Shishapangma Climbing Expedition News

Shishapangma Climbing Expedition News

Shishapangma Autumn: News of our expedition

Trip Summary: : Our team was blessed with brilliant weather this season. All 4 out of 5 members and both of our Sherpas reached the summit. Max, our veteran leader did a great job of organizing everything. This was our third successful Shisha expedition.

Also, two of our members did a Cho Oyu - Shishapangma "double-header", which means they first climbed Cho Oyu and then they climbed Shishapangma. It was really amazing how strong they were and how hard the staff and Sherpas worked to make it happen.

After driving up slowly from Kathmandu into Tibet over a period of four days (taking rest days as we drove) we had a training day and practiced our fixed rope techniques on some small ice cliffs near to camp half. Our skillful cooks prepared delicious meals and we had a comfortable individual tent for each member in ABC.

Shishapangma is not a particularly difficult climb. The horizontal distances between camps are impresssive, and the walking is done on snowy trails.

There is nothing steep on Shishapangma where you would be suspended from a rope. Shishapangma is much less visited than her sister peak; Cho Oyu. We had a comfortable basecamp with delicious food and an individual tent per member.

Shishapangma is the lowest of the world's fourteen 8000 metre / 26,000 foot high mountains. Climbing Shishapangma is considered to be one of the best ways to get qualified for climbing Everest. Welcome to our Shishapangma expedition and the Cho Oyu - Shishapangma "double-header".

Blog post: Please click one of the links below to go directly to that Blog post or just scroll down.            


15 October, 

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

13 October, 
2nd Team Summits!

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi, this is Paul dispatching on behalf of Urs, Lhakpa Sherpa,  Gyalje Sherpa and myself. Today we summited Shishapangma and we are very happy, yet also tired. We're back in camp 1. As we suspect, the bad weather will be rolling in during the next few days. We are hoping to get back to Kathmandu as soon as possible. We are in the tents very happy, but very tired. Our love and greetings to everybody out there. back to top

12 October, 

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

11 October, 

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

10 October, 

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi this is Paul dispatching on behalf of Urs, Lhakpa Sherpa, Gyalje Sherpa and myself from ShishaPangma depot camp at roughly 5900 metres. We are happy and healthy in our tent. We’ve just had a bowl of noodles and drinking copious amounts of tea and contemplating tent fabric.

The weather is great the summit looks a bit windy. We are aiming to summit on the 13th, God willing if all goes well.

Our love and greetings to everybody out there. back to top

Windy day at camp 1

9 October, 

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi this is Paul calling from the ShishaPangma expedition following on from Cho Oyu

The members at the moment include myself (Paul), Urs and Lhakpa Sherpa. We're at ABC on ShishaPangma at 5640 metres of altitude and we are OK, healthy and everything is fine.

The weather is clear. It’s a bit windy and cold but of no concern at the moment. We hiked up from basecamp yesterday and it took us about 5 hours, which we are happy with but we’re still a bit tired from Cho Oyu. We are recovering quickly and we’re positive about approaching camp one in the next couple of days.

Our love and greetings to everybody out there. back to top

Way to camp 2

8 October, 

Today is Saturday October 8th and I'm writing from sunny Kathmandu right now! We made it here last night. On the way out from BC we were very lucky and met Urs Jaggi and Paul Liebenberg who just climbed Cho Oyu and now moved to Shishapangma to climb it as well.

Our sherpas left the whole logistics set for them at every single camp and we hope this will make things easier on their climb. They were very tired (Paul summited Cho Oyu without oxygen) and will rest the night of the 6th and 7th at Chinese BC. Our super-sherpa Mr. Lhakpa Sherpa is with them and they will join Gyalje Sherpa, Dorje Lama (cook) and Chimmy (assistant cook) at ABC.

Urs and Paul have electric charging facilities at ABC so they will be able to post voice dispatches every day, so please continue reading the Shishapangma news and you will be able to follow the progress of our 2 dedicated members from Switzerland and South Africa!

We have heard that Gary Kellund made it safely home to the US. Gary had to leave the Shishapangma expedition because his work schedule was getting too close. If he'd stayed with us, he would have a great risk on not making home in time. Although we appreciate his work commitments, we miss Gary very much and thought about him on every single part of our climb to the summit of Shishapangma.

The rest of the Shishapangma team continued the descent back to civilization and met the Cho Oyu team at the Chinese border. We have met Arnold Coaster - expedition leader from Netherlands, Richard Maybank from UK, Fergal Savage from Ireland and Vicen Jolis from Spain. Also, we met the Cho Oyu sherpas: Tenji, Dawa Jangbu and Naked Jangbu. They all summited Cho Oyu and were 1 of the 3 teams out of 25 who summited Cho Oyu this season. We are very proud of them!

Thanks for reading the news at back to top

Jangbu at camp 3

5 October,

Today is October 5th and we are back to ABC, at 5600m.

We are very tired but very happy for reaching the summit of Shishapangma. October 4th was the chosen day for the summit. The winds were almost non-existent and views were amazing! On the 2nd however, we struggled with the winds at 7000m but finally on the 3rd, we established our camp 3 at 7450m.

