2005 Everest South Side Expedition 
Directed by Eric Simonson • Led by Mark Tucker 

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

June 7, 2005 — Final Wrap Up

Ang Jangbu reports that it rained hard in Kathmandu yesterday and that he thinks the monsoon has started. Good timing!! All team member have now returned to Kathmandu in the last 24 hours via flights from Lukla or Shyangboche. Much of the expedition equipment has been left in our IMG storeroom in Pangboche for the Ama Dablam expedition this autumn. All that is left in Khumbu is some additional expedition equipment still in Shyangboche and Lukla waiting to be flown down to Kathmandu. Hopefully the weather will cooperate to allow these flights today. Yesterday, Expedition Leader Mark Tucker did the final briefing at the Nepal Ministry of Tourism with the Liaison Officer. Now Ang Jangbu and Ang Pasang are working to turn in the final accounting of all the garbage that was removed from the mountain, including the human waste from Base Camp to Gorak Shep ($1.00 per kilo!), the burnable garbage to the incinerator in Namche, the cans, bottles and batteries to Kathmandu, and the re-export of the oxygen cylinders—so we can get our $8000 in garbage deposits back.

I always say that what makes Everest interesting is that no two expeditions are ever the same, and this past season has been no exception. Despite the unusual weather IMG successfully supported sixteen successful summit climbers between the IMG and National University of Singapore teams. Congrats to all of them, and thanks to everyone who followed the expedition through our reports. This expedition is now officially over!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director

June 1, 2005

Update: we've just heard from Base Camp about some exciting news on the National University of Singapore team which that has now almost put some climbers on top of Everest this morning, they're really close. The Singapore team was also supported by IMG logistics and the two teams worked and lived side by side during much of the expedition. Meanwhile, a few more IMG team members have chosen to depart their home-away-from-home (Base Camp) and start the trek down to Lukla. Mike Hamill, Jeff Strite, Wayne Morris and Jose Rionda are all walking downhill now on their trek home.

We'll update you when we get more news...

— Erin Simonson, International Mountain Guides

June 1, 2005

Just a quick update on the status of IMG's team in various stages of heading home. Doug Brockmeyer and Jim Waldron were understandably ready to leave Base Camp, so they chartered a helicopter to pick them up at Base Camp and transport them (and guide Dave Hahn) down to Lukla where they next caught a short flight to Kathmandu, where they are now taking a shower in their hotel before heading out for breakfast. In a complete close call, the helicopter then returned to Base Camp to pick up the next charter group from a different expedition, and we've received reports from Base Camp that the helicopter augered into the helipad and is a total wreck. Fortunately, no serious injuries occurred, but it highlights the vulnerability of air transport into and out of Base Camp and also gives rise to the potential need to conduct a salvage expedition to remove the crashed helicopters that are starting to accumulate there.

Meanwhile, Peter, Ed and Rex are due to arrive at Base Camp this morning after overnighting at Camp 2, and the sherpas will continue to pull down the camps in the next day or two. Everyone else is relaxing in the relative luxury of the thick air of Base Camp and some of the team members will begin their trek downhill tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, a few expedition teams are trying to summit right now, including the National University of Singapore team. We wish all those still up high a safe and speedy descent, we'll let you know as others leave Base Camp heading for Kathmandu.

— Erin Simonson, International Mountain Guides

June 1, 2005

Everyone is coming down.

Mark Tucker confirms that the team is now in the process of pulling off the hill. Peter, Rex, and Ed made it safely down from the Col to Camp 2. The Sherpas have already pulled most of the gear from C3 and C4 and everyone is heading for Base Camp. With the end-of-the-season warm-up the conditions with the ladders and crevasses starts to deteriorate, so it is definitely more dicey now than it was a month or two ago. Keep your fingers crossed that the Icefall continues to be kind to the team for another day or two!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director

