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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Base Camp
16/Apr
Dear Friends,

Our fourth day of rest here. Colds are drying up and coughs a bit better. Thanks for all your email and news from home. Special hello to all my friends at Troy Athens marching band and the Summit Journal Chat. The weather has been ugly up high with snow even down here at basecamp (4 cm a few nights ago). Clouds have obscured views of Everest completely these last few days.

Our plan for the next critical stage is to reach North Col and to spend time up there. We shall be leaving Base Camp on the 18th for Intermediate Camp and then to Advance Base Camp on the 19th. Here, we’ll rest a bit and then hope to reach North Col on the 21st. I would add that the key to able to launch climbing forays higher up or a summit bid is dependent on how we do on this next round up the mountain. The Col is a snowy saddle at 7000, affording spectacular views onto the other side of the north face of Everest and a peek into Nepal over Everest’s west ridge. It will be a grunt to get up – but hey, this is where climbing begins! We’ll be out of touch except of radio calls down to BC for about eight days, so please bear with the skimpy dispatches until then.

Meanwhile, we’re catching up on some reading with Roz tucking into Alex Haley’s ” Roots” and I sneak away daily with Henri Charriere’s ” Papillon”. Since Gil has only one book in Portuguese, he is savouring the adventures of Bilbo Baggins in the translation of JRR Tolkien’s “Fellowship of the Ring”.

Ciao,
David


Olah,

Em primeiro lugar agradeco a todos que tem mandado mensagens de apoio a nossa expedicao. Estas mensagens sao muito importantes pois ajudam a levantar o nosso astral. Muito obrigado.

Hoje completamos 17 dias aqui na montanha e jah chegamos aos 6.600m no Campo 3, ou ABC. O Campo 3 fica no peh do colo norte e bem embaixo de toda a face norte do Everest….eh magestosa a visao. Esta empreitada durou 5 dias, ida e volta ao campo base, e agora estamos descansando aqui no Base…aos 5.400m de altitude. O que fazemos por aqui?…bem, eh um trabalho de paciencia pois o clima e frio e muito vento. Passamos o dia dentro das barracas, com poucas saidas, lendo (estou lendo agora o Sr. dos Aneis), escutando musica e…..esperando a hora do almoco, do jantar, da pipoca da tarde… Tambem o contato com os americanos esta sendo muito bom, cabecas diferentes, experiencias diferentes, etc. Amanha, se o tempo melhorar quero ver se vamos ate o Monasterio de Rongbuk, um importante Templo Budista, proximo ao Campo Base do Everest. Umas 2 horas de caminhada.

Dia 18 devemos retornar para altitudes maiores. A meta sera o Colo Norte a 7.000m de altitude, depois voltamos, descansamos e voltamos de novo para cima…

abracos a todos,

Gil

Translation:

Hi,
First of all, I would like to thank everyone who has sent supporting messages for our expedition. These messages are really important. Keeps our motivation up. Thank you very much.

Today we complete 17 days here in the mountain and we already reached Camp 3 at 6.600m, also known as Advanced Base Camp. Camp 3 lies at the feet of the North Cole, right under the the north face of Mt. Everest… the view is magnificent. This journey to Camp 3 took us 5 days from Base Camp and back, and now we are resting here in BC at 5.400m of altitude. What do we do here? … well, it’s a patience exercise due to the strong wind and cold. We spend the day inside the tent, with a few going outs, reading (now I am reading The Lord of the Rings), listening to music and… waiting for lunch time, dinner and having popcorn in between… The contact with the Americans has also being very good, different minds, different experiences, and so on. Tomorrow, if the weather gets better, I will try to bring the guys up to the Rongbuk Monastery, which is an important Buddhist Temple, close to the Everest Base Camp, within 2 hours of walking.

On April, 18th we should get back to higher altitudes. Our next goal will be the North Cole at 7.000 asl, then we come back, rest and climb up again…

Big hug,
Gil

Hello everyone..

Today we are actively resting at Base Camp !?!!!!

All of us are eating as much as we can to replace some of the energy burnt off during our last climb to Advance Base Camp.

Last night was snowing. We had a little bit of a breeze from the North. In the morning, there was snow all over camp. For us, from equatorial Singapore, it looked good. We grabbed our cameras and furiously started shooting each other and the Everest.

Mt. Everest is fully covered with clouds and only sometimes shyly revealing itself just for a moment. We took pictures with our sponsors’ badges, flags etc. but the sun was behind us and we all looked even darker than we already are. Thanks to the Apple Powerbooks and Canon Ixus Digital Cameras we saw our attempts immediately. We’re planning for another photoshoot in the evening when the sun will be shining on our faces with Everest on the background. This way, you will get to see our faces too!!!

Health note…
Everyone except Ting Sern is coughing. I still have my head cold and been downing antibiotics down my gullet. We are all resting, drinking lot’s of hot Brands’ Essence of Chicken and hope to be up in the next 3 days. Meantime, life a little bit slow at Base Camp with the wind still blowing now and then.

Mohd Rozani

East of Rongbuk, note the glacier

The trek up to Advance Base Camp.

It was a long walk

 

Dear Friends,

Thanks for all you messages. Al/ Chris – regards to Bear, Jay and Liz/ SJC – have conveyed hellos to Dave Hahn

After 4 days up high, the team is back in Basecamp (BC). It was a hard slog to get to Advance Base Camp (ABC). Current fast runners are Roz and Gil who both made the legs to Intermediate camp and ABC in very good time. It’s hard work, covering the total BC- ABC distance of over 21 km , most of it over 5900m. I had a particularly bad time, nursing a cold, and got into ABC quite hammered.

