fitnessIssue 4

Adrian Crane – Latest Updates on Everest 2013

Here at Contentment Health, we know that great adventure stories are the work of a lifetime. And that’s never been more true than with our May/June cover subject Adrian Crane.

With more than 30 years of adventure seeking, Crane’s career as an athlete, mountaineer and thrill seeker is full of more stories than we could fit in just a single issue.

So below you’ll find bonus Adrian Crane content which will get you an even better glimpse at the life, career and mindset of this amazing Modestan. Read on for the latest updates from Adrian’s third attempt at climbing the tallest mountain on Earth!

First, check out the exclusive behind the scenes video above in which Crane talks about attempting Everest and shares some of the wonderful adventures that you can find right here in (or at least near!) Stanislaus County.


Friday, May 3, 2013

First message was

am at abc. very windy thursday and friday, ciold and snow. noone going anywhere. thurs i tried to do a second carry but i did not feel great and wind and clouds coming in so turned back at crampon point.
generally i feel good and think am acclimating well. had Bills bday on 28th (same as jj) then he went down to BC on 29th and we expect him back any day. One of spanish guys ´pepe´ happened to connect to internet thur some one else connection!.

The second message shortly after was

second send of this message with more details. internet connection very fickle so sent a brief note first..
So.. I did get to North col Monday. Nice climb. Very steep route up the headwall. Descent route is just a 1000 ft vertical rappel , in 100 ft sections) of about a 60 degree ice wall. Ascent winds its way up a more convoluted route that has steep steps linked by lesser ramps and terraces. Some big deep crevasses on ascent route with ladders to traverse them.
Then Thursday tried a second carry but turned back. As soon as this cold windy weather is done I will do a second carry to col which will let me put up camp there. Will use Rays EV 2 tent on col. Thanks Ray.
ABC feels normal now. Three meals a day prepared by Lila the camp manager and cook and assistant Tibetan ´Girmi´. Have done crosswords and Suduko while waiting for weather. Just finished ´Turing Cathedral´a rather heavy tome on birth of computing. problem is all camp mates are spanish so their books are useless to me and I am reduced to one other english book!
To confirm, Bills high point so far is abc and he went to bc on the 29th. but he looked good so I am expecting he will give NCol a decent shot.

climbers in camp are me, spaniard ´Topo, ecuadorian ´Patricio´, ecuadorian Raphael. Bill and spaniard ´Pepe´ are abc or ncol. Topo has Sherpa Áng Dawa´and Patriio and Raphael are sharing Dawa Tenzing.
at 3:55 the sun goes behind mountain and it gets v cold. Retire to tent. Sort gear. Read. Listen to ipod nano and attempt to play along on mouth organ to Neil Young – heart of gold. Will be really good when I get back !!

So Bill had been struggling with altitude sickness, and while he hung on to celebrate his birthday at Advance base camp(ABC), he then went back down to Base camp to spend some time allowing his body to recover (its amazing how much better you can feel just by going down 4000 feet). Adrian is expecting him to have recovered and be back up to ABC any day now.
So Adrian did the ascent up the “headwall” (basically a cliff) up to the north col ( side note: a reader asked what the north col stood for: a col is a geographical feature on a mountain: it is a pass (the low point) between two mountain peaks: in the USA , at least, it is more commonly referred to as a “saddle”. On everest there is a low point that joins everest to an adjoining mountain on the north (Tibet side) which is call the north col, and another on the south (Nepal )side of the mountain that joins everest to another mountain to the south (called the south col: climbers on the Nepal side all go up to the south col before going to the top of everest))

It sounds like the climb up to the north col is quite a challenge and an adventure: having to walk over a ladder in crampons while looking down at a cravass often so deep you can often not see the bottom. There has already been one death from someone falling into a crevasse this year (on the Nepal side). Fortunately there is a rope you can clip into as you cross , so if you do loose your footing on the ladder you should be able to be rescued. And to get back down: having to repel down a 1000 foot ice wall: that must be a real buzz (for Ados at least)