May 31, 2005  •  4pm PST

We should have final word from Mark Tucker in the next few hours, but it is starting to look like the IMG Everest expedition is about ready to enter into the final stage... getting everyone and everything off the mountain safely. Last night Peter Ford, Mingma Ongel, and Ang Passang were unable to leave the Col due to strong winds. The forecast for the next several days does not look to be any better... the winds are apparently back again, marking a pretty small "window"... what a strange season this has been! At least we got in a couple good summit bids, which is more than a lot of teams have been able to do this year. We will confirm all of this in the next few hours, but it is starting to look like Peter will probably descend from the South Col this morning with Rex and Ed. Once they start down, the Sherpas will start pulling down the camps. All the tents, oxygen, garbage, fuel canisters, personal gear... everything... needs to come down over the next few days. It is a big job, and the Sherpas will be carrying some heavy loads! We'll keep you posted.

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director

May 31, 2005  •  1:30am PST

Tucker reports that Ed and Rex are back to the Col, and that everyone else, except for Pete, is now on their way down to either Camp 3 or (preferably) Camp 2. Pete is staying at the Col to try again tonight along with Mingma Ongel and Ang Pasang. It sounds like everyone is doing OK.

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director

May 30, 2005  •  8:15pm PST

We are pleased to announce that Rex Pemberton, age 20, became the youngest Australian to summit Mt. Everest at 8:45am on May 31, 2005 (Nepal time.) He was joined on the summit by fellow IMG climber Ed Diffendal and Da Sona Sherpa (his sixth summit of Everest) and Pasang Sherpa. We're psyched for these four climbers and wish them a speedy and safe return to the South Col!

— Erin Simonson, International Mountain Guides

May 30, 2005  •  7:15pm PST

It has been a difficult climb, with quite a bit of cold and wind today. Several more of the IMG climbers have now had to turn back, for various reasons. Walter, Renate, and Jose turned from near the Balcony and Mike, Jeff, and Wayne turned from between the Balcony and South Summit. Ed and Rex have pushed on and are now reported to be climbing the Hillary Step. The weather is "OK", but not great. They are making good time, so hopefully they will be able to tag the summit soon and start back down. We'll keep you posted!

— Erin Simonson, International Mountain Guides

May 30, 2005  •  4:15pm PST

IMG expedition leader Mark Tucker called us just a few minutes ago to give us the update. It is Tuesday pre-dawn on Everest and conditions are less than perfect for a summit day with cold and wind at play, but still looking like it's possible to summit. Walter Laserer, Renate Schachinger and Jose Rionda have decided to turn around near the Balcony and are now en route back down to the South Col. If they arrive there early enough and still have some energy left, Mark will encourage them to try to continue to descend so they can rest at the lowest altitude possible. The rest of the IMG climbers continue upward toward the summit, including Mike Hamill, Wayne Morris, Jeff Strite, Ed Diffendal and Rex Pemberton. We'll continue to update you all as news comes in.

— Erin Simonson, International Mountain Guides

May 30, 2005  •  2pm PST

Following up on our earlier dispatch, the second wave of IMG climbers has now left the high camp heading for the summit with much of the cloud cap that built up earlier dissipated and winds in the category of 'breezy' at the Col. With conditions looking OK for the time being and tomorrow's weather looking more uncertain, they've decided to take their shot now. Walter Laserer, Renate Schachinger, Ed Diffendal and Rex Pemberton pulled out of Camp 4 first, and then Mike Hamill, Wayne Morris, Jeff Strite and Jose Rionda left a little while later. Peter Ford elected not to leave Camp 4 and remains there at this time. Ang Jangbu and Mark Tucker are on deck for another all-nighter from Base Camp. We'll keep you posted.

— Erin Simonson, International Mountain Guides

May 30, 2005  •  11am PST

Despite the snow squall and wind that came through during the Everest summit region on Monday afternoon and evening (Nepal time), the second wave of IMG climbers has decided to start climbing. Walter Laserer, Renate Schachinger, Rex Pemberton and Ed Diffendal have already left Camp 4 and begun to move up, with the others at Camp 4 brewing and preparing now to leave camp soon. We'll let you know when Mark confirms those that have also definitely started climbing.

