2006 Everest South Side Expedition 
Directed by Eric Simonson • Led by Mark Tucker 

Expedition Updates
Updates will be added as they come in from the expedition with the newest on top.



May 27, 2006 • The 2006 Expedition Is Now Over

I am happy to report that all the IMG Sherpas have now returned to Base Camp and that the climbing is now over. This does not mean that the work is finished, however. Ang Jangbu sold all the left-over food to the local tea house guys from Gorak Shep. Base Camp dismantling still must be completed and the equipment cleaned, dried, packed, and everything that is in good shape will be taken to Pangboche, where we store it at Ang Passang's house. Other items will be returned to Kathmandu including all sleeping bags (which go back for dry cleaning,) and any tents that need repair. Some of this gear will be used in the autumn season by the IMG Cho Oyu expedition and the IMG Ama Dablam expedition.

All expedition garbage is sorted at BC into three categories: burnables — go to Namche to be incinerated; recyclables — cans and bottles go to Kathmandu; and oxygen cylinders — which go to Kathmandu and must be re-exported. All human waste is carried down to Gorak Shep and buried in the soil. We do not get our $8000 garbage deposit back until we have accounted for all our garbage, so there is a strong incentive to do this!

Chortens at the terminal moraine of the Khumbu glacier
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

Dave, Tucker, and Jangbu are now headed to Shyangboche to meet the yaks and arrange for the helicopter gear charter flight. Everyone else is "on the road" for home, either trekking to Lukla, or already in Kathmandu or beyond! This will be my last dispatch. I'd like to express my appreciation to everyone who played a role in our success this year: on the administrative end back home thanks to Erin, Tammy, Anya and my IMG partners Phil, Geo, and Paul; Sonam, Kiran, Ram, Pasang and the terrific staff at Great Escapes in Kathmandu; the wonderful IMG Sherpa team led by Ang Jangbu and Ang Passang; to Justin and Dave as "coaches" extraordinaire; to Mark Tucker who once again ably demonstrated his terrific leadership skills keeping everyone going in the same direction and working together; and to all our Sherpa friends in the Khumbu who make these trips so special. Thanks to all of you for following our climb this year on the internet. Time to start thinking about 2007!!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 26, 2006 • One More Day

Jangbu reports good news — Dan and Jim are down to Base Camp. The Sherpas carried down from Camp 2 today. One more day of "down-carries" to go by the Sherpas from camp 1, where a lot of gear has been stockpiled, and this trip will be over. We won't stop worrying until the last of our Sherpa team is out of the Icefall tomorrow, but we are getting close now.

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 25, 2006 • Everyone Moving Downhill

Jangbu reports that Dennis, Paul, and Fiona are down to BC and plan to leave tomorrow. Dan and Jim are at camp 2 and will be to BC tomorrow. The Sherpas managed to pull down everything from south col and camp 3 today. They will be taking down camp 2 tomorrow and all sherpas will come down to BC. Next morning (27 May) they will make the last carry from 1.

We'll keep you posted!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 24, 2006 • 1:00am PST (1:45pm Nepal Time)
All Climbers Safely Down to the Col


Ang Jangbu reports that Dan and Jim are safely back on the south col. Paul and Fiona are back to Camp 2. Dave and Dennis are at base camp. Justin left BC this morning. The current plan is to finish bringing down the whole south col and Camp 3 tomorrow (25 May), Camp 2 down to 1 on 26 May. Clear off all camps by 27 May. Order yaks to arrive BC on 28th and head out on 29th with a heli charter out of Syangboche on 31 May or 1st June.

We'll keep you posted!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 23, 2006 • 6:50pm PST (May 24, 7:35am Nepal Time)
On the Summit


Dan Griffith climbing with Tashi Tshering and Cheppi Bhote along with Jim Gagne climbing with Pemba Dorje have reached the summit. The weather is reported to be beautiful with no wind. Congrats to both of them! We'll keep you posted!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director

Official Summit Notice:

Everest Base Camp Tuesday, 24 May 2006

Ministry Of Culture, Tourism & Civil Aviation
Tourism Industry Division
Mountaineering Section
Brikuti Mandap
Kathmandu, Nepal

Please to be informed that the following team members of 2006 IMG EVEREST EXPEDITION has successfully reached the summit of Mt. Everest on 24 May 2006:
  1. Mr. Daniel George Griffith (Canada)
  2. Mr. James L Gagne (USA)
  3. Tashi Tshering Sherpa — Khumjung VDC ward#8 Pangboche, Solukhumbu Nepal (his 11th Everest Summit)
  4. Pemba Dorje Sherpa — Khumjung VDC ward#6 Pangboche, Solukhumbu Nepal (his 4th Everest Summit)
  5. Cheppi Bhote — Hatiya VDC ward # 3 Hong Gaon, Sankhuwasaba Nepal (His 1st Everest Summit)
This totals to 30 Everest Summits this season for International Mountain Guides (IMG) and Great Escapes Trekking.

Kiran Shakya & Uttar Khattri, Liaison Officers for 2006 IMG Everest Expeditions

—Ang Jangbu Sherpa, Expedition Sardar/BC Manager



Below the south summit on Everest
Above the Balcony looking toward the South Summit

May 23, 2006 • 1:15pm PST (May 24, 2:00am Nepal Time)
Climbers at the Balcony


Mark Tucker reports from Base Camp that Dan and Jim have reached the Balcony and are doing OK. They are continuing on towards the South Summit. Paul climbed nearly to the Balcony, making a valiant second attempt, but two nights in a row is quite a challenge, and Paul has decided to turn back. We'll keep you posted!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 23, 2006 • 9:00am PST (9:35pm Nepal Time)
Summit Bid Underway


Here we go again!