We’ll write you a full report in a few days.

Thanks very much for following the news at

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Max helping Grace to hold the Canadian flag at the summit of Shishapangma (Jangbu Sherpa). Grace and Max at the summit of Shishapangma. Summit ridge on October 4th – photo from 7800m.

4 October,
Team Summits!

Part 2: Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Today’s the 4th of October and we’re very happy, we summited today. Just got back from the summit and it’s pretty windy.

We’re back to camp 2 right now at 7000 metres. We’re fatigued and  dehydrated but we’re very happy. So, at the moment we’re hydrating and getting ready to sleep.

Tomorrow we’ll trek to ABC which is 5700 metres and hopefully we’ll call another dispatch before crossing the Chinese border.

OK, thank you very much for following the news at Bye back to top

Part 1: Team reports in live (click here to listen)

A 7800 metre neighbouring peak of Shishapangma.

3 October, 

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

We’ve made it to 7500 metres to camp 3. Everyone is doing OK and Jangbu went up to fix ropes today. He fixed about 400 metres so I think we have a very good chance tomorrow and on top of that the weather should improve.

We heard on the radio that the members on Cho Oyu all summited apparently. Although it’s 100 km away we heard them and we are very happy for them and want them to come down safely to Kathmandu.

Ok, we’ll call again from camp 2 or camp 3 tomorrow and let you know how the summit push is going.

Thank you very much and thank you for following the news at bye-bye. back to top

Staff saying goodbye to Gary. Our tents buried at camp 1.

2 October, 

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi this is Grace MacDonald calling with the dispatch for the Shishapangma expedition on October 2nd.

We’re at camp 2, upper camp 2 at 7000m. We worked really hard to get here today. It was quite windy and most of the people on the mountain were moving up to lower camp 2.

We did really well. It was definitely a tough day and we’re all in our tent now, hydrating and eating and feeling pretty well. Actually we’re looking forward to going up to camp 3 tomorrow if the weather agrees with us.

Anyway that’s it, we will be in touch hopefully from camp 3 tomorrow. Goodbye. back to top

Avalanche seen from Camp 1.

1 October, 

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Today is October 1st and we are in camp 1. Things are not very good here.W hen we got here the tent was pretty much buried under half a metre of snow. We dug it out to get inside. We had 65 km/h winds forecast at 7000m westerly and right now we’re having 35-40 km/h winds at camp 1.

Today we’re going to wait for the winds to die down a little bit and then we’re going to go to camp 2 at 7000m. We’re going to try and push for the summit on the 4th October and there should be another 15-20 people going with us which is good so we can break trail on the way up.

So we’ll call you again at camp 2 if we get there and thank you very much for following the news at back to top

Tibetan plateau seen from 8000 metres.

30 September,

This is for September 30th.

Today finally we saw a light of hope at the end of the tunnel. The jet stream winds seem to be at 100km away from here and won’t affect us much at high camps. Our camp 1 tents are still up and weren’t completely buried. Our camp 2 tents seem to be stuck but not buried in snow. So with these factors on our side, we have decided to push for the summit starting today. Our idea is to attempt the summit on October 4th from camp 3.

In the past 4 days we had plenty of sunlight which consoled the fresh snow brought by a storm on the 25th. So we should have a pretty good chance to reach the summit now.

Wish us luck!

Thanks for following the news at

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Summit ridge of Shishapangma at 7800 metres.

29 September, 

Hello, this is Grace McDonald (Shishapangma member) with a dispatch for September 29.

Times sure have changed since the warm afternoons filled with pellet gun fights in the streets of Tingri in early September. Now we find ourselves mountainside . . . . . . . waiting . . . . and waiting . . . . and waiting. Everything kind of ran like clockwork until our first summit attempt when we witnessed the mass exodus from the higher camps and decided to head back to ABC ourselves. That seems like ages ago and since then we've become waiting game experts, waking up every morning, staring at the mountain for a signal - high winds, low winds, snow no snow, perhaps a glimpse of a tent at Camp 1, no that's probably just a rock. The day usually progresses with a weather report we download over the satellite phone and then eventually members from other teams on the mountain stop by for a visit, a discussion of various weather reports, maybe a few jokes to help pass the time and then we return to our usual time passing methods - eating, drinking and reading, and listening to music. We've developed good relations with most of the community here at Shishapangma ABC and it's nice to have visitors stop by. Somehow we even seem to have created the expectation that visitors to our dining tent bring food gifts with them and we've had quite the haul of Pringles, Snickers and our personal favourite - boxes of Choco Pies from our American friends.

Let's be honest here people - the longer this all stretches on, the more limited the food supplies get for everyone. By no means is anyone starving, it's just options get more and more limited so a solid strategy of amassing extra food supplies is a good idea and we will continue to welcome all visitors bearing food gifts. In return I often offer a cup of Starbucks coffee - perhaps it's not your favourite coffee back home BUT it's pretty much liquid gold out here.

