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Kilimanjaro Climb and Safari, 2010

What better way to start 2010 than by climbing Africa’s tallest mountain, and then going game viewing in the eighth wonder of the world, the Ngorongoro Crater. I am writing this dispatch from our hotel in the Crater, looking out on the sun setting and countless animals wandering across the grasslands of the interior of the crater.

It is a bit difficult to stay focused on this dispatch with that kind of a view, but here goes.

On January 4 at 7:15 am our entire group of nine stood on the roof of Africa, at 19,341 feet on Kilimanjaro. It…

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Chamonix 2010!

It’s been another incredible season here in Chamonix, and hard to believe it is almost time already to leave for the spring Himalaya season. Time in the Alps always flies by, and this season has been no exception. Snow and coverage has been top notch in 2010 – all the famous ski routes have been in all the way down to the valley, avalanche hazard has been low, and we have even had our share of sunny days.

One of the real benefits of basing out of Chamonix for skiing is the incredible variety of terrain and options regardless of…

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Everest Begins!

The team has assembled and the Himalayan climbing season has begun! 18 climbing members, 5 guides, 1 doctor, 22 Sherpa, 8 base camp staff, and 8 trekkers are feeling strong in Namche Bazaar and are heading up the Khumbu Valley. They are taking their time, enjoying the villages and views, and expect to be in Base Camp around April 10. We’ll have more info soon!…

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Dingboche and BC Bound

 

7 days into our trek to Everest, we are taking a rest day in Dingboche, at 14,500 feet. It’s a beautiful town, completely surrounded by big peaks, including Ama Dablam, Lhotse Shar, Tawache, Cholatse, and many more. It’s a climber’s candy shop – spend 2 or 3 days here and you will have chosen a lifetime of climbing lines you want to attempt.

But when the summit of Everest is your goal, you have to practice patience and reserve. Instead of racing up the local peaks,…

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Everest Base Camp Fun!

Well, we are finally here and settling in at 17, 500 feet in Everest Basecamp. We actually arrived a week ago, on April 10, so lots has been going on. By now we feel strong and healthy again as our bodies acclimatize. We can eat, drink, and move around camp normally now, a nice change from our first days here. And so, it is actually time to leave again and go higher! Like last year, we will be doing most of our early acclimatization (to 20,000 feet) on another peak in the valley, called Lobuche. We leave this afternoon for…

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Warm and Windy on Lobuche

Over the last couple of days, all team members summited Lobuche, a 20,000′ acclimatization peak, and will spend 2 nights sleeping on the summit. On the 25th, the whole team will be back at Base Camp and Adrian will do a quick turn-around in order to head toward the icefall and start sleeping higher on the mountain. The weather is particularly warm, making the current conditions on the mountain like those of a typical year in late May. The Sherpa will have ropes fixed all the way to Camp III in the next couple of days, and things seem to…

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Heading Up

After two trips up Lobuche and sleeping on the summit for two nights (6090 meters), it was time for a big party in BC to celebrate the end of “Phase 1.” At 3am, the “white pod” was still shaking with music and dancing–Sherpas, guides, and members all getting down! A couple of nights later was a bit different when the team left BC at 2am for 6 days of acclimatization on Everest itself. By the end of this acclimatization, everyone will hopefully have spent 4 days at Camp II (6400 meters) and 2 days at Camp III (7300 meters). If…

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Base Camp Boredom, aka The Waiting Game

8000 meter peaks always seem to have a waiting period, and this spring on Everest has been no exception. It is one of the hardest times mentally of the entire season, and the number of helicopters coming in and out of basecamp every day represent this. Every day it seems like a different climber decides to pack up, grab a 6,000$ ride, and go home. Either they get sick, or life stuff is going on at home, or they just can’t handle the idea of another week of waiting while jetstream winds pound the upper mountain.…

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Time to Go!

The waiting game is finally over! After 12 days in and around BC, the weather models have finally settled and agreed on a good low wind window coming up. So it is time to go climbing. We are a final summit team of 42 climbers – 13 members, 5 guides, and 24 sherpa. All are healthy and excited, and have been spending today preparing for our climb. These final preparations include : oxygen briefing and practice, packing food for a week of climbing, making final choices on clothing and equipment for the summit push, and pairing members with their climbing sherpa.…

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Summit Push to Start in 4 Hours

We just had a brief satellite phone call from 26,000ft.

Our team members are right now at Camp 4 on the South Col, all doing their best to get a bit of sleep. At 9pm their time, they will be getting up and making their final preparations, then leaving camp at 11pm for their summit push. We have 12 members, 4 guides and 17 sherpa ready for a day that could last more than 20 hours, as they climb up to the roof of the world, then back down to Camp 4.

The news is that they are strong and…

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All Successfully Summit Everest!

Another quick satellite phone call from 26,000ft:

All 12 members, 4 guides and 17 sherpa successfully climbed to the roof of the world, and back down to Camp 4 at the South Col. The weather was perfect, no wind, cold at the summit, but quite warm lower down. The summit was totally clear, with incredible views all around. There were very few other climbers summiting at that time, affording our climbers time to savour their triumph at the top, and meaning they did not face the traffic jams that occured last year at the Hillary Step.

Half the team have…

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Heading for the Snow

Lost baggage and an abnormally wet dry season isn’t getting this team down! They had a great New Year’s on the mountain with a better excuse than I have for not staying up ’til midnight! Everyone is feeling strong at 14,000′ and will proceed to their final camp at 15, 500′ tomorrow, where they will stay for two nights before their summit bid on the morning of the 4th. Although there is significantly more snow on Kili than normal, they should be able to climb as anticipated without the use of crampons. We’ll hear more after summit day!
-Emily…

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