October 20, 2011
October 19, 2011
Phil called in to report that all continues to go well in Bhutan. In fact, he called this one the luckiest crews he’s had in quite awhile as the weather continues to cooperate. Most recently the team crossed Jarila pass at 4600m then descended to the river where several members of the team braved the frigid waters on foot while others hopped on the horses they have with them.
Another big day awaits tomorrow as they’ll cross the Shingela pass (4960m) then drop down to Lamithang
October 19, 2011
We heard overnight from both Justin Merle and his EBC/Lobuch/Ama Dablam team, and Eben Reckord and the Annapurna team, and it sounds like everyone is doing well!
Justin says his team had a good hike today from Deboche to Pangboche, where they visited Lama Geshe at the monastery. After lunch, they pushed on up to Pheriche (about 14,000 feet), where they are now. Tomorrow they will take another acclimatization day, and do some hiking in the area.
Eben and the Annapurna and Chulu team headed up past Manang today, and had great views of Annapurna II and Gangapurna along the way. They made it to Yak Kharka (about 13,200 feet) where the sherpas have a nice camp set up.
Tomorrow they will also take an acclimatization day, and do some hiking in the area. Today the team had their first good view of Chulu Peak, and Eben says it looks big! Today they also sent Mingma Dorje up to Annapurna 4 base camp with his camera, and he took 200 photos along the way and then caught up with the team at Yak Kharka! We wanted to get some good new shots for our Annapurna IV trip next spring, so we’ll look forward to seeing his photography.
So far, so good!
October 18, 2011
IMG guide Justin Merle reports that his team spent a nice rest/acclimatization day today in Deboche. Everyone is doing well and having fun. This morning they visited the Nunnery, then hiked back up to Tengboche for the afternoon prayers and cake at the bakery. He reports that this morning they could see what appeared to be 7 folks climbing to the summit on Ama Dablam, and 3 tents at Camp 3. Hopefully the early season groups are able to get to the summit and the mountain is a bit less crowded when we get there!
October 18, 2011
IMG guide Eben Reckord managed to send a couple nice shots to us today, including one of Manaslu (26,759 ft, the 8th highest) and also of Annapurna II (26,040 ft, the 16th highest) and Annapurna IV (24,688 ft).
The team is doing well, and they are currently exploring the Tibetan style village of Manang. Our sirdar, Lopsang Sherpa, is setting up a blessing ceremony for the team this afternoon at the ancient monastery in Bhraga, which is over 700 years old!
October 17, 2011
IMG Partner Phil Ershler called in via sat phone throughout the weekend with updates from the Bhutan Trekking team. Here’s a summary of what’s been happening:
10/15/11: The group had a nice rest day at Chomolhari on Saturday. Weather was in and out, but decent overall.
10/16/11: Sunday, the team trekked over their first pass – Nyelela Pass, at nearly 16,000’ – and then descended into Lingshi camp, at 13,200’.
10/17/11: Today (Monday) was another reasonably good day. After a night of camping near the village of Lingshi, the team enjoyed a hearty breakfast before making a 45 minute climb uphill to see the Lingshi Dzong. The Dzong has been vacated since suffering significant damage earlier this year due to the earthquake in Sikkim. After a visit to the village school, the group departed Lingshi and made their way down towards their next camp at Chebisa (12,700’). The team experienced intermittent sun, clouds and occasional rain spurts, but all in all good weather for trekking.
Tomorrow will be a big day with two passes to cross – Gobula pass and another unnamed pass with about a 3000’ gain. They’ll drop some altitude as they descend to their next camp at Shomuthang, about 13,900’.
All is well!
October 17, 2011
IMG leader Eben Reckord called from Humre to report that everyone is doing well. After climbing out of the forested valleys, they are now in the mountains! The Annapurna Himal is one of the most rugged sections of the Himalayas, with 14 peaks over 7000 meters. The team is now just across from Annapurna 2, Annapurna 4, and Annapurna 3. These three big peaks (A2 is nearly 8000m) dominate the skyline to the west.
Tomorrow they are going to do an acclimatization hike to Manang in the morning and visit the Braga monastery in the afternoon. While they are doing that, the Sherpas will move camp to Braga (about 11,300′). So far the weather has been good and everything is going smoothly.
We’ve enjoyed a couple of restful days exploring the town and enjoying the hub of Sherpa civilization in the Khumbu region. On Saturday after breakfast we went out to see the local market. All sorts of things are available there, and sherpas will walk for several hours from their villages to buy supplies: tennis shoes, pots and pans, vegetables, meat, soda, etc. Not much for souvenir shoppers, but an interesting site. We spent the rest of the morning exploring the town and resting. In the afternoon we had a short uphill hike to check out Lakpa Sonam’s museum of sherpa culture.
Today we did a little bit longer of an acclimatization hike– up to the Everest View Hotel, where most of us had a coke and took in the good view before the afternoon clouds obscured the peaks. Our first view of Ama Dablam as well, looking as awesome as ever. We hiked into Kumjung to check out the monastery there, and saw the Hillary school across the valley. Then up to Kunde for lunch. Those two towns are tucked away in a glacial valley above Namche. Beautiful sights.
Everybody in the group is doing great and staying healthy, which is fantastic. We’ll try to keep it that way as we head up the valley!
October 15, 2011
Eben Reckord reports that the Annapurna/Chulu team is in Timrung, and have had some very nice trekking along the way. Last night they were in Tal, with a big waterfall nearby. Now they are starting climb out of the deep valley and are starting to see the nearby peaks. They were able to call with the CDMA cell phone (sporadic service in the area). Only issue was that one member broke a tooth—they were hoping to find a dentist in Chame tomorrow. Other than that everyone is doing well. Eben said it was bit cloudy today but no rain.
Justin Merle called from Namche, and he says everyone is doing well. The team had a nice day today, getting used to the altitude and seeing the sights. They went to the weekly market in the morning and then went to the Sherpa Museum in the afternoon. Tomorrow they plan to do an acclimatization hike up to the nearby Sherpa villages of Kumjung and Kunde to visit the Hillary school and hospital and also the bakery! Today the team joined Lobuche climbers Greg and David in celebrating their 62nd birthdays. Way to go, you guys
October 14, 2011
Phil called in this morning at 6:50 a.m. Pacific time via sat phone from Chomolhari Base Camp. The trekkers enjoyed another great day, weather continues to be perfect. Everyone’s doing well, walking strong, and eating way too much. Tomorrow will be an active rest day with a few hours wrapped in hiking, then they’ll spend a 2nd night back at Chomolhari BC. All is well.
The team celebrated yesterday with a toast to Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck and his new Queen, Jetsun Pema, as they were wed yesterday.
Good times all around!