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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ing Sern’s Life at Basecamp

Basecamp can be both boring and exciting, depending on events that happen here.

Firstly, what are my routine jobs (the boring ones)?

a) Set up the power supply unit for all the electronic equipment. Since all computers (Apple Powerbooks) and satellite communications equipment (Nera Worldphone & Ericsson R190 ACeS) depend on electrical power, this will the most important job for me. We generate electricity from solar energy (the cleanest, non polluting source) by using solar panels. The solar panels we use are a pair of UNISOLAR 30 watts foldable panels, capable of giving a minimum output of 30 watts at 12 volts. I have measured power output as high as 2.9 amps at 25.6 volts (thereby exceeding the manufacturer’s specifications). We can’t feed the power output from the solar panels directly into electronic equipment since the power will not be constant, but fluctuate – depending on the quality of the sunlight at any given instance. A solar “charge controller” (ProStar 30) is used to control the power of the solar panels, to charge a reserve bank of sealed lead acid batteries (SLAB), and to regulate the quality of the electrical output from the system. We use two 7AH (amp hour) SLABs and one 2.6 AH SLAB. The number of SLABs that we can carry depends on the total weight we are prepared to carry, since SLAB are not light. The ProStar 30 is capable of delivering 30 amps at 12Volts sustained – and this has been confirmed in tests conducted by me in Singapore.

b) Set up the computers for Satcoms (satellite communications) operations. This is rather technical – but I shall explain the basics here. We use 2 forms of SATCOMS here – one in fallback operations to the other. The system of choice (the cheaper system in terms of airtime) is the ACeS (Asian Cellular Satellite) system and the mode of delivery is the Ericsson R190 ACeS handphone. The ACeS system can only be used in ASIA but it can access worldwide phone numbers. Cost of airtime is about US$0.80 per minute. The backup system is the Inmarsat (International Maritime Satellite) system and the mode of delivery is the Nera Worldphone. The Inmarsat system is worldwide in reach. Cost of airtime (commercial rate) is US$3.00 per minute, although the expedition has secured substantial discount of airtime from SINGTEL (Singapore Telecoms) – it is still very expensive, compared with the rates charged by ACeS. Both systems are essentially for voice mode, although both of them also offers data mode (only 2400 bits per second) which is what the expedition is using for the bulk of data transmission to / from Base Camp. Even though the Inmarsat system is expensive compared to ACeS, it makes up for it for its reliability under adverse conditions which the ACeS system will fail. Also, at this present moment, we have encountered operational problems with ACeS system that makes fallback to Inmarsat system mandatory at times.

Both the systems are attached to the Apple Powerbook in its own distinct ways. The ACeS system is hooked up to the Powerbook via its own extension cable (from the handphone) and plugs into a PSION Gold Card modem (ISDN & Cellular capable), which goes into the Apple’s PCMCIA’s slot. On the other hand, the Nera Worldphone is hooked into the Apple Powerbook’s USB port via a XIRCOM serial to USB convertor. The Nera Worldphone has its own 9 pins serial port.

To maintain two separate systems and keep both of them functional demand skills not commonly found in most people!

Because the satellite links are so slow (2400 bps – compared with 56,000 bps found in most homes in Singapore, and for the lucky few – 512,000 bps or even faster with CABLE or ADSL links), we have to restrict the kind of output we can receive and send. Anything that takes longer than 10 minutes to send per item is a definite NO NO.


The Nera Worldphone is hooked into the Apple Powerbook’s USB port via a XIRCOM serial to USB convertor. The Nera Worldphone has its own 9 pins serial port.

c) Maintain the hardware and software in good running order. We are operating at 5,200m, an altitude that is way above any manufacturer’s limits. 99% of all commercially obtained hardware limits the operating altitude to 10,000 feet or 2,500m. All the hardware we use at Base Camp is at least twice the height of the limits imposed by manufacturers. Also, the environment here is very dry and dusty. It is a tribute to the various manufacturers that the equipment we use here can work at all!

Even then, hardware will eventually fail if used in prolonged conditions that are prevalent in Base Camp. To prepare for that eventuality, we bring hardware diagnostic equipment (Fluke Digital Multimeters and Scopemeter) plus a complete set of electrical and electronic repair tools up here. Apple Singapore has also kindly supplied the expedition with 2 complete sets of spare parts for the Apple Powerbooks that we use here. I have also been trained to strip the Powerbook and replace every component that it uses. In fact, a hard-disk used by the Powerbook has been replaced in the field when it failed about 2 weeks ago.