Weatherwise here at ABC we're finally getting a few solid day of sunshine - that simply hadn't happened for most of the month. So come midday, the temperature in the dining tent is actually pretty warm and we're basking in the glow of our solar panel as we gleefully charge every electronic device we have. For many reasons, charging had been a big struggle for most of the expedition - leading us to identify a new mental disorder best described as "Charge Anxiety". I suffered terribly from this and spent many mornings clutching my laptop, rocking back and forth in my chair and shooting evil looks at then solar panel and battery. Thankfully we seem to have worked out the kinks and with all this sunshine we have more power than devices that need powering!

Now unfortunately, all this sunshine has brought on the cold temperatures and me and Gary are fully qualified to comment on cold - I'm Canadian and he spent a couple of years living in Minnesota. It's cold people!  At night we turn on the propane heater and fool ourselves for a while into thinking it's not so cold out. Eventually we have to venture out to our tents to sleep and the facade disappears. I think it's even colder in the mornings. We can't imagine how cold it is up on the mountain at night.

Today we may wander across town to visit the community and see if we can get some more info on weather and maybe pass the time with some good laughs. We've heard that some sherpas are heading up the mountain to check the status of tents at Camps 1 and 2, hopefully we can get some info on that as well. I'll bring my Starbucks coffee.

Thanks for following these dispatches! We all appreciate knowing our friends and families can follow along on our adventures.  All the best.

Grace McDonald back to top

Grace and Max on the summit ridge at 7600 metres.

28 September, 

This is for September 28th.

We are still at ABC waiting for conditions to improve so we can go up. Today we saw our tents at Camp 1 and they seem OK. We hope the camp 2 tents are also there.

The winds are still very strong and a huge snow plume is over the summit of Shishapangma. It’s beautiful and scary at the same time. The lower slopes of the mountain are totally covered with snow and the approaches to lower camps are very difficult. We hope we can reach high camps in the next few days to check on the integrity of camps and continue with our summit push.

Grace and Gary are doing great and keeping up the good mood besides all the waiting.

Thanks for following the news at

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Everest massif seen from Shishapangma.

27 September,

Today was the FIRST clear day of the whole trip. The sky is totally blue! The winds shifted and are now blowing from west instead of east. We can see a huge snow plume over the summit of Shishapangma, the winds are probably exceeding 90 km/h on the summit right now. We have 3 different forecasts that say that the jetstream winds are approaching and will hit the summit in about 3 days. These winds might exceed 150km/h!

All the expeditions are ‘grounded’ and waiting for the winds to decrease.

For us, the clear days are very welcome as we can fully charge all of our electronic devices (after boiling our battery in water as it was frozen this morning).

The temperature has dropped significantly and we have a few inches of snow stuck to the ground.

Some people have started to leave the mountain as they are running short on time.

We’ll wait a few more days and hope the wind speed dies down so we can make another attempt to the summit.

Thanks for following the news at

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View of Shishapangma from ABC.

26 September,

Last night we were a little concerned about the possibility of the snow storm continuing. This morning however I woke up and didn’t hear any snow falling on my tent. That was a relief… Temporary, until I moved a little and the snow on the top of my tent fell off and revealed an actual storm outside. My tent had so much snow over it that I couldn’t hear the actual snow falling outside.

The situation at Camps 1 and 2 might be even worse. We will wait until the end and use all our chances to reach the summit.

Everyone is very healthy and hanging in there.

Thanks for following the news at

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 Advanced basecamp this morning (Grace McDonald).

25 September,

Expedition. Today is September 25th and we are back to ABC.

We unfortunately had to abort our summit push due to extremely bad weather. All other teams also had to bale out from camps 1 and 2 due to the extreme amount of new snow. Even though some people spent a lot of money on weather forecasts, no forecast actually predicted the massive storm which we are in now.

All the teams who are ready and acclimatized might join forces for a massive summit push in a few days. Meanwhile we are all waiting for good weather here at ABC.

Thank for following the news at

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23 September,

This is for September 23rd.

We are enjoying our last hours of rest here at ABC at 5600m. Today we had news of another team who wanted to try the summit but unfortunately they had some really bad weather and had to spend 4 nights at 7000m waiting for conditions to improve. We don’t know their future plans.

We’ll head to Depot camp at 5900m today, then Camp 1 6400m on 24th, then Camp 2 on 25th, Camp 3 on 26th and summit attempt on 27th in the morning. We really hope the weather improves by the 27th.

We’ll call one voice dispatch every night from high camps

Thanks back to top


Camp 3 at 7000 metres/23,000 feet.

22 September,

We are on our second rest day at ABC after climbing to 7000m. We are very happy to have concluded our acclimatization in only 10 days. We are finally having our longest rest off the whole trip. Impressively, we haven’t had one single day of good weather on the whole trip. However we somehow managed to move up and down the mountain without having the weather limiting our itinerary.

Apart from the avalanche debris on the way to Camp 2, we had a great time up there and all of us hydrated and ate properly even at 7000m. Our camp 2 is only 1 mile away from the headwall that takes us to camp 3. Our super-sherpa Jangbu did an amazing job and fixed the route to camp 3, at 7450m.

