Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Today Show & NBC News!

For those of you who may have missed our big debut on national TV, here's a replay of our story on the Today Show with Jenna Wolfe: (click on screen second time to see larger view)

And later the same day on July 29th, here we are with Chuck Henry, Colleen Williams, and Dr. Bruce on NBC Channel 4 News airing in Southern California:

To view our prior stories check out our blog posts from April 3rd and the live satellite phone interview from Base Camp with Chuck & Colleen on April 28th. Thank you NBC for providing such great exposure for the Challenged Athletes Foundation!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Two Tickets Back Home From Paradise

We returned home this weekend from our epic Everest adventure after a requisite five days of "re-acclimatization" to sea level at the Four Seasons Resort in Koh Samui, Thailand. It's true, just about any hotel with a hot shower, a bed with actual sheets, and a sit down toilet would have made us happy after two months of living in a tent. However, this place was over the top luxury and just what we needed! We actually brought along a brochure for this resort to hang in our tent during our expedition and it served us quite well as motivation! When the going got tough on the mountain and the weather was miserable, we only needed to say two words to one another to keep pushing on: Four Seasons! We would like to give a special thanks to the Resort Manager Alex Porteous, who went out of his way to make sure we were treated like royalty. He even had this watermelon carved for us with an incredibly accurate portrayal of Mt. Everest! If you have an urge for an unforgettable vacation at one of the most stunning resorts in the world - you must consider this place! http://www.fourseasons.com/kohsamui/ ...and ask Alex for a special watermelon!

Ironically, the Four Seasons had the movie "Everest" in their DVD collection and we enjoyed watching the cold & stormy scenes from the comfort of our villa, with stunning views of the ocean and a warm tropical paradise and our own private pool just beyond the TV screen.


Waving goodbye from the driver's seat of our new elephant friend Nong Dao. Thank you for joining us on our journey to the summit of Mt. Everest and the final peak of our Seven Summits for CAF quest! And of course thank you AGAIN to all who have helped us and the members of our Everybody to Everest Team in raising a grand total to date of $104,671 for such a worthy organization as the Challenged Athletes Foundation!

Gratefully Yours,

-Paul & Denise

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Back in Kathmandu with Photos & Video!

After 7+ weeks living high up in the mountains, we are quickly adjusting to the modern conveniences of civilized life here in 3rd-world Kathmandu. In all fairness we are staying at the luxury hotel Yak & Yeti, which has been more than capable of providing every single item from our previous Top Ten List of Things We Miss the Most. They also have a wonderful restaurant here that serves all meals buffet-style (all you can eat) which is important considering the weight we each lost while climbing: Paul - 15lbs & Denise - 12lbs. And of course they have "hi-speed" internet here which has allowed us to post these photos (and video) ...hopefully you are able to view and enjoy!

Camp 3 at 24,000 feet perched on a steep ledge above the Lhotse Face.



En route to Camp 4, just above the Yellow Band & before climbing up and over the Geneva Spur.


Gulp ...close up view of the Big E from the crest of the Geneva Spur.


Sunset view from our tent at Camp 4 at the South Col, nervously awaiting 9 pm departure for the summit.

Backup along the climbing route at dusk ...take a number.

Denise at top of the Hillary Step.

Our exhausted but elated team after the final trip through the icefall and arriving at Base Camp.








Crevasse crossing in the Khumbu Icefall.



Arriviving at the South Col & tour of Camp 4.






Final steps to the summit.




View from the highest point in the world, on the GoPro HD Hero cam.


We are heading off to Thailand soon for some much needed R&R, and then continuing on our way home afterwards.


P.S. We are no longer using our Everest 2010/Mountaintrip email address and are back to our old email addresses.


Finally, if you would like to see more photos we have posted them here:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=214423&id=580718981&l=848f7ca5ca

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Safely Back to Base Camp from the South Col

Since our last call from Camp 4 after summiting, we safely made it down from the South Col! We were reluctant to allow ourselves to be in much of a celebratory mood at the time of that call considering we still needed to descend from 26,000 feet down the Geneva Spur, the Yellow Band, the Lhotse Face, and finally the last trip through the dangerous Khumbu Icefall (photo of Denise crossing triple ladder over crevasse). On top of that a storm had moved in during the final hours of our descent from the summit leaving several feet of snow on our tents overnight and continued snowfall in the morning during our trip back down to Camp 2. There we spent another night of desperately needed rest before continuing on down through the icefall with heavily loaded packs including empty oxygen cylinders.


