Island Peak Cybercast

10/30/04 Namche
Namaste everyone!

Well, here we are back in Namche Bazaar. What a treat it is to be back in the big city! Our friend Sherap has treated us to a stay in his new rooms with private bath and shower. Can you believe it? It feels like we’re in a hotel and we’re not even back into a town with road access. The closest road to Namche Bazaar is 6 days walking downhill!

I’m hoping that the message was relayed that yesterday we arrived in the village of Pangboche after a wonderful walk from the village of Dingboche via Ama Dablam base camp. Nelson, Garry, Kyle and I took the long route up to the basecamp and then back to Pangboche to reunite with Ryan, Mike and Ravi. The views were wonderful and we got different perspectives on Pumori, Cho Oyu and the 6000 meter peaks of Tawache and Cholatse. Garry continued his rampant photographing of nearly everything he laid eyes upon. We reunited for a much needed big dinner and rest.

The day before, Thursday, we descended from Island Peak base camp to the village of Dingboche. Everyone was able to get in some washing and showers and get out of the ever present wind and dust that epitomizes Island Peak basecamp. That was the same day that the trekkers were arriving in Kathmandu and having the final dinner together. We were all thinking of them in Kathmandu and jealous of the good food they were probably eating. We also heard from Sherap here in Namche that they started the celebrations early as he sold all the alcohol in his lodge to our trekking group on their night in Namche. I hope you guys had fun!!! We certainly missed the chance to celebrate together in Kathmandu but! know that as of today you are all on your way back home. It was a great trip and all the climbing contingent wishes their best to all of you.

Tomorrow we will be doing the one day return trip down to Lukla where we’ll spend our last night in the Khumbu. It will be a festive night with our staff- we’ll be handing out our appreciation in the form of tips and doing some dancing and drinking. Nima has promised to sing some traditional Nepali songs and Gopal will most likely once again show his fine dancing. Then on the following day, Nov. 1, we will reunite with Lakpa to have our farewell dinner in Kathmandu. We’re all looking forward to that (and to the showers at the Yak n’ Yeti hotel!) We’ll be in touch from Kathmandu as soon as we arrive!

All our best.

Namaste,

Dave

10/29/04 Kathmandu
From the Alpine Ascents Office: On 10/28 the trekkers were all resting in Pangboche for the night and will headed to Namche the following day. They are all doing well and are looking forward to heading down and hearing about the elections in the states.

Namaste,

All are doing well. There were almost 450 trekkers/climbers waiting to take a flight to Kathmandu yesterday. Finally, our group arrived in Kathmandu at noon.

We had a great farewell dinner at Rum Doodle last night. All of them were proud of this group and the overall trip. They all had such a great time. They learned about so many things & some of them are really talking seriously about the Sherpa culture. It was a great expedition and a final thanks to all who followed our adventures. Bye for now.

10/27/04 Island Peak Base Camp
Hello everyone out there and a big Namaste from Island Peak Base Camp. it is 7pm Nepal time on the 27th of October and we have just had a most fortunate summit day on Island Peak. Everybody that started out from Base Camp made it up the mountain today and that included Ryan, Mike, Kyle, Garry, and Ravi. Unfortunately Nelson wasn't able to make it with us, he never left base camp because he smartly has decided to give his knee a rest, Nelson has a sort of chronic knee problem that's been acting up a little bit so he made the presumably smart decision to stay in base camp and save his knee for the walk out to Lukla, so we missed him up at the top, Nelson has been one of the strongest people on the team thus far, so we were definitely missing him up on the summit today.

The rest of us summited around 11:00 and it was just a beautiful day. We were in mist until it was light and lots of clouds, lots of fog and then once it got light everything cleared and we had a windless summit day, the clouds just started to roll in as we reached the summit around 11:00am and spectacular views of the South Face of Lhotse, of Makalu and all the dozens and dozens of surrounding peaks in the area. So we are a very happy and content group here at Island Peak Base Camp. Everybody is in their tents. As you can hear from my voice we have all been having a little rough times with the cold air, but everyone is doing really well. (transmission failed)

Here's a special message from Mike and Ryan from October 22nd and I apologize for not putting it in sooner, I had misplaced it: Dear Andy Ria and Shaun, we are doing great and we will be in base camp in four days. (they have summited now). Andy we crossed our fingers today, hoped you passed your driving test, love to all Dad and Ryan.

