Wednesday, May 30, 2012

We made it but need a change of underwear!

May 30, 2012
"We made it... but need to change our underwear."

We made the decision to summon a helicopter from Namche to Kathmandu yesterday, the monsoon has arrived and who knows how long we would be held up here in Namche waiting for a twin-otter flight out of Lukla. As well there are reports of bandits on the trail from Lukla to Jiri robbing trekkers and climbers on the three to four day walk out to a bus stop where one can catch a bus to Kathmandu.

So, all sounds good, its coming in this morning to pluck us out at which it did but it dropped just a day's walk down to Lukla. The idea is from here we will get on another helicopter to Kathmandu. We are told 20 minutes, well from 05:30am to 15:00hrs is a very long 20 minutes but it happened.

This time we get only a 1/2 a day walk distance below Lukla and we are in trouble. We end up getting slammed into by very intimidating black cloud that smashed us around pretty good. Our pilot circles around and around trying to spot a location to put it down as we hold on for our lives, the windshield wipers now break which doesn't help the situation but he finds a spot that will have to do and makes a commitment, we are down - phew!... Now what? we end up sitting here for 2 hours inside the chopper being protected from an intense thunder and lightening storm. None of us know where are not even the pilot. Kids come out of the forest checking us out they are intrigued by us and this machine they had not before actually seen up close, they are now laughing and playing in the rain and swimming in a pond that was created by this storm, they provided us good entertainment. Ang Karsung asked the kids if they knew where we were, we kind of get an idea that we are about 6 hours walk from Lamindad airstrip and about 3 hours from Lukla.

So now it's time to get serious again to see if the pilot can get this machine to Kathmandu before it gets dark. The pilot spirals up and up we punch trough more cloud and fog, to only be sent back towards earth again, I really did get the feeling this was it for us, first time in my life I had that gut feeling, it didn't feel good and I'm so glad I was wrong. We head towards a ridge and it doesn't look good so we drop down the other side and get into a tight river valley and follow it for what seems like forever and I ask the pilot if we have enough fuel, he didn't reply "yikes" finally things start to flatten out with exits but we are now way south of Kathmandu and have to get back. As we start flying back towards Kathmandu we are confronted with more visibility problems, the haze from pollution and forest fires. Finally it's now 18:30 hrs, dark and we can see Kathmandu airport and land safely.
I've never been a war zone, but today this felt like if I had it might have been much like this, all my years working in helicopters heli ski guiding and getting around here in the Himalayas, this tops it for close encounters.

Awesome pilot, the first question I asked him before we got in the machine was "are you married and do you have children?" If I didn't get the answer I wanted I wouldn't have been on this adventure today. Going home......

Photo: Peak Freak Guides: Marty Schmidt, Joshua Jarrin and Tim Ripp

Peak Freaks

Saturday, May 26, 2012


May 26: 22:00hrs (NPT) - 19- SAFE SUCCESSFUL SUMMITS-

Once again maintaining our 21 year flawless client safety record. SUMMIT LIST

Mountain Guide - Marty Schmidt - Expedition Debrief on the summit push May 18/19, 2012' read

Our team all made it through the ice fall today in good form and time pulling in to EBC around 2pm. The stability in the ice fall is said to be quite good considering this time of the season. It is starting to do it's spring meltdown and base camp now looks like a ghost town with just a few camps left from the last expeditions. All we see now is stone walls where base facilities once were. I made my rounds to say good bye to the last expeditions just finishing up here before the our team came back from C2. When our team arrived back we had a nice time together with some good laughs and glasses of cheer. Tomorrow we are up at 05:30 hours to say good-bye to the team while Joshua, Marty, Ben and myself take care of some packing up before heading down to Namche. We are told the flights are already backing up in Lukla. .... Tim

It was was again an epic season with many obstacles to overcome but each season will have them and they're always different. We work with what we are given to make it happen and never give up. The crowds this year were bad but not much different than what we've been experiencing the past few years. Had everyone up there climbed responsibly which was our hope as noted earlier in the blog, each one these tragedies could have been avoided. I encourage you to have a read through Marty's dispatch above and you'll get a feel for what it was like up there for him.

Marty and Joshua are highly regarded mountain guides, Marty goes way back and Joshua is new but is on a very impressive path and we are incredibly honored to have both of these professionals in our family and you will see both of them back again next year.

A huge heart felt congratulations to the team, we are incredibly proud of everyone giving it all they had and then some. They were a dynamic team of team players, they depended on each other and encouraged each other to get the job done as one unit. Our Sherpas are our family, we love them and their families. The family history here in the mountaineering industry is tightly woven, the boys are of men that used to climb with us in the 90's and are following their fathers footsteps now working with us. We have a strong sense of responsibilities to these families and I think that shows to go both ways and why our support is so solid.

We thank all the family friends of these mountaineers for trusting us with your loved ones.

Over and out....... Tim and Becky Rippel Photos, videos and expedition celebrations can be followed on Facebook from here on out...

NELSON DELLIS -video: The Trek Home.... Enjoy


Friday, May 25, 2012

Team at Camp 2- Sherpas approaching exhausted

May 25: 18:00hrs (NP) All members are safe and sound at Camp 2 - Sherpas coming in now: Our Sherpa team has been working through the night. They are super tired so the staff at Camp 2 are heading up right now to bring them in with drink and food, they are about an hour away from Camp 2.