And finally yesterday morning, physically and mentally exhausted like we never have been in our lifetimes, the welcome site of our tents at Base Camp came into view. We couldn't take off our crampons and climbing harnesses fast enough and then fell into our sleeping bags for a long nap. We woke up just in time for dinner figuring we would eat and return immediately to our tent to rest our severely overworked bodies. Well, our Sherpa team had a slightly different plan! After an amazing dinner and even a congratulatory cake made by our cook Perba Surki, the wine and beer started to flow! The sounds of American and Sherpa party music filled our dome tent, along with 16 members of our Sherpa staff. Eleven of these guys, an unusually large number for an expedition of our size, had the opportunity to climb to the summit along with us! ...so you better believe celebratory dancing and partying was in order, and our tired bodies had to deliver! It was truly an unforgettable experience bonding with and sharing the excitement and memories of our Everest expedition with these remarkable and genuine Sherpa people who made our success possible. And it has been amazing sharing our experiences with all of you through our blog!

We are now packing our bags and breaking down our Base Camp home for the last month and a half, in anticipation of heading out of this glacier-topped town tomorrow. When we return to the land of hi-speed (non-satellite) internet, we will post some additional photos (and video too) which we know you will enjoy!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Summit!

We did it! After an 18 1/2 hour round-trip, we are safely back at Camp 4 and will make our way down the mountain and home to all of you! Press play to hear all about it, and photos will be on the way soon!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Hello From Camp 4 at 26,000 ft!


We're so close! We're at Camp 4 at 26,000 ft! By the time you hit "play" we should be heading for the summit! We miss you and can't wait to see you all!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Stopped Cold by the Wind!

We made it up safely through the Khumbu Icefall to Camp 2 as planned, despite the roar of a massive avalanche that was fortunately just out of our path. We awoke early this morning to a fierce wind and with our bags packed containing all of our essential gear for Camps 3 & 4 and the Summit. The winds were still strong as we headed up to ~22,500 feet at the base of the Lhotse Face. It turns out that our fancy new Marmot 8,000 meter down suits are just as effective in keeping out the biting cold as they are for dancing a jig to the Black Eyed Peas!

Unfortunately, the wind-swept snow blowing high above, and a new weather forecast received this morning, factored in to a decision by Scott to turn us around. He said during his last 5 Everest expeditions he has never seen wind this strong. We were disappointed to be sure to lose a day but feeling much more secure that our tents won't blow away here at Camp 2 rather than up at Camp 3. However, the looming concern on everybody's mind is the rapidly approaching end of the summit window. Every year near the end of May the monsoon arrives effectively shutting down the mountain. Last year this occurred on May 25th. Our new plan, assuming no more weather delays should put us at the South Col with a shot at the summit on May 23rd.

Monday, May 17, 2010

We're Going For It!

We have been working hard for nearly a week to stay physically but mostly mentally prepared for the massive task that is now upon us! We have taken several hikes part way up the 24,500 foot Pumori in order to stay fit and acclimatized. We ran into Russell Bryce during one of those hikes pictured with us here and with the Big E in the background. Russell is the long-time Everest guide from New Zealand who has become a bit of a celebrity due to his role in the Discovery Channel series "Everest - Beyond the Limits".

As far as our mental preparation, we have been doing our best to keep our sanity in the midst of continued discussions about the constantly changing weather forecasts and rumors about what other teams are planning. Our primary strategy has been to temporarily escape the reality of our setting by watching movies! Some of our recent favorites are The Thomas Crown Affair, As Good As It Gets, and the Big Lebowsky.

