2016 Everest Expedition Nepal  •  29,035'  •  8850m
Expedition Coverage

IMG's 2016 Mt. Everest Expedition Coverage

Led by Eric Simonson, Ang Jangbu Sherpa, Greg Vernovage, Justin Merle, Mike Hamill, Emily Johnston, Josh McDowell, Phunuru Sherpa, Jenni Pfafman and Jonathan Schrock


We Are Done!

May 25, 2016

All the gear is down from Camp 1 and the last sherpas are out of the Icefall. Great job you guys! We are done with the climbing!

All the members have now left Base Camp by heli or on foot, and we are taking down the communications tent now. Jangbu and I will spend one final evening here with our Sherpa Team, and then we will depart tomorrow. Our longtime IMG sirdar Ang Pasang and his guys still have a couple days of work getting everything clean and dry so they can get it moved down to our storerooms in Gorak Shep and Pangboche. Per the terms of our permits, we are sending all human waste to the designated burial down valley (north of Lobuche village). All burnable garbage goes to the incinerator in Namche, and all cans and bottles go to Kathmandu for recycle. The empty oxygen cylinders will be sent back to KTM for inspection and refill, along with any gear that needs repair.

More than any other Everest expedition that I have been on, I had the joy of listening to the Sherpa's phrase "lau badai cha" which means CONGRATULATIONS! This has been a great season for our Team, and we are very happy that it was so successful. Thank you to everyone around the world for all of your support, and thank you to all of our Trekkers and Climbers for coming to Nepal and visiting.

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

All Members Back to BC; Sri Lanka has Summited Mount Everest!

May 24, 2016

Greg and Jangbu report that all the team members are back down to Base Camp, and the sherpas team have finished bringing all the tents, empty O2 bottles, and gear down to Camp 2. They still have a few more days of work to bring all the gear down to Base Camp and get everything packed up.

The members are now packing up and have started to depart, with some trekking down valley and others choosing to fly out by helicopter. Unfortunately, the heli flights this afternoon were cancelled as clouds rolled in and plugged up the Khumbu Valley from Namche up to Pheriche, so they will have another night at EBC.

Of all the great stories from our expedition, high on the list is the first Sri Lankan Everest expedition team of Jay and Johann. Jayanthi Kuru Utumpala Weerahennedige and Johann Lucian Shivantha Peries set out from the South Col on the night of May 20th to summit Mount Everest. Jay reached the summit at 5:03 am on the 21st. She had a great summit day, climbing with strength and determination, working through the South Summit and Hillary Step and arriving on the summit just as the sun was rising. Johann made the wise decision at 8400 meters to turn around. He had a great climb and performed very well during the entire expedition to help his country succeed in the goal of standing on the summit of Mount Everest. A huge congratulations from IMG to the Team of Jay and Johann, carrying the flag for Sri Lanka to the summit of Mount Everest!

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

Staying Focused

May 23, 2016

Our Classic team had a gorgeous day of climbing today, and were rewarded for waiting a few extra days for their summit bid. They left the South Col last night and had the entire upper mountain to themselves. As Pasang Kami (PK) said, it was perfect. Our Team climbed as strong as they had the entire expedition, and to give them even more credit, they are all back down to Camp 2 now. Their plan for tomorrow is to descend to EBC and celebrate. We'll be excited to get them back to EBC, but it's not over yet. Time to stay focused and make every clip on the fixed lines!

Also today, the last of the Hybrid Team descended to Base Camp and the Sherpas started work on bringing down the South Col camp and Camp 3. Then, over the next couple days, the sherpa team will start hauling Camp 2 down to Camp 1. We had a little snow at Base Camp this afternoon but that won't stop anything now.

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

Another Round of IMG Everest Summits!

May 22, 2016

Pasang Kami called from the summit to report a perfect morning: sunny, no wind, and no other teams! We are proud to report that our second IMG summit team members have now stood on the summit and have begun their descent. Congratulations team and keep climbing strong!

The following summit list has been sent to the Ministry of Tourism:

2016 IMG Everest Summit Team 2

1Christian Geb Muller ZouGERMANY
2Darren Vincent RogersUSA
3Alan Jacob KellerCANADA
4Craig Alan BarlowUSA
5Barton Lynn WilliamsUSA
6Marin MinamiyaJAPAN
7Enrico CambiniITALY
8Kanchha Nuru SherpaNEPAL
9Mingma Sona SherpaNEPAL
10Pasang Nima SherpaNEPAL
11Chhewang Lendu SherpaNEPAL
12Pasang Kami SherpaNEPAL
13Phu Tasi SherpaNEPAL
14Ang Pemba SherpaNEPAL
15Ila Nuru SherpaNEPAL
16Namgel Dorjee TamangNEPAL
17Pemba Tshering SherpaNEPAL
18Karma Gyalzen SherpaNEPAL

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

IMG Climbers Above the South Summit

May 22, 2016

IMG climbers are past the South Summit (28,700') and will now be working their way across the traverse to the Hillary Step. Once over that last, steep hurdle, they will be on the summit ridge. The weather continues to remain stable, and we will keep you posted!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

IMG Climbers Above the Balcony

May 22, 2016

We just got a call from expedition leaders Ang Jangbu and Greg Vernovage reporting that the second IMG summit team is now well into their summit bid and climbing above the Balcony (27,500'). The weather is holding, and everyone is doing well. We'll keep you posted!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Classic Team Reaches South Col

May 22, 2016

Our Classic climbers and their sherpas had a great climb to the South Col today, arriving with plenty of time to rest for their climb tonight. Everyone is feeling good and the weather forecast for tomorrow is also looking good. Their plan is to start climbing about 9pm Nepal time, plus or minus.

All of yesterday's climbers are now back to Camp 2, and some of them who came down to Camp 2 yesterday made it down to Base Camp today. They are in great spirits and happy to be back.

Of course, along with the climbers were a number of our sherpa team, and I am proud and honored to work next to them. We were touched by their amazing gesture yesterday, when they unfurled a banner on the summit on behalf of the IMG Sherpa families which were helped by the over $100K raised from our IMG community after the earthquake last year. This banner says it all from the Summit of Mount Everest. I will be bringing this banner back to IMG Headquarters signed by the entire Sherpa Team!

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

First Team Descending; Classic Team Moving Into Position

May 21, 2016

The members of our first team have now descended either back to the South Col or Camp 2 and are settling in for some very well deserved rest.

Now we have our Classic Team on deck at Camp 3. I am just off the radio with guide Jonathan Schrock who reports no wind and light clouds. The weather forecast remains good for the next couple days, with wind speeds staying low. Every climber earns the summit of Mount Everest, and this Classic team has done more than their share of work and acclimatization. This was apparent today when they left Camp 2 and were able to reach Camp 3 in excellent time and in great shape. They spent the afternoon resting and getting prepared to head up early tomorrow morning for the Col.

This evening we had our Guide Meeting over the radio, and I was reminded of the great communication we have between our guides and sherpas spread out over Camp 2, Camp 3, and the South Col. Well done, team!

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

IMG Everest Summits!

May 20, 2016

We are very pleased to announce that guides Merle, Johnston, McDowell, and Hamill, along with 9 climbers, and 15 Sherpas have reached the summit of Mt. Everest. Congratulations climbers!

All of them are now descending. The winds remain light. Some of the team members will descend to Camp 2 today and some will stop at Camp 4. Lower down, the Classic team is ascending now to Camp 3 and are doing well.

The following official summit name list has been released to the Liaison Officer and Ministry of Tourism:

2016 IMG Everest Summit Team 1

1Ramin A. BehmandUSA
2Kimberly Caryn HessUSA
3Weerahennedige Jayanthi Kuru UtumpalaSRI LANKA
4Fraser Leith McKenzieAUSTRALIA
5Justin Reese MerleUSA
6Steven Michael HessUSA
7Cristiano Pinheiro MullerBRAZIL
8Paul Stuart PottingerUSA
9Joshua Tyler McDowellUSA
10Michael Aaron HamillUSA
11Leslie Gullahorn OlsonUSA
12Emily Evelyn JohnstonUSA
13Siva Ram Venkata HotaUSA
14Fura Gyalzen SherpaNepal
15Dawa Tenzing SherpaNepal
16Mingma SherpaNepal
17Ang Karma SherpaNepal
18Phinjo Dorjee SherpaNepal
19Lakpa SherpaNepal
20Lhakpa Nuru SherpaNepal
21Ngima Dorjee SherpaNepal
22Pasang Kami SherpaNepal
23Phura Temba SherpaNepal
24Rita Geljen SherpaNepal
25Pemba Gyaltsen SherpaNepal
26Palden SherpaNepal
27Fura Jangbu SherpaNepal
28Pemba Gyalzen SherpaNepal

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Climbers Above the South Summit

May 20, 2016

Greg and Jangbu report that the weather is holding, and the climbers are now above the South Summit. Back down at Camp 2, the second Classic team have departed and are heading up to Camp 3.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Past the Balcony

May 20, 2016

Greg called to say that the climbers have passed the Balcony. The weather is holding, and the winds are light. Next stop the South Summit!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Climbers Departing South Col

May 20, 2016

Our first group of climbers made it to the South Col in good time, before 1pm. They had all afternoon to eat, drink, and rest up and now they are leaving for the summit (about 9pm Nepal time, plus or minus).