Ados’s comment “no sign of Sherpa discontent on this side of everest” refers to a major incident last weekend where at way high on everest (at 23000feet) on the SOUTH (Nepal) side 100 sherpas got mad at 3 european climbers (although I am sure the English climber had nothing to do with it: English people are way too nice) and attacked them with rocks and made them leave the mountain. However it was an incident that was a one off thing and did not impact the NORTH (Tibet ) side.

overall things seem to be going well. Ados had hoped to have taken a second load up to the north Col but the weather has not been very helpful (and he has had mild altitude sickness). Bill hopefully is doing much better after a few days back down at base camp and will soon join Ados to take a load up to the north col.
As Adrian mentioned, the other climbers in their group have Sherpas to help them carry all their gear up everest. Ados and Bill are being their own Sherpas so it will require lots of trips to carry all their gear up the mountain. Because Sherpas live at high altitudes they can also cope with carrying much heavier loads than most westerners. the sherpas for the ecuadorians : dawa Tenzing has the same name as one of the most famous Sherpas involved in the early climbs of everest. I don’t know if there is a family connection. Last time Ados was on everest the other climbers at his camp were all Dutch and French. This time Spanish and Ecuadorian .

Thursday, April 22, 2013

I imagine they will remain at Base camp till the weekend, mostly resting up, allowing their bodies to adapt to the 17000 feet elevation. They will probably take a hike or 2 up the surrounding peaks. Base camp is down in an old glacial valley, just before the start of the glacier.

They probably each have their own 2 person tent, and there will be a common dining/ multipurpose tent. There will be a couple of Nepalese or Tibetan cooks who will cook the meals and boil hot water for a bucket shower. Last time Adrian tent overlooked where all the yaks are corralled. Vehicles can only go as far as base camp. From base camp to advanced base camp at 19000 feet it is yaks who carry all the supplies on the narrow trails.

Everest Base Camp
Photo Base Camp

If you are interested in seeing some photos of what base camp looks like here is a link: Base Camp Gallery
the next about 25 photos are all taken at base camp if you would also like to scroll through those. The dominating mountain in those photos is , of course, Everest.

The second contact came this morning:
Adrian managed to borrow someones email connection this morning and sent a message that all is well, Bill and Adrian are comfortable at base camp, and plan to stay there till Sunday, when they will leave to go to higher camps. They are hoping a new group will arrive in a few days and be able to bring a satellite phone with them, so they may be able to then make some brief phone calls.

As you would have seen from the photos , base camp is fairly desolate but with great views of Mt. Everest towering in the background. There are a few things to do there. You can take a 3 mile walk to the “tea houses” which a tent “village” that locals set up each climbing season and sell drinks and food and some souvenirs to the climbers and tourists. There are usually a number of tourists who come to look at everest and see base camp. ( if you don’t need the walk you can also get a ride in a cart pulled by a small horse) There is also a Buddhist monastery not many miles away. You can go and see the plaques remembering the many climbers who have died on Everest. It is set on a little knoll overlooking base camp. You can go and visit other climbing parties and share climbing stories. You can climb up the cliffs hanging over base camp for 1000 feet and get fantastic views down the valley, with especially great views of the mighty (but unfortunately quickly receding) glacier that is coming from the foot of Everest. But while you want to do a little bit of strenuous activity to get your body to learn to function with less oxygen, mostly you need to rest, and let your body get over the trauma of elevation.

The weather at base camp is often fairly pleasant, occasionally you can be down to a Tshirt. Nights are quite cold, but you have all your gear with you so you have no lack of layers that you can put on to stay cosy. There is a common tent that most in their group would hang out in the evenings. The toilets are a concrete structure up on a hill with holes in the floor. Sensible people have a pee bottle in the tent with them so they don’t have to take the trek up there in the cold of the night. The 2 person tents are comfortable enough with a very thick air mattress. The camp cooks try to make the meals as western as they know how. Last time Adrian was there the food was quite good. It is hard on your body to be adapting to be at such high elevation (17000 feet) so often your stomach is playing up and you really don’t feel like eating, but you have to force yourself to , to keep up your energy, so it helps if the food is similar to what you are used to. It makes it easier to force it down.