Talk to you soon, bye

10/26/04 Island Peak Base Camp
Namaste everyone, this is Dave calling from Island Peak Base Camp. It's Tuesday October 26th, it's about 7pm here in Nepal. We've all just gotten to our tents, this group of climbers here and we're trying to get some sleep before we head out and try for the summit this evening. We're probably going to get up about 12:30 or 1 and we will be departing around 2 or 2:30. Everybody here is feeling great. I was able to speak to the trekkers in Namche Bazaar today, I called them this morning from the village of Chukkung where we were and spoke to a couple of them including Andy, who is my superstar, he has been doing great and made it all the way from Dingboche to Namche with his stitched up knee, so I was very very happy about that and I know he is doing well. He wants everyone to know out there that he is doing well and having no problems.

The trekkers are going to be in the village of Phakding tonight and tomorrow they are going to be in the village of Lukla and then flying out. I had a great time with the trekkers, I know the climbers here did as well, we spoke about them tonight and we hope they are doing well and I just want to say thanks to them for such a wonderful trip, I had a great time with all of you.

So the climbers here at Island Peak Base Camp are looking forward to a good summit tomorrow. Hopefully the weather will cooperate, we've had quite a few clouds in the afternoon, the last couple of days, but they're starting to break up now as it's getting dark tonight and we've got nearly a full moon above us, which we think will be setting around 2 or 3, but hopefully we'll get a little bit of that as we wake up. We are planning to be back here at Base Camp, let tomorrow afternoon and we'll spend another night here at Base Camp before making our way down towards Lukla. When we leave BC on the 28th, we'll descend to Dingboche and then the 29th we may stop somewhere between Dingboche and Namche. The 30th we will definitely be in Namche and then the 31st in Lukla to fly back to Kathmandu. We will be in touch either on the mountain, on the summit or when we get back to Island Peak Base Camp.

I wanted to add one more personal message that one of the trekkers sent before he left, this is from Mike Lugassy: "Hey friends and family, just a quick note to let you know that I made it up Kala Pattar and to Everest Base Camp in one piece. Be back home soon and I miss all of you, Mike.

That's all from Island Peak Base Camp, we will talk to you soon, all of our best, Dave and the group.

10/25/04 Chukkung
Namaste everyone, this is Dave calling in from Chukking. It is the 25th of October and it's about 7:30pm here in Nepal. We have had quite an eventful last few days since we touched base. One the 23rd we took a walk over to Everest Base Camp from Gorak Shep, the whole team made it over to Everest Base Camp, we brought along all of the Sherpa that have been with us on this trip. Lakpa Rita was with us, Mingma Tsering, Dorji and Nima all came with us over to Everest Base Camp. We got a great lecture from Lakpa about his many summits to the top of Everest. We saw the MI-17 helicopter that had crashed in 2003, which is slowly being eaten by the Khumbu Glacier. Everybody did a great job and everyone felt good. We had a group photo, the prayer flags marked the location of Base Camp because there were no expeditions on the mountain this season. It was quite a delight to have everyone there for a photo, this group is doing incredibly well.

We made it back to Gorak Shep and spent the night on the 23rd and yesterday on the 24th we left Gorak Shep and were descending all the way back to Dingboche, back to 14,000 feet. Unfortunately Andy took a little bit of a stumble and hit his knee on a rock and opened up quite a big cut on his knee, so we had quite a long and eventful day getting him down to Pheriche, where we brought him to the Himalayan Rescue Association where they have full-time Western doctors and they got him stitched up, so anyway yesterday he had a long horse ride down from Gorak Shep to Pheriche and at times walking when the horse wouldn't move and at times on the horseback. Andy did a great job and I was totally impressed with how he stuck through it all and kept smiling and cracking jokes. At the end of the evening we got him all stitched up and this morning he felt good enough to walk.

The rest of the trekking group took off this morning and headed from Dingboche down to Namche. So those guys are going to spend the night tonight in Namche, tomorrow they're going to shop around Namche and then start their way down to Lukla, eventually flying back to Kathmandu on October 28th. So along with Andy's eventful day yesterday it was also Cory's 30th birthday, so that was quite fun, we had a lot of gifts that were brought over from the states from friends and family and Gopal baked a nice cake and everybody celebrated our last night together, the trekkers and the climbers, it was a good night.

Now we have separated, the climbers are here with me in the village of Chukkung and Lakpa is in Namche with the trekkers. Tomorrow we will head up to Island Peak Base Camp, we're going to go in the morning and then rest this afternoon and go over a few skills and hopefully head out for the summit early in the morning on Tuesday morning. That's it for the update from here and we will get in touch with you tomorrow. Al the best Dave and the group.