For those non user replaceable items, we bring two units if the item is essential to the operations.

This of course implies the person doing this has to understand basic electrical and electronical parts, be able to diagnose and repair hardware faults in the field.

d) Write field reports (the ones that get sent to our folks back home) and send them back to Singapore via Satcoms links. Sometimes, the climbers are very far away (20km) from Base Camp and the only way to contact them is via walkie talkies. Unfortunately, our Motorola walkie talkies are out of range when attempting to bridge a gap 20km long. Under such circumstances, I have to wait till available information from 3rd parties become available or wait for the climbers to return before I can file the reports.

Those tasks represent the bulk of my daily routines.

Then there are the exciting ones, which happens once in a blue moon ….

Our solar charge controller refused to work about 1 week ago. Without a functional solar charge controller, I will be out of electrical power (an equivalent of a black out). I was in panic mode – it took me 20 minutes to diagnose the fault and 10 minutes to fix. Whew, what a relief when I got it working again.

Twice, I have been consulted by another expedition on their PC hardware faults – and had to replace one of their PC notebook’s harddisk (A DELL) using spares that was carried up by their trekking parties.

Ting Sern
Check out “One day in the life of Wong Ting Sern”!!!

Dear Friends,
I guess, it has been a while without hearing any news from me after my early return from my third acclimatization cycle. Just a quick update about myself. Yes, as mentioned in previous reports, I was suffering from some unknown virus infection that affected my breathing, especially above 6,500m where the wind is exceptionally strong and persistent. In addition to that, a very persistent bad cough has also been bothering me. These stuff really take time to heal. I’m not sure whether my health would be able to match any coming weather window to complete my acclimatization cycle. In any case, I’m trying my best to rest and recuperate. Despite feeling stronger, I also need to be healthy before I can even give it a shot! As far as I’m concern, I’m not too happy with my progress, but I really can’t do anything much with it. The feeling really sucks!

Although this wasn’t my first experience of altitude, but it is certainly my personal record in terms of sleeping for 6 nights at Advance Basecamp (6,550m). I have never been so immobilized before, playing the waiting game in Basecamp for so many days, waiting for my body to recover. Anyway, I realized that for the climb, you need to be in the right position (right camp), the right weather, in good health and be well acclimatized.

Today, the weather is pretty sunny, ideal for photo sessions. Dave took the opportunity to do some photo shooting. Rozani is getting better with his health. He might be ready to continue with his next acclimatization cycle maybe the day after tomorrow. Many of the sherpas feel that the weather for this season is pretty windy and unstable on the North side. Hopefully, the team will be able to make good progress with a better stretch of good weather?

Signing Off,
Beng Cheong


FLUKE

Fluke instruments allow the team to troubleshoot problems as and when they arise. The scopemeters and other meters are useful in narrowing down and diagnosing our laptop or other electronic equipment. See http://www.fluke.com

From left: Beng Cheong, David, Ting Sern, Gil and Roz. Note Ting Sern’s pleased look!! Read his report on using the Fluke DMM for some emergency repairs.

Basecamp
This is situated at the head of the East Rongbuk Glacier and 21km from Everest. Still, the enormous 3km north face of Everest dominates the skyline. Unlike from the south where most views are of only part of the mountain, here, you can get to see an almost unbroken view of the mountain. Famous features such as the Great Couloir, the Hornbein Couloir etc are all here. Essentially, what you have is a series of ice/snow gullies crisscrossing the monstrously large north face. Head on, it looks vertical but actually lies at a more gentle angle of about 50 degrees although certain rock bands do make the north side very precipitous. Occasionally, a flock of choughs (crow-like birds) will sweep past Basecamp. They can fly up to 9,000m!

At 5,400m, BC is a cold, dusty and windy place. A cacophony of morning coughing is common as are subzero temps once the sun goes down. Basically, except for when the wind isn’t blowing, its’ like living in a fridge (or a freezer). As May approaches, it is getting warmer but not very much so.

Life here is a routine of meals, resting between, writing emails, tending to minor repairs and so on. We power our laptops and other electronics with solar cells. The extremes at which our Apples and Canon equipment function is amazing – way beyond the manufacturers’ specs.

