Sayla, our hardworking kitchen boys, offering morning bed tea. A suprise breakfast followed soon after. I've never seen a group of climbers so happy to have cold cereal, rice pudding, and oatmeal, but they said they were actually tired of Ong Chu's delicious omelettes, pancakes, and hash browns. Go figure. It did take us a while to thaw out the cups of fruit to put on top of the cereal though.

After breakfast Vern led the traditional Al Hanna morning walk (started when Al Hanna was on this expedition and continued to this day) down to the chin-up rock. I understand the chin-up rock has shifted a bit, making chin-ups more difficult than ever. As if chin-ups weren't hard enough at this elevation. Meanwhile, Ellie took Mingma Tsering and Ang Chotar down to the medical clinic to get checked out for flu symptoms. Dr. Luann Freer decided amoxicillin was the drug of choice to battle the nasty bugs. By evening Mingma was out dancing and singing on top of a large rock, so he must be starting to feel better already.

After lunch Britton, Mills, Scott, and Holt set up the board for their afternoon game of Mountain Monopoly, and they're still at it as the afternoon snow flurries begin. How much did they say it cost to land on the Mt. Everest square?

So as the smells of popcorn waft from Ong Chu's cooking tent, this is Ellie signing off for the team at Everest Base Camp.



April 28th Base camp

Hey there cybernauts,

Vern Tejas reporting form base camp below Mt. Everest. It was !4.3 degrees in my tent last night and there is a skiff of fresh snow on the ground. Speaking of fresh snow, this season has really impressed me with all the new white stuff. There have only been two days when we have not gotten a fresh supply of flakes. Theres a lot of moisture blowing up from India and we can only wonder what that might mean once we climb to the higher elevations.

The team is growing stronger daily. Almost all climbers took a strenuous hike and came back tired but not wasted&&.a good sign that we are adapting. Little health problems that we saw earlier are going away and the general feeling around camp is one of cautious optimism. Many of us have volunteered to take part in the several science experiments that are being conducted this season in base camp. Evidently, BC is a unique laboratory in which to gather high altitude physiological data, so stay tuned for results.

Killer games of Mountain Monopoly have been keeping the troops entertained during our days here. The lead seems to rotate around yet Metro has come in second several times. And our nights are filled with intellectual discussions(remember we have half the oxygen that you do here) ranging from gun control to voluntary sterilization of segments of the population. As you can see there is rarely a dull moment. Case in point, Junior led us in our first Chicken Dance last night. This is in hopes that we all can shake it on the summit and perform the highest Chicken Dance on the planet.

We are thinking of you all,
Namaste




April 27- Everest BC

Hey, hey. It's been another relaxing day here in the Everest tent city. More snowball fights, showers, laundry and Monopoly. The Monopoly intensity has certainly risen. Egos are being crushed and vulgar language is flying from inside the dining tent. I think today you would call it a Monopoly Marathon. I believe they're on their 4th game in a row.

So what else? Today the leaders of the various teams had a meeting regarding the continuing fixing of the route. As is stands the route is fixed with line from CII to CIII and above. The fixed line currently ends at the base of the Yellow Band- the famous band of rock to be crossed en route from CIII to CIV. Tomorrow many teams, including ours, will be sending Sherpa up to fix the route above starting on Thursday. If there is good weather the route may be fixed all the way to CIV by the end of the day Thursday. Some teams are in position to make a preliminary summit attempt after a week or so. It may be a relatively early first summit if these teams are lucky enough to be successful. It is an extremely cold time to be going for the summit in very early May but many of these teams are geared to do that for various reasons.

The snow just started falling today (5 p.m.). It was the nicest day in the past 5 or 6 so we were quite grateful for that. The other days we have had significant snowfall throughout the day rather than the typical late afternoon snow showers. Seems as though we may be back to that typical pattern for a bit. It is a welcome return!

Well rest assured out there that this team is having fun even in the down time. There's strength, stamina and a good dose of life running through the veins of this crew. We're enjoying our time together.

All the best from Everest BC.
Tashi Delek,
Dave


April 26- Everest BC (Evening)

Hello Loved ones, 17,143ft. Basecamp

Rest and Recuperation, what a lovely feeling in all this thick oxygen. The whole team is enjoying being down off the mountain as we relax and let our bodies recover from the insult of hypoxia. The stress of the last week has encouraged our systems to adapt the high mountain environment. By now resting, we allow ourselves to prepare for our next foray into the rarified atmosphere of the high Himalaya. Stress and recovery is the name of the game and we shall play it for the next few weeks in preparation for our final push. Stand by.

