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Apr 162015
Everest 2015: New Icefall Route Proving Fickle

Today, Friday, April 17, a collapse of a four ladder traverse across a huge crevasse in the middle of the Icefall, caused 80 Sherpas to turn back. There were no injuries. The Icefall Doctors will go back up to inspect the situation and either reinstall the ladders, or find a new route around the crevasse. So all teams remain at Base Camp. This is not unusual but everyone in getting a bit anxious to get into the Western Cwm. The attached photo taken by Garrett Madison show the area. You need to zoom in to see the actual ladder and continue reading

Apr 162015
Everest 2015: Blessings on the Mountain

Before climbing in the Himalaya with Sherpas, a Puja ceremony must be held. There can be multiple Pujas, help or blessing. For example we had one with Lama Geshi a few days ago in his home in Pangyboche. Yesterday, Wednesday April 15, we held our Puja at our Base Camp for our Everest and Lhotse climbs. It is a very special ceremony where “members” and Sherpas come together to ask the mountain Gods permission to climb, forgiveness for any damage to the mountain and safety for all the climbers. It was a drawn out ceremony with a Lama coming from continue reading

Apr 142015
Everest 2015: "Safer and Shorter" from Head of the Icefall Doctors

“Safer and shorter”, that is what the leader of the Icefall Doctors told me this morning on camera in an “exclusive interview” at Everest Base Camp. Looking at the Icefall, I am still in awe that is climbed each year. From my perspective it looks more broken and jumbled but I will have a better feeling once we start climbing it later this week This will be my fifth time to go through the multiple rotations to attempt Everest or this year, > Lhotse, in the Khumbu Icefall. It has been snowing heavily off and on all day and most continue reading

Apr 122015
Everest 2015: Updates and Impressions

We are now at Gorak Shep and will arrive at Everest Base Camp tomorrow, Monday April 13. While the route has been fixed through the Icefall to Camp 1, there have been no reports of teams starting their climbs. Most are either still trekking in or doing acclimatization exercises on Lobuche Peak, or to Pumori Camp 1 near Everest Base Camp. As I have previously mentioned the route through the Khumbu Icefall takes a more right hand variation near Nuptse to avoid the potential serac danger off Everest’s West Shoulder that killed 16 last year. The route is reported to continue reading

Apr 072015
Everest 2015: Namche Bazaar is sometimes Bizarre

I walked the dirt paths of Namche Bazaar shielded from the rain by three story rock buildings. I was careful not to get gored by yak horns or a trekker’s hiking pole. I find the cafe I was looking for, the one with Internet that worked. As I walked in, it was dark, a pool table was off to my left. A long table were filled with Brits, Germans, and Americans drinking beer, a large latte or just sitting quietly. A yak train walked by the windows, their bells clankingly loudly. The music inside the cafe heaved with bass as continue reading

Apr 062015
Everest 2015: First View - New Icefall Route Pictures

Today we were rewarded with spectacular views of Everest, doctor Lhotse and Ama Dablam from the Everest View Hotel just above Namche Bazaar. I created a gallery of some of my favorites from today. New Icefall Route On another topic, sick Garrett Madison was able to scout out the new route in the Khumbu Icefall and in fact is totally new compared to 2014.  See Madison Mountaineering’s site for more and larger images. In a post on his site at this link,  you can see it hugs the side towards Nuptse and should offer significantly improved protection from ice releases continue reading

Apr 052015
Everest 2015: Gratitude for the Khumbu

As I walked up Namche Hill yesterday, healing I found myself alone. The tall pine trees waved in a steady breeze. The well worn dirt path held the memories of so many who have passed before. My own memories took over as I thought about my first climb up this infamous Hill in 1997. Now, drugstore 18 years later, discount I felt the same excitement, the same sense of how unique and special the Khumbu is and, while there is progress for the people, the spirit remains intact, full of loving kindness. We left Kathmandu on time (a rare occurrence) continue reading

Apr 032015
Everest 2015: Trek to Everest Base Camp Begins

Those who have followed me for years know I always say: Do the trek to Everest Base Camp, cheap it will change your life. Well I’m on my way for the 5th time, look 7th if you include overall trekking in the Khumbu. As part of the Madison Mountaineering team, we are a rather large party with 12 Everest climbers, 2 Lhotse and 10 trekkers. You will probably be able to see us moving from the space shuttle as we move along! The trek will take 7 days, taking a leisurely pace between villages. Carrying on a samll day pack, continue reading

Apr 032015
Everest 2015: Ceremonies of Life and Death in Kathmandu

Our last day in Kathmandu, we did the tourist thing by visiting two of the more popular spots: the Boudhanath Stupa and the Pashupatinath Temple. I had visited these spots on my first visit in 1997, but have never returned so it was interesting to see them again. Warning: this post and video has graphic descriptions and images that may be disturbing to some people Our first stop was to the Pashupatinath Temple where both Hindus and Buddhist take their dead for cremation ceremonies. Everything is out in the public and the families are accustomed to having tourist and locals, continue reading

Apr 022015
Everest 2015: Life in Kathmandu

Arriving in Kathmandu always brings a wave of emotions. This is my 10th visit here since 1997 and every time, illness I’m struck by the contradiction of poverty and smiles. My flight from the U.S. went well except for a six hour delay in Istanbul. But at least I was able to spend it in one of the lounges I’ve seen, and I have seen many. It was large, with comfortable seating and amazing food. The only bad part was when Turkish Airlines delayed my flight from Kathmandu from 8:30PM to 1:30AM but overall, I’m not complaining. Nepal recently introduced continue reading