However now we can no longer be distracted as the decision has been made to go for the top! We are leaving Base Camp at 3:00 a.m. tomorrow (Tuesday our time), through the icefall en route to Camp 2. There we will rest a day, and contingent upon the weather holding (please keep your fingers crossed) we will continue to move up to Camp 3 and the day after to Camp 4 and the South Col. We will be using supplemental oxygen to sleep at C3 at 24,000 feet and from that point forward all the way to the top. As you can see we have modeled our Russian-made Poisk oxygen masks and found them to be a great fashion accessory! We will check back in to let you know how we are progressing. Meanwhile if you would like to read a further description of the various camps and route ahead please visit: http://www.everybodytoeverest.com/Beyond_Base_Camp.html and click on the map for details.

P.S. Thank you to those of you who have made recent donations to CAF. Remember all new contributions will be made in honor of Heidi Kloos, may she watch over all of us from above!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Three 'F' Words in Base Camp

Here we are back at Base Camp after our low altitude “vacation” down in Dingboche. Since our return a certain ‘F’ word has been uttered quite frequently by our guide and every member of our group. It is constantly brought up and discussed during every meal together and lately this ‘F’ word is becoming quite unpleasant to hear – Forecast! The weather simply does not look very good with winds in excess of 70 knots forecast to scour the upper mountain on most days until May 22nd. This could change but until then, we wait.



The second word beginning with an ‘F’ is our new Friend Nelson Cardona from Columbia. While training to climb Everest in 2007, Nelson suffered a fall which resulted in losing his leg below the knee. He is pictured with us here sporting his new right leg from Ossur, and is sending a powerful message to all those at home to never give up on one’s dreams.



Just as Nelson was quite intrigued and pleased with our Fundraising efforts for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, we are amazingly grateful to all of you who have generously contributed to the cause and collectively helped raise over $100,000 for CAF! Since we arrived here we have prominently displayed our “Base Camp Banner” (the white banner below) on the ritual stupa that stands above our camp. It’s nice to see all of your names on there and we are anxious to get the “Summit Banner” (the yellow banner below) to the top to continue to show our appreciation!




Many of you have already seen these banners which honor our friends and family who have supported the Challenged Athletes Foundation and who are making this incredible journey with us symbolically. The Base Camp banner represents those who have donated $100 or more to CAF. And the yellow summit banner represents those who have contributed $290 or more. We can't wait to take it to the earth's highest point!

Thank you all for your generous contributions to a great organization! If you haven't made a donation already and would like to be included on one of these banners, we have our special paint pen with us and can add your name right here in base camp! The entire amount of your gift goes directly to CAF to provide specialized sports equipment or prostheses to very deserving individuals. http://www.everestchallenge.kintera.org/fejtek


Talk to you all soon!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day & Everest Update

Today marks one month since we have been living on the mountain and progressively working our way up along the slopes of Everest. We have completed two rotations up to high camps and spent 10 days and nights above 20,000 feet. The acclimatization work is now done and we are waiting for a weather forecast indicating a reasonable window to go for the summit. We have taken this opportunity to hike back down to Dingboche (3,000 feet below Base Camp) in order to rest and strengthen ourselves for the enormous effort that lies ahead. Here at this lower altitude our brain cells are thriving again giving us the chance to reflect upon some of the things we miss the most after being gone a month now.

First and foremost we miss our moms on Mother’s Day and of course our friends and family as well. In addition we have compiled this Top Ten List of things we miss the most:

1.) Shower
2.) Clean Clothes
3.) Bed
4.) Toilet – other than hole in ground or “wag bag”
5.) Fresh fruit / salad
6.) Water from a faucet
7.) A “bedroom” that is larger than 6 feet x 4 feet
8.) Oxygen…and the ability to do the following without gasping for air:
- get dressed in the morning
- brush teeth
- tie shoes
- go to the bathroom
9.) Sleeping without being woken up several times by the sound of an avalanche
10.) The ability to get out of our non-existent bed (see #3) and walk out of our spacious bedroom (see #7) without first putting on eight layers of clothing (see #2) and not gasping for air while blazing a trail through the snow without the need of a headlamp, all just to go to the bathroom (see #4)!