Jangbu reports that Dan, Jim, Pemba Dorje and Tashi Tshering left South Col at 9:20pm (Nepal Time,) and that Paul and Tashi Dorje are getting ready to head out a few minutes behind them. The new weather forecast is for "more of the same" which is good news. We don't expect to hear from them until they get to the Balcony in 4-5 hours. We'll keep you posted!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 23, 2006 • 4:15am PST (5pm Nepal Time)
Yesterday's Climbers All Down Safe; Today's Getting Ready to Go Up


Ang Jangbu reports from Base Camp that Dave, Dennis, Phinjo and Ang Karma came down to 2 this afternoon. Fiona is staying at camp 4 tonight. Sherpas on South Col tonight are: Dasona, Mingma Ongel, Tashi Dorje, Tashi Tshering, Pemba Dorje, Cheppi, Passang Rinjing, and Ang Namgya. As of now Paul is going to go back up tonight and try again. We have assigned Tashi Dorje to climb with him. Tashi Tshering is climbing with Dan. Pemba Dorje is climbing with Jim. Cheppi is carrying Dan's extra bottle and will continue to the summit. They plan to leave South Col at about 9 or so. Mingma Ongel is coming down with Fiona in the morning. Passang Rinjing and Ang Namgya will carry empty bottles down tomorrow. Dasona will remain at South Col tomorrow on support. Mingma Tshering, Mingma Tenzing, Karma Rita and Dorje Lama are moving from BC to 2 tomorrow. Kami P and Kami T will round trip carry from camp 1 tomorrow. They all carried from 1 today. AP, Nima Karma and Samduk carried from 2 to 1 today. Sophia and Brenda went down today and Justin is heading out tomorrow.

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 22, 2006 • 8:00pm PST • Eight More IMG Summits

Its official, we have had another 8 IMG summits today! Unfortunately Paul expended his second oxygen bottle too fast and was running short at the South Summit and had to descend.

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director

Official Summit Notice:

Everest Base Camp Tuesday, 23 May 2006

Ministry Of Culture, Tourism & Civil Aviation
Tourism Industry Division
Mountaineering Section
Brikuti Mandap
Kathmandu, Nepal

Please to be informed that the following team members of 2006 IMG EVEREST EXPEDITION has successfully reached the summit of Mt. Everest on 23 May 2006:
  1. Mr. David Allen Hahn (USA) (his 7th Everest Summit)
  2. Ms. Fiona Lee Adler (Australia)
  3. Mr. Dennis Richard Kellner (USA)
  4. Mingma Ongel Sherpa-Khumjung VDC ward#9 Phortse, Solukhumbu Nepal (his 3rd Everest Summit)
  5. Danuru Sherpa-Khumjung VDC ward#9 Phortse, Solukhumbu Nepal (his 8thth Everest summit)
  6. Ang Karma Sherpa-Khumjung VDC ward#9 Phortse, Solukhumbu Nepal
  7. Ang Namgya Sherpa-Khumjung VDC ward# 7 Pangboche, Solukhumbu Nepal
  8. Phinjo Sherpa-Khumjung VDC ward#9 Phortse, Solukhumbu Nepal
Kiran Shakya & Uttar Khattri, Liaison Officers for 2006 IMG Everest Expeditions

—Ang Jangbu Sherpa, Expedition Sardar/BC Manager


May 22, 2006 • 6:00pm PST • Dennis and Phinjo Have Summitted

We have confirmation that Dennis and Phinjo summitted at 5:45am and are starting down. Congratulations. It sounds like the weather is good! Paul and Fiona are now at the South Summit. We'll keep you posted.

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


The South Summit on Everest
The South Summit (28,750')
(© Jake Norton/Mountainworldphoto.com)


May 22, 2006 • 3:50pm PST
(May 23 • 4:20am Nepal Time)
Dave Hahn and Danuru Summit


Mark Tucker reports that Dave is on the summit with Danuru (5 hours 25 minutes from the Col). The rest of the team is doing well too.

Dennis and Phinjo are on the South Summit and Paul and Fiona are a little way back but appear to be doing fine. Weather is good. We'll keep you posted!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


The Balcony on Everest
Sunrise from above the Balcony


May 22, 2006 • 1:20pm PST
(May 23 • 2:05am Nepal Time)
Summit Bid is On


Just talked to Tucker at Base Camp. He says that Dave and Danuru have already left the Balcony and that everyone else is at the Balcony, taking a break, leaving soon, doing fine.

Weather is OK. So far so good!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 22, 2006 • 8:30am PST • Getting Ready to Leave the Col

Jangbu and Tucker report that Paul, Fiona, Dennis, and Dave climbing with Dasona, Mingma Ongle, Phinjo, and Danuru are at the Col ready to start climbing. Fiona is leaving first, at 9pm, Dennis and Paul are leaving at 10pm, and Dave is leaving at 11pm. Dan, Jim, Tashi T. and Pemba Dorje are at Camp 3, planning to go to Camp 4 tomorrow. The weather is looking reasonable for the next couple days — keep your fingers crossed!

The Sherpas have been busy, with a group of them moving to the Col today to support the last two summit attempts. Ang Passang and Tashi D. went to Camp 3 today to start taking down some of the tents and bring empty bottles to 2. Kami P and Mingma Tshering made a round trip to 1 from BC, to start bringing down some of the Camp 1 tents. Other Sherpas are carrying 2 to 1 today to start moving extra gear down to 1 where it will be stockpiled for the final big carrydown this next week — a big job — everything that goes up must come down!

