We learnt this week that IMG (the company that is organising all our logistics in Nepal) has purchased some new generation oxygen masks for use by all their climbers this year. These masks are called TopOut masks and were designed by Ted Atkins in 2003.
Ted had attempted Everest twice without success and believed that improvements could be made to the masks that are commonly used by climbers. The result was the TopOut mask and Ted was successful in 2004 in reaching the summit, which he attributes in part to his new mask.
Although they haven’t been used much, its obvious that IMG are impressed with them, otherwise they wouldn’t make such a significant investment in purchasing one for every climber. I recently tried one and found that the mask is provides a good seal around your face, which is important to conserve oxygen and prevent your goggles from fogging up, and it also pools oxygen in a reservoir when you are breathing out, so that more oxygen is available when you breathe in. IMG will supply us with a choice of the new mask, and both of the older, but tried and true types (Hornbein and LSE).
We are really impressed that IMG have invested in this new mask – it’s early days, but to us its an indication of the levels that they will go to provide all the support possible for their climbers. Certainly all the feedback from past climbers that we have spoken to, including people that didn’t climb with IMG, but observed their operations on the mountain has been nothing short of excellent.
I thought I would share with you a bit about the two Sherpas that Fiona and I are hiring for our climb. Rex Pemberton (the youngest Australian to climb Everest) climbed with same IMG unguided program last year, and he hired a Sherpa called Da Sona who is from Pangboche. Da Sona is extremely experienced having climbed Everest 6 times, and Rex highly recommended him. We have also hired another Sherpa called Mingma Ongel who is from Phortse, and is related to Da Sona. Mingma has been on over ten 8000m expeditions and has summited Everest from both the North and South side (we are climbing from the South), and is an assistant instructor for the Alex Lowe Foundation which teach ice climbing for the Sherpas in the winter months. We feel very privileged to be able to climb with these guys and are really looking forward to meeting them and getting to know them well.
Till next time,