November 2, 2010
Mark Allen and the IMG team made it up to Camp 1 today and sent us this SPOT from there. The photo below on the right is a good shot of the slabby rock leading up to Camp 1. So far so good!
November 1, 2010
IMG leader Mark Allen reports from the 4600m (15,088ft) Ama Dablam Base Camp, that the team is doing well. Panuru and Ang Pasang returned to BC after fixing on the upper mountain and it sounds like the route is in good shape. Mark reports that “the Main Lama from Pangboche came up and gave our climbing team an extreme blessing for our puja ceremony. The climbing Sherpas erected several rows of prayer flags that are intended to give us safe climbing. Then, it snowed over night up to 4″ in Base Camp, forcing us to take another rest day!”
Many of you have asked about the new “cell phone service on Everest” that has been in the news lately. We sent Mark out with a new data network card for the laptop to experiment with, and a GSM cell phone as well. So far it seems to be working OK, but at Lobuche BC there was no cell service, so we needed the satellite phone. At Ama Dablam BC they have to walk about 200m out of camp to hit the cell tower. My impression is that the sat phones will still be needed by expeditions to provide redundancy, as the cell service is still spotty in the upper valley.
The weather is now looking good, and everyone is excited. The current plan is to move up to Camp 1 on November 2. They will send the gear duffels up to 17700ft on yaks, from where they will ferry the loads up to C1 (5750m, 18860ft). The next day the team will head up onto the ridge towards Camp 2 for more technical training and acclimatization, then descend back to BC for a couple more rest days, before heading back up for the summit bid.
We’ll keep you posted!
October 28, 2010
IMG sirdar Ang Pasang reported from Ama Dablam Base Camp a couple days ago that he and Panuru Sherpa have now set up the BC in preparation for the arrival of the climbers after they wrap up their acclimatization on Lobuche Peak. Ang Pasang and Panuru are two of our most senior sherpas, and they have each climbed Ama Dablam multiple times. Now, Ang Pasang reports that they have completed their first trip up to Camp 1 to claim a tent site at the camp. They also took 750 meters of fixed rope up with them. Tomorrow they are planning to climb up to Camp 3 and fix ropes along the way. Several other sherpas from other teams are also going up with them to work on the fixing, so they are hoping to get new rope fixed on much of the route over the next couple days. We’ll look forward to getting a report on the climbing conditions on the route from them when they get back down!
October 28, 2010
IMG guide Mark Allen called on the sat phone to report that the team had a nice climb of Lobuche Peak today, followed by a safe descent back to Base Camp. It was a long hard day, but everyone is back down and doing well. Tomorrow the plan is to descend to Dingboche, where they will have a well earned rest day. Congrats to the guides, climbers and sherpas for a job well done!
October 27, 2010
One thing Operations Manager Tye Chapman enjoys about his job is the opportunity to go on adventures around the world. Tye doesn’t always choose climbing destinations – he is in the middle of a two week vacation right now exploring Spain. Have fun Tye. Your email inbox will be full when you return!
October 27, 2010
IMG guide Mark Allen reports that the team members had a good training day yesterday at Lobuche Base Camp. They reviewed the gear and techniques that they will need for the climb, including getting rigged up for using the fixed ropes. Today they are moving up to the High Camp in preparation for the summit bid tomorrow. This camp is situated by a gorgeous alpine tarn just below the big glacier that comes down from the upper slopes of Lobuche Peak. As the members move up to the camp we have Danuru (Dawa) and Chewang Lendu, two of our top sherpas, heading up higher to fix the ropes and prepare the route above for the ascent. Then, tomorrow morning, they will get a pre-dawn start and head on up the rocky slabs above the camp which will take them to the glacier. We’ll keep you posted!
October 23, 2010
IMG Guide Mark Allen reports:
“The team ascended to Lobuche at 16,100ft and had the clearest day thus far. The timing was perfect because we had views of many 6000m peaks including a stunning view of Ama Dablam, as well as 7000m peaks Nuptse and Pumo Ri. We trekked up the Moraines of the Khumbu Ice fall and had a 360 degree view of the major peaks of the Himalayas on a clear day.
The altitude is affecting us and we are slowing down to cope. After one night in Lobuche we will continue to ascend the Khumbu Glacier on Oct. 23rd and reach our highest village on the trek, Gorak Shep 17593ft, and ascend to Kala Patthar 18204ft for what’s known as the most beautiful views in the Himalayas and the best view of Everest 8850m. After one night at Gorak Shep we will return to Lobuche.
Every one is in good hands and doing fine, although some of the team is suffering from head and chest colds. A few climbers are choosing to stay & rest in Lobuche to heal the cold rather than climb higher where it is harder to heal. This will give them a better shot at being better for the climbs later to come.”
– Mark Allen
October 25, 2010 – Update
Later on the 23rd Mark called in via sat phone to report that they were at 17000 ft. & on their way down from Kala Patthar where all the EBC trekkers summitted. They’re on their way down to Gorak Shep where they’ll spend the night, then head down to Lobuche. At that point they’ll say goodbye to the EBC trekkers and the Lobuche climbers will head to EBC, then back down to Lobuche.