We'll keep you posted!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 21, 2006 • On Track for Summit Bids

Mark Tucker reports that Dave, Jim, and Dan are at Camp 2 and that Dennis, Paul, and Fiona and their Sherpas Dasona, Mingma Ongel, and Phinjo are at Camp 3. The weather is looking decent and everyone is on track for summit bids. Brenda and Sophia made it down to BC and as previously mentioned, John, JF, Walter, Karl, and Markus headed down the trail yesterday. So far so good!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 20, 2006 • Getting Into Position for the Next Round

Mark Tucker reports that Sophia and Brenda are at Camp 2, descending to Base Camp in the morning. Walter, John, JF, Markus, and Karl are at BC getting ready to head down the hill in the morning — going to Kathmandu! Paul, Fiona, and Dennis are at Camp 2 heading for Camp 3 in the morning. Dave is at BC heading for Camp 2 in the morning. Dan and Jim are at Camp 1 heading for Camp 2 in the morning. The weather seems to be holding and we are hoping to get a couple more summit bids in over the next few days. So far so good!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 19, 2006 • 7:00pm PST • Official Summit Notice

Everest Base Camp Saturday May 20, 2006

His Majesty's Government
Ministry Of Culture, Tourism & Civil Aviation
Tourism Industry Division
Mountaineering Section
Brikuti Mandap
Kathmandu, Nepal

Please to be informed that the following team members of 2006 IMG EVEREST EXPEDITION has successfully reached the summit of Mt. Everest on 20 May 2006 at around 03 am (Nepal Time.)
  1. Ms. Brenda Lucy Walsh (USA)
  2. Mr. Danuru Sherpa of Khumjung VDC ward# 9 Phortse, Solu Khumbu Nepal (his 7th Everest summit)
  3. Mr.Mingma Tenzing Sherpa of Khumjung VDC ward# 9 Phortse, Solu Khumbu Nepal (his 2nd Everest summit)
Kiran Shakya & Uttar Khattri, Liaison Officers for 2006 IMG Everest Expeditions

—Ang Jangbu Sherpa, Expedition Sardar/BC Manager


May 19, 2006 • 4:50pm PST • Speed Racers Safe at the Col

Mark Tucker reports that Brenda Walsh, Danuru, and Mingma Tenzing are now back at the South Col after descending from the summit in under 2 hours. This means they made the roundtrip to the top and back in a little over 8 hours! After a short break, they are getting ready to head down to Camp 2 along with Sophia and Panuru, who are also getting ready to head down from the Col now after spending the night at Camp 4. Walter, Karl, and Markus have already left Camp 2 for Base Camp. Jim and Dan are getting ready to leave Base Camp for C2. So far so good!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 19, 2006 • 2:45pm PST • Speed Racers Summit

Mark Tucker just reported in with more amazing news from the IMG 2006 Everest team. Brenda Walsh and Danuru Sherpa reached the summit of Mt. Everest at 2:55am Nepal time, just a few minutes over 6 hours after their start from the South Col. Congrats to Brenda and Danuru for some impressive climbing! The ambient sunlight already emerging from the east and the awesome moonlight will help them get some very unique and special summit photos. They'll spend a few minutes taking it all in and then head back downhill. With the summit already behind them this early in the day, Mark expects them to think about descending all the way to Camp 2 today.

The rest of the IMG team members still have a few hours of sleep to catch before deciding what their plans for the day will be after another reading of the weather forecast, so we'll update you when we hear more from the mountain.

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 19, 2006 • 2:00pm PST • Heading Strong for the Summit

We've heard from Mark Tucker at Base Camp, he reports that Brenda, Danuru and Mingma are moving up fast and strong, having radioed in from the South Summit at about 2am.

Below the South Summit on Everest
Just below the South Summit (28,700')

They left the Col a little before 9:00pm and it sounds like they have enjoyed good weather and a solid climb so far. In fact they've moved so well that Mark is concerned that they'll have to slow down and wait for the sun to come up so Brenda can get a good summit photo! We'll let you know when we hear from them again, everyone is rooting for them right now...

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 19, 2006 • 7:40am PST • Waiting on the Weather Forecast

Brenda, Danuru, Mingma Tenzing, and C4 cook Ang Karma are at the Col joining Sophia and Panuru. The weather is holding. Ang Jangbu reports that Justin, JF, and Dave are back to Base Camp and doing well. Walter, Karl, Markus, John, Ang Passang and Mingma Tshering are back to C2 and are all doing OK (John had stomach problems last night up high, but is feeling better now.)

Dennis, Paul, and Fiona are holding at least one more day to see how the weather forecast shapes up (still a fairly uncertain short term forecast.) Dan and Jim are getting ready to head up in the morning to C2. We'll keep you posted!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 18, 2006 • 10:45pm PST • Descent Going Well; Weather Turning

Mark Tucker reports that Sophia, Panuru, and Mingma Tshering are back to the Balcony and moving smoothly down to the South Col. So far, the weather is holding, with some clouds building and a possible squall starting to form. Our custom weather forecaster Michael Fagin in Seattle (www.everestweather.com) reports lots of unstable air in the vicinity of the mountain now, so it is hard to predict exactly what will happen next.

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 18, 2006 • 9:00pm PST • First Summit of the 2nd Round

Mark Tucker reports from Base Camp that Sophia Danenberg reached the summit of Everest at around 7am, along with Pa Nuru Sherpa and Mingma Tshering Sherpa. Our hats are off to them all. Mark reported some windy conditions up high that made the climbing conditions doable but less than perfect.

John has reached the South Col and is preparing to descend further, and Walter, Karl and Markus are also taking some final photos at the Col before beginning their descent.

Meanwhile, Brenda has decided to move up today from Camp 3 to the Col with Danuru Sherpa and Mingma Sherpa. Dave Hahn has adopted a different view of the situation and instead decided to descend from Camp 3 given the uncertain picture with the weather, opting to wait and hope for a better window of opportunity. Paul, Fiona and Dennis have decided to hold up at Camp 2 for another day or so to get a better sense of where the weather is heading, and Dan and Jim are holding at Base Camp for the same reason. Right now, the forecast looks somewhat better for next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Here's the official summit report on Sophia, Pa Nuru and Mingma:

Everest Base Camp Friday May 19, 2006 (Nepal Time)

His Majesty's Government

Ministry Of Culture, Tourism & Civil Aviation Tourism Industry Division Mountaineering Section Brikuti Mandap, Kathmandu, Nepal

Please to be informed that the following team members of 2006 IMG EVEREST EXPEDITION has successfully reached the summit of Mt. Everest on 19 May 2006 at around 07 am.
  1. Sophia Marie Danenberg (USA)
  2. Mr. Pa Nuru Sherpa Khumjung VDC ward# 9 Phortse, Solu Khumbu Nepal
  3. Mr. Mingma Tshering Sherpa of Khumjung VDC ward# 9 Phortse, Solu Khumbu Nepal
Kiran Shakya & Uttar Khattri,
Liaison Officers for 2006 IMG Everest Expeditions

