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Expedition Dispatches From Around The Globe!

Posts for every team can be found under the drop-down menus at the right of this page.  We have organized our expeditions into Denali, International and Mount Everest categories, with further organization by their Team Meeting Date.  We try to post from each team on each day, but this is not always possible, due to communication challenges in mountainous regions, so keep in mind that “No News Is Good News!”

Click on the audio dispatch icons to hear phone calls from our climbers and guides, so that you can better enjoy the experience through their words, not ours.  Click on a post’s title to open it in its own window to leave a comment for your favorite climber.  Above all, have fun and dream big!

Everest Update – Phone Call from Base Camp

By: Mountain Trip

Our Lead Guide Jacob Schmitz called in a detailed post recapping the events of the past two days.  His report was cut off by a relatively poor satellite phone connection, but his description is sobering.

Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone so terribly affected by the earthquake and the following aftershocks.

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Posted in 2015 Everest Expedition, Everest | Tagged | 1 Comment

Helicopters Shuttling Climbers down From Camp 1

By: Mountain Trip

Jacob called this morning from EBC with some updates.  The earthquakes/aftershocks of the 26th pretty much sealed off the icefall route, but this morning there are 3 B3 helicopters shuttling the 80 or so climbers down who are still above the Khumbu Icefall in Camp 1 and Camp 2.   Search and cleanup continues at Everest Base Camp today as the few who remain in EBC comb through the wreckage and debris looking for any other victims.  The number of missing climbers is unknown right now as so many have left for home and are unaccounted for.   There are 17 confirmed dead at EBC.

Good weather this morning is helping with the helicopter flights, but fuel and load limitations make it a lengthy process with each flight bringing only 2 climbers down.   The helicopters struggle in the thin air to fly to the top of the icefall at over 20,000 ft.   The helicopter pilots just put enough fuel on to make the short flight up to pick up climbers, and return, so they are light on fuel and need to fuel up frequently.

Jacob is doing well and plans to remain at base camp until all of our team is evacuated from above the icefall.  They may just wait a few more days in EBC, as reports from down the valley indicate that many villages have significant damage, including the largest village of Namche.   The small number of people who remain at EBC have enough food to wait up there for a bit.

Scott Holder is OK and still in Lukla, hoping to get to Kathmandu by plane or helicopter later today.

David and Alisha Germer have just hopped on a bus from Pokhara to Kathmandu and hope to be there late today.

 

 

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Morning at Everest Base Camp after the Earthquake (w/ update)

By: Mountain Trip

Jacob called in this morning from Everest Base Camp, we had a challenging time communicating with a poor satellite phone connection, but we were able to talk over the course of three phone calls.   Things began happening at base camp starting at dawn; helicopters were able to begin evacuating the most critically injured from EBC.

As of now, seven evacuation flights have come in and out of EBC.  There are 17 critically injured that the doctors and everyone at base camp watched over last night, and as weather has improved today they are hoping to be able to fly all out today.   Over 20 people are reported dead at base camp currently, with many more still missing.

Teams at Camp 1 and Camp 2 seem to be OK, but anxious to get down to base camp.  There have been only a couple of Sherpa who have descended through the icefall since the earthquake.  There are many climbers missing still, and they expect to find more victims at base camp and in the icefall before this is all through.  The Sherpa who descended through the icefall were able to hear some voices of trapped climbers on their way down.

Jacob and a guide from IMG (sorry I didn’t get the name due to bad reception) are going to attempt to go up into the icefall this morning to see if they can help anyone, and to assess what gear they may need to help establish a route for the more than 100 climbers who are above the icefall in Camp 1 and Camp 2.   Jacob said that the “Icefall Doctors” have left the mountain, so the rescue is up to the remaining climbers.

Scott H. is in Lukla and will return to Kathmandu as soon as they are able to fly, and return home.

David and Alisha Germer from our EBC trek/Island Peak climb are in Pokhara and trying to return to Kathmandu by bus today and return home soon.

Update 10:30am Nepal time:

Jacob is back in base camp after a trip up into the icefall this morning.  They were able to determine that the route was relatively in tact, and climbers were beginning to make their way down from the upper camps towards EBC.  There are some injured climbers from the upper mountain, and some with altitude illness that are being helped down through the icefall this morning.  The search will continue in basecamp and through the icefall for any other victims.   The Mountain Trip Sherpa team is planning to pack up what they can and come down to base camp today.  We’ll continue to update as we get any more details from EBC.

