Monday, May 28, 2007

The Descent

After a brief moment on the summit the long descent to ABC began. The ridge was an easy cruise and only took 1 hour and a half to get down and we were walking through Camp 3 around 2:30. Descending through C3 we stopped at the body of Libor Kozak, a memeber of our expedition that passed away suddenly on May 16th. Brian, Rachel, Katie, and I all got to know him well on the expedion and considered him a friend. It was a sobering moment and a reminder that the mountain can take a life in an instant. We continued to go down the fixed lines until our camp 2 sight around 26,000 feet where Brian began short roping the bag that we packed and left there the previous evening. At this point energy levels where getting low, water was only a distant memory, and my feet were beginning to feel like it was hour twenty of a day that just wouldn't stop. Brian managed to slide the duffel half way down the snow ramp to 24,000 feet or so. He clipped it to an anchor and I didn't even stop to look at the bag. I was actually moving at quite a fast pace down the ramp being I glissaded the entire thing, 1500ft, and my left bum cheek is still a bit bruised from it. We hit the cole, descended the fixed lines to the glacier, and landed at the base of the mountain at 7:30 pm on May 23rd. Katie Sherpani was waiting with cytomax and shoes. Brian and I proceeded to chug cytomax and our depleted bodies imedaitly rejected it on to the glacier. All we could do was laugh and suffer toether at that point. Our cook Razkumar and cook boy Buwan met us 30 minutes from A.B.C. with tea and carried our now not so heavy packs to camp for us. It was a relief to unshoulder the pack that had been on my back for the better part of 23 hours. We strolled into A.B.C. casually around 8:30 pm making it 23 hours and 30 minutes from our Camp 2(26,000ft, to the summit(29,038ft), and down to A.B.C.(21,300ft). We collapsed in the dining tent and our neighbor Big Tim Medved from the Discovry Channel came over congratulated us and joined for the best summit cake in A.B.C. It was a good end to the day and we were all sleeping before 10pm.

After the best night of sleep ever we pulled it toghether for a quick 14 mile jog down to B.C. The bags on the mountain we had picked up by Pemba sherpa for $100. It was an easy decision to make and not having to go up the mountain again made the future much brighter. B.C. was a sight for sore eyes, Mr. O and Uncle John were there so we spent a mourning talking and playing cards before they left for there trip up to A.B.C. We attended the Discovery Channel B.C. party in the obnoxious Hi-Mex Thunder Dome. It was a good night, fun to be back in a social setting and of course a well deserved night of celebraing on another expeditions tab was very nice. Drinks were good, pickles were great, and the company was interesting to say the least. The next mourning our CTMA(Chinese Tibetan Mountaineering Association) Landcruiser picked us up and we were out of B.C. and charging towards civilization.

Now we are back in Kathmandu where the day consists mostly of food, food, a bit more food!!! We will get some pix up today hopefull so keep checking the site.

Summit Recap

Hello All!!! Unfortunately our camera cables are not compatable and so it will be another day before we get some of the pictures on there. Anyways, one of these days!!!
The summit day was definately a long one, and parts of it we were of course done in a sleeping walking state, but between the two of us we peiced it together pretty well.
The summit day of the 23rd was in fact easy compared to the previous day of 22nd spent just below 7,900 meters. We moved up to that elevation through the night and arrived at what we deemed camp Yoda at around 7:00 am. Later we heard the wind was clocked at over 130 mph, which was not hard to beleive from inside of the tent. Thanks to Appalachian Outfitters we were comfortable inside of the Mtn. Hardwear EV2 tent, which we stayed in for about 14 hours. We managed to get a few hours of sleep, which we did on oxygen, but for the most part we spent the time boiling water. Our stove troubles continued and so we were only able to use one Jetboil stove that could not be hung from the ceiling because of the raging winds shaking the tent.