—Ang Jangbu Sherpa, Expedition Sardar/BC Manager


May 18, 2006 • 4:00pm PST • Marginal Weather

Mark Tucker reports from Base Camp that John turned back at the Balcony and is heading down with Phunuru and Ang Passang. Sophia is continuing up with Panuru and Mingma Tsering. It sounds like there are some other people climbing as well, so they are not alone. So far the weather tonight has been a bit marginal (some wind and snow,) but the moon is now up and there are only some thin clouds around the peak right now. Keep your fingers crossed!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 18, 2006 • 11:00am PST • 2nd Summit Bid Underway

Mark Tucker reports from Base Camp that the weather has improved and that tonight's summit bid is a "go". Apparently the snowfall stopped and the wind dropped prompting Sophia and John along with Phunuru, Panuru, Mingma Tsering, and Ang Passang to start up at 10:50pm. They are now en route to the Balcony. We'll keep you posted!!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 18, 2006 • 8:20am PST • All Summiters Back at Col

Mark Tucker reports from Base Camp that the summit climbers from yesterday made it down safely. Walter, Karl, and Markus are at the Col for another night and Justin and JF managed to go all the way to Camp 2. Currently John and Phunuru, Sophia and Panuru, accompanied by Ang Passang, Mingma Tsering, and Ang Karma are also at the Col, having moved up today in good time from Camp 3. Dave and Brenda are now at Camp 3. Dennis, Paul, and Fiona are ready to move to Camp 3 tomorrow and Dan and Jim are ready to go to Camp 2 in the morning. The problem right now is the weather, which is starting to deteriorate, with some increasing wind and also some snowfall reported to be starting to come down. We'll know more in the next few hours whether this seems to be a passing squall or a more significant change in the weather that requires changing plans.

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 17, 2006 • 9:10pm PST • First Summiters Back at Col

Mark Tucker reports that JF and Justin are now back to the Col. Walter, Karl, and Markus are now back to the Balcony. So far, so good!!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 17, 2006 • 9pm PST • Official Summits Notice

Everest Base Camp Thursday, 18 May 2006 (Nepal Time)

His Majesty's Government
Ministry Of Culture, Tourism & Civil Aviation
Tourism Industry Division
Mountaineering Section
Brikuti Mandap
Kathmandu, Nepal

Please be informed that the following team members of 2006 IMG EVEREST EXPEDITION has successfully reached the summit of Mt. Everest on 18 May 2006 between 05:10—07am:
  1. Mr. Justin R Merle (USA)
  2. Mr. Walter Laserer (Austrian)
  3. Mr. Markus Paul Buel (Swiss)
  4. Mr. Karl Wolfgang Flock (German)
  5. Mr. Jean F Carrey (Canadian)
  6. Ang Chhiring Sherpa — Khumjung VDC ward#9 Pangboche, Solukhumbu Nepal (his 7th Everest Summit)
  7. Dorje Lama (Sherpa) — Baganje VDC ward# 1 Baganje, Solukhumbu Nepal (his 3rd Everest Summit)
  8. Karma Rita Sherpa — Khumjung VDC ward#9 Phortse, Solukhumbu Nepal (his 3rd Everest Summit)
  9. Dawa Nuru Sherpa — Khumjung VDC ward#9 Phortse, Solukhumbu Nepal (his 4th Everest summit)
  10. Nima Karma Sherpa — Khumjung VDC ward#9 Phortse, Solukhumbu Nepal
  11. Samduk Dorje Tamang — Khumjung VDC ward#8 Pangboche, Solukhumbu Nepal
Kiran Shakya & Uttar K Khattri
Liaison Officers for 2006 IMG Everest Expeditions

—Ang Jangbu Sherpa, Expedition Sardar/BC Manager


May 17, 2006 • 6:40pm PST • All Summit

Mark Tucker reports that Walter, Karl, and Markus have now reached to summit and are doing well. They will be starting down soon, after a few photos. Justin and JF and the Sherpas have already started heading down. The weather remains good. We'll keep you posted!!

We'll keep you posted!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director



Sunrise from Everest
The shadow of Everest seen at sunrise from 28,600' on the summit bid
(© Jake Norton/Mountainworldphoto.com)



May 17, 2006 • 5:40pm PST • First Summit

I am happy to report that our first summit climbers have reached to top: Justin and JF reached the summit at 5:10 am. Walter, Karl, and Markus are reported to be a short way back and should be arriving soon. The group is accompanied by Samduk Dorje Sherpa, Dawa Nuru Sherpa, and Nima Karma Sherpa.

Summit of Everest
Nima Karma Sherpa and Justin Merle on the summit of Everest (29,035')

Summit of Everest
J.F. Carrey, Dawa Sherpa, and Samduk Dorje Tamang
on the summit of Everest (29,035')


The weather and conditions are reported to be good. They made excellent time and climbed most of the way in the dark with a moon. It must have been quite a sunrise!

We'll keep you posted!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 17, 2006 • 9:00am PST • Climbers Have Left the Col

Jangbu confirms that the summit climbers are on their way. They left the Col at 8:55pm on the 17 May. We won't expect to hear from them until they reach the Balcony in 4-5 hours.

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 17, 2006 • First Summit Bid Underway

Justin, JF/Dawa, Walter, Karl, Markus did a good job pulling on to South Col today. Took 4 hrs 20 min for Justin 5 hrs 15 min for Jf/Dawa and 6 hrs for Walter and his crew.

South Col
The South Col (26,300')

We have the following sherpas on South Col:
Ang Chhiring (Kami) climbing with Markus
Dorje Lama climbing with Walter
Karma Rita climbing with Karl

Oxygen carriers:
Nima Karma — carrying for Justin
Samduk Dorje — carrying for JF
Ang Karma South Col cook


If the weather is good plan is to leave South Col at 9 tonight. Other teams headed up tonight are HG (6 clients and 6 sherpas)and maybe a Korean team.