We’ll have another whole day of rest here, then move to Depot camp tomorrow

Thanks for following the news at

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Yaks leaving Shisha Pangma.

20 September,

This is for September 20th.

Dear families and friends of our climbing members,

Many people probably saw the news of the terrible earthquake that hit the Himalayas on the 18th at 18:00 local time. First of all, we’re all fine and back from our acclimatization mission from 7000m. We are resting at ABC now.

On the 18th we were at Camp 1 which is about 6400m. We had a great day and we were all inside one tent playing music and hydrating. Camp 1 has some pretty big hanging seracs nearby and it is fairly common to hear avalanches collapsing 1 or 2 miles away.

At that time we heard something like an avalanche but then the ground started shaking for a few seconds. Camp 1 is at the top of a huge flat glacier and we immediately though that a really big avalanche would be necessary to shake the whole glacier.

When we popped our heads out of the tent we could see 3 or 4 avalanches and didn’t really understand what was going on. One of the avalanches was so big that our tents got dusted by some debris which fell from it.

At that very same moment we were talking to Jangbu Sherpa who was at camp 2, 7000m. He also felt the same avalanches there.

Grace felt a little scared by the dimensions of the natural disaster but there wasn’t much we could do apart from talking “If this” and “If that”…That was a new experience.

The mystery was solved next morning when we talked to our cook at 5600m, who also felt the shake at ABC. This couldn’t be just an avalanche and turned out to be an earthquake which triggered several avalanches on Shishapangma.

In that same morning we left Camp 1 and headed to Camp 2. On the way we saw the damage produced by one single avalanche. The debris extended for more than half mile on the way to camp 2. It started at about 6600m and went all the way to 6800m. On the way we found fridge sized ice blocks, and several thousand smaller blocks. We found a slab that actually broke off with the avalanche and was still hanging at 6650m.

Many ropes were taken down with the avalanche and got completely buried. On the left and right hand sides of the route, there was ice walls with many exposed hanging seracs. They also collapsed on the earthquake and started smaller avalanches.

At about 6800m, the damage stopped and the route continued towards Camp 2. From that altitude we could really appreciate the damage produced by the earthquake.

From up here we unfortunately don’t have knowledge of the earthquake’s epicenter nor how may people got affected (or killed) at the valleys below us. We hope not too many people were injured on this tragedy.

After sleeping one night at 7000m, our acclimatization plan is finished and we are waiting for good weather for our summit push.

Thanks for following the news at

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Grace climbing through avalanche debris at 6800 metres.
19 September,

We made it to 7000 metres/23,000 feet. Everyone is fine. We had an encounter with quite a big avalanche today about a ½ mile long. It happened yesterday at 6:00 p.m., Nepali time. We found out it was triggered by an earthquake. We don’t what happened lower down on the mountain or in China. We can see the effects up here on Shishapangma and they are quite big.

No one was hit by the avalanche. Everyone one is fine. It happened between camp 1 and camp 2. It was quite massive.

We made it to camp 2 about 4 hours ago. We’re rehydrating now and eating as much as we can before we go down to ABC tomorrow. Then we’ll go down to basecamp to rest. We’ll call in again with more details about the climb. Thank you very much. Bye, bye. back to top


Gary Kellund on the way to camp 1.

18 September, 

We're in camp 1 right now at 6400 metres/21,000 feet. Everyone up here is doing fine and acclimatizing well. Tomorrow we’re going to camp 2, which is nearly 7000 metres/23,000 feet and this will finish our acclimatization process.

We’re going down to ABC the day after tomorrow. Our team is great. We just saw a massive avalanche that actually made camp 1 shake, which was pretty cool. Nothing happened. Everyone is fine. It was pretty spectacular.

We’ll ring in tomorrow from camp 2 to let you know how everything is going. Thank you. Bye, bye. back to top


Our depot camp at 5900 metres.

16 September,

This is Grace McDonald with a dispatch for the Summit Climb Shishapangma Expedition for September 16,  We've called in a few dispatches over the last few days but here's a bit more detail about our first rotation up to Camp 1.

We left to establish a Depot Camp at 5,900m on September 13th. On the way we got to pass through all the other camps - there's quite a few other teams here actually at varying stages of acclimatization. The walk to depot was fairly straightforward although quite rocky so you really had to focus on your feet. We made it to the lower Depot Camp where some other teams had set up tents in just over 2 hours but pushed on another twenty minutes to our more exclusive Depot Camp just beside a field of ice pinnacles (more on that field later). There was a group of 5 people heading up to Camp 1 at that point and we had an excellent view of their ascent so we sat and watched while tent platforms formed and tents magically went up.  In truth there is no magic, just many thanks to our Sherpas and Max who seem to be most comfortable when we're doing absolutely nothing - it sounds horribly lazy but the more rested we are the better for everyone. We settled in for the night and we allowed Max entry into our tent to share in our fantastic company in exchange for him boiling water and keeping our cups filled with tea. He's an excellent tea boy. Although we're just a  small group of three we're actually pretty good at chillin' in the tent and passing time. Before we knew it we were off to sleep with some light snowfall.

