Daily Dispatches

Title: USA/JAMAICA Everest Expedition 2009

3 May 2009 : IMG's Gamesmanship!

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Karma visiting the chocolate sherpa

Today Karma and I decided to drop down to Dingboche in order to allow my body some much needed rest and recovery. This is a departure from my original plan, which was to stay in BC prior to my summit bid, but I've been going with the flow since I got to BC and this time is no different. Dingboche feels great, so hopefully I'll be very strong for the summit bid by the time I get back to BC.

On the way to Dingboche we visited the Chocolate Sherpa, Belgian guys who brought almost 400 pounds of chocolate to base camp to give away. Karma had his share!

This morning I visited my friends Scott and Keith in the IMG camp, my first such venture into their compound. The intent was to do a cybercast for Scott's website. As you all know, last year I was on Everest with IMG and I also tried to come back to Everest with them this year. In early March as the deadline to commit to climbing Everest quickly approaches we made a mutual business decision to go our separate ways when we could not agree on terms, or so I thought.

On my way back to my camp Eric, Mark and Jangbu confronted me about my teams contribution to fixing the upper mountain. (It's customary for all teams climbing the mountain to contribute gear, sherpas, etc... for fixing the ropes and safety from C2 to the summit. Some small expeditions will skip out on this and leave the responsibility to the larger teams and essentially climb the upper mountain for free). Eric question was "did you just expect to clip into the fix lines for free?" At this point I remained very calm and start asking the three of them questions. Have you spoken to Wongchu, owner of Peak promotion, about this? Have you spoken with my sherpas about this? Did you invite anyone from my team to the fixing meeting? Their collection answer was - your team knows what's going on. How? No answer. My next question was - what do you need? Answer - anything. I asked point blank about what it would take to make us whole and offered to write a check from my pocket. Answer - whatever. At this point I realized that this was not about fixing, but more about me signing with Peak Promotion. So I told the three of them that Wongchu and Peak promotion were the most upstanding person and company that I had ever dealt with, unlike the IMG backhanded and nefarious ways perpetrated by Eric Simonson himself. Having dealt with Peak Promotion extensively and spoken to Wongchu at lenght, I know that Wongchu cares about Nepal Tourism, especially the mountaineering portion and his employees more than he cares about gouging profits from his clients, which is the IMG way. When I was with IMG everything was about money, always money. They would constantly hound you for money. Once they have your money then you take what they give and nothing else. Granted, they have a very nice over-priced package that I didn't realised was over-priced until I signed with Peak Promotions. Ok, so I don't get a hot towel before dinner with Peak Promotion, which is the only thing that IMG had I don't get this year, but let's look at the flip side. Last year I froze my ass off at dinner because they refuse to turn the heat on. With PP I have heat all day if I want it. With PP I get tea at 7 AM in my tent every morning that I'm in BC. With PP I don't have people working behind my back to get me off the mountain so that they can save money and a tank of oxygen; rather, I have a team working to help me meet my goal. PP has step up in ways that I won't go into here, unlike IMG. PP has done everything that I have asked of them and more. Enough digressing and back to the story.

I went back to my camp and spoke with Wongchu, Ram and the Sherpas about IMG accusations. You guessed it, PP send extra gear to BC to contribute to the fixing of the upper

There was a huge avalanche here in BC today that covered a significant portion of the icefall and showered BC with snow. Very scary, especially since there were climbers in the icefall at the time. Everyone's safe and the icefall doctors were very quick to repair the route.