Newsletter November 2013
It is with mixed emotions I write this month’s newsletter. On one hand I am very excited about many of the trips we’ve seen succeed over the last couple of months and great events such as the release of the climbing film `Beyond the Edge’ that we at AC helped create. On the other hand, I am saddened by the loss of two Sherpa working with our Himlung expedition in an avalanche accident. We have worked closely with the Sherpas for so many years that many are like family to us so the loss is sorely felt.
Beyond The Edge Premiere in New Zealand Oct 23
The great epic of the first ascent of Everest has been brought back to life in the just released movie `Beyond the Edge’. This movie was made using much of the archival footage shot on Everest in 1953 and interspersed with recreations to fill the gaps that weren’t captured on the mountain. Director Leanne Pooley describes the genre of film making as doco/drama. Not really a doco but not a drama either with no cheesy voice-over like you’d get on a dramatised recreation. Making the imagery even more life-like, the new film was shot in 3D while the old footage was digitally enhanced to 3D standard. This brought the characters to life and the story was overlaid with dialogue from the climbers themselves with Ed taking centre stage as the primary storyteller, which enabled the viewer to attach the visuals to the dialogue. This had the effect of taking the audience right back there as we climbed alongside our heroes to the summit. Even though we all knew the summit was achieved back then on 29 May, there was a lot of content that illustrated that this was a team effort that only just made it and the viewer could be excused for having a racing pulse as they finally crossed the final rock step now known as the Hillary step to arrive at that previously illusive high point. Tenzing really stands out in the film; it was good to see him get the recognition he so deserves as the most experienced high altitude climber in the world at the time.
We at Adventure Consultants were intimately involved in the film, having been approached late last year to start planning the alpine filming components that were shot in New Zealand’s Mt Cook region. Guy Cotter was location manager for the alpine scenes and, along with six other safety staff from AC, worked with up to 3 helicopters and 30 cast and crew to shoot the footage. The filming was completed in March this year and, with the fact the shooting was done in 3D, there were additional complications that wouldn’t exist with a standard rig.
For the next stage of the process we coordinated a small filming unit on Mt Everest itself, which shot footage that became the backdrop to many of the scenes that were shot in New Zealand. For those of you who have climbed Everes t and see the film but don’t recall a specific rock, or that the Hillary Step looks way harder in the film than in real life, then that is why!
The end result is a really good kiwi film that is not overly dramatized and makes use of the good old kiwi understatement and a good bit of humour. This is mixed with some sublime special effects and excellent visuals to breathe life into an old story that is enhanced in the retelling. Take note of the amazing opening scene of Mt Everest shot by Mark Whetu who was flown by kiwi B3 pilot Jason Laing up to 27,000’ (8,230m).
You can view the behind the scenes documentary at Beyond The Edge - The Making of the Movie and the movie has been released in cinemas in New Zealand, with rave reviews, with international release dates due early in 2014.
Tendi and Passang Sherpa
It is with sadness we relay the passing of three Sherpa who perished in an avalanche on Mt Himlung in Nepal. Five Sherpa were rope fixing towards Camp 2 when the avalanche occurred. Two other groups that were following were also caught but escaped afterwards including AC guide Mark Morrison and his group. Mark responded to the event and evacuated one survivor. Another escaped unharmed and one was not recovered.
We are sorry to report that one of the deceased Sherpas was our long-time friend, Tendi Sherpa. Tendi had worked with us on many expeditions over the last seven years and was a true gentleman. He had helped so many people enjoy their trek or expedition and was loved by everyone he worked with. He always had a radiant smile and made a very special effort to care for his clients.
Other Sherpas who died were Passang Sherpa, and Kaji Sherpa. Kaji was with a Dutch team on the mountain. As soon as we got news of the accident, AC CEO Guy Cotter travelled to Nepal to assist in the aftermath and support the team members and families. Guy presented a compensation package to the families on behalf of AC that is in addition to the insurance cover. Already many friends and past clients of Tendi’s have generously donated to support the families of the lost Sherpas. Tendi had four children aged 15-22 and Passang had four children aged 4-10. This fund is open to contributions for those who may wish to donate and we are heartened by the generous contributions of those who have already joined us in assisting those families in need. Contributors can make a one-off or annual payment to support the on-going education and maintenance for the families. At this stage payments are going through the office here at AC until a specific fund is set up in Nepal.
We are all saddened and deeply affected by this tragic event as we work and live with these men who have become friends and comrades in the mountains and are part of our own extended families.
Cho Oyu 2013 Summit Successful
Our team had a successful season on Cho Oyu and an absolutely superb summit day on September 30, led by Mike Roberts. Congratulations to James Webb, Roman Zaloudek, Da Jangbu Sherpa, Kami Rita, Lhakpa Sherpa and Mike.
Photo of the jubilant team on top, on their summit day. Great photos and the story of their climb on their dispatch page too at Cho Oyu 2013.
Ski Touring New Zealand Southern Alps - in pictures
Here are a few photos from one of our fabulous ski touring trips this winter. Make a plan for next year's winter adventures and block it out on the calendar now! We also have guide availability for skiing the Haute Route in the European Alps this northern winter.
Vinson / Antarctic 2013/2014 Season Full
The flights to Antarctic for our Vinson Massif and South Pole programmes are now full with only 2 spaces available for Vinson that would fit with a private 1:1 guided ascent only.
