International Mountain Guides Climbing and Mountaineering Expeditions

2009 Everest Expedition

Nepal  •  29,035'  •  8850m

2009 Everest Expedition with International Mountain Guides

IMG's 2009 Mt. Everest Expedition Coverage

Led by Eric Simonson, Mark Tucker & Ang Jangbu Sherpa
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IMG Team Back in KTM; Expedition Officially Over

May 29, 2009

We made it back to Kathmandu!! The flights out of Lukla the last few days have been jammed with climbers trying to escape, and there is luggage scattered up and down the Khumbu, from EBC to Lukla.

Ang Pasang, Kaji, and our sherpas managed to get our 40 yaks loaded and out of Base Camp before the storm hit big time, with well over a meter of fresh, heavy, wet snow. There are still some expeditions with gear up at Camp 2... good luck to everyone still trying to get equipment off the mountain!

Yesterday Mike Hamill and Justin Merle did the final briefing at the Ministry of Tourism — we are officially finished now, and we are all leaving for home within the next day or two.

Thanks to all of you who have followed along with us on Everest 2009. It has been a great year, and I hope you can catch the Discovery Channel show in November. (See news article about the Discovery Channel following the IMG Everest Expedition ») It will be fun to see the expedition on TV and see if they get it right! We are already planning for 2010, and when I get home we will be posting new and revised 2010 Everest information. Thanks again, and best wishes to all of you.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

All Descend Safely and are Heading for Home

May 25, 2009

The IMG sherpa team put in big carries yesterday (pulling all of C2 down to C1, then carrying heavy down to BC) and again this morning (pulling the last 26 loads down from C1). Now, everything and everybody is down off the mountain. YAHOO!!!!!!!!!! This is the moment we have truly been waiting for.

Congrats and thanks to our great sherpa team, led by Jangbu and Ang Pasang. They did another great job this year, and we truly could not have done it without their support. I know every expedition says they have great sherpas, but these guys are the best, in my (not so) humble opinion! This morning Jangbu and Ang Pasang are busy paying everyone. Last night Ang Pasang calculated the bonus pay for all the sherpas (based on the number of carries made,) and a lot of these guys are going home with a pretty hefty bankroll in their pocket. Number one this year was Mingma Tenzing, congrats to him!


"Everest behind you, heading for home. Climbers pass the line of chortens on the terminal moraine of the Khumbu Glacier, above Thugla, before dropping down into the land of green. Just looking at this photo sends shivers down my spine. It is one of the most emotional moments of the expedition: now you are released."
—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

Jangbu, Tucker, myself, and the Discovery crew will start hiking this afternoon, heading for Pheriche tonight, Namche tomorrow, and Lukla the next day. Ang Pasang will stay here at EBC for another couple days and get everything packed up. The only problem now is that the storm in the Bay of Bengal has been upgraded to "Tropical Cyclone 02B" and is heading straight for the Everest area after it makes landfall. I think we are going to get hosed, literally, on the hike out!! That's OK, we are all safe, and some warm rain doesn't sound all that bad after two months on the mountain — we are all ready to get back to the land of green.

We are taking down the Bgan internet terminal as soon as I hit the send button on this email, but we'll follow up along the way, so we'll let you know how it is going.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Expedition Winding Down After 30 Everest Summits and Racing the Weather to Bring Gear Down

May 23, 2009

We have had a great expedition, with 30 Everest summits, and it is now drawing to a close.

Today Jon, Justin, Kamen, Petya, PehGee, and their sherpas moved from the Col down to Base Camp and Matt came down to C2. The only people still at Camp 2 are Jaime and Matt, the Discovery cameramen.

Ang Pasang and the sherpa team today took down Camps 3 and 4 and all gear came down to Camp 2. Camp 1 was also brought down to BC. Tomorrow we have a sherpa monster-carry to bring all of Camp 2 down to the Camp 1 site.

Everything is wrapping up fast now, just two more days of carries, and everything will be down. We have the yaks ordered to arrive on the 26th. The main issue right now is the weather forecast, which is not good. There is a tropical disturbance from Bay of Bengal moving our way, and we are expecting snow and rain in the next few days, so we are hurrying to get our gear off the mountain before the big storm hits!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

The Second Summit Team Descend Safely

May 22, 2009

The second summit team descended successfuly to the South Col after their climb. Joanne and Datenji continued to Camp 2. Spending the night at the Col are Kamen/Pasang Rinjing, Petya/Nima Karma, Peh Gee/Dawa, Jon/Phinjo, and Justin. Also up at the Col for another night are Matt and Mingma Dorje and Ang Nima (who has been cooking and melting for the climbers).

Coming down from C2 to BC today were Esther and Jamling and Ed and Samduk. Tomorrow morning we are sending about a dozen sherpas up to the Col to bring down the rest of the equipment. The wind has picked up this afternoon and we are hoping to get the Col cleared of all IMG gear tomorrow.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

IMG's Second Team Summits Everest!

May 21, 2009 (6:15pm PDT)  •  Nepal Time: May 22, 7am

The following members of the IMG Everest Expedition have reached the summit of Mount Everest between 4:57 and 6:48am on May 22, 2009:

  1. Ms. Petya Stanimirova Kolcheva (Bulgaria)
  2. Ms. Mei Ying (Joanne) Soo (Singapore)
  3. Ms. Peh Gee Lee (Singapore)
  4. Mr. Jonathan Michael Shae (USA)
  5. Mr. Justin Reese Merle (USA)
  6. Mr. Kamen Marinov Kolchev (Bulgaria)
  7. Mr. Danuru Sherpa of Khumjung VDC Ward #9 Phortse, Solukhumbu—this is his 7th Everest summit
  8. Mr. Nima Karma Sherpa of Khumjung VDC Ward #9 Phortse, Solukhumbu—this is his 3rd Everest summit
  9. Mr. Phinjo Sherpa of Khumjung VDC Ward #9 Phortse, Solukhumbu—this is his 5th Everest summit
  10. Mr. Pasang Rinji Sherpa of of Khumjung VDC Ward #9 Phortse, Solukhumbu—this is his 3rd Everest summit
  11. Mr. Datenji Sherpa of of Khumjung VDC Ward #9 Phortse, Solukhumbu—this is his 5th Everest summit

—Ang Jangbu Sherpa, IMG Expedition Co-leader

2nd Summit Bid Underway

May 21, 2009 (4pm PDT)  •  Nepal Time: May 22, 4:45am

The Second summit team moved to the Col yesterday and are doing well. They left for the summit about 9pm the evening of the 21st for the summit. Weather was good and they are now en route. Climbing tonight are Joanne/Datenji, Pehgee/Dawa, Kamen/Pasang Ringing, Petya/Nima Karma, Jon/Phinjo and Justin. Yesterday Matt summitted with Mingma Dorje (filming the Himex team) and is spending a second night on the Col. Ed descended to Camp 2 yesterday after his filming stint up high and will be back to BC today. So far everything is going according to plan and we are keeping our fingers crossed on the weather!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Lhotse Wrapup

May 21, 2009

Greg and Philippe descended today to Base Camp, then headed on down the valley to catch their flights. Before leaving they told the story of their Lhotse climb, which they both described as an amazing adventure that was exciting, strenuous, and challenging.

They left Lhotse Camp 4 above the Geneva Spur with Chhewang Lendu at 1:45am and climbed to the base of the Lhotse Couloir, which they reached at 3:00. Then, they ascended straight up the Lhotse Couloir to the summit of the world's fourth highest peak, reaching the top at 7:45am. From the top they had great views of Everest. They started down at 8:15, and it took them two hours to rapell and arm rapell their way back down to Camp 4 — a steep and direct descent!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Summit Day Wrap-up; Next Team Heading Up

May 20, 2009 (3:15am PDT)  •  Nepal Time: May 20, 4pm

I spent last night up at Pumori Camp 1 watching live sherpa helmet cam video come in by microwave from the summit climbers, as part of the Discovery Channel filming. It was pretty exciting to watch, and I will look forward to seeing the show (scheduled for November I think).

Here is the wrap-up on our first big summit day, May 20: Descending all the way to Camp 2 were Li Hui and Panuru, Chris and Pemba Dorje, Jane and Kami, Scott and Danuru, Dawes and Mingma Chhirring, Louis and Dasona, and Greg, Phillipe, Chhewang Lendu, Gyalgen Dorje (Lhotse). Staying at the Col for another night are Mike, Ed, Esther, Samduk, and Jamling. Matt is at the Col, climbing tonight with the Himex team, accompanied by Mingma Dorje. Kamen, Petya, Jon, Justin, Peh Gee, and Joanne are at C3, ready to move up in the morning. The weather report continues to be good!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Everest Climbers Beginning to get into Camp;
IMG Lhotse Climbers Summit!