John/Phunuru, Sophia/Panuru are at 3 tonight and going to 4 tomorrow. We have in support for them Ang Pasang and Mingma Tshering going direct to 4 tomorrow.

Dave, Brenda, Dennis Paul and Fiona went from BC to 2 today. Dennis, Paul and Fiona are definitely going to take a rest day tomorrow but Dave and Brenda may go straight to 3 tomorrow.

Dan and Jim are in Lobuje tonight, BC tomorrow, plan on C1 or C2 next day.

JG, Korean summitted late this afternoon. They got up at 15:12--late summit because of deep snow. Sounds like 7 from JG (4 westerners and 3 sherpas), 2 Korean and 2 sherpas and possibly one Swiss and 1 sherpa from Kobler's team.

We will be talking tonight!

— Ang Jangbu, Expedition Sardar/BC Manager


May 16, 2006 • Rope Fixed to the Balcony

Expedition Leader Mark Tucker reports that today IMG's super Sherpa Danuru broke trail all the way to the Balcony, accompanied by a number of other Sherpas who apparently still had trouble keeping up with him! Rope is now fixed to Balcony and ready for summit attempts. Walter, Karl, Markus, JF, Dawa Nuru, and Justin are now at Camp 3. They were accompanied today by Mingma Tenzing and Passang Rinjing who carried loads up for them and helped them get the camp shoveled out and occupied (the tents get buried due to the spindrift that comes down the face from above). Tomorrow they will go to the Col and be joined there by a number of Sherpas that are slated to carry oxygen to the Balcony. These include Kami, Dorje Lama, Karma Rita, Ang Passang and Ang Karma (who will stay at the Col to cook and melt water). Sophia and John with Panuru and Phu Nuru are on schedule to move to camp 3 tomorrow. Paul, Fiona, Brenda, Dennis with Dasona, Mingma Ongel, and Phinjo head for Camp 2 tomorrow. Jim and Dan are scheduled to start back up from Pheriche tomorrow. So far so good. We'll keep you posted!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 15, 2006 • Summit Bid Plans

Danuru Sherpa
Danuru Sherpa
6 time Everest Summiter
Expedition Leader Mark Tucker reports from Base Camp that the plans for the summit bids are taking shape. Sherpas Danuru and Tashi, two of our strongest, moved to the Col yesterday to start fixing rope in the morning to the Balcony. The first summit team will be Walter, Karl, Markus, JF, Dawa Nuru, and Justin. These climbers are at Camp 2 right now and they will be moving to Camp 3 in the morning.

John and Phu Nuru are moving up to Camp 2 in the morning and Sophia and Panuru are waiting for them. Those climbers will comprise the second summit team. Paul, Dasona, Fiona, Mingma Ongel, Dennis, Phinjo, and Brenda will be the third summit team. They are at Base Camp now and will be heading up to Camp 2 on the 17th. Dan and Jim are down in Pheriche getting some rest and will be back to Base Camp on the 17th and will be heading up a day or two after that. Now is where the rubber hits the road. All the training, planning and preparations come down to the next week or so. Keep your fingers crossed!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 13, 2006 • First Summit Team at Camp 2

The latest news is that Dave, Dan, and Brenda are down to BC, and the first summit team of Justin, Walter, Karl, Markus, Sophia, and J.F. made it up to C2 in good shape, and are planning a rest day tomorrow.

Western Cwm
Climbers crossing the Western Cwm toward Camp 2

John decided not to go up with them and is planning to head up in a day or two. Dan and Jim are going down to Pheriche for a couple days of rest before their summit push. The (above-the-Col) rope fixing Sherpas are standing by at Camp 2, ready to move to the Col tomorrow if the weather looks good.

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 12, 2006 • Resting and Watching the Weather

The South Col is now stocked and everyone is now back down for rest (with the exception of Dave, Brenda, and Dan who are back to C2 after sleeping at C3, and who will be back to BC tomorrow). Some of the Sherpas have now gone down to the village for a few days of rest. The first summit team of John, JF, Sophia, Justin, Markus, Karl and Walter is heading for Camp 2 tomorrow. If the fixing to the Balcony goes well, they will be looking at the 17th for a summit day. So far the weather report for the next week looks reasonably good, with the jet stream shifting to the north of Everest. We will be checking it closely over the next few days.

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 10, 2006 • Fixing Above the Col

The team had a big meeting at IMG Base Camp to figure out how the rope fixing will be accomplished over the next couple days. Jangbu reports that the Leaders from 12 different teams showed up and meeting went well. The Plan for fixing above the Col involves 2 Sherpas from IMG, 1 Sherpa from HG, 1 Sherpa from AAI, 1 Sherpa from AC, 1 Sherpa from Kobler, 1 Sherpa from the Spanish all go to the Col on the 14th and fix up to the Balcony on the 15th. Those teams who don't have the sherpa power contributed ropes and oxygen bottles. They have a sirdar's (Sherpa Leaders) meeting scheduled again tomorrow to coordinate rope/gear collection etc.

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 10, 2006 • BC Visit from Mom

Ang Jangbu reports from Base Camp that yesterday we had 12 Sherpas carry to the Col yesterday and today another 13 went up again, so now we have a good supply of oxygen, tents, rope, etc up there. The weather has been good the last two days. The current plan is to send a Dorje Lama and Mingma Tenzing to the Col to sleep on Thursday, and to start fixing above the Col on Friday. Paul, Fiona and Dennis came down from sleeping at Camp 3 and are waiting at camp 2 and will come down tomorrow. Dave, Dan, and Brenda are now at Camp 2 and the rest of the team is down at Base Camp. Paul's mother trekked to Base Camp and arrived yesterday and she seems to be doing well.

We'll keep you posted!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 7, 2006 • Route in to the South Col

Mark Tucker and Jangbu report from Base Camp that today the route to the South Col (about 26,000 feet) is now in and today the first IMG Sherpas are carrying to Camp 4 (at the col) from Camp 2.

