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Mt. Kilimanjaro - 19,340 ft. (5,895m)

January 27 - February 16, 2013

Where Lucille has been for the past 24 hours.

Friday, April 30, 2010

A few Pictures and a video

Lucille sent a memory card out with the first group of trekkers, and Here is a small sampling of the images.

The first two are Dawa's tea house at Phortse, with Dawa standing in front.

This is from The Private Puja ceremony at Lama Geshi's house in Pangboche.

Lucille at Base Camp.

A short video from the Base Camp Puja ceremony.

A sample of the Ice Fall route.

Mt. Everest 2010 #39

Gabcast! Mt. Everest 2010 #39

Hello everybody, Just wanted to thank everyone for all the birthday wishes.

We just had supper, and there's a nice big birthday cake there, with some candles, and some cards from home, which was really nice. Lorraine and Ted had everything ready, and of course Vincene and the flying club, it was a beautiful card. Thanks again everybody for all the birthday wishes, I just had a great birthday. The weather was great, spectacular scenery, and I got to just kind of lounge and relax on my birthday.

So, everything is great, and I will talk to you tomorrow. Thanks, Bye.

Mt. Everest 2010 #38 - Happy Birthday Lucille.

Gabcast! Mt. Everest 2010 #38

Namaste everybody, from Base Camp. It's the report for April 30th., and I wanted to thank everyone for their really nice birthday wishes. I'm receiving texts, you know who you are. Those were wonderful and so great to receive this morning. It made me cry a little bit, which is great, but it sort of gave me a boost.

So, I'm down here at Base Camp, we'll probably spend the next week here, just kind of resting, eating, trying to get strong. I'm trying to stay healthy for the summit push, which will probably start somewhere around the 7th., that's all weather dependant. The entire team is now off the mountain, a couple are still down in Pheriche, and there will be a group that will be leaving tomorrow to head down. They just feel that the thicker air, a little bit more oxygen, and maybe a little bit better food, that they will do a little bit better. I'm feeling that I'm doing well at Base Camp, so I'll probably spend my time here.

Domhnall came down off the mountain this morning, so he was at Camp 2 last night, down off the mountain this morning. He's a little bit tired, I think. What he did the day before was he went from Camp 2, all the way up to Camp 4, and that was his last load carry. So, he's got a couple of bottles of oxygen, a little bit more supplies, so his Camp 4 is now fully stocked and waiting for him to go for his summit push. Probably, hopefully, we will be doing it together, and starting in a week, and maybe a little bit more. My Camp 4 will be stocked for me by some sherpas, and they will be starting that in the next couple of days. They will be stocking up to five bottles of oxygen for me, one will be left at Camp 3 and the other four will be at Camp 4, and they will be putting up a tent up there for me, actually it's not my own tent, but a team tent that will be there, and some fuel and a stove.

So, that's about it for now, everything is going well down here at Base Camp, we are eating well, and having a lot of fun. So I will talk to you again tomorrow. Everybody take care, and thanks again for all the birthday wishes. I'll see you all. Bye.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Gabcast - April 29 - Back to Base Camp

Gabcast! Mt. Everest 2010 #37

Namaste everybody from Base Camp.

Today is April 29 and it's Simonne's birthday, my baby sister so everyone who knows her, just give her a call and wish her a happy birthday.

So today was another really good day. We got up at about 5:00 in the morning, quickly packed up all my gear tried not to wake up my tentmate, Carina, because her plan for today is to go up to Camp 3, what we did yesterday so I wanted to let her sleep in a little bit. We ??? and ???, packed up all our stuff and headed back down to Base Camp. So it wasn't very long to get from Camp 1, er from Camp 2 to Camp 1, and I was moving pretty fast 'cause I was pretty cold. We probably left around 7:00 by the time we got to Camp 1, the sun had started to hit the tents and and stuff and hit the area so it got nice and warmed up and waited for a couple other teammates to come. I got some nice pictures on the ladders and stuff. It's amazing: you know I can't change a light bulb in the house, I can't step on a step ladder in the house and yet I'm kind of flying across these horizontal and vertical ladders. Of course I do have some ropes on the side, so that does help. As we started down into the icefall though, there was a small avalanche just to our right and so we just waited a few minutes for things to settle and then everything was good.

And so headed back down, got down to Base Camp probably at about 9:30 or 10:00 in the morning - enough time to wash up, do a little bit of laundry and have some good food, and breathe in the really oxygen-rich air down here. So we had a kind of a lazy afternoon and then we watched a movie.

So it's about 9:30 at night right now so I'm heading to bed and I will call you tomorrow. So everybody take care and see you then. Bye.

April 29 - Back to Base Camp

It looks like Lucille might not be calling in today. From the spot track, they made it back down to Base Camp as planned.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mt. Everest 2010 #36 - Visit Camp 3

Gabcast! Mt. Everest 2010 #36

Namaste everybody from Camp 2. It's April twenty-..oh,I don't even know..I think it's the 28th today.

We had a fantastic day today! What we did was we went all the way up to Camp 3 and came all the way back down. The weather was fabulous! We got some really good shots, you know the summit doesn't look all that impossible anymore, not like it has been looking impossible for the past couple of weeks, so that's kind of a big bonus. The Lhotse face that we went up, of course it's all roped, down at the bottom the big bergschrund that was a bit of a challenge today to get up and over, but I was able, and then parts of it, parts of the Lhotse face are just solid ice, solid, solid ice so it's really nice to have the jumar there to have a little bit of backup there when you are crampons slip off the ice. We got up there and had a bite to eat, stayed up there for about 45 minutes or so and then we came back down. Got back down and it was starting to snow and clouding over and stuff and cooling off. So we had some food, our sherpa boys up here have some nice warm food for us and some hot liquids.

Now I'm in my down suit, in my -40 bag. I know I did the same thing last night but I only lasted ten minutes because I was just way too hot. I took off my down suit but I think I would last a little bit longer it is quite a bit colder tonight. At the beginning of the season it was quite a bit warmer and ?? unseasonably warm. So now it's quite a bit cooler and so that's just the way it is.

All looks good I am going to be heading down to basecamp tomorrow morning. Domhnall came up here to Camp 2. Came up today, I didn't see him, he just left a message for me and then his plan is to go up to Camp 4 and carry some oxygen bottles and then come down to Base Camp so I'll be seeing him the day after tomorrow.