The weather is holding, and they will have a full moon climbing with them tonight. We do not expect to hear from them until they reach the Balcony, in about 5 hours.

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

Climbers Heading to the Col

May 19, 2016

All is well this morning with the IMG climbers at Camp 3. They had a good night and report very little wind. The team is getting an early start on the ropes this morning to get ahead of the traffic up to the South Col.

Weather forecast is looking OK. Nuru just called from the South Col, and he reports breezy but not bad at all. I think it will calm even more when the sun comes up. The Classic climbers at Camp 2 are doing well and are planning to head up tomorrow.

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

Climbers Heading up to Camp 3

May 18, 2016

Greg reports from Base Camp that our next summit team is heading up to Camp 3 this morning. This group includes our Hybrid team climbers and the second team of Classic climbers. The Classic climbers who tried a couple days ago will take another rest day. We'll keep you posted on their progress!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Watching the Weather

May 18, 2016

The weather has been "tricky" to get a handle on the last few days, but then again, this is Everest. The winds can not only rattle the tents when you get higher up, they can also rattle our brains! And when a little moisture shows up, we get snow.

Today we hit the pause button in order to regroup and get a better feel for the weather. We have been looking at the models and predictions closely with our custom weather forecasters. The Team has been patient, and we will send up our climbers as soon as we see what we are looking for, namely low winds and low moisture. Should know more soon!

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

Snow Day on Everest

May 17, 2016

Just when we thought everything was going great, the weather threw a curveball today, with a dose of moisture that snuck into the picture. Greg and Jangbu report it started snowing this morning, and that it continued during the day today. In response to the changing conditions, they held the first summit team at Camp 3 initially to observe the weather, then decided to pull them back down to Camp 2. Phunuru and a number of the sherpas made it up to the South Col in a blizzard, but then bailed out and came back down.

Also today, Mike Hamill and the last couple IMG climbers moved up to Camp 2 to join the Classic and Hybrid climbers up there. So, all the IMG team (except for a couple sherpas left at the Col to work on the camp) are at Camp 2. We are in consultation with our weather forecasters, and working on The Plan for tomorrow.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

The Latest from Everest

May 16, 2016

Our Teams are moving extremely well. All climbers departed their respective camps on time and had a perfect day. The first Classic team is now settled in at Camp 3 and have plugged into their O2 for the night. They will leave Camp 3 on O2 early tomorrow morning for the climb to the South Col.

The stretch from Camp 3 to the South Col is one of my favorites! Climbing through the Yellow Band and taking in the view is fantastic. A little more climbing, through the Geneva Spur, and the South Col is within eyesight.

Phunuru and the Sherpa Team will get an early start from Camp 2 and will have Camp 4 ready for the climbers when they arrive.

Our Hybrid and second team of Classic climbers moved up to Camp 2 today and are doing well. They will take a rest day tomorrow and head up to Camp 3 after that.

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

IMG Teams on the Move

May 15, 2016

The weather was good down low today, and the climbers and sherpas moved smoothly up the Icefall. Tomorrow, our First Summit Team will move to Camp 3, and our Second Summit Team will move to Camp 2.

The weather forecasts are calling for the winds up high starting to drop over the next few days, and the climbing route sounds like it is in great condition with lots of snow on the South Col, Triangular Face, and the several steep steps below the South Summit. It is time to see it with our own eyes!

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

Time to Saddle Up!

May 14, 2016

The weather forecast is showing a window. The climbers and sherpas are ready. It is time for summit bids to begin!

As of early this morning (May 15, Nepal time), we have three teams now heading up the Icefall: Guide Jonathan Schrock and 10 Classic team members, each with personal sherpas, are heading direct to Camp 2 today (skipping Camp 1). Then, we also have guides Justin Merle and Emily Johnston with 7 Hybrid team members and their personal sherpas heading to Camp 1 today. Finally, we have guide Josh McDowell and 5 Classic climbers and their personal sherpas also heading to Camp 1 today. The goal is to get everyone in position for possible summit bids in the May 18-19-20 ballpark. We'll be keeping a close eye on the weather over the next few days, but this is the first step, to start getting people into position.

Thanks to all of the climbers and their loved ones for working hard and being patient. It is time to go climbing!

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

Waiting for a Better Weather Window

May 13, 2016

Several teams summited today, but they got blasted by the winds up high as the jet stream is quite close now. We are hoping that we can hit a lower wind summit day for our team and are continuing to watch the forecast closely for a weather window. The members and sherpas are ready to go but staying patient.

We think it is better to keep the team down at the lower camps until it is time to go, as opposed to moving up early and waiting at a higher camp. The challenge will be to pick a summit day five days ahead, as it will take five days to reach the summit from the time the team leaves Base Camp. So, for example, if May 22 looked good for a summit day, the climbers would depart Base Camp on May 18. As soon as we have a firm plan, we will let you know!

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

Keeping a Close Eye on the Weather

May 12, 2016

The Team is ready to go, and we are keeping a close eye on the weather forecasts. Unfortunately, they now show the jet stream moving back into the Nepal Himalayas over the coming days. So, we will wait until it appears to be moving back out of the region before starting the summit bids.

The Team has put in a lot of work and we will be patient and wait for the right time to go. Spirits are high and we are staying focused.

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader


May 11, 2016

After two long years, 9 Sherpa from 9 Teams have fixed the route to the summit of Mount Everest. These great Sherpa worked on rope fixing for the last two days from the South Col: Gyalzen Dorje (Himex); Ang Pemba (IMG); Nima Tshering (Adventure Consultants); Sera Gyalzen (Asian Trekking); Pasang Tenzing (Ascent Himalaya); Mingma (Seven Summits); Mingma Tsiri (Himalayan Expeditions); Ang Gyalzen (Arun Trek); Lhakpa Tshering (Himalayan Guides).

These men worked their way to within 200 meters of the Balcony yesterday. After a short night at the South Col, they worked for 13 hours and all 9 stood on the summit of Mount Everest at 5:02 pm. They are all descending now to Camp 2 for tonight.

Congratulations to these 9 strong Sherpa and THANK YOU for opening the route to the Top of the World for all of the teams on the South Side!

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

Looking for a Summit Window

May 10, 2016

The Everest Summit Fixing Team moved to the South Col today and fixed to within 200 meters of the Balcony (8384m; 27,500 feet). That is great progress! They will sleep at the South Col tonight and will do their very best to get to the summit tomorrow. Despite some more snowfall today, the weather forecast for winds up high remains reasonable for tomorrow, and we are all pulling for them. Our sherpa team at Camp 2 had a successful day carrying more oxygen and supplies to the South Col. After getting the gear to the Col, they will be coming down for rest days.

Down at Base Camp, our IMG climbers are resting and taking a few day hikes. Energy is high, and we are looking for a summit window. They have worked very hard to put themselves in position to summit, and we are all very hopeful that we will get our shot at the summit of Mount Everest in the coming days!

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

Snow on Everest, Summit Fixing Ready to Begin!

May 9, 2016

Greg and Jangbu report from Everest Base Camp that snow has been falling today, with a foot of accumulation at Camp 1, but less up on the Lhotse Face. Nonetheless, the various expedition teams have been working together to get the upper mountain route fixing accomplished. Yesterday and today 11 teams carried loads of hardware, rope, and oxygen for the fixing teams up from Camp 2 to Camp 4. Thanks to the different teams that helped: Altitude Junkies, Icelandic, Summit Climb, Himalayan Holidays, 7 Summits, Alpine Ascents, Happy Feet, Arun, Satori, Jagged Globe, and IMG (to Lhotse C4). Then today, 9 sherpas from 9 teams have moved up to Camp 4 on the South Col to start fixing tomorrow above the South Col. The 9 sherpas in this effort are from IMG, Adventure Consultants, Asian Trek, Ascent Himalaya, Himex, Madison, Arun Trek, 7 Summits, and Himalayan Expeditions. Again, a big shout out to all these teams for helping. We'll be keeping our fingers crossed for good weather the next few days!

We still have a few more IMG climbers moving up and down on their Camp 3 rotations, but most of the activity at Camp 2 has turned to preparing our Camp 4 at the South Col. Tomorrow we have 30 IMG sherpas carrying tents, oxygen, and supplies up to the Col where they will be building our camp. This is a big carry, but our strongest sherpas can do the round trip from C2 to the Col and back in under 8 hours which is an amazing performance. The sherpas who have been up so far there report that the Col is entirely covered by snow, with no rocks showing. It has been quite a few years since we have seen the upper mountain this snowy!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Carries to Gear-up the South Col

May 8, 2016

Our Sherpa Team worked hard today on their first big carry to the South Col, moving fixing gear, oxygen, tents and fuel up there. All total we had 26 sherpas carry from Camp 2 to the Col and return to Camp 2. In addition we had some sherpas go to Camp 3, and two others went to Lhotse Camp 4. We are watching the weather forecast closely for winds up high, and the 10th and 11th is our tentative target date for sending the fixing team to the Col, to work on fixing the route to the summit of Mount Everest.

