Expedition Leader &
I'll be brief again, as we are trying to make up the time and moving towards Lukla almost without stopping - tomorrow morning we are flying out to Katmandu.
Ìû have done it despite the first attempt of assault was unsuccessful. We have done this despite the fact that after the second and successful attempt we were close to "catch" cold overnight stop on our climb-down and were back to the tent about midnight. We were the first to do that this year and the news is spreading ahead of us - everybody in settlements between the Everest basic camp and Lukla airdrome knows us.
I will definitely write an article based on the results of our expedition and for now enjoy our latest pictures.
We have mountaineered. All participants are in good state. We spent the night today in the assault camp at the height of 6300 m. Now we are down to camp 2 at 5800 m and continue our descending to Namche Bazaar. Check out the news, all the details and pictures will be available tomorrow. Hi to everybody.
In touch, Sergey Kofanov.
We haven't made the route as we didn't have enough time. We have hung 300 m of hand rails and tomorrow, if the weather allows, we'll make the second attempt. Today we spend the night again at 6300 m. In touch.
We have reached the camp at 6300 m, at 4 a.m. tomorrow we are starting the assault. The weather is going worse and we'll try to descend as lower as possible after the climbing.
Hello everybody. Today we have hung ropes to 6200 m. Tomorrow we are climbing to ÀÂÑ3 at 6405 m to spend the night there and start our assault, the weather having been favourable so far. Everybody is fine. In touch.
We are doing fine. Today we have reached the ÀÂÑ 2 camp, having climbed to 5700 m. American and Japanese groups have already descended to the ground, so we will be the first on the route. Tomorrow we are going to do not an easy job hanging rope rails up to 6000 m. Fine weather has settled in the camp.
Hello everybody. Everything is well with us. Today we have reached the ÀÂÑ camp at 5400 m, having climbed 1300 m up. There are 4 expeditions in the camp: climbers from Andorra, America and Japan. Tomorrow we are climbing up to Camp I (5800 m). In touch.
We started the climb-up at 3 a.m. from the assault camp located at 5400 m. Despite lack of sleep due to mountain sickness we were moving up rather quickly and reached the "Key" of the route by about 7 a.m. The Key is a rather steep ice wall expanded for about 200 m. We hoped eagerly that the previous teams have already equipped that part of the route with ropes that would allow us to cope with it without pretty many trouble, but it turned out to be another way. All the ropes left on the route from the last year were found frozen into the ice and we had to arrange belays on our own. The guys had a wonderful opportunity to try the elements we had worked on in the forest on plain surface in real conditions, and I had a nice opportunity to give way to my shouting at them from above when they were about to make this or that mistake. As a result we spent a little bit more time for the "key" passage than we had planned to and when we had finally left the wall behind and climbed on the crest going along which there were not more than 100 meters on foot along the horizontal line we were almost blown away from there by a storm wind. We even didn't try to take out cameras or flags and to take any pictures but started an immediate descend to avoid unreasonable freezing injuries.
As a result we climbed down the camp in 9 hours after we had started the climb-up, and in another 5 hours we were enjoying tea in the Chukkung settlement.
In Chukkung we met Simone Moro again, who with his team are moving to Island Peak first and then, together with Denis Urubko will try to get over the traverse of Everest-Lkhotsze - Oleg Banar didn't miss the opportunity to talk to him for an hour or so. I was found Simone, as well as Oleg, plans to make an expedition to Victory Peak next August, so the guys probably are going to have another points of contact.
As to us, we have been descending to the Pangboche settlement where we will have a day of rest, and from where on April 5th we will start moving to Ama-Dablam camp at 5400 m.
Hello everybody. All the news will be tomorrow but for now - we are at Island Peak (6156 m) and today we have descended to the Chukkung settlement. Tomorrow we will dry our tents, look over the remaining food and check the forecast for Ama-Dablam for the next few days. The weather will be crucial as today we were almost blown away from the top crest of Island Peak by a storm wind, but everything finished well and we even had time to congratulate Ilya on the birth of his son Arseny. See our new pictures in the Photogallery.