The route above the intermediate camp, is more of the same although the route crisscrosses more glaciated terrain, none dangerous, but thin layers of powdered scree overlaying slick ice made for careful walking.

It was hard not to keep looking at the soaring north face of Everest. Occasionally, it would be obscured by Changtse’s north ridge, but in any case, the summit route is easily discerned even from a distance. Closer to ABC, the Raphu-La/ pass revealed itself as well as the difficult northeast ridge. This ridge eventually merges into the north ridge/north face’s shoulder. The NE ridge withstood many attempts, including the ill-fated British 1982 expedition which had Tasker and Boardman disappearing near the crux of the climb , the Pinnacles. The ridge succumbed some years later to a huge Japaneses expedition which seiged it for 2 months.

We spent 2 days at ABC (6500m), scoping out the route to our next objective – the North Col ( 7000m ) .We also set up 2 larger tents at ABC for more elbow room!! From the snowy saddle of the North Col, summit attempts will be launched. However, back in BC, this is still a long way to go. We will head up only in another 5 days or so. The sherpas and American team with which we are sharing resources are pushing the route hard though and some interesting developments are due in a few days.

WIth the ‘circus’ in town – many expeditions here now, it will be interesting to see how many are willing to share the costs of the fixed line to be used on the route as well as the manpower to get the line there in the first place. So far the big teams here are : the Russians, the Aussie Army Team as well as Russell Brice’s outfit.

But for now, we have numerous things to settle – the main is to get rested as well as getting rid of our hacking coughs and streaming head colds. The low temps, dust and bugs around here don’t help.

Ciao
David

This is Intermediate Camp(I-C), situated between B-C and ABC. It is placed on a very rocky terrain, mostly moraine.

News from Tibet (10/4/2001)

Hi everyone,

Ting Sern here …. no change in weather since yesterday. Sun is shining brightly now, but the wind is still very strong (and cold).

I got a radio call from David (this morning) that they are staying one day in ABC (Advance Base Camp, 6500m) and should be coming down tomorrow morning. The team is fine. ABC is really very cold.

That’s all I have for you at the moment,

Bye (from the freezer),
TS

Hi everyone,

I am all alone now in BC. The wind hasn’t given up blowing everything in sight down since this morning.

Even though the temperature is comfortable (25 deg C inside my comms tent), the wind (speeds up to 35 km/hr) makes it a kamikazee to venture outside for long. A dust storm is stirred up by the wind and the fine particles sting the exposed skin when it gets hit by those dust particles.

Today, the climbing team have left Intermediate Camp and is now heading for ABC (6500m) for one night stay. They will come down to BC after that.

Cheers
TS

Hi all,

Today, we got a beautiful morning (as far as Rongbuk Base Camp goes). Nice sun shinning, very little wind, and temperature that goes up to 30 deg C inside a tent. Right now, I am typing this report in rolled up sleeves and shorts. I know it won’t last long – so I am enjoying weather while it lasts.

The sun is really very deadly too – because the UV is so high it goes off the scale of my UV meter (0 to 16). Singapore weather at noon day gets about 8 to 9 whereas this place gets a rating of 16 or 17. High UV means no bacteria nor virus can survive for long too.

The air is also very dry (5% RH), which forces you to apply heavy duty cream (Neutrogena, Nivea, etc) on your hands and exposed areas of your skin. Ladies, night cream is also for the guys too!!!

From here, it is a very long walk (5 to 6 hours) to Intermediate Camp (I-C) at 5900m. From I-C, it will take another 5 t0 6 hours to Advance Base Camp (ABC). Both I-C and ABC are situated on the East Rongbuk Glacier.

The climbing team of 4 people just left for I-C about 1 hour ago. They will spend two nights at I-C, then walk up to ABC to spend another night. They should be back at Base Camp on 12th of April.

David is down with a slight cold, while Rozani still has to contend with his cough and blocked nose. Other than that, everyone is still okay.

Cheers
Ting Sern

A note from the freezer
6/Apr
David writes,

Nothing much happened today. Just another day in the freezer at basecamp Rongbuk. Woke up to minus conditions (about -6 on a good day) – just like your freezer unit at home. The hard bit is realising it’s time to get up and out from a warm sleeping bag and into the cold. The sun hits camp only at about 8:30am so pretty frigid until then. Even when the sun shines, the bitter wind makes it feel a lot colder. Yesterday, i washed some socks and clothing but they never dried – the wind froze them into sheets of stiff fabric before the water had time to evaporate. Had to pluck small icicles from the ends of the ‘dripping’ clothes. Eventually, I stretched them in between the inner and outer layers of my tent to get them ‘ freeze-dried’. Today, the weather up on Everest is ugly and the wind colder than a witch’s tit. The tents here are taking a nice whipping from the wind as it either piles up the East Rongbuk (late morning) or down from the mountain (after lunch). Most times, it comes in from everywhere. Basecamp Khumbu in 1998 is tropical by comparison.

Typical basecamp garb are thermal underwear, down jacket and fleece trousers. Your unprotected moments come when you have to unzip to have a big dump in the communal toilet hole 20 metres away from the tents. Wonderful… gives ‘ freezing your ass off’ a whole new meaning.

