2012 Everest Expedition Nepal  •  29,032'  •  8849m
Expedition Coverage

IMG's 2012 Mt. Everest Expedition Coverage

Led by Eric Simonson, Greg Vernovage, Justin Merle, Mike Hamill, Ang Jangbu, Eric Remza, Andy Polloczek, Max Bunce and Jenni Fogle


IMG's 2012 Everest Expedition is Officially Over

May 28, 2012

The Sherpas did the last carries this morning, and everyone is safe and sound off the mountain. Well done! It has been a heck of a season, but it all finished up well. Despite all the doom-and-gloom in the media, the route is in excellent shape on the mountain, and there have been very few Icefall issues this season. We are pleased to have seen 51 summits from our IMG team (1 with the rope fixers, 22 with the Hybrid Team, 26 with the Classic Team, 2 on Lhotse). Greg, Jangbu, and all the climbers have now departed Base Camp and are on the way to Kathmandu. Some are hiking and some are catching a ride on a helicopter, so everyone should be back in Kathmandu in the next couple days.

Back at BC, our sirdar Ang Pasang will be working with his crew to finish drying tents and getting everything packed up for the yaks and porters. Gear in good shape will go to our storeroom in Pangboche and items requiring repair or dry-cleaning will go back to Kathmandu. Per the rules of our permit, all burnable garbage goes to the incinerator in Namche, all cans and bottles go to Kathmandu for recycle, all human waste goes to the designated burial site (in the soil) down towards Lobuche, and all empty O2 cylinders go back to Kathmandu for re-export. Only after we have fulfilled all these conditions will we get our $12,000 garbage deposit back.

"Everest behind you, heading for home. Climbers pass the line of chortens on the terminal moraine of the Khumbu Glacier, above Dughla, 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, IMG Partner

For the members who choose to hike out, they will be treated to my favorite part of the expedition: descending off the terminal moraine of the Khumbu Glacier, above the village of Dughla, you walk past the line of chorten memorials to fallen climbers, and the green valley opens up below you. Thoughts turn to home, and the future. Go hug your family and friends, and make a difference!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

All Classic Team Now in BC; Lhotse Summit List

May 27, 2012

Greg and Jangbu report that all Classic climbers and their Sherpas are down at Base Camp. Well done, team!

Here is the official summit list sent to the Ministry of Tourism for Lhotse:

  1. Chhewang Lendu Sherpa, Phortse (7th Lhotse ascent)
  2. Mr. Michael Joseph Moniz, USA

Yesterday we benefited from the weather, which stayed cloudy and cool down low. This allowed the sherpas who went to the South Col in the morning to make a quick down-carry from Camp 2 to Camp 1 with a big load of gear and return to Camp 2. Today they will finish breaking down Camp 2, and then come down to Base Camp. Then, tomorrow, Jangbu says he has a big crew going up empty to bring down the final loads: 26 sherpas headed to Camp 2 and 11 sherpas heading to Camp 1, plus a couple more going up to get rescue gear we had pre-positioned in the icefall. We'll keep you posted!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Lhotse Summits; Classic Climbers Back to BC

May 26, 2012

Greg and Jangbu report that Mike and Chewang summited Lhotse at 5:35AM and are now making a fast descent. They have already passed Camp 2 and are on the way to Base Camp!

We had a crew of 13 sherpas that went back up to the South Col this morning, and they have brought down the remaining loads from up there. We also had a couple guys go up to Lhotse Camp 4 in support of Chewang and Mike, and they have brought down that camp too. Camp 3 was cleared down yesterday, so we are all done on the upper mountain. It is a big relief for all of us to have everyone down from the high altitudes!

Most of the Classic climbers are now back to Base Camp, and the last few are making good progress descending the Icefall. Jangbu reports that he is hoping that the Sherpa team will get Camp 2 cleared down to Camp 1 by tomorrow afternoon, and then one more big carry from Camp 1 to Base Camp the next day. We are getting close!!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Climbers Reach Camp 2; Lhose Climbers Ready to Go

May 26, 2012

Greg and Jangbu report that all the summit climbers (with the exception of Mike and Chewang, who are at Lhotse Camp 4,) have now reached Camp 2. Well done, team! Many of them are planning to continue their descent to BC in the morning. Before leaving the South Col today, the sherpas broke down that camp, and in the morning we have a crew headed up to carry it all down, along with all the empty O2 bottles.

Mike and Chewang will be starting up the steep Lhotse Couloir at about 1 AM for their bid on the world's 4th highest mountain. The Lhotse route is ice and snow in the couloir with a steep rock pitch at the top of the couloir. The weather for tomorrow sounds like it will stay reasonable. We'll keep you posted!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Climbers Return to Col; Heading for Camp 2

May 25, 2012

Max reports that all climbers are now back to the Col and that most of them plan to continue their descent to Camp 2. This is a strong crew, and they are doing a fantastic job today. Way to go!

Mike is heading over to Lhotse Camp 4, with Chewang (6-time Lhotse summiter). We set the Lhotse Camp 4 a couple days ago, and we have additional oxygen and gear all ready to go over there. The plan is for Mike and Chewang to head to the summit of Lhotse in the early morning, and we have two more sherpas moving up to Lhotse Camp 4 in the morning to support their bid. There have been several parties getting up Lhotse the last couple days, so we are hoping the weather and conditions hold for their bid.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

The May 25th Summit List

May 25, 2012

The IMG climbers are now on the way down from the summit. Their goal now is to reach the South Col, and some of them will continue on down to Camp 2. Weather is holding and the conditions are good.

Here is the official summit list sent to the Ministry of Tourism:

  1. Mr. Shannon Bruce Dailey, USA
  2. Mr. Michael Joseph Moniz, USA
  3. Ms. Heidi Sand, GERMANY
  4. Mr. Kumaran S/O Rasappan, REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE
  5. Mr. Lars Sune Haugen, NORWAY
  6. Mr. Vadim Prudnikovs, LATVIA
  7. Ms. Olga Kotova, LATVIA
  8. Mr. Maximilien Peter Bunce, USA
  9. Mr. Robert Allen Berger Jr., USA
  10. Mr. James Emory Field IV, USA
  11. Mr. Craig Lewis Hanneman, USA
  12. Mr. David Israel Pastor Refizo, MEXICO
  13. Sanduk Dorji Tamang, Pangboche
  14. Da Rita Sherpa, Phortse
  15. Chhewang Lendu Sherpa, Phortse
  16. Mingma Tenzing Sherpa, Phortse
  17. Phunuru Sherpa, Phortse
  18. Nuru Gyalzen Sherpa, Phortse
  19. Danuru Sherpa, Phortse
  20. Dawa Finjhok Sherpa, Dolkha
  21. Phutashi Sherpa, Pangboche
  22. Mingma Chhiring Sherpa, Phortse
  23. Phurba Ongyal Sherpa, Pangboche
  24. Ang Karma Sherpa, Phortse
  25. Karma Dorji Sherpa, Phortse
  26. Ang Chhiring (Kami) Sherpa, Pangboche

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner


May 25, 2012

The first IMG climbers are reaching the summit now, and the rest are not too far back. Conditions are excellent. The eastern sky is just starting to get some color. It's going to be a fantastic sunrise up there this morning. We'll post the complete summit list once everyone gets up there, and we have a chance to send the list to the Ministry of Tourism (which gets notified first, per the regulations).

