Caffe Bene Himalayan Traverse Expedition 2016 in Nepal
Kinabalu One-day ascent , 23 August 2013. David makes the first 1-day mobility-impaired climb of Borneo's summit
Qinghai Virgin Peaks Expedition 2012: Tackling 6000m virgin peaks in the Tanggulashan area of Qinghai, China
1st Singapore Everest Expedition: online dispatches of the landmark 1st Singapore Mt Everest Expedition, led by David Lim
Aconcagua 2000: David Lim and Tok Beng Cheong tackle the Polish Traverse in Feb 2000, as part of David's comeback climb from disability
Tien Shan Expedition 2000: David and members of the 2001 Everest Expedition lead and trained a team of novices in the first ever Singapore expedit...
Ojos Del Salado - Chile 2001: The Everest 2001 Expedition’s major warm-up climb prior to the Everest climb in 2001.
Singapore-Latin American Everest Expedition 2001: A climb on the North Rodge of Mt Everest, led by David Lim
Climbing the fabled Mount Ararat in 2001: ” I was fascinated by the tale of Noah’s Ark since I was a kid. In 1986 I took the opportunity to tra...
Ascent 8000: Expedition to Cho Oyu and Shishapangma, two 8000m peaks in 2002 by disabled Singaporean mountaineer David Lim
Alpine Rock in Borneo -2010:Why We Need Heroes: Climbing with Borneo alpine rock with Sir Chris Bonington, the legendary British mountaineer.
Extreme Desert Crossing 2007:David and Shani make the 5th ever recorded crossing on foot of the Salar de Uyuni
The “Spirit of Singapore Expedition 2009”, makes 3 virgin peak ascents including the tough peak later named Majulah Peak
Iran Expedition 2006: Multi-peak ascents in Alam-Kooh, and a climb of the long north ridge of Damavand in the Alborz peaks.
Ojos del Salado 2005: The highest volcano in the world --"Of my many adventures and climbs worldwide, there are a few which taught me the lesson t...
Nike Timing Mt. Fuji Climb 2004: David, Ting Sern and Masaharu make an attempt on Mt Fuji in the winter from the Yoshida trailhead.
Mountain of the Star Expedition 2003: An all-disabled mountaineers’ ascent of Pico de Orizaba, 5700m, Mexico’s highest peak and North America...
Maccoffee Tienshan Virgin Peaks Expedition: David leads his team to make the first virgin peak ascents by a Southeast Asian expedition. The team cl...
Kilimanjaro 2011: David Lim returns to Kilimanjaro to climb it from the Rongai Route.
Elbrus 2003: Climbing highest summit of Europe - in 2003. David teams up with Grant and Rudolf in Russia...
Kilimanjaro Challenge 2004: Four disabled mountaineers atempt a remote route on the northern icefields of Mount Kilimanjaro (5895m), the summit of ...

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Mother’s Day

Dear Friends,

Today’s weather at Base Camp is beautiful, bright sun and clear blue sky, with little wind. The 3 climbers (Roz, Dav, Gil) are now forging their way up to ABC from I-C. They plan to rest one day at ABC (tomorrow). If the weather permits, they plan to ascend North Col the day after tomorrow. Some American climbers and sherpas have already reached camp 6 today. They were in position for the first ever summit attempt tomorrow after two months into the season. We wish them good luck!

On behalf of Everest 2001 team, We would like to wish every mom in Singapore and around the world a HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY.

Signing Off,
Ting Sern & Beng Cheong

Bobby Traps in the Snow

As the Base Camp is right in the middle of nowhere, we need toilets to dispose of our human waste as well. Well, the toilets are really nothing much – just some “rock walls” built out of small boulders to surround a “pit” for us to dump our waste. The weather (very dry and cold air, hot and cold temperatures) will help nature dispose of the waste pretty fast.

The problem I discovered yesterday morning, was after a heavy snowfall, the snow covers the “dump” pretty efficiently too. When I went up to the open toilet after breakfast – my normal routine, I found that I could not even see the droppings that was deposited just an hour ago. Treading through the snow, I just hoped I don’t stepped on a “bobby trap” that was laid by another fellow human being.

I am wondering how the rest of the base camp folks avoid this problem?

Ting Sern

Dear Friends,

After 2 full days of heavy snowing the team decided to move up to Intermidiate Camp then to Advance Basecamp to wait for a good weather window for the summit bid. The team only consist of David, Gil and Roz. I have given up my summit chance due to my persistent respiratory problem and my deteriorating cough has been causing pain to my right chest and now extended to the back of my right shoulder blade. The Basecamp doctor here has given me advice not to go any higher. Apart from taking painkiller to ease the pains, the doctor recommended leaving base camp for recovery as soon as the team is back from their last summit push.

