Lhotse, Spring 2008

Lhotse, Spring 2008

(Photos in slideshow: Fabrice Imparato, Bruce Manning, & Tunc Findik)
News of our recent expedition: Lhotse Climb
Spring 2008
30 March to 6 June, 2008
View our links for more information about our upcoming Everest Nepal, Everest Tibet and Lhotse expeditions. We are now accepting applications for the spring of 2009, so please come on out again for Everest, Cho Oyu and Lhotse.
Season Overview-Lhotse Spring 2008

Season wrap-up. Thank you everyone. Dan Mazur reports live from basecamp.

This is Dan Mazur calling with the final dispatch from our spring climbing season. I am currently in Everest/Lhotse basecamp and all of our members and staff are down from the hill. It's a beautiful sunny day here. There are a few puffy clouds, light winds, crystal clear blue skies, and birds are flying around hovering on the air currents. As I speak to you I am looking up at Mount Everest and the mighty Khumbu Glacier Icefall, which looks like an enourmous frozen river of white diamonds. Occasionally an avalanche pops off from one of the subsidiary peaks which ring this corrie our basecamp lies within. These avalanches are noisy and impressive, but luckily they never touch basecamp.

This year we were blessed with great success. I am very thankful, and perhaps even a bit surprised with how lucky we were. Of course, the maxim: 'good luck follows hard work' might hold true in this case.

Many of our team members, men and women from around the world, climbed to the top of Everest, our world's highest mountain, as well as to the summit of Lhotse, the fourth highest, and thank god we had no serious accidents.

Everyone tried very hard and achieved their personal goals, whether that was trekking to basecamp, or achieving a personal high point, such as the summit of easy Island Peak, or getting up to high camp on Everest or Lhotse. We commend all of our team members on doing their very best.

This is SummitClimb. A lot of very dedicated staff and a great team in basecamp (Dan Mazur).

We faced a lot of challenges this year, especially with the closure of Tibet due to the Chinese Olympic torch parade on Everest.

However, our members, leaders, and staff showed the patience, flexibility, and determination which good mountaineers need, and we made the best of the season.

4 of our Members reached the summit of Lhotse, the world's fourth highest peak.

We placed the First Dutchman on the summit of Lhotse, and the first Greek on the summit of Lhotse.

4 of our sherpas climbed to the summit of Lhotse.

We had excellent expedition leadership from Arnold Coster and Sam Mansikka.

Well, thanks for listening and watching and for your great support. Please tell all of your adventurous friends to join our fun teams of men and women from around the world. Our company survives on word-of-mouth.

This is Dan Mazur from SummitClimb.com signing off. I will look forward to a chance to chat with all of you and meet you soon. So please send me an email, or give a phone call. Ok thank you very much, and Bye for now!

Ps. Please remember to check out our leader-in-training program. We are always trying to get new leaders to join SummitClimb.com . Thanks!

Pps. Would you like to receive a colour Himalayan postcard? Please send us your postal address so we may post one to you or any of your friends and family interested in trekking and climbing. Thank you. back to top

Upcoming Trips-

We try to keep the momentum going here at SummitClimb, so I would like to mention a few upcoming trips:

We are now working toward our July trip to Mustagata, the world's easiest 7500 metre, 25,000 foot peak, which is perfect for snowshoeing, skiing, racquetting, and snowboarding. The leader is Mustagata expert Jon Otto, who has climbed it 8 times and speaks fluent English and Chinese. There is still time to join our team of men and women from around the world, if you hurry. Climbing Mustagata would qualify you for Mount Everest (photo right by Brad Jackson: Mustagata seen from acclimatization camp at 3600 metres/11,800 feet with Karakul Lake reflecting the mountain).

This is Kristine O'Brien and Gary Kellund resting at camp 2, 6200 metres/20,300 feet on Mustagata (K. O'Brien and G. Kellund). Our all female team, the "Lipstick Blondes" from the UK, in between camp 1 and camp 2 on Mustagata (www.lipstickblondes.com).

For the autumn, in September we encourage you to join us on Cho Oyu , the world's sixth highest and most accessible of the fourteen highest mountains, known as 8000 metre, 26,000 foot high mountains. Cho Oyu is located beside Mount Everest. Also in September we offer an expedition to Shishapangma, the lowest of the 8000 metre peaks, and located next to Cho Oyu. The leaders will be me, Dan Mazur and Samuli Mansikka, both of whom have multiple ascents of Cho Oyu, Shishapangma, and Everest. We are relaxed friendly and very competent and safe leaders. This is our 8th Cho Oyu expedition and our 3rd Shishapangma expedition. So please let us know and come on and join our fun group of men and women from around the world. Doing these climbs would qualify you for Mt. Everest. Oh by the way, we heard a rumour that a few members might want to ski these. Wow, that might be something to watch.

Cho Oyu at sunset. Our team at ABC on Shishapangma leaving for camp 1 (Dan Mazur).

In October, we offer the exciting climb of 7000 metre, 23,000 foot high, Mount Ama Dablam, known as Asia's most famous rock, ice, and snow peak. It's a technical mountain, but very climbable. We fix rope from camp 1 to the summit, and the hardest move is French 4, British severe, or North American 5.7 . Our leader is Summit Climb expert and all around nice guy Arnold Coster. This is our 12th Ama Dablam expedition and we have had great success with this peak. It's a really fun and accomplishable technical climb, there is no snow-slogging as basecamp is on grass. This has become a very popular climb for technical climbers who want to test their skills safely at altitude. So please come on and join our fun group of men and women from around the world. Climbing Ama Dablam would qualify you for Mt. Everest.