We have a few more IMG climbers on deck for their Camp 3 rotations and then we will be ready to focus on summit bids. Our teams at Base Camp are doing well, and they will be ready after a couple more days of rest. As you can all imagine, many have whispered in my ear "I am ready to go!" Jangbu and I want the team to get their shot, and we know that we will all need to be patient until everything is looking good for the summit bids to begin.

Thank you for all of your support.

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

The South Col Route is In

May 6, 2016

What a day! The first wave of the Classic team returned to EBC in great form. This team is impressing us each day they climb. When I asked them how the Camp 3 party went, they said, "It was going great until we ran out of beer." Having made great time getting up there, our sherpa guides decided to take it upon themselves to work on the fixed ropes and extend the second line from lower Camp 3 to upper Camp 3 (where the IMG camp 3 is located).

Speaking of fixed ropes, today we had five IMG sherpas heading up to finish the route to the South Col. This was a bit more of an effort than we all expected. The spindrift had blown in overnight and totally filled in the trail, so the team had to plow through the snow again on the upper Lhotse Face to the top of the Geneva Spur and then around the corner to the South Col. The surprise was that around the corner was even more snow to break trail through (this is normally wind scoured). The good news is that snow on the Triangular Face (above the Col) will be helpful during the summit bids, as this covers up the rocks.

We have a few more teams working up the mountain for their Camp 3 rotations, and the weather is holding. Our Sherpa Trek arrived at EBC today and will visit Crampon Point and the main city of EBC tomorrow.

The Jet Stream is still to the south of the Himalayas, and we are hoping it stays there. Standing by at Camp 2 are 11 sherpas ready to carry rope-fixing equipment to the South Col in the next couple days for putting in the climbing route above the Col.

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

Camp 3 Rotations and Fixing the Route Above

May 5, 2016

Greg and Jangbu called to report that everything went well today. Our two IMG fixing sherpas joined three sherpas from other teams and together the five of them broke the trail up to the top of the Geneva Spur and got the ropes fixed to this point. Sounds like there was a lot of fresh snow up high! Once this gets kicked in, it should make for good steps.

From the top of the Geneva Spur to the South Col is a pretty straightforward traverse, so we expect the sherpas will wrap this up tomorrow if the weather holds. In fact, Phunuru, who is up at Camp 2 organizing the sherpa teams, is organizing our first sherpa carries up to the South Col for tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the Hybrid climbers descended to Base Camp and are ready for some R & R. Justin brought down some good photos of the camp and route with him, so we can see how that looks.

The first Classic climbers are doing well with their Camp 3 rotation.

Down valley, our Sherpa Trek team have moved up to Gorak Shep and climbed Kala Pattar today. We'll expect to see them at Everest BC tomorrow in time for lunch!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

IMG Climbers in Four Camps Tonight

May 4, 2016

Our teams were moving up and down the mountain today, taking advantage of some excellent weather this morning. The Hybrid team returned to Camp 2 from a successful night at Camp 3. During their descent, they passed the first Classic team heading up to Camp 3 for their overnight. Our second wave of Classic climbers made their way through the Khumbu Icefall today and are at Camp 1 tonight; they will be moving to Camp 2 tomorrow. We have one final group of climbers heading up from EBC the day after tomorrow for their Camp 3 rotation. Base Camp seems a bit lonely now with most of the climbers and sherpas up on the hill!

If the weather looks OK tomorrow morning, we have a sherpa fixing team on standby at Camp 2 ready to head up and finish installing the ropes to the South Col. This afternoon we had the typical clouds roll in, bringing a few flurries at EBC and big, wet snowflakes higher up. The rotations are going well on Everest and we are looking forward to getting onto the South Col.

Down valley, our Sherpa Trek sirdar Phu Tashi radioed in to let us know the team is in Lobuche village and are doing great.

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

A Night at Camp 3

May 3, 2016

The Hybrid Team had a good climb up the Lhotse Face today and are tucked in for the night with very little wind. This first night at Camp 3 can be a long one. Between the long climb up the Face, the new altitude and the common headaches that go with it, the climbers will appreciate the support of their team mates sleeping in the tents with them. It is hard to sleep at 24,000 feet and the climbers will be looking forward to the morning when they can get up again. Their plan is to descend back to Camp 2 tomorrow, though some climbers may go up the Face a bit further to check it out!

Video of IMG climbers on the Lhotse Face

On deck at Camp 2 is the first wave of the Classic team. Johnny and the crew will be on the trail at 5 am heading towards the Lhotse Face and Camp 3 for their turn sleeping up there. The Teams will cross paths along the way and have a chance to slap each other on the back and collect a few notes. The second wave of the Classic Team is also on the move tomorrow. They are headed to Camp 1 to start their Camp 3 Rotation. For all the climbers, getting through these Camp 3 rotations while demonstrating strength and confidence is a big step towards getting prepared for the summit bids!

Our Sherpa Trek had a nice hike today outside of Dingboche. Tomorrow, they will head to Lobuche Village and one step closer to Everest Base Camp!

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

Fresh Snow for the Climb to Camp 3

May 2, 2016

There was some snow today up high and the Lhotse Face got a fresh coat. This is good news, as the fresh snow will help "glue" any rocks threatening to melt out of the ice and diminish rockfall. Also, as this gets booted in, the climbers will have more "steps" to work with, as opposed to strenuous cramponing on ice (which requires rolling the ankles). We are going to wait one more day for the snow to settle above the Yellow Band before the fixing sherpas go back up to finish the fixing to the South Col.

The first wave of the Classic Team started their Camp 3 rotation this morning, leaving Base Camp at 3am. The weather is cold and clear, great for climbing! The Team made good time to Camp 1 and will move into Camp 2 tomorrow. Up at Camp 2 the Hybrid team will be walking at 5am for Camp 3.

Back at Base Camp, the second wave of the Classic team will do their oxygen clinic tomorrow and are planning to go to Camp 1 the following day.

Down valley, Jenni and her team flew back to Kathmandu today, and the Sherpa Trek team moved up to Dingboche.

Here at Base Camp it was cold and foggy this afternoon. Kaji and the BC cooks have been working hard keeping everyone well fed as they cycle through between rotations. We have had several loads of fresh food arrive in the last few days, and today the sherpas dug a new freezer for food storage!

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

Camp 3 Rotations Ready to Begin

May 1, 2016

IMG guides Justin Merle and Emily Johnston report from Camp 2 that they had a good move today up from Camp 1. They will take a rest day at C2 before climbing the Lhotse Face and spending a night at Camp 3. This overnight at 24,000 feet is tough for the climbers their first time up but is great for acclimatization before the summit bids. A successful Camp 3 rotation will put the climbers right where they want to be in preparation for the summit rotations.

IMG guide Jonathan Schrock and our Classic wave 1 climbers and personal sherpas will leave EBC early in the morning to begin their Camp 3 rotation. They are in great shape and are chomping at the bit to get back up the mountain. The Classic wave 2 climbers are enjoying their rest days at Base Camp now, and will be heading back up in a few days. The Lhotse Face fixing sherpas took a rest today and plan to go back up tomorrow.

Down valley, our Sherpa Trek Team are in Tengboche tonight, while Jenni's trek team flew from Namche down to Lukla this afternoon and are scheduled to fly tomorrow morning to Kathmandu. All Teams are doing great!

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

Good Day in the Mountains

Apr 30, 2016

Greg and Jangbu called from Base Camp to report lots of progress. The Hybrid team are tucked in at Camp 1 tonight, doing well after their trip up the Icefall today. The second Classic team descended today from Camp 2 and are enjoying BC life after their first rotation. Meanwhile, the first team of Classic climbers are having a good rest at BC and are scheduled to head back up to Camp 1 day after tomorrow.

Up on the Lhotse Face, IMG's Chewang Lendu and Damai Serki along with the rest of the fixing sherpas had a great day, blasting through the Yellow Band and reaching the "Lhotse Y". This leaves only about 700 meters of fixed rope to install, up and over the Geneva Spur and traversing into the South Col. Also today, we had 14 sherpas go to Camp 3 and chop out 9 tent platforms. Great work team! Now this camp will be ready for the Hybrid climbers in a few days, when they move up there for more acclimatization.

Down Valley, Jenni's team had a beautiful vist to Gokyo, and today dropped down to Machermo. Their trip will wrap up in Namche tomorrow, from where they will be catching helicopters down to Lukla for an expedited departure. Meanwhile, the Sherpa Trek Team are having fun in Namche, and took a had a nice acclimatization hike today. They go to Tengboche tomorrow.

Everything is going according to plan. We'll take it.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Route Completed to Camp 3

Apr 29, 2016

I just spoke to Danuru Sherpa (better known as Dawa) at Camp 2. He and the other sherpa fixers changed the route at the Lhotse Face bergschrund today and were able to get around the big crack without ladders by going farther to the climber's right, down into the big crack, and then back to the left. This enabled them to get onto the Face and install the second fixed rope up to Camp 3.