May 19, 2009 (7:30pm PDT)  •  Nepal Time: May 20, 8:15am

Ang Jangbu reports that Ed Wardle, Li Hui, and Scott P. are already down on the South Col. Dawes, Jane Lee, and Esther are below the Balcony. Mike Hamill made the summit shortly after the main group and is now descending too.

We are also happy to announce IMG summits on Lhotse as reported to the Nepal officials just a few minutes ago. The following team members of IMG Lhotse Expedition have reached the summit of Lhotse at 07:45am on May 20, 2009:

  1. Chhewang Lendu Sherpa of Khumjung VDC Ward #9 Phortse Village — this is Chhewang's 3rd Lhotse summit (2nd on this trip)
  2. Gregory Vernovage (USA)
  3. Philippe Robin Arslanian (France)

—Ang Jangbu Sherpa, IMG Expedition Co-leader

Official Summiter List from First IMG Team

May 19, 2009 (6:15pm PDT)  •  Nepal Time: May 20, 7am

The following team members of IMG's 2009 Everest Expedition have reached the summit of Mount Everest between 3:35 and 6:50am on May 20, 2009:

  1. Mr. Scott Edward Parazynski (USA)
  2. Mr. E Dawes Eddy III (USA)
  3. Ms. Zhen Zhen (Jane) Lee (Singapore)
  4. Ms. Li Hui Lee (Singapore)
  5. Ms. Yin Xuan (Esther) Tan (Singapore)
  6. Mr. Michael Aaron Hamill (USA)
  7. Mr. Edmund Philip Wardle (UK ) (Tigress Productions / Discovery producer, cameraman)
  8. Mr. Danuru Sherpa of Khumjung VDC Ward #9 Phortse, Solukhumbu — this is his 11th Everest Summit
  9. Mr. Panuru Sherpa of Khumjung VDC Ward #9 Phortse, Solukhumbu — this is his 8th Everest Summit
  10. Mr. Mingma Chhiring Sherpa of Khumjung VDC Ward #9 Phortse, Solukhumbu — this is his 8th Everest Summit
  11. Mr. Kancha Nuru Sherpa of Khumjung VDC Ward #9 Phortse, Solukhumbu — this is his 2nd Everest Summit
  12. Mr. Ang Chhiring Sherpa of Khumjung VDC ward #8 Pangboche, Solukhumbu — this is his 9th Everest Summit
  13. Mr. Sanduk Dorjee Tamang of Khumjung VDC ward #7 Pangboche, Solukhumbu — this is his 4th Everest Summit
  14. Mr. Kancha Nuru Sherpa of Khumjung VDC ward #8 Pangboche, Solukhumbu — this is his 1st Everest Summit
  15. Mr. Jamling Bhote of Hattiya VDC Ward #1, Sankhuwasaba — this is his 4th Everest Summit

—Ang Jangbu Sherpa, IMG Expedition Co-leader

First IMG Team Has Summitted!

May 19, 2009 (5:45pm PDT)  •  Nepal Time: May 20, 6:30am

Eric Simonson just phoned in from Everest to let us know that our first summit team has successfully reached the summit and is now on their way down. They got an early start and most of them summitted between 4 and 4:30am, just as dawn was breaking over the Himalayas.

Summiters include three members of our awesome Singapore women's team, Jane, Li Hui, and Esther, the first women from Singapore to summit Everest. US Astronaut and medical scientist Scott Parazynski reached the top along with Dawes Eddy, a remarkable athlete from Spokane, Washington. We believe Dawes has just become the oldest American to successfully summit Everest. (See team bios and photos lower on this page »)

At last report, IMG's Mike Hamill was just a few minutes below the summit and moving up strongly. Meanwhile, IMG's Greg Vernovage and Phillipe Der Arslanian were last reported very near the summit of neighboring Lhotse, still moving up in good time.

IMG's sherpa team, as always, has done another outstanding job this year. We'll post a full name list of summits by them once the reports are in. We are proud to recognize that IMG's sherpas were the first people to summit both Everest and Lhotse this year while putting in the fixed ropes on the route and paving the way for everyone else. We can't praise them enough!

We will post the official list of summits as soon as the information is compiled by Ang Jangbu at Base Camp and emailed to the officials in Nepal.

WAY TO GO IMG CLIMBERS!

—Erin Simonson, IMG Office

First IMG Team Begins Their Summit Bid

May 19, 2009 (11:45am PDT)  •  Nepal Time: May 20, 12:30am

Eric Simonson called in to let us know that the IMG summit bids have begun. The climbers at the Col were heading uphill before 10pm hoping to get an early start on the summit push. The weather is looking OK, and we will expect to hear from the climbers at various progress points. We'll keep you posted as news comes in.

—Erin Simonson, IMG Office

IMG Sherpas Summit Lhotse

May 19, 2009

Two IMG Sherpas Summited Lhotse while fixing ropes:

  1. Chhewang Lendu Sherpa of Khumjung VDC Ward #9, Phortse Village. This is Chhewang's 2nd Lhotse summit.
  2. Gyajen Dorje Sherpa of Khumjung VDC Ward #9, Phortse Village

Both the Sherpas will be going back to the summit again with IMG Guide Greg Vernovage and climber Philippe Robin Arslanian.

—Ang Jangbu Sherpa, IMG Expedition Co-leader

First IMG Team Resting for a Summit Bid Tonight

May 18, 2009  •  Nepal Time: May 19, 11:30am

Today was good weather, and a number of teams reached the summit. We do not have a tally yet, and there are still clilmbers coming back down, but it looks like it was a successful day for many groups, though a bit of a traffic jam up high. We are wishing them all good luck, and hoping they get down safe and sound.

Our IMG team members left C3 between 5am and 6am and everyone was up on the South Col before noon, so plenty of time this afternoon for a good rest. They are planning to leave this evening for the top, with summits possible any time after dawn tomorrow.

Greg and the Lhotse crew are at Lhotse Camp 4, and Chhewang and Gyalgen are currently within a few meters of the summit of Lhotse, on their fixing mission.

The second team of Everest climbers are all at C2, ready to move to C3 in the morning. The next few days and nights will be sleepless here at BC, as Tucker, Jangbu, and I track the teams moving up and down. This year we'll also be following the Discovery Channel's live microwave transmissions from the sherpas wearing helmet cams, so that will be fun to watch in real time. Unfortunately, the stretch from the Balcony to the South Summit is still the notorious "black hole" for any transmissions, including radio, since climbers are on the other side of the SE Ridge, so we won't be able to follow that section any better than before. We'll keep you posted!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Hoping for Good Weather as Climbers Move Up

May 18, 2009

The weather stayed windy and the teams that had gone up to the Col on the 17th ended up having to hold there for another day. Today (the 18th) a number more teams went up to the Col, so climbing tonight there are going to be at least ten teams going for the top. Good luck to them!

We had four sherpas carry to the Col today, putting the finishing touches on our IMG cache up there, ready for the first wave of our climbers. The IMG members on the first wave climbed to Camp 3 today are all safely tucked in for the night with their sherpas and will be heading to the Col in the morning.

The second wave including Kamen/Pasang Rinjing, Petya/Nima Karma, John/Phinjo, Joanne/Datenji, PehGee/Dawa headed up this morning to C2. The Lhotse crew are also at C3 and Chhewang and Gyalgen are up at Lhotse C4, ready to finish fixing tomorrow. So far, so good, we'll keep our fingers crossed.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Everyone Preparing for Summit Bids

May 17, 2009

Today everyone made the final preparations for our summit bids. Tomorrow morning everyone at Camp 2 heads for Camp 3. At BC we have Kamen/Pasang Rinjing, Petya/Nima Karma, Jon/Phinjo, Peh Gee/Dawa, Joanne/Datenji, and Justin all heading up to Camp 2. Also going up tomorrow from BC are seven sherpas to Camp 2 to sleep and support the summit bids, and two sherpas to Camp 1 to finish bringing down the gear there (this morning some of the C1 tents were brought down, since this camp will not be used any more). In the morning we also have five sherpas going to the Col, and four to Camp 3 to set up tents and carry oxygen. Chhewang and Gyalgen are headed to Lhotse Camp 4 in the morning to finish fixing the Lhotse route. So, tomorrow is the big day for everyone to start moving up. The weather is looking good and everyone is ready!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Summit Bids in Full Swing

May 16, 2009

Summit bids are in full swing now, with lots of teams heading up. Ed, Scott, Danuru and Samduk headed up to Camp 2 this morning along with Jane, Li Hui, Esther, Kami, Panuru, and Jamling. Mike, Paul, Louis, Chris, and Dawes are at C2 taking a rest day today. Tomorrow morning we are sending ten sherpas up to Camp 2 to support the summit bids. The Lhotse team of Greg, Dave, Philippe, Chhewang and Gyalgen are also at C2. Today we had four sherpas carry to Lhotse Camp 4 and set up a tent there. Yesterday the Kazak team fixed 600m above the camp. We'll be sending up additional sherpas to work on fixing the route above Lhotse Camp 4 in the next day or two.