To pass the time our party made excellent use stone shower house our Sherpa built for us. That was followed by day long epic game of Mountain Monopoly. Sailor-boy won but just barely with all the wheeling and dealing of Metro and Pug. Sunshine withdrew to focus on email correspondence when things got to competitive. After all its just a game. Then guides and Sherpas blew of steam in a friendly snowball fight&&Oh did I mention the snow, weve got another six inches of it. Im dreaming of a white Mothers day.

Ciao for now and Namaste,
Vern Tejas



April 26- Everest BC

Hello all from a warm but windy BC. We all slept like babies last night back here at the relative low altitude of 17,000+ ft. At least I know I did. Yesterday we made an early departure from CII in order to make it back to BC by early afternoon. There was new snow in the Western Cwm from the past few days of light snow and we broke trail under beautiful clear skies. It was quite a spectacular morning. We left our CII cook, Ang Tsering, to hold down the fort there and await our return in about a week.

The descent through the icefall was uneventful- a nice thing for that descent to be. It was actually very pleasant with light snowfall and hazy skies. The Khumbu icefall can truly be an oven. Many area of the route are protected ice valleys where there is no wind and the reflection of the massive amounts of white surface area can produce temperatures near 100 degrees. Hazy skies and light snow are good!

We all returned safely and many team members immediately jumped into the plush BC shower. Now its 7:30 am on Monday morning and Im just beginning to hear stirring from some of the tents. Im sure there will be smiles as people caught up with sleep last night. Sleep at the higher camps normally consists of much restlessness and wakefulness throughout each night. Catching up here in BC is essentially to recharging energy levels. Well its off to a day of laundry and relaxing for us here. We hope all of you have a wonderful day as well and we will speak soon.

I am also sending along photos of our local staff that will hopefully be posted on the website soon. These guys are essential to our success and a wonderful addition to our days here with their continual laughter and smiles.

All the best,
Dave



April 24- Camp 2

Hello friends and family,

Spindrift was flying everywhere when we awoke this morning. Thirtyfive knot winds drove the fine powder snow into any little hole of our defense filling boots, packs and tents alike. We postponed our morning acclimaization hike with hopes that the wind might drop. Nature cooperated, and we had a pleasant walk to the base of the famos Lhotse Face. Looking up this impressive wall we could spot our route up to camp 3, across the Yellow Band and traversing the Geneva Spur. We were able to glimpse nearly a month into our future. A future that we are steadily preparing ourselves for. This is one of the best acclimatized teams I had the pleasure to climb with. Spirits are high tonight as we contemplate dropping back to basecamp for needed recuperation and showers. Lakpa Rita coordinated loads for Camp 2 over the next couple of days as he returns to basecamp with us. We are keeping our fingers crossed that the icefall is friendly to us tomorrow. Please keep yours crossed too.

Namaste,
Vern and team
143



April 23- CII

Hello to all-
Here we are at CII taking a relaxing afternoon off. It's snowing lightly as it has been since we arrived. Every now and then the sun shines through the clouds and rapidly escalates the temp.

Our plan for tomorrow is to head up towards CIII on the Lhotse face. The route entails going up and over the bergshrund that marks the start of the face. It will be a relatively short day for us. Then back for another night sleeping at CII. Early on Sunday morning we'll break camp and head back to BC. The group is in high spirits and feeling good at this high altitude. We're definitely looking forward to showers, laundry and email.

So it is a very mellow day here at CII. Our thoughts are often with all of you at home- especially on these slower days.

All the best from CII-
Dave



April 22- CII

Early to bed early to rise gets us up to move from Camp 1 to Camp 2.

Today we moved the entire team up the Western Cwm to Camp 2 at 6,522meters - 21,430 feet. It took us a little over 5 hours to make the journey. The morning started out clear but by the time we arrived it was snowing steadily. Upon arrival we moved into the dining tent for a bowl of warm noddle soup.

The team members located their sleeping tents and moved into their new homes for the next three days.

We will spend the next few days exploring the route to Camp 3. We will make our trip to Camp 3 on our next visit to Camp 2.

It is cold and dinner is being served so good night.

Tashi Delek, Jim Williams



April 21- CI (Evening)

Hey cybernauts,

We had a very long breakfast. And that's just what we needed. Yesterday's climb up the Khumbu icefall left us a little tuckered out. Therefore a leisurely carboload of French toast and bacon was welcomed. Then it was off to get acclimatized on a senic trek up the Western Cwm. Our reward was a grand view of the big "E". Everest was beautifully and somewhat intimidatingly floating above us. So big.

For lunch Metro called out for an extra large double cheese and pepperoni pizza. He actualy had them going until he gave them the address
and they realized that Mt.Everest wasn't in their delivery area. We sure were looking forward to that pizza too. Isn't technology fun?

