2003 Everest North Side Expedition 
Directed by Eric Simonson • Led by Craig John 

Everest North Side Expedition

We are launching our update coverage of IMG's 2003 Everest - Tibet expedition. Our expedition is traveling in two groups based on the altitude objectives of the climbers. The high-altitude team is composed of climbers hoping to reach either the summit or the 8,000m mark near Camp 5. This group is led by IMG guide and Everest summiter Craig John, assisted by IMG guide Chris Booher, and includes summit climbers Pete Certain, Ted Wheeler, and Jay White, and 8000m climbers Caisey Harlingten, Bruce Bramhill, and Nacho Piedra. They are supported by a great Sherpa team: Panuru (Phortse, sardar), Mingma Ongel (Phortse), Phu Nuru (Phortse), Da Nuru (Phortse), Karma Rita (Phortse), Pemba Tshering (Baganje, cook), Ang Karma (Phortse, assistant cook).

IMG 2003 Everest North Side Team

This group has been in motion for over a week. They convened in Kathmandu on March 29th, got their Chinese visas on the 31st and also joined the Sherpa team in a trip to the Boudhanath Monastery in Kathmandu for a Puja ceremony with the Lama. On April 1st they all flew to Lhasa, where they took a couple days to acclimatize and be tourists. Then it was time to head across the Tibet Plateau via jeep, with their first overnight stop in Xegatse. They visited the Tashilumpo Monastary (home of Panchen Lama) in Xegatse, then yesterday they drove to Tingri, where they met the Sherpas, who traveled with the gear in trucks from Kathmandu. The Sherpas had successfully crossed into Tibet a couple days ago at Zhangmu and were headed for Nylam and then Tingri. So ... in short, everything is on schedule so far, no problems.

Eric Simonson
Eric Simonson, IMG
Meanwhile, the second team is scheduled to arrive in Kathmandu on April 6. This group will be led by IMG co-owner, guide and Everest summiter Eric Simonson, assisted by IMG guide and Everest summiter Mark Tucker, and IMG guide Mike Hamill. They will work with a hearty team of adventurers hoping to reach either Advance Base Camp (ABC) or the North Col. North Col Team members include: Barry Baker, Morgan Batt, Gail Bredis, David Ferriera, Thom Gerst, Terry Holt, Garry Phillips, Ralph Quade, John Steffa and Nancy Steffa. ABC trekkers are Margaret Watkins, Laura Dozier, Jay Leppanen, Seiji Ohashi, Matt Sant, and Lisa Trotter.

This group will follow the same itinerary as the high-altitude team, so we should enjoy reports of their movement into and out of Kathmandu, and then into Tibet and across the plateau to Tingri, where the walk into Base Camp begins. I'll close by apologizing for terming the advance team the "high-altitude" team as it implies that the second team won't be going high. All is relative and as I sit here at sea level in Tacoma, WA, I realize that a goal of reaching over 21,000ft. at ABC is as high as any human being can go without technical climbing (or an airplane or hot air balloon!), so they'll ALL face a tremendous physical and mental challenge in the days to come!

—Erin Simonson, IMG

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