Sean Foxcroft, our leader in training from Manchester, shows us you don't always have to pull on the rope as he frees the Yellow Tower on Ama Dablam (Dan Mazur).

Well, I could go on about exciting trips we have coming up in spring of 2009 like Lhakpa-Ri and the North-Col for those who want to try their hand at 7000 metre, 23,000 foot high peak climbing, get qualified for Mt Everest, or perhaps even transition right to Mount Everest or Cho Oyu immediately afterward. This has become a very popular trip for us. back to top

Summit photos on Lhotse 2008. Please click one of the thumbnails below to view the full size image.

Herman Kristen, the first Dutchman atop the summit of Lhotse (Sam Mansikka). Ron Hoglin, the second Canadian atop the summit of Lhotse (Sam Mansikka). Samuli Mansikka, the second Finn atop the summit of Lhotse (Herman Kristen). Tile and Jangbu Sherpa atop the summit of Lhotse (Sam Mansikka). Haris Kiriakakis, first Greek atop Lhotse (Lakpa Sherpa). Lakpa Sherpa on the summit of Lhotse (Haris Kiriakakis).

Our international Lhotse team members & Sherpas in basecamp. Please click one of the thumbnails below to view the full size image. Photos by Dan Mazur. back to top

Arnold Coster and Maya Sherpa (They do a great job and we thank them!). Ms. Diane Walker. Ian de Bruyn. Johnny Madsen. Les Williams. Roger Danks. Stefanos Voutselas. Lhotse team-Front row l-r: Herman Kristin, Jangbu Sherpa, and Ron Hoglin; Back row l-r: Tile Sherpa and Samuli Mansikka. Bert Veldhuis. Photos by Dan Mazur.

Video Clips

Below are some short video clips taken recently by our team members. Please click the picture or title in the left column to view each clip. In the right column is the description for each video.


What more can one say about this worrisome John Shelton-Smith video of an avalanche landing near basecamp?

Unknown team on their way to camp 1

Everyone has different ideas about how best to traverse the treacherous Khumbu Icefall. This unknown team decided it would be best to walk through the ice-fall roped together in lock-step, just one metre apart. Hmmmm, we are not sure this is such a good idea (video by Diane Walker)?



Everest closed?
Everest closed !?!? On 6 May, this enormous Russian-made Nepal-Air-Force helicopter landed in basecamp and 12 troops and dignitaries spewed out to make warning speeches about international security and sweep basecamp and inspect all of the tents for illegal communications equipment, flags, etcetera. Everest remained closed to climbers from 1-8 May while the Chinese Olympic torch team went to the summit. Our sincere thanks to the Nepal-Air-Force for their professional conduct during this difficult situation and for their assistance in air-evacuating one of our sherpas who suffered an apparent stroke on the way to camp 1 (video by John Shelton-Smith).

Ladder crossing

Diane Walker films Stefanos Voutselas crossing a treacherous ladder in the Khumbu Icefall.

Sherpa dance

Even some of the strongest sherpas in the world need to have a ceremony before heading off to climb Everest. Here our super-star climbing sherpas shake a leg at our puja ceremony before heading up to the summit to help our team members get to to the top and back down safely (video John Shelton-Smith).

Descending ladders

Stefanos Voutselas films Les Williams descending the big scary 3-section ladder at the top of the Khumbu Ice-fall.
30 May, 2008

Here is a translated Finnish and Dutch report from our international team members telling the events of summit day on Lhotse (27 May, 2008):

Finnish translation:

Terveisia Everest/Lhotse –perusleirista, jossa Summitclimbin Lhotse 2008 –retkikunta vetelee viimeisiaan.

Saavutimme Lhotsen 8516-metrisen huipun eilen 27.5 klo 8:00 Herman Kristenin (Hollanti), Ron Hoglinin (Kanada), Thilen (Nepal), sirdarimme Jangbun (Nepal), seka toisen Jangun kanssa.

Saavuimme perusleiriin 3.5 ja aloitimme akklimatisoitumisen ja leirienperustamisen 6.5 pitamamme Puja-seremonian jalkeen. Viimeisen rypistyksen huipulle aloitimme 23.5 nousemalla kakkoseen, jossa pidimme lepopaivan ennen, kuin 25.5 nousimme kolmoseen 7000 metriin. 26.5 kiipesimme Lhotse-ylaleiriimme 7800 metriin, jossa lepailimme ennen, kuin keskiyolla aloitimme kiipeamisen kohti Lhotse-kuluaaria.

Huippuyo oli upea ja saa taydellinen! Kuluaarin huippua lahestyessamme puuskainen tuuli tosin lisaantyi. Saa oli kirkas, joten maisemat avautuivat upeasti, mita korkeammalle kiipesimme.

Saavutimme pikkuruisen, lumisen huipun klo 8:00 ja paasimme kurkistamaan vuoren toiselle puolelle Lhotsen jattimaisen etela-seinan paalta. Kirkkaassa saassa naimme Kanghenjungalle ja Shisha-Pangmalle saakka puhumattakaan lahempana sijaitsevista Makalusta, Cho Oyusta ja Everestista.