Namaste,
Vern





April 21- CI (Morning)

Hello to all from the Western Cwm and CI. We had a long day yesterday making our way up and through the icefall eventually arriving at CI. It was a clear day which meant that once the sun hit us the icefall was an inferno. The entire team did a hell of a job though there were some tired bodies on arrival. Lhakpa and Jim made a tasty asian noodle dinner and the team crashed out early. Our plan is to spend another night here at CI and then move on to CII for two more.

Everybody is in awe at the scale of the Cwm- these peaks surrounding us are immense and breathtaking. From the backdoors of our tents we can look back to the head of the Khumbu valley and see Pumori , Lingtren, and in the distance the huge face of Gyachung Kang.

This afternoon we'll walk up towards CII for a short acclimatization hike. Here's a shot of the crew who made it up last night past the critical moment of the sun dipping below the ridgeline!

All the best,
Dave and the team



April 19- Everest BC

Everest BC& 5,397 meters 19 April 2004

Windy and blowing snow was the way we went to sleep last night. We woke to find the Icefall repaired and loads on the move. We decided today to try and get a look up the Icefall and beyond. Most of us took a morning walk towards Pumori. Unfortunately the clouds came down over the mountains and our view was obscured.

This afternoon we packed our bags for the next four days. We will make our first trip up to Camps 1 and 2. This will be the first trip through icefall for the team. We will be waking up at 3AM for breakfast and then we hope to start up by 4:30 AM so that we can reach Camp 1 at the top of the icefall before midday. The journey will take us six to eight hours and we will climb about 2,000 feet.

Cole Williams 1st Grade class is following the expedition cybercast so we will try to answer a question they have asked every few days. They asked why Everest has two elevations. The answer is simply the mountain is growing taller every year. When it was first measured it was measured at a height of 29,028 feet but recently with more accurate equipment the top of Mount Everest was measured at a height of 29,035 feet an increase in height of 7 feet.

The next cybercast will be from Camp 1.

Off to sleep  Good Night,


Tashi Delek: Jim Williams




April 18 basecamp

Friends, family and loved ones, Basecamp 17,143ft


The Icefall doctors have been very busy lately. They are the Sherpas responsible for maintaining a useable route through the Kumbu Icefall. And as the name Icefall would suggest the ice does indeed move and sometimes in very dramatic ways. A hundred meters of the route disappeared when a Serac collapsed in the night. Now the Doctors are repairing the damage and our team is resting up for our upcoming push to acclimatize above basecamp.

There are many diversions here to relax our minds with as we wait. Day treks, reading, music and DVDs help us pass the time. Our Sherpa prefer cards and challenging the Slack Line. The Slack Line is a wonderfully simple device consisting a low stretch rope tied between two large boulders. Its like a Tight Rope only its slack. The trick is to walk across it without falling off. Thiis is, of course very difficult to do and provides hours of entertainment as it teaches patience, coordination and balance. Good fun is had by all.

The team is ready to go&..all psyched to actually start the climb. However one more day of adapting to the thin air will do them good, so its off on one last acclimatization hike tomorrow before the real test begins. Until then , please keep us in your thoughts as you are in ours.


Namaste,
Vern



April 17- Everest BC

Early this morning we were woken up by the sound of Sherpas returning from the icefall. Apparently during the night there was a shift in the ice and the route that they usually followed was gone. The Icefall Doctors went to work repairing and reestablishing the route. Our practice ladder was pushed into action so we set up other forms of entertainment. The Sherpas are mastering some of the tightrope walking and other acrobatic tests we have devised to keep our agility in tact.

After a short hike this morning we returned for showers and pizza followed by an afternoon of short but steep ice climbing. We had quite a bit of fun testing our skills at over 17,000 ft on thirty feet of steep ice. The NASA brain function testers cornered those who did not go ice climbing. I for one was asked to look at a page with twenty words on it for a minute and a half and then recite as many of the words as I could remember. Lets just say I am glad I was not going grocery shopping or we all might be hungry tonight for dinner.

Our cook Gopal who has been cooking for the trekking team returned to assume the duties of cooking for our Sherpas. This will allow the Camp 2 cook to move to Camp 2 as soon as the route through the icefall is reestablished.

It is snowing now here at Base Camp so we are hoping to wake up in the morning to another glorious morning. If the icefall route is tomorrow reestablished we will leave for our first trip to Camp 1 and 2 in three days or so.

Have a nice weekend.

PS: We just received word of the passing of Fernando Grajales a long time friend and climber from Aconcagua in Argentina. Alpine Ascents has worked with Fernando from many years. From all of us here at Everest Base Camp our hearts are with you Fernando Grajales and family. The mountains are our home  may you rest in peace. Thank you for your friendship and encouragement over the years it has meant a lot to all who have met and worked with you. Your inspiration is with us now.