Ama Dablam 2013
Lydia Bradey returned to Nepal to lead this year's Ama Dablam expedition - her 4th Ama Dablam expedition. Lydia is assisted by AC guide Matt Chessor and our very experienced group of Sherpas including the indefatigable Climbing Sirdar Lhakpa Dorje Sherpa who started with us when he climbed Makalu with Guy Cotter in 2001. The group were able to climb high on the SW Ridge route to Camp 2 but the deep loose snow conditions brought about by the recent Cyclone Phailin made the route fixing too problematic and all teams have retreated off the mountain. We congratulate our team members for their perseverance and good attitude in the face of unseasonal weather and conditions. They have posted some great pictures on their dispatch page at Ama Dabam 2013. Next year's expedition is filling up already so get in touch to get your name on the permit.
Island Peak 2013
The Island Peak post-monsoon expedition has wrapped up with the team reaching a high point of Kala Patar. Paul Rogers led the trip and you can follow their progress at Island Peak 2013.
This trek operates alongside the Island Peak expedition and Khumbu Trek members enjoy the highlights of the Khumbu valley including a trip to Kala Patar and Everest Base Camp along the way.
Three Peaks 2013
This journey up the Khumbu tackles three peaks at or around 6000m including Island peak, Lobuche East and Pokalde. This great trip gets one really dialled in for climbing mid-level altitude peaks and is a fantastic journey to boot. One of our more popular expeditions, this trip enables members to have their family/partners/friends join them to partake in the trekking component and they go off for interesting guided hikes while the climbers tackle each of the peaks. The dispatches for our 2013 trip will be up and running when the trip starts on November 10 at Three Peaks Nepal 2013 and if you are interested in joining next year's expedition (start training now!) then go to Three Peaks Nepal Expedition.
New Zealand Summer Courses and Guided Ascents
Summer is here and our season is rapidly filling up, so if you have a hankering to join one of our world class climbing courses or make an ascent of an amazing peak then now is the time to secure your dates. A popular option is the 7 day Aspiring Course and Ascent. This involves several days of climbing instruction, or revision in the way of ascents of other peaks in the area, followed by an ascent of the classic and alluring Mt Aspiring, often referred to as the `Matterhorn of the South’.
Aconcagua 2013 / 2014 season
Our November 29 expedition on Aconcagua is full, however we do have spaces available on the December 30 trip. This expedition is being led by the irrepressible Victor Saunders (see photo) who is Chief Guide for AC in Chamonix as well as being one of the world's most experienced high altitude guides. There is also space on the January 29 departure on what is an excellent foray to high altitude on the highest peak in South America.
Carstensz 2013 - SEVEN SUMMITS SUCCESS
We are closely watching the progress of our November trip to Carstensz Pyramid, the high altitude peak soaring above the jungles of Papua. This trip is being led by Mike Roberts and requires members to be fully fit for jungle trekking as this journey features a week of trekking through the wild jungles to get to the base of the mountain. Surely this is one of the most adventurous expeditions in the modern age! However - as with all the Carstensz trips, which have a high degree of adventure and probability of change, the November group have now flown by helicopter to Base Camp and will trek out from the mountain afterwards.
As mentioned, we do now have a helicopter available for this trip and we are also offering a fly in / fly out expedition in January 2014. Our helicopter will only be in the region for a short time so please make contact with us now if you would like to make use of this option. The dates for this Carstensz expedition are January 13 - 25, 2014 and the price per person is US$31,500 ex Bali, Indonesia. We have worked with this helicopter operator previously and can confirm the capability and availability.
Our August trip to Carstensz was run by Paul Rogers and was successful with all members getting to the top. A hearty congratulations to Iza Smolokowska and Carsten Bennike for completing the Seven Summits when they topped out on our August Carstensz Pyramid expedition!
Kilimanjaro Trek and Serengeti Safari - January 2014
We have openings on our Kilimanjaro January 19 - 31, 2014 expedition and some limited space on the safari afterwards also. Your next opportunity to climb Kili with AC will then be July 2014. We climb the Machame route on Kilimanjaro due to its variety, views and excellent acclimatisation opportunities making for successful summit attempts and then rest up afterwards on a fabulous safari in the Tanzanian Serengeti in well appointed tented camps.
Join AC guide Guy Cotter for some spectacular ski touring in Gulmarg India. Imagine floating around on the Dal Lake in Srinigar for a couple of days then full powder immersion in the Indian high country and accommodation in quality hotels at night. If this sounds like the sort of life you really deserve after all that hard work then give us a call. Guy will be assisted by habitual ski princess Suze Kelly so we can run a variety of levels. Best suits strong skiers but no touring experience needed and Guy will be passing on the tricks of how to get the best out of the terrain.
New Polar Training Course in New Zealand
We have been operating polar training courses for organisations and individuals for some years to help people prepare for trips to the South Pole or traverses of Greenland. Due to the strong interest we’ve had in this programme we’ve decided to run an annual programme where participants can join a course that is specific to gaining skills for polar travel. Check out the new Polar Training in New Zealand course, July 28 - August 1, 2014.
Aoraki / Mt Cook - Climb New Zealand's Highest Mountain in November
We have a guide available for the set dates in November 2013 of November 23 - 28 to climb Aoraki / Mt Cook (3754m), the highest peak in in New Zealand. The months of November and December provide some of the best conditions for successfully summiting Mt Cook, which is a classic alpine climb of exceptional quality that we offer at a 1:1 guided ratio only. The cost is NZ$5,150 and this opportunity represents the last space we have available in November for attempting Mt Cook as we are fully booked for Cook climbs otherwise. Call today to speak with Steve or Mark if these dates suit you and you have alpine climbing experience.
Watch this space for more climbing, trekking, Seven Summits and high altitude expedition opportunities in the near future!