Message from team mate Andreas Breitfuss who is home now in Australia:
“Boys… I am so excited and very proud to know such a dynamic group of mountaineers, tears were streaming when I found out you summited. Well done, love you all”

One team mate that really stands out this year is fisherman Chris Cameron aka Captain Crunch who actively studies Buddhism. The day before the team was heading up to the summit Tim sent him to EverestER to get a pain checked out, they were concerned about the fall he had taken when leaving his brothers home in the US with his duffel bag on his way to catch his flight ot Nepal. The EverestER docs wanted to rule out a broken rib and sent him all the way back down back down the trail to Khunde to get an x-ray - results were negative. Keep in mind this is the location of day 2 on the trek into base camp, that's how far he went down. The determined he had a developed a type of ulcer that is apparently common with the Sherpas during expeditions. He said they gave him a pill, he let out a big belch and was perfectly fine afterwards.

So now the team is climbing so he bolts back to base camp same day with a quick nap at Pheriche and catches up to the team at Camp 2 and proceeds with the rest of the climb to the summit. I thought how could this be? then it comes to me, he's a fisherman, one of those "Deadly Catch" reality TV kind of fisherman. He's used to exposure, he works well in cold, wind, tugging on ropes, sleep deprived and all while on uneven ground. A big round of applause all of them who gave it their all to this climb but Crunchy's story will be one of those that will be told for many a year.

Peak Freaks

Thursday, May 24, 2012


First summit at 05:15 names and details to be advised.

Stay tuned:

Peak Freaks at the Hillary Step

May 25: 04:30 (NP) Some of our members have reached the Hillary Step others close behind, exciting!

May 25: 04:08hrs (NP) Joshua calls in: Everyone on the South Summit (8690m- 28,500 ft) and moving in good form expecting to be on the summit in about 1.5 hours with the weather and condition of the team being optimal. Nima called in earlier and and his mic stuck on so Tim has been able to listen in and he says there was no sound of wind which is what we were counting on, exciting!

Check out Scott Mortensen's video above that I hope can help people who may not understand this passion get a feel for what we do here.

While we wait

While we wait..

There dark cloud that has been cast on Everest the past few days with regards to the deaths and numbers on Everest should not overshadow the good that has been brought to the people of this country from mountaineering. During the course of the 21 years we've been coming here we've watched families prosper, wear shoes, educate their children, build lodges, own their own businesses, become professionals in medicine and education to treat and care for their own. It was all made possible by adventure seekers and explores who come here to see and climb the almighty Sagamartha - Mount Everest.

A good example is Vanessa Higgot. Her husband Guy Higgot an RCMP from Ontario came here and climbed with us in 2007 and Vanessa since has led a couple Peak Freak treks with us. Vanessa knew immediately what she had to do and she's done it very well. She fell in love with the Nepalese people, you can't help wanting to give or do something for them. She thought about it long and hard to make sure what she did was the best avenue. She is the founder of "Learn For life" scholarship fund actively raising money anyway she can. She is in Kathmandu right now visiting her scholars and teaching other helpful skills to children at the Hopeful Home, a Kathmandu orphanage, and sharing the love. I encourage you to take a look through the "Learn For Life" website and get a feel for what's being done here. She is only one of thousands of people who have come here to climb and end up leaving their hearts.

Photo: Vanessa with five of her six students. The sixth student lives in Pokhara 8 hours away

Team at the Balcony (8400m) all is good!

Team reached the Balcony 8400m (27,600ft) - Next check in will be when they reach the South Summit at 8690m (28,500ft) in about five hours from now. Keep in mind this is the quiet time of an expedition. They are keeping their nose going the same direction as their toes to get the job done.

We have 19 Sherpas up on the upper mountain right now. Below is the roster is our Team #2 members and personal Sherpas currently pushing for the summit.


Joshua Jarrin (Mountain Guide)- Ecuador

John Stephen- Canada

Mark Hughes - South Africa

Ben Darlington - Australia

Chris Cameron- USA

Stephen Neil - Australia

Personal Sherpas

Ngima Tshering

Ngima Sherpa

Mingmar Sherpa

Zangmu Shepa

Ang Namgya

Palden Namgya

The other Sherpas are working communications, carrying extra oxygen supplements, holding position in the event of an emergency and will clean off the mountain when we are all finished up here. This group won't get their name in lights for summit success but they are 100% key players in the success of any expedition.

Over and out.... Becky

Peak Freak Expeditions Inc.
Photo collection: Friend Tim Rippel on Facebook to view the 2012 collection.

Final Summit Push underway

Final Summit Push underway for Team #2

I'm happy to report that everyone on our final summit push team left the South Col at 07:00hrs getting out the door nice and early because they are all well rested it was an easy task, they appear to be moving along really well according to SPOTS last signal. However, SPOT for both Ben and Joshua seem to acting up at the moment. We'll see if they can get it back in track. Andreas had a good thing going to deal with cold batteries in the last push. Since it has to be on the outside of your suit Andreas activated a hand warmer and attached it to SPOT and it did the trick.

In our group this morning we have 5 members and 1 Western Mountain Guide. Each member has a personal Climbing Guide Sherpa (6) and we have (4) Sherpas carrying extra oxygen and (2) positioned at the South Col and (7) more coming up to be in position at the South Col in the event of a rescue, some will go up to retrieve our spent oxygen bottles and to help on the return leg of this journey and to bring down all our equipment off the mountain when we are done.

The weather is probably the best it can be, our information is showing 5k winds but the climbers say it feels completely calm. This window of opportunity is wide open for the rest of the season which ends on May 31. This is when the Ice Fall doctors take down the ladders.

Stay tuned as our team climbs. We will report again once they reach the balcony. Over and out.... Tim

New photos uploaded on FACEBOOK from Team # 1's successful summit. Andreas and George are both back home now and Marty is hanging with Tim at base camp monitoring communications.

For more:

Peak Freak Expeditions Inc.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Team at the South Col - Climbing Peak Freaks Style

Team at the South Col reporting a comfortable night.. Tim lays it all out: We are climbing Peak Freak style - Peak Freaks style is different from low budget and inexperienced operators. We know it's too long of day for the most to go from Camp 3, rest a couple hours at Camp 4 , strap on a mask for the first time and head out for the summit. Some can do this, the majority shouldn't, but some still do.

