Archive for the ‘Expeditions & Adventures’ Category

Trip Grading

April 14, 2013 Leave a comment

I have grouped the expeditions and treks into three bands – IntroductoryIntermediate and Advanced. Within these groups, I use a two-tiered grading system, which describes the technical difficulty (1-5) and fitness (A-E) required for each expedition. For example, Kilimanjaro – Western Breach is graded 1A but Aconcagua, which is a considerably more arduous undertaking, is graded1C. The technically easy but strenuous Muztag Ata is graded 2D, while the short but difficult Carstensz Pyramid is 4A. Trekking trips are identified as ‘T’ on this website with the experience required paragraph in each trek itinerary indicating which trekking band it is in T1 – T3 (see below).

A well-chosen trip maximizes both your enjoyment of the experience, as well as your chances of summit success. Selection of a trip that is beyond your ability could result in the leader not taking you on the climb for example, both for your own safety and for the safety of the other team members.

Technical Difficulty:


1 Low angle snow or straightforward scrambling on rocks. Ropes are not usually required. Previous climbing experience is not essential. A Good basic fitness, as for Munro-bagging. Average rucksack weight: 6-8 kg.
2 Ropes are used principally for glacier travel and low angle snow or ice slopes. Ice axe and crampon experience necessary. B Good cardio-vascular fitness which for most people requires some training, by running, hiking and perhaps some gym work. Average rucksack weight: 8-12 kg.
3 Short, steep sections of snow or ice up to about 50 degrees. Previous snow and ice climbing experience of Scottish III/Alpine PD is essential. C High level of fitness coupled with physical toughness and the ability to carry a heavy rucksack for long periods. Average rucksack weight: 12-18 kg.
4 Long, steep snow and ice slopes with short steps of very steep ice or low grade rock climbing. Good all-round climbing ability required to Scottish III/Alpine AD. D As for ‘C‘, but tougher. Climbs of this grade are exceptionally strenuous and some weight loss is inevitable. Train hard, but take along some spare calories!
5 Very steep ice (Scottish III/IV or harder) or rock (Hard Severe or harder). Suitable for competent mountaineers who have climbed consistently at these standards. E Hard physical effort at extreme altitude which requires thorough preparation based on your experience of previous trips. Comments for ‘D‘ also apply. May cause long-term fatigue after the trip.

Please note that the rucksack weights given above may be exceeded on some expeditions.


Graded list


Advanced Level

Expedition name Region Grade Altitude Days
Lhotse Nepal 5E 8,516m / 27,939ft 58
Makalu Nepal 5E 8,463m / 27,765ft 60
Dhaulagiri Nepal 5E 8,167m / 26,795ft 55
Ama Dablam Nepal 5D 6,856m / 22,494ft 29
Everest North Ridge Tibet 4E 8,850m / 29,036ft 65
Everest South Col Nepal 4E 8,850m / 29,036ft 64
Cho Oyu Tibet 4E 8,201m / 26,906ft 44
Gasherbrum II Karakoram 4E 8,035m / 26,361ft 51
Shishapangma Tibet 4E 8,027m / 26,335ft 44
Nun India 4C 7,135m / 23,409ft 28
Kun India 4C 7,087m / 23,250ft 28
Alpamayo South America 4B 5,947m / 19,511ft 23
Mount Kenya Summit Africa 4B 5,199m / 17,057ft 13
Baruntse Nepal 3D 7,129m / 23,389ft 35
Denali (McKinley) North America 3D 6,194m / 20,320ft 26
Muztag Ata Chinese Pamir 2D 7,546m / 24,757ft 30
Greenland Icecap Crossing The Cold Regions 2D 2,499m / 8,200ft 35
The North Pole – The Last Degree The Cold Regions 2D n/a 15
The South Pole – The Last Degree The Cold Regions 2D n/a 19


Intermediate Level

Expedition name Region Grade Altitude Days
Carstensz Pyramid Australasia 4A 4,884m / 16,023ft 22
Cerro San Lorenzo South America 3C 3,907m / 12,818ft 16
Huascaran South America 3B 6,769m / 22,208ft 26
Mera & Island Peak Nepal 3B 6,476m / 21,246ft 30
Bolivian Climber South America 3B 6,462m / 21,200ft 22
Khumbu Climber Nepal 3B 6,279m / 20,601ft 28
Kyajo Ri Nepal 3B 6,186m / 20,296ft 27
Greenland Mountaineer The Cold Regions 3B n/a 22
Putha Hiunchuli Nepal 2D 7,246m / 23,772ft 32
Vinson The Cold Regions 2C 4,897m / 16,067ft 19
South Georgia Traverse The Cold Regions 2C n/a 25
Lhakpa Ri Tibet 2B 7,043m / 23,107ft 29
Everest Base Camp & Island Peak Nepal 2B 6,189m / 20,305ft 24
Antisana South America 2B 5,703m / 18,709ft 13
Tharpu Chuli Nepal 2B 5,663m / 18,579ft 21
Mount Kazbek Europe 2B 5,033m / 16,512ft 10
Altai Climber Mongolia 2B 4,374m / 14,350ft 16
Barun Valley Climber Nepal 2B n/a 30


