Mount Everest Expedition 2006                                                                         Tibet

Attempt to climb the "Fantasy Ridge" on the Kangshung Face

 

Dave travelled to Tibet in 2006 to attempt the first ascent of the "Last unclimbed ridge" on Mount Everest.  Known as "Fantasy ridge", it was given this name by George Mallory in 1921 because they believed it could only be climbed in fantasy.  The small three man team consisted of Dave, George Dijmarescu and Dawa Nuru Sherpa.  Hopes were to approach from the advanced base camp on the north side and down-climb the Raiphu La in to the basin at the bottom of the Kangshung face.  The climbing would start up a steep wall to gain the ridge and continue until reaching the North-east ridge and continuing to the summit.

The winter of 2005-06 in Tibet was one of the driest on record.  The typically snowy ridge was a skeleton of itself with melted out walls and unstable ice towers along the top of the ridge.  When Dave and Dawa first arrived at the mountain pass leading down to the ridge, the first good viewpoint of the route, Dawa, a man of few english words says "Oh man".  Dave was thinking the same thing.  This route was in very dangerous condition and the guys decided it was too risky to attempt.  When Dave was asked why the attempt was called off, he said "I came here to climb, not to die."

 

The guys were bummed about the condition of the route but still wanted to climb.  So focus was changed to the traditional route where they opened the season on May 11, 2006.  Dave was the first westerner to summit that year.  A few sherpas had summited 12 days before while fixing ropes.  Dave broke trail from the top of the first step on to the summit. "I knew that if I climbed a little faster and pushed harder I could get some time on the summit alone"  Dave had 30 minutes on the top of the world all alone.  "It was an experience that I still can't put into words"  Soon his partners arrived and they spent another 30 minutes taking pictures, drinking tea and enjoying the views.  The team then started climbing back down the mountain, making it all the way down to base camp by early afternoon.

 Watson on the northeast ridge of Mount Everest, 28,370 feet John Bagnulo photo

Long Trail Brewery, VT Super tasty beer!

"The weather was awesome, we summited on the 11th and I rested on the 12th.  On the 13th, I went back up solo to do some skiing.  I was on the North ridge at 7,200 meters when the weather started to turn, my feet got really cold so I decided to ski down from there."   This was the first time Dave had skied from above 7,000 meters.  "I really enjoyed it, it was super intense.  The setting, the snow, the breathlessness.  It all combined to make a very exciting descent."

 Mt Everest base camp