Below the South Col
Climbers approaching the South Col

The rest of the IMG Sherpa team is moving up to Camp 2 to be ready to start doing more carries over the next couple days. Coming down today to Base Camp are Walter, Karl, Markus, Jim, and Jack. Dennis, Paul and Fiona are heading to Camp 3 for their acclimatization cycle.

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 6, 2006 • Route In Almost to Col

Expedition Leader Mark Tucker reports from Base Camp that the wind has settled down a bit now, and that despite some wet snow that fell today, the weather seems to be improving a bit. It sounds like the route is almost in to the South Col, and right now a number of the IMG Sherpas are at Camp 2, hoping to be able to start carrying loads to the South Col in the next day or two.

The remaining Sherpas at Base Camp will all be moving to Camp 2 day after tomorrow as well — so that will start the big push to get Camp 4 stocked with tents, rope, fuel, and oxygen in preparation for the summit bids. Walter, Markus, and Karl are up at Camp 3 right now spending the night. Jim and Jack are at Camp 2 right now, probably going to Camp 3 tomorrow. Dennis, Paul, and Fiona are also at Camp 2 now, planning to go to Camp 3 the day after tomorrow.

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 4, 2006 • Egg Suckin Everest Dog

Tucker and Jangbu report from BC that its been cold and windy the last couple days, but that everyone is doing well. The big news was that the dog, which had wandered all the way to Camp 2 at 21,000' (see photo of the Icefall Climbing dog in the April 15th Update below), had snuck into the ABC cook tent overnight and eaten 30 eggs. Dubbed "Cool Hand Luke" by the team, the Sherpas managed to get a rope on it and led it all the way back to Base Camp!!

Currently the climbers who overnighted at Camp 3 (Justin, Sophia, John, JF) and their Sherpas are back to C2 and heading to BC in the morning. Currently at Camp 2 are Dave, Walter, Karl, Markus, Jim, and Jack. They hope to go to Camp 3 in the next day or two (when the winds die). Brenda and Dennis are at BC heading for Camp 2 in the morning and Paul and Fiona are at BC heading for Camp 1 in the morning.

We'll keep you posted!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 3, 2006 • Camp 3

Tucker and Jangbu report from Base Camp via sat phone that everything is going well for the IMG team. Today a number of climbers moved towards Camp 3.

Camp 3 on the Lhotse Face
Tent view of a climber jumaring up the fixed ropes into Camp 3

Dan went to the base of the Face while Justin, JF, John, Sophia and several Sherpas moved to Camp 3 for further acclimatization. Walter, Karl, and Markus are on their way directly to Camp 2 today from Base Camp. Jim stopped at Camp 1 to rest and melt some water, but may also continue up to Camp 2. The weather has been cold and windy but otherwise OK.

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


May 1, 2006 • Movement on the Mountain

Ang Jangbu reports today from Base Camp the latest news:

We heard today that 3 Sherpas and 3 Tibetans summitted at around 3pm yesterday on the North side. Phurba Tashi called me on radio. They went up from 7900m camp to fix rope on the ridge and ended up going all the way. They got back down to 7900m camp at around 9:00 pm last night.

On the south side here one of the Italian Lhotse climbers got hit by ice on his head on the lower part of the ice fall today, and he was rescued down by different teams (including couple of our Sherpas.) I believe the team was handled by Cho Oyu trek. They waited at the heli pad until 2:45pm for a helicopter to come in but we heard the heli couldn't come up from Lukla due to weather so the injured guy is currently being carried back to HRA clinic for overnight.

Couple sherpas from Chilean team started to fix above camp 3 today. Sounds like they fixed about 500 meters of rope. Couple of Kari Kobler sherpas are fixing again tomorrow. Hopefully we will have South Col route fixed by Wednesday or Thursday.


Lhotse Face
The Western Cwm (pronounced "koom" — the Welsh word for "high valley")
viewed from Camp 3 at 23,000' on the Lhotse Face

We have 6 Sherpas moving up to Camp 2 tomrrow to sleep: Ang Passang, Kami Tshering, Danuru, Karma Rita, Pemba Dorje, Samduk Dorje. They will then carry to Camp 3 the next day and set up tents up there. Rest of the Sherpas are carrying to Camp 2 tomorrow.

We already have 83 bottles of oxygen at Camp 2 (including personal Sherpa bottles) but still have a bunch more to carry.

JF, John, Sophia, Dan, Panuru, Dawa Nuru, Phunuru went part way up the Lhotse face today. Dave made a carry from 1 to 2 today and sleeping at 1 tonight. He is planning to go to 2 tomorrow to sleep.

Justin is going all the way to 2 tomorrow. Walter's team plus Brenda decided to wait one more day down here.

Regards,
— Ang Jangbu Sherpa, Expedition Sardar/BC Manager




April 27, 2006 • The Famous Camp 3

Mark Tucker reports that the route is in to Camp 3 at 24,000 feet (about 7300m) halfway up the Lhotse Face! This is good news, especially due to the fact that IMG Sherpas Danuru and Karma Rita were in the lead team and have secured for IMG some prime real estate at this most unpleasant camp. This is one of the reasons IMG goes early—the teams that arrive late to Camp 3 must spend hours and hours hacking out tent platforms that have little natural shelter.

Lhotse Face
Climbers working their way up Camp 3 on the steep Lhotse Face
(© Jake Norton/Mountainworldphoto.com)

While very spectacular, Camp 3 is not very comfortable. Climbers must wear crampons everytime they leave the tents (steep!), it is often windy, there are spindrift snow avalanches that often bury the tents, and it is generally just faily miserable. Over the next couple weeks all the climbers will be going up to spend a couple nights at Camp 3 for further acclimatization, prior to summit bids. Sounds like fun!

Justin and Brenda are back at BC. Paul and Fiona are up to C2. The rest of the C2 people are staying for another night. Bud, Sophia, John, JF, Dan are all going to C1 tomorrow. Tashi Dorje has gone down to see the lama at Pangboche. Ang Jangbu should be back to Base Camp later today.

