International Mountain Guides Climbing and Mountaineering Expeditions

2006 CHO OYU CLIMB UPDATES

Tibet  •  26,906'  •  8201m

2006 Cho Oyu Expedition Coverage

Led by: Mike Hamill  •  Directed by: Eric Simonson

October 5, 2006  •  Expedition is Off the Mountain

Mike Hamill called from Tingri on the sat phone to say that the team had all successfully evacuated the mountain. The main team will go to Shigatse on the 6th, Lhasa on the 7th, Beijing on the 8th, and tentatively fly home on the 9th. Jangbu, Agnes, and the Sherpas will go to Kathmandu on the 6th.

Unless something important happens, this will be my last update, since everyone should be back to the land of phones and internet pretty soon.

Thanks for following the trip. If you ever want to go climb a mountain somewhere, let us know!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

October 3, 2006  •  All Safely Down to ABC

Ang Jangbu reports that the climbers are all down off the mountain to ABC, and the sherpas are now bringing down the last of the loads from the camps and getting everything packed up. Yaks are due this evening, and departure is scheduled for tomorrow morning. We'll let you know when the team are on the road for home. It sounds like a lot of various teams are all leaving at the same time, so the yaks and jeeps are in demand!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

October 2, 2006  •  All Great on the Descent

Ang Jangbu reports that everyone has finished their descent for the day. Jim Patterson descended all the way to ABC. Phil, Nicky, Mike, Peter, and Mingma Tenzing made it to Camp 1, and Carlos, and Jim Harter along with Tashi and Phunuru are at Camp 2. Everyone is doing fine!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

October 1, 2006  •  8:15pm PST  •  All Safely Down to Camp 3

Jangbu reports that the climbers have now all made it back to Camp 3 and will be continuing their descent. So far so good!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

October 1, 2006  •  6:30pm PST  •  15 Cho Oyu Summits!!

Ang Jangbu reports that the climbers reached the summit between 5 and 6 am, making excellent time. The weather is reported to be good, with some wind up high. Everyone is now on the way down now. The goal today is at least getting down to Camp 2, and some may go down further depending on how they feel. Reaching the top were Phil Desjardins, Nicky Messner, Jim Patterson, Jim Harter, Carlos Vallejo, Peter Vaream and Mike Hamill along with Tashi Tshering (Nepal), Tashi Tshering (Tibet), Mingma Tenzing (Nepal), Danuru (Nepal), Phunuru (Nepal), Tshering (Tibet), Tenzing (Tibet) and Tsheten (Tibet). The team members who did not attempt are at ABC.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

October 1, 2006  •  1:30pm PST  •  On Their Way

Ang Jangbu called from ABC to report that the climbers and sherpas have now left Camp 3 and are climbing up to the Yellow Band. The weather is good with very little wind. So far everything seems to be going OK. Above the Yellow Band (which is steep with fixed rope) the route becomes more gradual to the "shoulder", then up the long ridge to the false summit. From there they have to cross a plateau to the true summit. We'll expect to hear from them when they reach the summit.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

October 1, 2006  •  Getting in Position for Summit Bids

Phunuru, Mingma Tenzing and Tsheten (Tibet) went up from Camp 1 and set up 5 tents at Camp 3. The climbers left Camp 2 this morning at 10:20am and pulled into Camp 3 in good time. Mingma and Tsheten returned to Camp 2 to overnight with Tashi (Tibet) while Danuru and Phunuru stayed at Camp 3 along with Tashi Tshering (Nepal), Tenzing (Tibet) and Tshering (Tibet). The Camp 2 sherpas will leave at 11:15 tonight and meet the Camp 3 climbers and sherpas for a tentative departure time from Camp 3 of 2am for the summit. Ang Passang and Kami will go to Camp 1 tomorrow in support for the climbers coming down from summit and help bring down gear from Camp 2 the next day. We are hoping to clear the mountain on 3 October. I am camping in the communications tent tonight to monitor the radio, so I will keep you updated!

—Ang Jangbu Sherpa

September 29, 2006  •  Moving Up for the Summit Bid

IMG sirdar Ang Passang and two other sherpas from the rope fixing team managed to fix all the way to the shoulder above the Yellow Band. Apparently the condition up high was better then what we had expected. Danuru and Tashi Tshering (Tibet) made enough tent platforms at camp 3 and set up couple more tents down at camp 2. I told them not to set up tents at camp 3 until the day members go to sleep there (10/1).

This morning we sent Tashi Tshering (Nepal) and Tenzing (Tibet) ahead of the group to camp 1 for tent maintenance. Mike, Tshering (Tibet) and Kami went to camp 1 with the IMG climbers. The team pulled in to camp 1 in good timing.