Tashi Delek, Jim Williams



April 16- Everest BC

Namaste, Tashi Delek and a big Hello to everyone out there.
Today is Friday the 16th. Our morning began a bit breezy here in BC. There were some strong gusts throughout the night and this morning we thought our venture into the icefall may have been put off. After breakfast though the winds had died a bit and we spent the rest of the morning climbing about 1/3 of the way to Camp I. It became downright hot in the late morning. In fact, the skies stayed clear throughout the late afternoon, a first for us here. It felt good to get our bodies moving after being in BC for nearly a full week. Everyone had the opportunity to cross some ladders and ascend some steeper sections of ice.

Tomorrow our Sherpa crew will again take loads to CII in order to have it well stocked for the expedition. The dining and cook tent will be brought up and pitched. Ang Tsering and Karsang, our two cooks for CII, will be leaving tomorrow to begin their 5 or 6 week stint at CII. We are also sending two Sherpa up to CII to begin fixing line on the portion of the route between CII and CIII. Three teams here are ready to start making the push to establish CIII and so we are contributing some gear and the help of two of our strongest Sherpa. The fixing of rope on the mountain between CI and the summit is a group effort with each team (hopefully) contributing gear and manpower to make it happen.

The group was very strong today in the icefall and were feeling good about the move up when it happens. I can hear everyone laughing in the dining tent under clear skies tonight. The hum of generators from other camps is also in the background while our cook Ong Chhu and his helpers are laughing and carrying on in the cooking tent. As I sit in the communications tent with just the light of the computer screen I feel as if Im eavesdropping on all these separate little worlds in BC. We send our best to you all.

Namaste,
Dave



April 15- Everest BC

Friends, family and fans, 17,143ft.


Another fine rest day in the fair city of Basecamp. We are still adjusting to this altitude, which is only to be expected since there is roughly half the oxygen available here than there is at sea level. That said, we got out and performed some community service today. On the South side of town there is a crude heliport, hewn out of a frozen moraine heap. Yet to get a large M17 helicopter to land there it needs some expansion, so the team all chipped in and moved several tons of rocks uphill. It was breathtaking to say the least. It was great for acclimatizing and team building. Good job!

Most of us passed the afternoon developing our ladder crossing skills by traversing across a double practice ladder with our crampons on. Several techniques found favor amongst the group. Time will tell what really works. C4 found out the hard way that one should always check ones crampons before getting on the ladder and theoretically stepping out over a nasty crevasse.

Pug and C4 have now committed to being tested for science. This will consist of performing inane cognitive functions whilst severely depleted of oxygen. Theyll do anything to advance NASAs understanding of human endurance. You go boys.

Namaste,
Vern



April 13- Everest BC

Hello all from Everest BC. It is the evening of April 14 in Nepal and people are slowly making their way out of the dining tent and into their warm sleeping bags. It was a clear and sunny day today at BC but appeared to be blowing strongly up high on the mountain. Our Sherpa team carried loads to CI and CII. The stocking of our higher camps is beginning in earnest now. We expect to be moving up into the icefall on Friday with tomorrow being a rest day for the most part. In the morning some of us will head over to the area that has been designated as the Helicopter landing site and work on expanding it. Vern, Jim, Lakpa and I went to an informal meeting of the team leaders here in BC and one of the projects was to get the landing site ready in case of evacuations.

The Khumbu glacier sits just a few hundred yards from camp and made for a good practice area this afternoon. Everyone had their glacier rigs out and we did some steep ascending with our jumars as well as practicing various types of rappelling. Word is from our Sherpas that the icefall is in good condition this year and the route to CII is straight forward. Some teams have been spending nights in CII and the teams who have been here the longest will start putting in the route to CIII late this weekend or early next week. Thing are getting busy here with nearly all the teams having arrived by now. Our group is feeling well with some minor sinus problems and occasional headaches- standard fare for living at this altitude! The tradeoff is outstanding views each morning as you stick your head out the window and see these beautiful peaks. Were reminded that they really are living mountains as they creak, groan, and send snow, ice and rock down their flanks throughout the night.

We send our thoughts to all of you at home.

Speak with you soon-
Dave



April 13- Everest BC

Snow, Snow, Snow& We woke up this morning to Base Camp covered in a blanket of new snow. The wind up high was blowing hard from the south. This was a dramatic change from the past few days. The morning was beautiful and warm.

Showers were the program for the morning; we all had a chance for our first base camp shower. It was outstanding with plenty of warm water and a great place to dry off.

We are being recruited to participate in a NASA study to see how our speech patterns change as we ascend. Many of the members will be reading words and answering questions as we ascend. We will see who slurs their speech the most when the expedition is over.

The afternoon was full of training for traveling through the ice fall. We worked on our harnesses and all our gear. We ended with ladder crossing practice with highlights such as Junior waltzing across the ladder like a hippo with a parasol on a tightrope before falling to the rocks two feet below. Metro twinkle toes was light on his feet and danced across the ladder without much problem. All had a great time playing on the ladder.