Personally, I’m fully aware of my health and I knew that my chances of recovery at this altitude is really very slim. Whatever the outcome, I’m glad to be part of the team to make it this far. The prospect of not being able to climb the mountain or make the summit has been a great impact to me. However, as the time passed, I have learned to accept this reality and to make necessary adjustment so as to make full use of my time while being here at Everest North Base Camp. I wish the rest of team member good luck for their summit bid and most important, to return safely.

Signing Off,
Beng Cheong

This email’s sponsor features -

GNC – General Nutrition Centers
Is the Expedition’s Official Nutritional Planner and have supplied the team with a variety of supplements which include the powerful antioxidants Pycnogenols; All- Carbo – energy supplements, multivitamins and more. Many thanks to GNC for keeping us in tip-top shape!

Summit Push Postponed

Dear Friends,

Thanks for warm wishes from Chua Cheng Tee, Mark and Lisa, Outdoor Specialists, Chris and Al Silva, Ken Kay, Nancy Blossom, Carrie Stewart, Russ Kohl and whole heap of others. Frank Katch: yes, we do have a physical evaluation before we go (had a max VO2 test in SIngapore, twice in the past 8 months). Calories-wise, we consume about 1,500 up high on the mountain – unfortunately we burn off about 4,000-8,000 daily when climbing hard. So when down in basecamp, we makeup for the deficits. Still, we will likey lose about 3 – 4 kg of body mass when we finish the expedition
Our webmaster, George, informs us our hit count since the website’s launch in March 2000 has topped 1 million. We’ve also been featured on MacCentral. Macs rule! :-)

We’ve had heavy snow all night and most of yesterday afternoon. Reports from the North Col say most of or tents are almost buried and there is some avalanche risk on the slopes to the Col. It’s back to a waiting game. We talked about it this morning and have decided to postpone the bid by a day at least. The weather forecasts suggest more snow for the next few days. Some of us are pretty antsy right now having been at basecamp for almost 2 weeks. But that being said, none of us here want to wind up a landmark on the mountain – 44 bodies still up there are testament to the seriousness of the route. Will keep you posted.


Carrying the Rock!!

The team proudly carrying the flags of Singapore (left) and Brazil (right).

Dear Friends,

It’s set. We leave basecamp tomorrow (May 11) for the summit push, with actual summit day being on May 17th. If the weather looks iffy, we may hole up at ABC for one or more days. Currently, the jetstream is still away from Everest although the afternoon snow showers at Basecamp suggest large rloads of snow higher on the mountain. We need some friendly breezes up high to shift this stuff. Unfortunately, winds up high aren’t so good for climbing. Weather forecasts from Meteorological Service of Singapore are good for 4 days but our summit push will take 6-7 days – so we must move and assess the situation as we get higher. So far, to our knowledge, there have been no summit successes this season although we have news that several teams are moving up in our same time frame.

Today, Roz and Gil studied the aerial photos of the route as well as the oxygen equipment and protocols. Both are in good health. We’ll likely be breathing bottled 02 from Camp 5 at about 2.5 litres per minute; cranking it up over more difficult ground. Of course, we will have to take this camp by camp.

Our final rations will include Brands Essence of Chicken, GNC-supplied All-Carbo drink mix, 151 bars as well as freeze dried foods and other drink mixes. Going up to will be the handy Canon MV31 digital video cams and G1 Powershot digital still.

Personally, I’ll be also carrying a few momentoes including a small rock taken from near the summit of Mt Everest in 1998. It was a gift from my friend and Everest summitter Alan Silva. The condition that came with it was that I had to put it back some day. Let’s see how far it goes on this trip!

Keep track of us on our website, “the” source for news on the Expedition,


Report in Portuguese


A hora esta chegando..amanha partimos do Base para entao tentar o cume. O previsto, se tudo correr bem, serao 7 dias daqui ao cume – 17/maio. 2 dias ate o base avancado (6.600m), um dia de decanso, depois colo norte (7.100m), campo 5 (7.800m), Campo 6 (8300) e cume. Retorno em 4 a 5 dias. Para o sucesso da expedicao necessitamoos que tres variaveis sejam totalmente favoraveis: 1 – a nossa condicao fisica; 2 – nossa condicao fisiologica de suportar a extremas altitudes e 3 – o clima (sorte), precisamos que o tempo esteja bom, sem tempestades ou ventos fortes…senao nao dah! Tambem nao podemos ficar esperando no ABC o tempo melhorar, pois nao ha recuperacao fisica aquelas altitudes (6.600m), um ou dois dias tudo bem, mais que isso nao. Escalar o Everest eh um jogo um tanto dificil nao? ficamos tanto tempo se aclimatando, subindo e descendo, e quando vamos para cima eh tudo ou nada, o tempo eh curto, precisamos contar com o “apoio da montanha”…acho que eh ela quem decide..por assim dizer.

