Monday, April 30, 2007

Climbing season's underway ...

As the Super Sherpas prepare for their summit ascent, the 2007 climbing season has already seen its first death and its first successful summit attempt.

The 2007 season opened with tragedy, as a Sherpa died on the mountain April 26, when a block of ice apparently fell on his head, according to a report on The report did not identify the Sherpa.

On a happier note, two climbers apparently reached the summit today. Vassily Pivtsov and Maxud Zumaev reported their successful attempt.
According to, there are about 53 expeditions attempting to reach Everest's summit this year.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Climbing legend Sir Edmund Hillary in hospital - AP

By The Associated Press

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) - Mountaineering legend Sir Edmund Hillary, best known for the being the first man to scale Mount Everest, is in a New Zealand hospital.

His wife, Lady June Hillary, said in a statement Tuesday that Hillary was admitted to a hospital after the couple returned from a visit to Nepal's capital, Katmandu, on Sunday, where they had met with Sherpas who now reside in Utah and who hope to make an all-Sherpa attempt on Everest next month.

She said that she was "happy" with her husband's progress, and that he is "in a comfortable position and improves daily."

Hillary, 87, who climbed the world's tallest peak in 1953, is believed to have fallen during the weekend, the New Zealand Herald's Web site said.

It has not been disclosed where the fall occurred, but it was unlikely to have been during any outdoor pursuit. Hillary has been walking with the aid of a cane for several years.
She made no comment on her husband's condition.
He has suffered from altitude sickness in past years.
Other members of the famed climber's family, as well as the
hospital, have declined comment.

Hillary had just visited the Himalayas, when he and Elizabeth Hawley - unofficial chronicler of expeditions in the world's highest mountain range for 40 years - met members of the 2007 "SuperSherpas Expedition" in Nepal's capital, Katmandu.

The Super Sherpas Expedition, led by residents of Utah, hopes to make a historic all-Sherpa attempt on the summit of Everest next month to bring attention to the Sherpa people, who have been a part of every successful attempt on Everest. Many feel their role is under-appreciated.

Hillary's climbing partner when they scaled the world's tallest peak was Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay.

Hillary met Super Sherpas team members including noted climbers Apa Sherpa and Lhakpa Sherpa, expedition manager Roger Kehr said last week.

"We were unbelievably surprised that Sir Edmund Hillary was there," Kehr said. "We were honored when he said that this may be his last trip to Nepal."

Since first reaching the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) summit of Everest, Hillary has donated millions of dollars to the Sherpas for building schools, hospitals, clinics, roads and bridges.
He has also helped pay for restoring temples and improving water supplies in the impoverished country.

Earlier this year, he was guest of honor at the opening of new facilities at Scott Base in the Antarctic, after helping construct the original New Zealand base during a 1957 expedition.
Hillary also was the first man to drive a vehicle - an adapted farm tractor - across the frozen continent to South Pole.
He was knighted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II for his Everest feat.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Trek to Base Camp

Roger Kehr, base camp co-manager, says things are going well as the team's nine-day hike to base camp is underway.

"Everyone has prepared extremely well in Utah (for the altitude). We are sleeping extremely well at over 11,000 feet and all are climbing strongly. We say 'Hydrate or Die,' and we are hydrating."

So far, there are no major snags. "We have been extremely fortunate - only one bag lost - nothing irreplaceable."

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sherpas aim for new record - AP

Associated Press Writer
KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) - A veteran Sherpa guide set off Thursday on an
attempt to scale Mount Everest for a record 17th time and is
confident he'll make it to the top, as he won't be worrying about
helping a foreign client up the slopes.

Apa Sherpa will lead an eight-member team of
Sherpas calling themselves the ''Super Sherpas Expedition'' as he
attempts to break his own record for the number of climbs to the
29,035-foot summit.

''This is my 17th time ... I hope this is my 17th time (to reach the
peak),'' Apa told The Associated Press before leaving for Everest.

Apa - a modest, thinly built 46-year-old - is one of the most
respected climbers in the mountaineering community. His closest
competitor, fellow Sherpa guide Chewang Nima, 41, scaled the peak a
14th time last year.
Apa and his teammates will make a documentary about the climb and
some of the money raised will go toward providing better education and health
care for children in their community at the foothills of the mountain.

Apa said he expects his 17th climb of Everest to be easier as he
will not have to worry about helping foreign clients - but he still
is not taking any chances. He visited a famous Buddhist monastery in
Kathmandu where he offered scarves and colored flags and received a
blessing from the head priest.
He said he also won approval to climb the peak from his concerned
wife, who now lives in Salt Lake City, with his three children.
Apa's wife normally discourages him from climbing Everest because of
the enormous risks involved, having claimed the lives of nearly 200
people since the mountain was first conquered in 1953.