Introductory Level

Expedition name Region Grade Altitude Days
Nubra First Ascents India 2B 6,151m / 20,180ft 26
Mera Peak Nepal 2A 6,476m / 21,246ft 24
Ecuador Volcanoes South America 2A 5,897m / 19,346ft 16
Mexican Volcanoes Central America 2A 5,700m / 18,700ft 15
Elbrus Europe 2A 5,642m / 18,510ft 16
Colombian Mountaineer South America 2A 5,400m / 17,716ft 17
Aconcagua South America 1C 6,959m / 22,830ft 22
Stok Kangri India 1A 6,121m / 20,082ft 17
Kilimanjaro – Western Breach Africa 1A 5,895m / 19,340ft 12
Polar Expedition Training The Cold Regions n/a 6



Ski Grading

My Ski Grading system is designed to help you choose the right course or expedition. It describes the technical difficulty and level of skiing you need to be comfortable with, coupled with fitness indicators (A – E) and what you can expect to carry each day.

The following table describes the technical difficulty of each Ski Course or Expedition. Coupled with fitness grades A-E, this should help you choose the right level of trip to match your ability.

Your Current Technical Level

Recreational 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Advanced 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Expert 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Fitness Required:

A Good basic level of fitness to ski for 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon.
B More intensive skiing all day on steeper slopes. On ski tours, fitness required to do day tours from huts, or a short hut-to-hut tour at the end of the week, skiing with just a light pack.
C Hut-to-hut ski tours. Fitness to ascend for 4 hours with a 10Kg pack.
D Ski mountaineering requiring you to carry skis, axe and crampons. You need to be able to ascend for 5 hours with a 12Kg pack.
E Ski expeditions where you are skiing in all snow types with a heavy pack. Fitness for consecutive days of strenuous skiing, or sled pulling.


  1. You are a new skier, physically fit and determined to try the sport.
  2. You can ‘snowplough’ and can bring yourself to a stop on the gentlest of slopes. You can make slight changes in direction, but you have not mastered this yet.
  3. You can turn left and right several times using a ‘snowplough’and stop on Green runs. You have started to venture out ontoBlue runs.
  4. You feel more confident on Blue runs, and can get down them using snowplough turns without much trouble. You find that your snowploughs are smaller, and that when you finish a turn your skies tend to come together so that they run side-by-side.


  1. You are now probing the easier Red runs. You still start each turn with a small snowplough, but your skis finish parallel and you make traverses across the width of the slope ready for the next turn. Occasionally, you tend to lean back, which means your body is not in the right position to start your next turn, which you sometimes miss. You want to perfect moving from one turn to the next, and feel that some extra instruction might get you over this hurdle.
  2. You are skiing confidently on GreenBlue and Red runs, except for the very steepest and except when icy or with big bumps, which still give you a shakedown. More often than not, you link turns on Red runs, but you still have mishaps where you gather too much speed, which throws you off balance. You learnt a lot from recent instruction, so it is a matter of practising your parallel technique. To add to the excitement, you venture onto Black runs and check out the un-pisted terrain at the side of the slope for more of a challenge.
  3. You are now able to link confident parallel turns on all Red runs and are comfortable on most Blacks, but you prefer them newly groomed. Your skiing is still focussed on the piste, but you are getting a greater sensitivity for your what your skis are doing. You know how to edge your skis, flatten your skis and to point them where you want to go. You understand how to carve when initiating the turn, through the turn and when finishing one turn as it leads into the next.
  4. You are happy cutting down all the pisted runs on the mountain, and you often wander off to the side of the pistes to sample deeper, messier snow. Yes, you get thrown off balance or miss your turns even now, but you handle it. You like the challenge of moguls! When someone says “its icy”, you have the confidence to keep your edges. Now, you want to go off-piste properly and to lay your own virgin tracks in the powder, within the ski area but well off the Piste.