Now that we have had our Puja the Sherpa will begin to establish Camps 1 and 2. We are hoping to make our first journey into the ice fall by the end of the week.

Tashi Delek: Jim



April 13- Everest BC

Another photo from the hike in to BC!


April 12- Everest BC

Namaste loved ones, 17,143ft.

We woke up early this morning to the welcome news that today was to be our Puja ceremony. Puja is a blessing rite where the local lama asks for safe and successful expedition. After praying for about an hour we ate the food we blessed for another hour. This was followed by Sherpa dancing, which is amazingly difficult for something seemingly so simple.

After our blessing and a tasty lunch we went exploring. Just across the Kumbu glacier from our basecamp is the old original campsite used by the 1953 British Everest expedition. We spent the afternoon looking for the old site without much luck but we did find some cool relics from several old climbs. The best were ancient ice anchors.

The team is maintaining reasonable health and is psyched to begin field practicing the new skills we will need to safely attempt this climb. This will take several days to accomplish so it will also allow for good acclimating. And thats very important to us.

Sweet dreams and goodnight,
Vern and Team



April 11- Everest BC

Namaste from a beautiful and nicely "decked out" Everest BC!!
We showed up yesterday afternoon and were greeted by Nima and Dorje with juice just outside camp. Our Sherpa crew has done an outstanding job setting up a comfortable and well organized BC. After moving into our tents we had a tasty dal bhat dinner and then spent a couple hours sipping tea and listening to Johnny Cash. The entire group is feeling very well today after the first night sleep here in BC.
On this Easter Sunday we each awoke to find a chocolate easter bunny hidden in our vestibules by Jim & Ellie- plus a breakfast table with 'painted eggs'. This morning has been spent organizing our individual tents and roaming camp. Vern, Jim, Ellie and I have been setting up our power and communications system. The Sherpa crew has been putting finishing touches on the shower and moving a large number of big rocks to create a staircase from our tents to the dining tent. The only unfortunate part of the day was saying goodbye to Sue who left this morning to catch the rest of the trekking group. She was a great addition to our trek in and we almost thought we had gotten her to stay. We also received best wishes yesterday from Willi and the trekking team as we passed them en route to BC. They had a wonderful time with Ellie and Willi.
Tomorrow we will be doing more of the same: organizing and "dialing in" the BC while acclimating to this altitude.
I know all the members of the expedition are thinking of family and friends today- our thoughts and best wishes are with you!

NAMASTE!!

Dave




April 9- Lobuche

Friends and loved ones, 16,143ft.

Another welcomed rest day. We hit the trail early today and beat the clouds and snow. Adaptation is the goal of our team so we wanted to get high and look around the upper Kumbu valley. The general weather pattern is clear in the morning with clouds and precipatation in the afternoon. Our early start allowed us to get our first glimpse of Changste, Kumbuste and Lingtren. These beautiful mountains tower over our basecamp and will be landmarks for us in days to come.

Our acclimatization trek took us by the Italian research station, which is a rather incongrous three story glass pyramid. Scientific studies are carried out here during the summer. Some of our new friends, who are staying here, are testing the effects of Ginko Biloba on trekers. The results are encouraging and perhaps in the future we will use it to mitigate effects of Mountain sickness. More power to them.

Most of the team is doing well. Metro, Buzz and Junior are rebounding from tummy troubles and cracking jokes with the rest of us. We will rest more in anticipation of our move up to basecamp tomorrow. We wish you all the best.

Namaste,
Vern and Team





En Route to Lobuche




April 8- Lobuche

Hello and Namaste to everyone out there! The group is sitting inside a warm lodge tonight enjoying another round of milk tea. It is a beautiful evening here in Lobuche and the skies are just clearing giving us a spectacular view of Nuptse as the sun goes down. Our walk up from Dingboche today was long and we gained about 2,000 ft. Everyone is excited since we're now up into the highest part of the valley. We could see Pumori for the first time along with the other peaks that mark the border with Tibet and the head of the Khumbu.
We're all in good spirits despite some stomach "yuks" that will pass with a bit of time. We are now only two days from arriving at BC. There's a lot of conversation about arranging and organizing the inside of tents! I think everybody is looking forward to having a home base and settling in. I am as well. The trek has been a lot of fun and it already seems we've known each other for years.
The trail today took us up above the main track with a breathtaking view of Ama Dablam behind us and Tawache and Cholatse off to the south. Our yaks came up from behind and overtook us around noon. You can see a more uncommon view of Ama Dablam here with our yaks. We're thinking of everyone back home and we will talk to you soon.

All our best,
Dave and the team




April 7- Dingboche

Hey there cybernauts, 14,143 ft.