Nautimme kauniista saasta ja nakymista puolisen tuntia ennen, kuin laskeuduimme jyrkkaa Lhotse-kuluaaria takaisin ylaleiriimme. Laskeuduimme viela samana paivana kakkoseen, josta saavuimme perusleiriin eilen 28.5.

Nyt viela perusleirin pakkaamista ja kolmen paivan trekki Luklaan, josta lennamme Katmanduun.

Uskon, etta kaikki retkikuntamme jasenet ovat tyytyvaisia nopeaan reagointiin, joka johti Lhotsen-matkan toteutumiseen kevaan Cho Oyun –retkikunnan peruunnuttua. Itse ainakin olen ja voin todella suositella Lhotsea – On huikeaa kokea Everestin ensinousunreitti, jolta poiketa kiipeamaan yksi upeimmista kiipeamistani kuluaareista!

Kiitos kaikille, jotka seurasivat paivityksia Summitclimb.com ‘News’ –sivuilla!

Samuli Mansikka

Expedition Leader

Summitclimb International Lhotse Expedition 2008 back to top

Samuli Mansikka, the second Finn atop the summit of Lhotse (Herman Kristen). Tile and Jangbu Sherpa atop the summit of Lhotse (Sam Mansikka).


Dutch translation:

Eerste Nederlander op de top van Lhotse (8516m)

Op 27 mei om 8:00 is Herman Kristen (40) de eerste Nederlander die de top van Lhotse (8516m) heeft bereikt. “Het is ongelofelijk om in 2008 als eerste Nederlander op de top van 1 van de 14 achtduizenders te staan. Vanwege de demonstraties in Tibet, ben ik uitgeweken naar Nepal. Normaal gesproken had ik een van de makkelijkst te beklimmen achtduizender Cho Oyu (8201m) beklommen, maar i..p.v. daarvan is het LhotseLhotseMt. Everest staat en lang niet dezelfde uitstraling heeft als Mt. Everest. Mt. Everest beklimmers beschouwen Lhotse zelfs zwaarxer dan Everest, vanwege onder meer.de steile wanden tot wel 55-60 graden. Chinezen bedankt!” is een geweldig mooie berg, maar helaas maar weinig beklommen. Waarschijnlijk omdat Lhotse in de schaduw van geworden. back to top

View from the top of Lhotse. That's Lhotse middle in the foreground. Lhotse middle was the highest unclimbed peak in the world up to a few years ago. In the background is Makalu (Samuli Mansikka).

27 May, 2008
Lhotse team summits! The Lhotse team just radioed. They all summitted. The weather is calm and sunny. We wish them a safe descent.

Sam reports in live (click here to listen)

Hello everyone. It’s Sam Mansikka, the leader of SummitClimb’s international Lhotse expedition 2008 calling on the 27th of May at around 11:00 a.m.

I’m really happy to tell you that we’ve just returned from the summit. Ron Hoglin, Herman Kristen, and I, as well as our sherpas, Jangbu 1 and Jangbu 2, all summited at around 8:00 a.m. Oh man, we had the most beautiful summit day. The views were so clear that we could see all of the way to Shishapangma, Cho Oyu and Kanchenjunga. Jangbu said that we could see all of the way to Tingri in Tibet and Namche Bazaar in Nepal.

We are back safely in our high camp now at 7800 metres/25,600 feet and our plan is to get down to camp 2 today. Tomorrow we will continue the rest of the descent to basecamp. For basecamp festivities, we’re looking forward to taking showers and eating pizza and other delicacies. We might even open a few pints of beer too.

I’ll call you when we get back to basecamp and tell you more about the climb we did today. For right now, I can say it’s a very beautiful and steep climb up the Lhotse Couloir. The summit is fantastic, small and pointy, with the greatest views of all of the surrounding mountains.

This was Sam and SummitClimb’s international Lhotse expedition 2008 with summiters Ron Hoglin, Herman Kristen, and the 2 Jangbus. Bye, bye. back to top

Ron Hoglin, the second Canadian atop the summit of Lhotse (Sam Mansikka). Herman Kristen, the first Dutchman atop the summit of Lhotse (Sam Mansikka).

26 May, 2008
Lhotse team heading for the summit!

Sam reports in live (click here to listen)

Hello everyone. It’s Sam calling for SummitClimb news on the 26th of May.

I’m in Lhotse high camp with Canadian Ron Hoglin and the Dutchman Herman Kristen, as well as our three sherpas. We’re feeling pretty good and the weather looks promising, so we’re planning on leaving for the summit at 11:00 pm this evening. We aim to reach the summit right after sunrise.

I heard that there were 6 summits on Lhotse this morning, so I’m pretty sure we’ll have a solid trail to follow and a good chance of making it to the summit.

I’ll call back either from the summit or the high camp after the summit push. This was Sam for SummitClimb’s international Lhotse expedition 2008. Bye. back to top

We could not make this climb without the icefall doctors, who maintain the treacherous route of wobbly ladders spanning gaping crevasses through the khumbu icefall. Here are two of six doctors: l-r dampe tamang, and ang kami sherpa (Dan Mazur).

25 May, 2008
Lhotse group moving up to camp 4. Summit attempt day after.

Sam reports in live (click here to listen)

Hello everyone. This is Sam calling from Everest/Lhotse camp 3 at 7000 metres/23,000 feet on May 25th.

The summit push is on. I’m here with the Dutchman Herman, Canadian Ron, and our awesome sherpas Jangbu 1 and Jangbu 2. The weather is nice. It has been a bit cloudy, but they roll away every once in a while, giving the most beautiful views of Pumori and Nuptse.