The sherpa team is excited and doing great. Tomorrow their plan is to attempt to push the route from Camp 3 to the South Col. Also, we have a Camp 3 team heading up to build that camp. I asked Dawa what was for dinner tonight for the Sherpa Team at Camp 2 and he said "Dahl Bhat Power."

Thank you Dawa!

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

The Mountain Changes and We Adjust

Apr 28, 2016

Our various IMG teams are acclimatizing well. Down valley, our Sherpa Trek Team had a nice hike up the Namche Hill today and are doing well. They will take an active rest day tomorrow and enjoy the great view of Everest from up above Shyangboche.

We have the second wave of Classic climbers at Camp 2 tonight, after a nice climb for them today up the Western Cwm from Camp 1. Tomorrow they will take a short walk towards the Lhotse Face to stretch their legs and get their heart rate up (its over 21,000 feet!). Our Hybrid Team is at Base Camp getting to roll on their Camp 3 rotation.

Our first wave of Classic climbers had another great rest day at Base Camp and did their oxygen training. They will have a couple more days rest days, and more opportunity to practice dealing with their O2 masks, goggles and hats. These can be a challenge, and it is very important to get dialed in on those systems.

We had a slight setback today on the continued fixing of the Lhotse Face. When the Fixing Team arrived at the Bergschrund this morning, they found it had opened up a bit, making it too difficult to cross with loads. So, we have sent up some more ladders to make it easier to get across the crack, and they will go back tomorrow and get that fixed. The mountain changes and we adjust. That's mountaineering.

We are working our way up the mountain slowly and everything is looking good!

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

Trekkers Hit the Trail; Climbers Progress

Apr 27, 2016

We have two trek teams on the trail today. Jenni and her "Maida Mountaineers" team left Everest Base Camp yesterday, after their overnight visit with the Everest climbers and dropped down to Dzongla (4,830m; 15,850ft). Then, today they climbed up and over the famous Cho La Pass (5,420m; 17,782ft) before descending to Thagnak (4,700m; 15,400ft) in the upper Gokyo valley. This is a rugged and strenuous pass crossing but fortunately the weather was great, so they had no issues. Tomorrow, they will continue down to Gokyo Lake.

Over in the Dudh Kosi valley of the Khumbu, our Sherpa Trek Team are doing well. These guys were met in Kathmandu by Pasang for their gear checks and briefing, and enjoyed a dinner at the Bhojan Griha restaurant which is known for its authentic Nepalese food and cultural show. Today they took the early morning flight to Lukla. Waiting for them at the Lukla airport were Phu Tashi and Sonam Dorjee, who will lead their trek. Tonight they are in Phakding, and they will be moving up the valley in the coming days. We'll look forward to seeing them at Everest Base Camp!

Up on Everest, expedition leader Greg Vernovage reports that everything is going well. The Hybrid team and first Classic team are back at Base Camp after their respective rotations. Today, some of the them went out on the Glacier for some ice climbing.

Our second team of Classic climbers are doing well at Camp 1, and had a nice acclimatization hike today in the Western Cwm. Tomorrow they will be moving to Camp 2. The weather has continued to be good and the sherpas have moved more gear up to Camp 2 in preparation for the big push to Camps 3 and 4. The fixing teams have been working on installing a second (parallel) fixed line up to Camp 3, so there will be both an Up and Down rope, which will help prevent traffic jams. We have 15 IMG sherpas moving to Camp 2 tomorrow, and they will be chopping out the Camp 3 tent platforms over the next few days. So far, so good!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner


Apr 26, 2016

Acclimatization is always more fun when you have a great group of people. Our Teams are working together very well on their acclimatization rotations to Camp 2. Our First Classic Team returned from Camp 2 to EBC this morning with stories of their adventures. This Team had a nice rotation and were able to witness the helicopter flights with the fixing rope and gear up to Camp 1, and also the actual fixing of the route to Camp 3 on the Lhotse Face.

One member made a very good observation. "It is nice to see the Sherpa Team fix; it gave me perspective of how long the route is to Camp 3." There is plenty of ice on the face this year, so the climbers will put their cramponing skills to good use on their next rotation! IMG sherpa Chewang Lendu claimed our Camp 3 campsite while he was up there, and next on the agenda is to start working on building out this camp. This will require ice axes, steel shovels, and pick axes up there to get the tent platforms constructed.

Meanwhile the various expedition teams seek to take advantage of the good weather and push the route up to the South Col. We had a meeting at Everest BC and have made a tentative plan to get the ropes up to the South Col and eventually to the summit. Knock on wood, the weather is trending in our favor, and we are hoping to see the jet stream drop to the south of the Himalayas in the coming days.

Great spirits and Happy Birthday to Richard tonight!

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

Classic Climbers Reach C1 & C2; Fixing Team Reaches C3

Apr 25, 2016

Greg and Jangbu report that the weather today was very nice, so the Sherpa fixing team took off from Camp 2 as the sun came up and had a great day fixing up to Camp 3 on the Lhotse Face. They looked at all of the available options and decided that the Direct Route was the best choice at this time. Up at Camp 2 the first Classic team members are all doing well. They will spend a couple nights up there and take a hike tomorrow up to the Lhotse Face, before heading back down to Base Camp. Meanwhile, the second Classic team moved to Camp 1 and are doing well.

Back at Base Camp, Jenni and her trek group arrived today and will be spending a night with the team.

The Hybrid climbers, now back at EBC, took an "active rest day" today, with a short hike up towards Pumori Base Camp to keep their legs stretched out and their acclimatization going, followed by an oxygen clinic.

With the oxygen clinic, they tried on different oxygen masks to make sure they have a good fit and were issued those along with a regulator. Then they practiced connecting it all together with an oxygen cylinder, while wearing gloves and mittens, as well as goggles and hats. This is a super important skill for every Everest climber to master, because on the summit day, the first bottle change will be in the cold and dark at the Balcony. The guides and sherpas will be there to help, but in a pinch, every climber must be capable of dealing with their own oxygen system.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Challenging C1 to C2 Route; Fixing the Lhotse Face

Apr 24, 2016

The route from Camp 1 to Camp 2 is a little less direct than in years past and our climbers are using the words "end run, rolling and steep steps" a bit more often when referring to areas along the route. On a few spots, there are some vertical ladders and rappel lines.

With that said, our teams are handling the objectives in great form. The Hybrid team is getting some rest back in EBC after their Camp 2 rotation, and the first group of Classic climbers moved from Camp 1 to Camp 2 in good time. The weather has been blustery for the climbers, rewarding good decisions on layering and when to move. These are good tests for our later rotations.

The Camp 3 rope-fixing sherpas met at IMG's Camp 2 so they could go over the plan for the morning. The team members are Rinji and Nima Tshiri from Adventure Consultants; Nawang and Namgya from Himex; Fura Gyalzen and Tenzing Cholar from Asian Trekking; Tamding and Nima Gyalzen from Jagged Globe; and Chewang Lendu and Damai Serki from IMG. This is one heck of a team of climbers! Their plan is to leave Camp 2 at 7:30am and head towards the Lhotse Face. They have a few different route options to look at before they decide which way to go this year.

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

Heli Gear Delivery to Camp 1

Apr 23, 2016

We have had another great day on Mount Everest. Jenni and her trek team moved up from Lobuche BC to Gorak Shep, and are doing well. The Hybrid team descended to Everest BC this morning from Camp 2. This is a milestone for them with their first Camp 2 rotation now under their belts. Up at Camp 1, Jonathan and the first group of Classic climbers had a nice acclimatization hike today in the Cwm and will be moving up to Camp 2 tomorrow. Today they had a front row seat at Camp 1 for the helicopter rodeo up there!

Phunuru and the sherpa team worked with the Simrik B3 helicopter to send 10,000 meters of fixed line and supplies up to Camp 1 today. This was all paid for by the EOA from the fixing fees charged to every climber on the mountain. All total they flew 8 loads (100kg each) from Gorak Shep to Camp 1, saving dozens of carries up the Icefall. Now, this gear will be carried to Camp 2 and we have our sights on starting to work on the Lhotse Face route and Camp 3.

Thank you for all of the support!

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

Climbing Strong in Three Weather Zones

Apr 22, 2016

Our Teams are climbing very well. The Hybrid Team up at Camp 2 had a great active rest day, taking a walk towards the Lhotse Face. They have had a good rotation on the mountain and will be returning to EBC tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, the first wave of Classic Climbers moved through the Icefall and are at Camp 1 for a couple days.

The weather continues to be relatively nice in the morning and gets cloudy with a little wind in the afternoon. With climbers at three different camps, we get a good idea of how different the weather can be. Tonight's forecast from the various teams on the mountain was: calm with snow flurries at Camp 2; windy with snow blowing sideways at Camp 1, and down at Base Camp, light snow, breezy with some gusts.

All is well on Mount Everest!