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Climbers at South Summit

May 25, 2012

Max radioed down to say that the team is cruising tonight. Perfect conditions. They are passing South Summit and should be on top soon.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Climbers Moving Past Balcony

May 25, 2012

Max radioed down from the Balcony at about 1:30AM Nepal time to report that the teams O2 bottle changes went well, and the climbers and sherpas are now moving on up. He says it's a perfect night for climbing. Next call will be from South Summit. So far so good!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Classic Climbers Heading for the Balcony

May 25, 2012

IMG guides Max Bunce and Eric Remza report that the Classic climbers left the South Col about 8:30 PM and are now climbing towards the Balcony. Each climber is accompanied by a personal Sherpa, and we also have some bottled-oxygen carrier sherpas going up too. Weather is good. We'll keep you posted!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Climbers Getting Ready to Go!

May 25, 2012

The IMG Classic climbers report that they had a fast trip to the South Col, with the first climbers reaching there by 9AM. They are spending the day up there eating, hydrating, and snoozing in the tents getting ready to climb tonight. Weather forecast for the 26th (Nepal Time) remains good, and everything is on track for their summit bid.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Climbers at Camp 3

May 24, 2012

Greg and Jangbu report from Base Camp that the Classic team had a good climb to Camp 3, arriving by mid-morning and spending the whole day up there hydrating and resting. The weather improved and our sherpa team made their monster carry up to South Col so that camp is now all set, ready for occupation tomorrow.

The plan for tomorrow (the 25th) is for the Classic climbers to leave early from Camp 3 and head up, to get to Camp 4 on the South Col early in the day so the climbers can rest, hydrate, fuel up, and get prepared for their summit bid. There are a number of teams that moved to the Col today, planning to climb to the summit tonight. Best wishes to everyone up there!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Climbers and Sherpas Moving Up

May 23, 2012

Greg and Jangbu are feeling a bit lonesome right now down at Base Camp, with all the Hybrid climbers having left, and all the Classic climbers and Sherpas up on the hill!

Right now, we have 21 sherpas on the way to the South Col with additional oxygen and supplies for the next summit bid. The Classic climbers left Camp 2 at 3am to beat the heat on the Lhotse Face (hard to believe heat would be an issue, but on a nice day, wearing a down suit, it can actually get quite hot). They are shooting to arrive Camp 3 by mid-morning, and that way they have all day to rest and hydrate.

The jet stream is still running parellel to the Himalayas, but the forecast has it moving to the north over the next couple days, with a drop in the winds. At the same time, moisture is starting to form to the south of the Indian subcontinent. As the jet moves north, the moisture (which represents the beginning of the monsoon) starts to move north too. This is the classic spring good weather window: when the jet finally moves north, but before the moisture hits. We'll keep you posted!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Classic Climbers Reach Camp 2

May 22, 2012

Greg and Jangbu report that the Classic team all made it up to Camp 2 today (Nepal time) and are settling in for the night up there now. Sounds like it was not too hot this afternoon in the Western Cwm, which was a big bonus (on hot days, the hike up the Cwm can become like an oven). Tomorrow they will take a rest day, and their plan is to go to Camp 3 on the 24th. The weather reports still show a drop in winds starting in a few days, so we are hopeful. We'll keep you posted!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Classic Climbers Heading Up!

May 21, 2012

IMG guides Max Bunce, Eric Remza, 13 Classic climbers, and their sherpas are heading up the Khumbu Icefall in the cold early morning hours tonight, shooting for the summit of Mt. Everest on May 26 (Nepal time). We are hoping that the weather forecasters are correct: they have predicted a weather window coming in a few days. Right now, though, it is blowing hard again up high, after the short window of lower winds that allowed our Hybrid and Guided teams to sneak up on May 19th. The Classic climbers are all super psyched to finally be moving up. They have done their preparations and demonstrated the patience and persistance to put themselves in position to take their shot. We'll keep you posted on their progress!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Hybrid and Guided Climbers Back to Base Camp

May 20, 2012

It required them getting up before dawn at Camp 2 to hit the Icefall during the coolest hours of the day, but most of the IMG summit climbers chose to head down to BC this morning and finish their descent. They are down now! A couple of the team stayed back at Camp 2 for a day of rest, and they will come down to Base Camp tomorrow.

Down at Base Camp, the Classic climbers are getting ready to start up tonight to begin their summit bids. Some will go to Camp 1, over-night there, and then move on to Camp 2, while others will go all the way to Camp 2 and take a rest day. Either strategy works. Over the next couple days we'll have several more carries up to the Col to prepare for the Classic team. We'll be keeping a close watch on the weather the next couple days!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Climbers Reach Camp 2

May 20, 2012

Greg and Jangbu report that all the IMG climbers have descended the Lhotse Face to Camp 2. Now down to the thicker air, their appetites will start to return, and they will have a good night sleep tonight at Camp 2. Tomorrow morning (Nepal time) they will be getting up early and making their final trip down the Icefall to Base Camp.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

All IMG Summit Climbers Down to the Col

May 19, 2012

Greg and Jangbu report that all IMG climbers made it back to the Col, and a couple of them continued down to Camp 2. Everyone is doing OK, and tired but happy. Sounds like today was quite the big day up there with a lot of climbers going to the top from both North and South sides. It will be interesting to get the final head count, but it has to be one of the bigger all-time summit days. Right now the climbers on the Col report that the winds are picking up, so they are glad to be back in camp, all tucked in for the night. They will all be heading for Camp 2 in the morning.

The weather for the next few days does not sound too good with higher winds back in the forecast. By the 25th, however, it is supposed to get calmer again, so the Classic climbers are getting geared up to hit this next favorable window. They will be heading up in the next day or two to get in position for their summit bids.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

The May 19th Summit List!

May 19, 2012

The IMG climbers are now on the way down from the summit. Their goal now is to reach the South Col, and some of them will continue on down to Camp 2. Weather is holding and the conditions are good.

Here is the official summit list sent to the Ministry of Tourism:

  1. Mr. Duane Kent Nelson, USA
  2. Ms. Vanessa Audi Rhys O'Brien, USA
  3. Mr. Bandar Khalid Al-Faisal, SAUDI ARABIA
  4. Mr. Andreas Polloczek, GERMANY
  5. Mr. Atte Saku Juhani Miettinen, FINLAND
  6. Ms. Lisa Amatangel, USA
  7. Mr. Justin Reese Merle, USA
  8. Mr. Rehan Dost, CANADA
  9. Ms. Catherine Neumann, CANADA
  10. Mr. James Frederick Simmons, USA
  11. Mr. Kurt Alan Wedberg, USA
  12. Mingma Sherpa, Phortse
  13. Chhewang Lendu Sherpa, Phortse
  14. Mingma Tenjin Sherpa, Phortse
  15. Chhiring Sherpa, Sangkhuwasava
  16. Tenjing Gyalzen Sherpa, Phortse
  17. Mingma Dorjee Sherpa, Phortse
  18. Kanchha Nuru Sherpa, Phortse
  19. Mingma Tenzing Sherpa, Phortse
  20. Pemba Sherpa, Phortse
  21. Chheten Dorji Sherpa, Pangboche
  22. Finjo Dorjee Sherpa, Pangboche

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

IMG Climbers Above the Balcony

May 18, 2012

Greg reports that the IMG climbers moved through the Balcony on schedule and made their bottle changes. Now (about 3:30am Nepal time), the first climbers are just reaching the South Summit, and the rest are not too far back. So far everything is going well.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

IMG Climbers on Their Way

May 18, 2012

IMG leader Greg Vernovage reports that the IMG climbers have now left the South Col (8:30pm Nepal Time). Sounds like there are quite a few other teams also climbing tonight, so they wanted to get out on the route ahead of them.

