Lhotse 2014 Expedition Dispatches
Dispatch #8: Kathmandu - May 1, 2014
All of our team members arrived in Kathmandu on April 26 after taking helicopters from Pheriche to Lukla and then onto Kathmandu. Obviously everyone is disappointed that we didn't get the chance to climb this spring season but perhaps things will be different next year. Our Sherpa team are now on their way back to Kathmandu and should be here in a few days.
Dispatch #7: Everest Base Camp - April 22, 2014
We apologize about the long silence in posting a dispatch after the tragic events on the morning of the 18th. Even though we have lost none of our Sherpas in the accident, our Sherpa team feel a terrible loss with family members and friends lost to the mountain.
Our team members are very close to our Sherpas as 8 out of our 12 climbers have climbed with us many times previously and know our Sherpa crew very well indeed. The pain our Sherpas are feeling is shared by all the Junkies at present.
There is some uncertainty around base camp at the moment to how things will progress this season. The Sherpa community are meeting daily to decide if they collectively wish to continue to climb this season. Our team members have been amazing with this situation and only want what’s best for our Sherpas and will respect their decisions. We know of some teams planning to leave base camp in the next few days and we applaud their decision in these difficult days ahead.
The Junkies will spend the next few days allowing our Sherpa team and team members to reflect on the events and make their own personal choices as we did after the tragic avalanche that took many lives on Manaslu in 2012.
Everest can be beautiful one day and cruel the next. Whatever moods she throws at us, one thing is for sure……we will still honor her by attempting to climb on her flanks in the future.
Update from Kathmandu: April 18, 2014
Dorjee Sherpa, Pasang Ongchu, Kami Nuru, Ang Gelu, da Kusang, Samden and Phil Crampton from the Altitude Junkies assisted with rescue efforts today, but are now back in base camp. It is a solemn time at base camp.
Update from Kathmandu: April 18, 2014
There has been an avalanche on the mountain. All of our team and Sherpas are fine. We are waiting for more news and exact details. We hear rescue operations are underway assisted by many teams. Our prayers and thoughts go out to those who have been affected by this tragedy.
Dispatch #6: Everest Base Camp - April 12, 2014
The entire team has rejoined with our Sherpas at Everest base camp. Everyone is well and getting acquainted with what will be their home for the next few weeks.
Unfortunately, the communications systems are not working well. The Immarsat BGAN as well as Ncell are not functioning as normally expected right now. Hopefully the problems are rectified soon so there will be more frequent dispatches.
The Junkies are quite renowned for their notorious Puja ceremonies. Tomorrow, on the 13th, the Junkies will hold their ceremony. Base camp will probably be pretty quiet on the 14th.
Dispatch #5: Namche Bazar - April 5, 2014
Our team members are now enjoying their second day in Namche Bazar to aid our acclimatization. Tomorrow we will head to Deboche and then the following day head to Dingboche, where we will spend two evenings for cautious acclimatization.
We have a very strong group this year with some members making the trek from Phakding to Namche in under three hours.
The helicopter flights from Kathmandu were uneventful but allowed for amazing 180 degree views. My flight was fortunate to have the New Zealand pilot Jason who after dropping us off, was heading directly to Ama Dablam for a long line rescue of a climber who was apparently blown off the mountain high up. We hear he was extracted but we have no word on his conditon.
Most likely we will be off the radar for a few days unless the 3G connection is working higher up the valley.
Dispatch #4: Kathmandu – April 2, 2014
We have now finished all our formalities at the Ministry of Tourism, received our two expedition permits and enjoyed a great welcome dinner at the awesome Jatra restaurant in Thamel
Tomorrow we will take three private helicopters to Lukla to start the trek to base camp. We elect to take helicopters as we feel this is a safer option than the fixed wing flights especially in not so perfect weather conditions.
Dispatch #3: Kathmandu – April 1, 2014
In the last post we mentioned the old school Junkies climbers on our Lhotse team and we have more of them on our Everest team. We are also welcoming some new faces to the family. Not to be outdone by the Lhotse team members, this group have fourteen 8,000-meter peak expeditions between them.
Charmaine (New Zealand)
I guess the only other person to mention is me, Phil Crampton, I’m born in the United Kingdom but lived most of my life in New York City. I am the expedition leader, expedition manager, happy hour bartender and general help fixing broken things around base camp.