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

A Full Moon and a Puja

Apr 21, 2016

It was a good day and a gorgeous full moon night at Mt. Everest. Up on the hill, the hybrid team climbed from Camp 1 to Camp 2, where they are now ensconced. Justin reports that it took them four hours, and that they had to deal with quite a lot of crevasses along the way, in several places necessitating long end-runs to get around them. The team will spend several nights up there and take a hike up towards the Lhotse Face.

Back at Base Camp, the team celebrated another puja for the sherpas and Classic climbers who missed the first one. More is better! Jonathan Schrock, the first half of the Classic climbers and their personal sherpas have now finished their preparations and are ready to head up the Icefall to Camp 1 in the very early morning. The remaining Classic climbers who are on Team 3 are also ready to head up tomorrow for their "dry run" into the Icefall.

This afternoon Greg, Phunuru, Jangbu and a group of our sherpas ran down to the Gorak Shep store room to finish packing up 87 man loads of rope and fixing gear, in preparation for a heli flight scheduled for the 23rd up to Camp 1. The helicopter will fly from Gorak Shep for this, and we are ready!

Down valley, Jenni reports her team stopped to see the Lama Geshe in Pangboche yesterday and arrived to Dingboche just ahead of a rain shower. Today they had an acclimatization hike, and are planning to move to Lobuche BC tomorrow. So far, so good!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Congratulations Phunuru!

Apr 20, 2016

We had a great day on the mountain today. Justin, Emily and the Hybrid team are acclimatizing up at Camp 1, and they took a short walk today up the Western Cwm towards Camp 2 to stretch their legs and check out the route to Camp 2. The Team is doing great and looking forward to moving up to Camp 2 tomorrow.

At EBC, the Classic team did some ladder training and packed food and gear for their first rotation. During the ladder training, someone asked Dawa (one of our senior sherpa guides) "What do you do if you fall off the ladder?" Dawa calmly answered, "You S@#* your pants." Laughter roared through the camp. The team is doing great and will have their Puja tomorrow and finish preparation for the following morning. Tonight we celebrated Craig's birthday, one of our Classic climbers.

We are very proud of Phunuru Sherpa for his work instructing the Icefall Doctors earlier this season. There was a nice ceremony at the SPCC camp where Phunuru was recognized as a Lead Instructor for Icefall Doctor Training. Congratulations Phunuru!

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

Hybrid Team Reaches Camp 1; Trekkers Doing Well

Apr 19, 2016

Expedition leader Greg Vernovage reports that today was a big day in the Icefall, and it all went very well. Justin, Emily, and the Hybrid climbers reached Camp 1 in good time. Their plan will be to take two nights there, before going to Camp 2.

IMG guide Jonathan Schrock along with the Classic climbers and sherpas did their "dry run" up into the Icefall and were looking strong. They will take a couple rest days now, before heading up.

Also, today, we had twenty sherpas carry (13 to C1 and 7 to C2). The climbers say that the Icefall route is in good shape (center/right center), and except for a couple bottlenecks, is pretty fast and smooth. The Icefall doctors are continuing their work on the route to improve it.

This afternoon at Base Camp the various expedition teams had a meeting during which the EOA (Expedition Outfitters Association) plan to fly fixing gear to Camp 1 was described. We have been working on this now for many weeks, and the approvals have now been formally issued by the Ministry. Justin is scouting a good heli pad at Camp 1 and within the next couple days (weather dependent), the Simrik AS350B3 helicopter will be used to shuttle 1000 kilos of fixed rope and anchors up the Icefall to Camp 1, avoiding all those Icefall carries. Then the rope and anchors will get carried up to the Lhotse Face with the goal to have the route to Camp 3 fixed as soon as possible.

Down the valley, Jenni and her trek team reached Tengboche and are doing well.

Also, Mary, one of our trekkers from Team 2 who is exiting via the Cho La-Gokyo-Renjo La route (similar to IMG's Autumn 3 Peaks 3 Passes Nepal Trek), sent some nice shots from Gokyo and her ascent of Gokyo Ri in the early morning light. This is a classic Himalayan mountain view from up there, ranging from Cho Oyu in the west to Makalu in the east. Well done!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Final Lobuche Summits; Time to Put the Pedal Down

Apr 18, 2016

IMG guide Mike Hamill called from Lobuche Base Camp to say that the Team 3 climbers are all safely down. It was a long day today, but they had a good climb. On the descent, Tashi Tsering and his sherpa team removed our fixed ropes. A big shout out to these sherpas who have worked with our Lobuche climbers. Also to Jor Bahadur and his cook team at Lobuche BC for the good food.

After a rest, the Everest climbers will head back to EBC, and the Lobuche climbers trek down-valley to Lukla. We also have some folks going out via the longer Cho La-Gokyo-Renjo La departure route. This adds several high passes and several days of trekking to the exit route.

Speaking of trekking, down in Namche Jenni and her trek team had a nice acclimatization hike today up to the Everest View Hotel above Shyangboche. They are off to Tengboche in the morning.

At Everest Base Camp, Greg and Jangbu report that the big sherpa carry today went well with 39 men carrying to Camp 1. This camp is now ready for the Hybrid team when they push up early tomorrow morning.

Jonathan and the Classic climbers did some more training today and are preparing for their "dry run" into the Icefall tomorrow. We also have a sherpa team heading to C1 and C2 tomorrow, so it will be a busy morning.

The alarm goes off early, you are checking the weather and conditions and pounding down a little breakfast. Then, it is time to get suited up and start walking. The sherpa will be burning some juniper at the puja alter, and you walk past this. It is quite emotional to head out into the night for the trip up to Camp 1. Fear, excitement and expectation are layered on top of the raw physical challenge of the Icefall's unrelenting climbing. Time to put the pedal down!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Getting Ready to Climb

Apr 17, 2016

Greg and Jangbu report from EBC that the various IMG teams are preparing for the climbing to come. The Hybrid climbers on Team 1 with Emily and Justin packed their food loads today for their first rotation up the hill. We like to give everyone the opportunity to select from a wide variety of foods at EBC the items which they can tolerate well at altitude, and then we will send those supplies up for them. Even the best food in the world, if you can't eat it, does no good!

Tomorrow is a rest day for the Hybrid team with their departure planned for the pre-dawn of the next morning.

The Team 2 climbers spent a good day at EBC today working on their ladder and fixed rope skills in preparation for their "dry run" up into the Icefall. Down at Lobuche Peak, Mike and Josh report the Team 3 are doing well and are tucked into the High Camp, ready for a pre-dawn departure for the summit.

We have a big sherpa carry scheduled as well for tomorrow, so that will go a long way to finishing up the Camp 1 and 2 preparations.

Finally, Jenni and Lobsang are in Namche with their trek team. Everyone is doing well and they are planning an acclimatization hike for tomorrow.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Acclimating and First Forays into the Icefall

Apr 16, 2016

We have had a good day here on Everest. Our advance team of sherpas up at Camp 2 are making great progress erecting tents and preparing for the first rotation of our climbers and sherpas in a couple days. Today we had 22 sherpas make a carry from EBC to Camp 1 with supplies, and they all returned to EBC in good time.

Our Hybrid climbers from Team 1 had a great run into the Icefall to practice for their trip to Camp 1 in two days. They crossed some ladders and made it up to the Football Field before returning to Base Camp. Their plan is a rest day tomorrow, and then they head to Camp 1.

Our Classic climbers on Teams 2 and 3 gave each other a high five as they passed on the trail between Everest and Lobuche Base Camps. Team 2 returning to EBC did a great job with their Lobuche climb and will benefit from the challenging conditions that they experienced. They also earned a full rest day tomorrow. A few showers and some laundry are the only priorities that they will have.

Mike and Josh with the Team 3 climbers are at Lobuche Base Camp tonight and will head to high camp for our final climb of Lobuche. They had a nice trek down to Lobuche Base Camp and will enjoy a little thicker air and a great night sleep. They accomplished an excellent training day on the Khumbu Glacier and have the tools they need for their climb of Lobuche.

Down in Kathmandu IMG guide Jenni Pfafman and her trekking team (the "Maida Mountaineers") celebrated Jenni's 4th birthday (in Nepal) last night. Today, they made it to Lukla, despite bad weather which caused all of today's fixed wing flights to be cancelled. Pasang in Kathmandu was able to scramble and get them all on helicopters, and they made it to Lukla and trekked to Phakding on schedule.

The nights are cold up here which is great for the Icefall conditions. Thank you for all of the positive thoughts!

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

More Lobuche Summits; Everyone on the Move

Apr 15, 2016

Team 2 had a great climb of Lobuche Peak today! The weather was good and they had plenty of time up on the summit to kickstart their acclimatization. Back at Everest BC, Team 3 did some fixed line training in the lower Icefall while Team 1 worked out on a ropes and ladder course set up by our Sherpa Team.

The short story for tomorrow is that everyone is on the move. We have 22 Sherpa heading to Camp 1. The Hybrid climbers on Team 1 will be heading into the Icefall for their dry run. Our Classic climbers on Team 2 will be returning to EBC, and Team 3 will head down to Lobuche Peak for their acclimatization climb. Up at Camp 2, our Sherpa team is continuing their work on building that camp.