  1. You have spent some time off-piste with an instructor, and made good progress on moderate slope angles. You can ride out most snow types but you still get thrown off balance when you hit unexpected lumps, bumps and troughs; you’re not fond of skiing crud (but then who is?) You know about avalanches and what causes them, but you’re not confident about predicting the dangers they pose and prefer to go off-piste with an instructor or guide. You can use your avalanche transceiver, but you have not practised multiple recoveries. You want to ski steeper slopes and gullies, but you know that you need to be very careful about the off-piste environment, as the best skiing lures you further from the piste.
  2. You are now a confident off-piste skier, and can cope with all angles except for the most severe. You ski with a backpack, and are not upset by this change to your centre of balance. You want to explore further afield, and know that this will take you well away from the mechanical uplift of the resorts, and you are prepared to sweat to get to the best lines. You know that the truly demanding descents may even run over glaciers, and you want to understand how to ski them. You understand avalanches, how they are formed and the risks they pose, but you need new skills and knowledge to take you deeper into the mountains. You’re looking for someone to teach you about crevasses: how to avoid them, and what to do if you can’t; including using a rope, and recovery should one of your party fall in. Some of the gully lines you’ve looked at are too steep at the top, and you want to know how to get into them and descend to a safe angle from which you can ski. The total freedom of the mountains that skiing can give to you is becoming an irresistible call.
  3. When you arrive in a ski resort, you look at the mountains and wonder what lies beyond them – the anticipation of finding out is mouth-watering. You want to ski with friends you trust; with them you’ll plan the details of the route, each descent you’ll make, the food you’ll take, what you’ll do for shelter and, together, what mountain skills, experience and knowledge you will need. You study maps, weather charts and avalanche assessments before starting out. Everyone skis with a rucksack with essential gear and you expect to spend a night or two away from your starting point, perhaps in neighbouring resorts, or mountain villages that few people visit in the winter. You may no longer be skiing from European or North American resorts but in Japan, New Zealand, Chile, North Africa or even the Middle East; simply, you go where the adventure and the promise of untracked snow takes you!
  4. You are a top-level skier who can ski anywhere, on any Continent, in all terrain and conditions with great style and technique. You are an All Mountain Skier capable of taking responsibility for others and of showing them the delights of piste, off-piste and ski touring. You may hold a professional instructors qualification, or be an off-piste International Mountain Guide.

Match your level to the course, tour or Adventure Ski trip

Skiing within the Resort Boundaries, more reliant on mechanical uplift Off Piste Introduction 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Off Piste Improvers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Freeride 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Increasingly, or totally, outside Resort Boundaries with infrequent, if any, use of uplift. Off Piste Perfection 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Intro-Ski Mountaineering 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Ski Tours 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Adventure Skiing 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12


Trek Grading

T1 – No previous trekking experience is necessary, but you need to be an active hillwalker. You should consider training prior to your trek, as typically you will be walking between 4 – 6 hours over several consecutive days and usually at high altitude. Be prepared for rough and rocky trails and the occasional snow patch.
T2 – Previous trekking experience is necessary. There will be lots of consecutive days of tough trekking, and/or longer days for crossing high passes, for example. There will be glacier crossings on snow/ice, which do not require the use of ice axe and crampons. Overall, trails may be vague in places, with some sections of very rough and rocky ground.
T3 – Previous trekking and ice axe and crampon experience required. Tough multi-day trekking at high altitude, often over glaciated terrain. Crossings of glaciated passes which require the use of ice axe and crampons. You may consider joining one of our Introductory Long Weekend Scottish Winter Courses, or our Alpine Introduction.


Graded list of Treks


Introductory Level

Trek name Region Grade Altitude Days
Rupshu and Lungser Kangri India T3 6,662m / 21,856ft 20
Dhaulagiri Circuit Nepal T3 5,300m / 17,387ft 21
Antarctic Voyager The Cold Regions T3 n/a 16
Silk Route to K2 Chinese Pamir T3 n/a 31
Everest 3 Peaks 3 Passes Nepal T2 5,550m / 18,209ft 25
Mount Ararat Europe T2 5,137m / 16,853ft 15
Kangchenjunga Circuit Nepal T2 5,047m / 16,560ft 30
Huayhuash Circuit Trek South America T2 5,029m / 16,500ft 19
Colombia High Passes South America T2 4,850m / 15,912ft 15
Kilimanjaro – Lemosho Glades Africa T1 5,895m / 19,340ft 10
Everest Base Camp Trek Nepal T1 5,544m / 18,188ft 20
Everest Team Trek Nepal T1 5,544m / 18,188ft 24
Makalu Base Camp Trek Nepal T1 5,517m / 18,100ft 23
Annapurna Circuit Nepal T1 5,395m / 17,700ft 17
Manaslu Circuit Nepal T1 5,213m / 17,102ft 23
Ecuador Explorer South America T1 4,801m / 15,750ft 15
Santa Cruz Trek South America T1 4,749m / 15,580ft 14
Everest Views and Ama Dablam Base Camp Nepal T1 4,572m / 15,000ft 15
Annapurna Sanctuary Trek Nepal T1 4,130m / 13,550ft 17
Patagonia – Fitzroy and Paine South America T1 n/a 16




To get the most out of your expedition or trek, you will need to be fit and healthy. You do not need to be an athlete, but a good level of overall fitness is important. As an indication, you should be able to walk 8km/5 miles with a height gain of 600m/2,000ft with a 10kg rucksack in 21/2 hours or less. This assumes a reasonable trail is followed at low altitude, such as in the UK or below 3,000m. An example would be an ascent of Snowdon by the Pyg Track from Pen-y-Pass (730m/2,400ft of ascent over 5km/3 miles) with a 10kg rucksack in 2 hours 15 minutes. For any expedition or trek, you should be able to better this, and be able to repeat it over several consecutive days.