We woke up to clear skies and glorious sunshine and took our time eating an interesting breakfast called "milk cereal", it's the texture of foam but if you eat it quick it's not too bad. Gary and I were ready a little ahead of the Sherpas so we decided to get a head start and tackle the field of ice pinnacles on our own. What you have to understand is that from Depot Camp, this field of pinnacles doesn't look so big, you tell yourself it's a few ups and downs, a little weaving here and there and you should pop out the other side at the bottom of a gentle slope that leads to a slightly steeper slope up to Camp 1 - not big deal! Two problems with this thinking, the field is way bigger than it looks from Depot Camp and that glorious sunshine has a microwave effect when you're surrounded by snow covered ice pinnacles on all sides. So we started out with the two of us together but quickly got separated between pinnacles. It's quite hard to maintain any sense of pace in this field. At one point I came across a eight metre length of rope that had placed there to assist climbers down a fairly steep pinnacle. Well I made it down although my landing was spectacular - body folded into a V with my butt dangling in a pool of ice water. It really was too bad we'd gotten separated because I know Gary would have enjoyed that. As of a wet bum, believe me, in that heat it was actually welcome. It was so hot it just propelled me forward. I knew I had to get out of there as there was no amount of sunscreen that would protect my skin. We ran into some members from other expedition on the way who we had seen skiing down the clop from Camp 1 earlier in the morning. One of them, Levi, had purchased our friendship at Advanced Base Camp with a can of Pringles and two snickers bars. We're pretty sure his teammates were confused by the greeting "Hey Girlfriend!"  from Gary to Levi, but let's just say we all became very familiar with each other over those Pringles and snickers back in ABC. Eventually I came out onto the gentle slope and just kept pushing forward.  The sun just would not let up and I actually was feeling worse on the slope than in the pinnacles.  I've been a lot of hot places before but have never felt that hot before in my life. I planned to stop just below the steeper slope up to Camp 1 and by that point was joined by one of our Sherpas. Max, Gary and our other Sherpa were heading up towards us and we waited for them to join us before popping some energy gel and heading out for the steady plod up to Camp 1. The hill doesn't look much worse than your average skill hill at home but at this altitude it's hard work. I'm not sure what came over me that day but I found the accelerator and just took off for Camp 1. I think I was telling myself that it was so hot, I just needed to get this done and the less time I spent enduring the heat, the better. Gary took a slower pace but ended up being rewarded with some cloud and mist for the last part of his move into Camp 1. 


  Grace climbing ice towers at 5950 metres.

Up at Camp 1 I walked right up to a group that was camped there and asked if they could spare a cup of tea.  Our Sherpas were coming but I knew I had a bit of a wait and was all out of fluids. It turns out they were an american group and they were actually really nice. I passed over my cup and got some hot water quickly in return and then a girl stuck her head out of her tent and said "Would you like some Tiramisu with your tea?".  Really - you can't imagine how odd that sounds at 6,400m when you've been contemplating sun stroke for the past 3 hours. Needless to say my wait at Camp 1 was actually quite enjoyable and I even met another Canadian. They're a nice group and our schedules seem to be matching up so we may be crossing paths fairly regularly for the rest of the trip. Our Sherpas arrived about half an hour later and I eventually roused myself from the american camp to see if they would let me help them set up the tents. I fully expected the answer to be no, but to my surprise they let me take a shovel and help dig one of the tent platforms. I think they were amazed and amused that I would have the energy to help out. Make no mistake, this tent platform digging stuff is hard! There were many breaks. Once they got one tent up it was no more funny business and I was firmly directed to get into the tent. I insisted on getting ice and having a stove so I could start getting water ready for me, Gary and Max. I knew they would be arriving very soon but the slope had completely clouded over so we couldn't really see them. Literally seconds after I had got the water going and my boots off, mat laid our and pack inside the tent, Gary popped his head in. Perfect timing. We got him set up just in time to get Max in as well. As usual, Max took over tea duty - standard price for enjoying the company of G&G. We got some music going and managed to enjoy the night before heading off to sleep. I had an OK sleep but Gary had one of his best sleeps yet.

The next morning we got ready and headed down to ABC. I was fine though to Depot Camp but it turns out my speedy ascent to Camp 1 and tent platform digging came with a price - I was completely toasted the rest of the way to ABC. Gary seemed fine and kept a decent, steady pace back. I had to stop every ten minutes just to let my muscles recover and establish communications between my brain and muscles. I was dehydrated and hungry - not a great way to be. Max hung back to lead me to ABC and we made in back in the warily afternoon. That left just enough time for me to curl up in the fetal position in my tent before collecting myself for a well-deserved shower and then returning to my tent to resume the fetal position. There was a bit of hydrating and eating that went on as well, but for the most part I was mush for the rest of the day. Gary seemed to fare much better - a testament to slower steady pace although it was a long hard slog for both of us.

We both seem to be doing better today - feeling rehydrated and more nourished. That's the great thing about being back in ABC, you get to eat, drink, relax and recover for the next round. We really are doing quite well given the short amount of time we've been here. We've got another rest day tomorrow but will probably head to Depot Camp in the late afternoon so we're better positioned for our push to Camp 1 and then Camp 2.