Meals are eaten quickly since it is unlikely that the food will stay warm before you finish. Breakfast is usually some sort of porridge or muesli, chapatttis and fried eggs. It’s not possible to have them sunny side up since the freeze-thaw cycle breaks the thin membrane which separates the yolks from the whites. You learn something new everyday here at Rongbuk.

Both Roz and I have some mild throat bug so we’ll see how we feel about going up the Big Hill again tomorrow. My disabled ankle has been holding up so hope we can do a better time to Intermediate Camp when we go. If we do go, it’ll be for a few more days including maybe a night at Advance Base Camp (ABC) at 6500m. As for Beng, not sure, because he seems deep in sleep here in the comms tent.

Until, then, greetings from the Freezer.

Ciao,
David


Gil writes,

Ola,

Paciencia eh a palavra de ordem por aqui no Campo Base. Estah frio e venta muito, com rajadas, acho, de mais de 70km/h. Fora das barracas nem pensar, por isso o negocio e inventar o que fazer dentro. Passamos o dia lendo, ouvindo musica (quando o barulho do vento chacoalhando a barraca deixa) ou conversando. Para escalar o Everest nao basta apenas a forca fisica e a aptidao necessaria, eh preciso tambem muita paciencia e auto controle. Ontem pela manha o dia estava formidavel, consegui tomar um “banho” (mais ou menos) e lavar roupas, mas hoje……Amanha a programacao eh ir para o Campo Base Avancado (ABC), espero que o tempo melhore, pois a jornada eh longa e dura.
Ontem e hoje o maximo que andamos foi da barraca que dormimos para a barraca refeitorio, o que nao dah mais de 30m.

Gil

We need to repack those essential heavy stuff from Everest BC for the yaks to carry up to ABC. Here, David (left) and Beng Cheong (right) repacking the drums with goodies (mainly high altitude food). Roz, the dark guy behind David wonders where the rendang had gone.

Intermediate Camp
5/Apr
Hi everyone,

The climbing team is back from Intermediate Camp (5,900m). Initially, 2 camps between Basecamp and Advance Base Camp were planned. However, there is now only one camp (IC) and as such each trip to ABC Will be harder (two 5-6 hour legs). The route to IC follows the lateral moraine – rugged up and down. Our first trip up on the 3rd April took 5.5 hours (Roz and Gil) and 6.5 hours (Beng and myself). It’s tough gaining altitude the first time up. We hope to cut this down gradually with each successive trip. A point of histoirical interest was my finding a piece of old communications cable from the 1930s expedition.

The views of Everest and Pumori (7,123m) are spectacular on the way up. Once around the corner of the East Rongbuk glacier, we hope to get to ABC on our next climb up – most likely April 7th – 9th.

Our only problem 2 days ago was a lack of functioning stoves at IC, making for a group of tired and thirsty/hungry climbers.

Health OK except for a scratchy throat or two. Right now the jetstream at 100 knots at 9,000m is giving great photo opportunities at BC. We’ll be sending more pictures soon.

Ciao for now
David at BC


Ola,

Chegamos ontem do campo avancado (CA – 6000m) situado entre o Campo Base (5.400) e o Campo Avancado (6.500m). Levamos cerca de 6 horas para chegar lah, um tempo razoavel pois ainda estamos no inicio da a aclimatacao. Ficaremos dois dias novamente aqui no Base e depois partiremos para o ABC (6.500m). o Campo CA fica no meio do Glaciar Rongbuck leste e eh apenas uma barraca de circo com 4 x 5 metros, sem chao. Os fogareiros nao funcionaram direito e foi dificil cozinhar..coisas da montanha.

Vou contar um pouco sobre o Campo Base (CB). Eh uma estrutura bastante grande e confortavel. Tem uma enorme barraca cozinha, onde os Sherpas fazem deliciosas comidas para esta condicao. Uma barraca refeitorio com mais ou menos 6 x 6 metros com uma mesa central e cadeiras ao redor. Ja contei 28 escaladores jantando. Cada montanhista tem a sua barraca, pequenininha, mas confortavel – sao 33 barracas todas amarelas. Existem dois geradores de energia, um eolico e outro solar. Nos temos o nosso proprio gerador solar e uma barraca para comunicacao e para ficar batendo papo e tomando chimarrao. Hoje foi o dia do banho e de lavar roupas. A temperatura esta agradavel e sem vento. Ficaremos amanha por aqui, descansando, e depois partiremos para o Campo Base Avancado a 6.500m. Entre ida e volta deverao ser mais ou menos 4 dias.

Abracos a todos que nos acompanham,

Gil

Loaded Yaks!!!
2/Apr

Hi..this is Roz (unplugged from Everest Base Camp)

Today we loaded up our gear and high altitude food rations, onto the yak train for Advance Base Camp. Everyone is feeling fine, except for me- have a little bit of a cough and running nose. The temp last night dropped to minus 10 degree centigrade with a bit of wind. We have a very sunny morning today without even the slightest breeze. It is a clear day and we are rewarded with a great view of Mount Everest, it stands… very big.

Felt like a summit day, not so long ago. Later in the morning the wind started to blow, the usual. Things got dusty and cold even though there was the sun shinning directly on our heads.

Everything seems pretty productive for the team. David and Gill went for a hike, while Ting Sern, Beng Cheong and myself went for a cool wash here (brrrrr). Got every battery charged up and will get even more video recorded and digital pictures uploaded.