And speaking of oxygen, we have about 130 bottles of oxygen up here at Camp 2 that the sherpas will be bringing up to Camp 3 and Camp 4 in the next week or so. I just.. I can't, can't imagine how they can get that done. I can just barely get myself up there and then they can carry four bottles at a time, so, looking at about 30 pounds or so ??

Anyways, that's it for today. I will call you from Base Camp tomorrow.

Thanks, take care. Bye.

Photo is a view from Camp 3 taken by Domhnall during his 2009 Lhotse expedition.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mt. Everest 2010 #35 - Camp 2 - Bergschrund

Gabcast! Mt. Everest 2010 #35

Namaste everybody, from Camp 2. Everything is going well, today is April 27th.

So, what we did today was we rested this morning, we waited until the sun hit the tents before we got up. It came at about 8:20 - 8:25, which is kind of a nice time to be getting up. After lunch, what we did was we walked up to the bergschrund. So, that's kind of the tallest crevasse, the crevasse that's kind of at the highest point on the mountain. So, that's where we walked to, which is the base of the Lhotse face. And so tomorrow, our plan is to get up early, and go all the way up to Camp 3.

So, what I saw today was the Geneva spur, the yellow band, it was right there, we were so close, I know it's still about 600 - 700 meters below us (editor: above us)
????. It feels good to be here, so it's all great.

It's going to get cold tonight, I'm in my down suit, inside my -40 bag, and just starting to warm up. It's a little bit cool with all the wind. But all is good, I was a little bit nauseated this afternoon, but I fought that, and so I'm drinking well, and yes I am hydrating, eating well, so that's really good. I tried to send a spot message a couple of days ago, but it just wasn't working. We are too close to the mountain here on Camp 2. But I will turn it on tomorrow, and we'll see how much it tracks all the way up to Camp 3, hopefully it does.

Love to you all, and take care, I will talk to you tomorrow. Bye.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mt. Everest 2010 #34 - Rest at Camp 2

Gabcast! Mt. Everest 2010 #34 - Camp 2 - Rest Day

Namaste everybody from camp 2.

Today is April 26 and it's Ted's birthday so happy birthday sweetheart, love you lots.

So today was a rest day. We had a pretty quiet day. Not a whole lot going on. There were four of us that were already here and the rest of the team made it up from Camp 1 to Camp 2 today. We still have three team members who are down in Base Camp and their plan is to leave early tomorrow morning and make it either to Camp 1 or Camp 2.

So tomorrow is going to be another rest day so I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do. I might walk down to, walk all the way to the bottom of the local base. So we'll see how things go. Everything is fairly quiet. The sun has just left and it's pretty chilly so we're all in our down sleeping bags trying to keep warm.

So that's about it for today. Everybody take care and I will talk to you again tomorrow. Bye.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mt. Everest 2010 #33 - Camp 2 - Brrrrrrr

Gabcast! Mt. Everest 2010 #33

Namaste everybody, from Camp 2.

I'm all bundled up in Domhnall's -40 bag, and trying to stay warm, it's a little bit cold here. So today, I got up at 3:00 in the morning, was ready to go at about a quarter to 4, and ...ahem... excuse me, made it all the way up to Camp 1 in about four hours, so that's really amazing time. Then I continued on to Camp 2, whick took me about three hours, which was really long...I just died, and was just kind of struggling. It's been kind of a mixture of a day, really great this morning, and kind of feeling tough, kind of, in the afternoon. And then I found out that a couple of the friends turned around just part way up the icefall, it's because they weren't feeling very well. So, that's really too bad for them, and I'm sad as well. The rest of the team, two of us climbed, made it both here to Camp 2, along with Tim and Angel, and everyone else is at Camp 1, apart from the three that didn't make it all the way up.

Domhnall, the update is that he is down at Base Camp right now. But what he did yesterday, was he left Camp 2 at about 8:00 in the morning, went all the way up to Camp 3, that's a thousand metres up, he went really fast. Touched Camp 3, stayed up there for a bit of time, and then scurried all the way down to Base Camp, and came to see me just after I had done the GabCast. So, that's the update with Domhnall, he's going to be down in Base Camp for a couple of days.

My plan is to stay 2 nights here in Camp 2, so tomorrow is going to be a rest day, which is much needed, I could have gone further today, but I'm sure glad I didn't have to. I have a new personal sherpa, his name is Tshering, and he is just amazing. So, he followed me up through the icefall, picked up my water bottle that I had dropped unknowingly, so thankfully he recognized that it was mine, brought it to me, and I had some water, so that was really really good. So as I said, two nights here in Camp 2, and then we will go up to Camp 3 and touch it, and come back down, rest day, and then depending on how things are going, we might go up to Camp 3 and spend the night. All that is weather dependant. Usually we have uh, the reason why we go through the icefall so early is that the sun comes up and everything warms up quite a bit. That did not happen today, I froze all the way out to Camp 2, my hands were so cold, face was cold, my whole body was cold even though I was moving. It was really windy, but the wind has calmed down now, probably have a really nice day tomorrow. It might be a little bit of a chilly night, but I have enough clothes, and with this -40 bag I should be toasty.

So, hope everybody is well in Canada, and everywhere's else, and I'll talk to you tomorrow. Love you all. Bye.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Mt. Everest 2010 #32 - A visit from Scott and Amy

Gabcast! Mt. Everest 2010 #32

Namaste everybody from Base Camp, this is the recording for April 24th.

Today was a great day, Scott and Amy came to visit, which was really, really nice. So, they came probably just after lunch, we had some tea together, then they stayed for lunch, and then right after lunch we headed out onto the icefall. So, we wandered on there for probably about an hour and a half. Tim was nice enough to loan his boots and crampons to Scott, and for Amy I had some little ice grippers, and she did really well with those. So, we had a great time on the icefall, it was a nice blue sky, nice and warm, which was great. When we got back, what we did was we tried out our oxygen masks. So, the oxygen bottles have just arrived, and the sherpas are going to start taking them up the mountain, and what we did was we tried out our oxygen masks, and tightened them up, and making sure we kind of have the feel of it and everything, so that was great. And we had a bit of afternoon tea with some nice smoked salmon that Tim brought all the way from BC. So all in all a really nice day.