Hello everybody. At 2 a.m. we are going to the peak. 8 Germans were descending before us. Tomorrow after the climb-up we will descend to the village. Everybody feels well and eager to move. We'll be in touch.
Today we have reached the base camp and the day after tomorrow we are starting the assault. There are 3-4 more groups of climbers in the base camp. All participants feel well.
Today we have reached the Chukkung settlement (4700 m), the last outpost of civilization on our way to the Island Peak base camp. Mobile connection, power supply and hot water left behind. Yesterday in Dingboche Oleg Banar managed to wash but the rest were not so enthusiastic and preferred to get by with wipes. The height has started to influence little by little - not everybody could sleep at night, a headache was felt. But today everybody's feeling better as the organism has been acclimatizing and adapting. Unfortunately the weather has become worse - it is snowing heavily outside and tomorrow our way to the base camp will probably be complicated by the track being covered with snow.
Today we met on the way several climbers from Iran who had climbed up to Island Peak yesterday morning. According to them the whole route is equipped with ropes and should be of no difficulty. Lack of water or snow in the assault camp (5300 m) felt somewhat uncomfortable, but due to the snowfall we are not going to have the problem further.
The flora surrounding us has changed completely over the last two days - no more pine woods and we move among snow-covered peaks either on rocky talus or across fields overgrown with thorny shrubs. Tomorrow we enter a zone of snow and eternal ice.
Follow our further news and updates at the Photogallery.
Having sent some porters down today we visited a monastery in Pangboche in the morning, where a local lama held for us a ceremony called "pudzha". No big expedition is made without this ceremony. Sherpas are very superstitious and pudzha is one of the rules that can not be broken. We visited the monastery together with the team of Yury Yermachek from Yekaterinburg, and then we started our way to the Dingboche village (4300 m). It was cloudless in the morning and some time before the start we spent making pictures of opening Ama-Dablam and two eight-thousanders - Everest and Lkhotsze. We won't have mobile connection in Dingboche but in two days when we are in Islan Peak base camp it should be available again. Anyway the Internet connection is steady and news with latest pictures will be downloaded to the web-site every day.
Today when moving to the Pangboche village (4000 m) we had the first opportunity to see Ama-Dablam for a little while. It was rather quickly hidden with clouds, but we had time to make a few pictures with its background. One of our Sherpes is staying here and tomorrow will start cargo transfer to the base camp. And we all will move to the Dingboche village tomorrow, from where we will start our climb-up to Island Peak. Everybody is feeling well. In touch
Today we had a scheduled rest day in Namche Bazaar. The guys had long sleep and in the morning Oleg and I have our permits signed in the office and we found a place for trainings in the wood nearby. In the afternoon we stretched all our ropes on trees in the wood and worked on climbing up technique, dulfer descend and cooperation - all that we will definitely need while climbing up.
On the way to the hotel we met my friends from Yekaterinburg who had just arrived up here - Yu. Ermachek and L.Lapshin. They are going to assault Island Peak together with teammates. In fact our schedules correspond so we will probably work together on the mountain.
Besides the team from Yekaterinburg there turned out to be another my good acquaintance in our hotel - a well-known Italian climber Simone Moro who plans this season to conquer two eight-thousanders - Everest and Lkhotsze.
Nepal is really a place of meeting with friends in this time of the year with which there is no time to communicate in Russia.
Today we agreed to gather all our Russian-speaking team together and to try our guitar. Hope it won't prevent us from starting tomorrow on time. We have in our plan a passage to Pangboche settlement (3970 m), we plan to leave a part of our cargo as the base camp for climb-up to Ama-Dablam will be located there.
Hi to everybody.