Dois dias atras, Rozani, Beng Cheong e eu tivemos umas pequenas “ferias” de dois dias. Descemos a uma altitude de 4.400m numa tipica vila Tibetana. Foi maravilhoso ver o verde novamente (graminias no fundo do vale), dormir numa cama e ficar de camiseta tomando um pouco de sol pela manha. Ao longo dos vales existem inumeras vilas tibetanas, agricolas. As construcoes sao todas iguais, quadradas, de adobe, brancas ou bejes e com as janelas e portas muito coloridas. As casas nao tem telhado, apesar de ter cobertura por causa do frio e vento. Alimentacao a base de arroz, ovo e legumes. Voltamos ontem e hoje eh o dia de preparacao para subir.

Torcam e rezem por nos. Faremos o possivel.

Forte abraco a todos,




Going for the top

Dear Friends,

Our webmaster has informed us, thanks to your enthusiasm, that the Everest website now gathers almost 300,000 hits monthly!

On a more frustrating note is that we have been having repeated problems in securing a satellite uplink at times through our service provider ACes. Numerous explanations such as atmospherics and so on havent really convinced us. There are days when we have been successful in making a standard phonecall but unsuccessful in making a data upload/download. Additionally, on some days, our American friends next door have had no problems making a data connection whilst we might have to try 20-30 times before securing a link.

The good news is that we do have an alternative/backup provider which often works flawlessly (though at a more costly rate). We look forward to getting a solution to this frequent problem from ACes soon.


Once we have a final discussion this afternoon, the team will depart from basecamp for a summit push on May 10/11. The summit team of Roz, Gil and David will move to ABC and then the North Col. Should weather reports suggest favourable winds, we will make a long long push to Camp 5 at 7,900m. This will certainly be the hardest day other than summit day. Climbing without oxygen to Camp 5 will break all Singapore oxygen-free climbing altitude records. Beng Cheomg will climb to the Col with us , health permitting. Time has run out for him with respect to a summit climb and acclimatisation levels. As for Gil, he is an integral part of the team and we hope we hear scant carping from ill-informed nationalists should he be the only one to summit (!)

Personally,I’m not sure if I can make such a hard day to Camp 5, especially with a strong wind from the west. In any case, I’m taking it camp by camp. Roz and Gil are stronger and faster and will give the route a go for sure. If all goes well, the following day will see us climbing to Camp 6 at 8,300m with bottled oxygen. The route on the north ridge is complex; following a series of highly exposed ledges and ramps. From Camp 6, summit day will involve traversing the Yellow Band, a section of different rock. This involves finding the right gully to ascend before approaching the First Step, a big rock step involving some rock climbing and scrambling. The body of Frances Arsentiev lies at the foot of the Step and is a grisly marker since 1998. All anchors of the fixed ropes in place will be viewed with suspicion owing to the friable nature of the rock overall.

Above the the First Step, the route traverses highly exposed ledges which are poorly protected. The dropoffs at many points here are 2,000-3,000 metres into the Central Rongbuk Glacier. After an hour, the Second Step is reached. The crux pitch is made easier by the yawing, creaky and weathered aluminium ladder from the 1975 expedition. Above the infamous Step are bodies of two Ladakhi climbers from 1996, another macabre reminder of the seriousness of this route. The Third Step can be tackled head on or sidestepped. Even then, the final summit slopes can be loaded with avalanche-prone windslab snow and an avalanche here can also see you down to the Central Rongbuk Glacier. In good conditions, the summit can be reached in 8 hours.

Then the hardest and most dangerous part – descending in possibly deteriorating weather conditions. Hopefully the exit gully entrance can be found and a safe passage made back to Camp 6 before nightfall and the expiry of oxygen supplies.

I give thanks daily that I am even here and in climbing shape and pray for a safe summit attempt for our entire group. TS will fill in with news of our progress.
David Lim
Expedition Leader.

