Friday, May 27, 2011

Daily Video Journal of the Sophie Denis' Lhotse climb

Day 1 - 05-14-11

Lhotse Base Camp : First weather report feedback
On the 18/19th the wind should low down early morning and it should start snowing in the afternoon. So we are trying to hit a very small weather window just few hours of ok weather. 

Feedback on weather report

Day 2 - 05-15-11
Lhotse Base Camp : We are leaving tomorrow morning
I am pretty sick. I have a nasty sore throat and some stomach issues. Due to bad weather we postpone by a day our climbing summit push.We are leaving tomorrow instead of today . I am happy because I have one more rest day to recover.

Day 3 - 05-16-11
Lhotse Base Camp to Camp 2

Day 4 - 05-17-11
Camp 2 to Camp 3

Day 5 - 05-18-11
Camp 3 to Camp 4

We start climbing pretty late due to the bad weather condition. It was snowing for 12h straight. We start at 4am, then along the climb we had the bad surprise to discover that the line was not fixed. So Tsering and I start fixing the line. We fixed about 100m. Thankfully, the Himex Sherpa team came up that day  o fix the line, so our job was done.

Early Morning Feedback

Feedback before climbing the icy couloir

We fixed 100m rope - happy to have helped ...

Himex Sherpa fixing the line on Lhotse - deep snow

almost there ....

Last steps ...

5m away from the top

Sophie's big smile at the top of Mount Lhotse. Sophie summit at 3pm on 05/19/11
Panoramic view from the summit of Lhotse. (you can see Makalu, Everest, Cho Oyu ... )

View of Everest on the way down from Lhotse Summit .... SPLENDID

Day 7 - 05-20-11
Camp 3 to Camp 2
We start from Camp 3 pretty late due to the bad weather. Once arrived at Camp 2 at 11am, we had lunch. When we finished packing our personal stuff at Camp, 2 it was already noon. We were tired from our climb and it was a bite late to go to the ice fall. So we've decided to stay and sleep at Camp 2. (We are in no rush, so let's take it easy and try to take a minimum of risk in the Ice fall.)

Day 8 - 05-21-11
Camp 2 to Base Camp
Breakfast at Camp 2

World Record of Altitude in Paragliding
(the tiny red dot is Babu and Lakpa view from Camp 1)

Crossing crevasse in Kumbu Ice fall is a very slow and quite dangerous process
video coming soon

Pumori big Avalanche
When you climb Mount Everest or Lhotse, you mainly hear 2 sounds : the sound of avalanches and the sound of crevasses cracking (under your tent)
video coming soon

Day 9 - 05-22-11

Last Day at Base Camp

Thursday, May 26, 2011

World Record of Altitude in Paragliding

We were sharing base camp "service" with the team who wrote a new World Record of Altitude in Paragliding. So I got the chance to know them, and they are amazing ....

Back Roll : Zanbu - Shree Hari - Tsering Nima - Lakpa Tsering - Ryan - Babu
Front Roll : Tsering - Yangji - Lakpa Gelu - AngBhai - Sophie - Susmita - David

From Over the Top of the World ! to the Sea
They took off from the Summit of Mt. Everest last monday, on 21th of May of 2011, on a tandem flight and broke the World Record of Altitude in Paragliding. Not just because they took off from Everest, but because they flew over Everest, about 30 meters above the highest montain that any pilot or any human being ever been, and the first cross country flight ever done in Everest region. Following the track of the flight, they did about 31km, flying around Nuptse and landing in Namche Bazar Airport.

The project and plan to fly from Everest happened in less than 2 months, with very little financial support, in the limit of saving of both pilots. But still the adventure is not finished. Babu and Lakpa at the moment are still in action. They continue the adventure for the next 3 or 4 weeks, walking, cycling and by kayak-duo, on a river class 5, until they arrive to the ocean.

Lakpa Sherpa is a famous summiter and took at this expedition 3 pax with him for the first time to the Summit, not only Babu Sunowar, but Phu Dorge Sherpa (aka. AngBhai Sherpa from Cheplung) and Nima Wang Chu Sherpa. At the way to the Summit, they lost one bottle of oxygen at 7.900m. Lakpa Sherpa gave his own bottle to Babu, having no oxygen himself even during and after the take off.

The fact to arrive to the ocean from Everest has a strong meaning to Babu: « from where the water starts, from the Supreme source, to where the water divides into egos and have separeted names, to where the water units and all rivers become one with the ocean »
 The subtle message reflects it all of the spirit of these two simple men who love the mountains and nature.
 Congratulations to the National hero Rai Babu Sanuwar, Lapka Sherpa and to all Sherpa community!

Contact Info :

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Managing your Body Mass is one of the most challenging side of climbing

Cho Oyu Base Camp is at 5800m and Lhotse base Camp is at 5300m. At those altitude no matter what you eat you cannot gain weight.
So the goal is to lose the least possible amount of weight to have energy for your climb.