We'll keep you posted!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


April 25, 2006 • Moving Uphill

Mark Tucker reports from Base Camp that most of the Sherpas did "back-to-back" carries to C2 the last two days, so today they have the day off. Mingmar, Lhakpa Bhote, and Justin are at C1, going to C2 tomorrow. Pemba Dorje, Samduk, Dorje, Danuru, and Karma Rita went to C2 today, where they will set up the big kitchen/dining tent today, spend two nights there and continue work on C2 set up. Danuru and Karma Rita will stay there to be ready to start moving towards C3 if possible. Brenda, Walter, Karl, Marcus, and Dennis are moving up from C1 to C2 today. Jim, Jack, Fiona, and Paul plan to spend a second night at C1.

Everest Camp 2
Camp 2, (21,000') looking up at the Lhotse Face
where Camp 3 is situated about half way up
(© Jake Norton/Mountainworldphoto.com)

I spoke to Ang Jangbu on the sat phone from Phortse (near Namche) where he went for the puja ceremony for Phinjo, hosted by his family. This Sherpa ritual continues for six days, during which time the local Buddhist monks chant and pray and many people come to the house to visit. It is not all solemn, as there is also plenty of food and hospitality shared. Jangbu will be back to Base Camp in a few days, along with his brother Phunuru. Their sister was married to Phinjo. Jangbu says that there are mainly women, old men, and children in the village now — the young men are all off climbing or trekking. Such is the way of the world!

Thanks to all of you that have offered to make a contribution to a fund for Phinjo's kids. All of IMG's Sherpas are covered by insurance that we purchase for them, but there is always the need for more. Jangbu and I discussed this, and after things have settled down a bit, we will figure out the best way to handle this, and let you know.

We'll keep you posted!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


April 22, 2006 • Ready to Climb Again

IMG Leader Mark Tucker reports from BC that after a day of reorganizing, rethinking, and reconnecting, the expedition team is "back on track" and everyone is ready to go again. Tomorrow 15 Sherpas are scheduled to carry to Camp 2 and the Camp 2 staff will start occupying that camp. Walter, Markus, and Karl are heading up in the morning to Camp 1. Everyone else is getting ready to head up in the next couple days. Thanks to those of you that have sent support, I have passed that on to the team. We are going to set up a fund for Phinjo's two kids (age 12 and 14), details to follow. It has been a tough couple of days for everyone, not only the climbers and Sherpa team, but also for everyone back home. Let's hope that everything settles down now, and the climb proceeds smoothly. We'll keep you posted!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


April 20, 2006 • Three Sherpas Killed in Icefall

IMG expedition leader Mark Tucker reports that a big collapse in the icefall today has claimed the lives of three Sherpas, including one from the IMG team. The accident occurred partway up the icefall shortly after dawn when several large towers of ice toppled over. The rest of the IMG team is all safe. We are deeply saddened to learn that Ang Phinjo Sherpa (from Phortse) died under a massive avalanche and is unrecoverable.


Ang Phinjo Sherpa

Phinjo was our oldest Sherpa (50) and one of our very best Sherpa friends. He was a kind and gracious man, and we will miss him. He went on his first 8000 meter peak in 1973 — this was his 49th 8000 meter expedition! Our prayers go out to Phinjo's family and the rest of our climbing team. It sounds like they are all going to take a day "off" to get together and have a team meeting. We'll let you know when there is more to report.

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


April 20, 2006 • Highest Hole in One


IMG expedition leader Mark Tucker works on his golf swing, Everest BC style
(photo: Juerg Bandle)



April 18, 2006 • Snow in BC

I spoke to IMG Everest Expedition Leader Mark Tucker at Base Camp and he reports that the weather has been marginal the last couple days, with over a foot of fresh snow at BC. The weather report we received says that low pressure north of Mt. Everest is pushing snow into the area, but it is supposed to improve today. Currently we have 6 climbers (Justin, JF, John, Sophia, Dan, Jim) and 3 sherpas up at Camp 1. Sounds like they waited yesterday, rather than coming down in the storm. They may end up staying another day at Camp 1 rather than having to break trail up or down. Everyone else is waiting at BC for things to improve before pushing back up. So far so good!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


April 15, 2006 • The Highest Dog Park Ever

Mark Tucker reports from Base Camp that today IMG Sherpas were the first to Camp 2. Apparently several other teams also sent their Sherpas up today, and everyone was lined up above Camp 1 when the last ladder was dropped into place by the "Icefall doctors" (the Sherpas that build the Icefall route). The race was on! We had Danuru, our speedster, in position to claim prime real estate at Camp 2 for our big Weatherport tents that we will be erecting there.


IMG team climber Karl Flock is followed up the icefall by a dog (not on the IMG team.) (photo: Walter Laserer)

Tomorrow the plan is for 22 Sherpas to carry direct to Camp 2 from Base Camp, and start erecting this camp. Tonight we have several climbers sleeping at Camp 1 for the first time of the expedition. Tucker also reports that IMG hosted a big meeting at Base Camp with leaders from a number of the other teams, to discuss strategy and to get everyone on the same page in terms of rescue gear that will be at Camp 2, the radio frequencies for the different teams, and to coordinating the completion of the construction of the helicopter pad at Base Camp.

So far so good!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


April 13, 2006 • Starting into the Icefall

IMG Leaders Mark Tucker and Ang Jangbu report from Base Camp that the entire climbing team is now back (some of them went down to climb Island Peak or to explore down the valley). The Icefall Sherpas have now finished putting in the route to Camp 1 and the IMG Sherpas have now started moving gear up the hill.


The Khumbu Icefall (photo: Dave Hahn)

The members spent several sessions over the last few days practicing on their technique for tackling the Icefall, and several members have now begun moving up. Everyone is getting well acclimatized and is happy that it is finally time to start climbing—we'll keep you posted!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


April 9, 2006 • BC Trekkers in Kathmandu

We are happy to report that the Base Camp trekkers have now made it safely back to the Hotel Tibet in Kathmandu. After enjoying the puja with the climbers at Base Camp, they spent another couple days up there, before trekking back to Lukla and then flying to Kathmandu. Congrats to them on completing a successful adventure!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


April 9, 2006 • Summit of Island Peak

Ang Jangbu and Mark Tucker report from Base Camp that they had been in touch by radio with Kami and Brenda, who were calling from the summit of Island Peak to report that the team had reached the top on a nice morning.