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

Camp 2 Established

Apr 14, 2016

Greg and Jangbu report from Everest BC that today started out cold but nice, then got cloudier with some snow in the afternoon. The sherpa team did their first big push up the mountain today. We had 19 sherpas carry loads to Camp 1 and return to Base Camp. Everyone did well and made good time. Then, we had 11 more sherpas continue on to Camp 2. They managed to get some tents set up this afternoon, and they are spending the night with plans to continue working on the camp tomorrow. They report it is quite cold at Camp 2 (-20°C), and they have had some fresh snow up there.

Down at Lobuche Peak, Team 2 is at high camp. They also had a bit of snow this afternoon, but the weather cleared in the evening so hopefully they will have a good day tomorrow for their climb. Teams 1 and 3 all had a good day at Base Camp today, with showers, laundry, and lots of good food on their agenda. Team 3 did some practice with their rigging and will get out on the glacier tomorrow for some more practice with the fixed ropes. Team 1 will take a couple rest days now and then get ready for a "dry run" up into the Icefall to practice crossing some ladders.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Snow in the Kingdom

Apr 13, 2016

Greg Vernovage reports that Teams 1 and 3 have now reached Everest Base Camp, and the Team 2 climbers have headed down to Lobuche BC with Jonathan Schrock and a number of our sherpa guides. With a shout out going to Ed Webster's book, the team had a little snow this afternoon at Everest, and it looks like there might be a change in the weather coming. For tomorrow we have a large sherpa team heading up to Camps 1 and 2, so we'll hope it does not snow too much.

Greg worked today with some of the other teams to prepare the rope and climbing hardware for fixing the route above Camp 2. We are working on a plan to get this gear moved up the hill. So far, so good!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Lobuche Peak Summits!

Apr 12, 2016

Team 1 reached the summit of Lobuche Peak this morning. Justin, Emily and the team reported "perfect conditions" with zero wind, sunny skies and fantastic views! Mike and Josh with Team 3 are taking one last acclimatization day at Lobuche Base Camp and will be moving up to Everest BC tomorrow morning with Team 1.

At Everest BC, the team had a busy day training in the lower icefall. Jonathan Schrock and the Sherpa team put together one of the best training courses I have seen. The afternoon was about laundry and getting gear together for their Lobuche climb. They will be out the door in the morning for Lobuche BC. Before wrapping up for the day, we took a team photo.

A special thank you to one of our trekkers, Jenna. She works for a toy company and brought a bunch of small toys for all of the kids we crossed paths with during our travels. We saved some and handed them to any of our Sherpa who have children at home. It was a great day at Base Camp!

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

First Glimpses of the 2016 Icefall Route

Apr 11, 2016

Justin, Emily and Team 1 have moved up to Lobuche High Camp for their climb. They are planning an early morning wake up and walking by 4am. Mike, Josh and Team 3 are continuing to acclimatize at Lobuche Base Camp and will have one more day there before moving up to EBC.

Up here at EBC, Jonathan and the sherpas worked with the Team 2 climbers this morning on their harnesses and rigging. We are building a "ropes course" here at Base Camp with ladders and other obstacles for more practice before our teams start up into the Icefall. After lunch, we trekked up to Crampon Point to see where the climb begins, below the Khumbu Icefall.

Some of our best news of the day was from our 7 sherpas who went up the Icefall this morning. It was clear and cold when they departed in the dark, and it took them 3 hours to reach Camp 1. They report that the route is in good shape and quite direct with a 4-span horizontal ladder section and a 5-span vertical section.

Overall the route is center to center-right when looking up, so more like the 2015 route. After reaching Camp 1, five of the team stayed to work on building that camp while Chhewang Lendu and Pasang Kami pushed on to Camp 2 where they claimed our site up there and checked the area. They say everything looks good at Camp 2.

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

Puja Day at Everest Base Camp

Apr 10, 2016

We had all of our IMG teams on the move today: Team 1 packed up at EBC and headed down to Lobuche Base Camp for their climb of that peak. Team 2 departed Lobuche Base Camp and moved up to Everest Base Camp. Team 3 moved up from Pheriche to Lobuche Base Camp. Everyone is doing well, and expedition leader Greg Vernovage reports very little illness this year among the members. Good news!

Today was very auspicious according to the Tibetan calendar, so it was chosen in advance for the Buddhist prayer and blessing ceremony known as the puja. This is important to the sherpas, and it marks the official beginning of the climbing on Everest for our team.

It was a gorgeous morning at Everest Base Camp, so that made everyone happy. The lama began the ceremony early in the morning and it continued for several hours. The sherpas also bring their ice axes and crampons to the puja ceremony, to be blessed by the lama. For the team members, it is fun to watch, especially when they start throwing the tsampa (toasted barley flour) and rice.

The Icefall Doctors have now opened the route up the Khumbu Icefall, and tomorrow we have our first team of IMG sherpas heading up, with five going to to Camp 1 and two to Camp 2.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

First Lobuche Summits!

Apr 8, 2016

Down in Pheriche, Mike Hamill reports that Team 3 is doing well and planning an acclimatization hike for today. Same story at Lobuche Base Camp where Greg reports that the Team 2 is looking good.

At Everest BC, Justin and Ang Jangbu checked in to report that the Team 1 crew had a busy day today with an exploration of the EBC area. Sounds like the SPCC has done a good job getting everything cleaned up after the avalanche last year. Most of the debris has been removed, though Justin did say that there is still some debris way out on the glacier where it was blasted.

The Sherpa team is working on a new helipad up on top of a big high mound of ice and rocks. On the agenda for tomorrow is ice climbing practice out on the glacier in preparation for heading down to Lobuche Peak.

Speaking of Lobuche Peak, IMG sherpas Tashi Tsering and Nuru Gyalgen went to the false summit today (the true summit is quite difficult to reach) and fixed about 500 meters of ropes for our IMG teams. They report that the route is quite bare and icy this year. Our Everest teams will all be rotating back down there to climb. It is great acclimatization and a good chance to fine tune some of the ice climbing and ropework skills which will be needed up higher in the Khumbu Icefall.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

First IMG Climbers and Trekkers Reach Everest BC

Apr 7, 2016

IMG guide Justin Merle called from Everest Base Camp to report that the members of Team 1 had a nice hike up from Lobuche Peak today and are all doing well. He said base camp looks fantastic. Justin was able to call on the cell phone, hitting the tower in Gorak Shep. Next on the agenda is to try the EBC internet. IMG is subscribing to the EverestLink service this year, and we will be setting up a hotspot for our team to use.

Down the valley, Team 2 is doing well, has moved up to Lobuche Base Camp and are enjoying Jor Bahadur's home cooking. Our Team 3 is also doing well and have moved up to Pheriche. So, everything is going according to plan. We hope that trend continues!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Setting up for Success at Lobuche Base Camp

Apr 6, 2016

Our First Team has now set up at Lobuche Base Camp, where they will spend three nights at approximately 16,000 feet. This is a milestone on the approach, as the teams are now done with staying in lodges. At Lobuche Base Camp we have our own tents and cooks and are 100% in control of our environment. Justin and Emily report that everyone is doing well. Today they took a hike to Zongla from where they got cell reception. Tomorrow they will take another acclimatization hike.

Unlike many trekkers that dash up to Everest Base Camp and then immediately turn around and descend, all members of our IMG teams will be overnighting up there. Our goal is to have everyone feeling good, with no headaches, so they can enjoy the experience. For this reason it is super important to have everyone well acclimatized when they move up to EBC. We want to set everyone up for success, and not rush the trek to Base Camp!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Doing the Duffel Shuffle

Apr 5, 2016

The weather was good today, and Pasang reports from Kathmandu that the MI 17 helicopter was able to fly from Phaplu with Mingma Dorjee and the rest of the gear to Shyangboche (including some of our climbers' base camp duffels). Now all the gear and duffels are in the Khumbu. Every year it is the same situation with the Lukla fixed wing flights being prioritized for passengers and very little excess baggage being allowed which invariably creates a backlog. We have found that driving the gear to Phaplu and flying it direct to Shyangboche is the best way to get around this, plus it avoids having to porter everything up from Lukla.

Up in the Valley, the teams are all doing well and managed to send us a few photos. Mike, Josh and the Third Team are in Namche and took an acclimatization hike today up to the Everest View Hotel above Shyangboche. They will be moving to Tengboche tomorrow.

Greg, Jonathan and the Second Team trekked today from Tengboche to Pheriche, and will be taking an acclimatization hike tomorrow.

Justin, Emily and the First Team are acclimatizing at Lobuche Base camp. Today Ang Jangbu left Lobuche Base Camp and headed for Everest Base Camp, and he will be there to receive the teams when they arrive.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Clouds Move Into the Khumbu

Apr 4, 2016

Every day seems to be dishing out a different weather experience! Today there were lots of clouds around the Khumbu and it looked like it was going to get stormy, but the rain held off. There was one flight of the big MI helicopter that made it in to Shyangboche, but then got shut down by clouds after that.