Conditions are good and not too windy. We are keeping our eye on the wind, as it is supposed to start ramping back up over the next 24 hours. Next check-in will be the Balcony in about 5 hours or so.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

First Summits!

May 18, 2012

The fixing crew of Ang Kazi, Jyamchang Bhote, Kami Rita, Phura Kancha, Karma Gyaljen, Phu Tashi, Palden Namgya, and Nima Dorje (representing IMG, AAI, Peak Freaks, Chilean, 7 Summits) reached the top! Congratulations to them for a job well done. The IMG Hybrid and Guided climbers have now reached the South Col and are preparing for their summit bid tonight.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Fixers Reach Balcony; Climbers at Camp 3

May 17, 2012

Greg reports that the Sherpa fixing crew reached the Balcony (8400 m, 27,600 ft), with new fixed rope, and also carried all the rope and anchors needed to fix to the summit tomorrow. Then they descended back to the South Col for the night. These guys are using oxygen up there — the sherpas like it, too. Weather is excellent. They are planning to head back up in the morning, and with a bit of luck, they will finish the route up to the top!

IMG guides Hamill, Merle, Polloczek, along with their sherpas and climbing teams, left Camp 2 early today and had a nice climb, reaching Camp 3 in good time. They worked on food and hydration this afternoon to top off their gas tanks for the big push coming up. Now, they are tucked away in their tents, breathing oxygen, and getting ready to head up to the Col in the morning. Their goal is to get up to the Col early enough in the day so they have all afternoon tomorrow to rest and hydrate before their summit bids.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Fixing Sherpas Above the Col; Climbers Moving Up

May 16, 2012

Greg reports that the Fixing sherpas left Camp 2 about midnight and are now above the Col, fixing the Triangular Face. Sounds like the wind is very low, and it is a perfect day. I wouldn't be surprised if they keep going!

Camp 2 was busy this morning, with the regular sherpas heading to the Col and the Guided and Hybrid teams on their way to Camp 3. So far so good!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Sherpas Moving Up!

May 15, 2012

Greg and Jangbu report that the Guided, Lhotse, and Hybrid climbers, along with their western guides and personal Sherpas, are doing well up at Camp 2. This morning we had 22 additional IMG load-carrying Sherpas move up to Camp 2, to get in position to make the final carries to the Col in support of the first summit teams. Also, today, the fixing team moved up to Camp 2. If all goes according to plan tomorrow, the fixers move to the Col, the climbers go to Camp 3, and the load carriers move the rest of the supplies to the Col. We just need a break with the weather!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

IMG Climbers Moving Up!

May 14, 2012

Greg and Jangbu report that this morning the Hybrid and guided climbers, with IMG guides Mike Hamill, Andy Polloczek, and Justin Merle have moved safely up the Icefall, and are now continuing up the Cwm to Camp 2. Their plan will be to take a rest day at Camp 2 tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the Sherpa fixing-team is ready to finish the route to the summit! We have Sherpas from IMG, Jagged Globe, Patagonia Bros, Rimo, AAI, Chilean, North Face, Peak Freaks, Adventure Consultants, 7 Summits, and Asian Trek ready to move up to Camp 2 early tomorrow morning with the plan to fix above the Col on the 17th and 18th. AAI's Lhakpa Rita and IMG's Karma Rita are up at Camp 2 and will be helping to organize. This is a strong crew of Sherpas, and with a little luck with the weather, we are hoping they will get the route well prepared.

Greg said the wind was still hammering up high this morning, but if the forecasts are correct, it should start easing off tomorrow. We'll keep you posted!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Resting in BC and Waiting Out the Weather

May 12, 2012

Greg and Jangbu report that the IMG sherpas got up early today at Camp 2, climbed to the Col, dumped their loads, and then descended all the way down to Base Camp. Now they have a few rest days before summit bids. Good timing, as now we also have some wind and snow forecasted for a few days with a branch of the jet stream passing over the area. Hopefully there will be some improvement after that. The current planning is for the fixing sherpas to head back up in a couple days.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Sherpas Return to the South Col

May 11, 2012

Greg and Jangbu report that a lot of sherpas (from many teams) were able to get back up to the South Col today. For IMG, we had all our guys carrying, and they will be leaving again tonight from Camp 2 (before midnight) for a second big "monster carry" tomorrow back up to the Col. Amazingly, the fast sherpas can do the roundtrip to the Col and back to C2 in 7-8 hours! After that, there will be enough rope, tents, oxygen, and supplies up there to get our summit bids started, and also for the rope fixing team (which will be heading back up in the next couple days to finish the route to the top). With a bit of luck with the weather, we hope to start sending our climbers back up pretty soon!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner


May 10, 2012

Greg and Jangbu report that snowfall came in during the early morning. A lot of sherpas left Camp 2 heading for the Col but turned back on the way (many dropped their loads at Camp 3). The summit fixing crews are holding at Camp 2. It is amazing how fast the conditions can change! We have 19 sherpas ready to carry tomorrow morning from C2 to the Col, and 13 ready to head up from EBC to Camp 1 and 2. So, hopefully the weather improves a bit for tomorrow.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Fixing Crew Moving Up

May 9, 2012

Greg and Jangbu report that the last IMG climbers are now down off the mountain and proceeding with their pre-summit-bid rest days. Meanwhile, the IMG Sherpa team at Camp 2 made their first big carry to the South Col today and returned back to Camp 2. They are heading back up to Camp 4 again tomorrow. The fixing team sherpas are also all at Camp 2 now, and are heading up early tomorrow with the hope of fixing to the Balcony. Weather for the next few days has the jet stream staying south of the Himalayas with some afternoon snow possible.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Plans for Summit Fixing

May 8, 2012

All of the Classic climbers are now down to EBC, enjoying the home cooking of Kaji and Dhan Sher. Many of the IMG climbers are planning to stay at Base Camp for their rest period (prior to summit bids), while some of them will be hiking down the valley to lower altitude, for R and R at Pheriche or Pangboche. Only our Lhotse team is still at C2, and they will be down tomorrow. In their place, Camp 2 has now been taken over by our Sherpa Team. Today we sent 29 Sherpas to Camp 2, and they are ready to start carrying loads to the South Col tomorrow morning.

Greg and Jangbu report that they had a big meeting today at Base Camp with the different teams to review the plan for fixing above South Col. Many different expeditions will be helping to carry 23 loads of rope, anchors, and oxygen to the Col over the next two days, and then 10 of the teams (IMG, AAI, Adventure Consultants, Asian Trek, Patagonian Brothers, Peak Freaks, Jagged Globe, Mountain Trip, Indian, 7 Summits) will be sending a dozen sherpas up to the Col on the 10th. They will try to fix to the Balcony that afternoon, and then to the summit on the 11th.

The Sherpas that went to the Col yesterday report that the Triangular Face up to the Balcony looks pretty good. Some years it has been very rocky, which makes it more difficult, but now it sounds like there is sufficient snow to climb on.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Route Open to South Col

May 7, 2012

Greg and Jangbu report that the IMG fixing sherpas Nima Karma and Karma Gyalgen (with the help of the AAI, Himalayan Guides, North Face, Chilean, and Benegas teams) left Camp 2 today at 4:30am and finished fixing to South Col at 2:35pm and were back to Camp 2 about 6pm. Sounds like the recent snowfall has improved the conditions on the route. Great job you guys! IMG guide Eric Remza and most of the Classic climbers descended to Base Camp today, after their Camp 3 trip yesterday, and brought down some good photos with them of the new route (which winds through the ramps and seracs on the lower part of the Lhotse Face, reminiscent of the original 1953 route — for you Everest history buffs out there).