Alpine Grades

The French Alpine grading system encompasses the technical difficulty, length and level of committment required for the climb. If you are preparing for an expedition overseas of grade 2A and above, you should become familiar with this grading system, as it will help you assess your experience in relation to the requirements for each trip:

‘F’ (Facile/easy) – easy angled snow and ice / glaciated terrain. Ice axe and crampons are normally required, but the ground should not be steeper than approximately 35°.
‘PD’ (Peu difficile/not very difficult) – longer routes, often with more complex glaciated terrain, with scrambling on mixed ground (snow, ice and rock). Snow slopes are not normally steeper than 45°. Short sections of grade 1 and 2 scrambling, though poentially in exposed situations.
‘AD’ (Assez difficile/fairly difficult) – more committing routes with steeper snow and ice up to 55°, though normally just one axe and crampons will be required. Rock sections can be sustained with lots of grade 2 scrambling and short sections of British VDiff or Severe which may be pitched.
‘D’ (Difficile/difficult) – snow and ice up to 75°, requiring the use of an ice axe and hammer. Rock climbing up to British grade Very Severe. Lots of pitching with confidence required moving together on grade 3 scrambling ground in exposed situations.
‘TD’ (Tres difficile/very difficult) – routes of a much more serious undertaking, with sustained sections of ice climbing and difficult rock climbing, possibly including aid climbing.


Scottish Winter Grades

British mountaineers are also familiar with the Scottish Winter grading system. We frequently use Scottish Winter grades to describe the necessary technical experience required for a particular expedition.

I – Snow gullies and easy ridges. Not normally steeper than 45° and often used as descent routes. One axe required to ascend these routes.
II – Steeper snow with short sections of ice or ‘mixed’ ground (rock/ice). Ridge climbs would normally be grade I and II scrambles in summer. One axe is normally adequate, but two may be necessary on some routes or where cornices are likely.
III – More sustained and steeper routes, generally following gullies or buttress (ridge) lines. Two axes required to overcome short, steep technical sections of ice or rock.
IV – Snow and ice routes will have longer sections of steep climbing (60-70°) or short, very steep sections. ‘Mixed’ or buttress climbs on snowed-up rock will require more advanced techniques, such as torquing the axes into cracks.
– Sustained steep ice of 80°, or climbing on snowed up rock routes, which would warrant rock climbing grades of Severe – Very Severe in summer.
VI – Long vertical ice, often serious and snowed up rock routes of Very Severe and above.


Rock Grades

An understanding of scrambling and rock climbing grades is useful when deciding the level of Alpine Mountaineering course (where rock climbing is often required) or on expeditions where rock climbing ability is essential (for example, Carstensz Pyramid or Ama Dablam).

Scrambling grades
Grade 1 – short steps of rock, where you need to use your hands to make upward progress. Ropes not normally used.
Grade 2 – more frequent sections of rock, with longer sections requiring the use of hands to climb upwards. A rope might be used to safeguard difficult sections.
Grades 3 and 3s – exposed, often with rock climbing ‘moves’ such as those encountered on routes of British grade Diff – VDiff (see below). Lots of moving together using a shortened rope and short pitches of more difficult sections.

Rock Climbing grades
The British rock climbing grading system ranges from ‘Moderate’ to ‘Extreme’ (with Extreme as an open-ended scale from E1 to, currently, E12). Below is a brief outline of the overall adjective grades to describe the difficulty. Numerical grades accompany routes of Severe and above to describe the hardest single ‘move’ (these are not included below).

Moderate – a similar standard to grade 3 and 3s scrambles.
Diff (Difficult)
VDiff (Very Difficult)
S (Severe)
VS (Very Severe)
HVS (Hard Very Severe)
Extreme (E1 – E12)

If you are used to a different rock climbing grading system, check out the grade conversion page on the ROCKFAX website.


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Kalaroos – More than Just a Cave!

October 15, 2011 5 comments

When one reaches the Lolab valley, which once was like a paradise, two things strike you. One, the huge concentration of the troops – garrisons, barracks and soldiers scattered everywhere. The other is the vast graveyards giving peace to both known and unnamed souls.

If you wanted to explore something beyond the beauty and the brutalities of Lolab. Something inane. Something trivial. There is a village – Kalaroos.

7Kms ahead of the village of Kupwara, on Kupwara-Machhil road, Kalaroos lies between Lashtyal and Madhmadu villages.

Some things and myths associated with Kalaroos make it famous. A popular myth says that a cave near the village is a way to Russia. Then there is Satbaran – in the real life.

Adjoining Kalaroos is a small village called Lashtiyal. After the village houses end a narrow, steep, uphill footpath leads to the monumental rock called Satbaran. In Kashmiri it means “with seven doors”. This massive rock is a historical marvel. The rock is half buried. The front side has got seven prominent engraved doors each of it being more than three feet deep.