Tommrow the whole team will be heading up to intermediate camp and will stay for a night. The next day we will try to climb up to Advance Base Camp and return to back to Base Camp. It’s going to be a hard and slow day tommorow, hopefully the wind will relax a little bit.

Till then…
rozani

Base Camp
Report 30/3

Mar 30/31
David writes,

A big hello to all our friends and loved ones from Rongbuk Basecamp.

After years of looking at pictures of the north side of Everest, seeing it firsthand is a treat. If anything at all, pictures cant describe the sound of the constant wind and the soaring north face and it’s four vertical kilometres of rock and ice. A five hour jeep ride from Tingri (4300m) the last outpost of civilisation, brings us to the desolate Rongbuk basecamp.

W’ere sharing basecamp facilities and resources with American expedition leader, Eric Simonson. Two years ago, his research expedition discovered the remains of legendary explorer George Mallory on these very slopes. This year, he’s back to find the elusive camera that might answer climbing’s greatest mystery. However, we have our own programme and won’t be reporting on Eric’s search. I’ve worked with Eric closely on past occasions and hope we will continue to work to a successful conclusion

EBC is a cold place and the first night ‘s temps. dropped to -14 celcius. Today, we set up our own comms tent, carrying rocks and rigging guylines to prevent the winds from shredding the tent. The food, doled out by our excellent kitchen crew is a great and welcome change from the same chinese fare on the approach.

At 5400m, living here’s tough and we’ll acclimatise for a couple more days before heading up. Team in good health and spirits.

Dave Lim,


Portuguese report from Gil :

Enfim chegamos ao Campo Base do Everest a 5.400m de altitude, frio e ventoso, mas comparando com o que pegaremos pela frente e considerado quente e tranquilo. Deixei o Brasil no Dia 15 deste mes e cheguei em Cingapura dois dias mais tarde com escala na Africa do Sul. No dia 20 aconteceu a cerimonia do projeto com a presenca do Presidente de Cingapura, S.R. Nathan, do Embaixador do Brasil, Paulo Pinheiro e demais autoridades. No dia seguinte, 21, partimos para Kathmandu (uma cidade onde tudo acontece) onde ficamos 3 dias.

De Kathmandu partimos para o Tibet, com paradas em Zhang Mu a 2.200m onde tivemos que ficar dois dias devido a queda de uma barreira. A estrada que sobe os himalaias e uma obra de arte, pois a encosta e estremamente ingreme e a estrasa e praticamente “cavada” na rocha. Depois paramos em Nyalam a 3.600m por dois dias – uma vila com casas coloridas Tibetanas e predios chineses. Enfim chegamos no altiplano tibetano com inumeras vilas tipicas e uma vida agricola. Ficamos dois dias em Tingri a 4.300m, onde pudemos sentir pela primeira vez a forca do vento. De Tingri foram 6 horas por estradas muito precarias e inumeros abismos, ate finalmente aparecer o Everest em todo o seu esplendor, acompanhado do Cho Oyu e do Makalu, ambas montanhas acima dos 8.000m.

De agaora em diantte a s reportagens serao constantes. Nao foi possivel faze-las ate o momento pois todo o equipamento estava encaixotado e nos em

viagem. Ate a proxima.

rough translation:

At last we arrive at the Base Camp of the Everest at 5.400m, cold and windy. But comparing with what we will face in the near future, this might just be considered warm and tranquil. I left Brazil on 15 March and arrived in Singapore two days later, via South Africa. On 20 March we had a send-off gathering, the President of Singapore, Mr. S.R. Nathan and the Ambassador of Brazil, Mr. Pablo Pine and many well-wishers were present. The following day, 21 March, we left for Kathmandu (a city where everything happens), we stayed in Kathmandu for 3 days.

From, Kathmandu we left for the Tibet, with breaks in Zhang Mu 2.200m where we spent two days because of a landslide. The road that goes up the Himalayas and was a work of art, the road was ” practically dug ” into the rock. Later we stop in Nyalam 3.600m for two days – a Chinese village with colorful Tibetian homes. At last we arrive in the Tibetan high plateau with a number of small villages and agricultural life. We spent two days in Tingri 4.300m, where we could feel for the first time the strength of the winds. From Tingri, we spent 6 hours on the roads, before we finally caught sight of the Everest.

On the route to Base Camp
Report 28/3 to 29/3

Dusty & bumpy ride from Friendship Bridge to Zhangmu

28/3
David wites,

Today, we drove to Tingri (4300m). Moving to the Tibetan Plateau brought back memories of the 1997 Cho Oyu trip – except the land looked much more barren from a hard winter. The yaks – our first sighting – looked skinnier though no-less impressive. The blue skies were intercut with glimpses of snow capped peaks. At the Langma (sic) pass (5100m), we were treated to a marvellous view of Shishapangma (8046m) the first of the three Tibetan giant peaks. It’s of particular interest now considering my own post-Everest 2001 plans to climb this peak without bottled oxygen in 2002. I just need to get back in one piece first!

Once back down on the plateau and about 10 km from Tingri, Everest and Cho oyu revealed themselves. Long white plumes from the summits indicated strong winds at 8000 metres. It was humbling , seeing these giant peaks – even from afar. In between these two better know summits lay the dark bulk of Gyachung kang, just a whisker under the 8000m mark. A difficult mountain to climb, it was only successfully climbed in the 1980s by a crack French team led by Jean Claude Marmier. In the race for the ’8000′ers, fine challenges such as this peak seem to have gone unnoticed.

