In March 2006, Paul Adler and Fiona Adler left for their attempt to climb Mount Everest. 

We posted live updates here throughout our climb, as well as during the final stages of our preparation.  We hope that this helped our friends, family and other interested parties to experience the adventure with us along the way.

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Remembering Phinjo

While everyone else was diving for cover, Jim Gagne took this specactular series of photos of an avalanche bearing down on Camp 1 this week. Photo Jim Gagne

The avalanche engulfs Camp 1. No one was injured.

Location: Everest Base Camp
Altitude: 5350m
Local Time: 17:30 April 22
Weather: Warm, then cloudy in the afternoon -2C now

Hi Everyone, It's Paul here.

We all took it easy today at base camp; it was needed given the events of yesterday. We had a ceremony at the Puja Altar to remember Phinjo, where everyone spoke of their memories of him.

Your messages
Thanks for all your kinds words about Phinjo and the other Sherpas killed. These have been passed on.

HRA clinic again
After the ceremony Fiona and I visited the HRA clinic and they have given me some other antibiotics to try - Augmentin. Hopefully this helps my throat and chest. Although I feel fit, I am still coughing up a lot of stuff from my lungs and I still have a sore throat.

At this stage our plans are to go up to camp 1 on Monday, but this depends on the weather, how we are feeling and the progress of setting up camp 2. We want to be able to go from camp 1 to camp 2 on this trip.

Today we have handed our technology gear over to Dennis and Dan who have provided you with their thoughts and reports on their progress so far.

Bye for now,

Dennis Kellner's update
Hello this is Dennis Kellner
One of the most important parts of climbing this mountain is becoming acclimatized to living in this altitude. Base Camp is over 17000 feet high. There are no permanent human communities at this altitude anywhere in the world. Everything that we do is slower including walking, thinking and even healing up. For instance about 2 weeks ago I was helping build a helicopter pad, just in case it was needed, and I scraped my knees just a little and as of today there is no indication of any healing. At sea level it would have healed in a day or two. That is true for all parts of our bodies. So most of our time is spent recovering from something. Or in other words we lay around in our tents and read a lot.

There is a fine line between over doing it and staying fit. That balance is up to each individual to find. At this point in our climb we all are trying to establish where that line is. As we move higher we cannot acclimatize, we can only adapt to the elevation. By that I mean we cannot live up there for any length of time, we can only adapt to the conditions. Our respiration increases, our heart rate increases, but the rest of our bodies deteriorate. In order to climb this mountain we must subject our bodies to these pressures, so that we slowly adapt our bodies to this unusual environment. The longer we stay up above base camp the more our bodies deteriorate. So each time we go up, we go higher up, but then we must come back down to base camp and heal up for a longer time. We call this a rotation and we must go through about three or four rotations.

Needless to say we get a lot of reading done. Speaking of which I am off to do some of my required reading.


Dan Griffith's Update

Hi from Everest Base camp,
This is Dan Griffith and I wanted to report on my acclimatization trip to Camp 1 earlier this week.

Monday morning was an early wakeup for Justin, Jim, JF, John, Sophia and myself.... 4:15AM. A hearty breakfast was picked at by most and we got away from camp about 5:20AM. We passed by the Chorten and sought blessings for a safe passage through the icefall....tossing rice to the spirits of Chomolungma.

A slow and steady plod through the intervening camps brought us to a point where crampons were necessary. Then each at his own pace we followed the trail scuffed into the ice over the many pressure ridges at the bottom of the icefall.

Going through the icefall
The icefall this year is much more straight forward in it's terrain... especially in the lower section. Basically a trail with some steeper spots with a fixed rope to clip on to and to keep you on the right path.

The first ladder crossing was quite high up and it brought a couple of interesting factors. First one had to squeeze past Mallory. He is a basecamp mascot... a medium size dog... who likes to hang out on the trail and is stopped from going higher by the 1st ladder. He manages to get out on the first few rungs before thinking better of a complete crossing. I think there might be a picture of Mallory on the IMG website.

The ladder is also a wakeup from slogging on the trail, as it puts you over a substantial crevasse on a ladder that is on a small upward angle..... the fun begins!

A break in the icefall
We continued upwards, meeting some others ascending and after negotiating a broken section passing to the right we reached one of the only safe areas in the middle of the icefall, called the football field. A great spot for a sit down break! Something to eat...a Mars Bar.... and a welcome drink.

And then onwards and upwards
Now it gets steeper..... you have to see this to believe it...... huge towers of ice, broken blocks and deep crevasses..... all patched together with traverses, climbs, ladders and a thin strand of white rope, anchored to bent pickets and cheap ice srews.

Suddenly you can see a way out at the top of the icefall.... however the way is blocked by an extremely shattered area. The ice is clear cocktail blocks of all sizes with two massive towers looming over everything.

The rope stops and it's up to you to sprint through the gulch with somewhat insecure footing to a semblance of safety at the fixed ropes on the far side. A few steeper pulls put us on the smoother slopes of the Western Cwm.

Reached the Western Cwm
Here we take advantage of the fact that we no longer have tons of ice looming over us and sit for a few minutes of well deserved rest.

From here it's a relatively easy walk through the valley to Camp 1. The only exception being a double long ladder with a good bounce and a slight rightward tilt that gave everone a few moments of absolute concentration.