The eight members of the expedition have scaled Everest a combined
46 times - with Apa topping the list at 16 and his friend and co-leader, Lhakpa
Gelu, who holds the record for fastest ascent, 12 times.

Like most Sherpas, Apa grew up in the foothills of Everest, and
began carrying equipment and supplies for trekkers and mountaineers
at an early age.
Apa made his first summit of Everest in 1989 and has been climbing
almost every year since.
Sherpas were mostly yak herders and traders living in the Himalayas
until Nepal opened its borders to tourism in 1950. Their stamina and
knowledge of the mountains makes them expert guides and porters for
foreign mountaineers.

The team flew out of Kathmandu on Thursday, heading for the small
airstrip at Lukla, from where they will trek to the base camp and
spend a few more days acclimatizing and preparing for their summit
bid in the second week of May.
On the Net:
Super Sherpa expedition Web site:
News about Everest:

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Update from Nepal

Fur Geljen Sherpa, director of World Records Expeditions & Treks, who is helping Apa and Lhapka Sherpa in Kathmandu, gives an update of preparations for the Super Sherpa expedition:

"The Super Sherpa Expedition local management team is further working to finalizing entire management at Kathmandu before departing for Lukla. The Team has already sent all the expedition equipments and materials cargo to Syanboche via helicopter. The rest of the materials are sending directly from (Kathmandu) to Lukla.

"In the mean time, the local management team including two Super Sherpas Mr. Apa and Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa put their efforts to finalizing the exemption of the climbing permit for Super Sherpa Expedition - 2007.

"After doing several (followups) with government officials, (on the) day before yesterday (10th April 2007) government of Nepal, Ministerial Council approved the climbing permit fee exemption for Super Sherpa Expedition for this year. The government of Nepal will issue a confirmation letter today or tomorrow to the expedition team.

"Now, the Super Sherpas are doing a final wrap up at Kathmandu to make the trip successful. On the other hand, Nepalese New Year 2064 is just a day after tomorrow, and two legendary Sherpas are very much curious to go ahead to achieve new destiny with new wonderful mission. The local team has already planned to organize a dinner program on the auspicious occasion of Nepalese New Year celebration with government officials, political leaders, journalists, social leaders and other renowned personalities on 18th April 2007 to exchange best wishes and good luck for Nepalese New Year and Super Sherpa Mission.

"Mr. Apa had supported approximately more than 75 foreigners to reach the Everest Summit during his 16 times successful ascending of Mt. Everest."

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

World Class Athletes

Testing top athletes is nothing new to Dr. Max Testa, a sports medicine physician at The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital in Murray, who's worked with the likes of Lance Armstrong of cycling fame. Now, Testa explains new TOSH research into a different kind of athleticism. Apa Sherpa and Lhapka Sherpa, demonstrated their high altitude abilities at TOSH before departing and will also be studied as they climb Mount Everest.

"We really want to study them as athletes and see how they perform. ... We just want to see how the best two Sherpas manage their performance and see if something can help others who want to climb. ...

"We want to see how their engine works, how much training they need, what really makes them that good. ... When you test any kind of sport, what you first do is analyze the sport. Every sport has a certain energetic environment. You look at bio-mechanics of the sport. ... Training is to be built on a functional model of the sport. ...

"We can break down each sport ... you train for those qualities. Training is stressing a body function in a gradual way to make it better. We are doing the same thing with the Sherpas. "

"Apa started to carry weights ... since he was 12. He was getting better by repeating the same thing. ... That is good to get to a certain level ... but we move up the level of performance as we start to organize training by targeting different aspects of performance while resting another aspect. ... This 'periodization' developed in the last 30-40 years. It's made a huge difference."

For example, Testa says, 100 meter runners don't just run 100 meters. They also utilize other methods such as weight training, plyometrics, and power training, he says.

"We'll try to do the same thing with the Sherpa. If we can find a way to do it, and if they want to do it."

"We already know lots of things about training people to climb better ... Now what we've got is the best in the world. Maybe we can learn more from Dr. McIntosh (who will act as the 'control' climber, and will also test the Sherpas at least part way up Everest) by looking at the difference between how his body responds to what he's doing. ... The average cyclist sometimes doesn't respond the same way as the Tour de France winner. If you see the extreme you definitely get a better picture. ...

"We all have one heart and two lungs, but the starting point is different. Lance Armstrong was born with what I call an invisible gift ... Some of the qualities are inside muscle fiber or inside the heart or lungs. ... you need to measure that in the lab. ...

"For me it's really a learning experience. I'm really curious to see what they come back. It could trigger more research on them or other Sherpas."