Vern here with our acclimatization day report. We awoke to a couple of inches of fresh snow on the ground. No problem, stay in bed. There is no haste to rise early on a rest day. After a leisurely breakfast we turned our attention to clothes washing and bathing. Facilities for doing such become scarce beyond here. Dingboche,the senic village where we are staying, is nestled gently between Lhotse and Ama dablam, some of the most magnificent mountains in the world. We were treated to a Gorak's eye view of the area when we treked up to a monk's hermitage perched high above town. It was fun to imagine living alone in the stone hut for years waiting for enlightenment.

The team, which is comprized of Daigo, Metro, Pug, Little Sailorboy, Buzz, Dozer, Papa Smurf, C-4, Junior, Sunshine and DVD, is in great spirits. We are taking our time and adapting slowly but surely to the Himalayan environment. This will give us a strong foundation for the climb to come. This was reiterated to us by the medical personel who gave a wonderful altitude seminar at the near by clinic. After the talk we put Junior into a portable hyperbaric and pumped it up. It was the quietest he's been the whole trek. Is it possible to buy it? Stay tuned.




April 6- Dingboche

A big 'Hello' to everyone out there following our 2004 Everest Expedition! I am writing from the small village of Dingboche that sits near the base of the south face of Lhotse. I'm looking out the window at our yaks being slowly covered by an inch or so of fluffy white snow. Inside the Snow Lion lodge it's warm and comfortable. Today we walked mostly under clear skies from Deboche where we spent last night. This morning, before leaving, some of the group ventured up to the nunnery that sits in the Rhododendron forests of Deboche. It is the only monastery in the Khumbu region that is only for females.

Our highlight for the day was to go pay a visit to Lama Geshe, head of Pangboche monastery. This was an important stop for us this year. We received his blessings, good wishes, and prayers for a safe and successful climb. He served us the obligatory tea and then performed a 'puja' for us blessing individuals' prayer flags and other items. Then each of us: Lakpa, Jim, Vern, Britton, Holt, Scott, Jeff, Jeanne, Mills, Haru, Justin, Sue and I all received another kata and string to wear around our neck throughout the duration of the expedition.

Everyone's looking forward to spending two nights here in Dingboche so that we can take showers, wash clothes, and catch up on some writing and reading. We may even get in an afternoon movie! Yesterday we hoped to take an afternoon rest but instead ended up listening to some of the group and the kitchen girls laughing hysterically while watching 'Meet the Parents'. To be sure, we're all having a great time.

All the best,
Dave




April 5- Deboche

Hi there folks....This is Britton Keeshan giving the guides a break for the night and taking over the Alpine Ascents Everest 2004 Cybercast. Today has been a great day for all involved. We started out the day in Khumjung where we woke up at the Ama Dablam View Guest House and lets just say that this morning we weren't in the slightest bit disappointed. The sun rose just over the eastern ridge showering the Khumbu with some much needed sunshine raising the near frozen temperatures from overnight. Reports from some of our members who had been awake during the night said that the show that the "near-full moon" put on was equally spectacular.
After a superb breakfast and some much needed hot drinks we set out on the path for Tengboche Monastery. A few hours and one very big hill later we were sitting and eating lunch in front of one of the three oldest monasteries in the Khumbu Valley. Many of you who have seen the Everest Imax or know anything about the region are aware of the cultural and mountaineering significance of this very religious place. Many expeditions receive blessings from the Lama and monks that preside there before heading off to the mountain. The Lama was unfortunately on a Business trip today but we were promised an audience with his Excellency when we return to the valley before our summit push in a little over a month.
After a brief tour of the grounds and some spinning of the prayer wheels we descended to Deboche about 20 minutes down the hill. Here we have been resting comfortably, drinking fluids, taking showers and preparing for the walk to Dingboche tomorrow. I can assure you that everyone is well and on behalf of all the members of the Alpine Ascents team, I wish the very best to all our family, friends and loved ones...

Britton




April 4- Khumjung

Blessings and katas for good luck was the order of the day. We woke up this morning at the Everest Summiters Lodge in Thame to crystal clear skies. After breakfast we walked up to the gompa at Thame and were fortunate to receive a blessing from the Thame Rinpoche Lama himself. After the blessing and the presentation of Katas we all returned to the village of Thame.

The Everest Summiter Lodge is owned by Appa Sherpa - the man with the most summits of Mt Everest- 13 in total. Although Appa was not there to greet us his wife and children were at home and offered us lemon tea and wished us all "Good Luck" with the presentation of another kata.

Thame is the childhood home of our sirdar and guide Lakpa Rita Sherpa. The village is significant to the entire region not only because of the monastery but also is the source of electrical power for the upper Khumbu valley. The entire team was invited to Lakpa's home again where his mother offered us tea and wished us "Good Luck" with katas as well.