Posted in 2015 Everest Expedition, Everest, Mountain Trip Blog | Tagged | 5 Comments

Spring 2015 Carstensz Team is On the Move

By: Mountain Trip

The lure of the most elusive of the Seven Summits is strong, and despite the numerous unpredictable challenges of attempting to climb Carstensz Pyramid, Mountain Trip is back in Indonesia for our 14th expedition up the mountain.  Michael Theologos and Oliver Wolff have joined our lead guide Scott Woolums on his attempted eigth summit of the peak.

The team arrived in Bali over the past couple of days and are now en route to the norther side of Paupa.  Air travel in a country comprised of thousands of islands can involve many connections, and the team is facing a rough itinerary of numerous flight legs in order to arrive in time to meet with our helicopter pilot.

We’ll keep you posted as the team makes its way across Indonesia and through the world’s largest virgin rainforest towards their objective.

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Earthquake and Avalanche at Everest BC. Mountain Trip Team All OK

By: Mountain Trip

Just off the phone with Jacob from Everest Base Camp.  They felt a “large” earthquake at base camp just before 12:30 today April 26 followed by massive avalanches from surrounding peaks.   Jacob has lived in Southern California for many years and has felt many earthquakes and said “this was a big one.”  The earthquake has shook loose avalanches from surrounding peaks, including Pumori, which sits above Everest Base Camp.  The avalanche and powder blast came through base camp destroying many tents and putting a hole in our big dome.

It is currently snowing and hard to see up into the icefall, but Jacob reported active avalanches continuing from surrounding peaks minutes later while we were on the phone.   Our base camp team was able to talk to our team up at Camp 2 who reported they did not feel it as strong up there and they were all OK.

Update:

Jacob just called back at 12:45 Nepal time and said that there are reports of injuries from the avalanche amongst other teams at base camp.  He is going to see what he can do to help for now and will report in later.

All of the Mountain Trip team, Sherpa and Climbers are safe and accounted for.

Here’s Jacob:

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Update:

Also just hearing news that the earthquake shook Kathmandu and there has been significant damage in the city.  Our hearts go out to the people of Nepal today.

http://news.yahoo.com/strong-earthquake-felt-nepals-capital-063242616.html

 

update:

I spoke with Scott Holder who is in the village of Lukla.  He is OK but reports that there was significant damage there as well.

Our folks in Kathmandu are reporting significant damage, but so far they and their families are OK.  Communications to Nepal are pretty challenging right now with the phone networks damaged and what remains is maxed out with calls.

 

Posted in 2015 Everest Expedition, Everest, Mountain Trip Blog | Tagged | 2 Comments

New Audio Recording

By: Mountain Trip

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Everest 2015 – Resting and Recovering

By: Mountain Trip

Jacob called in just now, but unfortunately, his post was very garbled.  There have been some challenges with cellular reception at Base Camp, and tonight’s post is barely understandable…

Scott has been dealing with an upper respiratory infection for the past couple of weeks, and when the team pushed up through the Khumbu Icefall yesterday, it seemed to really flare up.  Scott and Jacob returned to Base Camp, as the Khumbu is no place for a climber who is not 100%.  Scott took the prudent and very smart action of descending to Lukla, over 8,000′ lower, where the air is thick and humid, exactly what is needed to heal such an infection.

The plan is for Scott to spend a couple of days down low, letting his pipes heal, and then return to Base Camp to continue his ascent.  Jacob will continue to oversee the preparations of camps on the upper mountain and they will head high in the coming days.

Here’s Jacob:

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Everest 2015 Team – Skills Day at Base Camp

By: Mountain Trip

Unfortunately, the post called in from our guide Jacob Schmitz was a bit garbled, but the team is doing great.  They worked on skills today, climbing some ice faces near Base Camp and reviewing strategies for crossing ladders, efficiently passing running belays and other techniques they will employ when they head up through the tumultuous Khumbu Icefall tomorrow.

The plan is to climb up to Camp 1 above the Icefall early tomorrow morning, but they will ultimately make the decision based on how the weather and conditions look at the time.  All is well and Scott and Jacob are eager to head up the mountain!

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Everest 2015 – Acclimatization hike to 19,000 feet

By: Mountain Trip

Jacob called in from Camp 1 on Pumori, a stunning 7000m peak next to Everest.  They hiked up to 19,000′ to help their bodies adjust to the thin air they will encounter when they begin their ascent of Mount Everest.