Meals prepared by our excellent sherpa staffed kitchen means meals comprise a combination (depending on the day) rice/oat porridge, pratas, chappattis, dhalbhat (rice and lentil soup), canned meats, occasional fresh meat and veggies. We supplement this with some Singapore goodies like fermented chilli tofu, ikan bilis, ‘bak kwa’ and so on. Some people can lose a lot of weight when climbing Everest, so the key thing when at basecamp is to try to recuperate, recover from infections, eat well, rest and plan the next move up the mountain. Right now, everyone is on antibiotics except for me, with the most common compliant being upper respiratory tract infections. I can’t describe how hard it is to sleep , breathe and climb when you are bunged up with streaming head colds and with snot of every colour emanating from your mucous membranes.

Three major differences between this expedition and the 1st one in 1998 are:
1. We’re climbing a much harder route.
2. This is a much smaller, international team and thus avoids much of the big team problems, diversity of opinions, egos and so on.
3. We’re working closely with an American team so the dynamics of this expedition are different from 1998 where we had a fully independent team. The Americans, led my my old friend Eric Simonson are on a search to find more evidence relating to the famous 1924 climb which may have placed climbers on the summit. The discovery of an elusive camera from that climb might prove conclusively one way or another what really happened. We’re just here to climb the mountain instead!

A few of the sherpas at basecamp are some old friends from past expeditions so it’s nice to see Kami Rita and Man Bahadur once more. If all goes well, we will be climbing with them again to the summit.


Life Above Basecamp
Here’s where the work begins. To even come to grips with the mountain, you have to trek to advance basecamp, 21 km away. This very long trudge and it is largely above 6,000m in altitude. This is very hard work and covers rugged terrain throughout. We normally spend 2 days to cover this distance.

At Advance Basecamp (ABC) you get to see the North Col, a snowy saddle (Col is an old Welsh word for pass/saddle) at 7,000m. This saddle forms the ridge that drops perpendicularly northwards from Everest’s Northface. To get to the summit, most summit attempts will place 2 more camps above the North Col before the summit. This gets us within striking distance (that is within one long day) to the top camp.

Living here gets much harder because of the cold and lack of oxygen. Worse is the constant wind that sweeps across the Northface, hammering anything (read: camps/climbers onthe north ridge) with its full force. Temperature, including the wind chill factor can drop to -25 at the Col. Food cooked has to take into account the limited resources to melt snow into water and thus comprises of various energey drink mixes, Brands Essence of Chicken, freeze dried meats and staple carbohydrates.

Regards
Dave

Everest North Col Breakthrough

Dear Friends,

A special hello to Muna, Steve Wong, the Simons, Fatoma, Anna and Daniel from Essex and Sue Fuller – all armchair fans of our adventures. Please surf to http://www.everest.org.sg for the pictures and updates.

Gil and I returned from the North Col yesterday. We had been away from the relative warmth and comforts of Basecamp for 9 days. As you might have read, the team left BC on April 18th for a key acclimatisation climb to the North Col.

This snowy saddle is central to all attempts on the summit. From Advance Base Camp (ABC) the idea is to make a carry to the Col (7,000m), followed by a subsequent attempt to sleep one or more nights on the Col. In high altitude climbing, it is critical to be able to gradually work our way up, climbing and sleeping at progressively steeper altitudes until the top camp – from where a summit climb can be made. This is all still some time ahead of us. The recent dramatic evacuation of a Kuwaiti climber to Kathmandu from cerebral edema underlines how serious the issues of acclimatisation (or lack of it thereof) can be.

After reaching ABC on the 19th, we decided on a rest day (the 20th). Rozani’s account of the carry to North Col can be found in the recent website reports. The 22nd was designated yet another rest day. However, by this stage, both Beng Cheong and Roz had had some upper respiratory tract infections which was not just bothersome, but necessitated a descent to Basecamp. While upsetting our schedule of acclimatisation, we still had bags of time in the greater scheme of things.

