Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Images from our Ama Dablam climb

Climbing past the Dabalam ( big hanging serac) above camp 3

Looking back down the final summit slopes.

On the last ice wall before reaching camp 3.

Breaking out on to the Mushroom ridge!
all photos are Sandy's

Summit success and back in Namche today 28th October

David (Flux) on the Mushroom ridge. Ama Dabalm

Calum Macintyre ( left) and Sandy on the summit of Ama Dablam 25th October 2009 at around 1.00 pm.

Our team on the summit of Ama Dablam ,25th October 2009: back row from left to right are: Calum McIntyre, Kasum Sherpa, Lhakpa Sherpa. Middle row sitting from Left to right: Richard Lydiatt, Lhakpa Dindi Sherpa, David Flux. In front sitting is Derek Morley. Photo by Sandy and I should say that Dawa Cheri Sherpa was also on the summit with us but does not feature in this photo.
Many thanks to my sister Eunice for up dating the blog with my sat phone reports. This morning 28th October we departed Ama Dablam base camp and will all be back in Namche Bazaar by tonight. We have had a great trip and summited Labouche east , then reached Everest Base camp and Kalapattar and then went on to Ama Dablam base camp. Dave Morris and Matt Evenden did not climb Ama Dablam but they succeeded with the other expedition milestones, Unfortunately Dave had problems clearing phlegm from his breathing tube ( see and
even although he was then put on anti biotics it was simply not prudent for him to attempt Ama Dablam, but the experience of guiding him at high altitudge on Labouche East has been really worth while and I am sure if we have a good chat with the surgeons at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee we may be able to come up with some design improvements and ideas which may help Dave to get higher on other mountains in the future.
On Ama Dablam between Camp 1 and Camp 2 Matt Evenden had to turn back as he had pulled muscle in his back probably caused by coughing lots due to the infamous Khumbu cough, so as it was to painful for Matt to Jumar up the steeper rock walls we saw him safely back to Camp 1 where Matt was able to make his own way back to base camp with the help of our kitchen sherpa staff and Dave Morris. The rest of us climbed on and thanks to Team Ascent logistics and Sandy's very hard working Sherpa team we were able to fix the whole mountain and were the first team to summit. Since then some other climbing teams have rechaed the summit and havevisited our our base camp to say thanks to us for fixing the mountain and establishing the route which is cool and appreciated. There were some big teams who were unable to summit as they could not climb to camp three blaming the bad snow conditions. But our team manged to push the route to the summit and now the mountain is open for all to try! I would like to say thanks to the British Army/ Navy teams who consisted of some war wounded from Afghanistan and other war areas whose good fixed rope was a great help to us. We tried to encourage them to stay on a few extra days and have another go at the summit but they were out of time and had to return to there various postings. Also , I want to say a huge thank you to our climbing Sherpas, Dawa, Kasum, Lhakpa and Lhakpa Dindi.
Our team are doing OK. Some are more tired than others but all are doing fine. It's thought that Calum Macintyre may be the first 16year old to climb the mountain, but he just came to climb and have fun and of course to raise funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust! Well done Calum!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Summit Confirmed

Ama Dablam from Pangboche Village, Oct 2009

Phone call from Sandy at Base Camp at 11.25am. Congratulations to Derek Morley, Richard Lydatt, Calum Macintyre and David Flux along with the four sherpas, Dawa Cheri Sherpa, Lapkha Dendi Sherpa, Kusan Tenzing Sherpa and Lapkha Sherpa who all made the summit of Ama Dablam at 1a.m. yesterday (Pakistan time). All are back at Base Camp excepting Calum and his sherpas who are taking their time to come down off the mountain. All are well.

The Sherpas and Sandy fixed ropes to the summit yesterday and everyone reached the summit at about 1a.m. They were the first of several climbers on the mountain to reach the summit and other climbers are making summit bids today. They will have a rest day today and tomorrow at Base Camp (well, they will be tidying and preparing their gear for the walk-out) too Namche Bazaar the following day. They aim to be in Namche on the 29th October.

PS Excellent News irrespective if names are spelt incorrectly!!

Sunday, 25 October 2009


Email message from a clients wife today. She received a call from her husband who, along with one other member, had remained at base camp. They received a call today to say that everyone else had made the summit. They are tonight all resting at Camp 3 and will come down the mountain tomorrow. Congratulations to all. I expect a phone call from Sandy when everyone is back at base camp.

A special well done to Calum Macintyre, age 16, who is raising funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust (Charity No. 1062559). To find out more and if you wish to sponsor him, please log into The photo shows Calum, his father and the teams sirdar, Dawa Sherpa near Everest Base Camp just before they set of for Ama Dablam.