As we turned the corner, the crystal views of Everest recede but the memory lingers. We’ll see more of Chomolungma soon.

Tingri is more or less the same as it was in 1997. The wind and dust comes free. We’ll be here for 2 nights in mud brick rooms. Team in good health and itching to get to base camp. Evereyone is well and getting along, the benfit of having experienced several expeditions together.

Checking out,
Dave


Mar 29
Ting Sern writes.
We went for a “walk” up a 300m high hill near Tingri in the afternoon. Weather was pretty bad in the Everest area – probably snowing in BC. So, we were robbed of views of Cho Oyu and Everest. Tomorrow, we depart very early (breakfast is 7am) for Everest BC.

TS

Beng Cheong writes,
There was a short discussion this afternoon, regarding the number people going up EBC. Everyone seemed to be in sudden good health and ready for the last leg to EBC. Apart from having a little headache, most people want to get out this dusty Tingri and the same Chinese food over and over again (breakfast, lunch, dinner).

Our poor Rozani already sufferring from a lack of good curries and rendang!! I guess, everyone is looking forward for BC even though the terrain & climate is known to be the most hostile place on earth. Most of our goodies that we brought over from Singapore are all in our main cargo – those barrels. We’re all dying to get into BC so that we could settle down and start retrieving our personal goodies!!!

signing out, beng cheong.

On the road to Tibet
Report 24/3 to 27/3

The Kodali Gorge marks the border between Nepal and China (Tibet). Nepal is on the left, the Friendship Bridge in the middle, and to the right and top of the picture is Tibet. Zhangmu is the village on the hillside on the upper right hand.

24/3
Ting Sern writes,
We woke up very early in the morning (5am) to prepare for the trip to Tibet. After an early breakfast, we started transferring about 45 pieces of baggage to the lorry. We followed the road from Kathmandu to the chinese border townof Zhangmu (2170m).

After spending about 2 hours on the Nepali side of the border (the road was excellent until now), we walked over to the Friendship Bridge (the border between Nepal & China), complete the border formalities, and boarded a lorry for a “short” (2 km) ride into Zhangmu. The ride lasted 1.5 hours, but it might have been eternality for some of us. A ride on the back of the mule is certainly a lot better in this aspect!

“Ai-yoh” exclaimed Rozani as lorry hit a big pothole and threw everybody to the left. It was a great relief when concrete pavement was entered. Welcome to Zhang Mu! Another customs and border formalities awaited us. It took us about 1 hour to clear this one, standing in the drizzle. This was the first time I felt very proud to hold a Singaporean passport – the border officer asked, ” You from Singapore?”, I said “YES!” “Very good”, came the reply. They started asking me questions like “How long I will be here? Where I am going?”. A very friendly exchange indeed.

Luckily, the hotel was just 50m away from the border post. We walked there, got our room keys and checked in. The first thought was a nice hot bath – so Beng Cheong rushed in first. 5 minutes later, I heard a scream – no hot water available. Dinner was at a small restaurant at the other end of town. Since all of us was already pretty exhausted by the day’s events, we went to bed rather early.


25/3
Ting Sern writes,
Today, we go up to the Tibetan Plateau (Nya Lam) – 3800m. We packed into 4 wheel drives (4 to a car – excluding tha driver) and left ZhangMu at about 10am. The road spirals up its way along the spectacular Kodari gorge, up to about 3100m. After driving for about 2 hours and only a mere 3 km (in a straight line) … we hit a major obstacle – landslide which blocked the road. This landslide had happened only a few hours ago. So after hanging around for 3 hours waiting (for a miracle to happen?), we return back to Zhang Mu. Back to the same hotel and the same room, and after having dinner in the same restaurant, our rooms suffered a black out. I am actually keying this report via my headlamp!

At the Friendship Bridge, the team basks in the warm sun. This bridge represents the border between Nepal and Tibet. From left, Ting Sern, David, Beng Cheong and Gil.

Beng Cheong writes,
Hi there, beng cheong here. Since yesterday, I haven’t gotten any decent form of body clean-up. So.. I decided to do the necessary? YES,… a cold bath. Well I must admit that this is my fastest record time in the bathroom, 2 minutes! Imagine losing your feeling of touch just after 5 seconds of putting your fingers under a tap of running water.

For tomorrow, we’ve decided to ferry our 46 pieces of baggage across that landslide. For safety, we planned to secure a fixed rope across the landslide to safe guard those porters ferrying the loads. Together with 4 sherpas, some chinese porters, Rozani and myself, we will move off early morning as team 1. The rest will follow-up as team 2 to ferry the rest of the gear.

It’s still raining right now!! Hope that the rain will not loosen up another slide? “Touch Wood”.

I have a strong feeling that the hotel is trying to save power rather a real black out. Why? Stuck my head outside the window, I could see lights everywhere except at our hotel?


26/3
Dave writes,
We’re on the way again. A fine duffel shuffle across the landslip gully makes our day. Two dynamite blasts by the chinese engineers don’t seem to have made much difference at all. Two hours later, We’re in Nyalam (3700m) -N28 deg 9’33.8″, E 85 deg 58’50.0″ . Architecturally, ZhangMu is a blot on the landscape compared to Nyalam which has a modest amount of traditional houses. Snow on the ground. Team in good health. The spectacular Kodari gorge and its dangerous roads are now behind us. The roads ahead appear much safer than those we left behind.

