Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Satopanth Pics Are Up!

from Stu in the USA office
September 29, 2009

Chris has managed to upload a great number of images from the 2009 Satopanth trip including summit shots and images sure to entice the alpinist in each of us. When Chris has a chance in the week ahead he will be writing up a nice trip report and post that with details from the trek in and more about the summit day and the earthquake moment!

In speaking with Chris quite a bit over the last 2 days it is clear that Satopanth is fantastic climb for our members and so we are fully on for a return climb next autumn! Chris could not be more complementary about the great job of the HAP's Raj, Raj and Thapa and we expect that their return visit will be another great trip.
Let us know if you'd like to join Chris and the Raj's!

I have put in a few of Chris's pics below and to see all of them you can visit the Satopanth Gallery.

Itlao just below the summit in perfect weather
Italo just below the summit in perfect weather © chris szymiec

The 3 amigos on the summit. Raj, Chris and Raj
The 3 amigos on the summit. Raj, Chris and Raj © chris szymiec

Veronika and Italo getting moved into camp 2.
Veronika and Italo getting moved into camp 2 © chris szymiec

Nice shot of the ridge. Very nice route.
Nice shot of the ridge © chris szymiec

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Earthquake at Satopanth!

From Stu in the USA Office
September 23, 2009

Chris has left an audio dispatch about the summit day and the plan to return to Delhi and in it has described an earthquake that took place on their summit day during the descnet. Chris describes the entire summit ridge shaking and serac cleaving off from the summit while traversing the steep ice face!

We have confirmed that there was indeed a 6.1 magnitude earthquake on that very day in Bhutan and a 4.8 magnitude aftershock was felt in Uttaranchal where Satopanth lies. In researching the epicenter and BC locations is seems that our team was climbing less than 40km from the epicenter, which explains the very exciting time they had on the mountain and that they must have really been experiencing the full import of the quake the way a mountain of jello would if you bump into the table!
google earth image - E is the epicenter and B is base camp!
google earth image - E is the epicenter and B is base camp!

i am sure the members will have more to say when they return!

The US Geological Survey reports that the Bhutan earthquake took place in with an epicenter around 125 kilometers north of Gauhati and 180 kilometers east of Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu. Apparently the earthquake shook Bhutan and India’s northeastern Assam state. As well the quake was felt as far as Bangladesh and Lhasa, Tibet. It will be interesting to see if any of the teams on Cho Oyu or Shishapangma felt anything!

here are the details of the aftershock

Magnitude 4.8 on Monday September 21,2009 at 09:43:50 UTC / 03:13:50 PM at
Location 30.873°N, 79.050°E
Depth 43.6 km (27.1 miles)
Distances 115 km (70 miles) ENE ofDehra Dun, Uttaranchal,India
180 km (115 miles) E of Simla, Himachal Pradesh, India
190 km (115 miles) NNW of Haldwani, Uttaranchal, India
305 km (190 miles) NE of NEW DELHI, Delhi, India

Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatches

They will be heading out in the morning and should be in Gangotri on the 25th.

more news and loads of images still to come!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Back in Satopanth BC!

from Stu in the usa office
September 22, 2009

Chris called in from BC a few minutes ago to let us know that our entire team is back down safe and sound to BC and will be enjoying a much needed rest and cleanup day tomorrow! The weather continues to be fantastic and another team has even shown up to begin their climb so the season looks to be quite long this year.

Tomorrow they will rest and dry all of their gear out, take showers, eat and sleep and take great pleasure in looking back up at the mountain and knowing that they have visited its slopes and played in rare air and know the mountain like few ever will. The following day they will begrudgingly take their leave of this sanctuary of time and place and begin the 2-day walk out to Gangotri by way of Bhujbasa. If all goes according to plan then the team should be out to Gangotri on the 24th and will meet up with Tom there and continue on back to Delhi though having completed the climb so quickly there may be interest in enjoying Gangotri for a few extra days!

Chris will be enjoying the down time after this climb and getting ready for the start of Ama Dablam on the 15th of October. We still have room on both the Oct 15 and Nov 4 starts for Ama Dablam as well as a host of great climbs in the year ahead including peaks like Aconcagua and Ecuador Volcanoes in the Dec to Feb slot and then Kilimajaro with Sean James in Feb-March and then back to Nepal for Tharpu Chuli, Cho Oyu, Makalu, Baruntse and Island Peak....something for every level of climber! Nearly all of these trips have a trekking component so let us know if your family and friends want to come along too! see our site for all the trip info or drop us a note at ""


stu, dave and the gang at FTA

Monday, September 21, 2009

Satopanth Summits!

From stu in the usa office
September 21, 2009
Satopanth 7075M

Chris called in this morning from the summit of 7075m Satopanth along with co summiteers Italo and our haps Raj and Raj!

