Stephen Koch and Jimmy Chin will
attempt to snowboard Everest this Autumn. They plan to
climb Everest via the Hornbein route and then
descend via the Hornbein. They will travel from
Kathmandu to Lhasa then to Everest base camp on the
North (Chinese). Eric Henderson is the base camp
Dispatch: On August 6, Eric, Jimmy and I
climbed Changzheng, 6977 meters, with Jimmy and I getting to the top, or at
least as near to the top as we were comfortable. A massive cornice, no ropes
or harnesses, meant we remained just a few meters below the beast. Jimmy, like
a man possessed, pushed hard late in the day, punching steps the last couple
hundred meters while fatigue relegated me to drafting. It is invaluable to
have a strong partner to take over when necessary.
The weather moved in and out on us during
most of the day. We moved slowly, but steadily up through the snow and mist,
trading leads when necessary. Occasionally, the clouds would lift and we would
get a glimpse of the glacier far below and the endless peaks stretching to the
horizon. We gained our new altitude record for the trip, but were certainly
feeling the effects of the thin air.
Eric, Jimmy and I skied and snowboarded
from just below the summit on variable but generally good snow for over 2,000
feet. We had to avoid the heavily corniced ridge on our right, which wasn't
easy with the poor visibility for most of the descent. Linking turns at
22,500ft was a bit of a workout, but I think we were all psyched about how we
felt, and it was a pleasure to carve big turns in good snow.
The bottom of the run was sketch with a
few black holes (crevasses) in the glacier that we narrowly avoided. At the
end of the snow we were all pretty wasted and still had to hike the 1,000
meters to ABC.
Watching the sunset on the neighboring
6,000 and 7,000 meter peaks, we were realizing just how BIG Everest is &s he
was in full alpen glow as the lower peaks had faded away. On the final part of
the descent to ABC we took our own routes, looking for scree to run down to
both speed our descent and reduce the pounding on the knees. We knew Lakpa and
Kami would have drinks and dinner ready. Two liters of water per person over
the day, we got a little dehydrated. We were all worked, but still arrived in
camp as the last light of day slipped away in the western sky.
Lakpas mouth watering pizza was on the
menu that evening. Liquid was what our bodies craved and we barely put a dent
in the pie. After dinner, we put our tired bodies to bed after a very
gratifying day in the hills.
Stephen Early Up Going
Stephen carving turns on Chang Zheng's north ridge.
Stephen Koch' Autumn Everest 2003 expedition