Saturday, 24 October 2009


Team Ascent has, over the years built up great support teams, in the various countries they visit. In Nepal and on the current trip too Ama Dablam, the Nepalese Sherpas provide huge support and skill. Sherpas are traditionally Buddhists of Tibettan descent and are renowned for their mountaineering skill. The photo above is of Kusan Sherpa melting snow at Labouche High Camp around 5560 m on 16th October. At high altititude dehydration can be a huge problem. You exhale and perspire at much greater rates than at sea level and the low air pressure results in greater evaporation from your skin and lungs so its really important that you have a very high fluid consumption. This is no mean feat when you are in a frozen environment! One of the major and probably most time consuming chores of high altitude climbing is melting snow for brews! Bear in mind that although the snow/ice is plentiful, the equipment and fuel has to be carried up (and of course, the matches have to be remembered and kept dry!!).

The other photo shows Sherpa Lhakpa at some prayer wheels on the way-in to Ama Dablam and who will at this very moment, be up on the mountain with the team. He has summited Everest five times and climbed Ama Dablam twice.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Labouche and its Summit

En route...narrow ridge....thin air....!

Getting near the summit..its been a long way and we are still smiling...almost!

On the main summit of Labouche, 6584 m.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Climbing Tomorrow

The Team Ascent Team at Everest Base Camp!
Brief phone call from Sandy today and the promised email has arrived via an unexpected but welcome route!

As scheduled, the team will start their main climb to Camp 1 tomorrow. Everyone is well.

The plan...

Oct 22 Move up to Camp 1 and spend the night.
Oct 23 Climb up to Camp 2.
Oct 24th Move up to camp 3.
Oct 25th Camp 3 too summit and return to a lower camp.
Oct 26th Return to base camp.
Oct 27th Pack and tidy base camp.
Oct 28th Depart base camp and walk to Namche bazaar.
Oct 29th Walk to Phakting.
Oct 30/31st fly from Lukla to Katmandu.
2nd Nov fly home.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Base Camp Established

19th October

Phone message today. Everyone has arrived safe and well having enjoyed being at Everest Base Camp. They have established base camp (at Ama Dablan). I assume this will consist of individual sleeping tents, cook tent, a large communal tent and toilet facilities!

Tomorrow will be a day of ritual. A Lama will come from Pangboche Monastery to perform a Paju ceremony at Base Camp. The next day, various other religious ceremonies will also be undertaken. These will bless the climbers and the mountain to ask for a safe passage. They will start climbing on Thursday 22nd.

Sandy tells me to expect an email with info about whats been happening on the journey so far. Unfortunately the internet connection was not working today so he has left it to be sent! The blog will be updated once it arrives so keep logging in!

Friday, 16 October 2009

Labouche East Summitted!

Hi All
Phone message from Sandy left at 13:53 UK time from Labouche Base Camp (just picked it up!)

There was a slight change in plans and rather than going too Everest Base camp it was decided to go climb a mountain!

EVERYONE summitted Labouche East (6158 m) today and are all back relaxing at base camp. Yesterday they stayed at a high camp 5650 m which would have been great for their acclimatization.

The plan now...
They will stay at Labouche camp tonight and go to Gorakshek where they will stay in a lodge before going onto to Everest Base Camp. On Sunday they will go too Kalipater. After that they will go onto the village on Thangboche and then on Monday too Ama Dablan Base Camp. All is cool apparently!!!
Note added on Sat 17th Oct: This is the itinary as far as the message went and as how I understood it...problem is these villages have very similar names and I don't know their location. You can try working it out from the Itinary on the Team Ascent Website. The important points are that all is well and they are making their way too Ama Dablam base camp!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Thangboche blessing for climbing team

Monks chanting prayers at Thangboche Monastery

The team at Sonam Lodge, Panhboche ( 3950m)
Yesterday 10th October we walked away from Namche ans enjoyed the walk to Thangboche. After a while we manged to arrange a visit with the Ringboche Chai Lama who took us into his home and presented us with Prayer Scarfs ( Khata) and red strings (Mhala Mhala) which were blessed by the Dali Lama. this blessing is very important to us and of course to all or Sherpa expedition staff from the kitchen boys , cook, climbing sherpas and Sirdar.
We spent last night at Duboche and then today we plan to go up to Dingboche . But now its about 10.45 am and we have stopped for a early lunch break at the Sonam Lodge in the village of Pangboche. Once we go to Everest base camp and climb Labouche peak we will come back to this Sonam Lodge as they are very good friends of Sandys and here we will leave some equipment and buy fresh vegetables to take up to Ama Dabalm base camp. Its here at Pangboche where there is good bridge crossing the river which then the trail leads up to Mingbo and our base camp for climbing the south east ridge.
There is a new cyber cafe here, so its amazing that we can post a blog from such a sacred and wonderful place.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Market day in Namche Bazaar

The market
Dave and Calum: Check out

Hot chilly and spices for sale!