We're thinking of you all and will keep you posted with any news in the days ahead.
Happy Mother's Day to all the moms! We love you!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Success on the Lhotse Face!

We're back at C2 after a long and difficult assault of the Lhotse Face yesterday! We reached our goal of getting to Camp 3 at 24,000 feet, which also marks the highest altitude we have ever climbed, surpassing the reach of all of the other Seven Summits including Mt. Aconcagua in the Andes. All of us would quickly agree that climbing such steep terrain at this level, or trying to do much of anything (without supplemental oxygen as we were doing) is agonizingly HARD! We did manage to snap this quick photo as we collapsed (with our jumars still attached to the fixed lines) just before reaching the tents at C3. Just beyond us in the photo is the "Yellow Band" and the "Geneva Spur" which we will be required to cross en route to C4 and the South Col.

For now however, we are resting and recovering in the relative oxygen rich (ha ha) altitude of C2 at 21,500 feet. Neither of us feel great but we'll get over it. We are also marveling at our climbing Sherpa crew of 12 tough guys who carried 48 oxygen cylinders up to C4 yesterday to prepare for our summit attempt. These cylinders weigh 8 lbs each and the guys aren't finished stocking up high yet! In SO many ways this mountain seems impossible to climb, but without the support of our Sherpa team it would definitely be the case! Namaste and thank you again to our Sherpa friends!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Stormy Days at Camp 2

Since our last post, we bid a very emotional farewell to our Everybody to Everest group as we shared our final hugs goodbye and watched them all disappear down the trail out of Base Camp. Thank you all for the sacrifices you made to visit us in this magical place, we thoroughly enjoyed our time with all of you.


We now find ourselves back up at Camp 2 for our second acclimatization "rotation". It was an arduous 10-hour day going straight from Base Camp, through the icefall again, all the way to Camp 2 at 21,500 feet. We've been waiting out a storm here for the last 2 days that brought several feet of snow and fierce winds overnight that seemed like they would flatten our tent! Needless to say, the attached photo of C2 was taken during a brief break in the clouds that we all enjoyed like little kids. Despite the weather we've been getting out to hike and aerobically prepare for what will be a big day tomorrow. We plan on starting early to climb the infamous Lhotse Face (background of second photo) all the way to Camp 3 at 24,000 feet! The next time we return to this spot it will be for the real deal - the summit push! That's it for now!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

LIVE on KNBC News from Base Camp!

Today we had the opportunity to chat with Chuck Henry and Colleen Williams on KNBC's 5pm newscast - which meant an early wake up call for us! It was fun saying hi to Southern California, and we look forward to making another call in a few weeks before we head to the Summit!

video

Everybody to Everest Team at Base Camp & Live NBC Interview!

Paul & Denise returned to Base Camp from 5 days up at Camp 2 at 21,500 feet to meet the Everybody to Everest Team who all arrived at BC around noon today! All are doing well, the entire E2E team made it to Kala Pattar at 18,500 feet yesterday and enjoyed the great views of Everest BC and the Khumbu Icefall.


Other exciting news, tune in to KNBC News for a LIVE interview via satellite phone TONIGHT (Wednesday 5:00 pm news local Southern California). Segment will likely air between 5:30 - 5:45 pm.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hello From Camp 2!


We've made it to Camp 2 and will be heading back to Base Camp soon to say hello to the rest of our Everybody to Everest group! Press play to hear all about it!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Latest Happenings at Base Camp

A brief update on our last 5 days here at Base Camp at 17,600 feet. It's much easier for us to breathe now than when we first walked into "town". We've spent some time in the lower part of the Khumbu Icefall practicing our ice climbing and rope skills and feel good & ready to tackle the big crevasses and ladders that are already set up through this ice labyrinth!

In the Sherpa culture, an important prerequisite before entering this dangerous place, is to hold a Puja ceremony. This 1/2 day ritual was completed today and consisted of making offerings to Sagamartha (Mt. Everest) Mother Goddess of the Earth, in addition to blessing our entire team's ice axes, crampons, and climbing harnesses. With the Puja now complete we are ready to enter the Khumbu Icefall and climb up to Camp 1 at 20,000 feet. We plan to begin this next major step of our journey on Friday the 23rd, very early in the morning while the icefall is at its coldest and least susceptible to collapses & avalanches. Avalanches are quite frequent here and it is not uncommon to experience four or so during the day like the one pictured here taken from the door of our tent. Our camp is situated a safe distance away from these avalanches although we did get blanketed by a layer of snow from one last night.