These climbers' decision to go ahead and climb now was prompted in part by the updated weather forecast, which predicts a possible new disturbance forming 1,000 miles to the west and moving toward Mt. Everest. This might cause the winds to start increasing again over the next couple days. From what Mark tells us, it sounds like everyone considered their options (to climb now or wait 24 hours for hoped-for improvement in the conditions) and ultimately decided that it was not likely to improve much after waiting another day, could in fact get worse, and that made more sense to go now, especially with the route already kicked in by yesterday's summit climbers.

We'll keep you posted as the events of the evening of Monday, May 30 and morning of Tuesday, May 31 (Nepal time) unfold.

— Erin Simonson, International Mountain Guides

May 30, 2005  •  4:15am PST

Dave Hahn
6 time Everest Summiter
We've just heard from Mark Tucker at Everest Base Camp. Dave Hahn, after successfully reaching the summit of Everest for the 6th time, has returned to Camp 4 at the South Col with fellow summiter Doug Brockmeyer. (See the official team report submitted to the Nepal Ministry of Tourism below.) Jim Waldron has also made it back to the Col, as did Da Nuru (after making his 6th visit to the top,) Mingma (after his first summit,) and Phu Nuru (after his second summit of Everest.)

The weather has deteriorated with some precipitation and winds coming into play this afternoon, all of which made the going slow and precluded their ability to descend farther down the mountain. We understand that some climbers who attempted the summit today have not made it back to their high camps yet and are still struggling down through these marginal conditions.

The rest of the IMG team pulled into the South Col as well, these people on their way uphill. Right now they are resting in preparation to begin a possible summit attempt in a few hours, but all eyes are on the weather and we won't know until then whether or not any of them will continue up given the snow and wind outside right now. Included in this group are Rex Pemberton, Ed Diffendal, Peter Ford, Mike Hamill, Jose Rionda, Jeff Strite, Wayne Morris, Walter Laserer and Renate Schachinger.

We'll let you know what they decide when we can... here's the official report filed by our team's liason officer after today's summit success:

Everest Base Camp Monday, 30 May 2005
09:30 am

Da Nuru Sherpa
6 time Everest Summiter
His Majesty's Government
Ministry Of Culture, Tourism & Civil Aviation
Tourism Industry Division
Mountaineering Section
Brikuti Mandap
Kathmandu, Nepal

Please to be informed that the following team members of 2005 IMG EVEREST EXPEDITION has successfully reached the summit of Mt. Everest on 30 May 2005:
  1. Mr. David A. Hahn (USA) REACHED at 09:34 for the 6th time
  2. Mr. Douglas L. Brockmeyer (USA) REACHED 09:34
  3. Mr. Da Nuru Sherpa (Khumjung 9, Phortse Solukhumbu) 6th time Everest summit REACHED 09:34 for the 6th time
  4. Mr. Mingma Tenzing Sherpa (Khumjung 9, Phortse Solukhumbu) first time summit REACHED 09:34 for the first time
  5. Mr. Phu Nuru Sherpa (Khumjung 9, Phortse Solukhumbu) 2 time summit REACHED 09:15 AM for the second time

Prabodh Sagar Dhakal
Liaison Officer

— Erin Simonson, International Mountain Guides

May 29, 2005  •  9:15pm PST

The shadow of Everest at sunrise
Mark Tucker just called to report that after some slow going following the group putting in the ropes on the last portion of the route, IMG team members Dave Hahn, Doug Brockmeyer, Mingma Sherpa, Danuru Sherpa and Phunuru Sherpa reached the summit of Mt. Everest at 9:34am. The weather is still holding OK with a few clouds around, but there are quite a few people on the route below them and things seemed a bit "backed up." Jim Waldron, an experienced Himalayan climber and Cho Oyu summiter, was caught behind much of this back up and turned around near the South Summit. We'll keep you updated as we hear more from the mountain...