Peak Freaks style: Our team climbed to Camp 3 yesterday, spent the night on oxygen and today climbed to Camp 4 (South Col) and are now sleeping on oxygen. They will spend one more day/evening here on oxygen, resting, eating, hydrating. We want them in optimal condition and Joshua and Tashi both confirm from the Col that they are already in great shape, but we take no chances, this is how we climb.

We keep it small: This has always been especially important to us. We have a maximum we accept which is 12 and we often sell out a year in advance because we stick to it. We feel we do our bit in not having a huge impact on the routes and for safety, environment and movement. We still have to add proper staffing of Sherpas in that number so we feel it's important to keep it small.

While our team was climbing their way up today, Tashi sat at the Col counting climbers moving up to Camp 3. He counted around 40 people and he also did a head count at the Col and there are about 30 climbers there. On summit day (night of the 24th morning of the 25th) the maximum number we estimate is going to be around 70 people, half of what we saw on the 18th/19th and the forecasts looks really good. Climbers don't like to climb in wind over 20k and 30k+ is pushing it but some still do. Our forecast is showing to be wavering around 5 to 10k on the 24th night, and the team is reporting that they feel it calming considerably tonight already.

Our weather experience confirms there is a change to the good tonight because fog has arrived at base camp meaning the system we were waiting for is here. We are confident we have it right, but never say never, it is weather and we need to be prepared. In the event things change we always work with a contingency plan and our members know very well the importance of turning around and have proven to us that we can trust them on their word already. In our contingency plan everyone has a personal Sherpa, they are with our members tonight at the Col and they all care about each other, they're not strangers to each other at the stage or to us, most have trained with us in this environment in the Himalayas before. We also have a second set of Sherpas for them who carry extra oxygen for our members and are there for them if a situation comes about. The backup crew is at Camp 2 right now and will start up to Camp 3 tomorrow.

Communication: Tashi and Phu Tashi Sherpa who both already summited will be at the South Col during the summit push manning the radios which is important. The Sherpa language to us sounds very fast and misinformation can be a serious problem up here and we can count on these two for the job. English to Nepalese and Nepalese to English and proper radio handling. We have GPS tracking via SPOT allowing us to monitor movement during the black out section of the climb.

We can't stress enough the importance of training not just physically but mentally and technically is most important, we give our applicants a place to go for this. Everest Boot Camp. We also can't stress enough the importance of knowing who your life may be relying on in this environment that is unknown to many who come here today. We have this statement in bold on our homepage:

IS YOUR GUIDE A GUIDE? VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION: Peak Freaks uses only Certified Mountain Guides for our Everest Expeditions. IFMGA, NSMGA and NMA (Nepal Mountaineering Association) and aspiring ones with apprenticing certifications and certified Sherpa climbing guides. All our guides are paid the highest in professional fees, maintain their professional standards with the association, are required to have their skills reviewed on a regular basis making them insurable by standards that are recognized worldwide. This is who we put our climbers on a rope with. If you are paying close to the same in fees and your guides are not certified, I'd seriously be looking elsewhere. This is a serious climb with serious consequences should things go wrong. Rule number one of surviving Everest; prevention.

One of the most important things you can do when shopping around for a commercial Everest outfitter is to find out who is doing the guiding? are they certified? if you are not completely satisfied, keep looking!

We wish our team all the best on next stage of this journey...... Tim and Becky Rippel

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Stars, no wind, no people

May 21: 21:00hrs (NP) Beautiful night at Camp 3

Team # 2 is so very happy this evening sitting outside their tents at C3 enjoying the view, they're alone up there and zero wind. It was so nice that when Mark spoke out from a distance asking where the party is I could hear every word. I'm pleased that our second wave plan appears to be unfolding nicely. Tim

Peak Freaks

Monday, May 21, 2012

Gearing up, round two

May 21: 21:00hrs (NP) Gearing up, round two: Team #1 is now at base camp celebrating a successful summit bid and in fine form. Team #2 is experiencing the jitters tonight at Camp 2 as they try to get some sleep in preparation for their next move. The plan is for them to push up to Camp 3 tomorrow and get into position for their crack at it. Now more serious than ever before we try to get an idea of who is going when and that the weather reports continue to maintain what we are given showing a good window in the days to come.

Tashi Sherpa stayed at Camp 2 and will go up once again to man radio communications from the South Col. Mingmar and Jangbu Sherpa our other two men made of titanium lead Sherpa guides are in the group, our lead by Mountain Guide Joshua Jarrin will be transmitting SPOT signals this time around.

Get ready for another exciting ride. Over and out .. Tim Rippel

Peak Freak Expedition Inc.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

"Get the _ _ _ _ out of there"

May 20: 21:00hrs (NP) Just like the above video says... "Get the - - - - out of there!".... they were reminded by Tim's haunt. Tim said it was hard for Team #1 to pull themselves out of their tents this morning at the South Col considering their bodies are trashed and trying to recover after their successful summit and down climb. Marty Schmidt knows better though, this is certainly not new to him - he gets the ball rolling. 

At this point on a Everest bid resting at the Col they're warm and cozy in their sleeping bag, the sun is starting to warm the tent and all they want to do is sleep. The thought of having to get it together enough to unzip the tent and crawl out into 30+ kilometer winds at 7906 m (25938 ft) and -38c temperatures is a true test of will power. If a climber doesn't have oxygen to sleep on here they can become hypoxic and can't think clearly, this could be the end for an inexperience or unprepared climber. This is why the summit is always referred to as only being halfway of climbing this mountain.