It was also really tough to stay positive that day because we were truly feeling the 23rd would be our only shot at the summit because of diminishing resources, and the wind simply left a dim outlook. We originally planned to leave around 6pm but waited until 9 hoping the wind would die down, which it never really did at that elevation.
So, we decided to break the camp before leaving in order to save time on the descent, which turned out to be a struggle. We were barely able to shove all the gear in the duffle bag that we eventually locked at the site before heading up at 9:22.
At first it was a total nightmare for both of us getting used to moving with the akward regulators on our faces combined with both goggles and headlamps. The system, which is considered the best, is a complete nightmare that you constantly have to adjust and occasionally drain because of the buildup of condensation. You feel like your mouth and nose is sitting in a puddle. Justin was having an excess buildup of ice on the outside, and my tanks were running out 15%-30% faster than they were suppose to. Anyways, we eventually got use to it and the system was ultimately sufficient.
Because we chose to skip the upper camp, we added several hours to our summit day. It took us about 4 hours to reach the beginnning of most teams'high camps, which was partly because of our packs which I estimated at weighing 25-30 lbs. We started off with 2 4 liter oxygen bottles each and 1 3 liter. We also started with 3 quarts of water, and a gob-load of energy foods thanks to clif bar.
It was not until we reached camp 3 that we started to see other teams, and thankfully at that point we realized that it was not going to be a crowded day. The route was in excellent conditions due to an excess of snow this year that covered a great amount of loose rock and scree. I would say we reached the ridge around 6 a.m. and had a clear picture of the entire rest of the route. At this point we stopped for some water at mushroom rock, and I made the mistake of dropping a full liter of water, and the threads of another bottle iced which resulted in a half liter spilling through my bag(that certainly added to the sufferfest.)
We also finally made a much awaited dispatch to KT and Rachel around that time. We were slacking on our dispatches because of our focus of just putting one foot in front of the other, but were also frustrated at the interference caused by the rocks.
We also realized around this point that we were running a little late because other teams could already be seen descending, but we were not concerned because the weather was looking great and we were not cold or in jeopardy of running out of oxygen. We navigated through the steps and I would say we were actually slightly disappointed at how casual the famous 2nd step was. We both felt that the only difficulty or danger was avoiding the old ropes that were scattered throughout the entire route but especially risky on the rocky steps.
Its also worth mentioning that the number of bodies on the route between the 2nd step and the summit is truly noticeable and very much distracting at times. KT and Rachel were utilizing a spotting scope and could see our every movement on the final summit step. At one point they were freaking out because Justin had stopped and they did not know why. It turned out he was just switching out oxygen bottles. Due to this I summitted about 20 minutes before Justin who joined me about 12:25 pm on the summit. The wind was raging on top, and so we did not stick around long. In fact I would say we were on the summit together for less than 5 minutes, and very much just focused on the descent.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Back in Katmandu!!!

I'm excited to say that we arrived back in Katmandu with more than a little culture shock. Its truly amazing to have a real shower after 50 some days and enjoy food cooked in something more than a nylon shelter!!!
We had the opportunity to get online and were absolutely amazed at the incredible feedback and support from everyone over the past few weeks. We've not been able to stop talking about it, and I can't say enough how much we appreciate the support. So, thank you everyone.
We're finally going to be able to put photos and some videos online tomorrow, so please stay tuned. We're also throwing together a full account of our summit day so keep an eye out for that as well. As for now we're focusing on mass amounts of eating so please excuse me!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Real Good

The boys ate and slept slept well, and had a great interview/story on WKYC. They are READY to go (maybe its the lack of showers for 38+days or so now, but that is only a guess). Raw!!

Brian was a bit worried about going back to 7500 meters to retrieve some gear today, so a FedEx is picking it up for 100$, and then they're leaving for BC. Hankbert is also heading to ABC today so they may pass each other somewhere. However, Dad and Uncle John are apparently heading back down to sleep at BC tonight so they will get to hang out there for a bit.