Olga and Vadim send 75th happy birthday wishes home to Vadim's father. Above is a photo of them at Camp 3!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Nice Day on Everest

May 6, 2012

Greg and Jangbu report that today was a great day, and that the team is doing well. Today Eric Remza and most of the Classic climbers climbed up to Lower Camp 3 and reported zero rockfall up there. Apparently the combination of the recent snowfall and the sun today to cook the snow that had been plastered on, helped a lot. The team hung out at Camp 3 and it was so warm, some of them removed their down suits up there. Tomorrow we have a big Sherpa team headed up, hopefully to finish the route to the Col and start moving the first loads into Camp 4 for the summit bids! Also tomorrow, most of the Classic climbers will descend to Base Camp (a few will stay up at C2 with the Lhotse team for another couple days). Down at Everest Base Camp the Hybrid and guided climbers are doing well. Most will stay at EBC and enjoy the good life, but there may be a few who go down valley to lower altitude for R & R.

Elsewhere, Liam O'Sullivan and the Ama Dablam climbers have reached Ama Dablam BC and are doing well. Same with Eben and the Annapurna 4 team, who are also back down to Base Camp from their second rotation. And finally, Jenni Fogle and the Maida Mountaineers successfully flew from Lukla and are all back in Kathmandu.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Weather Improves

May 4, 2012

Greg and Jangbu report from IMG Base Camp that the wind finally started dropping today, and there was some snowfall this afternoon. The chance of additional snow over the next couple days remains in the forecast. The Classic climbers up at Camp 2 with IMG guide Eric Remza are doing well. They report that about 50 people from other teams took the new (right hand) route today, up to Lower Camp 3, and that it went well for them. The Classic team plan for tomorrow is to climb up to Lower Camp 3 for acclimatization and then return to Camp 2. We are going to hold off sleeping people at Camp 3 for the time being.

Today our IMG fixing sherpas Mingma Tenzing and Tshering worked to move the fixed ropes up near Camp 3 closer to the seracs, where they are less in line with the rockfall coming from higher up. Tomorrow the Lhotse climbers head up to Camp 2 for their second rotation, and the fixing sherpas will take a break. We are hoping that the day after will be the big push to the South Col if the weather cooperates!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

"All the Winds of Asia"

May 3, 2012

I am reminded of the famous quote from legendary Everester Peter Boardman, when describing the jetstream up high.

Greg and Ang Jangbu report that the IMG Hybrid and guided teams made it down to EBC, and the first Classic group went up to Camp 2. The fixing teams have 29 bags (200m each) of rope at Camp 2, and 4 more 200m bags on top of Yellow Band, along with screws and pickets, ready to move up the hill for further fixing of the route when the conditions improve. It has been cold the last couple days, and there was a little snowfall this afternoon with a chance of some more snow in the forecast.

These dry, icy, rocky conditions are not unusual early in the season, with more snow often coming as we head into the month of May. Just remember the 1999 season when the mountain was bone dry, and we found George Mallory on May 1. Then, it stormed for the better part of the next two weeks after that. There is still a lot of time for conditions to change before summit bids!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Route Work

May 2, 2012

Greg and Jangbu report from Everest BC today that the Jetstream is still right over Mt. Everest, and the heavy winds up high are still kicking off rocks that roll down the Lhotse Face, threatening the climbers and sherpas. Today we had IMG guides Justin Merle, Max Bunce, along with several AAI guides, and Chad Kellogg, checking an alternate route to Camp 3, to the climbers' right of the usual route. They rejoined the route near lower Camp 3 and said the snow ramps were good climbing, and there was less rockfall. However, there is still reported rockfall up in the Camp 3 area, so we are staying off the Face until the winds die down.

Tomorrow we have the guided and hybrid climbers coming down to Base Camp, and the first wave of the Classic climbers going up to Camp 2 with IMG guide Eric Remza for acclimatization. The wind is supposed to abate in a couple days, as the jet is predicted to track to the south of Mt Everest, so we'll reassess the C3 situation at that time. It would be nice to get some snow which would plaster the Face!

The Ama Dabam climbers are at Lobuche high camp tonight, hoping to go to the summit in the morning. Jenni Fogle and the Maida Mountaineers team is also at Lobuche BC, having wrapped up their EBC visit and now heading for Lukla. Kami called from Ama Dabalm to report that his Sherpa team reached Camp 2 today and have established that camp. And on Annapurna 4, Eben Reckord reports that the team is doing well at Camp 1, and that they are hoping to head for C2 tomorrow.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Wind and Rocks!

May 1, 2012

The jet stream has been parked right over the top of Mt Everest the last few days, and winds up high have been ripping. Current forecasts have the high winds persisting for several more days. IMG leaders Greg Vernovage and Ang Jangbu report that the fixing crew has been unable to move beyond the Yellow Band and have not yet reached the South Col. The wind has also been knocking a lot of rocks down the lower part of the Lhotse Face, near to the climbing route. We have decided to hold off sending the IMG climbers up to Camp 3 until things settle down a bit, so IMG guides Mike Hamill, Andy Polloczek, Justin Merle, and the guided and hybrid climbers are having a good acclimatization rotation up at Camp 2.

Down at Base Camp, Jenni Fogel and the Maida custom trek team are enjoying the IMG hospitality and doing well. Liam O'Sullivan and the Ama Dablam team are down at Lobuche BC with Kalden Sherpa and Tashi Tsering, and will be moving tomorrow to the Lobuche high camp. Over at Ama Dablam, Kami Sherpa reports that Camp 1 is now established and the Ama Dablam sherpas will be heading up to Camp 2 tomorrow.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Fixers Reach Yellow Band

April 29, 2012

Ang Jangbu reports that Mingma Tenzing, Tshering and rest of the fixing team got on top of Yellow Band and had to turn around due to high wind.

Phunuru brought down some nice shots from his recent rotation...

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Second Rotations Begin

April 27, 2012

Tomorrow the second acclimatization rotations begin for the Hybrid and guided climbers, with Mike Hamill and Justin Merle leading the charge. At the same time, we have seven sherpas heading for Camp 2, with their job to go up to Camp 3 the next day and start chopping out the tent platforms with steel shovels and ice axes. The goal for all the climbers on the second rotation is to spend a night at Camp 3.

The fixing sherpas are also heading back up tomorrow from Camp 2, to try to fix all the way to the South Col. Hopefully the weather cooperates for them, because high on the Lhotse Face it can get pretty cold and windy. The Classic climbers are wrapping up their first rotation, and the first team with Max Bunce made it back to Base Camp today in great time.

Meanwhile, the Lhotse climbers and the second wave of Classic climbers with Eric Remza are heading to Camp 2 for their first acclimatization rotation. So far, everything is going well for the IMG team!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Fixing Rope to Camp 3

April 26, 2012

We had a good day on Mount Everest. The Lhotse Team pulled into Camp 1 to join part of the Classic Team. The other half of the Classic Team spent their first night at Camp 2 and went for a walk toward the Bergschrund. The Hybrid Climbers stretched their legs around Base Camp and caught up on chores. All climbers are feeling great.