Today we reached Namche Bazaar, the capital of Sherpes. On the way there we met the team of my friend Valery Shamalo, who were descending to Lukla after their climb-up along a new route to one of the peaks rising over the Periche settlement. This team was in fact claimed missing, as they had had to descend from the wall 3 days ago, according to the control time. There was no connection with the team and trouble was felt in Katmandu. Valera looked very tired. According to him, the mountain hadn't yielded easily, but a new route had been laid and all the participants were alive, who will quickly cure their peeled off noses and dehydration in Katmandu.
Omnipresent Oleg Banar yesterday had time to go to the nearest mountain and found a Buddhist monastery there. A monk living there told him that the monastery is over 500 years old, it is rarely visited by tourists as is located to the side from the track.
Tomorrow we are having a scheduled rest. Once again we will look through and adjust our equipment and a part of the day we will spend on obtaining and registering another set of documents.
The weather is fine, no rain, but the wind often brings some clouds. No flights were made today from Katmandu to Luklu so we were glad that yesterday we managed to reach the start point of our route.
In touch from Namche Bazaar, Sergey Kofanov
We couldn't fly out to Luklu yesterday due to bad weather. Till noon we stayed in the Katmandu airport, the weather was changeable but in the result we were sent back home. Today we tried to catch the first flight and finally reached Lukla. Part of our team flew in one plane and the other part in another, the luggage was transported in the third plane.
The landing in Lukla impressed us all - the runway was no more than 500 m having considerable angle, so a plane lands uphill and take off downhill. Local pilots do not have such a term as "soft landing" in their lexicon at all.
Today also we made a passage from Lukla to the Pkhakding settlement (2700 m) and tomorrow we are to make tracking to the Namche Bazaar town, the capital of Sherpes.
We all are alive and kicking, the guys send hellos to their relatives and friends. Also see updates in the Photogallery.
Currently we are in the airport in Katmandu waiting for our flight to Luklu. The weather is not very good there and our flight has been constantly delayed. If our flight does not take place till the afternoon, it will be delayed till tomorrow. I used the time to download some more pictures to the Photogallery.
Hello to everybody.
Today all our team has finally gathered together in Katmandu. The season of Himalayan expeditions has just been gaining pace so now there are not many tourists here, but more and more of them arrive each day. Oleg and I got here two days ago hoping to settle all the formal issues connected with the climb-up permit in the Nepal Tourism Ministry before Andrey and Ilya arrive. Besides we had to get acquainted with Sherpes that will help us on the route and to buy some more necessary equipment. However we hadn't managed to do all this before the guys arrived as our briefing in the Ministry was postpones due to the mourning that was unexpectedly declared in the country because of sudden death of the Nepal's prime-minister. Thus we had to go to the Ministry today in the morning and then, after the briefing, to rush to the airport to meet Ilya and Andrey there.
We were solemnly handed in the permit allowing our climb-up to Ama-Dablam and told that our team has the honour to open the season on that peak. It is undoubtedly pleasant to be pioneers but it also means that the whole route we will have to arrange by ourselves without any help from other expeditions.
Tomorrow we are spending the day on excursions around the town and we will have to prepare all the cargos for the expedition to send them then to Lukla, the start point of our tracking to Ama-Dablam base camp. The weather in Katmandu is good and it brings hope that our flight to Lukla won't be delayed due to weather conditions.
In touch, Sergey Kofanov from Katmandu.
On March 22 all participant of the expedition to Ama-Dablam (6856 m) gather in the Nepal's capital Katmandu. This time there are two other participants besides me in the team - Andrey Budnik and Ilya Slutsky. Also I invited Oled Bondar to be my assistant in this expedition who had already worked with me last year on Lenin Peak. The climb-up will have the classical route - along the south-west edge. The whole expedition will take around three weeks and besides Ama-Dablam we plan to climb up to Island Peak (6130 m) within the frameworks of an acclimatization program. News and pictures about the progress of the expedition will be regularly downloaded to the web-site and into the Photogallery.