On the 23rd, Gil and I decided on making the big push to the North Col. The 500m high ice and snow face is threatened in a few places by overhanging ice but not significantly so. After an hour-long approach to the base of the 50 degree face, we began our ascent, using the previously laid fixed rope as security. While normally providing some exhilarating climbing up to see some great views, the climb was difficult for me, especially with my disabled right ankle. The sustained and constant rotation of the cramponed boot to enable as many of the steel spikes attached to the heavy plastic boot to make contact with the snow was a big challenge. We were also carrying a load up to the North Col which made the altitude a tough addition to our problems. Some steeper sections were about 70 degrees steep. Six hours later and an hour after Gil, I made it to the campsite, a collection of about 15 tents huddled under a protective snow wall. We slept fitfully – as always, when at a new altitude. For Gil, this represented a personal altitude record not just in terms of the highest point to which he had ever climbed but also in terms of sleeping altitude.

The following morning, I slowly led the way up the north ridge. None of the books or videos I’ve seen can really project how impressive the north face of Everest really is. Once I turned the small corner, the massive sweep of the north face plunged down into the Central Rongbuk Glacier. looking up, I saw the wavy snow ridge that snaked up to merge in to the north face at about 7,900m. A steady wind screeching across from far west began hammering us. Also to the west, we could look down into Nepal, the most prominent peak being the inverted ice cream cone of Pumori (7,123m).

I yelled to myself aloud, “I can’t believe it! I’m actually climbing the north ridge!” Suddenly, it seemed like a year of preparation and a decade of merely thinking about this climb had become reality in an instant.

Our plan as not to climb very high that day but merely to log in more altitude time. After a couple of hours, Gil’s hands were becoming very cold and we decided to turn back, picking our way back to the camp. As the sun set that evening, casting an alpenglow over the striated rocky features of the north face, I kept looking up and wondering how those brave 1920s explorers could have even contemplated tackling this enormous route. From an emotional point of view, should I not return to complete this climb, just the memories of that fantastic morning on the north ridge will be enough to sustain me.

The following morning, we descended in the teeth of a bad weather front. As I clipped into the first rope to descend by rappel, I looked up at the black clouds shredding across the top half of Everest. Breakfast or no, this was no place or time to hang about. We spent half the day carefully descending the face on empty stomachs and then walking back to ABC with an unpleasant wind pumping snow in our faces.


Climbing to the Col, sleeping at 7,000m, and climbing above it represents a significant step for our team in terms of the overall progress-in-stages needed to climb this mountain. Personally, I’m not going fast, but climbing to the Col resolved some questions I had about my ability (or disability) to handle this sort of climbing as well as an affirmation of my belief that you also have to stay healthy to climb this mountain.

Some critical issues remain. The long trek up to ABC and the heightened risk of getting more infections/bugs and so on make multiple trips to ABC inadvisable, in my opinion. However, if a summit window/opportunity only seems likely in late May, Gil and I will have to go up once more to ‘top up’ on our acclimatisation. Roz and Beng Cheong are now one acclimatisation ‘cycle’ behind us so will have to go back to ABC and onwards to North Col to get that valuable ‘high’ under their belts prior to any summit push. How the two halves of our team will coordinate a summit climb in May is a matter open to discussion. It seems that mid-May is a possible period for summitting.

In the meantime, rest and recuperation and the key words… “the summit can wait”.

Ciao,
Dave Lim


Ola,

Estamos de volta ao Campo Base, lar doce lar, a 5.400m de altitude. Foram 9 dias, e 9 noites, em altitudes superiores a 6.000m. Esta foi a nossa terceira subida para trabalhos de aclimatacao em grandes altitudes no proprio Everest. Atingimos o acampamento 4, ou Colo Norte, a 7.100m de altitude onde “dormimos” duas noites. Este local, Colo Norte, como o proprio nome diz, eh o colo entre o Everest e o Changtse, uma pequena plataforma de gelo de uns 50m, protegida por uma cornija de gelo dos fortisssimos ventos que assolam este flanco do Everest. Partimos dia 18 de abril rumo ao campo 1 a 6.000m; dia seguinte atingimos o campo 3, ABC, a 6.600m onde ficamos por 4 noites. No meio destes dias fizemos uma escalada parcial ao Colo Norte, para conhecer a parede de gelo de 500m de desnivel ate o Colo Norte – imagem colocada no site – Dia 23 David e eu partimos para o Colo Norte, Rozani e Beng Cheong tiveram que voltar ao Base devido a problemas de saude (respiratorios). Aqui uma pausa – uma das maiores dificuldades eh tentar manter a saude sem problemas, especialmente o sistema respiratorio. Por ex. agora, estou com forte dor de garganta e com o pulmao congestionado devido ao ar extremamente seco e gelado…e vento, muito vento. Fazemos de tudo para manter aquecida a regiao da garganta…mas nao dah mesmo. Espero que os dias que ficarmos aqui no Base melhorem a nossa situacao de saude. Bem, este nao eh um problema exclusivo nosso….o som que mais se escuta por aqui eh a tosse.