The big news of the day was from Mingma Tenzing and Tshering when they called in from our Camp 3 location. A strong team of fixing Sherpas had left Camp 2 earlier in the morning and fixed the route to Camp 3. The Lhotse Face is looking pretty dry with many blue ice sections. A nice step in the right direction today, which makes us happy! Next up for Everest and Lhotse climbers is to continue their acclimatization to Camp 3. Before that, our Sherpa Team will head up and "carve" out some tent platforms. The winds will dictate our timing.

The Ama Dablam Team is working their way closer to Base Camp and will get some training in while they take in our Base Camp hospitality. Kami called in from Ama Dablam Base Camp and reported all is well, tents are up and the route has been fixed to Camp 3. Eben Reckord checked in from Annapurna IV, and said they are having a great time and made the route up to Camp 2 yesterday. Up next, a couple rest days for the A4 team at Base Camp. Knowing Eben, the rest days are the toughest part of the trip.

Jangbu said I need a shower, after checking the date, he is probably right, twice a month during Everest Season, whether I need them or not!

All is well in Nepal, Thank you for all of your support.

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

IMG Climbers on the Move!

April 25, 2012

IMG leader Greg Vernovage reports from Base Camp that the first team of Classic climbers, with Max Bunce, yesterday took an acclimatization day at Camp 1, and today moved up to Camp 2. The second group of Classic climbers, with Eric Remza, climbed to Camp 1 today and are doing well up there. They will also take an acclimatization day tomorrow, then head up to Camp 2. Up at Camp 2, the Sherpa rope-fixing team is in position to start in the morning on the route to Camp 3 up the Lhotse Face. We'll be super interested to hear how the conditions up on the Lhotse Face are looking this year.

The weather has been windy the last few days, but none of our camps have suffered any damage. Tomorrow morning, we have the Lhotse climbers heading to Camp 1. Down the valley, we have the Ama Dablam team at Lobuche Base Camp and our custom trek team at Deboche. So far everything is going smoothly and on schedule.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Teams on the Move; Fixing Ready to Start

April 23, 2012

Everything is going well at Everest. I spoke on the sat phone to Greg, Jangbu, Mike, and Justin, who are all back together now at Everest Base Camp. Today the Hybrid and guided climbers finished up their first acclimatization rotation to Camps 1 and 2, and have all now descended to Base Camp for a few days of well-earned rest. Meanwhile, today, we had the first wave of Classic climbers and their personal Sherpas heading up to Camp 1, along with Max Bunce. Sounds like everyone did well in the Icefall, and a number of the climbers were well under four hours (to Camp 1) which is fast time! The rest of the Classic climbers, along with the Lhotse crew, will be heading up to Camp 1 day after tomorrow with Eric Remza.

Up on the hill, most of the fixed rope and gear has now been deposited up at Camp 2, and the fixing Sherpas are getting ready to head up on the 25th, and start working the route on the Lhotse Face on the 26 April. All total we have 16 Sherpas in the fixing crew. The plan is for the fixing Sherpas to break into two teams (one team fixing the ascending line, and the other team fixing descending line). If the weather permits, they are hoping to push all the way to camp 3 in one shot. Then, they will take a rest day on 27 April, and fix to South Col on 28 April.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Climbers Heading for Camp 2

April 20, 2012

IMG leader Greg Vernovage reports from Base Camp that the guided and Hybrid teams had a nice acclimatization day today up at Camp 1 and are set to move to Camp 2 in the morning.

Down at Base Camp the sun is out, the weather is good, and the Classic and Lhotse climbers are taking showers and doing laundry. Meanwhile, the Classic and Lhotse trekkers, and our Lobuche climbers, have all made it back to Kathmandu, safe and sound.

"There is a lot of laughing around Base Camp and great energy. This team is really getting along. I have to say that it is also nice to hear from the other IMG teams in Nepal, as well. Liam O'Sullivan and the Ama Dablam group are in Deboche and Eben Reckord and the Annapurna 4 team just reached Base Camp. We got a laugh when Eben told us about running after the donkeys caring loads to their Base Camp. Apparently, the donkeys decided that they wanted to go a different way up to Base Camp and Eben chased them down and walked them the other way. Only Eben — what a great visual! Thank you to everyone back home for staying in touch with the climbers."

(Note — you can follow the Ama Dablam and Annapurna 4 team on the IMG Blog »).

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

Great Day on Everest

April 19, 2012

IMG leader Greg Vernovage reports that it was gorgeous today at Mt Everest, with blue sky, sunshine, and little wind. The Hybrid and guided climbers cruised up to Camp 1 in 4-5 hours (which is an excellent time for their first trip up the Icefall). Mike reports from Camp 1 that the Icefall route is in good shape, and everyone is doing well.

Down at Lobuche Peak, Max Bunce and the Lhotse/Lobuche team reached the summit, and had great views from the top. Congratulations, climbers!

At Base Camp, Greg, Jangbu, and the sirdars from other teams got together to organize the carries to Camp 2 of the rope, screws, pickets, and other gear for fixing the Lhotse Face and above the South Col. Fifty loads of rope and hundreds of screws and pickets are now on their way up to the Lhotse Face!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

IMG Climbers Heading to Camp 1

April 18, 2012

IMG leader Greg Vernovage reports that the IMG Hybrid and guided climbers are leaving early this morning for Camp 1 with guides Mike Hamill and Justin Merle. Down at Lobuche Peak, IMG guide Eric Remza and the Classic climbers had a good summit today, and they will be back to Everest BC tomorrow. IMG guide Max Bunce and the Lhotse/Lobuche climbers are now at Lobuche high camp, heading for the summit tomorrow.

Yesterday at Base Camp, Greg and Jangbu went to the camp-wide rope fixing meeting. The plan is for all the fixed rope to get moved to Camp 2 by the 24th, with fixing on the Lhotse Face scheduled to start on the 26th. Cook Kaji Sherpa submitted his first food resupply shopping list to Pasang in Kathmandu a couple days ago, and this food has now been packed into 19 porter loads, shipped to Lukla, and is now on the trail to Base Camp for a resupply. An army runs on its stomach, so this is super important for the strength and morale of the team!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Camp 2 Almost Ready to Occupy

April 16, 2012

IMG leaders Greg Vernovage and Ang Jangbu report that the IMG Sherpas have been working hard moving gear up to Camp 2. Today we had 35 sherpas go up there, and tomorrow we have another 20, including our C2 cooks Shyam and Tashi, who are moving up to occupy the camp in preparation for the climbers and sherpas. Greg reports that the various expedition teams will be having a rope fixing meeting on the 18th, with the work on the Lhotse Face route scheduled to begin a few days later.

The Hybrid Team are all back to Base Camp now, after their climb of 20,000 ft Lobuche Peak. Tomorrow they are planning to make a foray up into the Icefall, to get some more ladder practice.

The Classic climbers are at high camp on Lobuche right now, hoping to go to the summit in the morning. Max and the Lhotse/Lobuche crew had a good couple training days at Everest BC and will be heading down to Lobuche BC tomorrow morning for their climb of this beautiful nearby peak.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Another Busy Day at Base Camp

April 14, 2012

This morning 35 IMG sherpas made the carry to Camp 1 and 2, and are on their way back down to BC. Meanwhile the Classic team has been busy at Base Camp, with the climbers doing more training and preparations.