11 AM saw us all in Camp 1 and ready for a rest.

Camp 1
Here we had 3 man domes for sleeping and a 2 meter satellite dome for cooking and sitting around in..... lucky for us as the snow started that evening and was to continue for 48 hrs.

Tuesday morning saw us huddled together in the satelite dome melting snow for water and heating up our prepared meals. Spirits were high.

It started to snow
Now the shovelling started! In total we received 150 cm of snow! When it finally cleared on Wednesday afternoon we witnessed some impressive avalanches off the Nupste face. One of them, the biggest, dusted us in our camp and sent us all scurrying for cover as the massive wall of snow and wind thundered down the cwm.

Thursday morning had us peering over the huge walls of snow accumulated by our shovelling efforts and wondering what the correct course of action should be based on a continued unsettled forecast.

Deciding to come down
13 sherpas who had weathered the storm at the Camp 2 site were working their way down valley towards Camp 1 through waist deep snow and in the end it took them 5 hours to accomplish what is normally a 45 minute walk. Our final decision was to join ther downward exodus while the trail created was still clear and we reached base camp safe and sound later Thursday afternoon.

While we weren't totally sucessful in reaching our goal of spending time at camp 2 for acclimatisation, we had 3 nights at 20,000 ft and got a good start towards it.

Now for some well deserved rest in basecamp ..... probably 4 days or so.

The accident
Friday morning dawned with a rude alarm. At 7AM the radios were alive with calls for help! The huge towers near the top of the icefall had collapsed catching the tail end of a long line of Sherpas carrying loads to camp 2. 3 were dead..... irretrievably buried under tons of ice.

Communication was inconsistent, and it wasn't for several hours that the situation was totally confirmed. Meanwhile, in expectation of injured survivors needing evacuation, up to 200 people showed up to construct a helipad near BC.

Unfortunately, one of our IMG Sherpas, Ang Phinjo Sherpa, was one of the victims along with 2 other Sherpas from the Asian Trekking Expedition. Phinjo was a veteran of over 20 Everest Expeditions and a well respected and strong member of the team. My sympathies and good wishes go out to his family and friends.

Today Saturday, is somber here in base camp, but plans continue for upward movement in the next few days.....

Everest fever still grips the many climbers here.

Hopefully, our luck will improve and sometime in the next month the planning and preparations will combine to give us the opportunity to try for the top!

Best Wishes,
Dan Griffith


Posted by: Chris and Bridget on April 23, 2006 12:14 AM AEST

Hi Guys, interesting update, sounds like there is a lot going on at the moment. Good luck for Monday.

Signing off from the beach in Goa.

Chris & Bridget

Posted by: MC on April 23, 2006 12:22 AM AEST

Hi Fiona and Paul
I can only imagine the somber mood at BC. I pray that these 3 men will rest in peace on Chomolungma.
A big thanks to Dennis Kellner and Dan Griffith for their very informative updates. As Dennis stated, there is definitely a fine line between staying fit and over doing it up on Everest.
Regarding Mallory, the BC mascot, you might clip him to the fixed rope of the ladders so he would feel more confident going across. Would you go more than a few rungs if you were not clipped to the rope?
I'd love to see a close up photo of the icefall; the descriptions are almost unimaginable! Amazing photos taken by Jim of the avalanche engulfing C-1. These images are stunning. Thankfully, no one was injured.
Paul, I sincerely hope your throat and chest will clear up completely. And Fiona, do you still have a sore throat? I certainly hope not. Wishing you good weather for Monday's ascent through the icefall.
In life, everything has a fine line. If you can find that line and stay on it, you will find true balance. MC

Posted by: Valerie & Rummy on April 23, 2006 07:27 AM AEST

Your reports are, as always, full of spirit, adventure and caring. We wish you continued improvement with your health. What books are you reading? Thanks so much to Dennis and Dan for bringing the climb and views right into our computer room.

Posted by: Susan Purvis on April 23, 2006 08:37 AM AEST

Hello, THis is Sue Purvis from Colorado. In November I taught a 6 day wilderness medical course to 22 SHerpa guides near the Khunde Clinic. Dawa and Llapka where in the course. Pinzo was my personal guide with Apa Shepa and Dawa for the first 10 days of our trip. If I ever met an angle i am sure it was Pinzo. please give Apa a hug from susan and Pinzos wife. I would love to send a 80K photo if your system will except it. Have Apa Sherpa e mail me soon. I would like to know how he is doing.
Tough times for all. my thoughts and prayers to Dawa, Llapka and Pinzo and their families.


Posted by: paula stout on April 23, 2006 05:23 PM AEST

hi to all...sue purvis, if you're reading this, apa is scheduled to call me next week. if you'll send your email to, i'll make sure to send you a recap of our conversation. hope it helps. p.

Posted by: Rose on April 23, 2006 08:15 PM AEST

Hi Paul, Fiona, Dennis and Dan
Thanks for the great description of the icefall. It sounds amazing, even if very dangerous. It gives a much clearer idea to us sea level inhabitants, what you are acheiving up there. Good luck on Monday if you start the big climb. Our thoughts and good wishes are with you all on the mountain side, especially the sherpa community.

Posted by: KEN PORTER on April 23, 2006 08:29 PM AEST