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 Kangchenjunga Autumn 2000

This is the Czech Expedition Himalaya 8000

Himalaya 8000 ( Czech Republic )
departure :  8/30/00
in order :  Seventh Expedition
path :  South-West Route
leader of expedition :  Josef Simunek
deputy leader :  Ludek Ondrej
members :  Josef Moravek, Martin Minarik, Radek Jaros and Sona Vomackova
sirdar :  Lhakpa Dorjee Sherpa

New Pictures: Click on them for the full sized versions.

Additional Background: (Dispatches Below)

Josef Simunek - [Simon] expedition to eightthousanders (EXPEDITIONS TO 8000M PEAKS INCLUDE) :  6

summits over 8000 :  3  ( Shisha Pangma, Central Summit not the Main Summit 95, Makalu 98, Lhotse 99 ) 

Born on July 21st, 1964 in Jicin, Czech republic. Simon is married and has a daughter named Gabriela. Simon started to climb in Prachov when he was 18 years old. Then followed with winter trips to High Tatras, Kaukasus 1984, Alps 1987, Kaukasus 1990 (Ushba, Elbrus), Pamir 1991 (Peak Fourth) etc. In the Himalayas he was part of expeditions to Cho-Oyu 1993 (deputy leader), Dhaulagiri 1994, Shisha Pangma 1995 (summit October 8th, downhill from 7.300 meters, expedition leader), Manaslu 1996 (expedition leader), Makalu 1998 (summit May 19th, expedition leader), Lhotse 1999 (summit May 12th, expedition leader). 

Sona Vomackova - [Sona]

expedition to eightthousanders :  2 

Summits over 8000 :  2  ( Makalu 98, Lhotse 99 ) Sona was born September 22nd, 1971 in Boskovice, Czech republic. She is married without children. Sona has been active in sports since childhood. Mainly skiing, cross - country skiing, hiking, and running. In 1990 she studied teaching, math, and physical training with a focus on outdoor sports in FTVS. Out of all the sports Sona had tried, she was attracted to climbing the most. How about big mountains? Dachstein 1993, climbing in France (Chamonix). While still in school, Sona joined the expedition to Pumori 1995. In May 1997 she reached the summit of McKinley (the highest mountain in North America 6,194m). In 1998 she became the first woman in the Europe to reach the summit of Makalu (8,463m) without the aid of SUPPLEMENTAL oxygen. Other expeditions that Sona has successfully completed include: Skialp Austria 1992, Rumania 1994, Poland 1995, Austria 1998, and Ukraine 1998. In 1999 she was part of the expedition to Lhotse (8,516m) and become the second woman to reach that summit, and the first woman ever to reach that summit without the aid of artificial oxygen. 

Ludek Ondrej - [Bouda]

expedition to eightthousanders :  6
Bouda was born May 10th, 1956 in Jicin, Czech republic. He is married and has a daughter named Dita. Bouda started to climb by himself at the age of 13 in Prachov. In 1979 he joined Pavel Krupka, Zdenek and Pavel Weingartlers as first ever to climb over Cimme di Lavarde, using superdiretissima in Cima Grande. From 1998 he climb Kaukasus, Pamir, three times Peak Fourth, two times Peak Korzenevskaja (7.150m), south ridge of Schara, Elbrus, Ushba, Ullutau, Fanske mountains, etc. Bouda also joined Himalayas expeditions to Cho-Oyu 1993 (expedition leader), Dhaulagiri 1994, Shisha Pangma 1995 (deputy leader), Manaslu 1996 (deputy leader), Makalu 1998 (deputy leader) and Lhotse 1999 (deputy leader). 

Petr Skrivanek - [Skrivan]

expedition to eightthousanders :  4
summits over 8000 :  1  ( Shisha Pangma, Central Summit not the Main Summit 95 ) 

Skrivan was born in December 11th, 1966. He started to climb in Prachov when he was 14 years old. Then followed with trips to Tatras, Alps, and Pamir (1991, 1992). In the Himalayas he was part of expeditions to Cho-Oyu 1993, Dhaulagiri 1994, Shisha Pangma 1995 (summit), Manaslu 1996. 

Radek Jaros

expedition to eightthousanders :  2
summits over 8000 :  1  ( Mt. Everest 98 ) 

Born in April 29th, 1964 in Czech Republic. Radek is married and has a daughter named Andrea and sun Ondra. Radek started to climb in 1982 in Ceskomoravska vrchovina. Then followed Tatras, Tansan, Pamir a Himalayas. Some of the his important achievements include a sixthousander Pik Moskevske pravdy (1989) and fivethousander Pik Ucitel (1989). In 1994 he had an unsuccessful attempt at Everest summit. He later returned to Mt. Everest in 1998, when he reached summit as second from Czech Republic without oxygen. His last successful peak was South American Huaskaran. 

Vladimir Milata

expedition to eightthousanders :  1
Born in March 20th, 1961 in Jesenik, Czech republic. Vladimir is married and has daughters named Barbora and Marie. Vladimir started to climb when he was 17 years old in Jesenik and Ostrava, where he was registered member of the climbing club. In the 80's he was climbing in High Tatra and in the 90's he was climbing in Alps, Dachstein, Marmolada in Dolomites, and Matterhorn. In 1998 Vladimir joined expedition to the fifth highest mountain in Central Nepal Makalu 8,463m. In the same year he revived activities of his own climbing club Nevada in Ostrava. 