Team # 1 is joined by Team #2 now down safe and sound and tucked into Camp 2 for the night. Becky

May 20: 10:30hrs (NP) Marty checks in from the South Col... I just got off the phone with Marty at the South Col, the wind sounds fierce up there and he confirmed that it certainly was. I could here the screams of wind and tent nylon over the phone. They have been waiting to get more sun on them and are packing up to head down to Camp 2 now. Team #2 will be there to greet them...... It sure was good to hear his voice... Becky

Peak Freak Expedition Inc.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Safe and sounds at the South Col..

May 19: 21:00hrs (NP) Safe and sound and exhausted at the South Col

All of us are exhausted for that matter but not as tired as our first wave team is right now. Marty's call came in a bit late from the South Col because in order to reach the radio signal he had to walk about 100 feet or so from his tent and getting himself and the other members organized in their tents and hydrated was priority.

They are extremely tired as you can imagine, it was a long ascent with so many people and events on the route but the seven of them tucked in as one strong and focused unit, staying healthy and determined to get their moment on top and return safely without incident. The interesting part will be when they share their experience up there with the second wave team tomorrow at Camp 2.

What's next? Everyone at Peak Freaks getting some shut eye....... Over and out... Tim and Becky

more... Peak Freaks

Friday, May 18, 2012

Team stuck at the Hillary Step- in good shape though.


Spot watchers: Tashi just called in to say they are held up at the Hillary Step, they are all good and have plenty of oxygen to sit here till things get sorted out with another team. They should be on the move again shortly. Stay tuned!


Hillary Step is at 8760m and on a good day from here it will take about 45 minutes to the summit.

Team # 1 - Marty Schmidt, George Andreou, Andreas Breitfuss, Tashi Tundu Sherpa, Sange Phuru Sherpa and Chhring Namgel.

Team # 2 - Joshua Jarrin, John Stephen, Stephen Neil, Ben Darlington, Mark Hughes, Chris Cameron and Sherpa guide names TBA.

A team of Sherpas will remain at the South Col to intercept Team #1 on their way down and be there in the event of an emergency. All is good and everyone is doing really well.

Hillary Step in our sights.. eye in the sky


Hillary Step is at 8760m and on a good day from here it will take about 45 minutes to the summit.

Team # 1 - Marty Schmidt, George Andreou, Andreas Breitfuss, Tashi Tundu Sherpa, Sange Phuru Sherpa and Chhring Namgel.

Team # 2 - Joshua Jarrin, John Stephen, Stephen Neil, Ben Darlington, Mark Hughes, Chris Cameron and Sherpa guide names TBA.

A team of Sherpas will remain at the South Col to intercept Team #1 on their way down and be there in the event of an emergency. All is good and everyone is doing really well.


Through SPOT, 3G and mountain radios Tim and I believe we have some of the best communications going down right now on Everest. There is a black out zone between the South Col and the South Summit where base camp can't communicate with the climbers, we call it the black hole. During this time I am able to read the topographical elevations of Andreas's GPS track and Tim can visualize their location and pace from that. We've got Sherpas at all camps on radios monitoring movement on the mountain, things like how many climbers on the ropes, speed of travel, weather and incidents. Marty and team should be reaching the south summit anytime now and then we can get his report on the pending wind reports.

Right now they are at 8600m, just below the South Summit of 8700m.



High wind reported by various members at the South Col so Tim is turning everyone around to Camp 2 this morning to wait for the next window on the 23rd/24th. This is the same scenario how it played out last season. We have plenty of oxygen in our contingency plan offer two attempts if need be and this is a need be situation in avoiding the potential for frostbite. Marty will be checking in once Team #1 reaches the South Summit to give us their status. Tim's last words "safety first". Becky


Everyone following Andreas's SPOT Tracker right now please now that all is good. The deal here is they have to be outside the their pack or clothing in order to transmit the signal. It's too cold for batteries at this stage of the climb so Tim had instructed him to put it inside his suit till he gets to the summit or just before and take it out again, exciting.... Becky

That's what it's all about... earlier today Roger Wright from Australia was forced to turn back. This is Roger's third Himalayan expedition with Peak Freaks. He hacked his way off Pumori in 2010 and again on Everest in 2011, he coughed so much in 2011 that he broke a rib. He has come back determined more than ever thinking how could a cough stop someone from climbing Everest and thought he could beat it. It's a pretty common scenario at these altitudes and unfortunately it has taken Roger out again. He was climbing to Camp 3 buckled over hacking so much that the cough beat him up taking all his energy. He made the right decision to turn back as he knew his limits and energy required to for the return. Later in the day BG hit the wall as well, same reason, also with us in 2012 but not the cough, this time he got it and it sounds like it beat him up and has taken his energy to levels not considered to be safe. These are not cold's, this is the Khumbu cough. It's been an issue this year with Everest being so dry. We wish both of them all the best on their next part of their journey, they are both real troopers. 
Photo: Roger Wright from Australia

First Summits- Team should reach Balcony in 3 hours.

Peak Freaks rope fixing Sherpas Phu Tashi and, Palden Namgya along with Ang Kazi, Jyamchang Bhote, Kami Rita, Phura Kancha, Karma Gyaljen Nima Dorje from IMG, AAI, Chilean, 7 Summits reached the top today! Big congratulations out to all of them.

At 21:00hrs Nepal Time, Marty Schmidt heads up the first group to the summit. If you are watching SPOT you will see the tracks of Andreas Breitfuss from Australia and Tashi Thundu Sherpa, the second wave is now sleeping at C3 and will move up to the South Col tomorrow. They should reach the Balcony in about 3 hours from now as I was late getting Tim's report, he's been busy coordinating all the movement of our teams. All is looking good, stay tuned for regular posting here throughout the night.