Mahad lone (71) a local resident says that he has seen it all his life. “It was very famous, even Angrez (foreigners usually white Britons) used to visit,” he adds.  Abdul Aziz a local school teacher believes that it is perhaps as old as ancient temples of Pattan and might have been built by the Pandavs.  Pandavs have built many structures in many villages of Kupwara too but they have remained unnoticed.

All the doors of the rock open on the front side, with the central door slightly bigger than the rest. It has a small hole on one side. “The shape and the structure look as if it had been a temple with their biggest god in the middle. A small hole might have been a separate entry for the sacred snake as there are in temples outside Kashmir,” says local resident Haji Amanullah.

There were two shelves each on every door which might have been used to put a mashaal (torch) near the gate. Satbaran has a second rock next to it which also has a door carved on it. But neither so deep nor so well engraved. A cursory look will make any curious person to relate it to the Pattan temples. One wonders, if those who made it were in a hurry or had left it unfinished.

The apathy of the authorities has paved its way to erosion. It has worn at many places. The children and young men have broken the sides and written their names along with the names of their beloved on it. Thanks to the local population who somehow have preserved it even when authorities neglected. Locals believe that Satbaran, centuries ago might have been a temple, where Pandavs or others might have been worshipping before heading towards the cave which popular myth says is a tunnel.

The cave opening is approximately 200 meters upwards Satbaran. A steep slope leads to it. Zahoor Wani, a local resident who works in the government accompanied me to the cave. A couple of feet away, from the ‘tunnel’ one big and two small snakes were loitering around. The snakes on sensing our presence disappeared in the nearby bushes.

A young boy who had come there to collect firewood, said, “We always come (to this place) with an axe or any other metallic tool”.

Many people have made a foray into the cave.

“Before the 65 war (Indo-Pak war of 1965), as a child, I and my cousin, who was cocksure that the Russians might come one day through the tunnel, went inside the cave. We went inside before noon and travelled in the light of a kerosene lantern. We travelled a lot before we heard huge sound of running water. We were afraid and returned, only to find that it was already evening,” says Mahad lone an elderly villager.

Nusrat, a school teacher, says that some years back she has travelled around three hundred meters inside the cave. “We were a group of teachers and went inside. The entrance is narrow and only one person can go in at a time. There is a very big lobby inside with many ways”.

Nusrat says that there were animal carcasses in the cave making her believe that big cats used it to eat their prey.

Wani says that at some places the cave is so narrow that one has to crawl and somewhere it is as wide as a two lane road. Just a few meters down the tunnel it is very dark and one can do nothing without some light.

Aziz Lone, an octogenarian says that once some Britons went inside the cave, they went a long way but found the tunnel unending.  Ghulam Hassan, one of the oldest living persons of the village, says that they were scared of the cave. “During our childhood we heard many mystical and atrocious stories of it,” Hassan said. However some locals have ventured inside the cave. Young Zubair says that there is a large lobby inside besides many ladders which at some places go up and somewhere down. “This might have been built by the best engineer,” says Zubair.

The last time Kalaroos, locals say, received some government attention was when the department of geology and mining was exploring copper mines in the area.

Hassan lone was employed by the department for ten years. “They worked almost for two decades and abandoned the work much before the militancy. We used only to drill deep in the ground with machines, collect samples, pack it and send for testing to Hindustan The department later said that the copper found here was of low quality.” Many young people however think that the tunnel or cave might have been dug by miners to extract copper.

Whatever the mystery of the Kalaroos cave (or tunnel) or Satbaran, it exudes an awe among the locals who think that it leads to somewhere if not Roos (Russia) as nobody has yet reached the end of the ‘tunnel’.

World Record: Apa Sherpa’s Everest summit no 21

May 30, 2011 2 comments

(Asian Trekking Press release) Apa Sherpa, Climbing Leader of Eco Everest Expedition 2011 reached the summit of Mt. Everest for the 21st time – a new world record with the message of “Stop Climate Change”.

He joined Eco Everest for his 18th, 19th,  20th and 21st Summit of Mt. Everest in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.  Apa said he is committed to support the efforts of Dawa Steven Sherpa, leader of the Eco Everest Expedition to bring awareness to the world community about Climate Change and to help remove old garbage from the slopes of Mt. Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) – our sacred mountain.

At 09:15am this morning, Eco Everest Expedition Climbing Leader Apa Sherpa and members Chris Shumate (49 yrs) of USA, Bruno Gremior (39yrs) of Switzerland together with four High Altitude Climbing Sherpas, Ang Dawa Sherpa, Phurba Sherpa, and Arita Sherpa, stood on the top of Mt. Everest (8848m). They had left Camp 4 (7950m) last night, 10 May at 10 pm.