Here is the plan for tomorrow: Tashi Tshering, Kami, Tashi Tshering (Tibet) and Tenzing (Tibet) will go to Camp 2 with members. Ang Passang, Danuru and Tashi Tshering (Tibet) will rest at camp 1. Phunuru, Mingma Tenzing and Tsheten Gyurme (Tibet) will go to camp 1 tomorrow with camp 3 fuel and supplies.

A lone British climber with his sherpa followed the fixing team and continued to the summit. They crested over the summit plateau at around 4:15pm Nepal time (LATE). I hope they will make it back to camp 3 tonight.

—Ang Jangbu Sherpa

September 28, 2006  •  Breaking Trail & Moving Up

Mike Hamill and Ang Jangbu report that the good weather has continued and that they are working with the other teams at ABC to get the route re-opened through the deep snow that has fallen. Together, these teams have put together a group of 16 Sherpas to break trail and fix rope. IMG has contributed the service of three of our Sherpas including IMG sirdar (head sherpa) Ang Passang, Danuru & Tashi Tshering. The large sherpa team will all meet at camp 2 tonight and work together to break open the route to Camp 3 on the 29th, and fix rope above Camp 3 on the 30th.

The current plan will be for the Members to head back to Camp 1 on the 29th with Mike, Kami and couple other sherpas. The rest of the sherpas are headed to C1 the next day to support the team's move to C2 and C3. Summit day is still scheduled to be October 2 if all goes well. Jangbu reports that they have now ordered the yaks to arrive at ABC in the evening of 10/4 so here is the likely departure schedule:

10/5 Team descends to Tingri
10/6 Members to Shigatse (sherpas and Agnes to Kathmandu)
10/7 Members arrive Lhasa
10/8 Members fly Lhasa to Beijing
10/9 Members fly home from Beijing

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

September 27, 2006  •  Starting To Think About Heading Up Again

Mike Hamill and Ang Jangbu report from ABC that the good weather has continued for a second day now and that the plan is for the Sherpas to start re-opening the route tomorrow, while the climbers will wait another day before starting the summit bids. The current plan is for the climbers to start up to Camp 1 on September 29th, go to Camp 2 on the 30th, to Camp 3 on October 1, and to the summit on October 2. Keep you fingers crossed that the weather will hold!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

September 26, 2006  •  Shoveling Snow and Staying Psyched

The weather is finally showing some signs of improvement, but there has been quite a lot of snow in the last few days (several feet at ABC). In the meantime, the team has been doing their best to stay psyched and keep their spirits up, not to mention doing some serious shoveling!

Hopefully the summit bids can start in the next couple days if the weather in fact does continue to improve and the snow starts to settle.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

September 22, 2006  •  Waiting Out The Weather

The weather remains unsettled here. There has been a significant amount of precipitation each of the last few days both at basecamp and high on the mountain. Other teams have reported approx. 6 inches each night at C2. Da Nuru and Mingma Tensing took turns breaking trail through knee to waist deep snow to be the first to C3 this season. Our IMG Sherpas are now beginning to stock that camp with tents and oxygen. Some other teams trying to spend a night at C2 before their summit bids have had to turns around. We are glad to have been able to sneak in a night at C2 before the weather hit. We are in position now just waiting for the weather, relaxing at basecamp, and getting prepared for the summit rotation. That is is from here. Morale is high, and everyone is excited to get back up there. I can only hope that this precip passes soon and the snow on the face stabilizes.

—Mike Hamill, Expedition Leader

September 19, 2006  •  Resting and Watching the Weather

Mike Hamill and Ang Jangbu report that all the climbers have now returned to ABC after the Camp 2 acclimatization rotation. The Sherpas will be putting in Camp 3 the next few days while the climbers rest at ABC for the final push. Right now we continue to follow closely our custom weather forecast from Michael Fagin at www.everestweather.com. If the weather cooperates, we hope to have summit bids starting in the next week.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

September 18, 2006  •  Part of team to Camp 2

Big day today. The first team: Jim H, Jim P, Phil, Peter, Carlos, Ang Passang and Tashi made it to camp 2 in good timing — 6 hours. Mike waited for the second group at camp 1 and I took the second team: Bill, Steve, Gary , Nicky, Martin and Agnes to camp 1 today with Phunuru and Kami. All did very well. Took us little over 5 ours, then I returned to ABC this afternoon. 6 sherpas (4 tibetans plus Danuru and Mingma) carried from 1 to 2 and came all the way down to ABC. Rest day for them tomorrow and next day they will go up.