My training was mainly focus in gaining weight in anticipation of a drastic loss of weight.
November I was 130lbs. I had been able to gain about 30lbs, to 160lbs before to go to my trip.

There is nothing fun in gaining weight, but it is mandatory to have enough body fat to 1/ keep you warm. the fat plays the role of an insulation layer. 2/ energy. the fat feeds your muscles of energy. It is a quick access to energy.

Unfortunately, I had already loss my extra 30lbs. In 5 weeks I lost 30lbs which is a really bad news.

I am leaving June 10th to climb Broad Peak and K2, and I NEED to gain at least 10lbs. That will be very challenging but I have no choice, I need to bulk up ... !

(click on the picture below to play the video)
Link :

Lhotse climb & Cho Oyu climb details coming soon

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sophie SUMMIT LHOTSE May 19th 2011

Sophie Summit Lhotse (4th highest peak in the world)
less than 2 weeks after summiting Cho Oyu (6th highest peak in the world)

Please find below few summit pictures ... more coming soon ...

Last steps ...

Sophie at the Summit ( very happy)

Sophie dedicaced her summit to her Grandmother

It is Sophie's 2nd 8000m peak in 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lhotse daily news: SUMMIT May 19th 2011

From Ryan blog 
Very pleased to announce that on May 19th, Lakpa Dorjee Sherpa, French climber Sophie Denis, and Ryan Waters reached the amazingly beautiful summit of Mount Lhotse. 
Nous sommes très heureux de vous annoncer que le 19 mai, Lakpa Dorjee Sherpa, l'alpiniste francaise Sophie Denis et Ryan Waters ont atteint le magnifique sommet de Lhotse.
We are pleased that we pushed on that morning after lots of questions kind of floating about, first there was a lot of snow falling most of the night, we knew that parts of the route had been fixed but not all of the route, and one other group started the climb then returned to camp 4 since they were unsure about it being "the day" for those very reasons. 
Nous sommes très contents d'avoir poursuivi l'ascension ce matin là malgrès de nombreuses inconnues: premièrement on avait peur qu'une grosse quantité de neige fraiche gene notre progression car il avait neigé une grande partie de la nuit et de plus son savait qu'une partie de la route n'avait pas été equipée (de protection). C'est d'ailleurs pour ces précédentes raisons qu'un autre groupe a préféré renoncer considérant qu'il valait peut être mieux attendre de meilleurs conditions.
Our scrappy little team just basically said lets be mountaineers and get up on the route and see what we can do. We left camp 4 at 7,800 meters relatively late at 4 a.m. and started climbing, and were soon joined by the teams that had turned back. 
Notre petite équipe s'est alors dit: Réagissons comme des montagnards et Allons-y. Nous verrons sur place ce que l'on peut faire. Nous avons donc quitté le camp 4 à 7800m vers 4h du matin (pas vraiment en avance) pour commencer l'ascension et nous avons  rapidement croisé des équipes qui avaient fait demi tour.

At the base of the couliour, we met up with a team of Sherpas who were meant to fix the upper part of the route for Himex, who had clients coming later to climb. A big thanks to those boys who did a lot of work on the route that day! So we joined into a big team of foreigners and Sherpas all enjoying a wonderful day of warm weather with low winds, up the 500 meter awesome gully over mixed rock, snow, and ice to the summit! 
Ensuite, à la base du couloir, nous avons rejoint une équipe de Sherpas qui était en train de sécuriser la dernière partie de l'ascension en fixant des cordes fixes pour leurs clients qui arriveraient un peu plus tard (compagnie Himex). Un grand merci à ces gars qui ont fait un gros boulot ce jour là. Nous avons donc finalement rejoint une grosse equipe de grimpeurs étrangers et de Sherpas, tous ensemble, nous avons pu profiter de cette journée magnifique: chaude avec peu de vent. Nous avons poursuivi de cette façon pendant les 500 derniers metres de l'ascension alliant rocher, neige et glace.
Sophie summit at 3pm - Ryan at 4pm

It has been a whole lot of work but we succeeded and ready for the warm, sunny, beer and food filled walk out the solo khumbu in a couple days.
Cela a été un gros boulot mais nous y sommes arrivés et nous sommes désormais pret pour enfin profiter dans quelques jours de la chaleur, du soleil, d'une bonne bière et d'un bon repas dans la vallée.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Lhotse Daily News: May 14th 2011 - Time to Go

Message From Ryan 
Summit Push On!
14 May, 11 - 11:30     
We plan to leave for camp 2 on the morning of the 15th. The weather report is not necessarily the best but sometimes you got to go climbing and see! We feel there will be a lull in the winds up at the Lhotse summit on the 18th and 19th, the downside is there will be a good chance of late afternoon snows on these days. 
Nous prévoyons de partir pour le camp 2 le 15 au matin. Les prévisions météo ne sont pas idéales mais parfois il faut mieux y aller et aviser sur place! Nous présetons une accalmie les 18 et 19 avec une baisse du vent mais d'un autre coté il risque d'y avoir des chutes de neiges en fin de journée.
So we will try and sneak up to the top the morning of the 18th. Exciting time to be planning for the summit now. I have been up through the Icefall 4 times already this year on load carries and acclimatization, so am anxious to make this the final time!

