Sunday, November 11, 2012

Nepal Trip Report 2012

I have just got back from a great 3 weeks in Nepal. I took two teams out with the assistance of friends and fellow instructors Paul & Dave. In total I had 25 people to look after including the porters and Sherpas we employed and I am pleased to say we all had a safe and enjoyable trip.

On all of my expeditions I draw up a schedule that allows lots of room for rest and acclimatisation and combine this with small teams and a higher than average number of instructors to provide the best possible chance for everyone to achieve their aim in safety and comfort.

For this trip I had 5 clients going to Everest Base Camp (EBC) and 5 climbing Island Peak via Everest Base Camp. (There were originally 6 in each team but I had clients pull out of each team on the day of departure).

We all met up in Kathmandu and managed to fly out to Lukla early the next morning on one of the first flights of the day to start our trek. We enjoyed stunning weather with blue skies and sunshine throughout and over the first week and a half we all trekked into EBC together. This year EBC is situated at about 5350m and we also made the most of the opportunity to climb Kala Patthar (5550m) which gave an impressive high point for the whole of the EBC team who then trekked back to Lukla under the guidance of Paul.

The Island Peak team were lead by Dave and I round to base camp, with a couple of chill out days along the way before our summit attempt. We made the decision to climb the mountain from base camp (5100m) and avoid a night at high camp (5600m) and this worked well for us. We had a 1:30am breakfast and left camp by 2:00am. The route is initially a zig zagging path up steep scree but soon gains interest through a gully section giving some nice grade 1 scrambling in the dark. Our plan was to reach the glacier with the sunshine and put crampons on as the new day dawned. Sure enough the plan came together and we moved together roped up across the glacier towards the fixed ropes that allow progress up a steep 100m snow slope to the summit ridge.

The fixed ropes looked intimidating from below but the jumar training we had put in along the trek served us well and each team member maintained a steady rhythm to pull onto the brilliantly exposed summit ridge in their own time. We summited between 8:30 and 9:00am and Dave and I took control of the abseil station to make sure each team member negotiated the fixed ropes in return with the same ease they had in descent. A quick hop and skip back across the glacier and we were soon returning down the scrambling ground we had ascended in the dark that morning. After a brief rest at base camp we descended to the nearest village to celebrate a 15 hour summit day with another 100% success rate.

After a steady trek out and another smooth flight from Lukla we enjoyed a couple of days in Kathmandu before heading home from a great trip. Many thanks to all who shared it!

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