“Cash for Trash” clean up campaign

Dawa Steven Sherpa said that “This Expedition is focused on climbing in an Eco-sensitive manner to keep Everest clean and collect garbage, debris and waste left by past expedition groups. The collected garbage will be brought down to the Base Camp by members of the clean up team for proper disposal. The Eco Expedition would again be using the alternative energy solutions like the parabolic solar cookers, solar lightings, the ultraviolet light pens for water purification, using portable toilets called CMC (Clean Mountain Can) at C 1and C 2 and toilet bags such as ResTop bags and bring down all human wate produce by Eco Teams to Base Camp for proper disposal.

Until today, 10 May, Eco Everest Expedition 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 led by Dawa Steven Sherpa brought down to base camp more than 13, 500 kilos of  previous expeditions garbage for proper disposal.

In addition wreckage parts of the Italian Army helicopter were also recovered from the edge of the Khumbu Icefall. The helicopter crashed between Camp 1 (6100m) and C 2 (6500m) on Mt. Everest during the Italian Everest Expedition in 1973.

This probably demonstrates the movement of the Khumbu Icefall 1.3 km over the past 36 years. Also more than 400 kilos of human waste produce by Eco Everest Expedition and four died bodies recovered and brought down from the mountain for a dignified burial. Still the the “Cash for Trash” clean up campaign is going on until the end of this climbing season.

At Base Camp, the collected garbage will be sorted into biodegradable and burnable which will be handed over to the Sagarmatha or Everest Pollution Control Committee (SPCC), an NGO based in the Everest region. The non-degradable and non-burnable garbage will be brought to storage in Asian Trekking’s warehouse in Khumjung village.

The sponsors of this year’s Eco Everest Expedition 2011 “Cash for Trash” garbage collection program are Asian Trekking Pvt. Ltd and The North Face.

Dawa Steven Sherpa and his Eco Everest Expedition team are continuing this initiative to create awareness among the local people and among the climbers to help keep Mt. Everest and the Himalayan Mountains clean. Eco Everest Expeditions have been taking a message to “stop climate change” as it destroys the Himalayan environment and threatening the lives and livelihoods of the mountain communities.

Also this year Ken Noguchi, summiteer of Mt.Everest from both North and South Side and Environmental Activist from Japan and his team has jointed forces with Eco Everest Expedition and plans to clean in the extreme altitude at and above Camp 4 (7950m).

Apa’s previous ascents on Mt.Everest:

Ascents of Mount Everest
# Date Expedition
1 May 10, 1990 International
2 May 8, 1991 Sherpa Support/American Lhotse
3 May 12, 1992 New Zealand
4 October 7, 1992 Everest International
5 May 10, 1993 American
6 October 10, 1994 Everest International
7 May 15, 1995 American On Sagarmatha
8 April 26, 1997 Indonesian
9 May 20, 1998 EEE
10 May 26, 1999 Asian-Trekking
11 May 24, 2000 Everest Environmental Expedition
12 May 16, 2002 Swiss Everest 50th Anniversary Expedition 1952-2002
13 May 26, 2003 American Commemorative Expedition
14 May 17, 2004 Dream Everest Expedition 2004
15 May 31, 2005 Climbing for a cure
16 May 19, 2006 Team No Limit
17 May 16, 2007 SuperSherpas™
18 May 22, 2008 The Eco Everest Expediton
19 May 21, 2009 The Eco Everest Expedition
20 May 21, 2010 The Eco Everest Expedition


If you would like to support this project, contact Ang Tshering Sherpa, Asian Trekking(P)Ltd, P.O. Box 3022, Bhagawan Bahal, Thamel, Kathmandu, NEPAL,
Tel: 00 977-1-4424249, 4426947, 4419265, Fax: 00 977-1-4411878
Website:  E-mail:-;

The oldest and most prominent climbing outfitter agency in Nepal, Asian Trekking also personalize Trekking & Climbing Services to meet your needs.

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It’s now or never: huge Everest Summit Push is on

May 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Huge summit push is on at both sides of Everest. Closest to the top are south side climbers, some of who could stand on the summit right now.

Everest North

“This is it! We are leaving BC tomorrow to push for the summit. If all goes well, we should be standing on top of the world in a week or so,” reported ProjectHimalaya/AdventureNomad Kenneth Koh.

Spanish DOS8000 are at 7,050m planning to go up to Camp II.

Everest South

Adventure Consultants have a dual summit bid underway. Deano and Paul should be on final push from C4 today, aiming to summit by mid morning local time on the 11th. The team plans ‘round the clock’ dispatches as they enter the critical final phase of summit bid.

“At this stage we are aware of very few if any other folks attempting the summit on the 11th,” they write.  A second summit bid is planned for Friday 13th (!).

Peak Freaks official summit push starts tomorrow, topping out on the morning of the 12th if all goes well.

Alpine Ascents are close behind: Rob Hart and Michael Horst hope to summit on May 14th.

IMG are ready for summit push as well, scattered up to  C4. Sumit and his team are en route as well.

Seth Wolpin hopes to be heading for the summit from Camp IV at the South Col all day long on Thursday: “PST or EST – doesn’t matter, I should be moving. Hope to summit around 8pm Thursday the 12th PST. 9am the 13th in Nepal.”