This is definitely Tibet now – the toilets leave much to be desired. You really need a very strong stomach & nose to withstand the stench of the open sewers. Nothing much seems to have changed since my last visit here in 1997.

Checking out.


27/3
Ting Sern writes,
We went for a fine acclimatisation climb near Nyalam – a little rocky outcrop about 200 meters above the town. 3 members (Gil, Beng Cheong & Rozani climbed to the summit) whereas the two of us turned back about 50 meters from the top of the ridge. A nice walk.

Most of us had a head wash, although having to break surface ice of the water barrel to get to the water underneath was a novel experience.

Hopefully, these rather cold shampoos will be infrequent. Otherwise, some (Beng Cheong) might decide to forgo the shower completely until we return to Kathmandu or Singapore.

Tomorrow, we will head for Tingri (4300m). Weather is fine though windy (typical) and team in good health.

First Stop, Kathmandu
Report from Nepal (21/3) to (23/3)

21/3
Left SIN via SQ 414 at 9am, SQ kindly gave us Business Class seats, though our tickets were economy. We had to check in 910 kg in 30 plastic barrels and duffel bags the day before. This eased the check-in today as 95% of the work has already been done the previous day. My sincere thanks to SATS staff who co-operated with our enormous loads.

The flight was uneventful – only a bit of excitment when we sighted Mt Everest when the plane was nearing Kathmandu (KTM). Landed in KTM at 12:30pm.

Upon landing, our loads were taken care of by the SQ’s KTM ground station staff. They helped us to ferry the loads, pass the customs, to the vans provided by “Great Escapes” – the Nepali agency who is processing our VISAs. No problems with the Nepali customs. We checked into a very nice Hotel – Manaslu, with very big rooms, at 2pm (GPS location – N 27deg, 43’09.9″, E 85deg, 19’17.2″, 1335m).

Time for bed now – very tired, because of the work done in Singapore. Now, I will rest and recharge my energy n batteries.

22/3
We spent the whole morning after breakfast in my room, glueing the sponsor’s logos on our Goretex shells. Beng Cheong and David went out to get people to stitch the sponsor’s logos on the Lafuma (Polartec) wind breakers. Lunch was with DB Cholo?? Over at the hotel side, we had a big power cut lasting for more than 4 hours – so no telephone links nor hot water was possible during this time.

23/3
A punja ceremony is scheduled for this morning with the American guys too. Unfortunately, the punja was delayed until 4pm today. So, we spend the late morning and afternoon buying the stuff in Thamel. At 4pm, we head for the Ka-ying Sherburb Ling Gompa for a date with the Lama (who had visited Singapore in 1998). It was a very simple ceremony – we placed our money for the Lama wrapped inside a “golden” scroll which the Lama merely unwrapped and wrap it around our necks, not before pocketing the money!

Tomorrow morning, we leave for Tibet.

Ting Sern

The team shares their thoughts on the expedition, now that they are back and the laundry’s done…

David Lim, Leader

The Expedition team is back safely in Singapore. Most will be heading back to work next week after sorting out about 40 kilos of laundry, expedition kit and gear per person. Tech Officer Wong Ting Sern’s house is home to about 30 expedition barrels not to mention communications gear. We have hours of video footage to look at, with possibilities of a documentary and many slides to sort out for a public slide show at some point.

The two most often asked questions I get personally are:
1) Are you enjoying the local food again ? and
2) Are you going back?

Both are easy enough to answer

1) Yes, but in moderation! We have to get our digestive systems back in synch with local food and not overdo it . As it is we’ve already tucked into our local favourites like char kway teow, grilled fish in soy sauce, and most recently, a great ‘ welcome home’ BBQ dinner hosted by His Excellency Paolo Pinheiro, Ambassador of Brazil

2) Probably not in the near future. Everest demands an immense investment in time, risk management and opportunity cost. None of the team are paid to climb and it took over a year to raise the funds, coordinate the various awareness-building and community activities. For Rozani, Gil and myself for example, we were effective unemployed for three months with no income.

For all of us, I think it would be nice to be able to summit but Everest is one of those kind of mountains which will grant you the privilege of summitting her snowy top under perfect conditions. In this respect I mean you need a great day to climb to the top or a series of good days prior to that to get into position as well. You need a strong team to support the climb. Your health needs to be good as does your acclimatisation. Even then, as our American friends on the IMG 8000 expedition discovered, curve balls can come your way and you may be faced with a moral decision to get (or not) involved in a rescue en route to the top. A 101 things can conspire to thwart your goal.

So, as we began this expedition, the view that still prevails in the team: summitting would always be a bonus but not the only or the most important goal.

Our website http://www.everest.org.sg garnered almost 1 million hits with monthly average in March – May of nearly 300,000 hits. Well wishers and kind words were sent from all over the world.

I’d like to end by making an appeal for the Society for the Physically Disabled, Brands Essence of Chicken’s website are offering to donate a
small sum for every online registration of support received on http://www.brandsworld.com.sg – Brands will be wrapping up the “click and register” appeal very soon.

I think this is an excellent contribution by them at no cost to interested readers/surfers except for a few minutes of their time. All proceeds to go the Society. Both Wong Ting Sern and I went to Everest with our own physical disabilities and these proved to be challenging to overcome. Many less fortunate here in Singapore may never leave a wheelchair or walk without a crutch. Do publicise this website and the appeal.

Many thanks and regards,
David Lim
Leader,
Singapore Latin American Everest Expedition 2001


Mohd Rozani bin Maarof

The north-side of Everest was the most beautiul climb I’ve ever come across in my entire climbing life. The history and the route we took to climb on it makes it more appealing for a climber like me to be there.