Domhnall, on the other hand, I'm not quite sure exactly where he's at, I'm pretty sure he is still on the mountain. He spent last night at Camp 2 and the plan was for his sherpa to meet him up at Camp 2 at 7:00 this morning and they were going to head up to Camp 3. They hadn't decided yet whether or not they were going to spend the night at Camp 3, come back down to Camp 2, or come all the way back down. I haven't heard from him yet, so I'm thinking he is probably still on the mountain. There's no need for him to be radioing anyone because he and his sherpa are the only two members of the team, and they're both together. So, I'm sure they're doing well.

My plan is for us to...we are getting up at 3:00 in the morning, having a quick little bite of breakfast, and then heading up the mountain. I hope to make it all the way to Camp 2 tomorrow, but we'll see. I have a new personal sherpa, so Mingma, unfortunately, won't be coming back because his daughter is so sick, but I have Tshering. And so, I've only met him once, so I can't really remember what he looks like, but we'll meet up tomorrow morning. He's not going to wait for me, he's just going to go up. I don't need a baby-sitter, I just need someone to carry up just a little bit of gear for me, and just to have somebody up there just in case I need some help. So, that's the plan, is we're going to leave probably about quarter after three, hopefully make it up to the top of the icefall in about five hours, and then probably about another hour to Camp 1. Hydrate a bit, and then head off to Camp 2 is the plan. So, we'll see how I feel.

So I will talk to you all tomorrow. Take care. Bye.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Gorak Shep

Hi everyone from Gorak Shep. Today is another rest day, so I decided to come down and try to upload some pictures but that isn't possible. I can't open g-mail, but can manage to get into my blog, which is something.

I ran into Dawa on my way here and he said that he just finished climbing Lobuche with two people from Edmonton....Scott and Amy! They are staying the night here in Gorak Shep and will come visit basecamp tomorrow. Dawa said that they did really well on their climb, and that they are strong.

Domhnall is currently at Camp 2, and I think is planning on spending the night, and coming down tomorrow morning early.

The Peak Freaks plan is to rest for one more day, then head up to Camp 1 then 2 then if we are feeling good, we will spend the night at Camp 3. The plan is to stay up on the mountain for 6 days or so, then come down for 6-7 days of rest, then we will begin our summit push. It may seem fast, and early, but the temperatures this year are much warmer than usual allowing for an early summit bid. Anything can happen between now and early May, so keep watching for details.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mt. Everest 2010 #31 - Base Camp - and "logistics"

Gabcast! Mt. Everest 2010 #31

Namaste everybody, from Base Camp. This is the report for April 22nd.

This was another rest day for me, and I'll have a couple more rest days, and the plan is for the whole group to go up on the 25th., the morning of the 25th. Weather dependant, and depends on how everybody else is doing but that is the plan for now.

Domhnall, on the other hand, is up at Camp 1, he did a carry this morning, so he left fairly early, ended up at Camp 1, just a little bit after 10:00. And so he's up there, he brought some equipment, I think a bit of food, and two oxygen bottles. The plan for him is to go to Camp 2 tomorrow and do that load carry to Camp 2, and possibly go a little bit further. It all depends on how he is feeling, and what the weather is like. I think he is planning to be coming down on the morning of the 24th. So we'll see how things go with him. He's doing good, I just got a radio call from him, he's feeling good, no headaches, he's hydrating, and everything is going well up there.

So, I know nobody asked this question, but we are the green team on.... at Base Camp here and on the mountain. Peak Freaks has been well known for that. And so, what that means is that we don't use anything powered like a generator which makes noise pollution as well as other pollution, but the other thing is that we bring down all our solid human waste (poop) down off the mountain, so all our waste, all our garbage, everything comes down including human waste. We are all issued some biodegradable bags, and all the solid waste goes in there, and of course it goes into a ziplock bag, usually two ziplock bags. And my goal the other day, when I was coming down, was to make it down before it thawed out. So I had put it in the snow, made sure it was nice and frozen, and I achieved my goal, so that was really nice.

While we are down here at Base Camp, we have like a little tent (outhouse) and then there's a barrel underneath with some flat rocks over top. You put your feet on either side of the rocks, and only the solids go into the barrel and the liquids go outside the barrel, which is a little bit tricky with the aiming, but we're all kind of getting the hang of it. And then all that solid waste goes down the valley, and gets recycled...not recycled, it gets processed down there.

So that's some of life at Base Camp. What we do here on rest days is we get up, we eat, go back to our tents, sometimes cleanup, do a little bit of laundry, rest, and then we eat some more, do some more resting, then there's always an afternoon snack. So they usually put out some popcorn for us, and some cookies and crackers, that sort of stuff, and then we rest a little bit more, then it's suppertime, and after that it is usually cold enough that we go to bed.

Some people do watch the movies, there's some movies that are here, and then the rest of us, we kind of just go back to out tents and read and sleep. So that's kind of the gist of a rest day, and that's what I have been doing for a couple of days now, and a few more days to come, and then I will be back on the mountain.

So, everyone take care, and I'll talk to you again tomorrow. Bye.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mt. Everest 2010 #30 - What do we eat?

Gabcast! Mt. Everest 2010 #30

Namaste everybody, from Base Camp.

Today was a rest day for me, so, I just kind of lazed around and didn't do a whole lot. Domhnall, on the other hand, went last night up to Camp 2, and came all the way down before 8:00 for a Puja ceremony for one of his teammates, which means that he left probably left around 6:00 and he raced down in about 2 hours. That was very fast. Went to the Puja ceremony for one of his teammates, and I went and met up with him there at about 10:30 and it was still going on. They were throwing around a fair bit of Sampa, Sampa is barley flour, and they make a breakfast cereal with it. The other thing that they do during the Puja ceremony is that they put it in people's hair and rub it all over their faces, and what that signifies is that they hope to be seeing us when our hair is grey, and when we are old. So it's kind of a nice little thing to do.

Now somebody was asking about where do we get food, the grade six Logos class was asking where do we get food? And ??? from Falher asked me where do we sleep, and what do you eat?