Martin Minarik

expedition to eightthousanders :  1
summits over 8000 :  1  ( Manaslu 99 )
Born in November 27th, 1967 in Benesov - Prague. Martin is married and has a daughter named Anicka. Martin started in Hostynske Vrchy (Skalny, Lukov, Drzkova) when he was 16 years old. After his 19th birthday he climbed mostly in Tatras. Then followed solo climbing over of High Tatras, winter solo over West Tatras, and four walls in Kacaci Dolina (Rumanuv Stit, Zlobiva, Ganek, Kacaci Mnich) climbed in one day. In Tatras he climbed about 140 different routes. He's lived in the Czech Republic and the American city of Seattle since 1991. Martin climbs in Kaskadove Hory, Rockies, Yosemite, North Face in Alps, Pamir, solo over Poland Glazier, Aconcagua Argentina, Cassinuv pilir na Mt. McKinley alpine style Alaska 1995, first solo crossing over Mt. Logan Yukon Canada 1998. In Himalaya - Manaslu 8,163m 1999 (summit). 

Josef Moravek

expedition to eightthousanders :  4
summits over 8000 :  1  ( Lhotse 99 )
Born in July 24th, 1961 in Czech republic. Josef is married and has a daughter named Martina and son Peter. Josef started to climb in Moravsky Kras and later on he climbed in Tatras and Russia. In 1990 he reached summit of Mount McKinley in Alaska. First attempt of eightthousander was Broad Peak in 1994 (8,047m). This expedition ended after the death of two Czech climbers from the team. Later followed successful climbs of Kilimanjaro, Mt. Kenya, Spicberks, Ama Dablam, and in Himalayas -Mt. Everest (8,848m), where using north face route Josef reached north saddle in 7,300m and was successful on Lhotse 1999. His expedition to Dhaulagiri 1999 ended after the death of one of the members of this international team.

October 19th - BC Back in BC. Blown off again - and once and for all. 

Unfortunately the forecast talking about ever stronger wind was right. Still, we decided to chance it. As agreed before, the first group (Sherpas, Simon and Sona) left for C2 on 10.15. Weather: not that bad. Wind: not that strong. "We could make it!" However, we knew well we needed this conditions to stay for at least four days. One was not enough. 

Regards from BC under Kangchenjunga 


Update: 10/28/2000 It is a rap !

The team picture at BC.

October 16th, 2000 - further on to C3. Pretty rough. In 6800 m the wind started to blow again. We reached C3 at 2:30 PM, really longing for the tents. Well... a small problem: Hannah Expedition tents were left alone for five days, in wind 25-30 m/s (90-110 km/h). They held out (which is great) but when we arrived they were covered with thick masses of snow, eh, snow? half ice!!! (which is ... worse) It took us - four people working hard - about 2 HOURS to get in. To make matters worse the snow even got in one of the tents. When kicking through it we found our cooking stove VAR II, all covered with snow and frozen. We cleaned and it worked! Perfect. One good thing in all the mess.

During the time from October 16 to October 17th.: Lhakpa, Tsomba, Simon and myself (Sona) were in C3. The wind was so strong we could not go out. At night we thought for a moment that things are getting better, the wind calmed down. But at 4 AM it got stronger again, so strong that we could hardly sleep. At 8 AM we announce our descent. No chance to go on. We waited till 10 AM thinking "Maybe the weather gets better..." No. Even the descent is a real fight. Wind, high snow, avalanches. 

Now Pepino, Radek and Martin leave for C3 to wait for their chance. Conditions are the same as the day before. Maybe worse. Gusts of wind are often so strong that the only way is to lay down at fixed ropes and wait - and then hurry a bit higher. 

Night October 17. to October 18. in Camp 3: The wind does not let us sleep. Cooking, listening to the wind. Every minute of silence brings new hope: "Listen! It's quiet!" No. A second later a new gust comes. 

Morning October 18: Radek, Martin and Pepino called down: "The night was crazy, we are descending." They will try to pack the tents and get them to C2. But it is not that easy. Everything we did a day before is gone ... the heaps of snow removed are back. And now the wind is so strong that the snow gets back right after you put it away. We decide to leave the tents where they are. May gods of the mountain enjoy them. However, all stuff except the tents is packed and the descent from C3 starts. Fight, again. We slowly begin to admit that - for now, for this year - the mountain is stronger than us. 

Meanwhile the first group packed two tents in C2 and took them down so that not many things are left there. The whole mountain works and moves. Cracks are getting wider, fixed ropes freeze into ice. No health-walk, really. 

On Wednesday the descent goes on. Bouda packs C1. We are leaving the mountain. Pepino does not want to accept it. He keeps looking up, checking the wind. But it goes on blowing. 

For NINE DAYS the wind blows 100 km/h and more. Incredible! 

Evening October 18. Guests come: Two our friends, Vlada and Svidri, and two porters. Somehow, the weather took us in. By experience, according to statistics, the very best days for climbing Kangchenjunga in autumn are October 15th-25th. We were ready since October 10th. Camps built. Everyone okay, acclimated and healthy. But on October 9th the wind started and since then it has been blowing. On and on. Now it is October 19th and the madness does not seem to calm down. Season ends. On the other hand, one thing is perfect: We all are safe back in BC, healthy, no chilblains, none wounded, none blown away and lost (and it does happen sometimes!)... 

Tomorrow the Sherpas bring the last few things down. On 10.21. porters come (Jangbu went to bring them 5 days ago) and we leave to Suketar - an further by plane to KTM. 8 or maybe 7 days trek back to the airport, and we are sure it will be pretty hard again. "No more leeches!", we hope. 

One thing is clear. Kangchenjunga is a wonderful mountain. Being here, 10 people for a fair fight, was great. Just the weather... Anyway, I believe the memories will be nice. And one day (soon, I hope) we come back and try it again.

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