Well, that's the latest from Paul & Denise at Base Camp. If you would like a sneak peak of the camps ahead, please visit our website here: http://www.everybodytoeverest.com/Beyond_Base_Camp.html and click on the map for descriptions. Also, since we last left you, our Everybody to Everest Team flew into Lukla on schedule (with their guide Heidi Kloos watching over from the heavens above) and all 23 members are now in Namche Bazaar. If you would like to see their path to Base Camp, their itinerary and separate blog can be found here: http://www.everybodytoeverest.com/About_the_Trek.html

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Base Camp & Tribute to Heidi Kloos

We have two exciting developments to share with you. First of all, we made it to Base Camp! Over the past few days we progressed to the village of Lobuche and then through Gorak Shep and on to Everest Base Camp at 17,600 feet. Arriving in this tent city built atop a moving glacier is a fascinating site. We estimate that there are about 200 climbers here who will attempt the summit plus 300-400 Sherpas and support staff. The magnitude of our expedition's camp, food & supplies, communications equipment, tents, and staff of 20 Sherpas will take your breath away. And believe us just walking around or bending over to tie your shoes at this altitude will leave you gasping for air!

The second major development we have for you is the anticipated arrival of the 23 members of our Everybody to Everest group in to Kathmandu within a few hours. This wonderful & supportive group of friends & family will soon be following the path we just hiked from Lukla all the way up here to meet us at Base Camp.

Unfortunately their guide, Heidi Kloos will not be accompanying them on this once-in-a-lifetime journey. Heidi was very much looking forward to meeting the Everybody to Everest team and leading them through their Himalayan adventure. Quite tragically Heidi was killed in an avalanche near her home in Colorado just a few weeks ago. However, Heidi will be guiding the Everybody to Everest team from above as they make their way to Base Camp and enjoy the majestic beauty of the Himalayas in her honor.

Heidi was actively involved with the Telluride Adaptive Ski Program helping disabled individuals learn to ski with specialized equipment - equipment that frequently is funded by the Challenged Athletes Foundation. It was no coincidence that Mountain Trip selected Heidi to lead our group that is raising funds for CAF. In memory of Heidi Kloos we would like to honor something she believed in so strongly, and dedicate every additional donation made to CAF in her name. Upon our return from Everest we will send a letter to Heidi's family acknowledging any donations you are kind enough to make. Even if you have already contributed to CAF please consider an additional contribution of any amount at all as a symbolic gesture to an individual with a passion for helping others, but who is no longer able to do so. www.everestchallenge.kintera.org/fejtek

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Blessings from the Lama

Since we last left you, we have gained 3,000 feet in altitude and the all-important blessings from the High Lama Gesche of Pengboche. He presented us with ceremonial Kata scarfs which symbolize good luck and safe passage up the slopes of Mt. Everest. Here we are at the Tengboche Monastery, the largest monastery in all of Nepal and prior to our ritual blessing by the Lama:

A German trekker apparently did not receive these blessings and found herself in very serious condition afflicted by HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema). If it wasn't for her good fortune to stumble in to our lodge which we shared with a group of doctors, she may not have been as lucky to have the benefit of a Gamow Bag. This pressurized inflatable chamber where she slept inside for the night, simulates a much lower altitude and very likely saved her life.
After spending a night at Debuche at approx. 12,300 feet we continued up to Dingboche yesterday at 14,250 feet. We are staying here at the Snow Lion Lodge which has magnificent views of Lhotse, Island Peak, and Ama Dablam. ...all from the window of our own private bungalow! (Being the only couple on the expedition has its fringe benefits). We had our first snowfall last night and woke up to sunshine, blue skies, and a pristine white blanket covering the entire valley.
We plan to stay here another two nights to aid in the acclimatization process, and prevent any Gamow Bag incidents. :) Pictured here with us are Temba Sherpa (red hat) and Wang Chuk Sherpa (blue hat). We are very fortunate to have these two hearty and personable guys accompany us on our expedition!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hey, is that really Everest?