Saying goodbye to Thame we started our way back to the village of Thamo for lunch and then on to Khumjung where we are spending the night in the Ama Dablam View Lodge. After a long and dusty day many of the members enjoyed a hot shower and a good dinner.

Tomorrow we will drop about 2000 feet to the river and then climb back to Tengboche monastery. We will try to get an audience with the Rinpoche Lama and yet another blessing and kata.

Wish us luck,

Jim Williams




The group at Lakpa's home




APRIL 3 Thame

Loved ones,

Namche Bazar got it's name from the Saturday morning market that attracts merchants and shoppers to this crossroad village. Folks from miles around descend upon the bazar to resupply their households for the week to come. Every item imaginable can be found amongst teeming aisle. We mingled for awhile and then it was off to the remote town of Thame(tommy). We were treated to a scenic rambling trek through broken forest up the Bhote Kosi river valley. At a height of 12,414.3ft Thame is home to Apa N. Sherpa, the only man to ever have climbed Everest more than a dozen times. We are staying at his lodge tonight which is the nicest in the area. Thame is also the home of our very own Sirdar(Sherpa Leader) Lokpa Rita Sherpa. We were delighted to be invited into his mothers house to share milktea. It was very educational to take tea in a traditional Sherpa home. Almost like being in a National Geographic magazine.

After some initial bouts of Deli belly all team members seem to be adapting well to our new surroundings. In fact most of our tummy pain now comes from laughing too much. This is the most joyful group I have ever been blessed to climb with. Everyone is teasing and joking with one another and that keeps us in excellent spirits. And if this is any indication of what's to come, it going to be a fun and exciting expedition. So join in the fun and follow along as we turn our attention to heading to basecamp.

You are on our minds,
Vern Tejas




April 2- Namche

It's Friday evening in the Khumbu Valley and everyone is headed off to bed. We're all feeling the effects of this mountaineering diet that we started in earnest today. We're all STUFFED! Eating a large number of calories throughout the expedition is important in order to have more reserves to burn as we get higher.
This morning we took a hike up above Namche Bazaar to the village of Khunde. On our way out of town we stopped by the Namche monastery to see what the local 'gomba' looks like. The Sir Edmund 'Hillary School' is located in Khumjung so we were able to visit the school and it's recently erected bust in honor of Sir Edmund. The Everest Bakery with the help of this young girl served us a large lunch. Afterwards we "rolled" our full bodies back down to Namche. The group is settling into this Khumbu world knowing it's most likely another 2 months before we're back in Kathmandu.
Tomorrow we are off to the village of Thame where our lead sherpa Lhakpa Rita is from. We'll be in touch.

All the best from all of us-

Dave




April 1-again- Namche

Snow lay on the ground when we awoke this morning. Last night we had a light snow that helped clear the air and keep the dust down.

We woke up this morning to bright sunlight and clear skies as we were having a great breakfast in the Panorama Lodge dining room. The team was up early after our first 12 hour night in Namche Bazaar at 11,585 feet - 3530 meters. This was the start of a great day to come. We began our first day hike this morning around 9 AM with a 3 hour hike to Everest View Hotel at 12,770 feet - 3,890 meters, where we had a spectacular view of the upper Khumbu valley. Ama Dablam, Thamserku, Nuptse and Everest made the view one of the greatest mountain views on earth. The clouds were in and out making the view of Mount Everest from the porch of the Hotel some what mystical. We made it back for lunch. All the members are enjoying their time here in this beautiful mountain village.

All our gear as arrived here in the Khumbu . The mountain of gear has begun the multiple day journey to Base Camp. It will take over 200 yaks and some twenty to thirty porters to get all of our gear for the next two months to Base Camp. Today all the gear began its journey up the valley as we returned from our day hike. The melodic sound of the yak bells made a magical setting on our first day.

We will spend the next two to three days here in this area acclimatizing and getting ready to trek up the valley to Base Camp. We are all doing our best to stay healthy and well fed. We will keep you posted of our progress towards Everest Base Camp.

Join us for daily updates.

Jim Williams





April 1- Namche

Hello friends, family and loved ones,

They say the early bird catches the worm yet here in Nepal the early bird catches the flight. And that's exactly what we did. We were up at 4:30 am and unloading our gear at the airport by 6:00. This timely start allowed us to chopper two loads of climbers and supplies from Katmandu to the quaint Sherpa village of Namche Bazaar before the morning clouds made flying impossible. Namche is situated at 11,430ft on the South side of the Himalayan range among towering peaks. It is truly a beautiful place.

Our Shepa team quickly empty the Russian made helicopter and we divided our equipment into gear going directly to basecamp and kit that we will need on our acclimatization trek. We were treated to a picturesque view of Namche as we descended down into town to our lodge. When we arrived, our friends Doma and Sherap, proprietors of the inn, came out to greet us. Dhud Chai, or hot milk tea was served and enjoyed by all.

