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Everest Snowboarders Camp One established
11:11 a.m. EDT Aug 14, 2003
The American Snowboarding Expedition on Everest is on the march, making great progress as they virtually have the mountain all to themselves. On Monday, Stephen Koch, Jimmy Chin and Eric Henderson established Camp I at 19,500 feet on the Rongbuk Glacier. No sooner had they acclimatized than they were off again… chomping at the bit to scope out the route from which they will descend on snowboard and skis.

Yesterday morning, the guys shot off on an alpine start across the glacier and trekked to the start of the Japanese Couloir at the foot of the North Face - the beginning of their intended route, which merges directly into the Hornbein Couloir and on up to the summit.

Eric wrote:

“I observed Stephen and Jimmy in a frenzy trying to get there. They were stripping all unnecessary clothing and gear in order to run partway up to the face before it got too warm. They needed to feel the pulse of the mountain and get a handle on the snow conditions. They climbed up to the base of the couloir and determined that conditions were good. With warm days and cold nights the snow was starting to freeze up nicely.” Good, consolidated snow creates the most ideal conditions for a snowboard/ski descent.

The trio took maximum advantage of the great “GS (Giant Slolam) arcs, and perfect corn-snow conditions” that lined the descent route back to Camp I. They’re off for a few days of further acclimatization on the 22,500 ft. Changzheng peak.

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 sherpas, no fixed ropes 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 of Jimmy and Stephen feeling pretty small at the start of their intended route, the Japanese to Hornbein Couloir, on the North Face of Mount Everest, courtesy of Stephen Koch.

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