The Sherpa Trek team left this morning for Lobuche. Everyone was doing well and we enjoyed their visit.

The weather is still a little windy up high, but hopefully will be improving over the next couple days.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader


Climbers Heading Up; IMG Trekkers Visit BC

May 15, 2009

Our Sherpa Trek team led by IMG guide Chros Meder and Phu Tashi arrived at BC yesterday afternoon and everyone is doing fine. Today they took a hike to the base of the Icefall and visited around BC. Tomorrow they head back to the land of warmth and green. This morning Mike, Paul, Louis, Dasona, Chris and Pemba Dorge, and Dawes and Mingma Chhirring climbed successfully to C2. The weather forecast continues to look good for the next week or so and we have more climbers going up tomorrow and the next few days too. Keep your fingers crossed!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Last Rest Day

May 14, 2009

Today was a final day of R and R and organization. All the climbers and Sherpas are back up from down valley. Tomorrow we finally have climbers moving up. Greg, Dave A, and Philippe will head to Camp 2 to begin their Lhotse bid. Also heading to Camp 2 are Mike, Paul, Louis, Dasona, Chris and Pemba Dorge, and Dawes and Mingma Chirring. The weather is still a bit unsettled, but the forecasts are for an improving trend. We'll keep you posted.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Plans for Summit Bids in Improving Weather

May 13, 2009

The weather is still unsettled, with rain in Nepal, but showing signs of improvement. The sun came out today and it didn't snow, so that was a major improvement over the last few days. All our sherpas are now back to Base Camp after some of them took a quick run down to their homes. We spent the day plotting and strategizing about summit bid plans, more to follow on that. We still have some team members doing R and R down the valley in Pheriche, but they should be back tomorrow. Knock on wood, this next week or so will see some summits!!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

All IMG Climbers are Back in BC

May 12, 2009

This morning was windy and snowy, and at 5:30am, Justin, Jon, Jon, and their sherpa team roped up and headed down from Camp 2. The trip to Camp 1 was low visability and it made them happy that IMG had put in wands in the Cwm, for navigation in these conditions. By the time they got to Camp 1, the weather started to improve, and when they got to BC it was very nice. It was great to get them back to BC, and they had quite a story to tell of their descent to C2 from the Col yesterday. Later, the clouds rolled back in and it snowed again this afternoon. The weather is quite unstable right now with moisture coming through each day now. Hopefully it will improve in a few days!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

A Way for You to Help Sherpas

May 11, 2009

The sherpa community forms the soul and backbone of Everest climbing. The rest of us are mere guests in their native land and fortunate to have their priceless help when we come to climb this mountain. Whenever a sherpa is lost on Everest, a large community is devastated. The pain goes far beyond grief for a lost friend or family member, and for many, the reality of severe economic hardship looms large.

The international climbing community can only offer our sincere thanks and sympathy to that sherpa community and give our direct support to the families involved.

As in the past, IMG will organize a relief fund to be directed to support the family of Lhapka Nuru Sherpa, lost in the recent avalanche on Everest (see post below from May 7), through our affiliated non-profit organization, AFFIMER (American Foundation for International Mountaineering Exploration and Research.)

Those who wish to help Lhapka's family in this time of great need can make tax deductible donations to the fund as follows:

Write checks payable to "AFFIMER Lhapka Fund"
and mail directly to:
AFFIMER
P.O. Box 155
Ashford, WA 98304
USA

AFFIMER is organized under the Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation Law for charitable purposes and is operated exclusively for charitable, educational and scientific purposes within the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. AFFIMER is dedicated to promoting the exploration of mountains for the purpose of increasing geographic, cultural, and scientific understanding of the global alpine environment. Founded in 1990 by a group of alpine mountain climbers and researchers from across the United States, AFFIMER is governed by a volunteer board of directors and receives its funding from private contributions and donations from the public.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Climbers Safely Descend to C2; Tragedy in BC

May 11, 2009

This morning our South Col team woke up to windy weather and some more snow overnight, and decided to head on down. Justin, Jon, John, Mingma Tenzing, Phinjo, Kancha Nuru, and Ang Karma descended successfully from the Col to Camp 2 and will be heading down to BC in the morning.

We had a sad story develop today at Base Camp with the death of one sherpa cook boy overnight and the near fatal poisoning of another, from other expeditions, both stricken after drinking locally purchased bootleg whiskey made with methyl alcohol. The weather at BC was too cloudy to get a helicopter in today for him, and HRA docs Eric and Torrey worked hard all day to save the life of the second guy. At this time his status is still uncertain. I hope the Liason Officers will do an investigation into this crime; this is really such a tragedy.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

First Summit Bid Called Off in Bad Weather

May 11, 2009

Shea, Golden, Merle, and four sherpas made it up to the Col yesterday by 11am but during the afternoon, the weather deteriorated so they were unable to make a summit attempt (they were planning to start in the late evening).

Down at Base Camp we had snow in the afternoon, and it is cloudy this morning and looks like it may continue. This morning Justin reports from the Col that they are all OK after their overnight there, and now are above the clouds, but that they are going to be coming back down to Camp 2 today.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

First Summit Team Heading for the South Col

May 10, 2009

Climbers Shea, Golden, Merle, Phinjo, and Mingma Tenzing decided to take a shot at the summit, despite the less than ideal forecast. They left Camp 2 at 1:30 this morning (May 10) and are currently (8:30am) above the Yellow Band on the way to Camp 4. Weather is holding, so far so good. Their plan is to rest this afternoon at the Col and try for the top tonight. We'll keep you posted on their progress.

This morning the Singapore climbers descended from C2 to BC along with Kami, Jamling, Datenji, and Phinjo Dorge. Several members of the IMG team are heading down to Pheriche today for some thick air, and a final rest before their summit bids. Last night we spoke on the radio to IMG guide Chris Meder who is leading (along with Phu Tashi) our "Sherpa Trek " group in to Base Camp. It sounds like everything is going well for them and they have been having a good time on the trek so far. They are currently taking a rest day in Dingboche and tomorrow they will be heading up to Lobuche, with a planned arrival at Base Camp on the 14th.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Jet Stream Complicates First Summit Bid Plans

May 9, 2009

The winds picked up on schedule yesterday afternoon as the jet stream passed over the top of Mt. Everest, as forecasted. Today is also windy up high. The weather window on the 11th and 12th that we were shooting for has gotten smaller, bracketed by stronger winds both to the east and west, so most of the team members have opted to come back down and wait for a better weather window.

Scott, Karel, Dawes, Petya, Kamen, Ed, Jamie, and all their sherpas have come down today to BC. The Singapore team has stayed up at C2 for more acclimatization. Jon and John, with Justin, Mingma Tenzing and Phinjo are going to go ahead and take a shot at the summit, weather permitting. Stay tuned!

Lhotse Team members Greg, Philippe and Dave A. are at BC resting prior to their summit bid. We figure that we'll need about 1000 meters of rope to get the Lhotse Couloir fixed, and we are working with several other teams that also have Lhotse permits to get the fixing done. Tomorrow we are sending Ang Karma and Pasang to Lhotse Camp 4 to drop gear for fixing (400 meters rope, 11 pitons, 5 screws, 9 pickets, caribiners). If the weather cooperates we hope that we'll be able to start fixing on the  13th.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Next Group Getting into Position for Summit

May 8, 2009

This morning Jon Shea and John Golden, with Phinjo, headed up to Camp 2 to join the climbers already up there. Their tentative plan for the next few days is to head up to Camp 3 and beyond, depending on the weather!

At BC this morning, we had a meeting with a number of other expeditions at HRA to debrief what went well and what can be improved for the future regarding rescues, such as the one that occurred yesterday. IMG is sending our rescue pack and oxygen pack, both used yesterday, over to the Himex storage tent which is located near the glacier at BC, within easy reach of climbers deployed for rescue activities. Some of the other main teams here will also do the same, to make the gear more accessible in an emergency. Regarding communications in the future, we discussed how some teams can do a better job tracking the location of their members — yesterday there was quite a lot of confusion as to who was missing after the avalanche.

We'll be keeping our fingers crossed on the weather!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Avalanche and Rescue Effort in Khumbu Icefall

May 7, 2009

Today started out pretty normal, with the first team making a timely departure and climbing the Icefall in good form. Later, Rejean was descending the Icefall with Dawa, his sherpa, and three of our IMG sherpas who had already carried to C2 and were on the way back down to BC (Mingma Tenzing #2, Thunang, and Karma Dorje). The five of them made good time back down the Icefall until about 10 am when a huge ice avalanche swept down the lower Icefall from the West Shoulder and blasted them. Immediately afterwards they radioed to us that they were all OK.

