Friday, October 30, 2009

Team in Ama Dablam BC, Trekkers in Lobuche

from stu in the usa office
oct 29, 2009

Chris called in from Ama Dablam BC to let us know that our Ama Dablam team is now all in basecamp including Chris, Sam, Erik, Emilia, Mama, Pemba & Ratna (our infamous cook!). After some rest days they will begin a summit push and we should have an update before they begin the climb in earnest.

Ian, Hong, Christine, Oscar and Tsering have all headed off for a trek to Gokyo and we look forward to hearing from them along the way!

The word is lots of summits already and a route in good shape so as Chris will say: "game on!"

Chris also left an audio dispatch and you can listen in below!

Listen to all the Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatches at gabcast

Ama Dablam BC © chris szymiec
Ama Dablam BC © chris szymiec

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Island Peak Summits!

from stu in the usa office
october 27, 2009

Summits on Island Peak (Imja Tse) 6186m and everyone down safe and sound!

Chris has called in an audio dispatch and also called in to the office to let us know that the team had topped out in high winds and that everyone was back at BC resting up after a long summit day. He sounded tired and happy as one should after a good push up a 6000m peak in the Himalaya. I

Island Peak Summiteers on the 27th Oct, 2009:
Chris Szymiec
Christine Li
Ian Blessley
Oscar Raap
Sam Tyler
Siddhi "Mama" Tamang

Eric was not feeling super strong leaving from high camp and decided to abort the summit push and save his energy for Ama Dablam. We applaud his wise choice and it bodes well for a safe climb on Ama Dablam! He returned to rest up at high camp accompanied by Mama (Siddhi) who then turned about and caught the summit group and joined them to the top!

Mama continues to prove an incredibly strong and fast climber and an up and coming sherpa guide. I have known Mama for 4 years it has been great to watch his growth as a guide. He began as a cook assistant & high altitude porter and has been working on his climbing skills every year. He has now guided on Island Peak for a third time with FTA and worked on our Ama Dablam and Cho Oyu trips as well last year. Looking forward to seeing him join our Ama Dablam team for his first summit bid in support of Chris and Pemba.

They will enjoy an easy amble down to Dingboche tomorrow likely stopping for cups of hot lemon at the tea houses in Chukhung and an evening of hot soups and popcorn in Dingboche. The trail back to Chukhung is pretty uneven but from there on down it is a gently descending trail with outrageous views of the massive Nuptse/Lhotse wall. Anyone who has seen the wall up close from Island Peak or Chukung Ri has seen one of the largest reliefs imaginable. Rising more than 7000ft and less than a mile away it is hard to take in all at once!

There is a great image of the wall at

Tsering, Ian, Oscar, Hong and Christine will join the team back to Dingboche tomorrow and then head off for the Everest BC trek. We'll expect to hear from them every 3-4 days as they make their way to Lobuche, Kala Pattar and then over the Cho la to Gokyo. It is one of the great treks on the planet and we look forward to hearing how much they enjoyed themselves!

Chris, Sam, Erik, and Mama will climb back up to Ama Dablam BC to join Pemba and Emilia and begin the Ama Dablam climb after a few days rest. If all goes well we expect them to be making a summit bid on or about the 5th of October.

An exciting start to the FTA autumn season in nepal with lots of action still to come!

have posted some images below from last year and we look forward to lots more images when the season is over. (Be sure to check out our gallery section or all the images from past trips!)
listen in below to chris's audio dispatch:

Listen to all the Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatches on Gabcast

Approaching the fixed lines on Island Peak © sean james
Approaching the fixed lines on Island Peak © sean james

Summit Ridge on Island Peak © chris szymiec
Summit Ridge on Island Peak © chris szymiec

FTA guide Chris Szymiec at the top of the fixed lines © chris szymiec
FTA guide Chris Szymiec at the top of the fixed lines © chris szymiec

Friday, October 23, 2009

Team on the move to Island Peak!

from stu in the usa office
october 23, 2009

Chris dropped a quick note from Dingboche to let us know that the entire team on the move to Island Peak! He reported that everyone was feeling very well with the altitude and that tummies were all settling down - good news indeed!

more news soon!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ama Dablam 2009 reaches BC!

from stu in the usa office
October 22, 2009

Chris called this morning to let us know that the team had all reached Ama Dablam BC on the 21st! Despite a few GI gurgles the team seems to be doing well and looking forward to a rest day in BC today before making their way to Island Peak. The weather is apparently great, the route is already in to C3 at this point and everyone's spirits are very high! At this time our team at BC consists of Chris, Ian, Sam, Eric, Oscar, Christine, Hong, Tsering, Lhakpa, Pemba, Siddhi and Ratna. Emilia will be arriving shortly after trekking about the Khumbu for a few weeks on her own and in time for the Ama Dablam climb itself.

