2008 Nepal Everest Trek and Ama Dablam Climb  

2008 Nepal Trek and Ama Dablam Climb

Led by: Justin Merle, Eben Reckord, and Mark Tucker
Expedition directed by: Eric Simonson
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Nov 6, 2008  •  Ama Dablam Climbers Return to Kathmandu

Justin and Ang Jangbu report that the Ama Dablam team made it safely back to Kathmandu. The weather was bad the last two days and there were 1500 people in Lukla, waiting to fly! Fortunately, we had already had confirmed reservations for the team, so they made their scheduled flight! Tomorrow Eben will go in and do the post-expedition briefing at the Ministry oif Tourism. At that time the expedition is officially over.

From all of us here at IMG, thanks for following along!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

Nov 2, 2008  •  IMG Climbers Return to Base Camp

Ang Jangbu reports that the team are all safely back down at base camp. They have managed to clear the camps on their way down. Everyone is doing OK. Their plan is to take down base camp in the morning and hike down to Pangboche after lunch tomorrow, Namche the next day and Lukla the following day which puts them right on schedule (fly Lukla/Kathmandu on the 6th).

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

Nov 1, 2008  •  IMG Climbers Summit and Return to Camp 2

Justin called on the sat phone from C2 to report that the IMG climbers reached the summit today and have now returned to Camp 2.

They will descend to Base Camp tomorrow. So far so good!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

Oct 31, 2008  •  IMG Climbers at Camp 2; First Summits Today

Justin called on the sat phone from C2 to report that the IMG climbers made it up to C2 today and are in position to go to the summit tomorrow. Also today, the first summits on Ama Dablam were notched by members from Adrian's team. Congrats to those climbers, great to hear that the new route is a "go"! We'll keep you posted!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

Oct 30, 2008  •  Ama Dablam route now fixed above Camp 3

Justin called on the sat phone from C2 to report that today he, Adrian, along with sherpas from AC, HG, and Adrian's team successfully fixed past the Dablam Glacier. Thanks to Dorje who did much of the leading. It sounds like it was blue ice in places. We should have summits tomorrow on Ama Dablam!

Justin will drop down tomorrow and meet the IMG climbers (now at C1) as they move up to C2 tomorrow. So, hopefully our team will be able to summit the following day from C2. We'll keep you posted!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

Oct 30, 2008  •  Ama Dablam Climbers on the Move

Yesterday Justin and Kami climbed from BC to C2 to work on the fixing today above C3, joining a "fixing party" with the sherpas from several other expeditions. Today the IMG climbers with Eben and Ang Pasang are moving up to C1. Let's hope the conditions above are reasonable for climbing!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

Oct 27, 2008  •  Ama Dablam Route Report

Yesterday Justin and Kami climbed from C1 to C3, then descended all the way back to Base Camp. At the same time Ang Pasang with Al, Michael, and Juliusz climbed up to below the Yellow Tower (on the way to C2) and then descended to BC. Eben and Joe climbed up to C1 and are now spending the night there. Justin reports that the route between C1-C2 is basically the same as normal with a little more snow here and there. From C2-C3 the route definitely has more snow, and is in places corniced along the ridge crest. The site of C2 is all snow, whereas it is normally rocky.

The site of C3 was definitely hit by ice debris last week from the calving Dablam Glacier, and there is debris on the camp site. Justin reports that there are several snow crown fractures above C3 that are the remnants of slab avalanche activity. At least one of these slab avalanches was likely triggered by icefall. Justin thinks the extreme climber's right of the Dablam Glacier looks more do-able, and less threatened by further icefall hazard than further to the left.

The plan now is for some of the IMG guides and sherpas to go up to C2 on the 29th, then attempt to fix above C3 on the 30th, then drop back down to C1 and meet our team members. They will all then re-ascend to C2 on the 31st, and attempt the summit on the 1st, climbing from C2. Justin says he hopes that Adrian's Alpenglow team and sherpas will join in this "fixing party" along with some of the other teams on the mountain. So, that is the plan for now, at least until it changes. We'll keep you posted!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

Oct 26, 2008  •  Lobuche Team in KTM; Ama Dablam Team Moving Up

Ang Jangbu reports that the Lobuche team flew back to Kathmandu today from Lukla. Back on Ama Dablam, today, Ang Pasang and Kami climbed up to Camp 2 and reserved some tent sites. Apparently the camp is all snow (normally it is rock) as is much of the route from C1-C3.

