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Successful Summit for Cho Oyu Rapid Ascent and Lightning Ascent Teams

They did it! On October 1, 2016 in sunny and warm conditions both our Rapid Ascent and lightning ascent expedition teamsimg_4587 summited Cho Oyu (26,906′ / 8200m). (Lightning ascent is Adrian Ballinger’s vision of summiting an 8,000m peak in two weeks door to door from the United States)

The Rapid Ascent team of Brooks Entwistle, Panuru Sherpa and Palden Sherpa was led by Zeb Blais and reached the top before our lightning ascent team did. They left Camp 3 (24,250′ / 7400m) in the dark with Adrian reporting that they summited Cho “super fast” and in good style. Zeb skied the upper slopes in marginal snow conditions while Brooks chose to down climb the upper steeps through the Yellow Band. Zeb continued to ski through the yellow band, and below at Camp 3 Brooks clicked in and skied with Zeb with a brief stop to rappel through an ice cliff.

img_4593After the technical crux of the yellow band and ice cliff, Zeb and Brooks continued down on skis and returned to Camp 1 (20,600’ / 6280m) where Adrian and Emily were waiting for them. Tonight they will rest in C1 and tomorrow will continue down to advanced base camp.

The lightning ascent team of Adrian Ballinger, Emily Harrington and Pasang Rinji Sherpa left from Camp 2 (23,290′ / 7100m) and summited Cho Oyu following our Rapid Ascent team in very warm and sunny conditions. Adrian reported that it was “the warmest day I’ve ever seen on an 8,000m peak” and that there were only 12 people on route. At the summit Adrian and Emily clicked into their skis and proceeded to make turns all the way down the mountain and didn’t stop until they reached C1 where the snow ended. WOW!

Adrian and Emily were a bit faster than Zeb and Brooks on the descent because they skied the entire route and waited for them in C2 and then C1 to make sure all was good with the team. A brief goodbye came as Adrian and Emily left C1 and made their final descent on foot to advanced base camp (ABC) as Zeb and Brooks turned in for the night to get a bit of rest before heading down themselves. img_4599


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