Thanks again to everyone who is following our expedition

Grace McDonald back to top


Camp 1 at 6400 metres.

14 September, 

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi this is Grace McDonald calling with the dispatch for September 14th. I’m sitting with Gary and Max in Camp 1 of ShishaPangma. We’ve had a pretty good day, a long day, a hot day; the sun was beating down on us as we traveled from Advanced Base Camp to camp one. Everyone did really well and now we’re all hydrating and feeling pretty good. Tomorrow we’re going back down to ABC for some rest days and then head back up to camp one and camp two.

So anyway everything is good, I’m just going to pass the phone over to Gary to add a few little words.

Hi this is Gary Kellund continuing the ShishaPangma dispatch for September 14th I just want to wish my wife Eva a happy anniversary, sorry I couldn’t be there but I wish you all the best and send my love, talk to you guys later bye. back to top

13 September, 

Team reports in live (click here to listen)

Hi, this is Max Kaush calling with the dispatch for the ShishaPangma expedition. We have made it to 5900m and we’re at the bottom of a glacier right now and should be on our way to camp one tomorrow. We have spent the last three days acclimatising at base camp and we had a puja yesterday so we hope that changes the weather a bit.

Everyone’s doing really well here. Nobody’s even had a headache yet so we’re going to push to camp one and try to sleep there, which is a bit early but we haven’t had any problems yet.

So I’ll call again tomorrow from camp one and let you guys know how everything is going.

Thank you

Bye bye back to top

11 September,

Hi, sorry we couldn’t send a dispatch yesterday. We had a few problems with our solar charger but we are back now. Right now the weather is pretty bad and there’s not much sunlight to charge our electronics.

We finally got to our ABC at 5650m. Its perfect here! We can see a glacial lake with many ice blocks floating. We are not too far from Shishapangma.

The team made it really fast to ABC, only 2 hours from mid camp and still no one is suffering from any altitude problems. We should have a puja (Buddhist ceremony) tomorrow and then start climbing the day after tomorrow. Our plan is to set a half camp between here and camp 1, then reach camp 1 with some good acclimatization behind us.

Here at ABC we have an amazing shower, however we are in the middle of a snow storm and showers are the last thing on our minds.

Thank you very much for following the news at

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 The whole Shishapangma team at basecamp (Grace McDonald).

9 September,

This is for September 9th.

We left BC this morning and trekked for about 9km to a very nice spot at 5400m, our Mid Camp. We have amazing views of the valley below from here but we couldn’t see Shishapangma today. The weather seems pretty bad and covered with clouds. These are probably monsoon clouds and we hope they clear in 1or 2 weeks.

Our sirdar Jangbu Sherpa and our kitchen boy Chimmy kept walking to set up ABC at 5800m together with our 16 yaks. We’ll meet them again tomorrow afternoon. Gary and Grace are doing very well and acclimatizing with no problems at all.

Thank you for following the news at

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View of Shishapangma from ABC.

8 September,

This is for September 8th.

Today, after 1 week, we finally saw the route above camp 3 to the top of Shishapangma. We are in our second day of acclimatization at BC, 5000m. Grace and Gary went trekking to the nearby peaks and described amazing views from the top.

We’ll leave BC tomorrow morning with 15 yaks towards advanced basecamp, but we’ll stop for 1 night on the way. The idea is to gain only 300m to help with the acclimatization and cut the 15km walk in half. ABC is fairly high, 5800m, so we have to take it really easy to make sure we are healthy when we get there.

Today we had a very quiet day so there isn’t much to say. Thank you very much for reading the news at

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Gary trekking to ABC (Grace McDonald).

7 September,

 This dispatch is for September 7th.

We finally made it to basecamp, at 5000m. The place is beautiful! There’s a grass field where we are and crystal clear river only 20m away from us.

Today was a fairly sad day as we had to say goodbye to the Cho Oyu team. They are heading to Cho Oyu BC right now and we’ll probably see them in Kathmandu after we summit Shishapangma. After the adventures we had together (like the pellet gun war yesterday), we all became good friends and will miss them very much.

After leaving Tingri, the CTMA drove us for about 2 hours and left us here. We set basecamp and will leave this place in the day after tomorrow. From here on, we are on foot.

Thank you very much for following the news at

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 Grace and Chimmy at basecamp. Our comfortable basecamp.

6 September, 

This is Grace McDonald writing a dispatch for the Shishapangma Expedition Autumn. This is for September 6.

Battle for Ha Hoo Hotel:

Had an interesting day today in Tingri. It started out innocently enough with breakfast and members heading out for short acclimatization hikes. Some headed out to the old fort in Tingri and others headed up a local hill. Everyone reunited for lunch and then we had an afternoon on our hands. Richie entertained us with some cockney rhyming slang and then me and Gary headed out to grab some last minute items from the local shop.  Yesterday we'd done a recon mission and discovered they stocked a healthy supply of plastic weaponry - pellet guns of various design (AK47s, MP5s, Leugers, Shotguns, Berettas etc.). We had pondered the long rest days at ABC that were ahead of us and thought it would be a fun idea to buy a couple of these to pass time. So we decided to go ahead with the plan. 

