Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rest Day in Namche, Lukla Bound Tomorrow!

From Ian in Namche
Nov. 24, 2009

Hi from Namche!

So everyone is now in Namche Bazaar resting after the last few hectic days. It is good to be down low where the air is thick!

The summit day itself was a long day for all, with Chris going all the way back to base camp after the early summit due to the cold. Whilst Henrik, Pemba and Mama made good time and arrived in camp 2 in the day light, Sam and I took a little longer and ended up descending the Grey Tower in the dark. We were only to hear of the horrors that other teams had suffered the next day. Some teams had suffered from the cold and the wind and ended up with frostbitten fingers and toes, whilst another had badly hurt his ankle after he took a fall high on the hill.

For those of us that slept at camp 2 the following day promised a long descent with many teams moving off the mountain. the Yellow Tower proved to be as exhausting going down as it was going up but the views seemed that little bit better. Camp 1 could be seen as we traversed towards it with the boulder field dropping away below. Mama and Pemba pushed on to strike camp 1 and then descend in rapid fashion. Slowly behind, and by now already tired, we followed. Our bags were now a little heavier although Sam seemed to have taken everything with him on the mountain including the kitchen sink and so had a huge pack towering over his head. Our descent was slow due to this and our fatigue, but the weather was kind and we tottered into camp in the early afternoon.

Ratna served up a feast for dinner including a summit celebration chocolate cream cake that was shared between all the team and the staff. In a sugar-high and exhaustion induced haze everyone retired to their tents to collapse comatose for a well-earned sleep.

The decision had been made to break base camp and head for Namche, a walk that would normally take 5 hours, passing through Pangboche, Debuche, Thengboche and finally up a long hill into Namche itself. Chris and Henrik blasted off with myself Sam and Mike bumbling along together at the back. In all it took about 6-7 hours for us all to reach Namche but the reward was a yak sizzler on Chris, very tasty after a long day.

As we had neared Namche we were treated to final views of the incredible Ama Dablam summit where only days ago we had stood. Ama Dablam's upper slopes, which were once unfamiliar and awe-inspiring terrain, are a vertical world we now know intimately and respect deeply. Then all of a sudden we rounded a corner and stark and snowy vista gave way to green slopes and houses and then the bustling enclave of Namche.

Now we are all recovering on a rest day as the shaggy yaks catch up and head to Lukla. Chris is indulging in a combination of beer and 18 hours of sleep, whilst everyone else is trying to rehydrate properly and catch up on deprived energy stocks - Sam's diet of Gummy bears and pizza seems to be helping him!

Tomorrow we head down the valley to Lukla to catch our flights to Kathmandu on the 26th. It will be great to amble along the Dudh Khosi river, stop for hot lemons at the myriad of tea houses we pass by. All the while we'll day dream of soft beds and hot showers in the hotel and celebration meals in the Rum Doodle and Everest Steak House restaurants!

When we get back to town and upload speeds are better we'll post some of our best images from the trip so check back in a few days for more!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

All safe in Ama Dablam BC

From stu in the USA office
Nov 22, 2009

Chris called in today to let us know that everyone is back in BC safe and sound. Apparently it was extremely cold on the summit day and it was a big effort on everyone's part to stay warm enough.

Official Summiteers are

Sam Tyler
Ian Blessley
Siddhi Tamang
Pemba Sherpa
Chris Szymiec
Henrik Olsen

In the audio dispatch below you can hear more details about summit timing and the return to BC. You can also hear in Chris's voice that this kind of cold high climbing takes a toll on the vocal cords!

Chris and the entire team and BC staff are breaking camp tomorrow and will go down to Namche for two nights of R&R, pool matches, celebration Yak Sizzlers and now that they are on the way down likely quite a few beers! There are several excellent poolhalls in Namche and often teams on the hill will enjoy a friendly but well contested match complemented with a musical backdrop of Pearl Jam or Bob Marley!

We'll look forward to more dispatches from Namche and Kathamndu along with some pics from the trip!

Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatches

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ama Dablam Nov - Summits

from stu in the usa office
21 Nov. 2009

I received a call from our ground staff in Kathmandu that our team had summited at 10:30am from camp 2 and were on their way back to C2. We expect to have word of their safe return to C1 or BC, as well as additional information about the summit bid itself, in the next 24 hours. Summiting were Chris, Ian, Henrik, Sam, Pemba and Mama with Mike having aborted the push and returned to C1.

From talking to Chris before the push I know that there were several teams making a summit bid at the same time and he was concerned about logjams so it is possible that the descent may be slow as they take care to move in the Grey Tower.

As they have already topped out and are on the way down the plan is for them to now fly on 26th from Lukla and be back in Kathmandu with some time to enjoy the city and sights.

The extra rest time is good news or Chris who is of to Aconcagua in early December for 2 trips. Still spaces available for Dec 12 and Jan 9 departure dates!