Greetings from the bustling Sherpa Village of Namche Bazaar at 11,300 feet in the Solu Khumbu Valley! Getting here was quite the experience beginning with an exciting landing at the Lukla airport at 9,350 feet on Thursday April 8th. This is a notoriously scary landing strip carved into the mountainside at a very steep angle and it's only 1,500 feet long! We had the added fun of strong cross wind gusts just as we touched down aircraft-carrier style. Next, we hit the trail and passed by terraced-fields and quaint Sherpa homes nestled in the hillsides with views of majestic Himalayan peaks towering above. We spent our first night in the village of Phakding and the next morning we continued onward and upward to Namche Bazaar.
After a good meal and sleep we awoke this morning to spend an acclimatization day here in Namche. We decided to hike up above the village to 12,600 feet where we were able to get our first sighting of THE mighty Everest!

Chatting with some of the local Sherpas we heard rumor that Brad Pitt is actually here right now as well. Evidently he must have found out the Fejteks are on the mountain and decided to follow along because all the cool people are climbing Everest. Speaking of which here is our cool Mountain Trip Expedition Team:

Pictured from left to right are Scott Woolums, Bill Allen, Ania Lichota, Cindy Abbott, Vivian Rigney and us. A brief summary of each was listed in a prior post entitled, "So Here's The Plan". ...and on that note, we plan to pack our bags and head higher up to Tengboche tomorrow morning. We hope all of you are well back home and will check back in with you in a few days.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Let's Get It Started Now

Greetings from Kathmandu, Nepal! After flying for 22 hours we arrived at the famous Yak & Yeti Hotel yesterday with all of our gear (whew!). Lengendary mountaineers Edmund Hillary, Rob Hall, Scott Fischer, Ed Visteurs (to name a few) have all stayed at this hotel so there is truly a magical feeling walking around the grounds. We had a team meeting last night and will visit a few temples here before we fly up to the mountainside village of Lukla tomorrow in order to begin our trek to Base Camp.


The video below has, up until now, only been available to paying audiences attending select fundraising events benefitting the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Fortunately these guests did not pay merely to watch this performance, otherwise numerous refunds would have been requested. Nonetheless, as we make final preparations loading gear and supplies and get ready to begin our very, very long-awaited journey into the Himalayas - it is only appropriate to sing ..."Let's Get it Started Now!"







Thank you again to Everybody to Everest team members Julie Hoppe and Tina Pauley for organizing separate fundraising events in which your invited guests were subjected to this WAY off-Broadway performance. And another thank you to all of the 23 members of the Everbody to Everest Team profiled at http://www.everybodytoeverest.com/ and also listed below in "ranked" order by greatest amuonts raised for CAF. Together we have raised $92,513 for a great organization and appreciate each & every one of you who have contributed to the cause!


Karen Robinson
Stacie Fejtek
Tina Pauley
Greg Hancock
Colin Campbell
Mike McCarthy
Sara Neilson
Rod Evans
Shawn Sedlacek
Julie Hoppe
Camille Attell
Caryn Kralovansky
Bryce Cripe
Branden Rubasky
Jeff Roberts
Nancy Wallace
Cory Markin
Jaymen Greenslade
Fritz Wickman
Lou Alvarado
BJ Wahl
Edgars Gulbis
Dace Sprukte

P.S. If you have enjoyed our blog so far, please pass along a link to all of your friends and have them subscribe by entering their email in the box at the upper right part of the page.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Look Mom, we're on TV!