We got back to the room to test out our weapons and fired a few "innocent" shots at the post outside the window. Of course we also took a few shots at each other inside the room. All good fun. So there we were in the room with the window open when pellets started flying through the window. The local shopkeeper, decided it was time for a turf war. We happily returned pellet fire as other members got equipped and joined in the fun. The shopkeeper was joined by friends and we responded from our rooms above. While we had previously been chasing each other around exchanging pellet fire, this surge from the shopkeeper and friends really united the team and a full response was mounted. Paul took the award for the most ingenious combat gear - a garbage can over his head and sunglasses for eye protection. Max stuck to to the puffy down jacket and sunglasses and other donned buffs and hid behind curtains. Protection was essential as the pellets were innocent enough but did leave a bit of a mark that disappeared after an hour or so. Various hits were taken, in the nose, between the eyes, behind the ear, torso, legs, etc. The shopkeeper and friends below us would pop out and take a few shots only to be bombarded with pellets from above. The battle ensued for hours and we laughed non stop - so did the shopkeeper and friends.

In order to capture the action on film I took a short assignment embedded with the enemy on the street.  People respected my status as a photo journalist and I was able to avoid an all out assault. The pics were priceless. By this point the locals had gathered to watch, women, children, men on motorcycles and other expedition teams. It was actually quite the event in town. Everyone seemed to get a kick out of it.Things got a bit complicated when we needed to restock on ammo as the shopkeeper who was sending pellets through our window with his friends was our supplier. I was able to safely make a trip down under a cease fire that was only broken by one of the young friends of the local shopkeeper. Paul unfortunately was held for a short while on his ammo run and forced to turn against us in order to gain his freedom. We literally only ceased fire when dinner time arrived. 

We gathered in the dining room, shared photos, compared welts and laughed again about how the day had transpired. I guess it's safe to say the team is generally well acclimatized and in good spirits. We're all looking forward to moving to our base camps tomorrow.

Thanks again for following our dispatches.

Grace McDonald back to top


Using the plastic guns from the window of the Ha Hoo Hotel. Paul using his plastic gun and waste bin as a helmet. The shop owner escaping from our strong Cho Oyu and Shishapangma teams. Paul with his chocolate cigar and new plastic weapon (Grace McDonald).

5 September,

Hello, this is Grace McDonald (Shishapangma member) with a dispatch for September 5, for the Cho Oyu and Shishapangma Expedition Autumn.

We awoke in Nylam to hot showers (for those of us who started early enough) and hot showers that turned into cold showers (for those of us who did not). The mere fact we have running showers and flushing toilets at the end of the hallway is impressive - certainly to those members who remember accommodations in prior years. Hot or cold, the hotel in Nylam is practically 5 star compared to previous accommodation options.

After breakfast the jeeps were ready to roll on down the road to Tingri and we headed back to the hotel to grab out backpacks. Max, Gary and myself (the Sishapangma team) met a member from another Shishapangma team who is a day behind us but should be arriving at basecamp along with us. He also filled us in on an Austrian team that should be arriving shortly. We understand that's it for expeditions on the North side of Shishapangma - just 4 in total, not many, but by my count we'll have 3 girls on the mountain and maybe more once the Austrian team arrives - girl power!

Over the last couple of days we all been seeing and meeting people from many other expeditions who are heading to Cho Oyu. Should be a much busier place than it was this Spring but the groups seem very multinational and friendly so it's shaping up to be a good year.

Into the jeeps we went, joined by Norbu our liaison officer for the Chinese Tibetan Mountaineering Association. We had a good time getting acquainted/reacquainted and the ride was actually kind of fun. Gary brought Toblerone and Norbu brought Chinese Red Bull; which together spell PARTY. Perhaps not an ideal combination for a drive over the Thong La pass (5300m) but we all enjoyed ourselves. Most teams stopped a the Thong La Pass to take pictures of Shishapangma (gorgeous) and all the prayer flags and then continued on to Tingri. Norbu decided we should have a stop at a location not far outside of Tingri where the grass was long and the view went all the way to Everest (if the big fluffy clouds would have moved out of the way!). It was actually a warm beautiful day on the Tibetan plateau and we walked through a gorgeous field of barley, took a little sample to nibble on for the rest of the drive and watched Norbu take a power nap in the long grass. It was a perfect extra stop to just take it all in.

Tingri, Tingri, Tingri . . . wow that place is changing. It's still pretty much a one street town filled charming dogs, hard lived people, motorcycles, honking trucks, dirt and trash BUT, the new hotel which was partially finished in the Spring is now pretty much complete. We were all treated to double rooms with ensuite. This was pretty unbelievable for people who had been here in prior years. There's also a few new stores and restaurants that have popped up. Tingri - come see it now before it loses it "rustic" charm.