Only later, when they all returned to camp, did we get the whole story. When they saw the avalanche break loose above them, they only had maybe 10 seconds to seek shelter. Dawa led them around an ice block, where they crouched down and were blasted by snow and ice chunks. After the dust settled, they looked for some other climbers that had been nearby them, and noted that three of them were missing. Climbing down to a nearby crevasse, they met other climbers that had also been descending. Buried in the bottom of the crevasse were two climbers. Of the 22 climbers at the accident scene, only Dawa had a climbing rope and a pocket knife. With the help of Pasang, a sherpa from the Indian Army expedition, they engineered the rescue of the two buried climbers from the crevasse, one of whom was brought to the surface unconscious and hypothermic. Then they started down, carrying this unconscious victim.

Later, they met up with other climbers and sherpas climbing up from below, who were able to start this man on oxygen and package him in a sked stretcher and sleeping bag and evacuate him. Over two and a half hours of additional searching was conducted for the missing sherpa, at considerable risk to the many rescuers who participated, to no avail. Only his backpack and one boot were found — it must have been a terrific blast that hit him. All in all it was a sad afternoon, but thanks to the hard work of Damien and Willie Benegas, Dave Hahn, Mark Tucker, Ang Jangbu, and the many climbers and sherpas that participated. At IMG camp we sent our prepackaged rescue gear and oxygen up with Phunuru and Panuru, who raced up at full speed to help. At the end, Rejean made it back to BC safe and sound, after a day he will never forget.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

3am News Brief

May 7, 2009

Eric Simonson called the IMG office very briefly to let us know that there was a big avalanche and rescue response on Everest today. Eric will send a more detailed dispatch and description of the events later; he mostly wanted us to let everyone know that all IMG team members are accounted for in camp and doing OK.

First Summit Team Heading Up Tomorrow

May 6, 2009

Panuru and Mingma Tenzing returned to BC this morning from C2 after their summit yesterday (also descending from C2 this morning were Greg, Dave A. and Phillipe). It was great to get the lowdown from them on their progress fixing. In addition to cutting down a bunch of old rope, they strung double-ropes above the South Summit to allow for both up and down traffic, and also put three new ropes on the Hillary Step (and removed about ten old ones). It sounds like they had a great day up there!

After breakfast we had a big team meeting to review plans for the summit bids. It looks like we might have a decent window about the 11/12th, so tomorrow we are going to launch our first summit team, heading for the top. The first team will be Scott/Danuru, Dawes/Mingma Chhiring, Ed/Samduk, Rejean/Dawa, Karel/Karma Rita, Kamen/Pasang Rinji, Petya/Nima Karma, Li Hui/Kancha Nuru, Joanne/Datenji, and Jane/Kami. The second team will be a day or two later, depending on how the forecast looks.

Since we had the whole team together today, we thought it was a good time for a group picture. The afternoon was spent doing final checkout with everyone on the oxygen systems, radios, and other gear for the summit bids. We also had a meeting with the sherpas to review their jobs as part of the film team. We'll have several of them accompaning the team, wearing the microwave "sherpa cams" and also carrying the sound recording equipment for the Discovery Channel show. Keep your fingers crossed for the good weather we'll need to pull this off!!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

First Summit of the Season and BC Visitor

May 5, 2009

IMG sherpa Mingma Tenzing was first on top of Everest for 2009 at 12:25pm. Panuru (IMG), Kami Rita (AAI), Dorje and Nima Tsering (Himex) were a few minutes behind him. They left the Col at 2:15am. Over the last two days the five sherpas fixed the ropes from South Col to the Summit and cut away a lot of old ropes on the rock step below the South Summit and the Hillary Step as part of the continuing efforts this year to clean up the route of a lot of the old ropes that have been left on the mountain over the years. After their climb, they descended to the Col, took down their tent, then descended to Camp 2, a very impressive performance on the part of these men.

Also today Greg, Dave A., Phunuru, and Philippe descended to C2 from C3. Dave R. and Justin descended to BC from C2.

Eric had a visit today at Base Camp from an old friend, Rick Wilcox from North Conway, NH. Rick was leading a trek group and swung by to say hi. Rick  and Eric summitted Everest the same day, May 15, 1991, Eric from the North and Rick from the South. Rick runs the IMCS guide service in the Mt. Washington Valley, and at IMG we regularly trade both guides and customers with his outfit. We reminisced about the old days when men were men, sheep were scared, and the route was not fixed to the summit. We both agree, though, it sure is safer now with the ropes, and kudos to the sherpas who did such a great job the last couple days!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Sherpas Begin Fixing Ropes on the Upper Mountain

May 4, 2009

Today our IMG sherpas Panuru and Mingma Tenzing joined Himex sherpas Dorje and Nima Tsering and AAI sherpa Kami Rita up on the South Col about 8am, after leaving C2 at about 2am. We sent a couple other sherpas up to the Col to support them and help get a tent set up. After some tea and a snack they headed up to start fixing up the triangular face, reaching about 200m below the Balcony before heading back down to the Col. They left 900m of rope below the Balcony and will bring up another 600m with them in the morning tomorrow — the plan is to start at 2am tomorrow morning, climb back up to the Balcony, and keep fixing as far as they can go (at least the South Summit, maybe all the way to the top if the weather is good and they are feeling strong).

Greg, Dave A, Philippe, and Phunuru clilmbed to C3 today and are sleeping up there tonight. Dave R. and Justin climbed up to thwe base of the Lhotse Face today and returned to C2. The rest of the team are resting at Base Camp and paying close attention to the weather forecasts. We are hoping a summit window will materialize something in the next week or so!!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

New Ropes and Clean Up on the Lhotse Face

May 3, 2009

The weather was fairly grim today — wind and snow, so not much in the way of progress on the mountain. Greg, Justin, Phillipe, and the two Daves are at C2. Sherpas took a rest today, and tomorrow we have a big push scheduled for the South Col coinciding with the start of the fixing above the Col. Mingma Tenzing and Panuru will be leaving C2 at 2am for the Col, with the plan to go fix to the Balcony along with one AAI sherpa and two from Himex. Hopefully the weather will cooperate!

Yesterday was a historic day for route making on Everest. Kari Kobler donated his Hilti bolt gun and guides Willie Benegas and Adrian Ballinger drilled six new 10cm Mammut stainless steel bolts up on the Yellow Band to anchor two new ropes — one for up traffic and one for down. Good work you guys. In the process they also cut down over 30kg of old rope. The immediate benificiaries will be the sherpas, who have had to deal with a spider-web of old ropes over the years. Now, this is much safer for them. When the climbers start going up to the Col in the next few days they will find that this makes it a lot faster and less confusing. We are hoping to do the same thing up on the Geneva Spur next, and hopefully up in the rock step below the South Summit too.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Avalanche Gives Climbers in Icefall and BC a Scare

May 2, 2009

IMG team members John, Jon, and Matt descended to BC today. Greg, Dave A, and Philippe moved to C2, as did Justin and Dave R. We had a bit of a scare this morning when a big avalanche from the lower West Shoulder crashed into the lower Icefall, and dusted a number of climbers. Fortunately nobody was hurt. We even got a bit of ice dust at BC.

Higher up, Mingma Tenzing and Panuru are at C2 ready to go to the Col to begin fixing, along with two Himex and one AAI sherpas. We had another 12 sherpas carry to the Col today, continuing the buildup of C4 for the summit bids.

Down low, Kamen and Petya continue to enjoy the thick air of Pheriche, they will probably be back up tomorrow. The rest of us here are enjoying the good food, hot showers, and all the little things that make hanging out at BC fun and unique!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

High-tech Filming, and Planning for Summit Bids

May 1, 2009

Despite the marginal forcast, it was nice day today on Everest. Ed and Ang Pasang were out in the predawn hours filming the Himex team with infrared cameras as the climbers started up the Icefall. The live footage was sent back by microwave to BC where it was recorded to tape. This was a test of the system that will be used on the summit bids to follow the climbers up high.

The IMG sherpas were back at it today with multiple carries to C2 and C4. The Singapopre team descended to BC, as did Chris. Jon, John, and Matt are back at C2 after their overnight at C3. Justin and Dave R. are at C1. Panuru and Mingma Tenzing went to C2 today to get in position for moving to the Col as part of the fixing team.

We have started making the logistical plans for the first summit bids — more to follow as these develop. We have enough oxygen at the Col now for the fixing and the first summit attempts, so everything is coming together well, we just need some good weather during the critical period to come.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Next Challenge is Fixing Rope Above the South Col

April 30, 2009

Most of the sherpas had a well deserved rest day today, after a busy week. Tomorrow they are back at it, stocking C2 and C4. Our Camp 3 acclimatization rotation is now almost over. The Singapore team descended from C3 today and John, Jon, and Matt went up to C3 for their overnight there. Justin and Dave are up at C1 tonight. Hamill's team is back to BC now. Kamen and Petya went down to Pheriche for some R & R today prior to the summit bids.