Our master plan is to climb up to camp 4 tomorrow pretty early, so we get a good rest once we’re up there. We’re drinking some water, having some snacks, and just resting before we start the final push to reach the summit of Lhotse, 4th highest mountain on Earth. We might start as early as 10:00 p.m. or 11:00 p.m. so that we make it up to the summit by sunrise.

Right now the weather looks very good and I’m pretty sure we will climb up to camp 4 tomorrow. So if everything goes well we might be summiting on the 27th very early in the morning. I’ll let you know more when we climb up to camp 4 tomorrow.

This was Sam from SummitClimb’s international Lhotse expedition 2008. I’ll get back to you soon. Bye. back to top

Our awesome 2008 international Lhotse team (Les Williams).

Ian de Bruyn crossing a ladder in the ice-fall (Diane Walker).

21 May, 2008
Second Lhotse group moving up now.

Sam reports in live (click here to listen)

Hello everyone. This is Sam calling from Everest/Lhotse basecamp on May 21st. We’re sitting here in our dining tent eating a delicious meal together.

I mentioned earlier that some of our Lhotse members were on a tight schedule, so they did not have enough time to properly acclimatize to safely make it to the summit. Stefanos, Diane, Ian, Les and Johnny are leaving basecamp soon to catch their flight back home, so they are now finished with their climbing. I’m sure that all 5 of them learned a lot on the expedition and had a very rich experience. I certainly hope to see them again, either here in the Himalaya or elsewhere in the world. I personally would love to go climbing with anyone of them anytime. Les, Stefanos and Johnny all climbed up to camp 3 at 7000 metres/23,000 feet. Diane and Ian climbed up to the Yellow Band at around 7400 metres/24,300 feet.

Our first summit group is on their way. Our two-time Everest summiter Ron, Herman and Bert are now in camp 2, but they plan to have a rest day before they head for the higher camps and the summit. They are being accompanied by 2 of our sherpas. I’m looking forward to hearing summit reports on the 25th.

Our second summit team is very small and mobile, with Roger, Janbu and me. We plan to leave basecamp on the 23rd, so we hope to start our final climb from camp 4 to the summit on the 27th.

There were so many people climbing up from camp 3 to camp 4 yesterday and I’ve already heard a few unconfirmed summit reports. The weather was perfect last night, so I wouldn’t be surprised to hear about a large number of summits happening this morning. Arnold, our Everest leader, reported about 4 summits from our team, so I hope to know more about it soon.

The first trek group is leaving basecamp on the 24th, while our first summit team will be climbing from camp 3 to camp 4 and our second team is having a rest day in camp 2. We’ll call you soon to let you know how we’re doing here. This was Sam from SummitClimb’s international Lhotse expedition 2008. Bye. back to top

20 May, 2008

Lhotse members summit!

Hello SummitClimb news. This is Arnold calling from Lhotse camp 3 at about 7000 metres/23,000 feet.

Yesterday we went for the summit of Lhotse with Harris, Lakpa, Jangbu, Maya, and me. Unfortunately, Maya, Jangbu, and I turned around because we thought it was too windy. Harris was feeling stronger and continued, making it to the summit with Lakpa. So Harris is the first Greek to make it to the summit of Lhotse and I think that is great news!

Today it was a little windy, but the weather seems good. The weather forecast is good for tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, so the guys should be fine. I'm heading to camp 2 right now to get some good food. I'll keep you informed. Bye, bye. back to top

Our team members ascending above camp 3 looking down to the Western Cwm (Bruce Manning, 2007). Our team members approaching camp 1 above the ice-fall (Tunc Findik).

19 May, 2008

On 19 May at 10:00 am:

Mr. Zaharias Kariakakis and Lakpa Gyeluk Sherpa reached the summit of Lhotse, the world's fourth highest peak in a snowstorm. Mr. Kiriakakis is the first Greek to reach the summit of Lhotse, and we are very proud of him and his excellent sherpa Lakpa.

Here are two photos:

1. Haris on the summmit at 10:00 am on 19 May. He is sitting on a snow ledge. He is clipped to the rope because it was a fifty degree slope and the wind was buffeting him very strongly. The true summit is above his head about 1 metre, but it is a hollow snow cornice where it is not safe to stand. Haris is sitting on the highest safe point at the summit. Lakpa took the photo with Haris' camera.

2. Lakpa Sherpa standing a little below Haris, facing towards the summit while Haris took the photo.

Haris is proud to be the first Greek to reach the summit. This is important to him because it was a very difficult climb and he faced a lot of challenges and overcame these, to be alone in a wind and snowstorm on the top with Lakpa Sherpa, doing it for the honour of his country and to show that Greek people can face the highest challenges in the world successfully and safely. back to top

18 May, 2008

Lhotse team heading for the summit!

Hello SummitClimb news. This is Arnold calling from Lhotse camp 4 at 7850 metres/25,750 feet.

I'm here with Harris, Lakpa, Jangbu, and Maya Sherpa. We're resting right now for the rest of the night and at about 12:00 a.m. we will set off to attempt Lhotse and see what happens.

I'll keep this dispatch short and hopefully tomorrow I'll have some good news with our first summits. So stay tuned and I'll call tomorrow with more news. Bye, bye. back to top

Hi, this is Sam calling on May 18th from Everest/Lhotse camp 3 at a bit over 7000 metres/23,000 feet.