Today’s Supporter Feature:

The club, one of the leading city recreation and sporting clubs since 1883, is supporting the Expedition
through providing venues for its pre- and post-expedition events. The Expedition’s official send-off ceremony was held at the club on March 20th.

Brand’s essence of beef??

Dear Friends,

Today, something definitely of interest to one of our staunch supporters, Mr Lam Pin Woon, CEO of Cerebos Pacific and owners of the Brands Essence of Chicken marque. We have a photo of a 1933 label from a container of “Brand and Co,”s Essence of Beef”. Brand and Co. was the predecessor of the current “Brands” label. Of special note is that this label was found by the Mallory-Irvinee Research Expedition 2001 (see Eric Simonson, the expedition leader, in consultation with the sponsor who has photo rights, has kindly agreed to let us use this remarkable picture of the label found 2 weeks ago at over 8,000 metres on Mt Everest from the 1933 British Everest Expedition. Looks like Brands goes a long way! The label itself has quaint exhortations to ” Beware Imitations” and lengthy preparation instructions.

Although I do not think Brands makes an essence of beef anymore, the Essence of Chicken we have been taking has been very popular, even amongst various American professional climbers here at basecamp.

Go to to support our charity drive for the Society for the Physically Disabled! Many thanks

Pic by Andy Politz/2001 Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition/Corbis Sygma

Gil, Roz and BC will return from Tashi Zum tomorrow. Today, we looked at incredibly detailed aerial photo maps of the summit route. It is very complicated and the is a reflection of the seriousness of the route. We’ll have more discussions about this before we leave. Today is the BEST summit day we have seen and one wonders if the fine summit weather has come 2 weeks early and we are missing the boat….We hope there will be another round in mid-May allowing some of us to have a good crack at the route.


Today’s sponsor feature:
Singapore Technologies is one of the Expedition’s premiere sponsors.

The Singapore Technologies (ST) Group is a leading multinational conglomerate whose uniquely diverse portfolio allows it to provide a full array of multi-disciplinary capabilities. Our activities include research and development, design and engineering, and precision manufacturing in the following five core business areas:

Engineering Business Group: production, upgrading, development and maintenance of complex engineering systems in specialised fields ranging from aerospace to medical equipment.

Technology Business Group: operating high value-added businesses in the semiconductor, telemedia and electronics and IT industries.

Infrastructure & Logistics Business Group: development and management of industrial parks and resorts, providing logistics and marine-related services, and conducting lifestyle operations.

Property Business Group: development, investment and management of diversified properties both locally and overseas.

Financial Services Business Group: stock-broking, growth financing, mezzanine financing, debt origination and distribution and venture capital investments.

Rescues and Warm Weather

Dear Everest Addicts and Friends,

Many thanks for the kind words from Debi Cornish, Marc le Menestrel, Ken Phua and all our friends.

Positively roasting here today at basecamp with low winds and popcorn-hot sunshine. Am in a T-shirt pounding this out at 3.30pm here. That being said, winds, rain and snow is expected in the next few days. Roz, Beng Cheong and Gil took a jeep down today o a village at about 4,000m to enjoy the warmer and thicker air as well as to sort out their various health problems. They be back on the 9th, 2 days before our summit climb on the 11th. As for me, I prefer the dependable levels of food and water hygiene here!

Yesterday’s rescue of a Chinese glaciologist should be credited to Eric Simonson’s fine team of guides and the extra help from a team of sherpas, Tibetan yakherders and two American climbers descending from ABC. Word got out that two sick Chinese glaciologists were descending from ABC. Within a few hours, two climbers on Eric’s permit were at the scene assisting as were three American guides who had postponed their summit push. By turning around and coordinating sherpas and other helpers, they almost certainly saved the life of the sicker of the two Chinese. The turning point was when the stretcher party reached the Intermediate Camp (5,900m). Here, oxygen was available to the non-ambulant victim (he was suffering from a combination of cerebral and pulmonary edema-PE). He was already incoherent, frothing bloody sputum at the mouth – all sure signs of advanced PE.

A high flow rate of oxygen was supplied and laborious task of carrying him down the rugged terrain to basecamp went on for hours. Additional guides were dispatched up as were what sherpas were available at our basecamp. Gil and I had returned to basecamp from a four hour hike when we realised the scale of this operation. Again, our portable altitude chamber at basecamp provided additional support when the casualties were finally brought in at 7pm+.

After two hours in the pressure bag and on oxygen plus a plethora of altitude sickness drugs administered by Dr Lee Meyers, the victim was placed into a jeep with a third tank of oxygen and driven with his teammates down to Shigatse (12 hours away) where a hospital exists. It won’t be known until the team of glaciologists return whether or not he survived unscathed.