David Tait planned to leave BC this morning for his first oxygen-less Everest summit attempt, with finale 4-5 days from now.

Edurne Pasaban and her boys are acclimatizing in C2 dispatched Pablo Diaz-Munio, Expedition Doctor for the 14 +1 Challenge.

(Ed note: pls check separate story posted today for updates on the other peaks.)

Website links to expeditions:

Everest South Side

Peak Freaks
Jim Williams
Gavin Bates
Adventure Consultants
Michael Ortiz
Alpine Ascents International
David Tait
Endesa Edurne Pasaban
Mountain Trip
Scott Woolums’ Blog
Patricio Ramiro Tisalema
Brazilian Rodrigo Raineri
Brazilian young climbing & Hang Gliding website
“Memories Are Everything”
Enkarterri-Bizkaia Expedition
Int’l Mountain Guides
Altitude Junkies
Asian Trekking
Ferran Latorre
Apa Sherpa Eco Everest
Seth Wolpin
RMI Guides
Mountain Madness
Patagonian Brothers’ Blog
Himalayan Ascent
Climbing for a Cause
Himalayan Experience
Kobler & Partner
Dream Guides
Ice 8000
Peak Promotion Nepal
Chris Davenport

Everest North Side:

David Liano
Nick Rice
Spanish Reto Everest 2011
7-Summits Club
Adventure Peaks
Summit Climb
Kobler & Partner


Mingma Sherpa
French-Swiss Expedition
Romanian-Polish-Italian Expedition
Cleo Weidlich


Carlos Soria
Ryan Waters Mtn. Professionals
Ryan Waters Dispatches
Horia Colibasanu
Juanito Oiarzabal
Carlos Pauner
Alpine Ascents International
Summit Climb


Peter Hamor’s Slovak Expedition
Kinga Baranowska
Jagged Globe
Kobler & Partner


South Korean Chang-Ho Kim (no website yet)
Chilean Annapurna Expedition (no website yet)


Czech Climbing & Snowboard Expedition
Manaslu Expedition 2011/Loben Expeditions


Chilean Female Expedition

Shisha Pangma:

Kobler & Partner
Don Bowie
Amical Alpin

Cho Oyu:

Field Touring Alpine
Peak Freak Cho Oyu
Summit Climb
Kobler & Partner

Originally posted at:

Himalaya wrap-up: Cho Oyu BC crowding up, Nones for a new route

September 16, 2010 Leave a comment

More teams are reaching Cho Oyu BC and ABC; Italian Walter Nones will only join the crowd during first stages before tackling a new route on the peak’s west face.

There are new additions on Manaslu ranks.


Alberto Zerain and mates Txingu, Gotzon and Edorta have moved BC from Rongbuk East glacier to Rongbuk glacier, right in front of Everest’s North Face. The weather was still bad according to the Spaniards latest news yesterday.

The Italian expedition sharing the goal with Zerain checked in from Zegar yesterday. For the first time they saw the sun shinning on top the Tibetan plateau. Meanwhile, on the other side of Everest, Eric Larsen is also slowly approaching and enjoying the first post-monsoon sun beams in Pheriche.

Cho Oyu

Two years after losing his mate Karl Unterkircher on Nanga Parbat Rakhiot face, Italian Walter Nones is finally returning to high altitude climbing. The goal is Cho Oyu, via a new route on the mountain’s west flank. “I intend to avoid the traffic jams by climbing a rocky spur which raises on the west side from 7,000 to 7,500 meters,” he told 14x8000er summiteerSilvio Mondinelli will be on the spot too, with four other climbers.

Walter is currently on the way to BC together with Giovanni Macaluso and Manuel Nocker, however, it is unclear whether his mates will attempt the new route or climb via the normal route.

Meanwhile, the guide for SummitClimb, Max Kausch, checked in from Chinese BC yesterday. “There are many expeditions here,” he wrote. “Chinese authorities have mentioned over 50 expeditions climbing Cho Oyu this season.”

The front-line team on Cho Oyu’s normal route right now is IMG’s, with climbers already acclimatizing on their first round to C1. They had the Puja ceremony already last weekend.

A team from Ukraine led by Igor Svergun is on their way as well. Members are Serguey Bublik, Andrew Kyiko, Alexander Zakolodny, with a previous attempt on Manaslu last spring, and some more members on their first Himalayan experience.


Carlos Pauner reached BC yesterday. “Surprisingly, there is no snow in BC, which will make setting up much easier,” his home team noted. Fellow SpaniardOscar Cadiach will depart towards the mountain next week, teaming up with daughter Julia Cadiach and mate Xavi Perez.

Dream Guides team are in Samagaon.

American Cleo Weidlich is the appointed leader of the “East Meet West Manaslu Expedition”, outfitted by Asian Trekking and also including Hungarians Eva Baranyl and Zoltan Janosi; Chinese Sumiyo Tsuzuki, Kristine Kravcova and Chi Sing Tsang; and Latvians Voldemars Sprozs, Viesturs Varpins and Atis Plakans.