So, we actually eat quite well here down at Base Camp, somebody does cooking for us which is very nice. Lunch and supper always start with a soup, and then we usually have potatoes, rice, sometimes some meat, not always, sometimes there are some lentils, but we have had roasted chicken, and we've had some beef. And then, at supper time, there is always dessert which is always something to look forward to. Usually it's some fruit, but we have had cakes, and apple pie, so that's always a nice treat. So that's what we eat, alot of the food came from Kathmandu, packaged crackers and that sort of thing, the powedered juices, all that came from Kathmandu. And the more fresh food, and vegetables, came from down the valley, so usually about a 2 days walk from here and it came up on Yaks. So, that's what we eat, when we are going to be up on the mountain, we eat mountain food, which is more like the freeze dried food that we bring from home, where all you have to do is add hot water, and mix, and eat. Sometimes we'll have some crackers, I brought some beef jerky with me, so that will be kind of my special treat for when I am up on the mountain.

The plan is for a few more rest days down here, I might go into the icefall tomorrow and take some pictures, so we'll see how that goes, if the weather is good. So rest day until probably the 25th, and then head up for one more acclimatization, we'll see how the weather goes, and how everybody is feeling, and then we'll come down after that. So we're not quite sure how many days we'll spend up on the mountain, but I'll be sure to keep you guys informed about what's going on.

So, that's it for today, it's April 21st, and I'm just heading in to having some supper, so going to have some soup, and some rice and potatoes.

So, Everyone take care, love to you all, and we'll talk to you tomorrow. Bye.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mt. Everest 2010 #29 - P.S.

Gabcast! Mt. Everest 2010 #29

Namaste everybody, I just have an addition to my last GabCast.

When I left Camp 1 this morning to come down, Domhnall was packing up all his stuff and heading up to Camp 2. So his plan is to spend the night at Camp 2 tonight, and then come down early tomorrow morning in time for breakfast. So I'm thinking he is probably planning on 2 1/2 to 3 hours from Camp 2, with his sherpa-like speed, very very fast, but I'm sure that he can do it.

Tomorrow there is a Puja ceremony for some friends of ours, and so we'll have a little bit of entertainment.

Alright, that's it. Everyone take care. Love to you all. Bye.

Mt. Everest 2010 #28 - Back to Base Camp

Gabcast! Mt. Everest 2010 #28

Namaste everybody, and Lorraine, I'm sending you a big birthday hug, and we'll share a bit of birthday cake when I get home.

Today I'm doing really good, really really good. I had a couple of down days, just a little bit of less energy, but today feels really good. We left Camp 1 at about 7:00 this morning, and made it down to Base Camp at about 10:00, which was three hours, not terribly fast, but ?Steve? and I were the first ones here so that made me feel pretty good. We met somewhat about fifty people in the icefall today, alot of them were sherpas passing us on the way down after they've dropped off their loads at either Camp 1 or Camp 2. These men are just amazingly strong. And then, of course, we saw many people going up ???? Camp 1. Chatted with quite a few of them while they were waiting at the ladders.

Now, about the ladders, I'm doing actually quite well in the icefall, but there is one ladder that still makes me feel a bit queezy every time I get to it. It's vertical, it's angled to the left, and it's quite loose, so every step you take you feel like you're falling off to the left hand side. But there is a rope, there is a safety line, and of course nobody has fallen off the ladders yet, so everything is good.

So, we're just going to have probably four or five rest days in Base Camp, and then we will be going to be going back up.

Thanks everyone for listening, and for everyone who knows Lorraine, give her a call today and make her day. Love to you all, take care, Bye.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mt. Everest 2010 #27 - Visit Camp 2 - 6400m

Gabcast! Mt. Everest 2010 #27

Namaste everbody, from Camp 1.

Today is April 19th, Monday, and what we did today is we went to Camp 2, for an acclimatization little hike.

We got up at 5:00 in the morning, it's still pretty cold, what we didn't want was to be on the Western Cwm for too long during the heat of the day. It took me three hours to get to Camp 2, which is actually pretty slow, but I'm a bit dehydrated and I don't think I've been eating quite enough, all things that I will correct.

Made it to Camp 2, and then we came back, and then we've just kind of been lazing aroung all afternoon. Domhnall came up this morning from Base Camp, showed up at Camp 1 about 11:00 I think, maybe a little bit earlier, I'm not quite sure. So he and I have been chatting, the plan is the group is going to go down tomorrow, there's a possibility I may be able to go to Camp 2, so watch the spot, and have a listen tomorrow.

Thanks again for listening, and I'll talk to you tomorrow. Bye.

Camp 1 - Khumbu Glacier (6100m)
Google Maps Google Earth

Camp 2 - Western Cwm (6400m)
Google Maps Google Earth

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mt. Everest 2010 #26

Gabcast! Mt. Everest 2010 #26

Namaste everybody, from Camp 1. Today is April 17th. (Editor: 18th)

We got up at 3:30 this morning, it was still pretty cold outside, breakfast was ready for us a little bit after 4:00 and we hit the icefall at about 5:00. The sun kind of came up and it got pretty hot at about 10:00. It goes from the deep freeze, to the sun coming up and you're kind of comfortable for about 30 minutes, and then you are so hot. At 10:00 I was just sweltering, it took me until 12:00 to get here, so 6 1/2 almost 7 hours. I was going really really slow, I was quite dehydrated, and it's been a really tough day for me.

But we're up here now, and when we got up it was still quite hot and sunny, and we're melting some water and then a couple hours ago it started snowing, so we've got quite a bit of fresh snow up there and things have cooled off which is good, because I have a minus 40 sleeping bag, so I should be quite comfortable with that.

Tomorrow, the plan is to go to Camp 2, just walk up there, spend an hour or two, and then walk back. Spend the night again here, and then on Tuesday morning, we'll head down and back to Base Camp, and hopefully a shower for most of us.

Everybody is doing well, there are a couple of team members that just didn't feel like making the trek with us today, but they still have lots of time to acclimatize.

Everything is going well, hope everyone is doing well in Canada, and everywhere else that's listening. Love to you all, and thanks again for listening. Bye.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mt. Everest 2010 #25

Gabcast! Mt. Everest 2010 #25

Namaste everybody, from Everest Base Camp. This is the report for April 17th, which is a Saturday.