10/23/04 Gorak Shep
Namaste and good morning to everyone from Nepal. This is Dave calling from the Khumbu Glacier up at Gorak Shep. It is October 23rd in the morning and we are all just getting ready for our trip out to Everest Base Camp this morning. It is another spectacular day here, I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but we've been incredibly lucky this trip. Our one day of rain up to Namche left us the rest of the trip with prefect skies and everybody is really grateful for it. Yesterday we took a trip up to Kala Pattar, which was the high altitude point for many people on this trip. The top of Kala Pattar is about 18 and a half thousand feet, and because of the beautiful weather we had absolutely stellar views of Everest Lhotse, Changtse, Pumori, and Nupste and all of the other lesser, surrounding peaks. Everybody did great, we had the entire crew up top, we had a nice group photo of everybody getting together. It was incredibly windy though, we had some gusts right on the summit of Kala Pattar, which is basically a large rock outcropping, of up to say 40 or 50 mph, so everybody got quite chilly and it was a little bit of excitement for our summit.

Everybody got beautiful pictures and I was incredibly impressed with the group and everybody is doing really well this morning also. It was a cold night last night here at Gorak Shep, a few people were wishing they had a little bit warmer sleeping bags, but everybody made it through okay. We're all looking forward to getting up to Everest Base Camp today, we should have another nice group photo with everybody together and then we are going to be separating tomorrow, the 24th, so everyone is starting to look forward to tomorrow with a little bit of sadness that the trekkers and the climbers are going to be splitting.

On the morning of the 25th I will take the climbers up the valley and Lakpa Rita will take the trekkers down back towards Kathmandu. Everyone has been having a great time together and so hopefully tomorrow night will be a good celebration. It would be nice to all walk out together but the climbers are definitely looking forward to going up to Island Peak and trying to get a little higher than 18.5 Island Peak is about 20,300 feet, so we'll push it up another couple of thousand feet. We also have Cory's birthday tomorrow, one of the trekkers on the trip, so we are planning a nice celebration in Dingboche, where we will spend the night tomorrow night before we all separate.

I've got a couple of personal messages here that I have been trying to get out for a couple of days. Ravi would like to say "hello to Carol and my family, this place is beautiful try and visit soon. Steve Rasa I wish you were climbing with me." A message from Adam: "I'm happy and healthy and feeling fine. I love you mom and dad, thanks for all of your support this year.. Kristin, you're the greatest. I love you very much I can't wait to see you all. We'll be in touch tomorrow morning Nepal time, when we pack up and leave Gorak Shep and get into some thicker air. I know everyone is looking forward to sleeping down at 14,000 feet, it will feel like thick air after being up so high. We will talk to you soon, Namaste, Dave.

10/21/04 Lobuje
Namaste Everyone. Well we made it into Lobuje here at 16,200 feet. It's about 8pm and I've just gotten to bed, I was the last one to leave our nice but cold dining tent this evening. We're camped near the base of not only the peak of Lobuje but the massive bulk of Nuptse as well. This afternoon we made the transition from high to very high coming into the Khumbu proper. The day started out with a gentle stroll out of Pheriche where we met the terminus of the Khumbu Glacier. From the valley, one ascends steeply up to around 15,800 feet where the side of the Khumbu Glacier is gained. It's a tough but incredible move up to the high mountains.

The highlight this morning for some of the homesick crowd was getting hourly updates on the Yankees Red Sox game 7. Nearly everyone was gripped with each call waiting to see if Boston could really pull it off. We're all psyched here for all of those Sox fans out there and Gary sends a special message to Mary hoping she is enjoying every minute of it.

So the group here is all doing well and looking forward with a hint of anxiousness to gaining out high point tomorrow on Kala Pattar at 18,500 feet with spectacular views of Everest and Lhotse as well. If the weather is anything like it was today we'll have crystal clear views of Everest and all the surrounding peaks. Tomorrow evening we'll be in Gorak Shep resting up for our trek to Base Camp. Gorak Shep sits at 16.2 and has the last structures in the valley. There's just a couple of lodges there. So the trek to B.C. will be most of the day Saturday and then back to Gorak Shep. So everyone here says hi to everyone out there and that's all for tonight, we'll be in touch tomorrow, all the best, Dave and the group.

10/20/04 Pheriche
Namaste everyone this is Dave calling in on October 20th and we are currently in Pheriche at about 14,000 feet. We are standing out under clear skies, beautiful stars, it's about 9pm and everyone has gone to bed. We've got about a half of a moon out and it's another spectacular night, we had another beautiful day again today, so everyone is quite happy about that. Yesterday we came up from Deboche, our nice camp down by the Deboche nunnery, and we came up to Pheriche, everybody felt quite good. Last night we had a little bit of restless sleep, everybody getting used to the altitude up here. We've finally made the transition up above tree line and we're really starting to get into the alpine environment. We've got beautiful views of Ama Dablam and Cho-Oyu from our spot here in Pheriche.