I'm here with Roger, Herman, and Bert, who are finalizing their acclimatization before descending to either basecamp or camp 2 before their final rest and summit push. Tomorrow on the 19th Diane, Ian, Johnny, Stefanos, and Les are climbing up here to join me. On the 20th they are planning to climb up to camp 4. Unfortunately, Diane, Ian, Stefanos, and Johnny do not have enough time to go for the summit, so they'll try to get up to 8000 metres before they go back to basecamp, start their hike out and fly back to Kathmandu to catch their flights home.

It's pretty beautiful here right now, clear weather and completely calm. We had a bit of snow in the afternoon, but as usual it died in the evening, so it's gorgeous right now. Pumori looks so small from up here and you can see very far out across the Himalaya.

This is our first night in camp 3. We'll see how the members are doing and whether they want to take a very good rest in basecamp or summit from camp 2 a few days earlier. This was Sam from SummitClimb's international Lhotse expedition 2008. I'll call back soon. Bye. back to top

17 May, 2008

Group camp 3. Summit attempts soon!

Hello SummitClimb news. This is Arnold, the leader of the Everest/Lhotse expedition.

I’m calling from camp 3 right now at about 7200 metres/23,600 feet. I’m on a summit push to climb Lhotse with Maya Sherpa, Harris, Lakpa, and Jangbu Sherpa. Today we had a very hot day climbing to camp 3, so we’re a little bit dehydrated, but everybody is fine.

Let’s see what happens with our group tomorrow, when we will climb to Lhotse camp 4 at 7850 metres/25,750 feet. Our plan is to summit Lhotse on the 19th. So far the weather gods are in our favour. Let’s see what happens. I’m very optimistic, but you never know with the weather. I’ll talk to you again tomorrow. Thank you for following our news. Bye, bye. back to top

Climbers in the Western Cwm. Looking in the Cwm from camp 3 at 7200 metres/23,600 feet (Andrew Brash).

16 May, 2008

Sam reports in live (click here to listen)

Greetings from Everest/Lhotse basecamp, this is Sam calling on May 16th.

Summitclimb’s Lhotse team is planning to move up again tomorrow after 2 good rest days in our comfortable basecamp. Bert, Les, Roger, and Herman are planning to finalize their acclimatization program by sleeping up in camp 3 before returning to basecamp for a final rest before their summit push.

Stefanos, Diane, Ian, and Johnny will try to climb up to 8000 metres/26,200 feet this time before heading back to Kathmandu to catch their flights back home. This trip has been the best possible training for them if they ever decide to return to attempt Everest. I really hope to get to climb with them again in the future.

During the past 2 days in basecamp we’ve been talking about our home countries and sharing our travel experiences, whether it is island hopping in Greece, cycling in Japan, fishing in New Zealand, touring in Scandinavia, or exploring Africa. Besides talking, we’ve been spotting avalanches and trying to catch them on film and memory cards. It’s been pretty warm here the last few days, so there have been quite a few big ones we’ve witnessed.

In a couple of days we’ll stay in the high camps. I hope the weather cooperates and we get to meet our goals, enjoying a few nice days up there.

That is all for now. I just want you to know that we are all having so much fun here and I think that we have a superb team. I definitely think that having fun is the most important thing on an expedition like this. So we’ll get back to you soon. This was Sam from SummitClimb’s international Lhotse expedition 2008. Bye. back to top

14 May, 2008

Sam reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi, this is Sam, the leader of SummitClimb’s international Lhotse expedition calling on May 14th.

Our whole team has now returned to basecamp after a good trip to the higher camps. On the 11th we climbed to camp 2, where we had a rest day on the 12th. Yesterday the whole team climbed up to our soon to be camp 3 at a bit over 7000 metres/23,000 feet and all returned to camp 2 for the night. The day before yesterday the weather looked kind of bad, but it changed dramatically overnight, so we took the chance to push our acclimatization by visiting camp 3.

The next time we will go up will be to sleep in camp 3 in order to finalize our acclimatization for the summit push. If the weather allows, we will climb up to camp 2 on the 17th and camp 3 on the 18th. For now, everybody is doing well and we’re happy to be back in our comfortable basecamp with private tents and a bit more variable foods than what we get in the high camps.

I guess the only bad thing is that yesterday my ibook failed because of the altitude, so now I might need to start reading instead.

Dinner is supposed to be soon and I'm wondering what the menu is today. I guess we'll probably be having pizza and some pasta or something delicious like that. That is all for today. I'll get back to you soon. This was Sam for news of SummitClimb's international Lhotse expedition 2008. Bye. back to top

Tent secured in Camp 3 (Tunc Findik). Our members ascending towards camp 3, 7,200 metres/23,600 feet, on the Lhotse face (Tunc Findik).
12 May, 2008

Sam Mansikka, our expedition leader, called in this evening.

The whole team is in camp 2 right now taking a rest day. It snowed last night and today, so they are going to head back down to basecamp tomorrow if it doesn't let up. They are all doing well and having a good time hanging out and telling stories. back to top

9 May, 2008

Hi everyone. This is Sam calling on May 9th.

Today we had a rest day in basecamp. This morning was beautiful, but now it is snowing a bit. We hope it will stop soon since we’re preparing to enter the ice-fall tomorrow. This time we are planning to sleep in camp 2 and also in camp 3.