— Erin Simonson, International Mountain Guides

May 29, 2005  •  6:45pm PST

Mark Tucker phoned in at about 7am Nepal time. The progress of the advance team of Sherpas fixing the route to the summit has been slower than hoped due to the depth of the snow and their desire to do a good job with it, but they are making OK progress and have now reached the base of the Hillary Step.

Climbers below the Hillary Step

Dave Hahn and Doug Brockmeyer are waiting at the South Summit, with Jim Waldron below them, and there are about 40-50 climbers backed up along the route between the Balcony and the South Summit. The weather is holding and Mark thinks we'll see some summits by about 9 or 10am Nepal time. The climbers will be monitoring their O2 supply closely given that the progress to this point has been slower than normal and the amount of O2 they've consumed is more than usual. All said, right now we hope to see some climbers on the summit in the next few hours via the South Col route (for the first time this season!) While this summit day has not gone as quickly as we all hoped, this is the lot of the first group up every year. Word is that there are many, many climbers now in route to the Col from Camp 3, so tomorrow looks to be an even busier day on the summit segment of the route as long as the weather continues to hold. More updates when we hear from the mountain...

— Erin Simonson, International Mountain Guides

May 29, 2005  •  6pm PST

Mark Tucker phoned in at about 5am Nepal time to let us know that progress up high is going much slower than the climbers had hoped. The team out in front fixing the route was moving slow and things were getting backed up with the route almost in to the South Summit.

Climbers just below the South Summit

While they were not too far behind schedule to make summits a reality today, all are hoping the progress can move ahead better so that the delays don't end up causing climbers to wait too long and get too cold waiting for forward progress. We'll update you all as more news comes in.

— Erin Simonson, International Mountain Guides

May 29, 2005

We just heard from Mark Tucker. He said that he and Ang Jangbu just finished moving the space heaters into the comms tent. That means that he and Ang Jangbu are preparing for an all-night vigil by the radio base station and sat phone, and they want some supplemental heat to help make the long night as warm for them as possible.

Climbers heading up from the South Col

Dave Hahn, Doug Brockmeyer and Jim Waldron arrived safely at the South Col, settled in for a rest, and are expected to begin their climb to the summit any minute now. The winds at the South Col were reported as calm, the wee hours of the morning look good for them. Mark plans to update us as they reach certain milestones on the ascent, including the Balcony, the South Summit, and hopefully the top.

A team of seven Sherpas representing several different expeditions will lead the charge and fix the remaining route to the summit. Mark appreciated the spirit of cooperation among the various expedition leaders that enabled this final collaboration to occur.

The rest of the IMG climbers pulled safely into Camp 3 and Mark reports that all are feeling OK and plan to get some sleep and then move up to the high camp early in the morning. If all goes well, they will be 24 hours behind the first wave and should start their final push uphill to the summit at about this time tomorrow.

— Erin Simonson, International Mountain Guides

May 28, 2005

Climbers on the Lhotse Face
Everyone is rolling now.

Expedition Leader Mark Tucker reports on Sunday morning (Nepal time) that the entire IMG team are now moving uphill. Dave, Doug, Jim and the lead Sherpas are heading for the Col, after a reasonable night at Camp 3. Everyone else is now en route to Camp 3. The weather is still a bit blustery, but signs point to gradual improvement. Hopefully everyone will reach camp, either C3 or C4, early in the afternoon with plenty of time to rest, eat, and hydrate. Tomorrow is going to come early. We expect that the lead team will wake up at about 9pm and be leaving the Col well before midnight, and the C3 team will wake up about 3am and try to be climbing by about 5am or so... just after first light.

Needless to say, it is very cold up high... just think about the temperature at your cruising altitude the last time you were flying in a commercial jet. We have known several climbers that have suffered frozen corneas in the early morning hours up high... good reason to wear some sort of eye protection, even in the dark. Let's keep our fingers crossed that the weather remains reasonable and that everyone keeps a clear head!

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director

May 27, 2005

Good news!