The Ama Dablam team is using the SPOT Tracker at each new location and will send updates when able. Stay tuned and wish them luck!
- Becky Kjorvestad
October 22, 2010
IMG Guides Mark Allen and Max Bunce called in via sat phone early this morning to report that they are currently at Lobuche – approximately 15,000 ft. – and everyone & everything is fine. Tomorrow the plan is to move up to Gorak Shep, and then continue on toward either Kala Patthar or Everest BC, depending on the weather.
Two of the trekkers are on their way back down to Lukla, (having planned an early descent due to time constraints) and one climber is staying at Lobuche to continue to acclimatize. The rest of the team will continue right on schedule. Everyone is happy and healthy – other than a few minor head colds here and there – but all is well!
More IMG Ama Dablam blog action can be found on team member Mark Ursino’s website: http://www.markursino.com/
– Becky Kjorvestad
October 21, 2010
IMG Guide Greg Vernovage sent us this update on his travels with the USA Men’s National Volleyball Team in Italy:
“It was an action packed month of travel and competition for me. I had the opportunity to travel to Italy with the USA Men’s National Volleyball Team. Coaching some of the Beijing Gold Medalists as well as some up and coming great athletes of the US was a great honor. I met the team at their training facility in Anaheim. After practicing in the US for couple weeks we set off for the World Championships in Italy.
We started in Sicily in a city named Gela. Our goal here was to adapt our bodies to the time change as well as prepare for the first round of tournament pool play. In our pool was Mexico, Venezuela and Argentina. It is one thing to be from The United States of America and have people get fired up to play against you, but combine that with the fact that we are the reigning Olympic Champions and you can be assured that you are going to get everything the opponent has and then some.
We won the first pool in Reggio Calabria, a beautiful city in southern Italy overlooking the Strait of Messina. Our next round of pool play included the Czech Republic and Cameroon. The Czech Republic cleaned our clock but we got the better of Cameroon. For my Czech climbing friends out there, Yes, you beat us and yes, I may be a better guide than coach of volleyball now, but thanks for the emails!
We came in Second in that pool which sent us to Rome. I always wanted to see the Coliseum. That place is absolutely enormous. In this round we played against France and won, if we beat Italy, the host country, we advance to the final four, lose and the best we can get is 5th. We lost and had to go to yet another city, Medona. A great thing to watch as far as patriotism goes occurred before the match against Italy. As per “International Rules”, each country has their Anthem played for 45 seconds. This keeps an even playing field. For the match against Italy, the 12,000 plus fans in the arena would not hear of anything short of their full anthem. When the Italian Anthem stopped, the crowd sang on. Sing they did, and most impressively I might add. An experience I’ll remember for a long time.
We beat Germany and lost to Russia to come in 6th at the 2010 World Championships. A decent finish, but if you know me, not first place is what I’ll remember. We’ve got time to get better before the London 2012 Games. The Team will be ready and hungry as ever.”
Greg will be back on board with IMG this winter with trips to Ecuador, Vinson, and Kilimanjaro.
October 18, 2010
IMG guide Mark Allen reports: “Today the group trekked for several hours up the Dudh Koshi River and crossed into the Imja Khola Valley gaining elevation to Tengboche.
The forecast today was for rain all day so we were pleasantly surprised with overcast skies and cool temps. The mountains continue to be elusive and flirt with us, only allowing a view of the upper part of Ama Dablam for about half an hour. We have only seen glimpses of the high peaks. Behind the veil of clouds they have received several inches of new snow. It will be a marvelous view, the clouds are lifting tonight and we can see their shapes in the moonlight. Everyone is excited for morning.
Tengboche is the largest and most important Buddhist Monastery in the region. This Monastery was built in 1910 but has been destroyed by fires and earthquakes and rebuilt twice. It is home to about 50 monks. The group was certainly feeling the altitude today as we climbed 1800 ft out of the river valley up to the pass where the Tengboche Monastery is located.
After arriving at the Monastery a few members went to the nearby Sherpa Bakery that specializes in feeding western travelers large pieces of chocolate cake and coffee. It’s a strange paradox but is one of the nicest treats after a week of fried rice and veggie momos (Nepal dumplings). Following the group’s chocolate cake bender we visited the main sanctuary and observed around 20 monks in a daily evening service and mantra mediation and musical choirs.
We have descended into the village of Deboche and will spend two nights here in a tea house. Tomorrow we have a full rest day planned to acclimatize to the new elevation. Everyone is in good health and is very anxious to see the rest of the valley and the high peaks. Our sirdar, Phu Tashi, wants to take us to the nearby nunnery and better view of the peaks near our tea house lodge. We are having a great time and are all looking forward to moving up Valley to Pheriche. Wish us safe travel and we will keep you posted when we have more to tell.”
Check out the Ama Dablam Team’s progress by following the SPOT GPS Messenger trail!