The team is in high spirits to finally be in the mountains and is looking forward to exploring the area as we allow our body's time to adapt to this new elevation. We are all breathless upon exertion and its not just the lovely scenery that's causing that. And a few of us are also adapting to new food and all the fun that can entail. Despite life's little challenges, the team is getting along quite well and many laughs are shared over the dining table. Everyone has flaked out early tonight and gone to bed even though it's only half eight, no doubt due to our early rise this morning. If it stops snowing tomorrow we plan to take in some of the sights so please join us.

Keep Climbing,
Vern Tejas



March 31- Kathmandu

Hey everone out there in cybercast land!
It's 5am on March 31st here in Kathmandu. Vern and I are just about out the door to head down to the lobby and meet up with the team. We depart this morning for the Khumbu and everyone is looking forward to it.

On the 29th the entire team made it to Kathmandu. It is a very large gathering at the airport. We took one bus and the four us went out to greet the group. After receiving EVERY piece of baggage we enlisted the help of three strong Nepali boys to get all the bags up top of the bus. Monday evening the whole gang went out for an excellent meal. It was a reuniting of sorts as we have all met eachother at some point on some expedition. Many of our climbers have been with one or another of the others on various trips.

Yesterday we spent the day on tour. Our dear friend Krishna took us around to a few of the famous Buddhist and Hindu temples of the valley. First off we headed to Swayambunath, or monkey temple, and then proceeded to Bouddnath. At 'Boudda' we were able to go to a large puja, or prayer, at a local monastery. It is one of the more important and prominent monasteries of the area. Each of our climbers received a blessing from the lama there and Tsering joined us as well. We spent some extra time sitting and listening to the chanting and drums. Then we visited the famous Hindu temple of Pashupatinath and the end of the afternoon.

Back at the hotel we had the entire group out on the back lawn spreading out gear and supplies. We made sure we had enough coffee, DVDs, music- all the important stuff. These people are on top of it. Not a piece of important missing gear left back at home. Vern, Jim and I are all looking forward to spending time with this group- already there are enough jibes and laughs to know it will be entertaining.

We're sending along a photo from the gear check and will be in touch once we're in the Khumbu.

Namaste!-
Dave



March 29- Kathmandu

Hello Everyone-
This is Dave Morton calling in from Kathmandu and the Manang Hotel. This morning we are heading out for some breakfast before moving over to the Yak n Yeti Hotel. Vern will then make his visit to the Nepal Tourism Ministry for the expedition briefing. Then at noon we will head to the airport to greet 16 trekkers and climbers arriving early this afternoon.

Yesterday we spent our day finishing up the last preparations and reviewing final details with Jiban our trekking agent. It`s great to be back in the hustle and bustle, sights and sounds of the city of Kathmandu. We've visited with some of the sherpa staff who will be joining us on the expedition. We've also been out visiting with other friends here in the city. Tonight our first two Nepali staff members will leave for the Khumbu valley. So our expedition is nearly under way.

This evening we will all- 25 plus- have a welcome dinner together. It will be an early one as we know people will be dosing off around 6pm after their long flights. Willi and the entire trekking group as well as Vern, Jim, Lakpa, Ellie, me and the entire climbing group will all celebrate the arrival- and the arrival of every piece of luggage we hope. Tomorrow many of the Sherpa staff will accompany our first helicopter load to Syangboche. Tomorrow our team will be touring the city and finishing up with the packing.

Until later, Namaste--

Dave




March 27 - Kathmandu

Vern Tejas reporting from Katmandu for Alpine Ascent's 2004 Mount Everest Expedition. Dave Morton, Ellie Henke and I have been catching up on our sleep since we flew in yesterday. Lakpa Rita Sherpa is already here taking care or pretrip details. Jim Williams will arrive soon to complete our guide team. Today we organized our trekking schedules and purchased last minute items for the expedition. Dave and Lakpa did a terrific job purchasing and packaging 25 boxes of food and supplies that we brought over with us. It was such a professional job the customs agent just flagged on through at the Airport. Local shopping is an experience to be savored, the market's a flurry of sights, sounds and smells. Our team members will arrive day after tomorrow so we are tying a bow on our preparations and looking forward to greeting them at the airport. It's going to be a great team on the greatest of mountains so join us throughout our expedition and climb along side of us. Namaste.


March 24, 2004. Seattle, WA.

Hello this is Todd Burleson, reporting from the Alpine Ascents Offices in Seattle. We just returned from the airport where we said goodbye to our guide staff who are on their way to Kathmandu with over two tons of gear and food for the Everest Trek and Climb. We wish our team the best of luck for a safe and successful adventure. Stay tuned to AlpineAscents.com for regular dispatches to start next week.

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