They sounded very excited to be on the top and were feeling great! Chirs said the views were amazing and the weather could not have been better. They took about 5 hours from the high camp and arrived around 9:45am. Veronika began the morning on the summit push but was feeling too cold and returned to the C3 to await the team's return. She must be disappointed but she has made it through all of the most technical climbing on a very demanding peak and must be very satisfied nonetheless. They plan to descend to C2 today and then all the way back to BC tomorrow for a celebration.

Chris plans to call in later when they are back down and we'll check in then to let everyone know they have made it back safely to BC.

Enjoy Chris's audio dispatch below from the top of the Garhwal Himalaya!

Listen to all the Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatches at gabcast

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sept 20 - team in satopanth c3 - summit tonight!

from stu in usa office
September 20, 2009

Chris called in this morning to share the great news that the team is in C3 at 6443m and ready to head for the top at 4:00am. Chris, Italo, Veronika, Raj and Raj are all ensconced in their Marmot tents (Alpinist and Thor 2's - thanks Marmot!!) and getting a little rest food and water before roping up for the climb. An Indian Army team was able to summit today so the route is clearly in for the team and bodes well for them. As well the weather has been stable and spectacular so all the signs point in the right direction for the team and we hope to hear from them on the summit in short order!!

Chris has also called in an audio dispatch with color commentary on the climb and he will call in from the teams high point which we hope will be the top! click on the player below or a listen in!

more news as we have it!!

Listen to all the Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatches

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Satopanth C3 established - summit bid on for tomorrow night!

from Stu in the USA office
Sept 19, 2009

I had a nice talk with Chris earlier today and he has also posted an audio blog that you can listen to below. He says that all is well and that the route is now in to C3! They plan to move up tomorrow to C3 early in the day and then begin their summit bid that night. Chris says that the climbing is incredible..steep and exposed and outstanding. Can't wait to see the pics! Anyone on our trips to Ama Dablam and Aconcagua this year will get a chance to hear first hand from Chris about the climb! Sounds like a great trip to consider if you are thinking about Ama Dablam or Aconcagua Polish or have done them already.

We have also had a nice call from Tom who is much improved and enjoying his time in Gangotri and now plans to do a few days of trekking about before meeting up with the team on their way out.

More news as we have it and the summit bid is truly underway tomorrow! Stay tuned!!

Chris calls in form C2 to say that the route is now in to C3 and tomorrow the team will move up to C3 and make a summit bid that night! Chris says that the climbing has been very steep and sustained and in his words "full on"!

Listen to all Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatches

Friday, September 18, 2009


AMA DABLAM Autumn 2009
We have just a few weeks until we close our positions for Ama Dablam Oct 15 and Nov 4 Start and still have room for climbers and trekkers to join us! We are confirmed for island Peak, Ama Dablam and the Everest BC trek for both date and welcome you to join us!

Our Dec 12 and Jan 10 Aconcagua trips with Chris Szymiec and our Jan 5 Ecuador Volcanoes expedition are also confirmed with room remaining for a few more!

Sean will continue to expand our programs this year into Africa and Russia and will lead trips to two of the most coveted peaks in the world for moderate climbing at high altitude

The most exciting news is that we have confirmed the addition of Makalu in May/April and Nanga Parbat in June/July with Fabrizio Zangrilli leading both trips!

In addition Chris will be leading Cho Oyu and Sean will be leading a Baruntse/Mera trip and Ben Kane will be off to the Annapurna Circuit with Thapru Chuli.

Short trip and long trips, low hills and high mountains, moderate slopes and steep faces....we have something for everyone in the year aheaD. Nearly all of our climbs have trekking components so bring along friends and family!

contact us at for information on any and all aspects of our program!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sept 17 - Satopanth C2 reached!

From Stu in the USA office
September 17, 2009

Chris called in a short while ago to let us know that the team has reached C2 and will be spending the night there at 5965m. At this time the summit team will be Chris, Italo,Veronika and Raj with the remaining 2 HAP'S (Raj #2 and Thapa) carrying loads to support the push and then planning to meet the team as they descend on summit day.

Today they had an awesome day of climbing in deep snow and a combination of fixed lines, roped and unroped climbing. They are on the same schedule as an Indian Army team and apparently have a great time together!

Tomorrow they plan to fix the route to C3 along a knife edge ridge of steep snow and ice and then move up the following day. After a rest day on the 20th when they will prepare the lower part of the summit portion they will go for it on the 21st. The weather has been "bluebird" skies according to chris and the reports are for good weather well through the summit push - keep the fingers crossed!

Chris has stated several times that he thinks this is the most beautiful mountain he has climbed on and that this is his favorite climb ever! These are words that carry a lot of weight as Chris has climbed on Spantik. Ama Dablam, G2, K2, Broad Peak, Tharpu Chuli, Aconcagua and much more!! He is already excited to return to Satopanth next September so if you missed out this year and want to join Chris next year let us know!

Chris will post and audio dispatch tomorrow with the very latest!

stay tuned!

many of you may have noticed our site has been on the fritz the last few days. please don't despair! we have replaced it with a mini version for the moment and we are working round the clock to undo some damage done by robotic hackers. This is apparently very common with sites using wordpress so we hope to have it all sorted out shortly!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sept 15 - Satopanth Expedition Summit Bid under way!