Here's an image from Everest3D of our teams first wave move up to Camp 4- the South Col earlier today. They laid around sucking on oxygen and having high altitude dreams and trying to get some shut eye before the big event about to get underway in the next half hour.

Peak Freaks

Peak Freaks Summit Push in happening now!

Peak Freak members leaving the South Col for the summit in a half an hour.

Details coming with Tim's next phone call. I'll be updating here shortly... Becky Rippel

Peak Freaks

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Rope fixed to the Balcony- Team at Camp 3

Balcony (8400 m, 27,600 ft)
Good work Sherpa fixing team!!!

Tomorrow the mission will be complete with ropes fixed to the summit. Marty suggests there are probably 80 or more people at Camp 3 tonight. The plan is for half of them to head up on the 18th and the other half on the 19th which we've taken as our main window but also allowing the 20th as a back up for those opting to layover at the South Col for the night. All the teams in this push have agreed to stagger their departure times from the South Col to the summit which should help with movement up there.

The weather is awesome right now, low to no wind and the best part being the temperatures remain cool making traveling quite pleasant, unlike the past couple of years where it was unbearable for some. It's shaping up good up there and the next beauty window like this one will open up again on the 24th if not sooner which would merge the two windows offering a fantastic season of opportunities for everyone.

Our third and last trek group of the season just pulled out today. They were so thrilled they made to camp and were able to sit in on radio transmissions of all the excitement that goes on here this time of year. Safe journey home my friends!

Over and out.. Tim
Peak Freaks

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Fixing Team leaving to the summit in 2 hours!

Our Sherpa guides did amazing work today up on the mountain. Camp 3 tents are erected and stocked with oxygen and provisions, Camp 4 the South Col is stocked up and ready for tents to erected once the team starts to move up but not before in the event of unexpected wind. We certainly don't see any concerns in the reports we're getting. The window seems to be widening nicely.

The fixing team will be leaving the South Col in about two hours from now to fix the route to the summit. WE ARE HAPPENING!!!!

Crunchy is caught up and is in the groove with the team. Marty spoke to me again on his day getting around C2 firming up everyone's agreements on when to climb to avoid crowds and he's happy with the responses and willingness. This is fantastic!

Over and out.... Tim

Peak Freaks

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

SUMMIT PUSH- Day 2 of ?

Tim reports that our team had a good day at Camp 2, resting and visiting among the other teams who just arrived. He's impressed with how everyone is working together to space attempts and getting to know each other up there. He also said that the team is pleased that he planned they spend 3 nights minimum at Camp 2: Day 1 to climb - Day 2 to recover - Day 3 to get pumped. The next steps will be in the hands of our communal summit fixing team, so we wait and we watch. 

I'd like to suggest that you take a moment to check out the new video Nelson Dellis provided for the next chapter of the expedition, you will see that by this stage of the climb Tim is no longer the fun guy, this is where he reminds everyone in a harsh way about the risks and how to avoid them, he's not very nice as it's time to get serious, the party is over till each and everyone is back down at EBC then watch out. He's also made sure everyone made that phone call home before they made their final decision on the next steps. Looks like everyone got the green light and we sincerely thank each and everyone of you at home for trusting us with your loved ones. 
Crunchy is back and feeling good. The doctors were able to treat him and gave him the green light to get on with is climb. He will head out tomorrow to Camp 2. As mentioned previously all our climbers have a personal Sherpa climbing guide and in most cases this year they will have a 2:1 guide/member ratio plus our western Mountain Guides, there is a lot of flexibility for giving everyone their best shot in 2012. 
Onward and upward.... Becky Rippel

more.. Peak Freaks

SUMMIT PUSH VIDEO from last year provided by Nelson Dellis.

Monday, May 14, 2012


Our team had a good day in the icefall today, nothing out of the norm and are now peacefully sleeping at Camp 2. The ice fall is doing what it does any given year. We all got up at 2:00am, had a bit of a meal and send off talk. The team got out the door for early to climb through the glacier with no crowds and cool temperatures. Base camp was buzzing with activity today with the sounds of numerous other teams packing up to set out tomorrow.

The plan: We got some high winds right now and the plan is for summit fixing team to meet at Camp 2 on the 16th and make the call from there on the next steps. If all goes to plan it would work to have the route fixed by the 17th. Peak Freaks Phu Tashi and Palden Sherpa will be on the fixing team.
The window for favorable weather seems to be stretching out more so this will be good in getting around bottlenecking. We've done some head counting trying to get an estimate on how many people will be up there so we can get an idea on spacing teams where possible. Keep in mind it's only the commercial operators that take this into consideration so we will also calculate the mystery factor of the private teams. According to the estimates we've made we think that about 2/3 of the original number of climbers that arrived here early April are left for the summit push. The past couple of years we've seen 90 to 130 people all summit on the same day and with how many people we have here if everyone climbs responsibly we should to see some summits taking place from the 18th to the 25th and possibly later. Earlier of course is better as it's only getting warmer.

Peak Freaks style: We keep our team small for a reason. We are able to climb as one solid unit and have more flexibility than large scale expeditions. We don't have to share camps to get everyone through a rotation, we can if we want just hang out at the South Col and suck on oxygen if the team needs time to rest or if things don't feel right or weather. We also have enough supplies oxygen etc. to allow for a second summit push if need be. All factors considered, we are ready to climb!.
However this mornings departure was minus one, Captain Crunch (Chris Cameron) got crunched when he fell down the stairs with his duffel bag the day he was leaving the US for Nepal. He got banged up pretty good and has been climbing well considering he's been in a bit of pain. Just the past couple of days his pain got worse so he went and got checked out by the doctors at the HRA and they wanted him to go to Kunde to get an x-ray. It's all good, nothing broken and is making his way back up right now. He's got time still and should be able to catch up if he's feeling good by the time he gets here, meet Crunchy.....