Before that can happen, we still have the issue of the fixing above the Col, estimated to be about 2300 meters of rope. It looks like we will be sending Panuru and Mingma Tenzing, a couple of our top sherpas, up tomorrow with the plan for them to be moving up to the Col on the 2nd, where they will meet a few sherpas from other teams and beginning to fix on the 3rd, weather permitting. Right now it looks like we might get a little snow over the next few days, so we'll just have to wait and see how it goes.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Camp 3 Rotations

April 29, 2009

We had another 11 sherpas carry to the Col today, so we are starting to get a good sized cache of gear and oxygen up there. The plan is now to start fixing above the Col in a few days. Jangbu has put together a consortium representing about a half dozen teams to make it happen (exact details to follow).

Lhotse Face Route
The Route Up The Lhotse Face

Ang Pasang and Dasona worked on the fixed ropes up by our IMG site at Upper Camp 3 today (it was quite steep and icy below the camp,) and they added another piece of fixed line in a better place. Today we had seven climbers and sherpas descend to BC. Hamill's group, Chris, and their sherpas are back to C2 after their C3 overnight. The Singapore team went to C3 for an overnight today, and they will return to C2 tomorrow. Jon, John, Matt, Phinjo, and Mingma are headed to C3 tomorrow. So far the weather is holding and everything continues to go smoothly.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Sherpas Carry to the South Col

April 28, 2009

Today we had 11 sherpas carry to the South Col. Mike, Louis, Paul, Dasona, Chris, and Pemba Dorje climbed to C3 and are spending the night there now. Descending this morning from their C3 overnight to C2 were Kamen/Nima Karma, Petya/Pasang Rinjing, Dawes/Mingma Tshering, Karel/Karma Rita. They will come down to BC tomorrow.

Jon is at C2 now with John. Greg, Philippe, and Dave took a Cwm hike today up to the base of the Lhotse face and are staying at C2 again. The Singapore team is heading for C3 in the morning. Weather was good today but our most recent forecast has a chance of precip coming in by the end of the week, so we are going to keep pushing hard here for a few more days. We have another big sherpa carry to the Col scheduled for the morning.

This afternoon at Base Camp, Jangbu hosted a big meeting of the Sirdars (sherpa leaders) from a bunch of the various expeditions to review how the fixing went to the Col and how to do the fixing above the Col. As we had hoped, a number of teams have stepped up and made good contributions to the efforts. We appreciate that many expeditions want to help — thanks to all those teams who have participated. We will continue to try to work together and build concensus. Everest is an international mountain and it works best if we can all work together.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

IMG Climbers to Camp 3

April 27, 2009

Today was another good one for the IMG team. The weather cooperated and the wind died down, allowing five sherpas to carry to the Col. Four more went to C3, where they set up more tents. Climbing to Camp 3 today were Kamen, Petya, Karel, and Dawes, who are now all spending the night there with their personal sherpas. Hamill and his crew, along with John and Chris, took an acclimatization climb to the base of the Lhotse Face today. Vernovage and his Lhotse team ascended to C2, along with the Singapore team. Shea moved up to C1. Scott, Ed, and Rejean descended to BC.

We had additional sherpas carries today to C1 and C2, and tomorrow we have a number of sherpas moving to C2 to start making carries to the Col. So, things are rolling and we are shooting to get C4 at the Col well established in the next few days, as weather allows. Jangbu has a meeting scheduled tomorrow with a number of the sirdars of the various teams to start making plans to fix above the Col.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Jet Stream Kicks Up Wind on Everest

April 26, 2009

IMG climbers Ed, Scott, and Rejean descended from C3 to C2 after a windy night on the Lhotse Face. The team at C2, Kamen, Petya, Dawes, Karel who hoped to go to C3 today were forced to hold at C2 due to the wind. If tomorrow is better, they will take another shot at going to C3. Several other teams lost tents at C2 today, but our camp stayed in place! Moving up to C2 from C1 was Mike, Louis, and Paul. Greg and his Lhotse team stayed put at C1 today. The Singapore women moved to C1 from BC.

If tomorrow is decent, we have five sherpas scheduled to work at C3 erecting more tents, and five more sherpas going to the South Col. However, it seems that the jet stream is perched right over the top of Mt. Everest right now — we can hear the wind blowing up high down at BC, and it sounds like the proverbial train.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Route in to South Col; Camp 3 Occupied

April 25, 2009

Today we had 2 Sherpas carry to Camp 1 and 11 Sherpas carry to C2. Moving up to Camp 1 this morning were Mike, Louis, Paul, Dasona, Chris, Pemba Dorje (Everest); and Greg, Dave, Phillipe, Pasang Nuru (Lhotse). Karel and Karma Rita moved from C1 to C2. The sherpas set up three tents at C3, and moving to Camp 3 today were Scott, Danuru, Rejean, Dawa, Ed, and Samduk. They are the first residents of C3.

The big news on the mountain was that the route to the Col was established today, with IMG sherpas Chewang Lendu and Karma Serki being the very first to the South Col, finishing the route after three days of fixing. They started below the Yellow Band, which they fixed with 9mm rope, then fixed from over the Geneva Spur and on into the Col.

Here is Jangbu's official tally of the teams that worked on the route, and the number of sherpas they contributed to the fixing each day, over the last three days:

April 23 — Base of Face to C3 (double ropes fixed)
IMG 2
Himex 2
AAI 2
RMI 1
AC 1
Altitude Junkies 1
Jagged Globe 1
7Summit 1
Peak Freak 1
Asian Trek 1

April 24 — C3 to Yellow Band
IMG 2
Himex 2
AC 1
Asian Trek 1
7Summit 1

April 25 — Yellow Band to Col
IMG 2
AAI 2
RMI 1
Jagged Globe 1
7Summit 1

Thanks to those teams for the help with the route work! In addition, a number of other teams helped carry rope to Camp 2 and donated gear, rope, etc. We'll have a complete summary in the future of who helped and who were the slackers!! Jangbu has a meeting planned in the next day or two to work out the strategy for getting the route above the Col fixed. Before that can happen there is a lot of work to do to get the Col established with tents, rope, oxygen, etc.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Route to the Col; Next Round of Acclimitazation

April 24, 2009

IMG sherpas Nima Nuru and Karma Serki joined five sherpas from other teams today to push the ropes to the bottom of the Yellow Band. It was quite windy up high, so that was as far as they got. IMG sherpas Chewang Lendu and Mingma Tenzing (who fixed yesterday all the way to C3) took a rest today but will be heading back up tomorrow. Hopefully if tomorrow is decent, and if some other teams honor their commitments to provide sherpas and rope, we could have the route to the South Col by tomorrow!

Currently in residence at C2 are Justin, John with Phinjo, Rejean with Dawa, Scott with Danuru, Kamen with Pasang Rinjing, Petya with Nima Karma, Ed with Samduk, along with Ang Passang, C2 cooks Shyam Pun and Pema, and our four fixing sherpas. In addition, they were joined today by Kancha Nuru (from Pangboche), Kancha Nuru (from Phortse), Tsheten Dorge, Phinjo Dorje, and Gyalzen Dorge who will head to C3 tomorrow and start chopping tent platforms and setrting up tents.

Heading up this morning were Karel with Karma Rita (to C1) and Dawes with Mingma Tsering (to C2). Heading up tomorrow morning to C1 are are Mike, Louis and Paul with Dasona, Chris with Pemba Dorje, Greg Vernovage and the Lhotse team. Heading to C2 in the morning are Matt and Mingma Dorje. We also have sixteen sherpas carrying in the morning to Camp 2 and returning to BC. There is a good chance we may have C3 occupied tomorrow night for the first time too. So, as you can see, there is a lot going on with people occuping various camps and a lot of supplies moving up the hill.

Here at BC Ang Jangbu continues to press the various teams for the contributions to the route work, and Tucker and I are doing our best to keep all the troops going in the right direction. Busy days at Mt. Everest as we try to take advantage of this continuing good weather!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

C3 Ready; Climbers Begin Next Round of Rotations

April 23, 2009

The route to Camp 3 was put in today up the lower part of the Lhotse Face — two parellel ropes, one for up traffic, and one for down. IMG sherpas Chewang Lendu and Mingma Tenzing joined 12 other sherpa from about ten teams total to get the route in to camp 3. They also claimed our campsite on the upper ledge of "upper" C3, where we have had it in the past. We hope to get a couple tents up there tomorrow.

We also have a fresh team of fixing sherpas scheduled tomorrow to start work on the route from C3 towards the South Col which will hopefully be put in over the next couple days.