This morning the Classic Trekkers said goodbye and are heading down the valley for Pheriche. Down the valley on Lobuche Peak, Max Bunce and the Lhotse/Lobuche team are preparing for their move up to Everest Base Camp. And, the Hybrid climbers are on their way to the summit of Lobuche Peak!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Feeling Good and Training in Base Camp

April 12, 2012

IMG leader Greg Vernovage reports from Everest Base Camp that everyone is doing well with the Classic team. They took 12 days to get to EBC, including three nights at Lobuche BC, and now they are reaping the rewards of their patience by feeling healthy and well! Today the climbers met their personal Sherpas and spent time getting rigged up and doing some technical training on the glacier near Base Camp. For the Sherpa team that has been carrying loads the past two days to C1 and C2, today was a rest day. Tomorrow we have 25 of these guys heading back up with loads to Camp 2.

The Hybrid and Lhotse/Lobuche teams are both at Lobuche Base Camp, and today they were taking acclimatization hikes. Tomorrow the Hybrid team moves to Lobuche high camp, in preparation for their acclimatization climb (to 20,000 feet) of that peak.

IMG guide Jenni Fogel and the Hybrid trekkers are in Namche tonight, heading for Lukla tomorrow.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Climbers Heading for Lobuche Peak

April 10, 2012

Today was a bit stormy, but everything is going smooth on Everest. It was our first big carry day of the expedition, with 44 sherpas going to Camps 1 and 2 with loads. Tomorrow, we have 37 sherpas climbing to those camps. The report from the sherpas is that the Khumbu Icefall route looked pretty straightforward, and that everyone was up and down with no problems.

IMG Leader Mike Hamill reports that the Hybrid team had a good training day at Everest Base Camp today. They set up a "ropes course" and got everyone fully rigged with their harnesses, ascenders, and crampons. Then it was time to hit the ice, where they had a chance to practice on the fixed ropes, rappelling, and of course, crossing the ladders. These are super important skills to have well dialed before hitting the Icefall for the first time. Tomorrow morning, they are headed down to Lobuche Peak. This beautiful 20,000 foot climb is a perfect opportunity to do some more practice, plus gain some additional acclimatization. Ang Jangbu reports that our Lobuche Sherpa team of Tashi Tshering (11 time Everest summiter) and Mingma Tsering fixed ropes today to the South Summit of Lobuche. So, that route is all fixed and ready for the climbers when they get down there.

IMG leader Greg Vernovage reports that the Classic climbers and trekkers have been having a good acclimatization stay at Lobuche BC. Today they climbed up to the high camp for acclimatization, then back down to Lobuche BC. It's all money in the bank when it comes to acclimatizing. Tomorrow they will be moving up to Everest BC.

IMG guide Max Bunce reports that our Lhotse and Lobuche climbers and trekkers are doing well in Pheriche: "we arrived here yesterday after a beautiful hike from Deboche. The hike is one of my favorites with Ama Dablam dominating the sky line for the whole hike. John and Jef met back up with the main group after spending 2 days checking out the progress of the Sherpa climbing school in Phortse. Everyone is psyched to have the team back together. We are getting pretty lucky with the weather on our traveling days, with clear weather giving us great views of the surrounding mountains. Unfortunately our rest days (today is one) have been snowy and cold. Today we braved the cold and went on a day hike to Dingboche and even got a short glimpse of Lobuche across the valley. Tomorrow we head up to Lobuche BC and move into tents for the rest of the expedition. Everyone is in great health and having a great time!"

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Puja at Base Camp!

April 9, 2012

Today the Hybrid climbers, Trekkers, and Sherpas celebrated the first of the team's puja ceremonies, marking the start of the Everest season. Between prayers from the lama, eating, drinking, dancing, punctuated by rice and tsampa throwing, a good time was had by all!

Tomorrow we have 11 Sherpas headed with loads to Camp 1, and another 33 Sherpas headed with loads to Camp 2.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Climbers and Trekkers Arrive in Base Camp

April 8, 2012

IMG leader Mike Hamill called to report that the Hybrid trekkers and climbers have now successfully made it up to Everest BC, after 12 days of trekking. They did a good job taking it nice and easy on the way up, and the fact that everyone is doing well is the result. No point in rushing up to BC, if you are just going to feel sick when you get there!

IMG leader Greg Vernovage reports from Lobuche BC that the Classic team is also doing well. They will be spending two more nights down there, doing acclimatization hikes, before their move up to Everest Base Camp. Leader Max Bunce called to say his team was doing well, too, and were leaving Deboche today, on their way up to Pheriche. So far everything is going smoothly!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Snow in the Khumbu!

April 6, 2012

IMG third team leader Max Bunce reported from Namche that "yesterday we took an acclimatization hike up to the museum, and then continued up to Syangboche. From the museum we were able to get our first views of Ama Dablam and Everest. What a beautiful sight! The winds looked like they were very strong up high judging from the horizontal plume coming off Everest. Half the group decided to push further to Kunde for lunch. This morning we woke up to a couple of inches of snow on the ground and a light rain. After a good breakfast and no letup from the rain, the group decided to take a rest day and keep dry. Tomorrow we will be setting out for the town of Deboche near the Tengboche monastery, one of my favorite spots on the trek."

Up at Everest Base Camp, Ang Jangbu reports 4 inches of fresh snow this morning. Down at Lobuche Base Camp, our Hybrid team also reported about 4 inches of snow overnight, so it sounds like the whole valley got tagged. The climbing Sherpas will be reporting to Base Camp today. Their plan is to start working to establish Camps 1 and 2 on Everest over the coming week. That way, those camps will be established when the climbers are done with their acclimatization and ready to head up the hill!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Everyone Moving Up the Khumbu Valley

April 5, 2012

Ang Jangbu made it to Everest Base Camp today, and reports that the camp looks good. On his way up, he stopped at our Lobuche Peak Base Camp. The Hybrid team is on their way to Lobuche Peak BC now, where they will be spending several days. Their plan is to do further hiking and acclimatization in the Lobuche area, before moving into Everest BC.

Down in Deboche, Greg reports that the Classic team is doing well. Today they visited the Tengboche monastery, and also the bakery! Tomorrow they head to Pheriche, and along the way they plan to visit the Pangboche monastery, and the Lama Geshe. Down in Namche, Max and his team are enjoying their hiking and acclimatization days, and they will be moving up to Deboche tomorrow. So far, so good!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Hybrid Team at Pheriche; Khumbu Icefall Open!

April 3, 2012

Ang Jangbu reports from Pheriche, where he is now taking a rest day, after flying up by helicopter. He said that Ang Pasang passed through Pheriche with the yaks and gear loads, heading to Base Camp. Jangbu and our Head Cook Kazi are together and will be moving up to the Lobuche Base Camp tomorrow to get this camp set up.

Jangbu reports that in the afternoon he was joined by the Hybrid team, who trekked up from Deboche. Sounds like everyone is doing well. The team will take a rest/acclimatization day tomorrow to ensure that they get the best chance to stay healthy.

Good news from Everest Base Camp: the "Icefall Doctors" have now finished the route to Camp 1, and today two of the IMG Sherpas were able to sprint up and claim our campsites at Camp 1 and Camp 2!

Max Bunce and the climbers and trekkers with the final team that flew in yesterday morning were fortunate, as the weather got worse after they departed Kathmandu. By the time they got to Phakding, it was raining hard, and back in Kathmandu there were strong thunderstorms all afternoon long, with heavy rain.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

IMG Sherpa Leaders on the Move

April 3, 2012

IMG leader Greg Vernovage reports from Namche that the Classic climbers and trekkers had a chance to meet up yesterday with our Sirdar, Ang Pasang, who had come down to Syangboche to receive the loads that were flown up by helicopter from Jiri. Ang Pasang hails from Pangboche and has worked for IMG for about 15 years, doing multiple expeditions a year with our teams. A veteran of many 8000 meter summits, his main job now is to keep the Sherpa team running like a well-oiled machine, keeping track of the loads and carries that they do each day, and working with Greg and Ang Jangbu on executing the logistics plan. After visiting with the team, Ang Pasang headed back up towards Base Camp with a bunch of yaks, all loaded up with expedition gear.