Today was a rest day, we are just getting ready to go through the icefall tomorrow morning. What we did was we're packing up our gear, packing up some food, packing up some clothes. My sleeping system and my down suit went up yesterday with a personal sherpa, so I don't have to worry about carrying that. So, just a little food and some gear, and the plan is to spend two nights up at Camp 1. So if we have some ?? tomorrow, through the icefall, hopefully everything is good, and not too hot.

That's about it. I will give you a call from hopefully Camp 2 tomorrow.

Take care everybody, Bye.

Editor. The acclimatization plan is to climb up to Camp 1 tomorrow and sleep there. The following day, climb to Camp 2, and return to Camp 1 to sleep. This follows the general acclimatization rule of thumb - "Climb High, Sleep Low". Then they will return back down to Base Camp the following day.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mt. Everest 2010 #24 - Pumori ABC

Gabcast! Mt. Everest 2010 #24

Namaste everybody, from Base Camp.

Today was an acclimatization day, which means that we try to get some altitude, and try to stay up there to kind of get our bodies used to that altitude, and because it is so unsafe to be going through the icefall, it's always unsafe to go be going through the icefall, you don't want to be going through there any more often than you really have to. So, what the rest of the team did was they went down to Gorak Shep, and climbed up Kala Pattar.

Domhnall and I, and a friend, what we did is we went up to Pumori Advanced Base Camp, which is 5,850 meters.

It was nice, it was hot and sunny this morning when we left, by the time we got up there it was starting to snow, so I think the forecast of three days of snow and bad weather is probably starting. It snowed kind of all the way back, but we had lots of layers on, so we were good, nice and toasty.

I'm back now at Base Camp, so I'm just going to go and hydrate, and have some supper. It's ?? o'clock now, must be morning for you guys, and everything is going well.

My cold is almost done, I know I probably say that every day, but everything is going well.

We'll talk to you soon. Bye.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mt. Everest 2010 #23 - Global Warming

Gabcast! Mt. Everest 2010 #23

Namaste everybody from Everest Base camp. This is the report for April 15th.

Today was a rest day here, so that was kind of nice and relaxing change, especially after such a big day yesterday.

We had some pretty famous people here. In base camp, we have David Breashears, which most of you probably know he is quite a famous climber and also a cinematographer. So he's here and he put on a photo exhibit of the vanishing glaciers of the greater Himalayas.

What he has done is he showed some pictures that were taken, some almost a hundred years ago, of the glaciers and the mountains, and then taken pictures just a couple of years ago in 2008, and compared them. And he's noticed that the glaciers have decreased by ... descended by over 350 feet for some of them. So, the glaciers are vanishing which means that ... the glaciers actually provide a lot of the water for most of Asia. So, as they are receding, there is going to be less and less of them and that is going to be quite an impact for Asia. So, quite an interesting photo exhibit. And the other great part is that I got to meet him, and have coffee with him a couple of days ago, which was really nice.

(Editor) To see a video presentation, Click Here

He was telling stories about doing some first ascents in the rockies and in the bugaboos, so that was great. And the other thing was, that today at the exhibit, a lot of famous mountaineers were there. So, people like David Hahn who has summited ten...eleven times now and is going for number 12 this year, a lot of other famous mountaineers. It was nice being in the same room with them, just hearing them chat with each other.

So, today was a really good day. It looks like there is some weather coming in, and it might mean quite a bit of snow for the next couple of days. Tomorrow, the plan is to go to Kala Pattar and allow the rest of the team to acclimatize. Since the team only made it about half way up the icefall yesterday, about two or three hundred meters, and that was the plan for them, and most of them reached that goal, so that was really good.

I've already acclimatized to over 6000 meters, so we'll see how I feel tomorrow, and what I feel like doing, and what Domhnall feels like doing. There's a possibility that we might go to a different place, that's a little bit higher, and do something a little bit different.

So, stay tuned for that tomorrow, we'll see how the weather is, and how we're all feeling.

Thanks to everyone who is listening, and following along, and I will talk to you tomorrow. Bye.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mt. Everest 2010 #22 - Khumbu Icefall

Gabcast! Mt. Everest 2010 #22

Namaste everybody, from Everest. This is Lucille with an update for April 14th.

My biggest dream has come true, I actually stepped foot on Everest. This morning, Domhnall came to pick me up at 5:00 in the morning. We had quite a storm last night, some thunder and lightning and quite a bit of snow, but not too much snow to prevent us from going into the icefall.

So we headed off into the icefall at about a quarter after five, through all those ladders, the crevasses, the seracs, everything, made it all the way up to Camp 1 in five and a half hours. Slow for Domhnall because he was waiting for me, but actually pretty fast in comparison because most people take about seven and a half hours to go up.

So, we made it up there, I had a beautiful view of the Lhotse face, the South Col, and of course the South Summit. So, it looked pretty windy up there today, I'm glad we weren't too high up. And then we made it all the way back down in about...it took us about three hours to get down.

So all in all a good day, we are very tired, we only had a litre of fluid each, and no breakfast, one chocolate bar in those nine hours. So when we got back we ate and drank quite a bit. But we are feeling good now, tomorrow is going to be a rest day, and I'm just so excited, I'm just so happy.

Anyways, love you all, and thanks everyone who is listening, I'll talk to you tomorrow. Bye.

Google Maps Google Earth

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mt. Everest 2010 #21

Gabcast! Mt. Everest 2010 #21

Namaste everybody from Everest base camp. This is Lucille calling in with a report for April 13.

Well we woke up this morning to about two or three inches of fresh snow, but the sky was blue and the sun was shining and it was nice and warm and we had a really good day.

Now a grade 6 Logos class asked about the equipment that I have to take with me, so I'll explain a little bit about the equipment that we need to travel on the glacier because that's what we're traveling on.

So we have crampons first of all which is what we put on the underside of our boots kind of some spikes, and that helps us to keep our grip and allows us to walk on the ice. We also carry an ice axe with us, so sometimes we use that as a cane, sometimes we use it as sort of a pick to kind of help us get up kind of a steep embankment, that sort of thing. The next thing that we have is a harness. So we wear a harness and wear that fairly tightly, and on that we have some equipment to attach us to the fixed ropes that are there. We also have to have a device called an ascender, or a jumar, and what that allows us to do is we attach that to the line, the fixed rope that's there, and then we push it up (the rope) and it prevents it from moving back (on the rope), so it gives us a bit of a help so that we can climb up kind of a steep embankment. That's kind of the pieces of equipment we were playing with today out on the icefall.