Some notes I heard from the long day. They clocked winds of 130 mph at the final camp which is just one of those super wind tunnels (Mt Washinton like?) that mother nature has created. Savage was a term I heard, along with brutal, I believe. Two litres of water were inadvertently lost during the ascent, allowing some discomfort on the descent. The frisbee rolled itself over the edge during a well needed/deserved congratulatory hug between the best of friends. The FedEx guy is actually a Sherpa and the comment was written for a young lady at BHS. Last, but certainly lot least, the boys were able to pay homage in a very beautiful way to an international friend they met along the way.

All in all, what a story! Your support has been so amazing!! The phones have been blowing up all over the place for days with such wonderful thoughts/comments/prayers from such wonderful folks. I suggest a couple large "gatherings" in the coming months to get to see all you wonderful folks in the same places again. Details TBA. The crew will have some wonderful words and images in the next few days as well. Peace and Luv

Ya did good Mum! Real good. They made it!! Your memory will live on with us forever. Happy belated Mother's Day!

To hear one heckuva interview between Brian and Paul Thomas at WKYC go to:
Thanks Paul!!

Another link from Jon @ Best of Everest, who said congrats boys, can be found at

Resting at ABC

I just got off the phone with one very exhausted Brian Oestrike. After a 23 hour Summit push; they guys are back at ABC and doing well. No frostbite, no injuries, no headaches. They just need a lot of rest which is exactly what they are doing! The wind delayed their departure; adding significant time to the day. At one point they were worried that the mountain just wouldn’t let them up. Their spirits remained high and well . . . the glorious ending has been written. Later today Chris will have an audio update to post. Channel 3 News in Cleveland also plans to air a story tonight during the 11:00 news.

Down at Camp 2

Morning...Katie just called. They guys are down at Camp 2. In about an hour & a half, Katie & Rachel are going to meet the guys just above the North Col, where the fixed lines begin. Everyone should be back at ABC in about 3 hours! Brian & Justin are doing well and requested that Katie bring them lots of CytoMax.
Posted 6:30 am EST

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Top o' the world!!

Summit happened!! Boo yah!! Yippy Kayay!! Yeah!!

Brian Wilfred Oestrike and Justin Joel Hewitt reached the top of the world at about 12:40 pm Tibetan Standard Time. Way to go boys, we are all so proud of what you have accomplished. Not sure what sort of ceremonial celebrations occured up there but we should be filled in very shortly. I suppose a frisbee could really get places.

It was a fairly late summit though and the wind is blowing pretty hard up there, so keep those thoughts and prayers flowing throughout the evening. Thanks again for everything all of you have done. I am sure Mom is grinning from ear to ear in pride, joy and honor in recognition of their incredible journey to the top of the world!

Posted @ 2:51 am EST. Look for further updates around 7-8 am EST

3 or so to go!!

The boys just passed those weird steps(ladder?) that we saw in their presentations!! It is currently 5:58 AM in Tibet and they are still feeling strong and confident. Justin said three hours to go with Brian adding possibly 5 in the background on a radio dispatch. They are moving well and have lots of energy. They were a bit nervous of the wind this morning and got a bit of a late start.

KT & Rachel were really sleepy after poaching to the North Col and getting all but the shells of the boys tents and their trash. They drew the line there apparently.

Our hearts and minds are with you guys, I am personally one anxious Oestrike over here!

PS Dad should be arriving at BC today for a big shindig in a day or so.
Posted @ 9ish PM Eastern Time

8,300 meters / 27,390 feet

7:30 pm on Everest; Rachel just called from ABC. She has been in radio contact with the guys for the past few hours as they've moved up to C4 at 8300m. They are rested, hydrated and have eaten a lot of food. They are packed up and ready to go but are waiting for the wind to die down a bit. They sounded conservative because of the wind yet are extremely positive. Katie brought some of the gear down from the North Col earlier in the day.
Will keep you updated. . .