Voltando, David e eu escalamos a parede do Colo Norte….maravilhosa…puro gelo e um visual magnifico do Everest, do Glaciar de Rongbuck e a companhia de escaladores de diversas partes do mundo. Quando parei numa plataforma para descansar um senhor me ofereceu chah, eu aceitei, ele eh da Siberia. Ficamos duas noites acampados no Colo…nao foi muito facil dormir, comer (quase nao comemos) a 7.100m…e ainda faltam 1750m para o cume. O dia que descemos para o ABC tivemos muito azar pois pegamos um dos piores dias com ventos fortissimos e tempestade de neve. Isto aliado ao nosso desgaste fisico de tantos dias de esforco. Para se ter uma ideia, comparando com os Andes, “nestes 9 dias escalamos duas vezes o Aconcagua e dormimos duas noites no seu cume”. O acampamento 3, ou Acampamento Base Avancado, ABC, a 6.600m, eh uma pequena cidade de barracas. Ateh que temos algum conforto, uma pequenina barraca para dormir e uma barraca maior para refeicoes. Soh que a vida aqui eh ficar dentro das barracas devido ao frio e vento. Por ex. do lado de minha barraca, ah uns dez metros, em um expedicao internacional, tinha um casal de brasileiros (Paulo e Helena), que eu nem vi nem fiquei sabendo por lah; vim a saber somente quando voltava para cah e numa das paradas de descanso acabei encontrando o lider daquela expedicao. Paulo e Helena ainda estao por lah….toda a sorte e sucesso para eles. Bem, do que eu sei, da America do Sul tem duas expedicoes – uma Colombiana e outra da Venezuela…..com estes eu conversei.
Bem pessoal vou ficando por aqui. Jah fizemos 3 subidas e na proxima sera para ir ao cume, se Deus quiser. Vamos descansar aqui no Base ate recuperar a forca a saude e…engordar um pouco :-) acho que nestas perdemos alguns quilinhos. Torcam por nos, mas sobretudo rezem pela nossa seguranca.

Abracos,

Gil

Hola people!!!

Today we manage to erect up another comms tent for Ting Sern since the last one has the fly torn off by the strong winds up here. The good news is that Dave and Gill will be back from IC at Base Camp tomorrow. They are one cycle ahead of me and Beng Cheong for acclimatisation at the higher altitudes. Looks like they will be very hungry once they get back here, we usually are starve once we get back to Base Camp.

Meanwhile, we are getting better, the coughs are still there but its a little bit dry and also the head colds are getting better. Personally, I can’t wait to get back up the mountain, maybe its because the food’s too good in Base Camp.

Tomorrow we hope to hear Dave and Gill tell their story of their climb up the north col and how they feel up there. Beng Cheong and myself, we are still struggling to get healthy and hope that within the next 3 days, we will be ready for our next round of climb. I am looking forward to a good climb.

cheers

Mohd Rozani

Hi everyone,

The day before yesterday (Tuesday), one Kuwatii climber was carried down from ABC to BC by a chain of 12 porters and guides. He suffered from HACE (High Altitude Celebral Edemna – a problem of AMS). He was okay on the way up to I-C and was walking up with us from BC to I-C.

Yesterday, David & Gil came down from North Col to ABC. Today, they will be moving down from ABC to I-C. They should be down in BC by tomorrow afternoon.

Yesterday, both I and Beng Cheong with 2 other American climbers took a very long walk from BC to Rongbuk Monastery and back. Distance is about 8 miles (13 km). The Tibetian Monastery is very badly maintained and bear the ‘works’ of the Chinese Red Guards that destroyed nearly 2000 monasteries in Tibet alone during the Cultural Revolution of 1975. Compared with the Nepali (Tibetan) monasteries of Manang and other regions of Nepal, this monastery is a long way from its original beauty.

Along the route, we saw lots of Chinese ‘blasting’ works – using TNT – but without much warning, the workers will set the explosives off. The closest shave we had was about 50m away !!

