Mountaineering :: Trekking :: Ski touring


Everest Nepal 2009

In Spring 2009 David Hamilton led the Adventure Consultants Everest Expedition. This was a small and compact team with 6 climbers 3 fellow 'western' staff and a crew of 23 Nepali Sherpas. Daily dispatches from the expedition were posted on the Adventure Consultants website and these can be viewed at

This is my post summit summary written when we returned to Base Camp on 22 May:

The team are all down in Base Camp and getting ready to start their homeward journeys. Over the past few days we have been fully absorbed with the efforts needed to get ourselves safely up and down the mountain. We are very grateful to our Base Camp team for all the work they have done communicating the news of our climb to the outside world, based on radio messages that we have sent from high on the mountain.

Now we are back in Base Camp, I can write a few reflections on our summit day on behalf of the team. This was Ang Dorgee's 13th Everest summit and my 4th and we both agree that it was one of the more difficult climbs we have made. There were a lot of other climbers aiming for the top on the same day and this slowed our progress, and led to long waits at some of the steeper sections. Conditions were also cold (one climber recorded -36 degrees C) and there were occasional strong winds, and soft snow to contend with.

The four climbers on the team did very well to reach the summit on a day when conditions were far from perfect. Despite all the training that we had done on the lower slopes of Everest I do not think that any of the team had appreciated that summit day would be much harder than anything that had gone before. In terms of endurance alone, none of the previous days had taken more than 5-6 hrs, while summit day was a round trip of 19 hrs for most of the team. The unremittingly steep slopes meant that there were very few spots suitable for rest places, and so they all accomplished the climb with very few stops for food and liquid. Fortunately we had a strong team of nine Sherpas with us on the climb and they ensured that we had plentiful supplies of oxygen, even though the climb took a bit longer than we had anticipated.

The cold conditions took their toll on our equipment: water froze in bottles (despite insulated covers), one member had a crampon fail when a plastic component broke, and several cameras failed to work in the extremely cold temperatures. Luckily some cameras did work on the summit (especially the USD$10 disposable ones!) and we have enough summit day pictures between us to make a reasonable narrative show of the climb.

After years of planning and preparation by each of the team members and seven weeks of climbing on the mountain it is hard to believe that the expedition is over and we will soon all be heading towards our separate homes. Some of us are already experiencing the high that comes with achieving a long held ambition, others are still too exhausted from the climb to fully appreciate the enormity of the achievement. Some are emotionally drained and others physically tired. I think that everyone's thoughts are turning to home, yet some are already starting to talk of the next mountain project they would like to attempt…

David Hamilton (Everest Base camp 22 May 2009)

David Hamilton
High Adventure
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