Moving up from BC to Camp 2 today were Kamen, Petya, and Ed, climbing with their personal sherpas. Staying at C1 today were John and Justin. Greg Vernovage and The Lhotse team took a trial run partway up the Icefall this morning. They are planning a rest day tomorrow, with Camp 1 as the goal the following day. The weather remains good, though it was a bit windy overnight. Some teams lost tents at C1 and C2, but our camps were well secured so we had no issues.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Sherpas in Position to Work on Camp 3 Route

April 22, 2009

The IMG sherpa team had a big day today with 34 sherpas and Scott and Rejean going to Camp 2. We have Kamen, Petya, John, Justin, and Ed moving up tomorrow. Today Greg and the Lhotse team took an acclimatization hike to Pumori Camp 1, and tomorrow they head up into the Icefall for a test run. Jangbu is doing a masterful job getting all the different expeditions to contribute gear, oxygen, and manpower to the fixing effort, and tomorrow the Lhotse Face crew starts work on the route to Camp 3.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Getting Ready for Camp 3 Rotations

April 21, 2009

There was another collapse in the Icefall overnight, near the Popcorn, but our sherpas found a way around it and managed to do a big carry to Camp 2. Today we finished our first acclimatization rotation, with the successful descent from Camp 2 to Base Camp of Nancy, Panuru, and the Camp 2 cooks. Tomorrow starts the beginning of the second rotation. We'lll send up new cooks, along with Scott and Rejean and over thirty sherpas who are making a huge carry tomorrow to Camp 2 in preparation for starting to fix the route to Camp 3.

Today we sorted out over 150 bottles of oxygen, checked the tank pressures, and these cylinders will start moving up the hill starting tomorrow. Greg Vernovage and the Lhotse team did a day of training out on the glacier, practicing fixed line techniques, cramponing, and other skills they will need for their Icefall rotation in a few days. The weather continues to be reasonably good and we are hoping that this trend continues!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Climbers Resting in BC; Camp 2 Route Solid

April 20, 2009

Most of the IMG Everest team members have now cycled back down to BC after their first acclimatization rotation to Camps 1 and 2. The Icefall has had several collapses during the last couple days, requiring the icefall doctors to rebuild the route in several places. Above the top of the icefall, the route is good to Camp 1 and 2, with a few ladders. We have now wanded this section of the route to C2 so that it will be easy to follow in case of a snowstorm. Up at Camp 2 we now have a third big tent set up and about a dozen smaller sleeping tents, making for a secure and hospitable advanced base camp.

The Lhotse team had their puja this morning and the trekkers left after that for their hike out via Cho La pass and Gokyo valley — this makes for a nice loop trek back to Namche. The Lhotse climbers will spend the next few days training in the BC area on ropes, ladders, and out on the glacier ice before the get ready to head up the Icefall for their first acclimatization rotation.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Lhotse Team in BC; Progress on Everest

April 18, 2009

IMG guide Greg Vernovage and the Lhotse team of climbers and trekkers arrived in Everest Base Camp today. Everyone is doing well and were happy to finally be here. They are all looking forward to the good food, hot showers from our propane water heater, washing some clothes, and all the other creature comforts of Base Camp.

Up on the mountain, there was a route collapse in the Icefall at 5:30am this morning that gave us a scare, and blocked the way for the Sherpas, but they found a new way through and were able to complete their carries to camps 1 and 2. Chris went up to Camp 2 today. Hamill's team and the Singapore team remain at Camp 2. We are now working on getting all the rope moved up to Camp 2 to begin the route fixing on the Lhotse Face. So far Ang Jangbu has secured about 8700 meters of rope from the various teams, along with screws, pickets, caribiners, and oxygen (for the fixing above the Col). The fixing is scheduled to start on the 23rd.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Climbers on Camp Rotations; BC Collaboration

April 17, 2009

The IMG team had a good day today. Nancy made it up to Camp 1 this morning, and the Hamill team and the Singapore teams moved to Camp 2. Descending to BC were Scott, Dawes, Kamen, Petya, Karel, Rejean, and the Golden/Shea team, after the afternoon weather started looking nasty (it turned out to be OK).

At BC, Ang Jangbu did an excellent job getting the sirdars from the various teams together for a big meeting to nail down the contributions of rope and equipment for the route making. Also, many members of various teams pitched in to finish the heli pad at BC, in case of rescue flight requirements.

The Lhotse team is at Gorak Shep tonight, due to BC tomorrow.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Climbers Acclimating; BC Team Leaders Meet

April 16, 2009

The weather today was beautiful and clear, but windy. This morning Ed, Scott, Kamen, Petya, Rejean, Dawes, and Karel moved to C2 and helped the Sherpas get more tents set up and secured from the wind. Hamill and his crew, along with the Singapore women took an acclimatization hike from C1 towards 2, and returned to C1. Shea and Golden, and Chris Bergum, moved up from BC to C1 today. So far everything is going well, and we are only a few days away from being able to start fixing rope towards C3.

This afternoon we had a meeting at BC with the leaders of a number of the teams, to discuss the route and how we are going to collaborate on rope fixing and route cleaning (of old, tattered ropes). Since our IMG team is ahead of most of the others, we will start working on the route to C3 and Ang Jangbu will coordinate with other teams on their contributions to the effort. Based on preliminary commitments from the leaders meeting, I note that some teams are prepared to step up with significant contriutions, while others are rather pathetic. We will post a complete list on this website in the near future of which expeditions have contributed, and how much.

We are in the thick of it now; things are rolling here, and at the current pace, we will have the mountain ready to climb in a few weeks. Who knows what the weather will bring, but if it stays good, there is no reason to wait. It is in everyone's interest to get the route prepared and ready to go sooner rather than later.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Camp 2 is Established

April 15, 2009

Today was another big day for the IMG team, with 15 sherpas carrying to Camp 2, where they erected two big tents for kitchen and dining. The sherpas continue to amaze, some of them managing the round trip BC-C2-BC in under 6 hours! Phunuru brought his camara up to C2 today, and returned with shots of  Camp 1,  Camp 2 and the first views of the Lhotse Face. Despite how dry Nepal has been this winter, the Face does not look quite as icy as we had expected, so that is good news.

Meanwhile, today, some of the members who overnighted at C1 (Scott, Ed, Dawes, Rejean, Karel, Kamen, Petya) also made the trek up to C2 for the day, returning to C1. Hamill and his crew did a shorter hike today in the Cwm, returning to C1. The Singapore Women's team moved up to C1 today from BC. Tomorrow, we have Shea, Golden, and Bergum scheduled to move up to C1. The word from the team is that the Icefall route is looking pretty good, not too difficult, except for where it gets quite close to the West Shoulder near the top of the Icefall, which exposes the route to avalanche from there.

The Lhotse team is in Lobuche now, we spoke to them on the radio, and they are all doing fine.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

IMG Climbers at Camp 1

April 14, 2009

Today was a big day for the IMG team — we had 23 sherpas carry to Camp 1 and 10 members with 8 personal sherpas moved to C1 and occupied it. We now have 10 Eureka 5th Season tents erected there along with a large cooking and dining tent.

The carrying sherpas left BC at 4:30am and the team members started up at about 5am. Moving to C1 today included Mike Hamill with Paul and Louis, cameraman Ed, Karel, Dawes, Rejean, Kamen, Petya, and Scott. Several members were up to C1 in under 4 hours and everyone was under 6, which is a perfectly resonable time for the first trip up there. They will stay at C1 for several days and then move to C2.

Tomorrow we have 15 sherpas carrying to Camp 2 to start building that camp, and we have 9 sherpas who will be carrying to Camp 1 to bring up more supplies and set up more tents. Also tomorrow the Singapore women will move to Camp 1 with three sherpas, and we have two of our Camp 2 cooks, Sante and Shyam, moving to C1 to acclimatize prior to moving to Camp 2.

So far everything is going smoothly and everyone is doing well with the Everest team. The Lhotse team is at Dingboche, moving to Lobuche tomorrow. We spoke to leader Greg Vernovage today on the radio and he says everyone on that team is doing well and they are looking forward to arriving to BC in a few days.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Icefall Route In — The Climbing Begins

April 13, 2009

Yesterday the icefall sherpas got close to Camp 1  see the full Icefall route » Today Ang Jangbu (IMG deputy leader) and Ang Passang (IMG sirdar) decided to turn lose our secret super sherpa weapons. Under the cover of darkness Danuru, Mingma Tenzing, and Karma Serki left Base Camp and blasted up the icefall, nailing prime real estate for our Camp 1, then continuing on to Camp 2 and nailing prime real estate there as well. Amazingly, they were back in time for lunch!

Tomorrow morning we have 23 sherpas carrying to Camp 1. Additionally, we have 8 personal sherpas plus 10 members moving to Camp 1 on their first acclimatization rotation. The climb begins!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Lobuche Team Summits; Everest Icefall Route

April 11, 2009

Today was a beautiful day, but a bit windy. We heard from Tucker and Merle on the radio periodically throughout the morning, as they ascended Lobuche Peak, reaching the summit about 11 am. Congrats to the Lobuche climbers!! They have now all successfully descended back to Lobuche base camp.