Monday, May 21, 2007

Camp Yoda

Between the Cavs game & Everest updates; I don't even know what to do with all my energy!
I think our Everest crew is a bit slap happy as well. Katie called bright and early from ABC; which they renamed Camp ADD over a week ago. It was 8 am Tuesday and she had just received word from C2, better known as Camp Yoda. The guys are doing well at 7900 m & are on Oxygen. Katie couldn't say enough about Justin's excitement. Spirits are high all around! The guys are going to spend Tuesday boiling water and resting. They will leave Camp Yoda around 7 pm and hope to summit Wednesday 5 am-ish; just in time for the sunrise. I think a small bearded friend made it to 7900 but thumper, the Bagel Street Frisbee, Shauna's beads and all of our prayers will accompany Brain & Justin to the summit.

Audio Update: Let the climb begin!!

Justin called last night and left a message describing their plans for the final push.

Click here to listen to Justin's message.

Here is a picture of Everest from the Nepalese side. While looking at this photo I'm reminded of how Justin described the mountain to me when I was in Nepal. He said, 'There she is - that big, black pyramid.' I can't wait for the guys to conquer this bad boy - I wouldn't be surprised if Brian decided to jog it just for the bragging rights.

Here Justin and Brian sit with Everest in the upper left corner just poking through - go get em' boys!!!!!!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Here's the plan Stan. . .

Justin & Brian arrived at ABC on Saturday night. They'll be hanging there until early Monday morning when they depart for the North Col. They plan to sleep all day Monday and depart for Camp 2 around midnight. Similar agenda; sleeping most of Tuesday at C2. Then, around 6-7 pm on Tuesday. . . To The Moon Alice. An estimated summit will be around 3-4 am Wednesday morning. (Tuesday afternoon- East Coast Time) If you are thinking that it will be dark when they summit; you're correct. There will be less traffic at the top if they leave early. They hope to hull tail down to the North Col. Brain informed me that they will be using oxygen. Katie and Rachel will be at ABC with the sat phone ready to send word home. Andy & I will be making calls, sending text messages and updating the blog once we get word. Keep sending the love. Your support is AMAZING, thanks!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Cleveland News Update, Friday Night

Hey there folks. Paul Thomas, with WKYC Channel 3, in Cleveland is giving an Everest Update during the 11:00 News Broadcast tonight. He will be playing an audio update from Brian.
Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Big Hello from Us at Base Camp

Hello All!!! We’ve finally managed to get online thanks to our French friends and the services of Windhorse Trekking. Although it has been impossible to read through all of the comments in the last 40 days, we are absolutely delighted to see the number of comments and support from so many of you out there!!! I have to sincerely apologize for not having been able to put any photos online, but don’t worry we promise to make up for it once we reach civilization again. So, again thanks so much for all of your support, it’s truly a great honor to be climbing for such an excellent organization.
For the quick update: We are still back in base camp resting up for what we hope to be our final push up the mountain. I can’t say enough how much better the sleep quality is here at 17,000 ft vs. the 21,000 ft. of A.B.C. Although we are becoming annoyed with the 28 mile roundtrip walk (which I am about to do for the 4th time), it is more than worthwhile in terms of overall rejuvenation. Many of the other members of our expedition are starting to rap things up and so it is finally beginning to feel as though the expedition is coming down to the wire.
So, our plan is to leave here on the morning of the 19th, rest one day in ABC, and then move onto the upper mountain. This time we will not be exposing ourselves to the intense sun, and so intend to climb to camp 2 at approximately 26,000 ft through the night arriving in the morning for a full morning of rest. Then we will move to the high camp at 27,000 ft. for a few hours of rest, but mostly to just boil water. So with any luck we should be reaching the summit on the morning of the 22nd. However, as always our plans are extremely flexible and constantly subject to change. Katie and Rachel will be doing voice dispatches from ABC to keep you all informed during our summit bid!!
Well, that’s all for now, thanks again for all of the support, and especially to Halle, Andy, and Chris for your diligent postings.
Happy B-day Melinda!!!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

12 hours of sleep!!

Brian seems in awesome spirits after a huge dinner and 12 big hours of sleep. He never sleeps 12 hours. He feels extrememly confident after sleeping for 4 hours the previous evening at 7900m(26000 ft) from 745 until 1145 before flying (moving fast) back down to ABC. Brian said, and I quote "we slept in true alpinist form in our jacket and pants without sleeping bags." Seriously? Wow! Apparently they discovered a missing(stolen) stove and took out their anger on the mountain by climbing to camp 3 (7900m) with 45 pounds of gear each.