Today we took an acclimatization hike up to 15,000 feet, a little bit above 15,000 feet and everybody did great. We had beautiful views of Island Peak, everybody that is going to climb Island Peak is getting excited about that. We were able to see through binoculars a close up of the peak. We also got to see excellent views of Makalu, lots of wind up high on Lhotse and Makalu today, but where we were it was gorgeous. Light winds beautiful clear skies.

When we got back to Pheriche, the crew was packing up in order to separate some of our food to stay down here and some of our food which is going up for the next few days. Had a little bit of an exciting afternoon, when there was a wild yak running through town, down the main street. Our guys were able to get it under control though. It made for some good fun this afternoon, everybody running around town, lots of commotion, so a little big of excitement here in the big town of Pheriche.

We also went and saw the Himalayan Rescue Association, who gave us a little bit of an altitude talk and some of our guys are participating in a study that they are doing. So we had a great day today, everyone is looking forward to the big move up to over 16,000 feet tomorrow to Lobuje, and hoping to have good views tomorrow and it looks like we are going to have that. So everybody here is doing well and says hi to everyone out there. We will talk to you tomorrow evening from 16,000 feet plus in Lobuje. That's all for now from Dave, Namaste.

10/19/04 Deboche
Hello everyone, this is Dave calling you from Deboche in the Khumbu valley, Nepal. It is about 6:45am on October 19th, Tuesday and we've just woken up to another crystal clear morning. Got views of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, and Ama Dablam from our nice campsite here in the rhododendron forest of Deboche. This morning everyone is just getting up and getting their tea, just starting to pack up for another day on the trail. Today we are going to move up from Deboche to Pheriche. In Pheriche we are going to spend two nights acclimatizing. Pheriche is about 14,000 feet so we are going to make a big jump from the altitudes that we are staying at for the last four or five nights up to 14,000 feet. Here at Deboche it's about 12.5 thousand feet. There's the one female monastery in the Khumbu Valley in Deboche, so we're going to swing by and visit that this morning.

Yesterday we had a great hike from Kunde, up past Tengboche and then down to Deboche, just below Tengboche. Tengboche is the biggest monastery in the Khumbu Valley, we got to go inside there, we also went and visited the memorial from the 1963 first American Everest expedition. We had beautiful views yesterday, usually this time of year we have clear skies in the morning and clouds in the afternoon, but we've even been getting lucky enough to have views in the afternoon, with no clouds, so it has been quite spectacular. Also tomorrow, we'll visit the Pheriche Himalayan Rescue Association Clinic, who have staff working during the tourist seasons, we'll get to see their facilities and tomorrow we'll attend one of their lectures about high altitude, which is some of the stuff that we've been talking about.

Everyone here is doing quite well, everyone is happy and healthy. Everyone's health is on the up and up and I think everyone is feeling better than they have throughout the trip, so all is well in Nepal and we will talk to you soon. Namaste, Dave.

10/17/04 Kunde
Hello everyone out there this is Dave Morton calling from the Everest Base Camp, Island Peak Trek. It is Sunday the 17th and it's about 8:30pm Nepal time. We've had a great couple of days, spectacular weather and we are currently in the village of Kunde. Yesterday we took a nice walk from Namche Bazaar after seeing the Saturday Market. We took a nice walk over to the village of Thame where Lakpa Rita is from and had spectacular weather. The trip over was wonderful, everyone truly enjoyed getting to go through the pine forest and getting to cross the Bodh Kosi River. Upon arriving in Thame everyone was treated to some spectacular light on the mountains as the sun set. We saw some alpenglow on Thamserku, and Konde-Ri mountains.

The group is doing great, I'm really having a good time with these guys. This group is a lot of fun, that's for sure. We've had a great time sitting around at night, great conversations and a lot of wonderful people on this trip. Today we left Thame this morning after having tea with Lakpa's family in the home that he grew up in, everybody really enjoyed that, we got to meet Lakpa's mother and some of his other relatives as well. We also visited the Thame Gompa, or monastery and the monks are presently involved in a two-week prayer for the local people in Thame and so we got to see the monks do part of the blessing up in Thame Monastery.