Our November group of Brad, Sandy, Mike and Henrik is nearly set with room for a few more so let us know! They will be flying up to Lukla on the 3rd and hopefully crisscrossing with our October team at BC for a big summit party!!

Chris has left an audio dispatch from BC - enjoy hearing his voice from high in the Khumbu Valley!

Listen to all the Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatches at Gabcast!

[caption id="attachment_1670" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Ama Dablam from lower Pangboche © stu remensnyder"]Ama Dablam from lower Pangboche © stu remensnyder[/caption]

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ama Dablam 2009 all set to begin. The boulderers are coming.

From Ian and Chris in Kathmandu
October 13, 2009

Chris and I have met up in Kathmandu after our various adventures leading up to the start of the Ama Dablam Climb and Everest Base Camp Trek. The last few days have been spent meeting up with the Godfather of Nepal Nima Sherpa, who seems to be able to rectify all the problems that Chris and I create with a smile and a nod of his head. Due to equipment loss on Satopanth Chris had to replace a number of ice screws, so after buying all the remaining Black Diamond ice screws in Kathmandu during a bought of retail therapy he presented Nima with a substantial bill. Without batting an eyelid Nima said he could pay that now. Chris asked if his bag was full of money to which the reply was "yes please" and a brick of 1000Rp notes was produced!! Bill settled!

FTA guide Ian Blessley leading a nice slimey pitch in the Nangajon Forest"
FTA guide Ian Blessley leading a nice slimey pitch in the Nangajon Forest

Thamel has changed significantly since I was here 10 years ago. They have recently tarmacked the roads in Thamel, power cuts only last for about 4 hours an evening, and everyone now has a motorbike. The rickshaws, tigerbalm and hasish sellers are still the same and may even be the same people! The constant barrage of people trying to sell you things rapidly becomes a game of avoidance, coupled with the wry smiles as they catch you, recognise you and know that they are not going to get a sale! Pollution is still a major problem and a sore throat and sore eyes encouraged Chris and I plus a few others to head out to Nargajon, just below the Kings Palace for a few days of climbing. After the inevitable haggling and readjustment of prices with the taxi driver we made it to a very pleasant looking limestone crag tucked away in a shady glade in the Kings National Park.

On the first visit we concentrated on a few simple climbs at a slabby wall that was a little dirty but provided some good fun, until the mosquitos turned up and a hasty retreat was required. Armed with mosquito coils we returned a few days later to attempt some of the harder routes. These were slightly more technical and a little wetter and dirtier but with much sweating and cursing the anchors were reached. During the afternoon a number of gun shots could be heard leading us to the conclusion that the King was in residence taking pot shots at the locals, or perhaps the odd tiger or two that we were assured were in the park. A little later automatic gunfire and large explosions were heard, perhaps the King is a poor shot!!
Ian in the chimney run out and gnarly!
Ian in the chimney run out and gnarly!

Yesterday we met up with Oscar and Eric and helped them organise early flights to Lukla (well Nima did) for some acclimatisation. We are expecting more people to arrive every day and look forward to leaving the smog bound capital for the fresh air and beautiful views that we know await us in the Solu Khumbu.

Ian in Kathmandu

Bouldering in the Everest Region?

Last year, Josh Kass and i were able to spend some time in and around Namche Bazzar putting up the odd bouldering problem. A vast field of large boulders skirts the town and i remember being awe struck by the quantity and quality of the bouldering up there. There is virtually unlimited development potential and at the time, we thought a bouldering trek to the area would be a really great thing.

Well, its happened. This morning, Rachell (Canada), Brian (USA) and Kyle(USA) all blasted off for Lukla with plans of spending a month up in Namche putting up problems, making maps and generally developing a new bouldering area in the Khumbu.

If all goes well, next season we will be offering something very unique indeed. Climbing small rocks beside the biggest rock of them all! Everest. Some might think it folly, but ask any boulder and its a dream. Lets wish them all luck and stay tuned for some photos, maps and beta in the weeks to come.

Chris in Kathmandu

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

FTA Ama Dablam 2009 under way!

Guide Chris Szymiec is now in Kathmandu making early preparations for our trip and much of our gear, rope and food is already staged in Pangboche!
Chris will be out rockclimbing for a few days and be back in town to meet our first members arriving on the 11th.
One member, Emilia, who will be joining us on the 22nd Oct in Pangboche, is already in Namche on a trek to Gokyo, over the Cho La and around to Island Peak!
Assistant guide Ian Blessley is off trekking in the Langtang and will meet up with Chris in KTM by the 13th fit and acclimatized!
We have room for a few more on each trip (Oct 15 start and Nov 4 starts) and as well have room for Island Peak climbers and Everest BC trekkers on these same trips.
Visit the FTA home page for links to all our trips!

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