We finally have climbers heading up for summit bids. The first wave, composed of Dave Hahn, Doug Brockmeyer, and Jim Waldron (climbing with Dawa Nuru) are headed for Camp 3 today (Nepal time, the 28th). The plan is to go to the Col on the 29th, with a summit bid on the 30th. Joining them on the summit bid will be a number of IMG sherpas in support to help fix ropes. This initial bid will be in conjunction with the rope fixing. It would have been nice to have gotten more fixing in ahead of the lead team, however with the window getting squeezed so close now to the very end of the permitted climbing period, the team has decided that it is better to send a strong lead team ahead to punch in the route and start making things happen! The weather is still windy up high, but the forecast is for continued improvement over the next few days, with the jet stream definitely starting to move to the north. By the 30th the jet core is supposed to be 1500 miles north of Everest at 12,000 meters. The rest of the IMG team is planning to move up one day behind the first team.

— Eric Simonson, International Mountain Guides Director

May 27, 2005

As promised in our last update, everything on Everest is subject to change. It is now the evening of May 27th Nepal time and the team has decided to delay a little longer before heading uphill. The weather forecast looks even more promising for a visit to the summit one or two days later than their projected May 29th summit date, so the team has chosen to hold back at Camp 2.

Camp 2

They will review this decision more often than daily, but for now, it appears more likely that they will move up to Camp 3 tomorrow or the next day (May 28th or 29th), then go to the high camp on either May 29th or 30th, and potentially push to the summit as early as May 30th or 31st. We might even see this schedule get stretched one day later with the team moving to Camp 3 on the 30th, to the South Col on the 31st, and summit bids on June 1st.

The good news is the jet stream definitely appears to be heading elsewhere, which is what they want. So, we're all playing it one day at a time, any day now it is going to happen, stay tuned!

— Erin Simonson, International Mountain Guides

May 25, 2005

We've just heard from the team on Everest and this is the way it looks at this point: (Remember, on Everest everything is subject to change!) As of Thursday morning, May 26 (Nepal time) the climbers have all decided to spend one more day at Camp 2 before beginning to stage up higher and push for the summit. The weather forecast shows great enough improvement likely for the 29th to make it worth the wait. So, on Friday morning, May 27th, they will all climb to Camp 3 on the Lhotse Face, and then on Saturday morning, May 28th, they will push up to the high camp, Camp 4, on the South Col. There they will rest for a few hours, melt snow for water, eat, maybe try to sleep a little, and then in the wee hours of the morning on Sunday, May 29th, they will attempt to reach the summit.

Since all of this is happening approximately 11 hours ahead of US Pacific time, we'll be monitoring all this on Saturday afternoon and evening. So, if all goes according to plan in the next 24-48 hours and you want to know what is going on with summit bids while it happens, check your email on Saturday and Sunday!

The main drawback to the current scenario is that everyone else on the mountain is planning to go for it at about the same time. The weather patterns have basically forced everyone looking for a nice day to climb to wait until now, and with permits expiring soon and the season about to close, it's "now or next year" for just about everyone on the hill. We should see an interesting few days with hundreds of climbers moving to the summit in unison.

— Erin Simonson, International Mountain Guides

May 24, 2005

It is Tuesday, May 24th, in the evening here in the Western US, but it is already Wednesday morning, May 25th in Nepal. All members of the IMG group either moved up to Advance Base Camp (Camp 2) on Tuesday, or are in the process of doing so right now. By nightfall Wednesday (Nepal time) the entire climbing team will be poised and ready to move quickly when the predicted weather improvement (now forecast to improve gradually starting on the 27th or 28th and looking even better on the 29th and 30th) starts to materialize. From Camp 2, the climbers are only 2 days away from the high camp, so they are right where they want to be when the green light appears. Mark Tucker and Ang Jangbu Sherpa remain at Base Camp in position to man the central communications system and coordinate the movement and location of the entire 32-person expedition team now heading uphill. Now's the time they've all planned and prepared and waited for, and it looks like the next few days will become the culmination of that enormous investment on everyone's part. Once summit bids actually start occuring, we'll plan to send several dispatches each day through both day and night to keep you informed of their status.