Rozani is nursing his very bad cough which was acquired from ABC.

Ting Sern


APPLE

Once again, Apple Powerbooks go high! Since 1998, we’ve used Apple Powerbooks as the hub of our satellite communications and news broadcast devices. Operating well over their manufacturers’ specifications our G3 Powerbooks are working well at over 5000m and in temperatures which range from 15 C to – 15C. It’s also very windy and dusty at Everest Basecamp Rongbuk (Tibet) but this is a challenge we hope that the Apples wil rise up to.
See http://www.apple.com

Roz and Ting Sern hard at work at Rongbuk Base Camp’s communications tent. On their laps are Apple G3 powerbooks.

Hello everybody.

This is Roz. Just came back from Advance Base Camp, leaving Gill and Dave to go on to the North Col all the way. I’m having the worst cough in my life when we decide to let me go down back to Base Camp. Its quite sad for me not being able to join them up there. Beng Cheong is also back at Base Camp, also due to a bad cough.

Before this problem occured, we made an attempt to go up to the North Col on the 21st Apr. It was10am, we began moving up, but the wind was so strong that barely leaving camp, Beng Cheong retreated. He began having a blocked sinus and could barely breathe the words that he did not wish to continue.

“It’s only a gust, we can continue” I shouted to him but I think the wind was too strong. He couldn’t hear me. I didn’t see him after that. David was more relaxed, saying to me that we should go as far as possible before turning back. So the three of us continued moving slowly to the cramponing area, just before the glacier. All of us were very tired from breathing the thin air and carrying loads at this altitude. The wind was beating on us and we could see some other climbers turn back due to the wind.

As I reach the wall near the fixed ropes, I turn my head and could only see Gill behind me. I suspected that Dave has turned back too. I continued jumaring up the fixed rope and Gill followed behind. After reaching the middle of the wall up approximately 300 meters rope length Gill caught up with me. I was so tired and cold. I signaled to Gill that I’m out of breath and wished to turn back. The cold wind was chewing me big time!! By then I was almost blown off twice.

I started to cough at the base of the ice wall. And it continued until we reach ABC. The cold dry air was not helping. That night I could barely sleep. The cough continued through the whole night and on the next day I woke up late. Realised that Beng Cheong had left ABC. Planned to rest on the 22nd before going up to stay at The North Col but with the hacking cough, I had to go lower to recover. Sadly the next morning, on 23rd, I see my buddies go up, and me to go down back to Base Camp.

The good news is that Dave and Gill arrived at the North Col, 7200m to sleep after a good time climbing.They will stay there for 2 days before coming down to ABC then BC.

Over and out.

Mohd Rozani


TRANS-EQUATORIAL ENGINEERING

Many thanks for Mr CK Phua’s corporate contribution. An unconventional businessman and most UNtypical of Singaporean businessmen, CK Phua saw opportunities of this expedition in not only furthering SIngapore nation-building but also as a platform to show that disabled people aren’t necessarily unable to participate and compete in the most challenging activities.

From left, Beng Cheong, Roz, David,Ting Sern and Gil.

Hi everyone,

First a correction to yesterday’s report -

The team of climbers did NOT manage to climb to North Col. They only managed to climb half way up the ice wall. They might attempt it again today,

Beng Cheong has returned to Base Camp YESTERDAY afternoon – following some physical difficulties adjusting to the environment of Advance Base Camp.

According to radio broadcasts, Rozani is supposed to come down today to Base Camp too. This leaves only 2 climbers left in ABC (David & Gil).

Today, we woke up to very cloudy and windy weather (cold too).

Our communications tent (which houses all the hi-tech communications equipment) was ripped apart by very strong winds yesterday afternoon. Today, we had to spend the whole of the morning improvising a repair with an American, who was attached to Eric Simmerson’s group. We are now waiting for more manpower and better weather to erect the Mountain Hardware “Golf Ball” tent, which is bigger and hopefully, better equipped to withstand the winds of Rongbuk Base Camp.

Ting Sern

“Dick the tent repairman”.
He was the one who helped us patched the comms tent after it was ripped apart by strong winds yesterday.


SINGAPORE AIRLINES:

Thanks for SIA’s generous baggage allowance, the expedition has been able to transport all its mission-critical equipment (1000kgs!) without a hitch to (and later, from) Kathmandu in Nepal. See SIA’s neat website at http://www.singaporeair.com.sg to see why it’s often regarded as the world’s best airline.

