Everest Summit 2002

Friday, April 30, 2010

Getting Ready

I would not feel very comfortable walking underneath the boulder pictured at left and much less sleeping in the tents below. This is one of the high camps (to give you some perspective on the size of the mountain and the challenges). This picture was taken in 2007.
The wind continues at BC but the weather overall has improved. Sherpas are very busy traveling to high camps fixing ropes and rerouting the way to the top. Because of the avalanche, climbers are not able to follow the previous path to higher camps. The new route allows climbers to avoid the remaining overhang that poses a threat. According to Julio, the route up to camp 3 is ready, and some climbers are on their way. Some teams are planning to reach the summit May 12- if weather allows. Julio feels much better and expects to resume ascending the day after tomorrow. He is now working on the logistics of each camp and time calculations for the up-and-down routine. If everything goes as expected he will be at the top within two more weeks.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Two days left at BC

The weather has improved and climbers are starting to move up the mountain. Julio is getting ready to climb again in a couple of days. He called last night and the first thing he asked was whether our new grandbaby was a girl or a boy. He was pleased to find out there will be a Julio V. Now he will have two boys with whom to share his hobbies.
He is happy they have the satellite phone and correct sim card. However, it does not look like they will be able to access the blog, so I will continue to update it as I receive the reports. Julio will be able to read your comments and continue to bring you updates once he is back in Katmandu.
I finally remembered to ask Julio if they felt the earthquake that recently occurred in Tibet. He said they found out about it after the fact. I wondered if it had anything to do with the avalanche, but he did not think that was the case. More people than originally reported were injured, but nothing serious. He was sorry to hear one of the Hungarian climbers he had met before was missing. He promised he will be very careful as he has always been.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bad Weather on the Mountain

The weather forecast for the week is discouraging. The team is at BC and they plan to stay there until the weather allows them to climb again. Julio and Bill are resting and feeling stronger already. I could tell Julio is feeling better because his cough has subsided; we could carry on a conversation. They will continue to train while they wait for the opportunity to climb. According to Julio, they are ready and will seize the first opportunity to make their final bid to the top.
On a cheerful note, they finally got their sim card and have their own telephone. They are free to use the phone without paying other teams or forming a queue. I forgot to ask about the generator, but I assume it should be fixed soon.
Julio still did not know the names of the climbers involved in the accident on the mountain. They were trying to find out. Two Hungarians that Julio met in 2007 are trying to climb again this year but Julio had not been able to get in contact with them. He is hoping they are fine.


Monday, April 26, 2010


Julio called early this morning to make sure I did not hear about the avalanche and panic. Apparently they decided to move down to BC and were safe when the avalanche occurred. He said it was rare for the avalanche to happen where it did, but nothing is unthinkable in Everest. Unfortunately one climber died and two others are missing. For more information you could go to the Alan Arnette web-site.
Julio and Bill are now at BC and plan to remain there for a few days. They would like to eat well, recover their energy, get stronger and try to climb again. Going back to BC is not unusual as many teams plan a trip to BC during the acclimatization process and before their final summit bid.
Julio was coughing a lot but assured me he was fine. He is determined to try again. He is eager to read your posts, and better yet, give you his first-hand accounts. Best regards to all.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Visiting Jordan Romero's camp

Julio called last night from Jordan Romero’s camp. They were at ABC. He sounded a little hoarse but otherwise feeling fine. They had been to camp 1 with intentions of spending the night, but the winds did not allow it. If the winds subside, they plan to give it another try and spend the night at camp 1. If not, they are going back to BC until the weather is better. The picture above will give you an idea why the wind is a factor when spending the night or setting up camp.
He mentioned that they were expecting to have their phone within the next two days, so he will be able to update the blog and read your comments. The phone signal last night was weak; our conversation was brief. After a few minutes of inquiring about kids, grandchildren, and some of his friends, he passed the phone to Jordan so I could say hello to him. He seemed excited that people are following his blog. From what I can tell, Julio is able to call every two or three days.


Friday, April 23, 2010

A tough call

The conversation with Julio last night was not easy. He was extremely saddened by the news that his good friend, Ants, had passed away that afternoon. I tried to contact Julio the previous day by emailing other north-bound teams, but he did not get the message- probably because they were on their way to the North Col and did not have a phone. Saying goodbye, though, would have been very difficult for Julio. We did not speak as much about the journey as we did about Ants.

The team is back at ABC and will leave for the North Col again in two days. They are still waiting for the card that will allow them to use their satellite phone. Meanwhile, Julio is still depending on the good will of the Spaniards’ team who lend him their phone. Hoshino Kohei had severe dental issues and has left for home. His Sherpa is also gone. Julio will try to call before they leave for Camp 1.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Update on location

Julio did not call last night but sent a GPS message. I am assuming they are climbing to Camp 1 or they are already there. Thanks for your comments and encouragement; he appreciates them.