Route to camp 3 is not opened yet. The Chinese team went up but didn't get high as there is lots of snow this year. Sounds like some Thamserku sherpas are going up tomorrow so we'll see how they do. Russell and Henry had came to our camp this afternoon to discuss with me on fixing the upper mountain but I had gone up today so didn't see them. I will go meet them tomorrow. I talked to Nima Tshering who is co leading the big Chinese team with Wang Yong Feng and he said he is planning to summit on 23 and 24 Sept. The rest of the commercial teams are few days behind our schedule.

—Ang Jangbu Sherpa

September 16, 2006  •  On the way to Camp 2

Mike Hamill and Ang Jangbu report that the ABC Trekkers have now left and are on their way back home. The climbers did well on their Camp 1 rotations and are now rested up ready to go back up for their Camp 2 acclimatization rotation. The Sherpas carried to Camp 2 today (about 23,000 feet) and erected four tents in preparation for this next acclimatization cycle. The climbing team will split into two groups, one day apart, each supported by Sherpas. Mike will go up to Camp 1 with the first group today and Jangbu will head up tomorrow to Camp 1 with the second group. The climbers will then proceed the next day to Camp 2 where they will spend the night.

Jangbu reports that the big Chinese team opened the route 2/3 of the way to Camp 3 today, so that is good news.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

September 13, 2006  •  Camp 1

The climbing team just returned from a successful rotation to Camp I to spend the night, and hike up toward the ice cliff the following day. The push to Camp I with packs was arduous but everyone dealt reasonably well with the new sleeping altitude. There were a few headaches which is to be expected.

We have at least two planned rest days before heading up for the next rotation. At this point we may begin to naturally break in to two separate, smaller climbing teams on similar schedules, depending on how each person is doing with acclimatizing.

For now we are all just looking forward to doing some laundry, eating Kaji's great cooking, and socializing with some of the other teams here at ABC. More teams roll in everyday. With a large Chinese team here already, the mountain seems a bit busier this year than in years past.

Ang Jangbu and the trekkers left for Tingri yesterday, they will be at Rongbuk/Everest Base Camp today hiking around and enjoying that spectacular setting. Jangbu will head back in to ABC to meet up with us again the next day as the trekkers continue their homeward journey to Xigatse and then Lhasa the following day and Beijing the day after that.

That's all for now. The team sends a big hello to everyone.

—Mike Hamill, Expedition Leader

September 6, 2006  •  Advanced Base Camp

Mike Hamill and Ang Jangbu report from Advanced Base Camp that everyone has arrived and is doing well. Yesterday Kami, one of our Sherpas and a couple of the Tibetan climbers we have hired to support the expedition went up to Camp 1 to reserve a good campsite. Today the team will have their puja, the Sherpa blessing ceremony that marks the official beginning to the climbing. Tomorrow the Sherpa and Tibetan climbers will start making a series of big carries over the next several days to establish 20,000 foot Camp 1 and move up the gear for Camp 2 and Camp 3. The team plans several more days getting used to the 18,000 plus feet of altitude at ABC and doing some acclimatization hikes before they start climbing up to Camp 1. So far so good!!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

September 4, 2006  •  Hiking and Packing Yaks

Ang Jangbu and Mike Hamill report that the team had two good hiking/acclimatization days at Base Camp and have also sent some more yak loads up to ABC. Today the team trekked to Intermediate Camp (on the 4th, China time) en route to Advanced Base Camp. The plan will be to occupy ABC on the 5th, take a rest day on the 6th, and have the expedition puja on the 7th (the Sherpa's buddhist cememony that marks the traditional beginning of the climbing). So far everyone is doing well, with no altitude problems. The weather is typical for this time of year, with some clear weather and also some cloud, snow, and drizzle at times. The summit bids are planned to take place towards the end of the month, during a period of low winds, as the monsoon season comes to an end, but before the strong high pressure rebuilds over Tibet (this clear autumn weather makes for great trekking, but on the high peaks it starts to get cold and windy as you get into October).

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

September 1, 2006  •  All Well in Base Camp

Everyone arrived at BC this morning in good health. Attached are couple of shots that I took at BC. Danuru, Mingma Tenzing and three of the Tibetan climbers went to ABC with 30 yaks today. Just spoke with Danuru on the radio and they got in okay and managed to put the kitchen tent and set up the base station.

—Ang Jangbu Sherpa

Everyone is acclimitizing well and is staying healthy. The group dynamics are really good and everyone seems fit. They are all seem to be very impressed with IMG and our setup over here.