IMG climbers on their way to the summit of Island Peak (photo: Juerg Bandle/IMG)

They are now on their way back down to Dingboche, at which point the group will split. The Island Peak team will head back to Lukla for a flight to Kathmandu and the Khumbu Icefall and Everest climbers (several of the latter also went down to IP for acclimatization) will be heading back to Base Camp, where they are expected back in the next couple days. So far so good!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


April 7, 2006 • Trekkers on Their Way Home

The IMG team reports that Base Camp is now quieted down significantly with the departure of the trekking team, Island Peak climbers, and Icefall climbers. The trekkers are now on their way back to Kathmandu with Phu Tashi, our stalwart trek leader. The Island Peak climbers, led by Brenda Walsh and Sherpas Dorje Lama and Kami Passang are headed down valley, then turning west up the Imja Khola Valley to Island Peak. Back at Base Camp the climbing team is getting ready to start making forays into the Icefall in the next few days. The Icefall Sherpas are still working on finishing building the route up the Icefall, which gives a few more days for acclimatization before heading up into the Cwm. So far so good!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


April 3, 2006 • Base Camp

Expedition Leader Mark Tucker reports from Base Camp that the team arrived today and is doing well. Several members climbed Kala Pattar on the way to BC his morning. This afternoon the climbers did the puja ceremony with the Sherpas, which is the formal start to the expedition.


Everest base camp at night
(© Jake Norton/Mountainworldphoto.com)

Base Camp is reported to look good, with four large tents for member dining, sherpa dining, storage/communications, and kitchen as well has many small sleeping tents. Tomorrow the Sherpas will start ferrying loads up the Icefall and the climbers will put on their crampons and go up and practice walking across some ladders and start getting prepared for the rigors ahead. So far so good! We'll keep you posted.

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


March 30, 2006 • Pheriche Medical Clinic

The 2006 IMG Everest Expedition team, accompanied by the trek team, reports that everything is going well for them. Yesterday they took an acclimatization day at Dingboche, the last big Sherpa village before heading into the upper Khumbu Valley. One of the highlights of the day was a visit to the Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA) clinic in nearby Pheriche. The group was hosted there by HRA doc Luanne Freer (from Bozeman, MT) who with her team is on the way to Base Camp to run the medical clinic this year (see www.basecampmd.com.) IMG is proud to once again be a supporter of their efforts at Base Camp and has subscribed to their medical service for the entire IMG team (including the Sherpas.) At the HRA clinic the IMG group got refresher course on high altitude illness and the opportunity to see what the Pheriche clinic does to help trekkers, climbers, and the local people.

Some people have asked recently about the problems in Nepal and how this has affected the trekking traffic. The short answer is that the trekking traffic in Nepal is down for most of the country EXCEPT the Khumbu area, where it has remained quite steady.


I took this photo at the Sagarmartha Park Entrance Station in Jorsale last week (between Lukla and Namche) which breaks down the tourism in the Khumbu over the past eight years, month-by-month. Note that they have been averaging about 20,000 trekkers a year, give or take (note that this does not include climbers.) Interesting!!

Tomorrow the team heads for Lobuche, about 15,000 feet. Tucker reports that there is some snow on the ground and that Ang Jangbu has sent ahead some Sherpas to start making tent platforms for the team for the next campsite. Say goodbye to green things — time to enter the world of ice, snow, and rocks!!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


March 27, 2006 • Namche

Eric here, just back today from Nepal. I met the IMG team in Kathmandu and hiked with the climbers and trekkers for two days up to Namche Bazaar at about 11,500 feet. I was very pleased to get to meet in person the IMG customers that make these trips happen.

Following our arrival in Namche we had our big Sherpa meeting, an annual event. It is always great to see Ang Jangbu, Pemba, Ang Passang, Danuru, Panuru, Dawa Nuru, Mingma Ongel, Tashi, and all the other Sherpas again. After an evening and the next morning with the combined team, I grabbed a seat on a heli going back to Kathmandu, then headed home.


Namche

Khumjung
The team spent Saturday visiting the famous Namche Bazaar market, then on Sunday hiked up to Khumjung and Khunde for further acclimatization. On Monday they trekked to Tengboche, then continued on to Deboche. Expedition Leader Mark Tucker reports that everyone is doing well and that the group is in good spirits.

We'll keep you posted!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


March 20, 2006 • Yak Loads

Mark Tucker and Justin Merle are in Kathmandu putting the finishing touches on the packing, with the help of some of the staff at Great Escapes.



Note that everything is protected by putting it in a barrel or a woven poly bag, which is then sewn and banded. All this gear is going to be flown in the next couple days to Shyangboche (about 12,000 feet above Namche Bazaar) in the big Russian MI 17 helicopter, then go to BC by yak.

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


March 16, 2006 • Packing Expedition Oxygen

Our oxygen shipment has now reached Kathmandu and is being re-packed for the heli charter flight to Shyangboche. The cylinders were inspected, chemically cleaned, re-valved, hydro tested, and refilled in California and moved via Thai Airlines Cargo to Kathmandu.



They were packed in DOT dangerous goods approved shipping boxes for the longhaul flights, and now the staff at Great Escapes wraps the cylinders with foam and put them in bundles that are suitable to be tied onto a yak for the trip to Base Camp. It is important that they are well protected because sometimes those yaks (and yak drivers) donít treat the loads very gently!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director


March 15, 2006 • On a Jet Plane

Guides are boarding airplanes bound for Kathmandu. They'll be working hard over the next couple weeks with our Nepal staff to finalize logistics. Keep an eye on this page as we'll begin regular updates once the expedition gets rolling.

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director





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