An interesting note is that this team arrived at Basecamp and moved to ABC at 6,500m only after two days of acclimatisation at basecamp (5,300m). Worse, they said they had done prior scientific trips to the area on a similarly aggressive schedule and had had members suffer ill-effects. All I can quote is climber John Bachar’s view on mountaineering Darwinism: “Dumb ones die”.

On a more positive note, it is thanks to expeditions like the one we’re sharing a camp with that allows for committed, competent and well-equipped rescues to happen and for lives to be saved.

Today’s picture is by Rozani “Terry La France climbing up the North Col in bad weather”

We’ll have Roz’s personal account of his climb to the Col and above when he returns.


Pic by Rozani “Terry La France climbing up the North Col in bad weather”.

Hi everyone,

Yesterday evening, Rozani made it back to base camp. He went on an acclimatization climb to North Col. He’s resting up now.

Today, David & Gil went trekking up a ‘frozen’ river about 100m away from base camp. After more than a week at Basecamp, itchy feet dictated a 4 hour hike up towards Kellas Peak via the interesting frozen river.

Currently, there’s a rescue of a sick Chinese climber who’s being stretchered down from ABC. It looks grim. More details later.

Ting Sern


Hoje eh o nosso 9 dia aqui no Base e tivemos 3 dias com tempo mais agradavel…pouco vento. Aproveitamos ontem para ir conhecer o Monasterio de Rongbuck que fica a uns 6km daqui. Este monasterio, parcialmente destruido, eh o mais alto do mundo (5.000m) e tem uma visao do priviligiada do Everest. Hoje, David e eu subimos um vale aqui proximo. O fundo do vale eh praticamente um glacial com uma largura aproximada de 20m e todo em degraus, o que facilita a subida. O contraste do gelo muito branco com as rochas nuas ao redor eh surreal.

Bem, o tempo “considerado” bom esta acabando e a previsao para a amanha jah eh de muito vento. Inclusive volta o “Jet stream” nas altitudes acima dos 8.000m, impossibilitando chegar ao cume do Everest nestes dias.

Rozani voltou ontem do Colo Norte e esta bem. Devemos ir para cima novamente ai pelo dia 10 ou 11 de maio.

Novamente agradeco aos e-mails de incentivo. Saibam que eh com muita alegria que os recebemos…pois aqui eh dureza mesmo.

Para aqueles que perguntaram a sequencia de escalada eh a seguinte. Inicio: Campo Base (5.400m); 2 – Campo Base Avancado (ABC _ 6.500m), dois dias de caminhada do Base; 3 – Colo Norte a 7.100m; 4 – Campo 5 a 7.800m; 5 – Campo 6 a 8.300m; 6 – Cume a 8.850m :o )…No site tem um mapa que dah para entender direitinho.



Hi everyone!

Today is our 9th day down in the Base Camp and we had 3 days with slightly better weather… less wind. Yesterday, we used the day to visit the Rongbuk Monastery, about 6km far from here. This partially destroyed monastery is the highest in the world at 5,000m, and has a wonderful view of the Everest. Today, David and I went walked up a valley close to the BC, whose bottom is practically a glacier 20m wide, shaped like steps, which makes walking
easier. The view formed by the contrast of the very white ice and the bare rocks around it is surreal.

Well, the weather that we “considered” good, is running out and the forecast is of strong winds, including jet streams over 8,000m, making it impossible for one to reach the summit of Everest in the next few days.

Rozani came back yesterday from the North Col and is feeling good. We shall be climbing up again around May 10th or 11th.

Once again I thank you for the motivating emails, it is very pleasant for us to receive them… it is really tough here.

For those how asked the climbing sequence, here it is:
Start: Base Camp – 5,400m
Advanced Base Camp, ABC – 6,500m, two days walking from BC
North Col – 7,100m
Camp 5 – 7,800m
Camp 6 – 8,300m
Summit – 8,850m

Big Hug,

TODAY, we feature …

Established in 1993, the SMF has been the national sporting association for mountaineering and climbing sports. It currently has 15 affiliate club members of which the Mountaineering Society is one. The SMF’s role is to represent Singapore’s climbing interests at home and abroad. SMF’s endorsement of the Expedition is in line with encouraging and promoting self-regulation and accountability in mountain sports in Singapore.

