Follow news and updates from our 2022 Himalayan Climbing Course as they build high-altitude mountaineering skills, culminating with an ascent of Lobuche East (6,119m/20,075ft) followed by an add-on Island Peak ascent (6,189m/20,305ft).
The Adventure Consultants Himalayan Climbing Course #2 runs from October 8 to November 6, 2022.
The team includes:
Himalayan Climbing Course Guiding Team
AC Climbing Guide: Guy Cotter
Climbing Sherpa: Kunga Sherpa
Climbing Sherpa: Rita Dorje Sherpa
Camp Cook: Chhiri Lama Sherpa
Cook Boy: Passang Sherpa
Camp Staff: Tikal Rai
Camp Staff: Sonam Rai
John Costello - USA
Alan Gooda - Australia
Niv Slama - Canada
9 October 2022
Himalayan Climbing Course Begins!
Team members John, Niv and Alan joined AC CEO Guy Cotter for the prep stages on the Himalayan Climbing Course (HCC) in Kathmandu today. A couple of days covering skills will be followed by a trek up the Khumbu Valley culminating in ascents of Lobuche Peak and Island Peak. We are all excited by the prospect of the adventure ahead and will update daily on our progress. Guy for the HCC Team.
Photo: (L) John, Guy, Niv and Alan in Kathmandu and (R) Instruction begins with some introductory rope skills by Suze Kelly
10 October 2022
Final Prep Day in Kathmandu
We had a stimulating morning covering expedition planning and high altitude medicine. A few hearty conversations and solid contributions from John who is an anesthesiologist with an altitude interest. The rest of the day will be spent packing and readying ourselves for the early flight tomorrow morning to Lukla to begin the trek up the Khumbu valley. Bring it on!
Photo: Kathmandu Valley after the rain by Guy Cotter
11 October 2022
The Trekking Begins
After a delay due to weather we managed to fly into Lukla airport by helicopter. We flew around large cumulous clouds then landed into Lukla just as the cloud descended all around us. We hiked the trail from there through beautiful green fields and through small copses of forest to arrive at the township of Phakding a couple of hours later where we will lodge for the night. We are all happy and healthy and looking forward to the hike to Namche Bazaar tomorrow. Guy for the HCC Team.
Photos: The team on the trail near Lukla and the village of Phakding by Guy Cotter
12 October 2022
The rain persisted all night and didn’t let up this morning when we began to hike. Nonetheless the views of the Dhud Kosi river were spectacular due to the impressively high flow. The rain eased as we began the 600m climb of the Namche hill, a long consistent climb that leads into Namche Bazaar, the hub of Sherpa culture. We are all now comfortably housed at Khumbu lodge hosted by a family I have known for the 30 years I have been coming here. Tomorrow the forecast improves so we will get views of the high Himalaya! Guy Cotter for the HCC Team.
Photos (L) Departing Phakding and Lunch by Guy Cotter
13 October 2022
This is Guy Cotter with the Himalayan Climbing Course team, happy to be sitting at 4,030m high above the Khumbu valley soaking up views of some of the most spectacular peaks on earth. Taboche, Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Island peak, Ama Dablam and Thamserku. WOW! We will stay a while here to enable our bodies to adjust to the altitude then drop back to Namche for the night.
Photos (L) Mount Everest (Below) Ama Dablam and Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Island Peak and Ama Dablam by Guy Cotter
14 October 2022
The steep hike out of Namche Bazaar was rewarded with spectacular views as we hiked towards the village of Khunde. Erratic rocks are strewn across the landscape, one of which provided us with the world's most picturesque rock-climbing venue where we spent the day working on rope skills. Replete with that we dropped into the bakery in Khumjung village to recharge on hot lemon and rice curry as a late lunch. Khumjung is the quintessential Sherpa village with stone houses surrounded by potato fields.
Photos (L) Niv prussiking with Ama Dablam in the background. (Below) John hanging around and Alan with his shadow by Guy Cotter.
15 October 2022
Khumjung to Phortse
We got a jump on the day and departed Khumjung before the intensity of the sun got to us. We climbed to the Mong La, a high point on the route at the entrance to the Gokyo valley where we stopped for a refreshing drink. Of course we drank in the views as well which were just stunning in the morning light. The trail took us down and down until we reached the valley floor where autumn colours and the bubbling river with Yaks roaming gave us a spot to stop and soak it all in for a while. Again we climbed, this time to the very Sherpa town of Phortse, kind of off the map to most trekkers so it’s quiet and scenic. We’ll stop here the night then boost through to Pheriche tomorrow. Endless amazing scenes amongst incredible mountains that even after 30 years coming here I’m in awe of. This is Guy Cotter with the Himalayan Climbing Course saying Namaste for now.
Photos (Above) Yaks have the right of way. Yaks in Phortse with Ama Dablam in the disatance and (Left) The team by Guy Cotter.
16 October 2022
Steep Trail to Pheriche
A very steep trail sidles the valley giving stunning views of the surrounding peaks. Here one must be especially careful to avoid stepping off the trail as you would soon be in the river 500m below! Lunch in Pangboche and Lodging for the next 2 nights in Pheriche at 4,200m, we are getting up there!
Photos: (L) The trail to Pangboche and (R) The team on the trail by Guy Cotter
17 October 2022
Rest Day in Pheriche
After a session on avalanche rescue practice this morning we hiked to the town of Dingboche, half an hour over the hill. We had a great view of Island Peak, our last climbing destination on this journey, as well as numerous other alpine giants around us. Images do not do justice to the majesty of the peaks here, you have to see it yourself to really appreciate it, so I suggest you do! After a great lunch at the 4,410m Cafe I ran into Da Jangbu and Rinji Sherpa, two of our star Sherpa staff who will be back with us on Everest next spring. We drank tea and caught up on the previous 3 years we have not seen each other. Tomorrow we head for the town of Dzongla, 600m above our present height of 4,200m. Guy for the HCC Team.