Its 9.25 am Sherpa time and soon we will leave here and head further up the Khumbu towards Everest Base camp to acclimatise. Then we go to Labouche Base camp, climb Labouche and then head over to Ama Dablam for our attempt on that fine summit. Saturday is the main market day in Namche and porters carry a wide range of goods to this market place. Sherpas from all over this area travel from their houses in scattered villages at higher altitudes to purchase their supplies and carry them by yak or porter back to their own villages. Its an exciting day for them and an interesting one for us to witness.
All the team seem to be doing well and are in good spirits. Internet access ends here so there may not be so many updates for the next few days.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Acclimatisation day in the Khumbu

Khumjung Gompa

Team Ascent Ama Dabalm Expedition Autum 2009 : climbing team Left to Right are; Derek Morley, Richard Lydiatt, Matt Evenden, David Morris, Calum McIntyre, David Flux and Sandy Allan
Ama Dabalm on the right, then Lhotse and Everest behind in the mist!

We had good nights rest at the Lodge and today after doing some basic laundry chores took an acclimatisation walk around some of the local sherpa villages of Namche, Kumjung and Kunde. We visited the monastery in Kumjung and the Hillary Hospital at Kunde! All members are doing well and we sent porters ahead with some equipment for our Base camp on Laboche East and also a small team with some loads for Ama Dablam base camp. The weather has cleared up lot and all members are doing OK. Matt and Calum have some travellers tummy but that is only to be expected and by late afternoon all the group were able to comfortably scoff a lot at the Namche bakery, where they serve what is probably best described as the best chocolate cake and apple pie in the world! Sandy and Dawa our sirdar paid a visit to Sagamartha Pollution Control who police and assists greatly with the disposal and control of expedition garbage. Sandy had to put down a US Dollar 2000 deposit and declare all our consumables and equipment and then when we pass through Namche again after our expedition we have to account for all the equipment and consumables and have it all packed up in appropriate packages. Even the toilet waste is controlled and monitored and carried out in large plastic drums so that we leave the mountains in a good as if not better condition as we found them. If not, Sandy looses his deposit! Environmental Justice, its high time!!!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Lukla to Namche Bazaar.

Arriving at Lukla airstrip

The fantasy and the reality: walking in the showers between Phakting and Namche Bazaar. (From L to R : Matt, Dave and Derek)
Namche Bazaar from my bedroom window

We arrived in Lukla two days ago and last night we spent the night at Sun Rise Lodge in the village of Phakting. Today we woke around 6.30 am and enjoyed breakfast at the lodge and then walked up to Namche Bazaar stopping at some of the local tea houses for drinks and at Jorassale we stopped for a Dhal Bhat meal.
We were fortunate enough to arrive in Namche before the heavy rain started, but umbrellas are coming in quite handy. Its mild and warm so to ware waterproofs in the rain as one walks just makes it hot and uncomfortable.
Our plans are to spend two nights here as we have gained more than 1000 meters today, and Namche Bazaar is at an altitude of around 3500 meters depending on which lodge one stays at! So, at this altitude the first signs of high latitude can become visible so all humans need to hang out here for a couple of nights for our bodies to catch up with the rarefied air!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Away from Kathmandu

Our Flight from Kathmandu to Lukla did fly this morning and we arrived here at Lukla at around 10.30am. We had one false start where we were ready to board the plane, and then the flight was delayed due to mist in Lukla , however eventually the mist moved away and we boarded. Its great to be up here closer to the bigger mountains. The weather is rainy here with lots of cloud and this rain must be falling as snow at higher altitudes.

Some of the team are shopping in Lukla for large plastic bags to pack their kit into as they were not really expecting such heavy rain.... and once we are organised, hired our porters and yaks to carry our expedition climbing equipment and food supplies we will walk for the afternoon to the village of Phakting where we will stay the night.The trail is a nice one and is the main artery leading up to Namche bazaar the sherpa capital.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Cancelled flights to Lukla

Enlightened Jogis ( Holy men) in Durbar Square Kathmandu.
My Team Ascent Ama Dablam climbing members seeking a different sort of enlightenment!

The third row of people are puppets, used in gaijatra ( festival) for the souls to find peace and serenity in heaven.

Today 6th October we were up early and went to the domestic airport to board our flight to Lukla. Twice we boarded the plane and at one point engines were revving for take off but then the air traffic controllers advised of the mist and fog descending on Lukla so we were unable to fly. We hung about all morning at the airport but eventually were stood down. We spent the afternoon visiting some interesting sights in Kathmandu and also visited the Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square which is a World Heritage site.

Plans are to return to the airport for six in the morning where we are on the first wave of flights to Lukla. Everyone is fine and well and all are enjoying this sojourn in Nepal. If you have not done so yet, please check out

Monday, 5 October 2009

Arrving in Kathmandu

Arrived in Kathmandu yesterday everybody has me up and getting along well. Just got our expedition permit today. We leave tomorrow to got Lukla to start the approach walk.