Looking cool in their SIA caps, from left, Beng Cheong, Ting Sern, Gil and David; and front Roz

Report from EBC
Good morning everyone,

This is SUNDAY morning at Rongbuk Base Camp.

Weather – well, little change from the past 2 days – bright sunshine, very cold and windy, but no clouds. The team of 4 climbers managed to ferry up loads from ABC to North Col yesterday – but I have no idea how much load was carried up.

The team will rest at ABC today.

Beng Cheong, one of the 4 climbers will be returning to Base Camp today – no reason was given in the radio broadcast from ABC. He is expected to be in Base Camp by tomorrow late morning or early afternoon.

Ting Sern


Today’s sponsor focus features:

SINGAPORE SPORTS COUNCIL:

The main sports provider in Singapore, the SSC has not only given a cash contribution to the expedition but has also provided the team with advice re strength programmes as well as dietary/ nutritional advice prior to the expedition via their Sports Medicine Centre.
See advice, fitness tips etc on http://www.ssc.gov.sg

From top left, Beng Cheong, Roz and Ting Sern, bottom David and Gil

Hello everybody,

Today, the four climbing members of the Singaporean-Latin American expedition will attempt to move up from ABC (Advance Base Camp – 6500m) to North Col (7000m). They will be ferrying loads (food and mountaineering equipment) up from ABC. This marks the first time they will be encountering real ice since they arrive in Everest Base Camp.

The weather at BC today is beautiful – windy, sunny, and no clouds.

TS


Today’s sponsor focus features:

CANON:

Canon has supplied us with digital cameras; making them our Official Digital Cameras and Camcorders. All digital images featured during our Everest 2001 climb were taken using either a Canon Digital IXUS or G1 Powershot camera. Digital video cameras include MV3is, MV300s as well as an XM1. See http://www.canon.com.sg

From left, Beng Cheong, David, Roz, Ting Sern and Gil

The YAK story

Some fun facts about our favourite gear carrier.

In Nepal, especially in the Everest region, many trekkers have seen black furry beasts of burden which they think are yaks. In fact, the majority of these animals are yak hybrids. A cross between yaks and cows, these are dzopkyos; smaller and more docile than the real yaks. They produce more milk and are thus more domesticated than the thoroughbreds.

Over here in Tibet, you get to meet the real yaks – large, often capricious beasts up to a tonne at times. When some hapless trekker’s duffel bag bothers a yak, it is not uncommon to see it bucking and thrashing about until the offending baggage is thrown off. I’ve even seen a duffel being twirled around on a horn tip of an enraged yak. Yak herders are contracted by the various authorities to carry our expedition kit to basecamp or beyond at times. After a harsh winter, the yaks carry less, so post-monsoon expeditions benefit by paying less (since the costs are calculated per yak head).

There is no such thing as yak cheese. Milk comes from female yaks or ” naks” as the sherpas call them. (In Tibet, female yaks or naks are called “dri “.) So technically, the cheese should be called “nak cheese”! In Nepal, you can find factories (I have seen them in Lantang region) producing the cheese, which are up to 10kg in weight and the size of a large basin.

Yak meat is also eaten in various parts of Nepal and Tibet. It tastes like buffalo meat, except it has a stronger odour and takes quite a while to get used to. The meat and soup is very heaty and is good during the winter months or when the trekker gets cold feet.

Yak dung which litter the trails here is often dried and used as a cheap source of fuel. Sometimes, they can be seen decorated on roof tops and side walls of villages. Unfortunately, we find that it burns very inefficiently and produces copious amounts of pungent smoke which definitely takes getting used to!
Ciao,
David and TS

Here, we see the yak herders loading the expedition’s barrels onto a yak. Notice the leading herder’s hold on the horn of the yak (to keep it under control).

Hi everyone,

Yesterday evening, I received a radio call from David that they have reached ABC (Advance Base Camp – 6500m).

The team will be resting at ABC today. According to schedule, tomorrow, they will attempt to climb to North Col (7000m) for the first time.

The weather at BC is normal – very windy, cold, and sunny. Hardly any clouds today.