$10 to Rongbuk Monastry

Dear Friends,

It has been snowing all night at Basecamp. It was like a white Christmas day being captured in a black & white photo. The snow dump is ever bigger up above ABC, resulted in a decision made by the sherpas to return back down to ABC. These sherpas were supposed to assist an American climber up for his summit bid this morning. Looks like his effort of 12 hours pushed yesterday to Camp 5 was really wasted.

This morning, Gil and David managed to catch a good deal from the Chinese jeep driver to go down to Rongbuk Monestary for a visit. Well, due to their problem of speaking Mandarin, I went along to assist. We went looking for Mr.Lui, our LO to ask for the cost of hiring a jeep. We couldn’t find him in his office. Everything was locked up?. We thought whether today is a Chinese public holiday? Eventually, after asking around, we found Mr. Lui with three other Chinese guys gambling inside a Chinese teahouse tent. We were told by Mr. Lui that the standard cost of jeep hire to Rongbuk Monestary is US$10/- per person.

After hearing myself and Ting Sern experience a 6 hour walk, there and back, Dave and Gil decided to chill out and take the jeep option. They had a great photography trip as Everest was in full view! The only disadvantage is, they started a bit late… Yup! They missed a great lunch at Basecamp!

Signing Off,
Beng Cheong

Nera sponsorship of the Worldphone The expedition has been using the Nera Worldphone for connecting into the INMARSAT system as a means of electronic communications. The Worldphone reliability to date has been excellent. No problems were encountered in its usage so far. Our thanks to Nera Singapore for sponsoring us this highly reliable piece of equipment.

Blue Cheese and Newspapers

Dear Friends,

It’s been a blustery day, full of sunshine, snow showers and hope. Up high Rozani and Terry La France (one of the non-guided climbers on the USA team) made a foray uphill on the North Ridge. The plan was to reach Camp 5, a tough prospect at 7,900m. The actual vertical distance needed to be covered from the North Col (7,000m) is, by comparison 50% farther than the equivalent day from the Lhotse Face camp to South Col on the regular route on the Nepal side. Additionally, no bottled oxygen is usually used. But hey, this is the North side and things are a bit different here. Harder. Farther. Colder. Windier.

Rozani and Terry reached 7,300m thereabouts before turning back in the face of strong, cold winds. Both are back safely at the Col now.

Down here, I received by goodie bag from home, courtesy of our Official Support Trek. Many thanks! What’s in it some of you may ask – well, batteries for TS’s hearing aids, blue cheeses (now a bit green), sticks of smoked cheese and nuts for nibbling up high, letters from my girlfriend Maureen – yet to be opened, medicines for our coughs especially, a copy of The Straits Times – (Singapore’s major English language broadsheet). It also happens to be printed by one of major supporters, Singapore Press Holdings. Dated or not, this was too good to resist (see photo attached) after 5 weeks from home. Needless to say, nothing much happening to draw us away from the action and views here – unless you are a die-hard TV football fanatic.

Needless to say, Maureen’s letters will keep me a bit warmer tonight. That’s all for today, folks.

Dave, signing off.


has traditionally assisted charities, sporting and educational events and causes. We thank the Foundation for supporting this major sporting event with a cash contribution.

Leaving dingy Dingri, our vehicles dropped us at the village of Lungjang, where we would commence our 4-day trek to Everest Base Camp. Our group from the Nature Society of Singapore – Seng, Yi Lin, Peishan, Betty, Graeme, Juggi, Raymond, ET and myself – had spent the week sightseeing and acclimitasing in the cities of Tibet. Most were itching to exercise their trekking legs, and some asked why we were just spend half a day trekking on day one? 4 hours later, they would be asking when we would be stopping for the day. Altitude does have an effect on attitude.

We camped the first windy night next to a local “drokpa” (nomadic) camp, and the following night, near the village of Zomphu (4,720m), after crossing the Lamna La (5,200m pass).From Zomphu, the highest permanent settlement in the Everest region, we get the first glimpse of Everest and our adrenaline going. The trail descends gently down a moonscape of barren valley and hills. We encounter a couple of shepherds who demonstrated the power of their slingshots (do not mess with them because they can hurl a rock a few hundred metres with deadly accuracy).

Fish with altitude! The water was at most two feet deep.

We followed the drainage downstream and encountered some “high-altitude fish”; I had read about them and expected them to be small to survive the harsh environment. There were at least 2 species of fish and the bigger ones were about 50 cm long! Wonder how high-altitude fish taste? (Because we left them in the stream). The stream soon met in a confluence with the Dzakar Chu, which is the main river draining the Rongphu area. We examined the ruins of Chophuk, a cave hermitage built into the precipitous limestone cliffs. We soon did our second river-fording of the trek one could choose to get their feet wet, or tread on stones in the freezing waters. Today we felt like fish out of water, and we needed the help of our vehicles, in the last section, to get us to our destination Dza Rongphu monastery the grounds of which would be our camp for 3 nights.

