Cholatse 2019 Expedition Dispatches

Dispatch #5 – November 5, 2019 – Kathmandu

Our team members are all now back in their respective countries after a very successful Cholatse expedition.

Our team met in Kathmandu on October 19 and the following day we took several helicopters directly to Namche Bazar. We were very fortunate with the weather as we learned after we had made our flights, the fixed wing flights and helicopters were unable to fly to Lukla for the following two days. We were having breakfast in Kathmandu at 6.30 am and we were all in Namche Bazar by 8.30am. A perfect way to get the expedition started proper.

Over the next few days we made our way to base camp. A second day in Namche saw a walk up to the Everest View hotel, but unfortunately the weather was not so good there and the terrace was closed due to rain, but this did not stop us enjoying some rather expensive beverages inside the dining hall.

After spending the evenings in Dole and Machermo on the trek, we finally arrived at base camp on the 24th where we were met by our large Sherpa crew of climbers and cooks.

Our climbing Sherpas have already climbed Cholatse, some five times previously, and they were very keen to get to work on fixing the ropes on the route. After our Puja ceremony on the 25th, they immediately got the ropes placed to camp one, also known as high camp.

The following day all of our team walked to crampon point to look at the route before descending to base camp where they would spend a rest day before making the big climb to high camp the following day on the 28th.

We had consulted our weather forecasts and the plan was to make a summit push on either October 31 or November 1, all depending on the wind speeds and the progression of the fixed ropes. Our Sherpa did a fantastic job of fixing ropes on the 28th and reached around 6200 meters with around 600 linear meters of rope remaining to be fixed. They descending late in the day and decided to finish the rope on summit day ahead of the other team members.

Wind speeds looked best for November 1 and with this in mind we all enjoyed two rest days at base camp before the summit push. On the 31st, all of the team and Sherpa except for Kami Neru Sherpa, Sonam Sherpa, Matthias and myself, made the climb to high camp in anticipation of leaving for the summit the following morning. Matthias would leave base camp at 11pm with Sonam to make the direct climb from base camp to the summit and return to base camp. Kami (Mad Dog) and myself left base camp slightly earlier as we had planned to make sure the final section of fixed ropes were finished before the team members and their respective Sherpas arrived near the summit.

We had perfect summit weather conditions with very warm temperatures and no wind except for a slight breeze near the summit. We encountered very deep snow (chest height) on the traverse below the final steep slope leading to the summit ridges. The deep snow slowed Kami and myself down considerably and this meant a few of the faster team members had to wait for us to finish the rope on the final summit slope and pyramid, but didn’t have to wait too long. Our team members and Sherpa staggered their departure times with groups leaving at midnight, 1am and 2am respectively. All the team were on the summit and were descending by 10am.

We had a very successful trip and this was due to a great bunch of guys and girls who formed the team and the always impressive Junkies Sherpa whom have made Cholatse their own over the past several years. It would not be possible without the climbing Sherpas as several teams had been turned around by the snow conditions this fall season and the Sherpa kitchen crew under the directorship of Da Pasang Sherpa, whom have kept us well fed and strong with amazing food dishes during the expedition.

We once again completed our expedition in 14 days from Kathmandu to Kathmandu thanks to the brilliant pilots at Kaliash helicopters whom extracted us from base camp on the morning of the 2nd and had us back in Kathmandu a few hours later.

The Sherpa and myself now get to rest for a few days in Kathmandu before our Ama Dablam team arrives in a week or so.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #4 - November 2, 2019 – Kathmandu

All the team members are now in Kathmandu thanks to several helicopter extractions from base camp this morning.

Yesterday we had 19 summits of Cholatse. A full report of the climb will be posted in a few days. First order of priority is showers and then Vino Bistro.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #3 - October 31, 2019 – Cholatse Base Camp

The summit push is on! The team members and Sherpa are at high camp and will ascend tomorrow morning. Kami Nuru Sherpa (Mad Dog) and myself will leave base camp at midnight in order to fix the final sections of rope to the summit.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #2 - October 29, 2019 – Cholatse Base Camp

Sorry about the radio silence recently. We have been busy climbing and the Sherpas even busier fixing ropes.

We will plan our summit push in a few days, but this all depends on the next weather forecast.

Photos are of our Cholatse base camp.

Phil Crampton

Dispatch #1 - October 17, 2019 – Kathmandu

Our expedition team members are now staring to arrive in Kathmandu over the next few days and the plan is to take several helicopters directly from Kathmandu to Namche Bazar on the 20th.

Our amazing regular Sherpa crew are already at base camp getting things ready in anticpation of our team arriving on the 24th. We have the same Sherpa on the mountain and in the kitchen as our last five Cholatse expeditions, so these guys are very experienced with this mountain.

We will try to update news on the climb as frequently as possible.

Phil Crampton

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