This morning, I had a power supply failure (serious). We used solar energy to power all our electronic equipment. The solar panel supplies 24V, 2.5 amps nominal to a “charge controller”, which distributes the electrical energy between the backup sealed lead acid batteries and the equipment.

When I plugged in the battery outlets into the charge controller, I noticed the usual voltage (12.5 Volts) displayed. I then plugged in the solar panel output but failed to see the current (in amps) displayed on the controller. Also, there was no output power sent to the electronic equipment (Apple Powerbooks, Nera Worldphone, etc).

So, I dug out my usual tools and of course, the faithful FLUKE DMM and went to work. In 20 minutes, I saw my problem – a broken wiring (which is very common here – because of the severe environmentals – a daily temperature change from -20 deg C (at night) to 20 deg C (during the day). A 5 minute job with my battery powered soldering iron and presto …. everything works normally.

Thanks, Fluke!

Ting Sern

Today’s sponsor focus features:


SINGAPORE POOLS:

We thank Singapore Pools for their continued support for national mountaineering expeditions. Pools has an extensive community contributions programme and has helped many Singapore cultural, charitable and sporting causes. We’re proud to carry the Pools flag once more. See http://www.singaporepools.com.sg

Top from left: Ting Sern, Gil and Roz;
Bottom from left Beng Cheong, David.

Hi everyone,

Today’s weather is fine, as far as Rongbuk’s standards goes. Bright sunshine, gushing wind, no snow, no clouds.
Last night’s radio report from David came in at 6:20pm. The team was staying at Intermediate Camp (all okay).

Today, there was no radio calls from them. However, according to their schedule, they are now supposedly on the way up to ABC (Advance Base Camp) from Intermediate Camp (I-C). I will wait for radio calls at 6pm.

Ting Sern,
at Base Camp.


BRANDS ESSENCE OF CHICKEN:

Brands has been a staunch supporter of the expedition as well as the 1st Singapore Everest Expedition in 1998. We also have from them numerous food supplements including the famous (dehydrated version for the exclusive expedition use) Essence of Chicken. See http://www.brandsworld.com.sg

Two guys with strange head gear… Beng Cheong, Gil, Ting Sern, David and Roz. Looking very pleased with themselves after a hot Brands Essence of Chicken!!

Hi everyone,

In appalling weather today (wind was up – 25 knots, -20 deg C), cloudy sky (hardly any sun) and snow drifts around (which cuts visibility to 1000m), all 4 climbing members of the expedition left Base Camp (BC) left for Intermediate Camp (I-C) and later bound for ABC (Advance Base Camp) and the real objective, North Col. The team will be away for 8 days from today.

While the route from BC to ABC is mainly trekking on glacial moraine and glacial ice itself, the path up from ABC to North Col is a steep (45 degrees to 50 degrees) ice slope. Members will taste ice climbing (using crampons and ice axes) for the first time since coming to Everest BC.

Health wise, all 4 members of the climbing team are still suffering from some coughs and/or colds in one way or another.

Cheers
Ting Sern


SINGAPORE PRESS HOLDINGS:

Our official media, SPH’s contributes to the community through support for sporting events, writing and reading causes as well as other worthy community activities. We thank SPH for their support and hope to be sending more stories and pictures in the course of the expedition.
See http://www.sph.com.sg

From left guy with strange head gear… Beng Cheong, Roz, Ting Sern, Gil, and David.

Hello again…

Today we manage to our duty for our sponsors, we took pictures.
Managed to take stills and digitals images with our sponsor’s banners. For the stills, we manage to salvage from Ting Sern’s “magic box” a good flash for the camera. As for the digital cameras, we just shift our position so that the sun shines on our faces. I left the G1 Canon digital camera at Advance Base Camp (its going to the summit U know) so only the Ixus are left at Base Camp.

We are preparing to go up tomorrow. This time round, we will be away from Base Camp for at least 8 days. It’s going to be full of action because this time we will attempt to get to Camp 5, this is at 7900 m. If the weather permits, we will try and go higher. The winds are still blowing hard and we hope that it will slow down a little bit. Your prayers could help.

Health notes.
We’ve been eating too much (realised this a bit too late) and we have to get rid of the extras. Guess the climb tomorrow will help us burn off the spares that we have picked up over the last few days. Our coughs are getting OK. I have finished an antibiotics course and quite a lot of cough syrup too. They taste good.:)

Gonna be higher

rozani