The afternoon was filled with some good entertainment. Gary and I found super light, plastic AK-47 pellet guns at the store next to the hotel. We have big plans for war games at base camp. I might opt for the pistol model. They'll likely break after the first shot but we think the whole "axe in hand" summit shot, we're thinking more of a Charlie's Angels pose. We'll see how it goes.

Most of the gang passed the afternoon at the local Nepali restaurant and stuffed ourselves with "mixed" momos (kind of like dumplings), french fries, tea and coffee. It was a nice way to pass the time, have a few laughs and watch the people and animals of Tingri pass by and also some dogs having a romantic moment. The group is actually getting on really well, lots of great people, good stories and good energy. Everyone seems to be acclimatizing well, listening to the leaders and staying positive.

Later in the evening we met for dinner and one of our members, Paul from South Africa, was recruited to help deal with some currently minor medical issues on other teams. He's a doctor working at Papua and was happy to offer what help he could. He was already called twice in Tingri. Thank you Paul !

Samdien, the cook for the Cho Oyu team also arrived this evening from Lhasa and we found Chimmy, the kitchen helper for Shishapangma, waiting outside the hotel today. He is a traditional Tibetan nomad with a million dollar smile who lives on the Tibetan plateau and hangs around Tingri for us to find him at expedition time. He's headed back to his home on his horse last night but we'll see him back here in time to head to base camp with us the day after tomorrow.

A few of us were reluctant to call it a night so early so we hung around in the hallways chit chatting, no doubt keeping other teams up and then moved the party into a room - not much of a party as everyone forget to bring beer and food, but a good opportunity to sit around, pass some time, learn a little more about each other and have some laughs before calling it a night.

Tomorrow we remain in Tingri to acclimatize. Thanks for following these dispatches! We all appreciate knowing our friends and families can follow along on our adventures and we'll do our best to get daily dispatches out but slight delays may happen due to technological challenges in Tibet. All the best.

Grace McDonald back to top



First view of Shishapangma from the Thong La Pass (Gary Kellund). Our Liaison officer laying down on the grass near Tingri (Gary Kellund). One of the hundred dogs in the streets of Tingri (Gary Kellund). Some of our Cho Oyu members at lunch in Tingri, 4300m (Vicen Jolis).

4 September,

We're currently in Nyalam, 3400m. Today was our 2nd acclimatization day and our members trekked to a 4300m ridge nearby. It is quite amazing considering that we only left Kathmandu yesterday. Everyone is feeling amazingly well and the team is getting on very well.

Unfortunately our Brazilian member, Bruno dos Anjos, had to leave Tibet early. He has reached Kathmandu today and will be flying to Brazil very soon. We will miss him very much. Take good care Bruno!

Both teams will move to Tingri tomorrow, which is at 4300m. We will spend 2 nights there and then the 2 teams will split up. Our Shishapangma staff is already on the way to BC and will set up our tents there.

We'll cross a 5200m pass tomorrow and will hopefully see Shishapangma for the first time. Also tomorrow, our teams will be able to see Cho Oyu from near Tingri. The views from there are amazing.

We will keep you updated as much as we can.

Thank you for following the news at

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Momos, a traditional nepali dish. Team trekking above 4000m. Part of the team at 4300m. Having dinner in Nyalam,Tibet (Magnus Nerve).

3 September,

Our Cho Oyu and Shishapangma expeditions left Kathmandu together this morning. Our trip to the Tibetan border was pretty impressive. We saw stunning landscapes and many Nepali rural houses. Amazingly we had no incidents on the way, such as landslides or road blockages.

Our members were looking very forward to finally crossing the Tibetan border. By 13:00 today we had lunch in Zhangmu, the first Tibetan city on our way to the mountains. We have 6 jeeps driving our members and staff plus one truck with our 3 thousand kilos of luggage. I'll write more news tomorrow and also send a few photos.

Thank you for following our expeditions!

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Typical scene on the streets of Kathmandu. A man carrying a sofa on his forehead! Our briefing meeting in Kathmandu yesterday. Members on their last minute equipment purchases in a shop in Kathmandu. The 4 hour bus ride to the Tibetan border today.
31 August,

Our plan for the Cho Oyu and Shishapangma expeditions is to leave Kathmandu on the morning of September 3rd together as one single team, then split the teams in Tingri (4300m) on the morning of the 6th.

It's raining in Kathmandu in the afternoon pretty much every day and it's not so hot, about 25ºC right now.

We really look forward to meeting our first members who start arriving today in Kathmandu. Our staff has been working hard on the preparations and packing before the members arrive.

Thank you for reading the Shishapangma news!


Team Roster:

  • Maximo K. - UK (Expedition Leader)
  • Grace M. - Canada
  • Gary K. - USA
  • Urs W. J. - Switzerland (combination with Cho Oyu)
  • Paul L. - South Africa (combination with Cho Oyu)
  • Jangbu Sherpa - Nepal (Climbing sherpa)
  • Gyalje Sherpa - Nepal (Climbing sherpa)
  • Nima Dorje Lama - Nepal (cook) back to top


Leaders and staff prepping equipment and supplies for the expedition at our storage facility in Kathmandu.