Everest Basecamp in the distance, from another camp.

It took us three, dusty and windy hours to trek to EBC from Rongphu. Even then, it was a monumental effort to locate the Singapore camp, for there are at least 4 major campsites spread over the expansive Rongphu glacier, not in line-of-sight with one another. David, Beng Cheong, Gils and WTS were delighted to receive their first Singaporean visitors (Roz was on the mountain); all looked well and in high spirits. David entertained the group with the latest tales on both sides of Everest. Some of the group called home using one of widgets under WTS’s care. Beng Cheong was busy filming and photographing the group a welcome change of models? Gils looked the same as he did at sea level fit with a healthy appetite. The next day, we were back to trek beyond EBC, further up the glacier taking full advantage of our well-acclimatized bodies as well as visit the memorial of mountaineers who did not make it down the glacier over the years.

Everest Basecamp from the Rongbuk Glacier.

Support Trek Arrives!

Dear Friends,

Highlight of today was the visit of our first Singaporean visitors – our Official Support Trek. 9 members led by Kelvin Chen popped by with truck in the late morning and spent a few hours here. They’ll be back tomorrow from their Rongbuk Monastery camp (13km away) for some hiking at and above basecamp. All appeared in good health and spirits. Quite sporting of them to do the 4 day trek – appproach. We’re delighted with the goodie packs brought by them for us. These included spare batteries for TS’s hearing aids, Singapore snacks, letters, photos etc. from loved ones. Ah – a whiff of home!

Today, Rozani is climbing up to the North Col. Weather over here is cloudy with basecamp mostly in the sun. Winds higher up are moderate. If this prevail tomorrow, Rozani may be up to setting a supplementary oxygen-free record for Singapore climbers, climbing to or near to 7900m without using the aid of bottled oxygen – we’ll see what happens tomorrow.

Down here, we’ve been talking tactics and timings. There is a possibility that we’ll be climbing in 2 separate teams for the summit owing to our different acclimatisation levels, with summit days being between May 16 – 21.

On a sobering note, last night, we discussed the matter of dead bodies. Many of the American climbers on Eric Simonson’s teams have been over this ground before and the sighting and climbing around bodies has happened. We know that there are at least three recent bodies from 1996 and 1998 on the actual summit route – 3 Ladakhis who died in the May 10 -11 storm, also Francis Arsentiev, whose body is frozen into the section below the First Step, about 4 hours above Camp 6. These people were once a son, a daughter, wife to a family. If they are too affixed/iced-up to the mountain to be removed with respect and committed to the mountain we need to maintain respect for their lives and deaths by moving with prudence and caution around their remains.

From Rongbuk BC,

Support trek group at basecamp rongbuk chatting with members Gil and David (far left).
Pic: by Beng Cheong on the IXUS

David Lim wears a Toe-Off orthotic on his right foot.


The expedition’s sole ‘foreign’ sponsor, Camp is a Swedish firm specialising in orthotics manufacture. Expedition leader David Lim wears a Toe-Off orthotic to stabilise his disabled right ankle when he’s not climbing mountains. The kevlar, carbon fibre and glass fibre composite orthotic delivers a springboard action and helps encourage a natural gait for people with an active lifestyle. Camp is proud to associate itself with this Expedition.

Read Kelvin’s report on his visit to the Basecamp!

Another Day at Basecamp

Dear Friends,
Many thanks for your continued support, warm emails – especially from old friends : Chuck Demarest, Tim Brewton, Christine and Alan, BK Lim and family.

Today, its snowy over Everest and Rozani is plugging his way up to ABC. At basecamp, we’ve been troubleshooting a malfunctioning solar panel and taking some additional video footage. Health: Gil and my throats have been improving although persistent dry coughs are nagging. The situation is, however, not as bad as in 1998 when , by this stage, I had already sustained a strained intercostal muscle or torn cartilage. Beng Cheong’s upper respiratory tract isn’t improving and with each passing day, we fear for his chances of a summit bid.

The current plan is to go for the top in mid May with a summit day being somewhere (health and weather permitting) between May 18 – 21. Should Beng not be able to complete his 7,000m acclimatisation cycle in the next week or so, he won’t be joining us for the summit bid as described, There is a slim chance he might be able to go it alone with a sherpa in support for a late-May summit shot but this is just speculation at the moment. If his condition persists, it will inadvisable for him to go higher and the expedition might be over for him.