Up at Everest Base Camp Phunuru reports it was very windy and the team was hunkered down working on protecting Base Camp. He says the Icefall Doctors are now getting quite close to Camp 1 with the climbing route.

The IMG teams are all doing well. Justin, Emily and Team One, accompanied by Ang Jangbu, trekked today to Lobuche Base Camp. There is no cell phone up there, so Justin called on the sat phone to report their progress.

Greg, Jonathan and Team Two had a nice acclimatization hike (we call it an "active rest day") above Tengboche and are all set to head for Pheriche in the morning.

Mike Hamill reports that Team Three had a good night in Monjo and a good cruise up to Namche today. He says it was perfect weather for the big Namche Hill, with cool and overcast conditions. These Everest climbers do not like to overheat on the trail!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

All IMG Teams Doing Well

Apr 3, 2016

Pasang reports from Kathmandu that they found a helicopter going to Lukla this morning and put Jangbu and the 9 off-loaded duffels on that flight. They all reached Lukla just in time, before Team 3 started to hike to Monjo. The MI helicopter is still on standby in Phaplu with another load of our gear and duffels, and Mingma Dorjee is looking after them. They hope to fly to Shyangboche soon.

After checking in with Team 3 in Lukla, Jangbu then caught a heli flight to Pheriche where he will spend the night with Team 1. Justin and Emily report that Team 1 took a nice acclimatization day today, and visited the Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA) clinic.

At Everest Base Camp, our cook team of Kazi, Purna, Dhan Sher, Pasang Nuri, Ngima Kale and Dendi arrived yesterday and are now working on getting the BC kitchens set up.

Down in Namche, Team 2 had a nice hike to Tengboche today. Greg and Jonathan report that everyone is doing well. Before they departed Namche, they celebrated Wally's birthday. Way to go!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

That's Why They Call it Adventure Travel

Apr 2, 2016

IMG's Team Three went to the airport this morning, scheduled to be on the first wave of flights to Lukla, but the weather did not cooperate. Rain in Kathmandu this morning and then clouds in Lukla. The team waited all morning but no fixed wing flights were able to fly. So, this afternoon we managed to send the team in to Lukla on four different helicopter flights. Due to heavy clouds, however, only one of the helicopters was able to actually reach Lukla. The other three flights had to land in the village of Surke, down in the valley, and the members had to hike a couple hours uphill to reach Lukla. I had a similar heli-hiking situation last year on my Mera trip, where we had to land in a cornfield and hike when the clouds got too thick to fly. Never a dull moment in Nepal!

All Team Three members are now in Lukla, and doing well. They will go to Monjo tomorrow, Namche the next day. Jangbu is still in Kathmandu with the duffel bags that got off loaded from the fixed wing flights, and he will go with them to Phaplu tomorrow with the plan being to fly them up to Shyangboche on the Mi-17 helicopter the following day.

Meanwhile IMG's first Everest team trekked to Pangboche today and met with Lama Geshe for their blessing ceremony. Donations are made to the monastery, and the head Lama prays over and blesses each member of the expedition. After lunch, they trekked on to Pheriche for the night. All is well in Nepal if not always exactly as planned.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Fantastic Morning in the Khumbu

Apr 1, 2016

This has been one of those classic Khumbu Acclimatization days. We woke up to clear skies and great coffee here in Namche. Everyone with me on the Team Two are doing great. After breakfast we took a slow hike up the hill to Shyangboche and were rewarded with great views of Ama Dablam, Lhotse and Everest.

Further up the valley, Justin, Emily and the Team One crew also had a nice day at Tengboche Monastery with a good acclimatization nice hike up the ridge above. Tomorrow they will pack and head up to Pheriche after a stop to visit Lama Geshe in Pangboche.

Back in Kathmandu Mike Hamill reports that Team Three have all arrived, done gear checks, and they are having their welcome dinner this evening. They are ready to take the flight tomorrow morning to Lukla and will be trekking to Phakding if all goes according to plan. Among the climbers with this team are Jayanthi and Johann who are hoping to become the first Sri Lankan Everesters!

Up at Base Camp, Phunuru and the Sherpa Team got our VHF base station set up and talked to Justin on the radio today, so now we have good communications with our sherpa team using our radios.

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

Rain and Snow in the Khumbu

Mar 31, 2016

The weather was much worse today with lots of clouds. Good that we were able to fly to Lukla yesterday! The rain threatened all day down low, but we managed to get into Namche before it came. Up in Tengboche, Emily and Justin report that the bakery still has incredible chocolate cake and that they made it to the lodge before the snow started falling.

Phunuru called as I was walking into Namche to report that Everest Base Camp is coming along well with all the big tents now up and platforms for member tents being built. It has been snowing every afternoon at EBC which slows them down a little bit, but the rest of the sherpa crew is scheduled to arrive this evening and will be ready to go when the snow stops.

There are a lot of blossoms on the trees and fewer people on the trail than in past years.

All is well in the Khumbu Valley!

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

Team Two on the Move

Mar 30, 2016

The early morning Lukla flights went on time, allowing all our Team Two members and duffels to reach Lukla on schedule. They got all packed up and hit the trail, reaching Phakding just before the rain cut loose! Everyone is doing well, and they are now in Phakding for the night. This was always my favorite night of the whole expedition. All the flights, travel, and duffel bag shuffle is finished, you are finally in the Khumbu, and the sound of the river puts you to sleep. It is great!

Up in Namche, the Team One climbers and trekkers had a nice day. Justin took his group up to the Everest View Hotel (above Shyangboche) for an acclimatization hike. They had no view of Everest, but the hot tea was good. Emily and her group visited the Sherpa Museum. Tomorrow the groups will unite for the trek to Tengboche.

Back in Kathmandu, IMG guides Mike Hamill and Josh McDowell are working with our Team Three members, who are now starting to arrive. They will be flying to Lukla on April 2nd. So far, so good!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Clear Skies in Nepal

Mar 29, 2016

After all the rain and storms, the weather has improved dramatically, and everyone is doing well. Up in the Khumbu, Justin and Emily's First Team are now reunited and all in Namche. Today Emily and her crew took an acclimatization hike to the sherpa village of Khumjung.

Our head cook, Kaji, flew from Phaplu today via MI-17 helicopter with a big load of fresh vegetables and the first teams' base camp duffels. Our head sirdar Ang Passang met Kaji and the gear at Shyangboche this morning and helped get the yaks loaded up. Then Ang Passang dropped down to Namche and met Justin, where they checked in with SPCC for our Everest and our Lobuche Peak permits. The base camp duffels from Team Two will be going to Phaplu tomorrow afternoon with Mingma Dorjee.

Up at Everest Base Camp our sherpa advance team are taking a couple well-deserved rest days before they return to put the finishing touches on it. Everyone is excited to see Base Camp!

Back in Kathmandu, the Team Two members have all arrived. Today they had their roof top meeting, equipment checks, and welcome dinner. Guides Greg Vernovage, Jonathan Schrock and the team are ready for the 3:45am wake up call to go to the airport. Greg says, "Waking up at 3:45 to catch our ride to Lukla is not nearly as tough as it sounds. There is still a little bit of jet lag, so we get up early anyway, and besides, for our team, it is like the start of Christmas Eve. We are excited to get out and stretch our legs."

IMG guides Mike Hamill and Josh McDowell are now in Kathmandu and ready to welcome the Third Team of climbers and trekkers over the next couple days.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

First IMG Team on the Move

Mar 27, 2016

Nice weather in Lukla this morning after a good rain last night. Seven helicopters (five on the helipad and two on the tarmac above) ended up overnighting in Lukla because of weather yesterday afternoon.

Greg talked to Emily in Phakding. Everyone on her team is doing well and getting ready to start trekking to Namche. Justin and his crew should be landing in Lukla shortly and will be meeting up with Mingma Tenzing and the climbers who made it in to Lukla yesterday afternoon before the weather went bad. They are finishing up breakfast and will wait for Justin to arrive and then start walking,

—Ang Jangbu Sherpa, Expedition Leader

Lukla Flights Require Patience and Flexibility

Mar 27, 2016

Our first team went to the airport early this morning for the Lukla flights and were relatively successful. Our first flight, with Emily, made it in without a hitch after some morning fog burned off at KTM. Our second flight, with Justin, was nearly boarding when the weather closed in for Lukla. We were able to organize a helicopter to take some of the remaining climbers in to Lukla a bit later in the day, but then the weather got worse up there so even the helicopter could not fly! Justin and the remaining members had to return to the hotel where they will spend the night and give it another shot in the morning.

We have a lot of moving parts and great guides and Sherpa all over the place helping out. It is a long season and we have plenty of time to get into the Khumbu and enjoy the great trek to EBC. All the team members are doing well, despite the slight adjustments!

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

Climbing Permits and Greatness in Kathmandu

Mar 26, 2016

We had a great day in Kathmandu. It started off with a cup of early morning coffee with a few of the gang downstairs at the Hotel Tibet working through our jet lag. Then, we sent all the climbers' Base Camp duffels out the door after breakfast to start their journey to EBC.