Even though we did not make it to the top, the experience was worth it. I have learnt a lot… about the mountain, the weather, coping with altitude (health), alot more about people, and myself.

After almost 3 months with Gil, I also got to know more about Brazil. It is certainly more than just Pele or Senna. There is that green stuff that Gil drinks, mate… It’s a cultural exchange between us, Singaporeans and one Brazilian.

We also found out that we can survive at an altitude of 7,800m without bottled oxygen. Hopefully the next generation of climbers from Singapore would stretch the limits without bottled oxygen, maybe above 8000 meters.

Now that we are back home we have a lot of catching up to do… and lots of good food to
eat.

Personally, I would like to thank to all our sponsors, supporters and well-wishers for making this climb the most memorable one. Till the next climb. Over and out.

Mohd Rozani.


Tok Beng Cheong, Deputy Leader

Time passed in a blink of an eye. Before we even realised it, our 75 day Everest expedition was over! All the team members are now catching up with their favourite food, family, friends and loved ones. We are back to civilisation, work and normal life.

Taking a moment to look back and reflect upon our accomplishments ……… we have gone through an enormous amount of preparation, training trips, fund raisings and other events; all of which were either directly or indirectly related to this entire Everest endeavour. Although we have finished our journey on Everest, we will continue to use what we have learned as a basis for building confidence and life experiences as we accept future challenges…

Personally, and as a team, we felt we were successful. We all attained our personal best and we gave it our best shot. We all lived …… we all learned – individually and collectively.

This entire Everest endeavour would not have been possible without the kind support of our sponsors. We also thank our families, employers, friends and loved ones for their encouragement.

We would like to convey our special thanks to His Excellency, President SR Nathan, for having the believe and trust in taking the bold step of being the expedition patron. We also thank His Excellency, Mr. Paulo Pinheiro, the Ambassador of Brazil, for gracing our expedition launch, sending-off ceremony, and a wonderful ‘welcome back barbecue’ dinner at his residence upon our return

Tok Beng Cheong
Deputy Leader,
Singapore Latin American Everest Expedition 2001


Wong Ting Sern, Base Camp Support & Technical Officer

This expedition has been an eye opener for me. Since this is first time I was involved in a major mountaineering expedition, I certainly learnt a lot of things.

I didn’t realise how much effort is required to raise funds for such an expedition until I was involved in it – and even then, my role there was marginal. In fact, the amount of work needed for fund raising was far greater than the work needed to climb the mountain !!!

However ……….
I had a great time developing, and testing the solar power generating equipment. Building the “black boxes” that converted 12V DC to 15V-25V DC variable at 5amps and greater was an achievement – because nobody in Singapore sells such an equipment and everybody I asked said – it couldn’t be done. It was the best piece of hardware I carried up there – because it enabled me to charge at least 2 pieces of equipment simultaneously. It was also very hardy (after all, it was “over-engineered” for reliability) in the extreme weather up at base camp.

Testing and integrating the two diverse satellite communications equipment (Ericsson R190 and Nera Mini-M) was the next biggest challenge. However, I now realised that no amount of testing in Singapore can simulate the weather conditions up at Everest base camp. Some of the problems I saw up there was unique to that environment only. Anyway, getting the Apple Powerbook to talk to both satcoms equipment was a big challenge for me at that time – because I was not confident in getting them to talk initially. But, after an initial round of testing and connections, I began to gain confidence that I could make the whole thing work. While problems due to atmospheric conditions at base camp did crop up again and again, over all, I did manage to maintain satellite links satisfactorily.

However, my biggest challenge was to connect the Nera World Communicator (an ISDN device) to the Apple Powerbook in the field – something that even Nera has washed their hands off. I wanted to make the Apple Powerbook talk to the World Communicator because it is a much faster device (64K bits/sec versus 2400 bits/sec for the Ericsson R190 and Nera Mini-M), and also because the airtime was sponsored by Temasek Polytechnic, success would mean some cost savings for the expedition as well. We could send emails and large files from the Powerbook instead of transferring the files from Powerbook to the IBM PC. Well, I did make the Apple talk to the World Communicator after about 4 hours of work at base camp – and that achievement brings me great satisfaction.

Then, I had to learn a new OS and a new platform – the Apple’s OS and hardware. Not just the user level interface, but the deeper OS internals and learn to service the Apple Powerbook in the field. It was a big challenge because of the extreme shortage of time here.

If I am offered another chance to do this again, I would jump on it. But, then the learning curve will not be that steep anymore and maybe, “less fun” than this first timer.

Ting Sern


Gil Francisco Piekarz

O momento de parar.

A nossa expedição ao Everest consumiu um planejamento de mais de um ano, esforços para conseguir o patrocínio (que no caso eu não consegui aqui no Brasil, salvo o apoio das passagens aéreas fornecidas pela Snake) necessário para cobrir os gastos da expedição que beiraram os US$200.000,00 (duzentos mil dólares); gerenciar uma licença de 3 meses no emprego, e ficar sem o salário nestes 3 meses, ficar dois meses acima dos 5.400m de altitude, num clima e em condições onde a vida humana não é possível, perder mais de 10 kg em peso; comer e beber por pura obrigação, sem prazer; ficar dias dentro da barraca, pois fora dela o clima não pemitia, e quando saia era para fazer longas jornadas para altitudes onde o vento, a temperatura e a falta de oxigênio eram quase insuportáveis. Tudo isto para chegar a um único ponto, ficar poucos minutos e voltar o mais rápido possível, sabendo de antemão que muitos morrem na volta, outros não conseguem chegar a tempo nas barracas antes que a noite caia e ficam com fortes sequelas (congelamentos); isto quando conseguem sobreviver.