Crunchy (Chris) Cameron, American, 46 years old, commercial fisherman for 30 years. Fish Bristol Bay Alaska for salmon every summer and in younger years spent time king crab and snow crab fishing in the Bering sea. Also involved in salmon fisheries along the west coast off Washington and Oregon. Spend winter months in San Francisco fishing for herring. Have always been into adventure, years ago living in China for a year teaching English and running around southeast Asia for a couple more. My passion today is my time off from fishing and spending one to two months a year as a Buddhist monk at a temple in Thailand where my teacher says I need the merit to prevent my return as a fish for all the many I've captured. Peak Freaks seems like just the next natural thing "I love it" the hardest part is just getting started, leaving home going down the steps and out the door. I have a wonderful, smart, beautiful little girl "Natasha" 11 yrs old, who makes home very special for the few days a year I'm there.

more... Peak Freaks

Friday, May 11, 2012

Everest powered by the Oyster Revolution

Peak Freaks powered by pacific oysters:. Our hometown "OYSTER MAN" Brent, provider for Nelson B.C. loads up his truck and hits the pavement for the 12 hour delivery bringing us these succulent canned and fresh treats to our in land mountain community in Canada. We are now taking them even further. We believe climbers can truly benefit from the oils, vitamins and minerals that are packed into these little light weight tins. Check out his website and learn about the oyster revolution.

The team is all doing great, we aren't wasting any steps that everyone has been taking to stay strong and healthy throughout this expedition. So while doing the waiting thing we took a big hike today to Mount Pumori's advanced camp on the standard route. Tomorrow we rest and then get out for another go at something else while we wait out the winds that should hover over the summit for the next couple of days.

BG picked the movie tonight- "Nurse Betty", the commentary afterwards that comes from the team members is for my personal enjoyment and that's the reason I keep this DVD around, Marty wants to scratch it so he never has to go through this again.

We are ready to climb just waiting for the fixing to the summit to allow safe passage for all.

Tim Rippel - Peak Freaks

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Everest foot by foot, Ground Hog Day and Boot Camp

Climbing foot by foot, we are chipping away at climbing this mountain. Sherpas were busy today carrying loads to the South Col and are now resting at Camp 2. The fixing team is holding as we've got some snow which is good but some monitoring and stability evaluation should take place in an attempt to prevent a situation where ropes get buried before moving forward and timing it with wind that is forecasted to move in on the weekend. 

Everyone on the second wave trek team arrived at base camp today and send a big "namaste" out to all their family and friends at home. They are a happy bunch and of course have fallen in love with their leader Ang Nima and his crew. Everyone is in great spirits, stayed healthy and acclimatized on schedule, good work team- 100% success!

It's always good to see our May trek group pulling into camp around this time of the expedition, that's why we plan it this way, it helps everyone dealing with what we at Peak Freaks call Everest Groundhog Day syndrome - you are woken with tea delivered to your tent, the sun comes up, you make your way to the dinning tent for breakfast, you chat, you get to know each other very well. You have lunch, you nap, you snack, you read, you write. The sun goes down, you have dinner, you watch a movie, you play cards, you chat, you go to bed... next day... same as the day before. 

Groundhog Day is well known to many, it's an American comedy film starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. Murray plays a TV weatherman who, during a hated assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event, finds himself repeating the same day over and over again. After indulging in numerous suicide attempts, he begins to re-examine his life and priorities. I'll leave you with that.. Over and out Tim.

Something to ponder: We are offering a new expedition this October to replace our "Everest Boot" on Mount Pumori for another training adventure and to work around the meltdown in the Himalayas. We will have permits for three peaks, Lobuche East, Island Peak and Pokalde. The cool thing about this trip is it's going to be a recognizance expedition, the best kind. We will be exploring some new aspects and terrain off the beaten path as we'll have our traveling base camp with us offering flexibility. I'm really looking forward to establishing something new here in the Khumbu. We have a few spots left on the team if anyone is interested in joining us in October. more... EVEREST BOOT CAMP

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Camp 12 and we need 4500 bottles of oxygen

We're going to Camp twelve and we need 4500 bottles of oxygen..that's what I was shouting out to all the Sherpas around EBC today as I was announcing to get ready the summit push is on starting tomorrow. Phu Tashi from Peak Freaks will be in the summit fixing team along with 11 other Sherpas who will leave camp tomorrow and if all goes we'll will be pushing through to the summit in a few days. The other teams involved in this effort will be from IMG, AA, AC, Patagonia Bro's, Jagged Globe, Mountain Trip, Seven Summits, Indian's and Asian Trekking.

It looks like 100 Sherpas or so will be pushing loads over the next few days to stock camps, it's going to get busy up there as we've had a bit of down time with the re-route but it's not any different than how we would climb if bad weather had set everyone back, we are still on track time wise, shouldn't be any concerns of bottle necking, we have up ropes and down ropes from lessons well learned in 1996 where there was only one rope used for up and down due to unfortunate circumstances.

Lhotse: Now that we are getting a bit of snow, still not that much but every little bit counts to glue things together in particular on the route up to the summit of Lhotse- eyes are starting to turn that direction.

Spirits are high around camp, we've been having a lot of fun. Today I took my Ipad around took some photos of our Sherpa staff and we played with the Photo Booth App, I had them in stitches as I distorted their faces with the program, tears were rolling down my face in laughter watching them crack up. Lhakpa Gelgan couldn't look at me the rest of day because he couldn't quit laughing. We ended the day with popcorn and played several rounds of cards.

Second wave trek group: They are currently in Lobuche and will be here tomorrow. Good timing, they will be able to give our team a good summit push send off. We still have one more group coming in 6 days time and that will be it for our spring groups but we will be back once again in October with our "Triple Crown" Everest Training climb and Everest Base Camp treks in October.