At Everest, the Icefall sherpas made good progress today and are now only a day or two from Camp 1. This photo shows the route, currently up past the football field. IMG team members continued their acclimatization program with several climbers and sherpas ascending to the Popcorn area of the icefall while others IMG climbers went hiking today, reaching Pumori Camp 1, which is over 19,000 feet and gives a great view of the base camp area.

We spoke on the radio this morning to Greg Vernovage and the Lhotse team, as they left Namche — they are in Tengboche tonight and all is going well with them.

Tomorrow is Easter for us, and we are looking forward to a special brunch for the team. We send best wishes to all our friends and family.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

BC Living, Lobuche Climbing, Namche Trekking

April 10, 2009

After a couple snowy days the weather improved and many team members are washing clothes and taking showers today.

IMG guides Mark Tucker and Justin Merle called on the radio this afternoon from high camp on Lobuche Peak. The team has made it into position to attempt the summit tomorrow. The weather is looking good and everyone is doing well.

At Everest, the Icefall Doctors today extended the route to almost the top of the icefall, so we are hoping that within the next couple days the route to C1 will be finished. Most team members have now managed to go partway up the Icefall to practice their ladder crossing techniques.

IMG Guide Greg Vernovage reports from Namche that the Lhotse team (the members were originally planning to go to Cho Oyu before the Chinese closed Tibet) are all doing well. The are planning to move to Tengboche tomorrow and will be joining us at Everest Base Camp next week.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Preparing for the Icefall and Lobuche Peak

April 8, 2009

Today saw several IMG team members making initial forays into the Icefall. Ed Wardle and Jamie Berry of the Discovery film team went up with the Icefall doctors to shoot the installation of some of the ladders. The Icefall route is now established through the "popcorn" section and up to the "football field". It will take another couple days of work to build the route up the final steep pitches of the Icefall.

In the meantime, other IMG members and some of our new sherpas are continuing to work on the ropes course that Panuru set up near the bottom of the Icefall. This, along with the ladder practice area we have set up, is a good chance for everyone to get dialed on the icefall techniques.

Tomorrow we have a number of the team heading up partway for practice and acclimatization runs. This afternoon we were joined at BC by the JF Carrey trek group from eastern Canada (JF summited with IMG on Everest a couple years ago, the youngest Canadian to climb the mountain). They had hiked in via the Gokyo Valley route and will be here another day before heading down. With them is our final Everest team member, Rejean Audet. Now we are all here and everyone is doing well.

Tomorrow morning Mark Tucker, Justin Merle and the Lobuche Peak team head down the valley to climb this attractive 20K footer near Mt. Everest. They will be back to Base Camp in four days. So far so good!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Settling In, Organizing, and Getting Ready to Climb

April 7, 2009

The IMG Everest team went to bed last night to a snowy scene, as a storm moved up the valley late in the afternoon and dumped about six inches of snow by bedtime. This morning is was clear and blue, but again this afternoon more snow came, though not as heavy as yesterday. This trend of clear mornings and snowy afternoons is not unusual, and we are glad to see some accumulation on the mountain. The Khumbu has had a very dry winter with very little snowfall, and the upper part of Everest is quite black, so some snow will improve the climbing conditions for our team.

We are still organizing the 20,000 pounds of food, fuel, and gear that was shipped to Base Camp, so we have a few more days of work here before everything is well organized. Today Mark Tucker led the Lobuche climbers for a climibng school on the glacier near the Icefall, and Justin Merle led some of our climbers up into the Icefall for some climbing practice. Tomorrow we plan to set up a ropes course to further practice the skills that will be necessary for the Icefall and Lobuche Peak.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Team in BC and Launches Climb with Puja

April 6, 2009

The IMG Everest team reached Everest base camp today and had the Puja (blessing ceremony) with our sherpas. We were joined by the lama from Pangboche monastary who led the ceremony. The weather was excellent and everyone had a great time celebrating the official beginning of the climb. The Icefall Doctors (icefall route sherpas hired by SPCC) have now placed nine ladders and have reached the "popcorn" section of the icefall. They are hoping to finish the route up the icefall in the next few days if all goes well.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

Team Reaches Lobuche; Icefall Doctors at Work

April 3, 2009

Expedition Leader, Eric Simonson, reports that yesterday the team trekked from Dingboche (14,450') to Lobuche (16,000') and will stay there for another rest day and good night's sleep. The team is doing well and enjoying the big views from day hikes around Lobuche.

Eric is excited that the Icefall Doctors have started their work on the Khumbu Icefall. Ang Jangbu in Everest Base Camp says the Icefall Doctors had their Puja (blessing ceremony) yesterday and began working in the icefall today. The Icefall Doctors are a few Sherpas, paid for by all the climbing expeditions, whose job it is to set the best possible route through the icefall and maintain it throughout the climbing season as the glacier moves and inevitable destroys parts of the route which have to be reset. We expect that the icefall route will be set in a week or so. The team plans to make it to Everest Base camp on Monday, March 6th, and everything is moving forward as planned!

Ang Jangbu in BC reports that the Singapore women's group did summit Lobuche Peak yesterday at around 11am and returned to Lobuche base camp safely. They are taking a rest day there today and plan to come all the way to Everest Base Camp tomorrow. While John Golden's group is in Dingboche and everyone is doing well.

Ang Jangbu Reports from Everest Base Camp

April 2, 2009

Jangbu here at Everest Base Camp! Came ahead of the group from Pheriche yesterday to test the BGAN (Broadband Global Area Network which allows satellite internet access) — it is working nicely. Yahoo!!!

The team is doing well. The main group will reach Lobuche this afternoon, and Eric reports that everyone is currently in Thugla and doing well. Also talked to Phunuru who is with John Golden's group — they're visiting Lama Geshe on their way to Dingboche today.

The Singapore Women's Group is climbing Lobuche Peak today.

Hamill's team is also doing well and are in Lobuche.

The Sherpas up here have been working hard. We now have all the big tents up! We will send another update tomorrow.

—Ang Jangbu Sherpa, IMG Expedition Co-leader

Tengboche, Pangboche, Pheriche

March 31, 2009

IMG expedition leader Eric Simonson called in to say that yesterday the team hiked from Namche to Tengboche Monastery at 12,700', and then went a little further to spend the night in Pangboche.

Tengboche Monastery
Tengboche Monastery
Tengboche Monastery
Monk at Tengboche Monastery

Today the team will be moving up to Pheriche at around 14,000' where they'll spend the night and have a rest day, acclimating and doing some short hikes. In Pheriche they'll also meet with the HRA (Himalayan Rescue Association) who have established a clinic in Pheriche and treat anyone who needs their help for a nominal fee. They meet with climbing and trekking expeditions to better prepare them for altitude issues and other potential mountaineering health issues.

All is well, and everybody is doing fine. Typical for the Khumbu Valley in the Spring, the weather is cold and clear in the mornings with some light (but melting away) snow in the afternoons.

IMG Team in Namche after Trekking from Lukla

March 27, 2009

After a good flight into Lukla, the IMG Everest team headed out onto the trail to our first campsite on the trek into Base Camp, a nice spot known as Phakding. It is an easy first-day hike and gets things off on a good note. We are ahead of the pack and can enjoy the trekking sites before they get more heavily visited in the next few weeks.

The next day we all made the long, uphill hike into Namche. The good news is wireless internet is now available in the lodges here, so comms are a breeze!

Everyone is doing OK. We have a couple of rest days here in Namche and are looking forward to strolling through the local trading markets, enjoying the bakery and services and shops and relatively good air while giving our bodies a chance to get used to this altitude (around 11,000 ft.) before we move on up to our next camping spot in Tengboche, where the altitude really starts to kick in.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

IMG Team is in Kathmandu and Heading for Lukla

March 25, 2009

The entire IMG team has now reached Kathmandu and everyone is doing fine. Last night we had a big team meeting and welcome dinner which was a great chance to finally meet everyone in person.

IMG's 2009 Everest Team

On March 23rd IMG guides Justin Merle and Mike Hamill spent five hours at the Ministry of Tourism and received our Everest permits. IMG was the first Everest expedition of 2009 to get permits and we will be the first to start towards Everest Base Camp. On the 24th the Singapore Women's Team flew to Lukla and began their trek and this morning (the 25th) Mike Hamill and Paul and Louis are flying to Lukla. The rest of the team is working on gear prep and final packing in preparation for our early morning Lukla flight tomorrow, the morning of the 26th.

Ang Pasang called from Pangboche yesterday to report that the IMG sherpa team at Base Camp are doing great and that our camp prep and set up is coming along nicely. We'll have a nice layout waiting for us when we get there. We are still the only team at EBC, but I am sure that will change soon. Ang Pasang said that the Icefall Doctors (who will work for the SPCC putting in the icefall route) are leaving Namche today for EBC and will be there in two days.