We'll have more detailed report shortly and get that up!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Island Peak Summits

From stu in the US office
16 Nov, 2009

Ian called in yesterday from Island Peak BC to let us know that he, Mike, Henrik, Mama & Pemba all topped out on Island Peak and were safely down. He then sent in a great note today from Dingboche with more details. Sounds like they had a great climb, got of early and beat the main crowds to have the summit largely to themselves for an early sunrise in strong winds. The advantage in being a small and fast moving team was that they were able to top out and descend before running into the crowds and getting stuck at any logjams.

They are on to Ama Dablam BC today to meet up with Chris and Sam. After a few rest days they will then begin the second wave of summit bids for us this season.

Our first group including Ama Dablam & Island Peak summiteers and Everest BC trekkers are all safely out to Kathmandu and most already on their way home. We congratulate them all for a great trip and look forward to having them aboard again.

Emilia Takahashi (Ama Dablam)
Eric De Waard (Island & Ama Dablam)
Oscar Raap (Island & EBC)
Christine Li (Island & EBC)
Hong Bao (EBC)

We should be hearing more from Chris and his crew from BC in the next 24-48 hours with the plan. At this time they are a bit ahead of schedule and are planning to return to Kathmandu on the 29th Nov if the weather continues to cooperate.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ama Dablam Oct Team safe in BC

from stu in the usa office
nov 7, 2009

Chris called in from BC along with the summit team to let us know everyone is down safe and sound! You can listen to his audio dispatch below. Emilia and Eric will now enjoy some days ambling in the Khumbu before heading out to Kathmandu and on to home. We have enjoyed having them with us this season very much!

It is always a great thing to finally arrive back at an FTA nepal basecamp for a summit cake by Ratna!

Ian has also called in from Namche to say that the trekking group was on its way to Lukla to meet our agent Nima and head back to Kathmandu today. Meanwhile our November Island Peak/Ama Dablam group is already into Namche with Sam and Ian and they will meet up with Chris in Pangboche in a few days. rom there they will head back up to Ama Dablam BC to rest for a few days before the climbing begins all over again!

More news as we have it!

Listen to all the Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatches at Gabcast

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


from stu in the usa office
Nov. 4, 2009

Our group left at 2am and at 9:30am 4 of our team stood on the top of Ama Dablam and took in the grand view from the top over to Everest, Lhotse, Nupste, Makalu and a look down on the Chukhung and Island Peak down below! They enjoyed them selves on the summit and then descended to C2 arriving at 4:14pm for a total of 14 hours 14 minutes round trip!

The 4 summiters are:
Emilia Takahashi
Eric De Waard
Siddhi Tamang
Pemba Rinzin Sherpa

Chris plans to head up to C1 to help them come down in the morning and in the mean time Sam has headed down to meet up with the incoming November group. The incoming November group has already flown to Lukla and they are enjoying a first evening at high altitude near Phakding. They will arrive in Namche tomorrow and be greeted by Sam and Ian. Our trekkers Hong and Christine will fly out from Lukla on the 7th and enjoy a side trip to Pokhara before flying home a week later. Oscar continues to amble about the Khumbu and will be meeting up with Eric before they fly out on the 10th. Our trekking guide Tsering is accompanying Christine and Hong our to Lukla and then will be joining the November team for the trek in and for the Island Peak climb.

Our November team was to include FTA alum Brad Jackson and his wife Sandy Hoby but she suffered a most unfortunate injury just 48hours before she was to leave Sydney. While out on a rainy day she took a mistep and fractured a bone in her foot and was given 6 weeks to heal up forcing her to give up her trip. We look forward to having Sandy and Brad aboard again soon and expect they may even join us for Ecuador in January or Tharpu Chuli in March!

The remaining November team members Mike Herbert and Henrik Olsen will join Chris, Sam, Ian, Pemba, Mama and BC staff Ratna and Sonam for the second round of Island Peak and Ama Dablam so stay tuned for more adventures ahead!

Chris called in a disptach about the summit group and you can listen in below!

Listen to all the Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatches at Gabcast

Summit View to Everest on Ama Dablam © stu remensnyder
Summit View to Everest on Ama Dablam © stu remensnyder

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ama Dablam Oct Summit push is On!

from stu in the usa office
nov 3, 2009

Chris called in to say that the 4 members ( Emilia, Pemba, Eric & Mama) are in C2 planning to make a summit bid starting at 2am on the morning of the 4th. Chris and Sam are both in BC at this time - Chris nursing a bruised rib from the yellow tower and Sam suffering a bout of khumbu cough. We expect both to be back in action shortly!

Stay tuned for a summit bid update!

summit day in 2008 just below the dablam © chris szymiec
summit day in 2008 just below the dablam © chris szymiec