—Mike Hamill, Expedition Leader

August 31, 2006  •  Cho Oyu Base Camp

Mike Hamill and Ang Jangbu report by satellite phone that the entire team has now reached Cho Oyu Base Camp (about 15,000 feet) and are all doing well. They plan to spend at least two more days there at BC for acclimatization, before they start moving up. This morning the first 30 yaks headed up to Advanced Base Camp along with 5 of the Sherpas. Their job will be to establish ABC and be ready for the team when they move up in a few days with the second wave of yaks. Each yak can carry about 30kg on each side, so 60kg total per yak. There is a lot of equipment, tents, ropes, food, fuel, duffel bags, etc to move  up!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

August 30, 2006  •  Hangin in Tingri

Mike Hamill and Ang Jangbu report that the entire team is now in Tingri, Tibet (over 14,000 feet) and doing very well. They spent two nights in Shigatse and then drove to Tingri today. Apparently the drive across Tibet went quite smoothly, despite some road construction. Much of the road is now paved (a big improvement over the old days of hours and hours of rough and dusty roads). The current plan is to spend two nights in Tingri for acclimatization, before moving up to Base Camp. Jangbu will go up to Base Camp tomorrow (about 15,000 feet) to supervise the loading of the yaks for the first trip up to Advance Base Camp (over 18,000 feet). He sent several of the Sherpas up to ABC today to claim a good campsite. So far everything is going very well and everyone is reasonably healthy with no altitude problems.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

August 27, 2006  •  Touristing in Lhasa

Mike Hamill reports that the Lhasa team had a good day being tourists, and will tomorrow go to Shigatse (about 12,800 feet), the second largest city in Tibet. They will travel in four jeeps with one truck for gear. The road to Shigatse (also spelled Xegatse) is now paved, so it should be a nice drive up the valley of the Tsang Po river (this turns into the Bramaputra after it traverses the Himalaya). Originally the team was going to go via the Yamdrok Lake road via Gyantse, but this road is under construction, so is closed. They will spend two nights in Shigatse, allowing them to have a good visit to the famous Tashilumpo Monastery, home of the Panchen Lama, then go to Tingri.

Ang Jangbu reports that the Sherpa team reached Nyalam after traveling by jeep and truck up the deep canyon of the Bhote Kosi river, which cuts through the Himalaya. This gorge extends from the Nepal border (about 5000 feet) to Nyalam (over 12,000 feet) which makes it one of the world's most spectacular drives. In many places the road is literally cut into the walls of the canyon. Tomorrow they will be going to Tingri (14,000 feet), one day ahead of schedule. The plan now is Sherpas are going to Base Camp on 29th and start establishing this camp. The first wave of yaks are scheduled to arrive BC in the evening of 31st. Half the Sherpa team will go to ABC direct on 1 September with 30 yak loads and start establishing ABC. The members will arrive Base Camp on September 1 and will go to ABC a couple days later with the second wave of yaks.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

August 26, 2006  •  Team in Lhasa

Mike Hamill reports that the IMG team flew to Lhasa today and has now arrived at their hotel along with all their personal gear. Tomorrow they will visit the Potala, home of the Dali Lama, and also the famous Johkang Monastary, the oldest in Tibet.

Ang Jangbu reports that the Sherpa team successfully traveled by road from Kathmandu to the border and crossed the Friendship Bridge into Tibet with the big truck and all the Cho Oyu equipment. They met the Liaison Officer at the bridge are now are in Zhangmu, and will travel to Nylam tomorrow. So far, everything is going very smoothly and according to plan.

We'll keep you posted!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

August 24, 2006  •  Expedition Underway

The 2006 IMG Cho Oyu Expedition is now officially underway!! Expedition Leader Mike Hamill reports that the entire team has successfully made it to Beijing and reached the hotel. Remember, Tibet time is +08:00 UTC. After a lot of traveling and some long flights, the team is enjoying a group dinner tonight with our old IMG friend Li Guowei at The Chinese Mountaineering Association and tomorrow they go tour to the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Tiananmen, and other sites. The next day they leave early in the morning for the flight to Lhasa.

Congrats to Trekkers Shelley Bloom, Gregory Messner, Shannon Smith and Climbers Peter Vaream, Martin Johnson, Agnes Sauvage, Carlos Vallejo, William Considine, James Patterson, Nicole Messner, Steve Bridges, William Borland, Philip Desjardins, Gary Kellund, and James Harter — they have succeeded on putting the hardest part of the expedition behind them: just getting out the front door! Now they can relax a bit, enjoy getting to know their teammates, and be tourists for the next few days as they start their journey across China to Cho Oyu.

We'll keep you posted!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

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