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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: Getting High: We just arrived back to ABC after spending three nights (15th to 17th) at 6,600 meters on the shoulder of Changzheng Peak (6,977 meters). The end of the high pressure (beautiful sunny weather) that we had for the better part of a week ended a few hours after we set up our tent. This was a bit of a relief as we are working on our acclimatization and are not ready to attempt our climb and descent of Everest just yet. I guess this is one of the one or two breaks in the monsoon weather. We hope that we get another!

We received 30 cm of new snow during our time on Changzheng and we took full advantage of it with multiple laps on the headwall above our camp. The conditions were great&turns in August! Eat your hearts out, boys and girls of Jackson and anyone else who gets that twitch when they hear about people making turns when they are not able to. The turns were GOOD! Chang Zheng offers some intense terrain. We've skied some really steep and exposed (over 55+ degree) terrain that Eric, our token telemarketer skier, failed to make one telemark turn on. But he is forgiven, since dropping a knee at 6900 m is akin to running wind sprints with a ziplock bag over your head.

Eric, Jimmy and I also climbed the peak (again for Jimmy and me) this morning. I was able to slide from just below the summit cornice, with the security of a belay from Eric. After hacking turns down the peak in near zero visibility, we met Lakpa and Kami, who were there to help us break down camp.  Jimmy and I charged down the mountain, skiing and snowboarding and nearly breaking our ankles running down the final several thousand feet of boulder fields and scree trying to beat Lakpa down from our Chang Zheng camp to ABC. Sure, Lakpa was carrying much more weight than we were. Plus we rode our boards down 500 meters below camp&500 meters that Lakpa and Kami had to crampon down.  But that is the deal with the Sherpas. They are so much stronger than us poor white folk, that even beating them with all the prior mentioned advantages feels good!

Tomorrow we are going to head down to the bridge at 4,300 meters to spend several days. The purpose of going down is to rest and let our bodies build red-blood cells and wait for the face to come into condition. Unfortunately, we  won't be able to bring the slack-line with us, but we have Frisbee, hacky-sack and bouldering shoes...no pads, so we will look for soft landings or easy problems. We will also stop by the Rongbuk Monastary again to visit with some of the monks we befriended on an earlier visit.

Dispatches

Pictures copyright Stephen Koch' Autumn Everest 2003 expedition







 

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