Então, porque tentamos escalar estas grandes montanhas? muitos devem se perguntar, e aqueles que não são do “meio” realmente não conseguem entender, o que é lógico. Para mim a escalada da alta montanha não é apenas um esporte em si, mas também um “hobby” e principalmente um JOGO. Um jogo pessoal, de eu junto a mim e contra mim. A montanha é apenas o campo para jogar, e o cume a taça pessoal. Como muitos devem imaginar, erroneamente na minha interpretação, sair do jogo é extremamente fácil, pois um dos jogadores adversários é o fator psicológico do questionamento do “o que eu estou fazendo aqui”, porém, desistir de continuar jogando é frustante, é desperdiçar e jogar fora com enorme prejuízo pessoal, todas aquelas dificuldades vencidas e citadas no início. A não ser que o motivo da desistência esteja muito acima do cume da montanha. E foi o que nos aconteceu. A chance de chegarmos ao cume do Everest era enorme, pois havíamos vencido duas, das três grandes dificuldades de escalar o Everest pelo Tibet, e a nossa estrutura para a terceira grande dificuldade, a etapa final de ataque ao cume, era perfeita – com oxigênio artificial praticamente à vontade e uma equipe de Sherpas para nos ajudar. Voltamos porquê um membro da equipe estava em dificuldades e nós éramos um time, além de, principalmente, amigos. No momento a sensação foi aquela que eu descrevi, de alívio; o corpo e a mente agradeciam, ao mesmo tempo em que fiquei triste em ter que sair do jogo, porém nunca frustado.

E quem são os jogadores que participam? se sou eu comigo e contra mim? e a montanha apenas o campo?

A favor estão: o preparo físico e psicológico prévio, o mesmo dos companheiros, a organização prévia, a estrutura montada, os cuidados e facilidades com a alimentação e hidratação, os equipamentos adequados, disponibilidade de oxigênio e de Sherpas para ajudar, o ambiente motivacional e de respeito entre os membros do time, ser um time, e a vontade suprema de chegar até o limite com segurança.

O Everest foi o campo, com suas armadilhas, como o ar rarefeito, o frio, o vento, as dificuldades técnicas, avalanches.

Os adversários: eles estão dentro de nós mesmos. A montanha nunca é o adversário. Além do clima, os principais adversários são as condições impostas pelo ambiente ao nosso corpo e mente. Quando subimos para altitudes cada vez maiores necessitamos de um aporte maior de calorias, porém não conseguimos nos alimentar de modo adequado. Náuseas e inapetências aos alimentos ocorrem e começa-se a forçar a alimentação – eu amagreci 10 kg após 2 meses nas altitudes; também a diminuição drástica da pressão obriga o coração a trabalhar muito mais, ocorre a hiperventilação com uma perda enorme de líquidos e quanto maior a altitude, mais seco é o ar. É necessário beber mais, e como com a comida, beber é difícil, não é um prazer e sim mais um “trabalho”; é o ambiente obrigando o nosso corpo a descer.

No entanto, o adversário mais poderoso não são estas reações fisiológicas mas sim a mente. Ela começa a nos desestimular a continuar subindo, pois estamos indo para altitudes onde a vida não é possível e ela sabe disso, tenta nos salvar. Os primeiros sintomas é que a escalada começa a perder o sentido e o pensamento do “o que é que estou fazendo aqui” começa a ficar cada vez mais forte. Alguma parte de nós resiste e então ela inicia um processo ainda mais duro e selvagem. Saudades e sentimento de culpa começam a aflorar. Saudades de tudo que temos aqui, família, amigos, lugares. O medo de não voltar e de não ver mais as pessoas e as coisas queridas; o sentimento de culpa por estarmos ali por nossa própria vontade e de nos expormos ao perigo de não participarmos mais da vida aqui na Terra. Realmente é um jogo fascinante, e terrível ao mesmo tempo. Àqueles que querem se aventurar por estes meios é fundamental a consciência destes fatores e, sobretudo, saberem o momento de parar, por sua vida ou pela vida de um companheiro.

Agora, aqui sentado em frente ao computador, em temperaturas agradáveis e com muito oxigênio para respirar, seria uma grande hipocrisia de minha parte dizer que estou frustado por não ter chegado ao cume do Everest. Obviamente eu estava lá para isto. Porém o gigantismo do Everest não permite, de modo sincero, este tipo de sentimento. O fato de ter estado em suas encostas por mais de 2 meses, com um verdadeiro time, foi para mim uma experiência extraordinária. Chegar ao cume, ao topo da montanha que nos propomos a chegar é muito bom e muito importante. No entanto, isto não é o mais importante, o mais importante é tentar, sempre tentar, é participar do jogo, e nunca, mas nunca mesmo desistir daquilo que se propõe.

Gil.

Mt. Everest on a clear day from Rongbuk Basecamp. Seems to make sleeping on stones, gravel, dirt and not bathing for 3 months… or so, all worth it.

Everest Expedition Patron His Excellency, President of the Republic of Singapore S.R. Nathan, launched the expedition on March 22, 2000