— Erin Simonson, International Mountain Guides

May 23, 2005

Finally some news to report! After a week of waiting for conditions to improve, Expedition Leader Mark Tucker reports that while the forecast is still unclear for the future, most of the climbers are preparing to start their summit bids in the next few days. The first group, including Dave Hahn, Doug Brockmeyer, Rex Pemberton, Ed Diffendal and Jim Waldron moved up to Camp 2 yesterday to get in position. The rest of the climbers are expected to move up in the next day or two. Current plans have the Sherpas going high to fix ropes above the South Sol on the 27th, with possible summit attempts by the first wave as early as the 27th or 28th. All of this continues to be dependent on the weather, which is still not exhibiting a clearly defined "window." The jet stream continues to fluctuate in the Everest area, alternately providing for some reasonable conditions over the last few days coupled with some high winds. The optimal solution would be for the jet stream to move to the north, as it typically does when the monsoon regime begins to form, and then stay there for awhile. Let's hope that pattern shows up soon in the forecasts.

Several of you have recently asked for more details on the climbing route and number of camps between Base Camp and the summit on Everest's South Col route in Nepal. You can check out this nice graphic on the www.GreatOutdoors.com website where our team is also directly posting brief daily sat phone calls. The nice route map is at:
www.GreatOutdoors.com Hope this helps give you a better visual image of the layout of the route and the camps.

— Erin Simonson, International Mountain Guides

May 17, 2005

Dear Friends and Family:

We've been talking to the folks at Base Camp every day and the story is generally about the same: weather forecasts show crummy conditions up high (a lot of wind) so the team has continued to mull around and bide their time hoping for forecast improvement. This 'down time' gets pretty frustrating after so much activity for several weeks at the beginning of the expedition, and sometimes the patience to keep waiting can be in short supply. People just want to climb! Anyway, yesterday's forecast did show some improving trends, but sadly not enough improvement to get everyone completely exciting about suiting up and heading toward the summit.

Fixed rope on the route above the Col has been put in almost to the Balcony despite the windy scene up high. Rex Pemberton has decided to stage himself up to Advance Base Camp (Camp 2) in order to be in a better position to climb if the forecast improvements turn out to present enough of a crack in the window for him to contemplate a summit bid. A few other groups on the mountain are also considering the same strategy. We hope that if they decide to go high in the next few days that the weather cooperates enough to make a trip to the summit feasible for them.

Summit bids are fairly committing and timing is a huge part of the success formula. Once up to high camp (Camp 4) at the South Col, climbers are generally on supplemental O2 while resting and sleeping and there is only a certain amount of time that can be spent there before the body deteriorates to the point that the final leg of the journey to the summit becomes unwise or undoable. There is also a finite amount of O2 at the high camp to be consumed waiting and sleeping there. The challenge in mounting a summit bid is to time it right and wait at Base Camp until a good window of weather looks likely about 4 or 5 days out in the future. When climbers see that window, they start climbing, hoping that their trip up through Camps 2, 3 and 4 while things are less than perfect will put them in a position to enjoy a summit day in good conditions. If they move up too early and then have to delay at the South Col, they can deplete themselves and their O2 resources before they get a chance to try for the summit. If they move up too late, any opening in the weather can come and go before they make the 3-day climb to the high camp to position themselves for a summit day. Once they commit to that summit day and start their climb above the Col in the pre-dawn darkness, they really start to deplete their energy and O2. Few climbers are strong enough to mount a summit attempt from the Col but then do a turn-around due to poor weather, return to the high camp and try it again a day later. Most climbers only have enough strength to take one shot at the top from the high camp, so they try to save themselves for that one good day and time it so they get that day shortly upon arrival at Cam  4.

With only about 2 weeks left in the climbing calendar, the season is starting to get a little more compressed. If things seem likely to improve soon, we'll probably see a LOT of climbers moving uphill at the same time. We'll keep you posted!

