The team left Johannesburg at the end of March for Kathmandu where they stayed until 10th April when the Chinese finally “opened” Tibet for the mountaineering season. During this time they finalised arrangements for gear (almost half a tonne of it!) to get to Base Camp by road, and also their permits from the Chinese Mountaineering Association (CMA).
The Team’s objective was to climb to the summit of Mt Everest (8850 m) via the Northeast Ridge. They spent a few days in Lhasa to acclimatise and several days acclimatising at Base Camp (already at an altitude of 5182 m). Then followed the acclimatisation rotations from camps higher up the mountain: climb high, sleep low. After completion of their rotations the team returned to Base Camp and down to the village of Xhangmu where they took advantage of the warmer, thicker air, hot showers and straight beds! Ben apparently commented that Xhangmu “is like a City Lodge compared to Base Camp!” Until the final summit bid, which they started on 17 May by moving up to interim camp.
The ADI Everest 2010 Team is:
Sean Disney, Expedition leader and guide – from Johannesburg; Barend Engelbrecht, assistant guide – formerly of Pretoria but now living in the Lake District, England; Arthur Marsden from Johannesburg; Ben Swart from Pretoria; Lance Metz from Johannesburg (the youngest South African to have climbed Carstenz Pyramid and Mt Vinson); Donald O’Connor from Johannesburg; Vaughan de la Harpe of Johannesburg who has with him a mascot called Frikkie! Frikkie is an African wild dog soft toy. The team is raising money through the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) for the highly endangered African wild dog and Frikkie is a symbol of this quest. He will be accompanying Vaughan every step of the way to the summit! Vaughan is also planning write the story of Frikkie’s exploits and adventures which will be sold at a dinner that the team is planning for the end of June, at which Frikkie will be auctioned to raise funds for African wild dog preservation.
Two members of the team: Jason Grove of Johannesburg, returned to SA early last week as he developed High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema (HAPE) and Donald O’Connor decided on Saturday to not continue his quest for the summit. He turned back after Camp 2 at altitude of about 7,500 m.
Members of the ADI 2010 Everest Team have climbed a number of the “7 Summits” in preparation of this Expedition. In January/February last year some of them climbed Mt Vinson in Antarctica, and then went on to ski the Last Degree to the South Pole!
In the meantime, on the South side of Everest, Mandy Ramsden from Johannesburg successfully summitted at 03h30 (Nepalese time) on Saturday morning (22nd) , thereby becoming the first South African woman to achieve the “7 Summits” and 30 minutes before her, Tony Hampson-Tindale, also from Johannesburg, reached the summit. Tony now has now successfully completed six of the seven summits. Mandy and Tony were climbing with New Zealand-based Adventure Consultants.
On Sunday morning Louis Carstens, also from Johannesburg, summitted Everest on the south side, thereby realising his dream to climb the seven summits! Louis was climbing with IMG (International Mountain Guides), of America. Two years ago Louis successfully summited Cho Oyu, one of the 14 8,000 metre peaks.