That's all for now... over and out.. Tim Rippel

For more... refer to our website: Peak Freaks

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Leaders meet at Peak Freaks & Himalayan Meltdown

Standing room only and even then there wasn't enough room so we held the meeting outside. It was a big turnout to learn of the next steps to get the climb underway. After three hours of hashing out who is going to do what we are left still looking for one more shared fixing summit Sherpa. It's all happening though, that we do know.

After the western guides meeting we had a Sirdars (lead Sherpa guides) meeting in the tent to get it all laid out in their language, everything went well and everyone is happy with getting on with the climb. Supplies are being moved up to stock camps with tents, food, stoves, oxygen and rescue equipment. The wind we are expecting should be slowing down on the 17th - so if all plans hold together up high on the mountain we should see the first summits by the fixing team on the 18th and then the teams will follow in behind in the days after.

We still don't see any signs of a looming monsoon or much precipitation for that matter, it's snowing right now so it will be interesting to see how that adds up on the mountain- if any. There's not much behind it except some high wind and dry

Shortly after the meeting our crew came marching back into camp. I didn't realize they liked it here so much, we are having a ton of fun whatever way the climb goes. Marty, Ben and Joshua have gone down to Pheriche, it's their turn to represent Peak Freaks at the disco.

Joshua checks in for our Spanish followers:

"Hola amigos de Ecuador, Canadá y el mundo.
Aprovechando los días extra que el mal clima nos ha enviado les mando este pequeño mensaje.
Bueno los últimos días las cosas han estado como se dice en Ecuador "color de hormiga" en el campo base. La operación mas grande en el Everest, que contaba con cerca de cien miembros (clientes, guías entre ellos Jaime Avila y sherpas) se ha retirado. Según su apreciación la montaña es demasiado peligrosa este año. Ciertamente nos ha desmotivado un poco, pero no lo suficiente para abandonar.
Por el contrario nuestro plan ha sido esperar, unir esfuerzos entre los que quedamos y atacar, lastimosamente se vino otro contratiempo, el viento. Según la meteo se vienen fuertes vientos toda la semana, así que nos hemos venido a Periche a despejar la mente y esperar lo mejor. Al parecer se viene otra ventana donde podremos nuestra apuesta y si todo va bien atacaremos la cumbre entre el 15 y el 20 de Mayo.
Eso es mis amigos, les mando un abrazo y gracias por seguirnos-" Joshua Jarrin

Meltdown in the Himalayas!

Other news that hasn't made it global which is interesting in itself. A glacial lake burst on May 5th in the high Himalayan region swept away houses, farms, cattle near Pokhara in Nepal. Pokhara is the village and gateway for climbers and trekkers who go the Annapurna mountain range, there are 26 people confirmed dead and they are expecting more. Peak Freaks has trekkers in the region right now but they are fine as they are up in the mountains and not in the valley that has taken the bulk of the hit.

This will raise eyebrows once again of something we've been watching for quite a few years here in the Khumbu Valley. The Imja Tsho or Imja Lake is at the base of Island Peak. Imja Tsho threatens downstream communities with the potential for a glacial outburst flood. The natural dam is all that is holding it back, the dam is a moraine made up of dirt, rock and ice, the same as the one that just let go in the Annapurnas.

The footage from this video sent to me this morning resembles what came out of Japan during the tsunami..

Check out PEAK FREAKS NEWS 2012'

Monday, May 7, 2012

Climbing! ropes are in to the South Col- C4

I had a busy day today while our team members are getting home sick for base camp in Pheriche. I told them it's ok- they can come home now if they want.

Things are looking good up on the mountain so I was all over base camp today with Greg Vernovage from IMG trying to get Sherpa staff organized to get the rest of this climb underway. The new route to Camp 3 seems to be working out with no rock fall and the route to the South Col from there is straightforward and considered normal conditions.

What's next? We are looking to have 10 climbing Sherpas plus their oxygen supplements for fixing the route to the summit, at current we have two from each of the following teams; Peak Freaks, Adventure Consultants, Alpine Ascents and IMG, we are hoping to find two more from other teams who are here to make a complete team to get the job done, at the end of the day we are left still looking.

We have a pretty good weather window right now to push through to the summit but we are expecting extreme high winds to move in as yearly as the 12th and backing off around the 17th. Our Sherpas are stoked and want to give it their best shot as well as all of our team members.

Though our weather insight does not go too far in advance, it's hopeful it will follow the norm and if so, we may start getting some summits starting around the 20th or 21st.

Team Peak Freaks is biting at the bit and wanting to get back to camp. Pheriche is starting to fill up now with members from the other teams coming down for their pre-summit push rest so our team will turn the disco floor over to them. Over and out..... Tim

more... Peak Freaks

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Going through the motions to climb this mountain

While our team is in Pheriche fattening up and getting oxygenated, Tim and our guides are going through the motions to climb this mountain. Our members are well aware of the risks associated with mountaineering and ultimately will make their own decisions based on their personal risk tolerance. We will give it our best shot providing we can get our all camps and equipment and safety measures in place and that our Sherpa members are no less than completely comfortable with the new route that is currently being explored and that the weather and timing of everything lines up.

BG (far left), my favorite Swede checks in:

Hi Becky. Here's a picture from Himalayan lodge Pheriche. We have party's every night. Yesterday we went to
the local disco. There was not so many girls, so we had to dance with each other.
Take care. B-G.

more... Peak Freaks

Friday, May 4, 2012

Practice of Patience

The practice of patience guards us against losing our presence of mind. It enables us to remain undisturbed, even when the situation is really difficult. It gives us a certain amount of inner peace, which allows us some self-control, so that we can choose to respond to situations in an appropriate and compassionate manner, rather than being driven by our disturbing emotions.