Today we walked from Thame to Kunde, about four and a half hours of actual walking and a fari amount of uphill, some down, and the group is doing great, everyone is really doing a good job. But we have a few bad tummies, but for the most part everyone is doing well. Tomorrow morning w are getting up to go to Tengboche Monastery, the largest monastery in the Khumbu Valley and then we will be on to a village just below Tengboche to a village called Deboche. That's a beautiful setting among a rhododendron forest.

Everyone says hi here, I have a couple of quick messages. One message is from Andy: Andy says good luck Andrea in your Iron Man in Florida, give it your best. And Kyle says "Jamie Alex and Eric, I love you we are having a great time."

We will get in touch with you tomorrow, this is Dave from Nepal, Namaste, and we'll talk to you soon.

10/15/04 Namche Bazaar
Namaste from Namche! It's 3:30 pm Nepal time and it's a beautiful day here in the hub of the Khumbu. We've had a spectacular day in terms of weather and it's made for incredible view and lots of smiles. Yesterday pulling in here it was extremely wet with no visibility. We woke up though to crystal clear skies with Kwande Ri mountain looking right into our windows.

Last night we made the plan to wake up before 6:30 am and if it was clear we'd meet and make the walk up to the viewpoint above Namche. Nearly everyone made it up and we were rewarded with perfect views up the valley to Lhotse, Nuptse, Everest, Ama Dablam, Thamserku, Tawache and other peaks. It really was a treat- everyone's first views of Everest. We returned to our lodge for morning coffee and tea and then a great breakfast from our cook Gopal. The menu this morning was pancakes, eggs, and bacon.

After breakfast we took a hike up above Namche and visited the Everest View Hotel for a cup of tea. It was then back to our lodge for a late lunch. The gang here is doing well with a few discomforts related to altitude and new food but nothing out of the ordinary. Tomorrow morning we will visit the Saturday market here in Namche- the market which gave it it's name. In the late morning we'll begin the walk to the village of Thame. Thame is a smaller village visited by fewer trekkers and is also the home of Lakpa Rita. We'll have a chance to visit his home which everyone is looking forward to. The group will also take a short walk to the Thame monastery that sits just above the village.

We will talk to you soon.

Dave and the group

10/14/04 Namche Bazaar
Well, here we are in Namche Bazaar. Dinner has just ended and people are off to bed or staying up around the warm wood burning stove to chat.

The group did great today on the long hike up to Namche. We're currently sitting at approximately 11,300 ft. People are feeling great despite the climb to a higher altitude. We have a couple of tummies feeling a bit off but for the most part it's a healthy bunch. We arrived at our friends' Sherpa and Lakpa's lodge around 2:30 and spent the afternoon moving into to our rooms and drinking tea.

Tomorrow the plan is to take a hike up to the village of Khumjung. There will be our first views of Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam along the way which everyone is looking forward to. Tomorrow night we'll get a glimpse of the Saturday market which really begins on Friday night. The group is thinking about everyone back home and wants you to know they are doing well. It's off to bed early tonight but we will definitely talk to you tomorrow.

All our best, Namaste.
Dave and the group

10/13/04 Phakding
Hey everyone out there! Welcome to the 2004 Everest Base Camp Trek and Island Peak Climb! It's currently 8:30 pm here in Nepal and we are all just heading off to bed after our first day of trekking.

The team all safely made it into Kathmandu with all of their bags. A success in it's own right. We had a great dinner the first night and my favorite spot in Kathmandu. A few heads were bobbing at the table pretty early but the group did great staying up with the jetlag from the long trip.

On day two we took a wonderful tour of the city and visited the major Hindu and Buddhist temples including Swayambunath, Pashupatinath and Bodhnath. As many of this group said it is a surreal city particularly the temples. Incredible sounds, sights and smells. It is such an attack on the senses one arrives back at the room at the end of the day exhausted. Night two saw many of us out having beer and pizza while others spent the evening packing for the flight to Lukla and catching up on some rest.

Today we had a spectacular flight to Lukla. What a treat. The weather started off foggy in Kathmandu and then around 9:30 the fog broke and the sky cleared completely. We could see the Langtang range perfectly from the airport. As the plane took off we were immediately shown the breadth of much of the Nepal Himalaya. Many 7,000 meter peak were perfectly visible from the plane. It was the clearest day I've experienced flying into Lukla.

The weather remained beautiful throughout our 3 hour walk to Phakding. Just before it got dark the sun's last rays hit the peaks surrounding Phakding. It was a great way to end the first day. Tomorrow morning the kids from the Dorji School will join us for breakfast and then we'll begin the push up to Namche Bazaar.

Namaste!
Dave

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