Everyone is doing well. We went to see Christian, our Everest team’s doctor today because one of our members had a blocked nose. He gave us some nasal spray, which I’m sure will help. Craig looked over Stefanos, who had some stiffness in his back, but he’s better now. Craig has been enthusiastically collecting oxygen saturation data for his friend Christian’s study. He usually does it after meals, so it’s been: meals, saturations, and a few rounds of Uno.

Besides climbing, we’ve been talking about Chevy Chase movies, 80’s music, goldfish in a tank, and everything in between. So we’re having a good time here with a lot of flapping. Everyone’s excited to go climbing tomorrow. I just hope the weather allows us to follow our planned program.

That’s about it for today. I’ll get back to you soon. This was Sam from SummitClimb’s international Lhotse expedition 2008. Bye. back to top

8 May, 2008

Hello everyone. This is Sam from SummitClimb's international Lhotse expedition.

All of the members have now been through the ice-fall. Ron climbed to camp 1 yesterday and returned to basecamp by lunchtime. He is super strong. Johnny and Stefanos climbed halfway up the ice-fall and returned to basecamp.

Diane, Ian, Roger, Herman, Bert, Les and I slept in camp 1 at 6000 metres/19,700 feet.

The ice-fall really is somewhat easier this year, with only a few ladder crossings. Of the course the route is long and very strenuous, with 700 metres/2300 feet of elevation gain, zigzagging through the ice maze.

So now the team is resting in basecamp until we hit the ice-fall again in a few days. We'll get back to you soon. This was Sam from SummitClimb's international Lhotse expedition 2008. Bye. back to top

5 May, 2008

Hello SummitClimb news. This is Sam calling from Gorak Shep on May 5th.

We had a very nice day today. After breakfast we hiked up to Pumori advanced basecamp at 5600 metres/18,400 feet. The views are brilliant from there. You can even see the north face of Everest from there, not to mention the views of our route. It was a great acclimatization hike and I think the whole team will be a bit more comfortable with the altitude now.

In the afternoon we practiced ice-fall techniques on a brilliant rope course our sirdar, Jangbu, put up for the team members. Everyone got to ascend and abseil, giving them a good chance to check and access their equipment.

We will have a puja in basecamp tomorrow and after that we are ready to enter the ice-fall on the 7th. The team is doing well and we’re looking forward to start climbing Lhotse, the 4th highest mountain on the planet. This was Sam for SummitClimb’s international Lhotse expedition. Bye. back to top

Everest, Lhotse, and Nuptse, taken from Pumori, Nepal's
Mount Everest from the Nepal Side, first climbed by Tenzing and Hillary in 1953. Left to right: Everest, Lhotse, and Nuptse. Centre: the famous Western Cwm, just above the Khumbu Icefall (Erich Bonfert).
4 May, 2008

Hi SummitClimb news readers. This is Sam calling from Gorak Shep on May 4th.

The Lhotse team is now in Everest/Lhotse basecamp and everyone is feeling good. Today the members have been organizing their gear, taking showers, and taking it easy. It has snowed a bit, but it will melt as soon as the sun comes up.

Ron has been telling us stories about his Everest climbs, Stefanos about spear-fishing off the Greece archipelago, and entertaining us with his 24 hour talent show.

Tomorrow we will hike up to Pumori advanced basecamp to acclimatize ourselves and to get good views over the ice-fall. In the afternoon we will be practicing ice-fall techniques. May 6th is our puja day and the on the 7th we will explore the ice-fall to camp 1 before returning to basecamp for the night. Many on the team are saying that the ice-fall is easier this year, with less ladder crossing than usual. We're looking forward to it.

Well, that's all for today. There is not much going on in basecamp, which was pretty much what we planned. We'll back to you after tomorrow's hike.

This was Sam, international Lhotse Expedition 2008. Bye. back to top

Practicing on ropes and ladders in the icefall (Arnold Coster).
3 May, 2008
Team in basecamp.

Hi everyone. This is Sam calling from Gorak Shep on May 3rd.

SummitClimb's Lhotse expedition has now reached basecamp.

Les and Bert also arrived in basecamp today so the team is now complete. They had a nice hike and we are now happy to have them with the team.

Tomorrow the team members will rest in basecamp and organize their gear. We will have a puja on May 6, so no climbing before that. Everyone is feeling fine. No one is having any altitude related issues and we are looking forward to climbing in a few days. This was Sam from Gorak Shep. Bye. back to top

Everest basecamp on a misty morning. The Khumbu Icefall as seen from basecamp (Fabrice Imparato-2006).
2 May, 2008

Hello, this is Sam, leader of the SummitClimb international Lhotse expedition 2008.

After a very nice rest, we are ready to make the final trek up to basecamp.

We are joining forces with Linda of the SummitClimb Everest expedition who was resting in Pangboche for a few days and is now hiking up with us. Our plan for tomorrow is to hike up to basecamp.

Bert and Les, who have been trekking in the area, might already be there or we'll hook up with them on the way into Gorak Shep. We're really looking forward to basecamp after the long hike in and having a few rest days before starting the climb.

That is all for today. I'll get back to you soon. This was Sam for SummitClimb Lhotse news. back to top

30 April, 2008

Team in Pheriche.

Hello, this is Sam calling on from Pheriche at 4200 metres/13,800 feet.