Peak Freaks website:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

NOTHING IS NORMAL!.. Everest and holding..

An emergency head honcho meeting today. We've got situation.... it's been a slow process watching the white

disappear up here over the years. We were first out of the gate again this year as a team and we were very lucky that no one got hurt in the process. We keep our teams small for many reasons and two of them is putting the importance on team bonding and climbing as a tight unit for personal safety.

Our camp got put in at Camp 3 in good time with many thanks to our hard working Sherpa crew, and the fact that we had a perfect weather opportunity that kept us climbing underneath the jet-stream that we were watching. Our team spent 2 nights at Camp 2 under stars and very light to calm winds before ascending to Camp 3 the next morning early, and were back at Camp 2 before the jet-stream moved down lower on the mountain, just exactly how we hoped it would work. The team got hammered pretty good this night but it all worked and they were down safe at EBC the next night.

The few days before when the Sherpas were carrying our equipment and fixing rope to Camp 3, the mountain was

holding tight, just a few skiffs here and there. By the time our team got on the rope and started to climb it was good going up but things started to change for the way down a couple members took a hit with some smaller rocks and they began to down climb very softly and by the sounds of it it's only going to get worse unless we get the right mix of snow and temperatures. The situation is that each time a climber pulls on the rope because of the lack and ice and snow holding things together, crampons and rope starts to dig into the rocks and sends them down the route straight on to climbers coming up.

The only normal I see right now is that this meltdown is happening all over this wonderful playground we've enjoyed for so many years. We used to climb Ama Dablam till a chunk fell off the hanging glacier, the Dablam and changed the way Ama Dablam is climbed today, so we moved over to Pumori, it's higher and ice was not affected by melt yet, but as of last autumn we are forced to call it quits playing there for the same reasons we see on Everest now. Our last Pumori expedition gave us enough warning signs to move on as we could no longer offer safety to our participants there. Now, Everest being the highest and coldest we didn't expect it to deteriorate so fast, but it has.

Route finding is key for an accomplished mountaineer and we had a tent full of them this afternoon, we all gathered to discuss options. I could see a possible solution to move out to the far far right and up and far right again. I brought our teams photos of what they saw up there and David Breashears also joined us. He had been out flying around getting shots for his "Melting Glaciers" documentation and we could see that the route I suggested was a good one but at the end of the day we didn't get any resolve because in order to get up to the Col climbers will still have to traverse the rocky area to get up to the Col.

It's not all gloom and doom. There is a fix if we get the perfect mix of snow and warmer temperatures. Getting it perfect is a huge factor in decisions that will be made in the next few days or even weeks. Right now if it snows and if there's wind it will just blow off again. If we get too much snow that won't blow off, then we will have avalanche concerns which could take it back to ice and we will have not gained any ground.

So in the interim, the route to the summit is a long ways off till we know what the weather is going to give us. I spoke to a climber from India that speaks of an ancient monsoon predictions tool and it's said to show an early monsoon. Everything Becky and I have been researching only indicates the monsoon will be normal this year, meaning the monsoon will come, but when exactly with this tidbit is not known. It almost looks the window of opportunity is right now, the winds are down as far as we can see in the reports so could this mean the monsoon will follow right after it which it typically does but usually not till the the third week of May. Who knows? we sure don't.

We are grateful we don't have teams up at Camp 2 pondering what to do, our Sherpas are pulled off the mountain for the time being. Our team are all happy campers enjoying vacation life Pheriche except for Marty, Joshua, Ben and I who are holding tight here.

Photos: Camp 2 and team climbing to Camp 3

Over and out ... Tim

Check out Nelson's video on our website and compare with photos we have on FB of what we're dealing with here. Not too sure about the choice of song Nelson..... the music is hot but the lyrics are a bit strong.

New photo collection of Lhotse face and Camp 2 loading on Tim Rippel's FACEBOOK today, Friend me if you haven't already.

For more:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Variables in climbing Everest

We’ve been around working at altitude since 1991 and conclude that the rules of climbing in these extreme environments are not absolute, nothing in mountaineering is. There are too many variables for consideration.

Key to mountain guiding is being aware of those variables and that’s where experience comes to play. It’s a balance between, health, weather, functional equipment, good leadership, nutrition that works, stability of the terrain, make-up of the team, their experience or ability to adapt and learn and mental preparedness. Some of these variables we can control and others we cannot. When we can’t we will try to work around it or we will work with it.There are no rules really, we are living and climbing on glacier and a mountain that’s constantly changing and weather that’s never the same.

This past year we had an earthquake, one can’t possibly predict what we are up against so we have to adapt.

Each year is different how we approach Everest considering all the variables. One year we spend one night at the South Col, the next time we may spend two, Camp 3 same thing. In 2008 during the Chinese Olympics when the Chinese stopped climbers from going past Camp 2 till May 10, we had no choice but to blast all the way up without a pre-acclimatization climb to Camp 3, it all worked out and it was a good year for summit success on all teams- we were forced to adapt. It's not uncommon for international climbers to have to adapt for political reasons, that's not the case this year.

This season Everest is extremely dry and at each incline loose rock that is typically bonded by ice and snow is sitting there waiting for a trigger. We’ve certainly got some work cut out for all of us to see how we can manage these areas to make them safer. There's a lot of head scratching going on up here right now to see how we can work with these conditions. These are the same conditions we were facing first Ama Dablam, then Pumori and now the bigger ones like Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse are now calving. What to do?

On a lighter note, team Peak Freaks had a fantastic time together last night at EBC. Stephen and BG streaked down to Pheriche to begin vacation a day early and the others will follow tomorrow. Over and out ... Tim