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  Snowboard Everest Autumn 2003


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 manager.

Dispatch: Returning yesterday from Camp I at 19,300 ft, to ABC at 18,500ft I could not help but stop and feel the difference in air temperature and humidity at the lower elevation. We spent much of our time above 20,000ft during our stay. As I watched Jimmy and Stephen climb the last hill to ABC, I sat, caught my breath and chomped down the rest of my half eaten Snickers from 7am this morning.

On August 11th we set out for Camp I on the flanks of the Central Rongbuk glacier. Here we set up two tents on a dry flat portion of the glacier, overlooking the west face of Changtse (North) Peak, and the north face of Everest. On the morning of the 12th Stephen, Jimmy, and I picked a route through the glacier and up to the base of the face. The weather conditions were mixed, with valley fog and various forms of precipitation. We were able to wand a good route to the base of the climb, avoid the man eating crevasses and negotiate the snow bridges.

The following day we awoke to a clear and crisp day in the high alpine of the Himalaya. We quickly gulped down our oatmeal and headed out on the glacier. Our goal for the day was to tour up to Lho La Pass at 20,000ft. From here one can look into Nepal, and into the normally well traveled Khumbu Icefall, which is now vacant. During our ski tour, we had great views of Everest, Pumori, and several other amazing peaks. Upon arrival to the final headwall we were engulfed by a giant cloud bank rolling in from Nepal. This limited our views, yet we were sure we found the border. We took our team photo, and quickly shushed back to Camp I, where we knew a warm cup of tea would be awaiting us.

The following morning (13th) the three of us got an alpine start and followed our wanded path to the base of the face. Arriving at the Japanese Couloir at 7am, 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.

The 1500ft descent back to Camp I was filled with GS (Giant Slolam) arcs, and perfect corn-snow conditions. After arriving back at camp we filled ourselves with ra-ra noodles and milk tea before heading down to ABC.

As I finished my Snickers and gulped my final splash of water I looked up to see Stephen and Jimmy travel out of sight. If the weather continues to hold and we keep getting these deep freezes Chomolungma will be in condition for an ascent and descent of the North Face.

I am off to pull food and fuel for the next three days. The three of us are heading up to the high saddle of Changzheng peak, 22,500ft. The goal here is to sleep and eat high, for Jimmy and Stephen to better acclimate for their attempt on Everest.

Photo Caption: Camp I below the 9000 foot North Face of Everest

Dispatches

Pictures copyright Stephen Koch' Autumn Everest 2003 expedition







 

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