Photo: Kunga, Alan, Niv, John and Rita Dorji with Taboche behind by Guy Cotter
18 October 2022
It was cold when we left Pheriche but incredibly crisp and clear. After 4 hours we arrived in Dzongla at 4,835m in beautiful weather and even better views as we climb higher.
Photos: (L) Leaving Pheriche and (R) Cholatse soars high above the trail to Dzongla by Guy Cotter
19 October 2022
Cho La Camp
We hiked from Dzongla to the base of the Cho La at around 5,200m where we set up camp for the next two nights. We feel the altitude but everyone is doing fine.
Photo: High Camp at 5,300m by Guy Cotter
21 October 2022
Climbing around Cho La
These last 2 days we have been climbing on the snow and ice around the Cho La and camping at 5,300m which was a challenge for us to sleep and rest at. However this will accelerate our acclimatisation and now we are travelling to our luxurious Lobuche base camp, home for the next few days.
Photos: (L) Skills training on the Cho La Glacier and (R) Himalayan sunset by Guy Cotter
24 October 2022
Lobuche High Camp and Summit Ahead!
This is the AC Office reporting in on behalf of Guy Cotter and the Himalayan Climbing Course team who are all now at Lobuche High Camp, anticipating a summit day tomorrow! They have had some limited communication issues getting dispatches out and apologise to all the friends and family that are eagerly following their journey so far. Everyone is well and excited for the climb ahead.
The team will leave high camp in the very early hours of the morning, aiming to reach the summit early in the day. The climb from high camp ascends the South East ridge of the mountain to Lobuche East and with luck, the weather will be clear enough for spectacular views across to Ama Dablam, Makalu, Lhotse, Nuptse, Changtse, Pumori, Gyachung Kang, Cho Oyu and of course Mount Everest, Mother Goddess of the Earth. We will keep you posted as we hear news from the team. AC Office for Guy Cotter.
Photo AC Archive: Spectacular views from the summit of Lobuche East by Steve Moffat.
25 October 2022
Departing high camp from 5,300m was cold at 3.30am but it was a perfectly clear night so we could see the lights of the villages below us as we climbed. By dawn we had reached the snow and ice sections of the upper mountain where the terrain became steeper and we relied on fixed ropes for security.
The sun reached us warming us up as we climbed onto the summit with fantastic views of Mt Everest and the other peaks surrounding us. Congratulations to Niv and John and Alan for achieving the climb. We couldn’t have done it without the help of our amazing Sherpas Kunga and Rita Dorji. Thanks guys!
Photos: (L) John on the upper slopes of Lobuche East and (R) Rita Dorji, Guy Cotter and Kunga Sherpa on the summit of Lobuche East by Guy Cotter.
26 October 2022
Crossing the Kongma La
A short hike from our Lobuche Base Camp brought us to the town of Lobuche where we turned right to cross the lower Khumbu Glacier, on old moraine with a trail across it. On the true left side we climbed 800m over the following 4 hours to arrive at one of the most scenic locations on earth, the Kongma La at 5,550m. Once there the north side of Ama Dablam presents itself in all its glory reflected in azure blue lakes on the far side of the pass. A plethora of other incredible and scenic peaks served as a backdrop to Ama Dablam, all worthy of considerable admiration and respect in their own right. Nuptse, Lhotse, Makalu, Baruntse, Kantega, and Thamserku are all significant Himalayan giants that were all on show today. Tonight we are in the town of Chhukung where we’ll stay a couple of days before moving on to climb Island Peak.
Photos: (R) Peaks galore from the Kongma La, (Below) The team on top of the Kongma La and the North Face of Ama Dablam by Guy Cotter
30 October 2022
Island Peak Summit
It’s not easy getting up at midnight to start a climb but the rewards on sunrise when you are high on the mountain are worth the effort! Our team made the summit at various times, first John and Kunga at 5.30am right on sunrise. 10 minutes behind was Erika with Passang Bhote. At 7.45am Niv and Rita Dorjee topped out. Then Guy and Suze summitted with Tashi at 8.15am. It was a glorious day although a chilly breeze kept us wrapped up until we got back down to lower elevations. All the team are happy to be heading down to lower altitudes today where the air will be warmer in Pangboche where we will stay tonight.
Photos:(L) Summit Ridge and (Below) Dawn on the glacier and Sunrise from Island Peak by Guy Cotter.
4 November 2022
When the Party is Over, Reflect!
After a rapid descent to lower altitudes and exit flight to Kathmandu the Himalayan Climbing Course is completed. We worked on some technical climbing and mountaineering skills, we climbed some amazing mountains, looked in awe at the amazing vistas, met incredible locals, worked alongside some extremely talented and inspiring Sherpa climbing staff, but most of all, we all came back as friends. It will take us all some time to reflect on our experiences and how they will shape our thinking into the future, but that process need not be rushed and we can relax into the oxygen-rich atmosphere now we are at low elevations. I’d like to thank my team mates, Niv, Alan and John for your great company and a special shout out to Kunga Sherpa and Rita Dorjee Sherpa for superb leadership and contributions on this journey. Often neglected but imperative to well operated expeditions our extremely capable admin and operations staff have once again done a sterling job, thank you so much!
Photos: (L) Last views of the peaks of the Khumbu, (Below) Time to say goodbye, for now! and the team celebrating the homeward journey by Guy Cotter.