Today we first went to visit the Pangboche Lama who blessed the team members and wished us luck. I think it was a very good blessing and a ceremony to remember. After that we did a short 2 hour hike to Pheriche. The walk was beautiful with views over the huge south face of Lhotse, Ama Dablam, Kantega and we even got a glimpse of Pumori.

In Pheriche a few of us went to the Himalaya Rescue Association lecture on altitude related issues. The doctor who gave the talk was brilliant, so I can easily recommend this lecture to anyone who visits the area. So tomorrow we will hike another 2 hours to Dughla to 4600 metres/15,000 feet. That is all for now. Bye. back to top

Namche Bazaar, the capital of the Sherpa people. See this unique village on our trek to and from basecamp (Tunc Findik).
29 April, 2008

Team in Tengboche.

Hi, this Sam calling from Pangboche on Tuesday 29 April.

Today our team walked here from Namche. We started at around 8:30 and walked to Tengboche in about 4 hours. Once arriving, we had a really good meal with plenty of noodles and at the end we had apple pie. Ron said the apple pie was the very best he’s ever had.

From Tengboche it was a pretty easy hike up to Pangboche, taking us about 2 hours. We had excellent views of the south face of Lhotse and Nuptse while walking up to Pangboche before the clouds rolled in, which seems to happen every afternoon along our trek. We missed the views of Ama Dablam from the clouds, but in the morning it’s always clear and very beautiful here, so we'll get to see it then.

Tomorrow we will continue on to Pheriche for one night. That’s supposed to be a very short hike, taking about 2 ½ hours from here. Everyone is feeling good and we’re having so much fun.

This was Sam from the SummitClimb international Lhotse expedition. I’ll call back soon. Bye. back to top

28 April, 2008

Hi Summitclimb news readers.

We have had the most relaxing day here in Namche. The members have been enthusiastically trying the local bakeries, had showers and sent e-mails to family and friends. Some of us made short hikes up the hillsides around Namche. Diane and Ian actually went out there before breakfast! What do they say about early birds?

Tomorrow (Tuesday) we will hike up to Pangboche at around 4000 metres/13,100 feet. The hike there is just amazing with the most beautiful views over Ama Dablam and the massive Nuptse-Lhotse south face, with Everest peaking from behind. On the way we will pass the Tengboche Monastery and I am sure that the lodge they have there might be the best imaginable place to have lunch at.

Everyone's looking forward to tomorrow and seeing the point where we're headed - the 8516-metre/27,932 foot high summit of Lhotse.

So everyone's feeling strong and positive and is happy to be here.

That is all for now. Sam. back to top

27 April, 2008

Hello, this is Sam Mansikka, the leader of Summitclimb's International Lhotse expedition. Here's our greetings to Summitclimb News from Namche (3400 metres/11,200 feet) on Sunday, 27th of April.

After an exciting flight to Lukla yesterday we hiked to Phakding for the night.

It is beautiful here and everyone's enjoying the hike so much! There's a good amount of "positive feeling" in the air, as Stefanos would say.

We have a very international group consisting of 10 members representing 8 nationalities. We have Diane and Ian from South Africa, Ron from Canada, Johnny from Denmark, Roger from England, Stefanos from Greece, Herman and Bert from Holland, Les from New Zealand and me, Sam from Finland. Bert and Les arrived early and telephoned two days ago to say they are having lots of fun trekking to Gokyo and then planning to walk over the Cho La Pass, where we'll meet up with them at Gorak Shep in a few days. We are planning to reach base camp on May 3rd to start our climb.

Oh, mobile phones seem to work fine here so I'll call you soon with more news about our expedition to the world's 4th highest mountain.

Stay tuned to SummitClimb.com for more dispatches!

This was Sam for Summitclimb's International Lhotse 2008 Expedition. back to top

25 April, 2008

All of our team members have arrived. Last night we got together and ate at Kathmandu's delicious Krua Thai restaurant.

Our three Sherpas: Jangbu (1), Shera, and Jai have been busy packing supplies and equipment. This morning they went to the airport early to send all of our expedition equipment and materials via cargo flights.

Our team managers Mr. Murari Sharma and Deha Shrestha have been taking care of all of the last minute preparations, plane tickets, budgets, etcetera.

We met for a team breakfast and orientation this morning at the Nepa/Beijing Hotel and had an enjoyable discussion of our plans for the flight, trek, and climb.

We conducted the final review of each member's personal climbing equipment and supplies.

Our team members are completing the final bits and pieces of their shopping and packing their bags for the trip to basecamp and those bags which they will leave behind in the store.

After our team dinner tonight we will head for bed early, as it's a 4 am start in the morning, when we set off for the airport and fly to Lukla.

Hope the skies are clear! back to top

A view of Swayambhunath Stupa, the "Monkey Temple". It is the most ancient and enigmatic of all the holy shrines in Kathmandu valley. Swayambhunath's worshippers include Hindus, Vajrayana Buddhists of northern Nepal and Tibet, and the Newari Buddhists of central and southern Nepal. Each morning before dawn, hundreds of pilgrims will ascend the 365 steps that lead up the hill, file past the gilded Vajra (Tibetan: Dorje) and two lions guarding the entrance, and begin a series of clockwise circumambulations of the stupa. On each of the four sides of the main stupa there are a pair of big eyes. These eyes are symbolic of God's all-seeing perspective (Elselien te Hennepe).
23 April, 2008

Our Lhotse expedition is arriving in Kathmandu. This expedition was supposed to be the Cho Oyu expedition, but since Tibet has been sealed off to foreigners due to the Chinese Olympic torch relay, 9 Cho Oyu members and the leader decided they would like to have a go at Lhotse instead of canceling their trip.