This is my eleventh Everest expedition and thirty-fifth plus 8,000-meter peak. As famous Everest blogger, mountaineer and general nice guy Alan Arnette has said in the past, “Phil is not a guide, he’s a facilitator”. My job is to make sure everyone stays healthy, the camps get stocked and then collectively we hopefully chose a great weather window to allows us to reach the top of our respective peaks in perfect weather conditions.
When all the team members have arrived we will have our audience with the top brass at the Ministry of Tourism in regards to pollution control at base camp and etiquette in regards to playing nice with other climbers and Sherpa on the hill as to not start any fisticuffs.
Dispatch #2: Kathmandu – March 29, 2014
The team members are now arriving in Kathmandu and we are once again fortunate to be staying at the amazing Courtyard Hotel in the tourist district of Thamel. Pujan and Michelle are our gracious hosts and they are welcoming back many old friends from previous Junkies climbs.
On that note of returning friends, I would like to introduce the Lhotse team in this dispatch, as all the climbers are 8,000-meter veterans with the Junkies. We pride ourselves at the Junkies that our team members are experienced climbers who enjoy the top-notch services and great Sherpa staff that we provide. In fact, some of these guys and girls have more 8,000-meter experience than some of the guides leading clients on Everest this season. These five climbers have twenty-seven 8,000-meter expeditions between them and they have all summited Everest, some from both the north and south sides of the hill.
Louis (South Africa)
As an expedition manager and leader, that’s what I call a dream team. All of the above climbers will be climbing with their regular Junkies personal Sherpa whom they have summited many 8,000-meter peaks with before.
Dispatch #1: Kathmandu – March 25, 2014
Welcome to the expedition dispatches from our annual Altitude Junkies Everest and Lhotse expeditions. For 2014 we are pleased to be returning to the south Nepal side of the mountain, after a two year hiatus climbing on the northern Tibetan side of the mountain.
Why have we have switched back to the crowded Nepal side of the mountain, especially with all these new rules being imposed by the Ministry of Tourism and the increased permit fees for 2015? The reason is simple, the Altitude Junkies Sherpa, some who have climbed with us for many years. These guys prefer to be in the Solokhumbu, as it’s where they all are born and raised and they like the fact that the mountain is much warmer and easier for them to work on the southern side.
Another factor, for me as the expedition organizer and manager is that we have had many requests over the years to run a Lhotse expedition from previous Junkies climbers. I would like to think all of our repeat climbers, do so because of the organization and the great Sherpa, but I think it’s pretty much down to the fact that we insist on a daily happy hour during our down days at base camp.
Our expeditions would not be possible without our awesome climbing and kitchen Sherpa. The Junkies expeditions do not have high profile, sponsored, certified UIAGM guides leading our climbs. On our 8,000-meter peaks, the expedition is led and managed, usually by me, an ordinary guy, who loves climbing big mountains and helping others to reach their goals as climbers. We don’t push people to the summit, rather let our climbers be climbers, and make their own decisions. Our awesome Sherpa are there to aid and assist our team members anyway they can. That’s why our Sherpa are the backbone of our expeditions and not the guy you read about in the outdoor magazines. Without the Sherpa, not many of us would be able to climb Everest.
This year our Everest and Lhotse teams will be supported by the following Sherpas with a 2:1 Sherpa to climber ratio on Everest and a 1:1 Sherpa to climber ratio on Lhotse.
Pasang Ongchu Sherpa
Chhongba Nurbu Sherpa
Kami Nuru Sherpa
Pasang Nima Sherpa
Ang Gelu Sherpa
Pemba Gyabu Sherpa
Lakpa Dorjee Sherpa
Pasang Gelu Sherpa
Karma Gelgen Sherpa
Da Kusang Sherpa
Pemba Chhiri Sherpa
Pemba Ngatar Sherpa
Pasang Lakpa Sherpa
Fura Dorjee Sherpa
Da Pasang Sherpa
Mingma Lakpa Sherpa
Jangbu Dorjee Sherpa
Ngawang Goden Sherpa
Pem Nuru Sherpa
Our team members will start to arrive in Kathmandu over the next few days and hopefully get to enjoy a few relaxing days in Kathmandu before we start the trek to base camp.
Seeing as both the Everest and Lhotse expeditions are trekking together to base camp we will post the same dispatches until the climbing rotations begin.
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