Also today, Justin, Julius, Al, and Mike headed up to C1, and Eben and Joe went to the intermediate camp, halfway to Camp 1. Tomorrow the plan is for the climbers to ascend higher, then drop back to Base Camp, while Justin and Kami will continue on up to C3 to personally inspect the route above.

There has been a lot of rumors circulating about the route conditions above C3, below the Dablam Glacier, where there were several ice avalanches last week when the glacier calved off and swept the slopes below. We need to get some people up there who have actually climbed the mountain before, and who know the mountain very well, to evaluate the conditions. Kami and Justin have more than a dozen climbs of Ama Dablam between them, so we'll know soon what the conditions are like up high, and we'll keep you posted!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

Oct 23, 2008  •  Ama Dablam Base Camp

Justin reports that the entire Ama Dablam team has now reached Base Camp, and tomorrow they have their puja scheduled.

After that, Ang Pasang and Kami will head up to C1 to start working on establishing that camp. The expedition members will take a rest day at BC tomorrow, with the plan to probably head up to C1 the following day, depending on how everyone is doing. The members will (hopefully) have the Bgan internet terminal set up soon, so we should have some photos of the puja coming tomorrow!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

Oct 21, 2008  •  Trekkers Back to KTM; Climbers to Dingboche

Both of the IMG groups of EBC trekkers flew out today and are now safely back to Kathmandu. The members of Justin's team hiked out to Namche and Lukla and flew out from there on the fixed wing aircraft. Tucker's group flew out from Pheriche on the helicopter. Justin reports that the climbers are now in Dingboche. Tomorrow the Lobuche climbers head down to Namche, while the Ama Dablam climbers will take a rest day, getting ready to head up to Ama Dablam Base Camp. Eben and Joe are spending a second night in Pangboche, after a day of acclimatization hiking, and will go to Dingboche tomorrow.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

Oct 20, 2008  •  Summit!

Justin reports that the group had a nice climb of Lobuche Peak, and have now safely descended to base camp. It sounds like the weather was good and recent snow on the peak actually improved the footing on the granite slabs below the summit ridge. Justin reports that the sherpas installed about 500 meters of fixed rope to safeguard the climb.

IMG sherpa Kami reports that Ama Dablam Base Camp is now established. Justin's team, Eben and Joe, and Kami and Ang Pasang will all be meeting up and moving to Ama Dablam Base Camp in the next couple days. Mark Tucker and his team had a nice trek to Everest Base Camp and have now descended to Pheriche, where they are scheduled to meet their charter helicopter in the morning. Jangbu reports that the helicopter flew to Lukla, where it will overnight, so it can start flying them back to Kathmandu at the crack of dawn tomorrow!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

Oct 19, 2008  •  Lobuche Peak

Yesterday Justin and the climbers moved up to the Lobuche Peak Base Camp (about 15,800') and then today they moved up to the Lobuche Peak high camp (about 17,000' ) that's situated by a picturesque alpine lake. The route and conditions look good for their summit attempt tonight. They will plan an alpine start, with a couple of the sherpas going ahead to fix some rope. IMG guide Eben Reckord and Joe Canepari are heading to Tangboche tomorrow for their rondevous with the team at Ama Dablam.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

Oct 17, 2008  •  Everest Base Camp and Beyond!

Today most of Justin's team went up to Everest Base Camp, and took in the sights (and sounds!) at the base of the Khumbu Icefall. It is an awe inspiring place. Now they have all descended to Lobuche. Tucker is also in Lobuche tonight, after taking an acclimatization day there with his group. Tomorrow Tucker's team goes to Gorak Shep and Justin's group splits, with the climbers heading for Lobuche Peak BC and the trekkers heading down the valley towards the worldly delights of Namche. The weather remains excellent!

IMG guide Eben Reckord did the Ama Dablam briefing at the Ministry of Tourism a few days ago, and today he and Joe Canepari flew in to Lukla and started trekking up to Ama Dablam BC, where they will meet Justin and the other climbers in a few days. Tomorrow Ang Pasang will pull the SPCC permit for Ama Dablam in Namche (pay the garbage deposit) after which time we have the green light to establish that Base Camp for the IMG team.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

Oct 16, 2008  •  Kala Patthar!