The weather has been warm and sunny and Kathmandu has been quite peaceful (photo right by Tunc Findik in May 2007: The Lhotse face).

Our team is looking good and we have been hanging around together quite a bit. Yesterday we checked all of the group equipment like tents and ropes.

Our super-skillful sherpas Jangbu and Shera are doing the equipment purchasing and packing, and Jai Bahadur, who cooks amazing and tasty dishes, has been organizing the food.

Our Lhotse team will have four climbing Sherpas: Jangbu (1), Jangbu (3), Lakpa (1), and Pasang (2), as well as Shera supporting.

Mr. Murari Sharma and Mr. Deha Shrestha have been busy running around Kathmandu getting all of the permits and everything sorted out.

We had a lovely dinner last night at the Roadhouse in Thamel and then went for a nice dessert at the New Orleans Café.

Today we have been checking the team member's equipment and doing the shopping for needed items.

Tomorrow the rest of our team arrives. Welcome to Lhotse, world's 4th highest! back to top

Lhotse Team Roster:
  • Mr. Sam Mansikka-Finland (leader);
  • Ms. Diane Walker-South Africa;
  • Mr. Roger Danks-UK;
  • Mr. Ian De Bruyn-South Africa;
  • Mr. Ron Hoglin-Canada;
  • Dr. Haris Kiriakakis-Greece;
  • Mr. Herman Kristen-Netherlands;
  • Mr. Johnny Madsen-Denmark;
  • Mr. Bert Veldhuis-Netherlands;
  • Mr. Stefanos Voutselas-Greece;
  • Mr. Les Williams-New Zealand. back to top
Everest & Lhotse Staff Roster:
  • Mr. Murari Sharma-Nepal/Tibet Staff Director (7 x Everest, 5 x Cho Oyu, 2 x Shishapangma, 3 x Lhotse);
  • Mr. Deha Shrestha-Nepal/Tibet Assistant Staff Director (7 x Everest, 5 x Cho Oyu, 2 x Shishapangma, 3 x Lhotse);
  • Ms. Maya Sherpani-Climbing Sherpa (2 x Everest, 2 x Cho Oyu);
  • Mr. Jangbu (1) Sherpa-Climbing Sherpa (4 x Everest, 1 x Cho Oyu);
  • Mr. Dawa Sherpa-Climbing Sherpa (4 x Everest, 1 x Cho Oyu, 1 x Lhotse);
  • Mr. Pasang (1) Sherpa-Climbing Sherpa (5 x Everest);
  • Mr. Tenji (1) Sherpa-Climbing Sherpa (5 x Everest, 2 x Cho Oyu, 1 x Shishapangma);
  • Mr. Dorje Sherpa-Climbing Sherpa (6 x Everest);
  • Mr. Ang Sherpa-Climbing Sherpa (5 x Everest, 1 x Cho Oyu, 1 x Shishapangma, 2 x Lhotse);
  • Mr. Sange (1) Sherpa-Climbing Sherpa (2 x Everest);
  • Mr. Jangbu (2) Sherpa-Climbing Sherpa (6 x Everest, 1 x Cho Oyu, 2 x Shishapangma);
  • Mr Tenji (2) Sherpa-Climbing Sherpa (3 x Everest);
  • Mr. Gyelzen (1) Sherpa-Climbing Sherpa (2 x Everest, 1 x Shishapangma);
  • Mr. Nima Sherpa-Climbing Sherpa (4 x Everest);
  • Mr. Nuru Sherpa-Climbing Sherpa (4 x Everest, 1 x Cho Oyu);
  • Mr. Lakpa (1) Sherpa-Climbing Sherpa (4 x Everest);
  • Mr. Pasang (2) Sherpa-Climbing Sherpa (6 x Everest)
  • Mr. Shera Sherpa-Climbing Sherpa + Member Trek Leader (2 x Everest, 1 x Cho Oyu, 1 x Lhotse);
  • Mr. Lakpa (2) Sherpa-Trainee Climbing Sherpa (2 x Everest);
  • Mr. Phurba Sherpa-Trainee Climbing Sherpa (1 x Everest);
  • Mr. Gyelzen (2) Sherpa-Trainee Climbing Sherpa (1 x Everest);
  • Mr. Sange (2) Sherpa-Trainee Climbing Sherpa (1 x Everest);
  • Mr. Lakpa (3) Sherpa-Trainee Climbing Sherpa (1 x Everest);
  • Mr. Jangbu (3) Sherpa-Trainee Climbing Sherpa (2 x Everest);
  • Mr. Kaji Tamang-Basecamp and field transport manager (4 x Everest, 2 x Lhotse);
  • Mr. Kipa Sherpa-Cook (5 x Everest, 4 times Cho Oyu, 3 x Lhotse);
  • Mr. Jai Bahadur Nagarkoti-Cook (5 x Everest, 3 x Lhotse);
  • Mr. Temba Sherpa-Cook (5 x Everest, 3 x Lhotse);
  • Mr. Dorje Lama-Assistant Cook (5 x Everest, 3 x Lhotse);
  • Mr. Pemba Sherpa-Camp 2 Cook (4 x Everest);
  • Mr. Sange (3) Sherpa-Camp 2 Cook (1 x Everest). back to top