A word about our camp. Owing to various financial reasons, we were unable to have our 100% independent expedition this time round. I’m working with my old friend Eric Simonson to share basecamp resources as well as resources up on the hill. This can be a constraint at times. However, on the upside, getting to hang with his Malllory +Irvine Search team is an eyeopener. So far, we’ve enjoyed the wisdom, humour and company of such illustrious professional climbers such as Dave Hahn, Brent Okita, Andy Politz, Tap Richards, Jake ‘ Dai’ Norton and John Race. Many of these were also on Eric’s 1999 expedition which found the remains of legendary British climber George Mallory. The findings helped answer old questions as well as raise new possibilities as to whether or not the pair did climb Everest in 1924.

Detailed reports on this year’s findings to can be found on Eric’s IMG 8000 website at


DDB is a leading international advertising and communications agency. They have been providing the team with pro bono advertising, layout and design services. Many thanks to Greg, Lennard, Scott and the whole DDB team.

Chickens and Altitude

Dear Friends,

Special hellos to Greg Taucher and the DDB team for the recent email.

Over here, the weather has been warming up a bit although this has been accompanied by snow showers at night and in the day at Basecamp Rongbuk. As a reminder of the harsh conditions and risks of high altitude travel, we had yet another case of a sick climber/ trekker from Scotland who needed to go down late last night. However, our Tibetan jeep driver just had had a 10 hour drive up from Tingri and refused to go back out in the dark again. So the invalid was kept on oxygen for a while. We understand he finally went down in the wee hours of the morning.

Many expeditions come to the north side without contracting for a jeep of their own. Certainly, the Chinese Mountaineering Association (CMA) camp keeps a standby jeep at all times but when it is away for any reason, emergency evacuations are delayed. This is largely because few of the 20-odd expeditions here bother with or can afford their own jeep for which the CMA charges a princely sum of USD$6,000. What then happens is that expeditions which do have a jeep of their own get numerous requests from lesser financed expeditions for use of their vehicle. Ironically, many of these expeditions without jeeps of their own are commercially organised ones; charging strangers large sums of money for a shot at Everest in exchange for providing the logistics of the climb. The upshot of these developments is: caveat emptor. On Everest, you normally get what you pay for.

The highlight of last night here in the dining tent was the appearance of fried chicken. Personally, this is the first fresh chicken to pass my lips in one month. It’s also interesting to note how we’ve been sleeping over rocks, sand and ice for over a month – such is the lot of the expedition climber!

On a sadder note, this morning , we heard of the death of Babu Chiri Sherpa on the south side ( Nepal ) of the mountain. Apparently, he had been taking pictures near the relatively safe ground of Advance Base Camp when he fell into a crevasse and was killed. His body was brought down to Basecamp and flown to Kathmandu shortly afterwards. Babu was an enormously strong climber who had made headlines through his record breaking speed climbs of Everest as well being the first person to spend the night on the summit of Mt Everest. My personal memories of him is that of an extremely pleasant fellow who was only to happy to offer tea whenever I was descending/returning to my Everest basecamp in 1998. His camp was situated 50m from ours and his cheery smile was always welcome. Our condolences to his friends and family.

Rozani has gone up to Advance Basecamp today with the company of an American climber, with a view of completing his 7,000m acclimatisation cycle. Beng Cheong, who was supposed to have also been on this rotation is still feeling under the weather and has remained at Basecamp. The uneven acclimatisation levels of our team will mean some adjustments in our summit climbs. There may be a possibility that we might not be able to climb in a team of four as originally planned. Early days yet.

Hello Everyone,

Today is rest day at base camp. Nothing significant is happening right now. Everybody is relaxing or charging up energy for the next saga.

Tomorrow, Rozani and Terry (an American climber) MIGHT be going up to North Col. This is a big MAYBE – because if Terry is not going up, Rozani won’t be allowed to venture up alone. Climbing alone is not done.

Beng Cheong’s health has not been improving since he returned to Base Camp. The team is now debating what to do with him.

A video filming session was scheduled with the various members of the expedition – WTS (to explain the innards of power supply, satellite communications, and the operations of Apple Powerbooks), Rozani & Gil (to give their reports on the various aspects of the expedition so far). Gil gave his comments in both English and Portugese.

Ting Sern


Thanks to Fatoma and her team, the expedition’s major public events and PR exercises have gone smoothly and have also been fun events!