— Erin Simonson, International Mountain Guides

May 12, 2005

The entire IMG team is now at Base Camp, waiting for good weather to begin the summit bids. Ang Jangbu sent these shots yesterday via satellite phone:

The IMG Everest 2005 Expedition in Base Camp

The IMG Everest 2005 Sherpas

May 10, 2005

Dear Friends and Family:

Mark Tucker just phoned in from Everest and there's no other way to frame it, the Everest community is in the seemingly torturous Waiting Game mode now with respect to the weather. Dave Hahn, Doug Brockmeyer, Walter Laserer and Renate Schachinger spent the night at Camp 3 and got fairly blistered by the wind up there, but Dave and Doug got some good practice 'in the rough' and did a test drive on the O2 system above Camp 3 before they all got back down to ABC last night, headed for Base Camp now. Everyone else is already at Base Camp, which is good, things are pretty windy up high.

Meanwhile, IMG hosted a grand council meeting of the clans to discuss a collective effort at putting in the route above the South Col to the summit. By Mark's count, 30 reps from various teams assembled to discuss timing, with each team agreeing to contribute some combination of rope, sherpa manpower and/or oxygen for the sherpas to use while putting in the route. Just as they established a tentative game plan and timing, new and conflicting weather reports extended the horizon of high winds and the whole schedule was pushed back by at least one day. Right now, the community hopes to deploy sherpas into the South Col on the 13th of May in order to put them in position to move up and fix ropes above the Col on the 14th.

Unfortunately, the weather forecast that we just got here stateside is fairly lousy. We go through all of this and end up summarizing with "this all tabulates to high winds, bad conditions, hope it gets better soon 'cause most reasonable folks will NOT be climbing in this stuff and instead will hole up at Base Camp and hope this stuff goes away before the end of May." Just so you know what one looks like, I'm copying a segment as an example:
Estimated Real Time Summit Weather on Tuesday May 10 (12z) Winds listed here are for near Everest: 50 knot (25 m/s) at 18,000 feet (5500 meters), 66 knots (33 m/s) at 25,080 feet (7600 meters), 80 knots (40 m/s) at 33,000 feet (10,000 meters) Forecasted Temperatures Night summit temperatures of -24 C (-11 F) dropping to -28C (-18F) by Saturday May 14.
Yuk! Maybe they'll have a party at Base Camp to help pass the time and since we've got some time, let's spotlight another climber:

Ed Diffendal
Spotlight - Ed Diffendal
Ed Diffendal was very near Camp 1 when the avalanche occurred last week and he was one of the first climbers on the scene. He was very helpful in radioing down to Base Camp to inform others of the status of things at Camp 1 and helping in the ensuing efforts to locate and assist victims. Ed's mother Rachel and older sister Debbie have filled us in on Ed, here's some of their tidbits about him: "First and foremost Ed is a strong Christian - his faith governs his life in all areas. He's lived in San Francisco for the past several years, has a brother and sister. His Dad died last August leaving a terrible void in his heart. Ed graduated from Stanford in '91 and Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth in '00, where he learned to ice climb. He started rock climbing in the mid 90's, his first big wall was Zion's Touchstone Wall in '96. did the Nose at Yosemite in '97, Zion's Moonlight Buttress in '98, and Zodiac, El Capitan in '99. He's also climbed Kilimanjaro, Rainier, Denali, soloed Aconcagua's Polish Glacier, Whitney etc. His enthusiasm and sense of humor are contagious and his two nephews and niece think he is awesome. He inspires them to overachieve in all things. We may not be as objective as some, but he is very special."

OK, so again, not much happening any time soon with the weather holding the pack back for the most part. That Base Camp library becomes more valuable at times like this, the paperbacks all get pretty dogeared after everyone in camp has read them and the folks in Kathmandu get more and more requests to porter up a regular supply of new magazines to keep people's minds occupied as much as possible. You can all take the rest of this week off in terms of fretting about the team on Everest, it looks like no one's going up any time soon. We'll let you know when change is in the wind, literally.