Justin reports that his team moved today up to Gorak Shep (about 17,000') which is the last little outpost of civilization on the way to Everest Base Camp (there are a couple small lodges here). This afternoon the team took advantage of spectacular weather and many of them ascended to the summit of Kala Patthar (about 18,200'). This is the small summit that rises above, with famous views of Everest and the Khumbu. Tomorrow the group will hike up to Everest Base Camp, then descend back down to Lobuche. So far so good!!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

Oct 15, 2008  •  Trekkers Move Higher

Justin reports that his team moved today up to Lobuche (about 16,000'). Tucker's group is in Dingboche and they will be moving up to Lobuche tomorrow. Lobuche is the last year round village, nestled along the lateral moraine of the Khumbu glacier.

The route to Lobuche climbs from the valley floor above Pheriche up the big hill at Dugla, then past the the famous sherpa chortens at the end of the Khumbu glacier. These memorials to fallen sherpas are a reminder that these are hazardous mountains! The weather is excellent, clear and crisp, and the full moon makes the evening vista even more spectacular! Everyone is doing well and seems to be acclimatizing normally.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

Oct 13, 2008  •  Everest Trekkers visit Tengboche Monastery

Merle and Tucker's trek groups moved yesterday to Deboche. This is a nice hike, first down to the crossing of the Dudh Kosi River at Phunki Thanka, with its famous collection of water driven prayer wheels. Then, it is a climb back up and over the big Tengboche ridge. The weather was good, and the team visited the famous Tengboche Monastery.

Today, Tucker's team takes a second night in Deboche, which provided the opportunity to return to Tengboche for some more exploration, and also the scheduled helicopter departure of five of the members back to Kathmandu. Meanwhile, today, Justin's team has moved further up the valley to Dingboche, the last big Sherpa village in the valley at 14,200' where they will take an acclimatization day tomorrow. Now, they start to really feel like they are entering the upper part of the Khumbu valley — the tree line is below them, and they are beginning to enter the alpine zone. They will do some hiking tomorrow and maybe visit the HRA clinic in Pheriche.

Everything is going well, the weather has been good, and members are all doing fine.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

Oct 11, 2008  •  Everest Trekkers in Namche, Ready to Move to Deboche

Justin Merle's trek group linked up with Mark Tucker's group in Namche Bazaar and it sounds like they had fun together. They were all tourists, enjoying the bakery and internet cafe, visiting the Saturday local market, cruising around the town.

Tomorrow everyone heads for Tengboche Monastary, then they drop down the backside of the ridge a bit to Deboche, which is a nice place to camp. Everything is going well, the weather has been good, and members are all doing fine.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

Oct 9, 2008  •  Second Trek Group Arrives Lukla and Begins Trek

Pasang in Kathmandu reports that the EBC/Lobuche/Ama Dablam group led by Justin Merle successfully flew to Lukla this morning and have now started their trek to Base Camp. All's well. They will trek to Phakding today, then to Namche tomorrow.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

Oct 7, 2008  •  First Trek Groups arrives Lukla, Second Group prepares to depart Kathmandu

Our first trek group, led by IMG guide Mark Tucker, has started their trek with the flight to Lukla today and now they are headed to Phakding. The second group, led by IMG guide Justin Merle, will leave Kathmandu tomorrow. Everyone is doing well and looking forward to starting the trek to Everest Base Camp, Lobuche Peak, and Ama Dablam.

One piece of bad news that you may hear about — there was a plane crash today in Nepal involving trekkers flying into Lukla, but this did not involve our group.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Director

The IMG Nepal Trek and Ama Dablam Team

Ama Dablam Climb

IMG Guide: Justin Merle
IMG Guide: Eben Reckord

Michael Creamer
Al Schumer
Juliusz Gawlas
Joe Canepari

Autumn Everest BC Trek

Robert Shaw
Elizabeth Creamer
Larry Alleva
Susan Alleva
Peter Monaghan
Patrick Monaghan
Tye Chapman
Thomas Jackman
Lisa Hendrickson

Autumn Everest Base Camp Trek with Lobuche Peak Climb

Toban Zolman
Carmen Zolman
Monika Steinlechner

Private Everest BC Trek

IMG Guide: Mark Tucker
Susan Alpert
Bud Alpert
William McAdam
Kathy Morrissey
Jim Morrissey
Lee Reynolds
Marilyn Rosenwein
Howard Cohen
Leigh Teece
John Nees
Paul Stephens
Eleanor Stephens