The team is doing great and enjoyed a beautiful day with views of a lifetime of incredible peaks.  Our Sherpa team carried loads of supplies up to Camp 1 on Everest to support Scott and Jacob when they head high.

Here’s Jacob:

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Everest 2015 – Packing for the Upper Mountain

By: Mountain Trip

Our Sherpa friends are preparing to head up to the upper camps!  The depth and breadth of the logistics necessary for orchestrating an Everest ascent are pretty huge.  It’s like a symphony with many instruments that all need to be in concert if you’re going to actually make a memorable tune.  Our Sherpa team are maestros and today they packed up some food and supplies to make a run up to Camps 3 and 4 in the coming days.

everest 2015

Scott looking over some of the food that will head up to Camps 3 and 4 in the coming days.

Posted in 2015 Everest Expedition, Everest, International | Tagged | 1 Comment

Everest 2015 – Update from Base Camp

By: Mountain Trip

Hello from 17,600 feet!

Scott and I arrived at the Mountain Trip Mount Everest Base Camp on the 14th of April after hiking up the Khumbu for nine days. We stayed in Namche Bazaar, Dingboche and Lukla for two nights each, taking advantage of doing some fun “casual” day hikes.  This not only helps with acclimatizing, but they enabled us to get amazing views of some of the Himalaya giants including Everest, Makalu and Cho Oyu, as well as many other beautiful rugged peaks and hanging glaciers.
We had great weather until we reached Lobuche, where we woke up to a foot of new snow on a few inches of old rotten crud that is always fun to walk on..!  Since then, we’ve had light snow showers and a bit of wind in the afternoons. When the sun comes out in the morning, the snow quickly melts only to be replaced by fresh snow in the evening.

The snow has slowed the progress of rope and ladder fixing in the icefall and above Camp One.
Today the 18th of April is the one year anniversary of the tragic avalanche in the Khumbu Icefall that took 16 Sherpa lives, something about which we are all very conscious and respectful. Trying to avoid a similar accident, the Khumbu Ice Doctors (the Sherpas that maintain the fixed lines and ladders through the icefall) made a route on the right side of the icefall trying to avoid the seracs on the lower slopes of Everest, the side opposite of the one on which the avalanche hit last year.
Out of respect for the fallen Sherpas who worked hard to make it possible for many of us to achieve our dream of climbing Everest, no one is climbing above Base Camp today.

Tomorrow, only the Ice Doctors will climb up, as they affix ropes and replace ladders that might have broken due to the ever shifting ice in the icefall.  On the 20th, the plan is for our Sherpas to climb up, carrying loads to establish Camps One and Two.  On the 21st or 22nd, Scott and I will head up to spend three to four nights above 21,000 feet to acclimatize.  After that first rotation at Camp 1 and 2, we will rest at base camp for a few days before going up to Camp 2 once again before making a day trip to Camp 3 at 23,800 feet.

When not on the mountain, Scott and I spend the days walking around Base Camp socializing and meeting other climbers from around the world.  It’s truly an international crowd, with 300+ climbers from around the world. Some days we will climb up to Camp 1 on neighboring Pumori or work on our climbing skills in the lower icefall to prepare for the climb up to Camp 1.

Please check back as we will try to up date the blog as often as possible.

Cheers,

Jacob Schmitz, Everest Base Camp

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A couple of snowy days at base camp

By: Mountain Trip

The Island Peak climbers, David and Alisha, left base camp yesterday with Dawa Sherpa on their way to Dingboche, and after a night at our favorite lodge, the Snow Lion, they’ll head up to the Island Peak base camp.

Scott and Jacob have been spending their time settling in to base camp and acclimating to their 17,000 ft home before heading higher up the mountain.   They’ve practiced climbing ladders and are moving through the ice with their crampons on, so they should be pretty efficient by the time they are ready to move up to Camp 1 in a couple of days.

Jacob, Scott, and DaOngchhu at the Mountain Trip Everest Base Camp

Jacob, Scott, and DaOngchhu at the Mountain Trip Everest Base Camp

The Mountain Trip Team having their Puja Ceremony on a snowy morning at Everest BC

 

Our Sherpa team is carrying loads up to Camp 1 and Camp 2 today to establish those camps for the climbers.  Tomorrow is the 1 year anniversary of the avalanche that claimed the lives of 16 Sherpa guides last season, so it will be a day to remember and our team will not be climbing tomorrow.