Click below for new location.
We are here.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Advanced Base Camp

The team made it to ABC two days ago and has been confronting logistic problems ever since. A card needed to use the Internet was the wrong one and the generator to power the equipment is not working. They depend on using other teams’ satellite phones to call home. Their air time is limited since they have to pay high premiums to use those phones. Lhakpa Gelu is working very hard to take care of the problems within the next few days. Julio mentioned last night that this year there are at least half of the teams climbing that there were in 2007. He called from a satellite phone belonging to a team of Spaniards that have already made it to the North Col (Camp 1) and back. The weather is sunny and clear with occasional winds. They have decided to move on to Camp 1 in a couple of days. Julio’s altimeter marked an altitude of 20,300 feet where they are. He continues to send GPS signals but I have not received them. If and when I do I will be happy to share them. The team is feeling strong and ready to climb.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Leaving Base Camp

The guys are packing and loading the yaks for their trip to ABC. They are still waiting for the lama that will come to celebrate puja with them. Puja is the ritual that takes place before climbing to make sure Chomolungma (mother goddess of the earth) will allow them to proceed safely. Part of the ceremony involves ashes, offerings, drinking, and chanting.
They are all feeling better and getting excited about the climb. According to Julio, temperatures have dropped and they are feeling the harsh cold. Nevertheless,they have an incredible view of the massive mountain that is Everest, and they are looking forward to their journey. They are planning on spending the night at a camp 4-6 hours away from BC. From there they will leave for ABC, where they should spend four days before starting to climb to Camp 1.
Their satellite phone is still not working, so our conversations are rather short. This time, however, I manage to ask a few more questions. He was also able to give me the link to track them on the mountain. Those of you that like gadgets and electronics will appreciate the marvel of seeing exactly where he is. Check out the satellite view and the videos! It really is like being there.


From Julio directly:

Julio's SPOT
GPS location Date/Time:04/15/2010 01:14:03 CDT

Click the link below to see where I am located.
I am here.

Message:Hi, how is everybody? Things are going very well here on Everest. Julio

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Base Camp

Julio called April 13 at 9:44 pm. He had to borrow a phone because their satellite phone is not working yet. The team has been at Base Camp now for two days where they have had a lot of snow. While I go to sleep Julio and his friends leave for a walk around base camp. It is tomorrow morning there. The climbers continue to feel the effects of the altitude some days more than others. They will remain at Base Camp (BC) while they wait for the people that will bring the yaks. The animals will carry their equipment to Advanced Base Camp (ABC). They expect to be at ABC by April 16. I wish I could write more about what they are doing but he asked too many questions and when it was my turn he had to hand back the phone. He did say they are all doing fine and sends his regards to friends and family.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Town of Tingri

Julio just called (April 10, 10:00pm) from the only telephone available in the town of Tingri. They literally had to dust the phone in order to use it. It worked! Yesterday the team visited and was blessed by a descendant of Jetsun Milarepa, one of Tibet’s most famous yogis and a prominent figure of the Buddhist religion system of Tibet. They even visited a cave where Milarepa used to pray circa 1052.
The team is feeling some of the effects of the altitude but expect to recover quickly. They are in good spirits and looking forward to their departure tomorrow to base camp. The support crew has already left so they may prepare the camp-site before the team’s arrival. Once in base camp they will be able to use a computer and hopefully, read your comments and update the Blog.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Arrived at Tibet

Julio called last night (April 7) to let us know the team has reached the Tibet-Nepal border. They spent a night in Zhangmu after crossing the Chinese immigration post. There were no major obstacles crossing into Tibet except Hoshino Kohei (the Japanese climber) took some pictures but he was not allowed. The soldiers made him delete the pictures.
Julio was sorprised by the amount of work they have done on the roads to Nyalam during the last three years. The new road made for a much faster and less tedious journey.
After spending two days in the town of Nyalam (which sits at 12,300 ft. above sea level) they will be going to Tingri (or Dhingri) where they will continue the acclimatization process. Tingri sits at 14,107 ft. above sea level and it is the place where many climbers spend time getting ready to ascend Mount Everest. The team expects to begin climbing on April 12 after spending 2 nights each in Nyalam and Tingri. Hopefully he will be able to update us as the team continues to approach Base Camp.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Rest Day

Today was a relatively quiet one in preparation to our departure to Tibet. We had a 9:00 AM team meeting to discuss the nuances of our oxygen delivery system and were lucky enough to have Ted Atkins, its developer, do a presentation. I had spotted him in the hotel yesterday and he graciously agreed to do this for us.

Subsequent to that we completed our equipment purchases and enjoyed a muggy, idle afternoon.

Tomorrow we visit the Bodinath Temple and ask the head Lama to bless our expedition so that the goddess Chomolungma will look upon it with kindness. Last time I visited him (2007) he asked me to check out his blood pressure and his heart. This may have earned me some karma points at the time but not enough to summit! Perhaps it'll be different this time.

On the day after tomorrow, off to Tibet!


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Back in Kathmandu

It's noon on April 4 in Kathmandu as I type this entry. We flew out of Lukla this morning under much nicer weather conditions than those present on arrival.

A brief summary of the last few days:

After our hike to Kongde (13,500') we trekked down the ridge to the small town of Thame on a relatively unused trail. Some trailbreaking was required in that our path was occasionally blocked by snow and ice. We arrived in Thame seven and a half hours later and pretty tired. The lower elevation (12,100'),however, made for much easier breathing.

The next day we followed the ancient Tibetan trade route (dirt road, about ten feet wide) to Namche Bazaar, where I had last been in 2002, walked around for an hour and then left towards Monzu, where we spent the night. This was an "easy" hike, only about five hours!

Yesterday we concluded our descent to Lukla via Phakding, the only segment where we retraced our steps. Bill's altimeter watch calculated a cumulative vertical gain of about 17,000 feet during this trek, and I believe this will be helpful as we start our Everest climb in 2-3 days.

I'll do my best to keep updating as frequently as possible. In the meantime, I believe I'm becoming a better typist!