It's snowing right now, so I'm not sure what we are going to be doing tomorrow. If the snow stops fairly quickly, then the plan is for me to leave at 5 o'clock in the morning and go through the icefall. Watch the spot; if it doesn't move then you will know that it snowed too much and the risk of avalanche is too high for us to be in the icefall. If it does move, then you'll know that's where I'm at!

That's it for today. Hope everybody is well. My cold is getting much better as you can probably tell, and everything is going well here.

Love you all and take care. Bye.

How much equipment do you have to take with you?

A student from the grade 6 Logos class asks: How much equipment do you have to take with you?

I have about 35kg of equipment with me at base camp.

The most important is the footwear. I have two pairs of boots, one pair of mountaineering boots that I use when I am ice climbing in the mountains in Banff or Jasper. I have a second pair of boots that I will only use for summit day that should be warm enough with the installed foot warmers.

I will attach crampons to these boots, which will allow me to walk on ice without slipping and falling. It will be a challenge to cross the ladders on the ice fall with the crampons on, but I was practicing at home before I left, and my balance really improved.

I will carry an ice axe which I can use as a walking stick, and in case I am sliding down a hill I can use it to arrest my fall.

I will be wearing a climbing helmet to protect my head in case of any ice falling down. I wear a harness which I will use to attach myself to the ropes that are placed on the mountian. I have special goggles to prevent any rays of the sun to reach my eyes.

A jumar is an ascender that I clip onto the rope, and allows me to move it up, but catches thus not allowing me to move it down unless I remove it.

My down suite is the last important piece of equipment, which is what will keep me warm on summit day.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mt. Everest 2010 #20 - Base Camp - Puja

Gabcast! Mt. Everest 2010 #20

Namaste everybody, from base camp.

It's April 12th, and it's our anniversary, so, Ted, Happy 24th Anniversary. I miss you and I love you alot.

Today was our Puja, which is quite a big celebration with a blessing ceremony which blesses our climb and our climbing equipment, and after the blessing is done then there are some offerings that are made, and then a little bit of a celebration.

The sherpa boys did a little bit of a song and dance routine for us and then we put one on for them, and that was really great.

The weather is really good here, and another nice sunny day. It's pretty cold at night it gets to about -10. During the day it is so warm we're having ??? from shelter.

Today what we did is we played around with some rope and our equipment and tomorrow we are heading off into the icefields, and just playing around a little bit more.

So that's whats going on here, everything is going well. My cold is almost over, so I'm feeling quite a bit better.

So that's it for today. I'll talk to you again tomorrow. Bye.

Puja ceremony

Today we had the puja ceremony. This must be done before anyone steps foot on the mountain because Everest or Chomolugma or Sagamartha is considered a sacred mountain.

Puja is a ceremony officiated by a Lama and two or more monks in front of an altar built of stone. Those performing a puja ask the Gods for good fortune for the sherpas and the climbers as they attempt to summit the mountain. In front of the altar, offerings are made to the Gods: yak milk butter, fried dough, fruits, chocolate, and drinks. Juniper burns continuously in a niche in the altar. All the critical climbing equipment is blessed — harnesses, crampons, ice-axes, and helmets. Prayer flags are strewn for 100 feet in several directions. During the ceremony, the sherpas chant along with the Lama and monks, and everyone throws rice. The sherpas raise a pole with juniper branches on the top, and it is a sign of good fortune if a gorak (raven) lands on the pole. The ceremony closes with the participants sharing food, and finally with the climbers and sherpas smearing gray sampa flour on each others’ faces and hair— a symbol of their hope that they may live to see each other when they are old and gray.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mt. Everest 2010 #19 - Base Camp

Gabcast! Mt. Everest 2010 #19

Namaste everybody, from base camp. This is Lucille, and it's April 11th.

I just wanted to give you a little bit of an insight on what life is like at base camp.

Today was another rest day, and so we get up at around 8:00, and usually breakfast is ready for us. The sun hits the tents and warms things up nicely so that's always really nice. Cereal and eggs usually for breakfast and then we just kind of relax.

Lunchtime is usually around 12:00, and then we always have some soup, some potatoes, some meat, and then after that we usually do some washing up and laundry and walk around the tents that are at base camp here.

There are quite a few tents here, there's probably about three hundred or so tents, and not everybody is here yet, there's still about ten teams that haven't arrived yet. The bakery hasn't opened yet, but we're pretty excited about that. It should open in about a week. But the emergency room is open, I guess they're doing quite a business there, people just dropping in. It's staffed by two physicians. The team Domhnall is going with is hosting for the emergency room so that's great.

In the afternoon we always have tea and popcorn, and whenever we go visit some teams, there is always tea available for us, and we always sit down and have tea and chat.

Supper is usually around 6:30, and the highlight today was an apple pie, it was so, so good.

And then we usually go to bed at about 8:30, 10:00 or thereabouts. It's pretty cold, so what we do is we wear our touques and gloves, and then the kitchen staff always makes some hot water bottles for us, which is always really nice to put at the bottom of the sleeping bag.

So, everything is good here, I'm just fighting off a bit of a cold as you can probably tell, but I should be feeling better in a couple of days. The Puja is set for tomorrow, and then hopefully in the icefall the following day.

I will let you know how things are going. Hope everybody is well in Canada.

Love you all, Bye.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Introducing "The Rest of Everest" podcast.

This is Ted posting. I wanted to introduce those who might be interested to a podcast that I have been following for awhile now. For me, this podcast is the closest thing I will get to seeing and experiencing some of the things Lucille is seeing. The word "Podcast" is a morphing of "iPod" and "Broadcast" and are typically audio or video content designed to be delivered to iPods. But they can also be viewed on your computer.