Chris calls in from C1 to report all is well! The team plans to make a carry to C2 at 5900m tomorrow and then continue on up the next day with hopes for a summit bid on the 21st!

see all Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatches at Gabcast

Monday, September 14, 2009

14 September - Satopanth C1 established!

from Stu in the USA office
14th September 2009

Chris has called in to let me know that all is well and the team has established C1! Yesterday Chris, Italo, Veronika and our two HAP's Raj and Thapa made a load carry to C1 and established the camp at approximately 5400m. After a rest day today they plan to move up to C1 tomorrow. They are planning for a first summit bid on the 21st of September if all goes well and the weather holds. After many days of snow they are having perfect days now and the reports are for at least 4-5 days of good weather ahead. we will revisit the weather each day and hope it holds!

Tom has unfortunately not been feeling well and fighting a GI battle for a week and as such had determined he is not strong enough to make a safe attempt and went back down to Bhujbasi yesterday and reached Gangotri today. Tom called in a short while ago to let me know all was well and that he plans to rest up, enjoy some days in Gangotri and then head off on a few great treks until the team comes out. It is always hard to decide when enough is enough and it sounds like Tom has made a very wise choice. We'll hope he has a great adventure trekking and look for him to have a more healthy time from here on in.

Chris has also left a new audio dispatch and he goes into some detail about the teams movement as well as the story of the evacuation of a group of stranded trekkers who were trapped by the heavy snow snowfall over the last week! He said that they were plucked off the hill by some great flying by the indian army. Chris was not sure what kind of choppers they are and they may be the following.

Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatches #34 - 13th Sept - Satopanth BC reached and C1 established

Chris calls in from BC with an update on the climb. Three members (chris, Veronika and Italo) and 2 HAPs (Raj and Thapa) have established C1 already! One member (Tom) was not feeling great and has gone down back to Gangotri to recuperate and will do some trekking til the rest of the team comes down.

Listen to all FTA dispatches at Gabcast

Chris says the mountain and route are stunning and we'll look forward to a great slide show on the site when the expedition is concluded!

more news as we have it!


Friday, September 11, 2009

Sept 11 - Satopanth BC reached!

from stu in the USA office
11th September, 2009

Chris call in a little while ago to let us know that the members and HAP's had reached BC at 4700m and that they are all doing well but not without a bit of an epic day. Snow has fallen quite hard for the last day and they arrived at BC with nearly a meter of snow on the ground. Just two days ago arriving teams were setting up on grass and hopefully the snow will melt in short order!
The challenging conditions made it impossible for the porters to safely travel and they stopped about an hour short the BC. To travel from where they stopped to BC requires a glacier crossing and cliff traverse and with a meter of snow hidden crevasses and slips on steep slopes had become a real concern. Tomorrow Chris and the HAPs will go back and begin the process of ferrying up the remaining supplies up to BC. The staff and porters are still back a few hours the team was kindly taken care of by an Indian Army group and we thank them for their generosity and hospitality.
The reports are for more snow in the next day or so and then clearing so we hope that the team will be able to make some progress in a few days. Clearly they will need to let the snow settle before getting onto the slopes!
The slowed pace of arrival has had a very positive impact on the teams acclimatizing and they are all feeling excellent with the altitude and should be ready to get on the route as soon as conditions permit. They are looking forward to their first close up of the mountain which til now has been hidden by the snowy weather. They have had great views of Shivling and in general have had some good afternoons for views after rainy and snowy mornings. After a very demanding trek in they are finally able to begin thinking about the climb itself and we look forward to hearing about some progress in the next few days!

More news as we have it!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Satopanth 2009 - Snowy day in Nandavan, BC tomorrow!

Sept 10, 2009
audio dispatch from Chris in Nandavan (4500m)

Chris calls in on a snowy day to report everyone is feeling well and they hope to reach BC tomorrow! Enjoy a listen!

Listen to all the Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatches at Gabcast

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Team In Bhujbasa

From Stu in the USA office
September 8, 2009

Chris has called in every few days with updates on the trip and the team is doing well and on schedule to arrive in base camp in a few days.
The team had planned a rest/acclimitization day in Gangotri at abot 3050m but due to the permit system had to keep on moving! They are making up for this with two nights in Bhujbasa at about 3700m. Everyone is feeling fine on our team though our local agent Arun has had a bad cold and will go back to Gongotri to rest up and the rejoin the team at BC.
Our agents often take very personal approach to working with our teams and Arun has been with them every day so far and going much beyond many other agencies. We have the same wonderful connection in Nepal with Nima and the fact that the heads of the companies get to know our members and join them for the early part of the trips is an unusual aspect to our programs. We'll hope Arun kicks his cold quickly and rejoins the team in BC just a day or two behind.

Here is audio dispatch from Chris in Bhujbasa:

More news as the team makes its way to Satopanth!