Brutal plan for Everest Snowboarders
20:59 p.m. EDT Aug 25, 2003
Stephen, Eric and Jimmy have been down in the village of Shigar (14.200ft), rebuilding bloodcells, knitting with the local ladies and pressing dried flowers into "some sort of cooking oil". The waiting game is on.
Yet, says Eric: "Even though we were enjoying the fruits of Tibetan society no team member forgot the task at hand. When the 24th arrived we were ready to get back to our high mountain lifestyle. The Mountain was waiting, and we were eager to see her."
The plan is set. And it's brutal. The snowboarders plan to go to C1 (already established), spend some hours there for refuel and re-packing, and leave again in the evening "once the sun has left the face and the snow has set-up, or hardened, allowing for rapid climbing progress on the firm snow (the key to success)" says Stephen.
They will climb the Japanese Couloir through the night, ascending from 6,300 meters to 7,800 meters. Stephen estimate this to take about 10 to 14 hours, depending on the snow conditions. At 7800, the team will dig a platform for rest and to fill water bottles before departing for the summit again at around 8 PM. That night will be spent to climb the remaining 1000 plus meters of the Hornbein Couloir to the summit.
That's two days to summit from C1. Ends Stephen: "It is imperative to summit at a reasonable hour that allows Jimmy, Lakpa and Kami to descend at least to our rest spot at 7,800 meters and for the snow conditions to still be suitable for a safe snowboard descent."
This plan is subject to weather conditions; the team will wait for a new high pressure ridge. This should do them good, as prolonged stay at altitude prior to the attempt will add considerably to their safety and success margins. In fact, they could well wait another few weeks if they had to.
They arrived only end July and one month is the eqvivalent of arriving Everest BC early April and summiting early May. That's a bit fast even for an supplementary-oxygen style expedition with fixed rope and camps. For an oxygen-less two day summit attempt, the team needs all the advantage they can gather. Spending a long time on altitude is one.
Read the full report explaining all details on the teams dispatch website.
Stephen Koch aims to snowboard the Seven Summits. With only one left to go – Everest – he chose the hard way; down one of the world’s most famous direct lines, the Hornbein Couloir. Jimmy Chin plans to climb to the top with Stephen and then ski down. Off season, in the Monsoon, there are no fixed ropes, no camps and no O2. Stephen, Jimmy and Eric are friends from Wyoming. The expedition uses Contact 2.0 software to provide Web updates and to send their stunning photos.
Image: "Hanging with the 'climbing' cave monk" courtesy of the Everest Snowboard Expedition.