Nous allons donc essayer de se faufiler vers le sommet à partir du 18 au matin. Et rien de plus excitant que de prévoir son jour d'ascension. Cette année, j'ai déjà traversé 4 fois la cascade de glace entre le camp de base et le camp 1 , pour transporter du matériel ou pour l'acclimatation. Aussi je suis impatient de le faire pour la dernière fois!
Each time up in the Western Cwm it has been blazing hot and very strong reflection of sun off the snow. I have been using my ZEAL Optics Flyers and the lenses cannot be beat! These are the lenses I used during 70 days of sunlight across Antarctica as well. For summit day I have my ZEAL goggles with SPX lenses to protect from wind and sun.
All the Sierra Designs down clothing has been awesome, the Gnar Jacket is the ultimate mid warmth layer and I will wear that along with wool long underwear bottoms under my SD down Top and Bottom, for total warmth on the predicted -24 degree C summit elevation.
 Anxious and excited are how we feel now, all the books are worn out, tea and coffee with friends... check, pouring over weather reports... they all blend into one now, lets go climbing! 

Nous nous sentons anxieux et excités, tous les livres sont usés, et prenons du thé et du café avec des amis ... à éplucher les différents bulletins météo ... mais nous avons fait notre choix maintenant et désormais le temps est venu de grimper !

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Lhoste News: May 12th 2011 in Everest Base Camp

From Here
Sophie and Ryan plan to wait a few days to pick a good summit day according to upcoming weather reports. Sophie has arrived in the valley fresh off an ascent of Cho Oyu in Tibet, so the plan will be to climb straight up to camp 2, then camp 3, with a stop at camp 4 at the base of the Lhotse route to the summit. So stay tuned in as we pray to the weather gods and pick a date very soon to launch off into that summit push world and out of the base camp weather talk bubble!
Sophie et Ryan prévoient d'attendre quelques jours pour tenter l'ascension en fonction des bulletins météorologiques à venir. Sophie est arrivée au camp de base tout juste descendue de l'ascension du Cho Oyu au Tibet, si bien que Sophie et Ryan prévoient de monter directement au camp 2, puis le camp 3, avec un arrêt au camp 4 là ou la route vers le sommet du Lhotse se différencie de celle de l'Everest. Alors restez à l'écoute et souhaitez leur du beau temps pour qu'ils puissent enfin s'élancer à l'assaut du sommet (en plus cela permettra de parler d'autre chose que de la météo...).


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sophie SUMMIT CHO OYU on 05/05/11 without oxygen

Sophie jumping at the top of Cho Oyu, 6th highest peak in the world
Summit day : 05/05/11 at 1pm

"best Summit day ever"

Despite an awful night at camp 3 : The wind almost crushed our tent and the snow kept being blown into our tent. Moreover, we did not have any sleeping bags. The night was extremely cold, so Mama and I, had to wake up every 2h to boil water to refill with hot water our small water bottles to keep us warm.

Sophie in the tent - freezing cold

The climbing plan was starting at 3am. We should have share the "breaking the trail" effort among 4 teams : Bolivian, Spanish, French and us. That was initially the plan, but due to the wind storm, we were all kind of down, and decide to start around 5:30am.

View from the Yellow Band - Start climbing at 5:30am

The summit climb starts by climbing the "yellow band" or about 200meters of blue ice and rock more or less vertical. this year is particularly difficult because it is a fairly dry year.
As we are the first for the summit push, we climbed this section alpine style (without/limited access to rope). I do feel very comfortable with such terrain, but I would not call it an easy climbing section.

Yellow band

The rest of the climb was a dream. Once we were half way, and because we start climbing so late, the question of turning around popped. But I checked myself, and I am thinking, "well! My toes are ok. My fingers are not cold. So let's do it!

Here we go, the last steps  ... which took us a long time, as the summit is a long, infinite plateau .... We finally summit on May 5th, 2011 at 1pm. I am the First Woman in 2011 to summit Cho Oyu !

Sophie at the Summit. I dedicate my Cho Oyu Summit to Raphael my godson

The views are stunning! Cho Oyu climb with or without summit is a MUST. the views are just breath taking !

View on the way down from the Summit

We were pretty tired. Fully aware that most of the accidents happen on the way down, we did not rush and take the way down easy. 

We went down to Camp 2 everybody was exhausted. People could not even walk down. They just sat down and let themselves slide down ....

for the little story Ulie Stek and Don Bowy summit the same day than us :p

05/08/11 - Day #28 Cho Oyu - Zanbu to Kathmandu