The route is established through the icefall and has been getting plenty of traffic by the early teams already.  There are more ladders and the terrain is slightly more technical this season as the route has moved out to the middle of the icefall a bit in an effort to avoid the more avalanche prone areas on the climbers left under the W. Shoulder of Everest.

Here’s a great image of the route and a comparison between where it has been in previous years.

Everest Route Photo

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Team Settling in to Everest Base Camp

By: Mountain Trip

They spent the day at Everest Base Camp enjoying the comforts of tent living and going over some climbing/mountaineering skills in the ice nearby camp.   Tomorrow David and Alisha will start back down the valley and towards Island Peak for their climb, while Scott and Jacob acclimatize to the high altitude tent city they will base out of for the next month and a half.   They were welcomed into base camp by our amazing team of Sherpa who have been establishing the camp on the rocky moraines of the lower Khumbu glacier.  We have a big comfortable dome tent for dining and hanging out with carpeted floors, heat, solar powered lights and a coffee grinder for a fresh cup in the morning.   It’s been a bit snowy the last few days, and that is expected to continue for another day or so before the clear skies come back over the Himalaya.

Here’s Jacob from Base Camp!

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Everest Base Camp Today!

By: Mountain Trip

They arrived at Everest Base Camp today!  They have moved into their tents at Base Camp and are settling into the big dome tent for dinner tonight.   We should get a call with a dispatch from base camp later tonight, but spoke with Jacob earlier and they are doing great!

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Everest Team in the village of Lobuche

By: Mountain Trip

Jacob’s call today is pretty garbled due to the spotty phone service up there, but they are in the village of Lobuche and excited to be heading up to Everest Base Camp tomorrow!  They are all doing great and enjoying the journey through the beautiful Khumbu Valley.  We should get much better phone service tomorrow when they continue up the valley past the final village of Gorak Shep, and on to Everest Base Camp.

Here’s the garbled call from Jacob.

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New Audio Recording

By: Mountain Trip

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2015 Everest and Island Peak Teams – Rest Day at Dingboche

By: Mountain Trip

Jacob called in from the team’s second day at Dingboche, a village located near the confluence of the Imja and Khumbu rivers, the latter originating from the Khumbu Glacier on the south flank of Mount Everest.  Everyone is doing great and they took a planned rest and acclimatization day to help their bodies acclimatize to the thinning air.  They hiked up to over 17,000′ to assist in the transition.

It sounds like French pastries and lattes are part of their acclimatization program???

The connection was a bit spotty and there is a bit of wind noise, so Jacob called in a second post, largely reiterating the same news.  I’ll leave both posted, as they are slightly different.

Here’s Jacob!

Post #1: 

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Post #2: 

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Trekking up the Khumbu and the Tengboche Monastery

By: Mountain Trip

They left the village of Namche this morning after a couple of nights there, and continued their trek up the Khumbu valley past the Tengboche Monastery, and on to the village of Deboche where they will spend the night.  It’s been beautiful weather for the team so far, and they are enjoying the journey.

Here’s Jacob checking in from Deboche:

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Above Namche with Everest and Ama Dablam in the background

Above Namche with Everest and Ama Dablam in the background

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Everest Team in Namche

By: Mountain Trip

They had a nice leisurely trek this morning up to Namche Bazaar, the hub of activity in the Khumbu region.   This is the biggest village they will pass through on their journey, and it is a beautiful spot to take an extra day to acclimatize and enjoy the bakeries that Namche is famous for.   They’ll spend the night tonight in a nice lodge overlooking Namche, and spend tomorrow hiking around and getting their first views of Mount Everest!

Here’s Jacob with the first of what will be many audio dispatches left by the team,

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Flying to Lukla!

By: Mountain Trip

The team flew to Lukla this morning from Kathmandu and have begun the trek up to Everest Base Camp.   It’s a beautiful flight from the Kathmandu valley up to the little village of Lukla on a hillside in the foothills of the Himalaya.   They will begin trekking for just a few hours after they arrive and will spend the night in a lodge in the village of Phakding tonight.   Jacob called from Lukla, and they had a bag missing for a while after the flight, but they tracked it down and they are on their way.   Everyone is excited to be heading into the mountains and breathing some fresh mountain air!

 

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