We'll stay in touch...

—Eric Simonson, IMG Expedition Leader

IMG's 2009 Everest Expedition Intro

March 20, 2009

It is Everest time again!

Over the next few weeks people from all over the world will converge on Kathmandu, Nepal to join in one of the world's classic human-powered challenges. For some the goal will be the summit, for others it will be Base Camp. Each year at Mt. Everest there is a different mix of teams and countries represented, but we all share personal goals, a love of the mountains, and an adventurous spirit.

In Kathmandu, preparing for our arrival, IMG leader Ang Jangbu and his team have already received our big oxygen shipment, as well as 50 new tents, 2500 meters of 8 and 9mm fixed rope, and additional food and supplies that were shipped ahead of our departure. They have repackaged everything into yak loads, and we have now had several big MI 17 helicopter flights to Shyangboche (above Namche), with over 3000 kg of food, fuel, and gear on each flight. These flights were met on arrival by our sirdar, Ang Pasang, and his crew, and sent toward Base Camp by yaks. Currently we have some of the Sherpa team at Base Camp, constructing the tent platforms. Since the camp is on a moraine, underlain by ice which moves and melts, these need to be reconstructed each year (and sometimes even during the expedition!) IMG leaders Mark Tucker, Justin Merle, Mike Hamill, and I are all on our way to Nepal and will be there in the next few days. Next stop, Kathmandu!

We have a great team for 2009 and I am personally looking forward to meeting everyone soon. We will use this webpage to keep family and friends advised of our progress, and we will try to send back dispatches regularly. If you want to get dispatches by e mail, you can sign up for updates here »

This Everest expedition is truly a team effort. On behalf of everyone on the IMG team, from Ashford to Kathmandu, thanks for following along with us. We'll look forward to sharing our 2009 Everest adventure with you!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

The IMG 2009 Everest Expedition Team

IMG Expedition Leaders

Eric Simonson
Mark Tucker
Ang Jangbu Sherpa

Guided Everest Team

Michael Hamill (guide)
Dasona Sherpa
Guiding:
Louis Carstens
Paul Samuel

Justin Merle (guide)
Mingma Tenzing Sherpa
Guiding:
Dave Remington

Private Golden Expedition
Jon Shea (guide)
Phinjo Sherpa
Guiding:
John Golden

Discovery Channel Filming Team

Ed Wardle climbing with
Sanduk Dorjee Sherpa

Matt Green climbing with
Mingma Dorje Sherpa

Jamie Berry (to Camp 2 only)

Non-guided Climbers (with Personal Sherpa)

Dawes Eddy climbing with:
Mingma Chhiring Sherpa

Nancy Norris climbing with:
Panuru Sherpa

Rejean Audet climbing with:
Dawa Nuru Sherpa

Chris Bergum climbing with:
Pemba Dorjee Sherpa

Kamen Kolchev climbing with:
Karma Rita Sherpa

Petya Kolcheva climbing with:
Pasang Rinji Sherpa

Scott Parazynski climbing with:
Danuru Sherpa

Karel Masek climbing with:
Nima Karma Sherpa

Singapore Women's Team
Zhen Zhen (Jane) Lee
Yi Hui Sim
Li Hui Lee
Mei Ying (Joanne) Soo
Peh Gee Lee
Yin Xuan (Esther) Tan
Kim Boon (BC Manager)
      climbing with:
Ang Chhiring (Kami) Sherpa
Jamling Bhote Sherpa
Datenji Sherpa

For more info on IMG's Guiding and Sherpa Team, please visit our Guides page »

Expedition Support Sherpa Team


Sherpa Sirdar
Ang Pasang (Pangboche)

Personal Sherpas
Mingma Chhiring (Phortse)
Panuru (Phortse)
Dawa Nuru (Phortse)
Pemba Dorjee (Pangboche)
Karma Rita (Phortse)
Pasang Rinji (Phortse)
Danuru (Phortse)
Phinjo (Phortse)
Sanduk Dorje Tamang (Pangboche)
Mingma Dorje (Phortse)
Ang Chhiring (Pangboche)
Jamling Bhote (Makalu)
Datenji (Phortse)
Nima Karma (Phortse)
Da Sonam (Pangboche)

Lobuche, C2, C3 Climbers
Mingma Tenzing II (Phortse)
Phinjo Dorjee (Pangboche)

Climbing Sherpas
Karma Dorjee (Phortse)
Nima Ongchu (Phortse)
Pasang Nuru (Phortse)
Fur Temba (Phortse)
Mingma Tenzing II (Phortse)
Karma Gyalzen (Phortse)
Da Rhita (Phortse)
Karma Serki (Phortse)
Kancha Nuru (Phortse)
Kancha Nuru (Pangboche)
Ang Sona (Pangboche)
Tsheten Dorjee (Pangboche)
Kalden Phura (Pangboche)
Nima Nuru (Thame)
Ang Nima (Khumjung)
Tshering Wangchu (Khumjung)
Dawa Norbu (Thame)
Passang (Salleri)
Aa Rhita (Thame)
Ang Karma (Phortse)
Thunang Lomi Bhote (Makalu)

Cooking Team and Kitchen Staff
Kaji Sherpa (Kerung), BC head cook
Ang Tshering Sherpa (Khumjung), BC Sherpa cook
Dhan Sher Tamang (Solu), BC member cook
Pasang Tshering Sherpa (Khumjung), BC member kitchen
Purna Shrestha (Solu), BC member kitchen
Uttar B. Pradhan (Kavre), BC Sherpa kitchen
Pema Sherpa (Dolakha), Camp 2 cook
Shyam Prasad Pun (Myagdi), Camp 2 cook
Bal Bahadur Gharti (Rolpa), C2 cook/C3 carrier
Sante Tamang (Rasuwa), C2 cook/C3 carrier

Base Camp Trekkers, Lobuche Peak Climbers, and Khumbu Icefall to C3 Climbers

Khumbu Icefall /C2/ C3
Bradley Jay
Mark Spilhaus
Keith Grunow
Toni Lugger

Khumbu Icefall /Camp 2
Richard Pender

Golden Expedition BC Trek
Richard (Rick) Gallagher
Denise Gallagher
Marianne Golden
Mary (Gena) Thomas
Aaron Manheimer
Donna Wallburg

Nepal BC Trek w/Lobuche Peak
Walter "Butch" Geldrich
Ken Goodwin
Joe Aloi
Gene Pelizzoni
Ryan Pelizzoni
David Bakker
Chris Brown
Joe Consolini
Rachel McCrystal
Michael Burke

Nepal Everest Base Camp Trek
Les Cunningham
Allyn Hilderbrand
Stephen Souchon
Eugene Stals
Keith Cowing

IMG's Featured Everest News
Current Time in Nepal:
Everest Photos and Videos

Photos and video from past IMG Nepal Treks and Everest South Side Climbing expeditions:

Everest Video: Nepal Trek

Images from the Nepal trek to Everest
base camp by IMG guide Jake Norton
(Mountain World Productions)

More Nepal and Everest Videos »

The Summit Digits
International Mountain Guides has guided record breaking numbers of climbers to the summit of Mt Everest.

IMG is proud to have led 381 people from 22 countries and 21 expeditions to the summit of Mount Everest:

  • 177 from Nepal
  • 118 from the USA
  • 3 from S. Africa
  • 5 from the UK
  • 9 from Canada
  • 4 from Australia
  • 1 from Poland
  • 3 from Mexico
  • 1 Taiwan ROC
  • 3 Norway
  • 1 Finland
  • 2 Norway
  • 2 from Austria
  • 1 from Switzerland
  • 7 from Germany
  • 12 from Singapore
  • 3 from New Zealand
  • 1 from Romania
  • 2 from Bulgaria
  • 1 Czech Republic
  • 2 Dominican Republic
  • 1 Saudi Arabia
  • 2 Latvia

See the full list »

IMG's non-Sherpa Climber Stats

85% of IMG climbers who reach the South Col go on to summit Mt. Everest. See our Everest highpoint and summit Stats »

Total Digits as of 2013

According to the Himalayan Database, there have been 6864 summits of Everest by 4046 different persons, meaning that some climbers, mostly Sherpas, have multiple summits.

Of the total ascents, 673 have been by 516 Americans.

We put a lot of effort and research into choosing the right way to go for Everest, and I left the mountain without a doubt that we chose and were with the best organization and people on the hill. I think most of the rest of base camp knew it too...
~Jeff

I can't say enough good things about both the logistics and the staff. I had plenty of ideas about how the trip should go and what was possible. Your expedition service surpassed all my expectations, provided me with the best opportunity to summit, even compared to the super expensive guided trips, and as such, I was successful in fulfilling a dream of 20 years. I will recommend your service to anyone interested. It was simply the best on the mountain.
~Dan G.
 
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