— Erin Simonson, International Mountain Guides

May 4, 2005

Avalanche at Camp 1 — Update

Dear Friends and Family:

The primary purpose of this update is to reconfirm the OK status of all IMG team members and IMG Singapore team climbers as well. The news has gone out now on most of the climbing websites recapping the extent of the damage at Camp 1 in today's avalanche, which occurred early this morning (around 5:15am Nepal time) and our phones have already started ringing in earnest.

Mark Tucker and Scott Kanter were near the top of the Icefall at 5:15am when the avalanche struck Camp 1 (photo: Scott Kanter)

It is now the end of the day in Nepal, but before retiring for the night, Mark Tucker called just a short while ago with this additional report: The avalanche consisted primarily of rock and ice debris, some snow and a lot of air blast and essentially flattened the tents of the entire climbing community there (dozens and dozens of tents) with only a handful spared from damage. A quote from Mark went like this: "The Everest climbing community did not dodge a bullet today, it dodged a bomb." In what might be seen as a timing miracle, very few climbers on any teams were actually sleeping at Camp 1 last night so most of the tents were unoccupied when the avalanche occurred and there are no known deaths. There were several injuries sustained by climbers on other teams, although most were able to descend to Base Camp through the Icefall under their own steam. One climber with a back injury required some assistance.

A few of the IMG team members were climbing near Camp 1 when the avalanche occurred. Ed Diffendal was one of the first climbers on the scene and worked with others to assist with inspections and ascertain the condition of the camp and the climbers sleeping there. Scott Kanter, who recently joined our expedition with plans to take a tour through the Icefall to Advance Base Camp, had taken a day trip part way up the Icefall with Mark Tucker to hone his ladder-crossing technique before taking the full climb through the Icefall tomorrow. He captured a few photos of the avalanche as it occurred, and we may be able to share some of those later at some point.

The IMG sherpa team has been working hard for the last 3 days and descended to Advance Base Camp today after several consecutive carries into Camp 4 at over 26,000ft. on the South Col. They all need a break and will descend to Base Camp tomorrow, bringing some of the tents and provisions from Camp 2 down to Camp 1 so that site can be restored for future use. Scott Kanter plans to head up to Camp 1 tomorrow with Kami Sherpa, they may arrive in time to help with the Camp 1 reconstruction project. Everyone else is pretty much sticking to their game plan, we'll report back to you again in the next day or two.

That's it for now...

— Erin Simonson, International Mountain Guides

May 3, 2005

Avalanche at Camp 1 —All IMG Climbers OK

Camp 1
Dear Friends and Family:

We just received a call from Mark Tucker at Everest Base Camp with some disturbing news of a huge avalanche that has reportedly hit Camp 1 in the Western Cwm. We do not yet know the extent of injuries or damage at that camp, we do know everyone on the IMG roster is OK, none were at Camp 1 when this avalanche occurred. We will let you know more when Mark gets a more complete understanding of the situation, but again, all IMG team members are reportedly OK, status of climbers on other teams is unknown, we hope for the best for all teams on the mountain at times like this.

Time for another update anyway, and real soon here, the updates will start coming in more frequently as summit bids become a reality. In the meantime, here is a quick summary of everyone's status:

Mike Hamill, Wayne Morris, Jose Rionda, Jeff Strite, Jim Waldron, and Ed Diffendal plan to spend the night at Camp 2, with Rex Pemberton planning a trip from Camp 2 up to the Yellow Band to extend his acclimatization before returning to Camp 2 to overnight with the others. Walter Laserer and Renate Schachinger were planning to overnight at Camp 1, but their plans for the day may change. Dave Hahn, Doug Brockmeyer and Peter Ford will spend the day resting at Base Camp.

The IMG sherpas made their 3rd carry into the high camp on the South Col. This reflects the final upward movement of the vast majority of the oxygen supplies and gear needed to support summit bids. What that means is simply this: when the climbers are ready and the weather looks OK, the logistics are in place now to support their summit bids. With that in mind, we can look forward to some movement into high camp and on to the summit soon, and we'll start sending out these dispatches as often as we can to keep you all in the loop.

— Erin Simonson, International Mountain Guides

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