IMG's longtime leader, Ang Jangbu, is also heading to Base Camp to start getting everything ready for the climbers. Jangbu has worked with Eric Simonson since 1991 and is responsible for organizing our Sherpa team and working with the IMG guides on running the expedition. Ang Jangbu is from Phortse, but now lives in Kathmandu with his family. He and his partner Pasang Tshering are responsible for logistics and permitting. Today Ang Jangbu hitched a ride on a helicopter up to Pheriche (14000 ft/4268m), and his plan is to head to Base Camp in the next couple days.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Third Team on Their Way

April 2, 2012

After a busy day of gear checks and packing, we had a nice dinner last night with the Everest, Lhotse, Lobuche climbers and trekkers, and everyone is looking forward to getting started. Overnight some clouds moved in here in Kathmandu, so I was a bit concerned whether the Lukla flights were going to go this morning, but it has turned out to be a decent day.

The team, led by IMG guide Max Bunce, was up at 3:15am to put the final touches on packing, store some bags at the hotel, get some breakfast, and be on the mini-bus by 4:45am for the trip to the airport. After check-in, they boarded the Twin Otter at 6:30 for the first flight of the day to Lukla.

Forty-five minutes later they had all safely arrived, which means that everyone on the IMG Everest team has now made it to the start of the trek. So far so good!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Monasteries and Helicopters

April 2, 2012

The Hybrid team climbers and trekkers are in Deboche today, which is situated in a rhododendron forest on the backside to the Tengboche ridge. They are enjoying an acclimatization day, and this morning they hiked back up to the famous Tengboche monastery (12687 ft/3867m). Tengboche (and the nearby nunnery) are must-see sites for the climbers and trekkers.

Back in Namche Bazaar (11,300 ft/3450m), the Classic team climbers and trekkers also took an acclimatization day today, with a nice hike up to Khumjung, the largest Sherpa village. Khumjung is famous for the Hillary School, the monastery (with the purported yeti scalp), and an excellent bakery. They will take another acclimatization day in Namche tomorrow as well.

Yesterday we sent a truckload of fresh food, frozen meat, equipment, and members' duffels to Jiri, a town to the east of Kathmandu, about half way to Mt. Everest. From there we chartered a helicopter to take the supplies to Syangboche (12402 ft/3780m) which is located above Namche. We were originally planning to fly everything in one flight of the big Russian MI-17 heli, but that craft was having mechanical problems, so we opted for multiple shuttles using the smaller AS350 B3 heli instead. Good news: all flights were successful, and everything is now moving towards Base Camp on yaks and porters.

Weather permitting, our final flights go tomorrow morning, with IMG guide Max Bunce heading to Lukla with the final wave of Everest trekkers and climbers, Lobuche climbers, and Lhotse climbers. This group is all in Kathmandu now, and spent the day today packing and getting ready for the flights early tomorrow. So far so good!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Hybrid Team Enjoying Namche

March 31, 2012

Yesterday was the Saturday market in Namche and the Hybrid team got a chance to take in the scene. All the local traders, people from surrounding villages, and Tibetans from Tingri (with loads of Chinese goods brought via Nangpa La by yak) all congregate on a small patch of terraces right smack in the middle of town (which is already tightly packed and bustling). The result is complete bedlam for a few hours.

Later in the day the team celebrated Lisa's birthday in the Khumbu Lodge (where they are staying). Sounds like the Hybrid Team is doing great, and everyone is getting to know each other well. Tomorrow they head up the trail to Deboche, their next stop on the way to Everest Base Camp.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Classic Team Arrives in Lukla

March 30, 2012

The Classic climbers and Trekkers (and all their duffel bags!) have now arrived to Lukla. After the big thunderstorm last night, the air was clear and calm this morning in Kathmandu, and the flights all went off without a hitch. Now the team is on their way to Phakding.

Up in Namche, IMG leader Mike Hamill reports that the hybrid and guided climbers are taking their second day of acclimatization hiking. Everyone is doing well and are having a good time. There was a forest fire down in the valley yesterday (near Monjo), and the air is a bit smokey. Otherwise, everything is going well!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Everest Classic Climbers and Trekkers Ready to Start

March 30, 2012

The IMG Classic Team members have now arrived in Kathmandu. Today, guides Greg Vernovage, Eric Remza, and Max Bunce did gear checks for the team and put the finishing touches on the team preparations. Tonight IMG hosted a welcome dinner for the team, which was a fun opportunity to get to know everyone better. This afternoon we had a thunder and lightening storm, with strong winds, which really cleared up the smog in the Kathmandu valley. The plan is to fly to Lukla tomorrow, weather permitting. So far everything is going well and the team is looking forward to hitting the trail!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

First Team Makes it to Phakding

March 28, 2012

The weather in Kathmandu was beautiful today and the team's two early morning Twin Otter flights went off without a hitch, with members and their duffels arriving on schedule to Lukla (9100ft/2800m). After some tea and snacks at the Lukla bakery, they hit the trail. Today the hike was pretty easy, basically downhill the whole way, with a lunch break along the way!

Now they are in Phakding (8500ft/2600m), one of my favorite spots. After traveling halfway around the world, it is great to spend the night down by the river and know that now all you have to do is walk!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Expedition Permits Issued; First Team Ready To Go!

March 27, 2012

Yesterday we did the briefing at the Ministry and received the climbing permits. This occasion is the official start of the expedition and means that we are ready to hit the trail!

In the evening, the guides, the first wave of climbers (guided and hybrid) and trekkers enjoyed a pleasant welcome dinner and drinks on the roof of the hotel. After a busy day in Kathmandu wrapping up all the inevitable last minute items, it was great to relax and get to know everyone a bit better. The team is packed and ready for the 4:45am departure to the airport for the flight to Lukla and the start of the trek to Base Camp.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

And They're Off!

March 23, 2012

Ang Jangbu reports that the first climbers and guides are starting to arrive to Kathmandu. Congrats to the climbers and trekkers for making it to Nepal — seriously! Sometimes just getting out the front door is the hardest part of the trip. It's great for the team to finally put their feet on the ground in Kathmandu after months of dreaming, training, packing, and traveling halfway around the world.

The IMG 2012 Everest, Lhotse, and Lobuche teams will trek to Base Camp in three waves. The first group is composed of the Everest guided/hybrid climbers and trekkers, led by Mike Hamill, Andy Polloczek, Justin Merle, and Jenni Fogle. The team will have a day or two in Kathmandu for tourism, doing the equipment checks, and getting packed up. Normally the climbers will send one duffel ahead to Base Camp with their high altitude gear, and will take one duffel with them on the trek. The first team is scheduled to fly to Lukla on the morning of March 28.