Himalaya wrap-up: the season’s soaked kick-off

September 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Himalayan fall season is on and is as humid as ever. Intense monsoon rains this year are making things difficult to trekkers and climbers approaching their targeted goals. Landslides on the road to Tibet are causing massive traffic jams; loads of snow is falling on Everest’s north side, numerous Khumbu-bound teams are stuck in Kathmandu, and Manaslu climbers are trying to approach the mountain by chopper, as the approaching trail is flooded.

Everest’s north side

Alberto Zerain reached slightly over 7,000 meters on Changtse peak last week. “We stopped 300 meters shy from the summit due to the high slab-avalanche risk on both sides of the summit ridge,” he reported. Alberto has also reported on very unstable weather, with almost daily snow showers and sudden changes in conditions.

Done with the acclimatization, the team is moving their camp to the base of Everest’s north face.

The Italian Hornbein team landed in Lhasa yesterday. Member Edmond, who had visited the town back in 2000, could barely recognize it. “It’s larger, cleaner, with better services, but most of its 700,000 inhabitants are Chinese. Tibetans are now a minority,” he said. “We had internet connection in our hotel, but were unable to enter the expedition blog; most foreign websites are blocked,” he said. The team also had their tourist guide-books confiscated at the airport customs, since their headlines read “China & Tibet,” as if they were two different countries.

Everest’s south side

Eric Larsen has been waiting out a rainy spell in Namche Bazaar for three days already. “Catching a flight to Lukla last Thursday seems nothing short of a small miracle,” he explained. “The weather has been so poor that there has not been another flight since. The positive aspect of the weather is the fact that there are not a lot of tourists around right now. Actually, none. Everyone is stuck in Kathmandu.”

Otherwise, Eric is amazed at the “beauty and grandeur” of the place. “This is such a far cry from the landscape of ice and snow of the poles,” he wrote.


Bad weather is also causing trouble to the Spanish climbers on their way to Manaslu: As the trekking trail is swamped Carlos Pauner, Javi Pérez, Xavi Arias and Unai hoped to catch a chopper to Samagaon. Rains, however, forced the helicopter to land at Loh–one day away. The party reached Samagaon on foot yesterday–they’ll stay there three days acclimatizing before proceeding to Manaslu BC.

Dream Guides team members (Kenton Cool guiding five climbers) have just arrived in Samagaon as well.

Cho Oyu

Adventure Consultants team members reached Valley camp (interim camp) yesterday. They are trekking further up to ABC tomorrow. Jagged Globemembers shall be around as well, although they previously reported on serious traffic jams on the road to the Tibetan border, due to landslides. IMG climbers are already in C1.

Shisha Pangma

South Koreans Bo-Sung Hong, Chang-Ho Kim and Sung-Ho Suh are in Kathmandu, preparing to move to Shisha Pangma. The originally planned route is Doug Scott’s, but Kim told ExWeb Korea correspondent Kyu Bam Lee, that Suh and him may attempt a new route. Hong will remain in BC.

Links to fall 2010 Himalaya teams:


Alberto Zerain

Italian Hornbein Team

Eric Larsen

Nobukazu Kuriki


Sechu López

Quebec Defi Manaslu

Xavi Arias

Mexicans Badia & Mauricio

Altitude Junkies

Dream Guides

Cho Oyu

Adventure Consultants

Jagged Globe

Jagged Globe

C.A.B.A. Argentinean team

The image proof: Stangl did not summit K2

September 14, 2010 1 comment

The only K2 summit claimed this season, by Christian Stangl, was at stake since it was announced: fellow climbers in BC suspected the Austrian skyrunner had faked the entire climb.

ExplorersWeb published a complete recount of events that included all versions–including Stangl’s. Shortly after, several climbers posted emails discussing the summit picture provided by Stangl and compared it with other images shot by previous expeditions on the top of K2.

Yesterday, we were prepared to post an update proving that the self-portrait that Christian claimed to have shot on K2 summit had actually been taken in C3. Prior to publishing though, Stangl was asked for comments one last time. Apparently, the new piece of evicence was too much for the Austrian, who broke down and spilled the truth.

Stangl confessed on earlier today that he faked his feat in a “state of coma due to stress and fear of failure.” reported. “During the latest push, I entered a trance-like state in which I was really convinced that I had reached the highest point.”

He now states the supposed summit pic was taken at C3 (as ExplorersWeb had pointed out to him the previous day) and not on top. The fact is right now, it is not yet clear where and, most of all, when the image was shot. Stangl attempted K2 in 2008 and 2009, reportedly reaching 8,300 meters last year.

According to denounced fellow climbers, there were no tracks seen above C1, also no tent or any piece of gear had been touched beyond ABC. Zsolt Torok and a group of Sherpas found inside a tent his sleeping bag, supplies and a book cached behind a rock near ABC.