NBC 5:00 News on Thursday night with Dr. Bruce Hensel featured an "Inspirational Journey" highlighting the Challenged Athletes Foundation and yours truly, blogmasters Paul & Denise! We are heading to Mom's house for Easter Sunday and then straight to LAX to catch our flight to Kathmandu! Enjoy the video and if you haven't already subscribed to our blog, make sure you do because the next post will feature another video that you absolutely won't want to miss! (click on screen 2nd time to see larger view)



Special thanks to our longtime friend Cindy Bertram for arranging this great media coverage! Speaking of which, LOOK MOM! ...we're also on the huge billboard in Times Square in New York!! It just goes to show that you don't have to be all that special to get this kind of publicity, you just need to have a very special publicist!



In case you can't read the print on the billboard it says; "Paul Fejtek, with wife Denise, to climb Mt. Everest" ...so I guess that's what we better go do!

Monday, March 29, 2010

So Here's the Plan...

More than a year of planning, training, collecting new gear, mentally preparing ~ and now it's finally time to leave for Nepal! We are so excited, anxious, and ready to get this monumental adventure started, ...and thrilled to have you along for the journey! Many of you have asked why it takes so long to climb Mt. Everest and the itinerary below will give you just a bit of an overview of the days ahead for us. Weather is a huge variable on Mt. Everest and after allowing our bodies the necessary time to acclimatize to the progressively higher altitudes, we will patiently wait for good conditions. The jet stream that normally scours the upper reaches of the mountain with 100+ mile per hour winds for most of the year, will be pushed North sometime in May, and we need to be ready for the very brief period of time that this occurs.

Fortunately we have a great team with whom we will spend our many days on the mountain:

Leadership:
Scott Woolums - One of the most experienced, full-time, professional guides currently working in the USA, Scott has 27 years of experience in leading remote, high altitude expeditions around the world. He has summitted Everest 4 times, via both the north and south sides and is an AMGA Certified Alpine Guide. We have shared with Scott boxes of Chilean red wine, late nights playing monopoly, close quarters in a small tent, and the summit of Vinson Massif in Antarctica.
Bill Allen - Bill is one of the owners of Mountain Trip and we are privileged to have him leading our Everest expedition along with Scott. He has guided extensively in Nepal and around the world, including 22 Denali climbs, a dozen Aconcagua ascents, six Carstensz Pyramid trips, and several Vinson expeditions. Bill lives in Ophir, Colorado and sneaks out of the office to also work as a heli-ski guide.

Climbing Team:
Ania Lichota - Born in Poland and currently living in London working for UBS as a director in international banking. We met Ania in Russia climbing Mt. Elbrus and have now climbed three of the Seven Summits with her. ...and we have shared many nights in a tent together enjoying her good humor!
Cindy Abbott - A health sciences professor at Cal State Fullerton and living nearby in Irvine with her husband Larry, who will be cheering Cindy on from home.
Vivian Rigney - Born in Ireland and has lived and worked for global companies in Germany, France, the UK, South Africa, and Finland. He is an executive coach currently living in New York and will help balance this heavily estrogen weighted team!
Paul & Denise - That's us. Most of you know our story but if not you can get the mushy details on the About Paul & Denise page of our Everybody to Everest website.

This schedule below WILL definitely change, but this is the plan for now. In addition to checking here on our blog for the latest, Mountain Trip has an expedition blog for you avid information junkies who want even more details on what we're up to: http://mteverest2010.blogspot.com/ This same link also appears on the upper right hand page of our blog under the list of "Links to Check Out". While you're looking up there, make sure to enter your email address in the box to subscribe to our blog. You'll only receive an email when a new post has been made.