Days that are pleasant are shower days. The shower is basically in the open, with a bucket overhead with a few holes in it. The cooks boil up some water from the nearly creek. Your shower is one bucket of water, so you have to quick and efficient. Snow days are definitely not shower days, no matter how much you stink.

On Sunday and Monday they will head up to advanced base camp at 19000 feet. They will spend probably about 5 days there letting their bodies acclimatize to that elevation. But the stress on their bodies will be substantial, so after about 5 days they will head back down to base camp for maybe another 5 days to let their bodies recover before heading back up again.

This is part 2 of the weekly update:
By now Bill and Ados should be sleeping at intermediate camp. They would have left mid morning when it would have warmed up a little. Yesterday they would have loaded their bags(probably two big duffel bags each) onto Yaks and the Yak herders would be taking their gear up to Advanced Base Camp (ABC). It is a 2000 feet elevation climb up to ABC which is very stressful on the body (the first time up at least) and so everyone stops half way up at a small camp that goes by different names, but often just blandly called intermediate camp. It is about a 5 hour hike up to IC , alongside the glacier that comes down to base camp from the foot of Everest.. It is a very gradual climb on narrow trails. The main danger is the Yak ‘trains”. There is usually not room for Yaks and people and the Yaks think they have the right of way, so they will quite happily push you off the trail to get past you.

Intermediate camp area is the most magical part of the everest trip. The way the sun has melted the glacier produces some spectacular ice formations.

Everest Climb
photo of a yak getting loaded up
More Photos the next 25 photos are of the hike to intermediate camp
The camp with yellow tents with the ice spires towering overhead is intermediate camp.

When they wake up in the morning they will head on the 5 hour hike to Advanced Base Camp (ABC) which is at the foot of everest. Her they will probably spend about 5 days before going back down to base camp

Advanced Base Camp (ABC)
Photo of Advanced Base Camp (ABC)

The next 9 photos are of the ABC area: Photos of the ABC area

There will probably not be a lot of news until the end of the week. They will be mostly resting at ABC, allowing their bodies to adapt to 19000 foot elevation. The oxygen at this elevation is significantly less. Lots of people have problems with sleep apnea, where they stop breathing for up to a minute, then wake themselves up as they gasp for breath. Headaches, loss of appetite, nausea are also common. Hopefully our adventurers will only have very mild symptoms, and they will adapt well. Again at ABC they will have their own small tent. There will be someone there cooking for them, and there will be a common tent for hanging out with the other climbers in their group.,

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Got this message from ados

Hi all.

Very excited now as all of a sudden at 5pm this evening (Thursday) Ganesh came in with the other two who are going to Everest with us Pepe and Topo. I think bill wrote of them. And at 5am we will be out of here. Both Bill and I have had our fill of KTM!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Got this from Derek 8:30 p.m.

well the big moment has come for them to head out of the smog and traffic of KTM (kathmandu) through the lush green of Nepal hillsides and then on up to the barrenness of Tibet.

It will take them about 6 days to get to base camp. not because it is far, you can drive the distance in maybe 6 to 8 hours, but you should only go up in altitude slowly to allow the body to adjust,

the Ganesh adrian is speaking about is not the best known and most widely worshipped god of the hindu gods: the elephant headed god Ganesh, ,As much as he may need it, Adrian has not had a divine visitation. This Ganesh is the nepalese organiser of the expedition. he arranges all the transport, permits, the tents and cooking facilities at the base camps, the cooks etc.

anyone going to tibet everest has to go through an accredited outfitter, the chinese government likes to keep very firm control on anything going on in tibet. , Adrian has used Ganesh's outfitting company each trip to everest now, partly because he is moderately priced and partly because he does a reasonable job of coordinating things.

They will travel a couple of hours to the tibet border and stay there tomorrow night. Tibet here they come!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Got this from Bill 5:50 a.m.

Did not cross the border today still in Nepal. Try again tomorrow. Staying in Liping for the night, us and the Spaniards. We are bonding well, we have too since we are sharing a room. We hiked up around the area to a small monastery. The area was alight with the late afternoon sun. We are all glad to be out of KTM and anguish to get on the mountain.


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