After that we had a very good rooftop meeting with the first team members and their guides Justin Merle and Emily Johnston, to go over the plans for the trek to Base Camp. This group is going to have a fun trek to EBC; I can tell already. They will be flying tomorrow morning to Lukla.

After the team meeting, we went to the Ministry to get our four climbing permits (3 for Everest, 1 for Lhotse). It is official: we have our 2016 Everest climbing permits! Big shout out to Pasang and Mohan for all their help over the last few days working with the Ministry staff to get the permits finished.

On our way back to the hotel, we decided to stop in to visit Liz Hawley. It is always nice to visit for a few minutes with Ms. Hawley before the Everest Season. Pretty simple really, "Whenever you have the chance to be in the presence of greatness, you make sure to take the opportunity."

Finally, Ang Jangbu just got off the phone with Nuru Gyalzen at EBC. Sherpas now have all of the big tents up. They are building the Puja alter tomorrow, and then they need to work on the interior of the two-member kitchen tents. After that all they have to do is to make platforms for dozens of sleeping tents. Fortunately, the weather at EBC has improved, and there are now sherpas pulling into base camp every day for other teams.

Tonight is the Welcome Dinner. Just like Justin said this morning, "All of the training is complete, and now we are here." Tonight we will celebrate the start of the expedition! Thanks to everyone who has helped get us here. It has been a heck of a year.

—Greg Vernovage, Expedition Leader

First IMG Guides Arrive in Kathmandu

Mar 24, 2016

The Hybrid team guides Justin Merle and Dr. Emily Johnston have now reached Kathmandu, and the first of the climbers have also started to arrive. Among items on Emily and Justin's to-do list was going through all of our AMK medical kits to double check everything and restock them with supplies. IMG Everest leader Greg Vernovage and guides Josh McDowell and Jonathan Schrock will arrive tomorrow, and then they will go to the Ministry to collect the permits.

Up at Everest Base Camp, Ang Jangbu reports that Nuru Gyalzen and the sherpa team are all doing well, though they have had their share of challenges. Apparently there were avalanches yesterday from the shoulder of Nuptse that dusted the camp. Then, high winds are continuing to pound them, which makes putting up the big tents a bit sporty! Despite all this, the sherpa team have now managed to erect all three of our big steel-framed kitchen tents, the big storage tent, and the big Sherpa dining tent. They plan to make platforms for the climber's dining tents next.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

IMG Advance Team Building Base Camp

Mar 18, 2016

Ang Jangbu reports that our advance sherpa team, led by Nuru Gyalzen, reached Everest Base Camp today. They will spend the next couple weeks constructing the camp. This camp must be rebuilt each season as it is located on an active moraine underlain by glacial ice that is constantly moving and changing.

The tent platforms take a long time to construct, necessitating moving lots of rocks and chopping ice. We will have a lot of tents: three separate kitchens and dining facilities (the Hybrid, Classic, and Sherpa teams each have their own) and also dozens of sleeping tents for the climbers and sherpas.

We were happy to hear that our second big load of food and gear made it to Phaplu by truck yesterday and was flown to Shyangboche early this morning on a dawn flight by the big Russian MI-17 helicopter. This is the best time to fly to high altitude, when the air is cold and dense. Kusang Tshering (from Khunde) and Ang Nima (from Khumjung) met the heli at the Shyangboche airstrip to receive the loads which will now be tied onto yaks for the trip to Base Camp.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Icefall Work Proceeding; IMG Sherpas Moving to EBC

Mar 15, 2016

Up in the Khumbu, Ang Jangbu reports that Phunuru returned today from Everest Base Camp to Phortse. He and the KCS sherpas completed the technical training for the Icefall doctors. They went as far up the Icefall as the "Popcorn" section (about 1/3 of the way) a few days ago and deposited a bunch of ropes and 20 ladders there. The Icefall doctors are now taking a couple days of rest before heading back to resume fixing the route.

Phunuru said it was very windy at base camp for the last several nights. The IMG sherpa advance team of 12 Sherpas and 2 cooks will be departing for Gorakshep on March 17 and will arrive to EBC on the 18th. Nuru Gyalzen will be leading the EBC team as they work on building tent platforms for our all our Base Camp tents.

We are happy to report that our big air-freight shipment of over 3000 pounds of food, tents and other gear has now reached Kathmandu and been cleared through customs. This included several dozen new tents that the team has been screen printing with our logos. Now they are busy repacking everything for transport to EBC. When they finish, it will be sent to Phaplu by truck, helicoptered to Shyangboche, and then tied onto yaks!

Back here in Ashford, Washington we have been putting the final touches on all the details before the climbers and trekkers start flying to Nepal next week. It's coming fast now! Everything is looking good, and we are excited to be heading back to Everest.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

2015 Climbing Permits Extended

Mar 11, 2016

It has been a long wait for our 2015 Everest climbers to see if their permits would be reusable (after the 2015 season was cancelled due to the earthquake). I don't know how many times we have had to tell people who have read rumors in the "news" that it is not confirmed until it is on official government letterhead.

Well, that time has finally come — it is official! The Nepal government has extended the 2015 permits for two years.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Expedition Gear Moving up the Khumbu by Yak

Mar 10, 2016

Ang Jangbu reports the Kathmandu supplies made it by truck to Phaplu, from where the heli charter to Shyangboche went on schedule this morning. Kusang Tshering came over from his home in Khunde to join our sirdar Ang Pasang (who came down from Pangboche), and they met the helicopter at this small airstrip (about 12400 ft/3780m) above Namche.

At this elevation the big Russian Mi-17 helicopter can carry about 3000 kilos, but this payload is cut by 50% just going 2000 ft higher to Pheriche. For this reason, it is more expedient to unload the helicopter here and move the supplies higher by using yaks and porters. Ang Pasang and Kusang Tshering helped to unload the helicopter and then started loading the yaks. The gear is now moving up the valley!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Sherpas Preparing for the Everest Season

Mar 9, 2016

After all the bad luck on Everest and in Nepal the last couple years, the Sherpas wanted to make sure they covered their bases with their pujas this year. Ang Jangbu reports that they consulted Lama Geshe in Pangboche (the oldest monastary in Khumbu) and have followed his recommendation with several pujas this year for good luck. Yesterday was a very auspicious day on the Tibetan Buddhist calendar, so they had Lama Geshe and several other lamas at Pangboche Gompa do an all-day puja for the team in the Khumbu. Then they performed another puja which included 113 Tsethar (life releases). Since this was hard to do in the Khumbu, they did it in Kathmandu, releasing 113 birds and fishes.

The Kathmandu team has finished packing the first big load of food and gear and this has been loaded on a truck for transport to Phaplu, a small airport accessible by road located several days hike south of Lukla. The gear will be flown from Phaplu to Shyangboche in the next few days, then put on yaks for the trip to Base Camp.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Lots of Moving Pieces

Mar 3, 2016

Ang Jangbu reports the SPCC Icefall doctors are on the way to Base Camp. They will be getting organized up there and then doing some technical training with the KCS sherpas (including IMG's Phunuru), before starting work on the Icefall route. Last year they placed 55 ladders and 5600 meters of fixed rope in the Icefall. The plan is to have the route open to Camp 2 by early April, about the time that the climbers start to arrive.

Our Kathmandu team has now taken delivery of our large grocery order and has been busy repacking this for moving to the Khumbu. We plan to send an advance team of 12 Sherpas and two cooks to Gorakshep on Thursday, March 17th and on to EBC on the 18th. Back in Washington State, the guides have been busy getting our big airfreight shipment packed, and we will be delivering it to our shippers soon. We are rolling!

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Border Crossing Reopens; Expedition Prep Underway

Feb 12, 2016

Ang Jangbu reports from Nepal that the Birgunj border crossing with India (the main one south of Kathmandu) has now reopened for importing fuel and goods. Petrol, cooking gas, diesel and aviation fuel are all moving now, as well as other supplies. This is significant because the Birgunj customs accounts for 70% of imports entering Nepal. The country had really been squeezed hard by the "unofficial" blockade by India, after the promulgation of the new Nepal constitution in September 2015 (which India did not like). Now things are rebounding fast.

On the home front, we are putting the final touches on our Everest logistics and will begin food packing soon. We have a good looking IMG team shaping up, and everything is looking positive for our upcoming Everest season.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner

Preparing for Everest 2016

Jan 14, 2016

IMG's 2016 Everest Expedition is just around the corner, and we have a good looking team shaping up. Leader Greg Vernovage will be joined by IMG guides Justin Merle, Emily Johnston, Josh McDowell, and Mike Hamill for our annual expedition. Ang Jangbu reports from Nepal that he sent IMG sherpas Chewang Lendu and Nuru Gyalzyn up to Base Camp today to claim our campsite.

They went to Gorakshep on Wednesday, spent the night, and then on Thursday they went to Base Camp, claimed our campsite and marked it with flags and cairns, then hiked (ran!) all the way back to Phortse that afternoon.

They report that we have the exact same site that we were in last season, and that everything looked good up there.

—Eric Simonson, IMG Partner