Day 0 4/04 Depart LAX Thai Airways via Bangkok
Day 1 4/06 Arrival in Kathmandu – Team Meeting
Day 2 4/07 Kathmandu - Visit Temples
Day 3 4/08 Fly to Lukla: 9,350’ - Start Trek to Base
Day 4 4/09 Trek to Namche Bazaar: 11,300’
Day 5 4/10 Namche Bazaar - Acclimatization
Day 6 4/11 Trek to Tengboche: 12,887’
Day 7 4/12 Trek to Dingboche: 14,250’
Day 8 4/13 Dingboche - Acclimatization
Day 9 4/14 Dingboche - Acclimatization
Day 10 4/15 Trek to Lobouche: 16,175’
Day 11 4/16 Lobouche - Acclimatization
Day 12 4/17 Trek to Gorak Shep: 17,000’
Day 13 4/18 Trek to Everest BC: 17,575’
Day 14 4/19 Everest BC
Day 15 4/20 Everest BC
Day 16 4/21 Everest BC
Day 17 4/22 Climb to C1: 20,000’
Day 18 4/23 Carry to C2: 21,500’ and return to C1
Day 19 4/24 Climb to C2:
Day 20 4/25 C2 Acclimatization
Day 21 4/26 C2 Acclimatization
Day 22 4/27 Descend to BC & Arrival of Everybody to Everest Trekking Group
Day 23 4/28 BC - Acclimatization
Day 24 4/29 BC - Acclimatization
Day 25 4/30 Climb to C2
Day 26 5/01 C2 - Acclimatization
Day 27 5/02 C2 - Acclimatization
Day 28 5/03 Climb to C3 - Lhotse Face: 24,000’
Day 29 5/04 C2 - Acclimatization
Day 30 5/05 Descend to BC
Day 31 5/06 BC - Acclimatization
Day 32 5/07 Descend to Dingboche
Day 33 5/08 Dingboche - Acclimatization
Day 34 5/09 Dingboche - Acclimatization
Day 35 5/10 Trek to Louboche
Day 36 5/11 BC - Rest
Day 37 5/12 Climb to C2
Day 38 5/13 C2 - Acclimatization / Rest
Day 39 5/14 Climb to C3 - Lhotse Face
Day 40 5/15 Climb to C4 - South Col: 26,000
Day 41 5/16 First Summit Day
Day 42 5/17 Extra Summit Day
Day 43–53 5/18–5/28 Extra Summit Days
Day 54 5/29 Descend to Camp 2
Day 55 5/30 Descend to BC
Day 56 5/31 Trek to Pangboche
Day 57 6/01 Trek to Namche
Day 58 6/02 Trek to Lukla
Day 59 6/03 Fly back to Kathmandu
Day 60 6/04 Fly to Bangkok
Day 61 6/05 Fly to Koh Samui, Thailand
Day 62-64 6/06-6/08 Four Seasons Resort
Day 64 6/8 Fly back to LAX

Monday, January 4, 2010

Adios Antarctica - Hola Patagonia!

A belated Happy New Year from Punta Arenas, Chile! It's been a while since our last update and we've covered a lot of ground since our very white Christmas in Antarctica:
After Christmas (and fun times at the "ice bar") the weather improved dramatically allowing the big Ilyushin-76 to fly in to Patriot Hills to pick us up and make the next leg of our journey possible ...Patagonia! Some of those photos are immediately below and we've also incorporated many new shots from the climb into our previous blog posts, so please scroll through the old posts and take a look. New text is in bold so you can easily notice the additions.


After returning to Punta Arenas we took a boat to Isla Magdalena to visit a colony of more than 150,000 penguins. Since we didn't get to see any of the much larger Emperor penguins while we were in Antarctica, these Magellanic penguins were still a pleasure to watch as they waddled around. ...very cute until one of them decided to peck at our shoes and then proceeded to bite my leg! Ouch!










A three hour bus ride north from Punta Arenas took us to Puerto Natales, and after spending a night there, another two hours to the famous Torres del Paine National Park. This is one of the most popular trekking destinations in all of Chilean and Argentine Patagonia, and after seeing the Paine Massif up close, we understood why. The torres "towers" were formed some 12 million years ago and the dark upper part is sedementary rock, while the lower part is granite.
We covered 43 miles over 5 days carrying backpacks that were a bit too heavy, but it was good training! We stayed in tents with the exception of Denise's birthday on the 30th, where we were treated to a warm shower, a nice dinner (complete with a birthday cake made with layered crepes), and a night in the luxury of a private cabin at a secluded and scenic spot beneath the towers at a place called Los Cuernos. This route is known as the "W Circuit" and finished with a view of the massive Grey Glacier below:

Remember, take a look at the old "2009 Posts" again to see all the new photos. ...and if you want to see even more, here's a link to additional photos on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=171310&id=580718981&l=826d20851d