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone at the team welcome dinner in Kathmandu. It's always great to finally meet in person all the people I have been corresponding with for many months. Ang Jangbu reports that the Base Camp Sherpa team has been making good progress on constructing the camp. This time of the year the weather is cold and clear, with occasional storms. Temps at night up at EBC are below 0°F (-17.7°C) and during the day are near freezing.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

IMG Sherpas Begin Base Camp Construction

March 14, 2012

Ang Jangbu reports that our advance Sherpa team is now heading to Everest Base Camp to start working on camp. IMG's sirdar Ang Pasang is sending 14 sherpas and 2 cooks, led by Karma Rita. The advance team is responsible for building our three separate kitchen/dining facilities (for Sherpas, Classic, and Hybrid teams) as well as clearing sites and erecting our large tents for storage, meeting, and communications. They will also be building a number of toilet and shower facilities and many tent platforms for the smaller sleeping tents. It's a big job, and it will take them several weeks to hack a gorgeous camp from the rubble of the Khumbu Glacier.

Jangbu has also sent the Sherpa team list. It's interesting to see the villages where they live — the upper Khumbu valley is well represented with our local guys. It's a heck of a Sherpa Team, and that's a big credit to the leadership of Ang Jangbu, Pasang Tshering, and our sirdar Ang Pasang.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Domestic Expedition Food Packing Complete

March 1, 2012

This week we shipped out a big load of food and gear to Nepal. IMG leaders Greg Vernovage and Mike Hamill, with some help from Eben Reckord (Annapurna IV leader) packed, weighed, bagged, and labeled the boxes, and now it is all on the way via airfreight. Food packing has always been a lot of fun for me; it is great to get all the boxes opened up and make a big mess (followed by a whole van load of cardboard going to the Pierce Co. recycle facility!)

From Kathmandu we'll also be getting a lot of fresh food, as well as staple items. If will be super important for everyone to stay well fed on the expedition. In addition to the regular meal service at Base Camp and Camp 2, we'll also have the IMG BC food store open for selection of high altitude foods Since people tend to be finicky eaters up high, we have a lot of different options, depending on member food preferences. Before going up high, the Everest and Lhotse climbers will have a chance to pack their high attitude foods at base camp, so they will know exactly what they are going to be eating up high for their summit bids.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

An Everest-Sized Costco Run

Feb 28, 2012

IMG spring Nepal leaders Mike Hamill (Everest Hybrid), Eben Reckord (Annapurna 4), and Greg Vernovage (Everest Classic) did the big shopping run today at Costco, and have been breaking it all down, in preparation for the actual packing.

Just removing all the extra cardboard and packaging removes lots of weight and bulk. Then, we tape all the bottles of hot sauce shut, wrap fragile stuff in bubble wrap, and bag it all up in hundreds of clear plastic bags. Then, it's time to put everything in waxed boxes that will survive the trip to base camp on a yak!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Oxygen Shipments Mean Spring in the Himalayas

February 23, 2012

We know Everest season is right around the corner when our big oxygen shipment reaches Nepal. Now our Sherpa team is repacking the cylinders to survive the rugged trip to Base Camp on yaks.

We have also sent our first shipment of expedition food and gear, and all these items will be moving to Base Camp ahead of the arrival of the IMG team.

Up at Everest Base Camp, our lead team reports that everything looks good. There was a big storm up in the Khumbu last week, with high winds that removed the roofs from a number of homes in the valley. It is still not quite springtime yet in the Himalayas!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

The IMG 2012 Everest Expedition Leaders

IMG Expedition Leaders
Justin Merle
Greg Vernovage
Mike Hamill
Ang Jangbu Sherpa
Eric Remza
Andy Polloczek
Max Bunce
Jenni Fogle

2012 IMG Everest & Lhotse Sherpa Team

Ang Pasang (Pangboche)

Ang Karma (Phorste)
High Altitude Sherpa

Karma Dorjee Sherpa (Phortse)
High Altitude Sherpa

Mingma Sherpa (Phortse)
High Altitude Sherpa

Phutesi Sherpa (Phortse)
High Altitude Sherpa

Ang Nima Sherpa (Khumjung)
High Altitude Sherpa

Tshiring Ongchu Sherpa (Khumjung)
High Altitude Sherpa

Lhakpa Sherpa (Kerung)
High Altitude Sherpa

Nima Tamang (Shomare)
High Altitude Sherpa

Pemba Tshering I (Phorste)
High Altitude Sherpa

Tashi Tshering (Pangboche)
High Altitude Sherpa

Nawang Nuru (Dingboche)
High Altitude Sherpa

Nawang Tshiri (Phorste)
High Altitude Sherpa

Tshepal Dorje (Khunde)
High Altitude Sherpa

Mote (Shomare)
High Altitude Sherpa

Da Tshiri (Pangboche)
High Altitude Sherpa

Pasang Nuru (Pangboche)
High Altitude Sherpa

Rhita Gyanlen (Thame)
High Altitude Sherpa

Mingma Gyalzen (Phorste)
High Altitude Sherpa

Ang Gyalzen (Gharma)
High Altitude Sherpa

Chhering Sherpa (Makalu)
High Altitude Sherpa

Ngima Sherpa (Jantarkhani)
C II Cook

Pema Sherpa (Dolakha)
C II Cook

Shyam Prasad Pun (Myagdi)
C II Cook

Tashi Sherpa (Kathmandu)
C II Cook

Kunga Gurmi Sherpa (Pangboche)
C II Cook

Kaji Sherpa (Kerung)
BC Head Cook (Classic)

Dhan Sher Tamang (Solu)
BC Cook (Hybrid)

Ang Tshering Sherpa (Khumjung)
BC Cook (Sherpa)

Purna Shrestha (Solu)
BC Cook #2 (Classic)

Nima Sherpa (Solu)
BC Cook #2 (Hybrid)

Danuru Sherpa (Khunde)
BC Cook #2 (Sherpa)

3 yet to be decided
Assistant Cooks

Karma Rita (Phortse)
Personal Sherpa

Danuru (Phorste)
Personal Sherpa

Dasona (Pangboche)
Personal Sherpa

Dawa Phinjo (Rolwaling)
Personal Sherpa

Mingma Tenzing I (Phorste)
Personal Sherpa

Da Rhita (Phorste)
Personal Sherpa

Nima Karma (Phorste)
Personal Sherpa

Chewang Lendu (Phorste)
Personal Sherpa

Kancha Nuru (Phorste)
Personal Sherpa

Pasang Rinjing (Phorste)
Personal Sherpa

Phu Tashi (Pangboche)
Personal Sherpa

Pemba Dorje I (Pangboche)
Personal Sherpa

Kancha Nuru (Pangboche)
Personal Sherpa

Samduk Dorje (Pangboche)
Personal Sherpa

Pasang Yila (Pangboche)
Personal Sherpa

Phinjo Dorje (Pangboche)
Personal Sherpa

Tseten Dorje (Pangboche)
Personal Sherpa

Phunuru (Pangboche)
Personal Sherpa

Nima Nuru (Pangboche)
Personal Sherpa

Mingma Dorje (Phorste)
Personal Sherpa

Pasang Nuru (Phorste)
Personal Sherpa

Tenjing Gyalzen (Phorste)
Personal Sherpa

Mingma Nuru (Khunde)
Personal Sherpa

Nuru Gyalzen (Phorste)
Personal Sherpa

Mingma Tenzing II (Phorste)
Personal Sherpa

Phura Ongel (Pangboche)
Personal Sherpa

Pemba Dorje II (Pangboche)
Personal Sherpa

Mingma Tshering (Phorste)
Personal Sherpa

Lhakpa Tshiri (Khunde)
Personal Sherpa

Karma Gyalzen (Phortse)
Personal Sherpa

For more info on IMG's Guiding and Sherpa Team, please visit our Guides page »