Jon Miller is a videographer. He accompanied Ben Clark, then the youngest American to summit Everest at age 23, to the Tibetan side of Everest in 2003. The footage he captured was made into a documentary film called "Everest: The Other Side". Jon then started a podcast with all of the rest of the footage that didn't necessarily make it into the film, hence the name "The Rest of Everest"

He then returned with a buddy in 2007 and travelled to the Tibetan base camp, capturing more content for his podcast. And then last year, he partnered with another podcaster, Chris Marquardt. Chris has a podcast called "Tips from the Top Floor", about all things in digital photography. The 2009 trek is a photography workshop while trekking to the Everest Base camp on the Nepal side, and follows the same route that Lucille has just taken to arrive at base camp.

Jon recommends that you go all the way back to episode 000 to watch his podcast, and although I have done that, you are in for hours and hours of video if you do. You are welcome to do that if you want, but I have picked out a few episodes that I think readers of Lucille's blog might enjoy. That said, if you jump in here and there, you might be feeling that the content is a little out of context.

Before you follow the links below, if you are an iTunes user, these podcasts are available for free download on iTunes, and that is how I would recommend you acquire them. You can always download iTunes too, if you don't already have it. Otherwise, go to Jon's web site, and look for the following episodes.

Everest Trek 2009 Teaser - This is a summary of the trek to base camp and back.

The 2009 Trek to Everest Base Camp officially begins at Episode 114.

Episode 129 - includes a segment on the Climbers Memorial close to Lobouche.

Episode 134 - Base Camp.

Episode 135 - More Base Camp.

And Lucille is speaking of the Puja ceremony that they will hold on Monday. See the following two examples from the podcast.

Episode 15 - 2003 Puja Ceremony North Side.

Episode 86 - 2007 Puja Ceremony North Side.

Mt. Everest 2010 #18 - Base Camp

Gabcast! Mt. Everest 2010 #18

Namaste everybody.

I'm calling from base camp, it's April 10th. For me today was a rest day, so I did a little bit of organizing and really just resting.

Domhnall, however, he went through the ice fall. So, his first time through the ice fall (ed: this year), it only took him three and a half hours to Camp 1, which is really good; it usually takes people seven hours to get there. So, he made it there and back in six hours, he's feeling tired, but feeling good.

For those who don't know, the ice fall is a glacier that is moving downhill. They say it is a little bit interesting this year. The seracs, or the big blocks of ice are smaller this year. They are only the size of a house or a car, rather than an apartment building, but we hear there are a lot more of them. There are also a lot of crevaces and those are spanned by aluminum ladders , which is why I was practising that in the backyard.

Because the glacier is moving, there are frequent avalanches. They usually start about mid-day and they come every couple of hours, until about two or four in the morning, which is why that when we go through the ice fall we're going to get up early, probably get in there about four o'clock and probably hopefully be done by about eleven or twelve. So we'll see how things go, but a rest day today, probably another rest day tomorrow, and probably the puja on Monday.

So that's it for today, thanks to everyone for following along.

Love you all, miss you. Love ya, bye.

Base camp as seen from Kala Patter

Ice Fall as seen from Base Camp

Ice Fall as seen from Kala Pattar. Can you spot "at least" 13 climbers going through the Ice Fall?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Mt. Everest 2010 #17 - Base Camp

Gabcast! Mt. Everest 2010 #17

Namaste everybody from base camp

It's April 9th (editor: actually April 10th.) and everything is going well. Yesterday was a bit of a difficult day but today I feel really good. I met up with Domhnall just a little while ago and he is also doing well. He arrived here one day before I did, ah he took a little bit less time than we did to get here, but that's great.

The plan ?? is another rest day ??? tomorrow, I'll do some laundry, probably have a shower, and probably go out to the bakery, and then possibly play around on the ice on Sunday.

Everything is going well, I'm eating well, drinking well, feeling good. So, hello to everybody in Canada, I hope everyone is doing well.

Love you all, Bye.

Small Khumbu Cough.

How big is the Mountain?

The next question is from Natalya at St. Edmund School. How big is the Mountain?

Well, I have been pondering a response for quite some time. The easy answer is 8,848 meters or 29,029 feet above sea level. This is about the same height that the large passenger airplanes fly at....so when you are outside looking up at the sky, and you see a plane as a speck high up in the sky, and you can see a condensation trail, that is about how high the mountain is.

Except your question wasn't how "high" is Mt. Everest, you asked how "big" is the mountain....and that can be answered in other ways.

The "biggest" mountain in the world is not Mt. Everest, but Mt. Logan here in Canada, as it has the largest circumference at 125km. Yes, right here in our own back yard. The picture at the very top of my blog page is of King Peak, one of the several peaks that form Mt. Logan, which I climbed last year.

There are also mountains that are "taller" than Mt. Everest. From base camp at about 17,500 feet above sea level to it's summit at 29,029 feet above sea level, Mt. Everest is only about 11,500 feet "tall". Mauna Kea, an active volcano on the island of Hawaii, stands 13,796 feet above sea level, which is already "taller" than Mt. Everest, but if you go below sea level to it's base, that mountain is actually a whopping 33,465 feet tall. If Mauna Kea's base was at sea level, it's summit would be about 4,400 feet higher than Mt. Everest.

But Mt. Everest has the distinction of being the "highest" mountain in the world, and it is still growing about 4mm a year, and being pushed NW from 3 to 6 mm per year, as India continues to push into Asia.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Trek April 8 - Lobouche-EBC

EBC: 5340m 17,500'

Lucille phoned home today again as she is still having a few technical difficulties with gabcast. We hope to have that ironed out soon. She wanted me to let you all know that she is feeling good, just a slight headache, probably due to her not drinking enough on the trek from Lobouche in to base camp. Tomorrow is a rest day for the Everest clients, and the guides will be doing training for the Island Peak climbers. The trekkers begin their return journey tomorrow and the Island Peak group departs the next day, so that will leave the Everest group to focus on the task at hand.

She says she will miss a few things over the next few weeks. She mentioned the fact that they are now above the tree line and will be missing the trees and the flowers. Also, on the trek in, they were treated daily to the absolute luxury of a hot wet towel when they got up in the morning, and they won't be able to expect that now for about six or seven weeks. And then, she has also left the convenient access to the internet behind. She can get access if she really, really wants to, but she will either have to pay for the satellite time on a borrowed setup, or she will have to trek down to Gorak Shep to use the Internet Yak Tea Cafe there. So pretty much just Sat Phone from here on in for awhile, which is why we would like gabcast to work a little better for us.

