NEWS: North Col Reached Eric Simonson - Basecamp Thu, March 29, 2001 4:00AM
Simonson's Expedition Logs:
NORTH COL REACHED ON MARCH 29!!!!
Team leaves USA on Thai Airlines from LAX.
Arrive Bangkok, spend night at Amari Hotel.
Members arrive Kathmandu with 115 pieces of baggage.
Sherpas and members pack gear in Kathmandu. Clear oxygen shipment from customs (shipped earlier) and also clear satellite phone and walkie-talkies from customs. Get Chinese visas. .
20 Sherpas and 9 members leave Kathmandu in 2 buses and 1 large "container" truck, spend night in Kodari (near Chinese border). .
Sherpas and members cross border at Zhangmu, clear Chinese customs. Pack all gear into 3 Chinese trucks and travel to Nylam (12,300 feet) .
Sherpas travel to Tingri, members take rest day in Nylam.
Sherpas re-pack 3 truck loads of gear for BC in Tingri (with additional gear stored in the IMG storeroom in Tingri which was left there after Autumn '00 Cho Oyu expedition), members travel to Tingri (14,200 feet) .
Sherpas travel to BC with 3 trucks, members take rest day in Tingri.
Members arrive BC (16,900 feet) March 21 The team works together setting up BC.
Further work at BC making yak loads.
Puja at BC with Lama from Rongbuk. More organization at BC. .
56 yaks w/ 19 yak herders arrive BC. Further organization/negotiations/weighing yak loads.
56 yaks, 15 Sherpas, Dave, Tap, Andy to IC (19,500 feet) .
56 yaks, 15 Sherpas, Dave, Tap, Andy to ABC (21,500 feet) .
Dave, Tap, Andy and Sherpas set up ABC. Kami and Da Chhiree to BC. Brent, JR, Jake to IC.
Dave, Tap, Andy help Sherpas set up ABC. Brent, JR, Jake to ABC. Da Chhiree back to ABC.
Dave, Tap, Andy and Sherpas establish route to the North Col. Brent, JR, Jake rest at ABC. Jochen and Lee to IC.
Note from Eric on the timeline and logistics:
Anyone who has been on an Everest expedition, or for that matter any Himalayan expedition, has to appreciate this timetable as being pretty smooth. On some of our past 18 IMG expeditions to Tibet (Everest, Cho Oyu, Shishapangma) our teams have been held up by breakdowns, landslides, and avalanches. Sometimes you just don't have any choice except to go to Plan B! On the other hand, good planning and preparation, in addition to a good team that has worked together before and knows the job to be done, helps immeasurably. Our success at moving halfway around the world, taking 20,000 pounds of gear across Nepal and Tibet to Base Camp, establishing Advanced Base Camp, and finally the route to the North Col in just one day, is the result of a lot of hard work and expertise on the part of many people.
Much of the credit for a smooth move to the mountain and on to the North Col goes to the various team members who each played different roles. The team in Seattle (Eric, Tap, JR, Dave, Brent) bought about 600 man days of high altitude food and carefully packed it along with all the other gear that we had been accumulating into about 100 duffels and waxed fish boxes in just 3 days during the week before our March 11 departure. These 70 pound pieces were then trucked directly to Thai Airlines Cargo at LAX , where they were loaded in aircraft containers by the Thai Cargo staff. These containers flew "with us" on the flights (via Bangkok) to Kathmandu. When we hit baggage claim at the Kathmandu airport, we had about 115 pieces (including the 2 each we checked in with) waiting for us!
Andy, back in Ohio, put together all the repair kits, tool kits, and electrical supplies. Lee put together the BC and ABC medical kits. Jochen assembled the photos and research materials for the high altitude searching that we hope to do if the weather cooperates! Jake traveled to Kathmandu ahead of the group and worked for several days organizing gear from the IMG storeroom in Kathmandu and assisting the Sherpa cooks with the buying and packing of the local food purchased in Kathmandu.
Here are some of the things we brought with us:
car batteries for BC and ABC communications: 5
solar panels: 12
wind power generator: 1
satellite phone: 1
laptop computers: 3
video cameras: 4
2 meter band VHF walkie-talkie radios: 16
AA lithium batteries: 800
base station radios and yagi antennas: 2
tents for BC / ABC: 40
tents for high altitude: 30
sleeping bags: 50
sleeping pads: 75
big propane and kerosene stoves for BC / ABC kitchens: 10
small stoves for high altitude: 20
fuel cartridges for high altitude: 200
gallons of kerosene: 220 kilos of propane for BC/ABC
250 foot 7mm PMI fixed rope: 12,000 feet
number of snow pickets: 50
ice screws: 20
rock pitons: 15
white flour: 200kg
cooking oil: 100 liters
millet flour: 100kg
corn flour (for Dave, who is allergic to gluten): 20kg
buckwheat flour: 100kg
beaten rice: 60kg
breakfast cereal: 50kg
dried peas and beans: 100kg
Italian spaghetti noodles: 100 kg
Nepalese noodles: 60kg
macaroni noodles: 60kg
ramen noodles: 420 packs
canned vegetables: 100 cans
canned fruit: 120 cans
loose black tea: 10kg tea bags: 2000
hot chocolate: 30kg
canned beans, corn, peas: 200
cans butter: 60kg
tomato ketchup: 80 bottles
mayonnaise: 120 bottles
canned mushrooms: 72 cans
powdered juice: 100kg
packages of soup mix: 500
cans of meat: 350
bars of dishwashing soap: 100
bars of bath soap: 20
antibacterial hand sanitizer: 10 bottles
toilet paper: 400 rolls
yak legs: 7
dried sheep: 10 carcasses
fresh fruit and vegetables: 600kg
number of fresh eggs to BC: 3400
oxygen cylinders: 60
And, if you are wondering (as you should) just how are we going to get all this junk off the mountain at the end of the trip, we brought empty rice bags for garbage: 400 plastic bags for garbage
400 US dollars to pay Sherpa bounty to carry down empty oxygen cylinders: $5000
Finally, making it on the 2001 trip to the North Col on March 29 is a huge credit to our great Sherpa team, led by Panuru from Phortse. This Sherpa team is overwhelmingly made up of individuals from the high villages of Phortse, Thame, Pangboche, the Rowaling valley, etc... climbers who live at altitude all year round and are very strong and proficient.
Getting to the Col on March 29 beats by one day our previous fastest arrivals on the Col that we set in '91 and '94...On both of those trips we left home over ten days earlier! In fact, we now have the route established to the North Col before any other expeditions have even reached Base Camp. They will all be jumaring our fixed ropes! The "downside" of coming in first is that we have to establish the route all the way by ourselves.
It is unlikely that any of the other 12 teams that are scheduled to be climbing the North Ridge this spring will be in any position to assist us in making the route. That having been said, we have planned from the beginning to come to the mountain 100% self sufficient, unlike many (but not all) of the teams that show up later, hoping to sponge off of the hard work of other groups that precede them.