Webmaster Ted.

Google Maps Google Earth

Google Maps Google Earth

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mt. Everest 2010 #16 - Lobouche

Gabcast! Mt. Everest 2010 #16 - Lobouche

We are in Lobouche right now. I'm doing really well, staying ahead of the group. It took me two hours to get to the lunch spot and it took the majority of the group three hours to get there.

Got here to Lobouche, I had a little bit of a headache, I drank a bunch of fluids, and then three of us went up a little hill about another two hundred meters or so, and we're going to have supper pretty soon. I'm feeling really really good, headache is all gone, I've got lots of strength, lots of stamina, lots of energy, it's all great.

So I hope everything is good at home, I miss you lots, love you lots, and we will be at base camp tomorrow, and I will try this again.

Alright, Love you, Bye

Trek April 7 - Dingboche-Lobouche

Google Maps Google Earth

Google Maps Google Earth

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Today we leave for Lobuche. It is going to be a long day, but the acclimatization hike of yesterday will help us out, making it a bit easier.

Along the way, this afternoon, we will pass by a ridge that has chortens, which are memorials to climbers who have lost their lives on Everest. The picture above is Scott Fischer's chorten. He was a western guide who lost his life during the now famous storm of May 10, 1996 in which eight Everest climbers lost their lives in a single night, and the lives of several more deeply affected. His body remains very high on the mountain. You can read about that season's saga in a book named "The Climb" by Anatoli Boukreev. It is a sobering thought that many strong and capable men have not returned home.

I already know, but during the puja ceremony a few days ago it really hit home that climbing Mt. Everest is not only a big undertaking for me, but also for the sherpas here, as none will step foot on the mountain until the blessing has occurred. It is a mountain that should be taken seriously, but that being said, I do feel as well prepared as I can be, and I am looking forward to starting the climb.

Dingboche - Is it cold or hot there?

Google Maps Google Earth

Today was an acclimatization day in Dingboche. We climbed up the ridge overlooking the town as a little hike. We gained 700m, and it took me 2hr20min. I'm not feeling 100%, but good enough to be about 30min ahead of the group. Domhnall left this morning for Lobuche as he is feeling good.

Some of you may be wondering what we are eating. Breakfast this morning was oatmeal and french toast. Lunch is usually tomato soup, then either fried rice or noodles. Once we had grilled cheese. Supper always starts with soup, garlic or broth, then usually a large portion of rice/noodles/potatoes etc, and after all that there is dessert. A few days ago we had lemon meringue pie! Fabulous. It is fun to watch as they serve all 29 of us at the same time. For beverages, we drink a lot of tea. It is served from a large thermos that holds about 20 cups, with hot milk on the side (powdered of course). For snacks we often eat popcorn, Pringles chips - because of the packaging they stay intact!! and of course some kind of chocolate bar such as snickers. I should have bought shares in the company.

Most of us are feeling good. There is a bug that has passed through most of us, but thankfully it's only lasting about 24hrs.

Cameron from St Edmund School asks Is it cold or hot there?

Well, the days that we spent in Kathmandu were very warm. As warm as our warmest summer day in Edmonton. On the way to Everest base camp it will get progressively colder. In the mornings right now it is cool, but by mid-day it is warm enough to trek in a light shirt. By the time that we reach base camp in a few days from now, we will be wearing down jackets at night, with toques and mitts, but during the day just a light jacket. On the mountain it will be very cold, and getting colder the higher we go. By the time I reach the summit, it may be as cold as -40C! It is for this reason that I have a down suit.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Question - Fluid intake

Today's question came from the Trochu Valley School.

You measured your fluid intake each day as you trained and we wondered why this is important and how that impacts your trek up Everest?

Lucille conveyed her explanation to me, Ted, and I will paraphrase it here.

Have you ever noticed that the air is a lot more dry in the winter than it is in the other seasons. Well, on Mt. Everest, the air is extremely dry. Every breath you take robs your body of a little bit of moisture, that is the fog on your breath as you exhale in the cold. Hopefully you don't work so hard that you also sweat a lot on top of this, because in addition to making you cold, excessive sweating is also additional loss of moisture.

Also, as you go higher on the mountain, and the oxygen gets thinner, your body produces additional red blood cells to try and carry as much oxygen as it can get a hold of, and your blood actually gets thicker. If you allow yourself to get dehydrated, you could develop blood clots as well. Those are not good for you.

To keep up with this loss of hydration, they will have to drink about 5 liters of water per day, and up high on the mountain, they will have to melt snow to get this water. Lucille has never been particularly good at drinking enough water as you noted in her training blog entries, and she has to remind herself to drink more to stay healthy on the mountain. In recording her fluid intake, she was reminding herself to try and drink more. If you didn't figure out the other acronym there "RHR", means Resting Heart Rate. She also measured her blood oxygen saturation, but I don't believe she recorded that on her blog. The combination of these factors would give her an idea of whether she was training properly, or maybe over training a little bit. She would compare all these readings with how she was feeling, and she continues to monitor all of these during her expedition.

Trek April 5 - Phortse-Dingboche

Lucille phoned me at home. She is having problems connecting to Gabcast as they changed their numbers over the weekend. I gave her the new numbers.

Lucille left Phortse early, and walked/ran to Pangboche and managed to catch up to the group in time for the Puja ceremony at Lama Geshi's house. He gave them each a Kota, the white silk scarf around their necks. There were blessings and throwing of rice, traditional in a Puja ceremony. He then gave them each a Sungdhis. This is a special red cord that has a special knot tied in it and they wear it around their necks. The idea is that you will never take this off until it deteriorates and falls off by itself. It is believed to provide you with special protection until you are no longer in need of it, at which time it chooses to leave you and falls off.

In the picture, you can just see short little Lucille behind Lama Geshi's right shoulder.

As they were leaving Pangboche, Lucille ran into Domhnall, who was just going in to see Lama Geshi himself. They left, and got to Dingboche around 2:00. She says it is too cold after dark to stand outside and try and make a Satellite Phone call. It doesn't work well indoors.

Google Maps Google Earth

Google Maps Google Earth

Google Maps Google Earth