A big indicator of successful acclimization can be seen in their ability to get some shuteye in the most difficult situation they have ever been in. Brian slept four strong hours with Justin just behind him. They awoke and kicked it in high gear back down. After another long hike they are in BC looking to shoot again in 6-10 days. Brian refused to give that definite of an answer, but that seems to be what he was thinking. I added this photo to spice things up a bit even though it is not Everest. It is actually Mt Ranier.

Katie and Rachel send their luv and wish all of you the best and everyone is so thankful for your comments and prayers. Halle Macrae actually forwarded several of your comments onto the boys today as well so keep em comin!!

The next step is on their Friday when they will head back to ABC for another go. More info coming soon.

PS Brian was very happy to find out that the Cavs have a great chance to reach the East Finals tomorrow.

Slowly, Slowly

Got a message from Brian last night, which was Tuesday morning for them. After making an ascent to C3 on Monday, they are back at ABC and heading down to BC. The weather held out but the team wasn't feeling 100% so they are playing it safe. As the Sherpa's say, "Slowly, Slowly." The good news is that Brian spent abut 4 hours at C3 and felt great.
The guys are tough and smart. . .The window for a summit is still open.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Learning the game of Hearts

And its about time, because Brian was never that great at hearts. The boys have been at ABC with the girls for four days waiting out some weather. The weather has been sunny for a day, after a few cloudy ones, which prompted some teams to head back down to BC. Its up to ChomoLungma at this point.

Rest hasn't been so great, but its due to lack of exercise, not altitude says BWO. Because of the break in weather, they are moving up to North Col and leaving the ladies with the phone. But they will be in contact via walkie talkie. The plan looks like this. If weather is kind, they could go for it in the next three days. If it ain't so kind, they are headed all the way back to BC after hanging out at Camp 3 for several hours. (acclimization) Living above 20,000 feet for more than 10 days can be detrimental to overall health and BC allows for better rejunivation possibilities. Crazy sentence, Sorry!

They sound very positive, upbeat and ancy. Katie will be keeping us updated.

PS Happy Mother's Day-We wouldnt be here without Ya'll

Friday, May 11, 2007

It's Up To The Weather. . .

Greetings are sent to you from Advanced Base Camp. Katie, Rachel, Justin & Brian are together at ABC and doing really well. Brian & Justin ascended to C3 (7,900 m) a few days ago. They stashed two bags there for the summit push then returned to the North Col. It’s not uncommon for climbers to have difficulty sleeping at altitude but the guys are getting plenty of shut eye at the NC which is a good sign.
According to various weather reports the window to summit is a few days away. Brian & Justin are planning to depart ABC on May 13th. With a bit of luck, lots of stamina, purpose & inspiration in their hearts and . . . Katie’s brainpower via radio . . . they anticipate a summit on May 15 or 16. I’m not clear on the exact details of their stay at each of the high camps. For now it looks like they will spend one night at the NC, then one night at C2, move up to C3 the day before summit then shoot for the moon after dark!
Again, thank you for your support of the LUNGevity Foundation and the expedition. We’ll hear from the guys again before they leave ABC.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

ABC and Movin' Up

Hello all! Brian called today with a quick update. He & Justin have been back at ABC for 2 days. They will be heading up to the North Col on Monday. The plan over the next few days is to ascend, establish ground, and eventually sleep at Camp 2 (24,750 ft). Once they feel comfortable a big acclimatization day awaits; they will start at the North Col and move up to C3 (7,900 m/25,600 ft) then descend back to ABC. Katie & Rachel will be at ABC to meet them.

Brian & Justin are feeling strong and doing well. It's tough to be exact on the mountain but they plan to make their summit push in the next 8-10 days!!! WOW, putting that into words is just crazy!
These two guys are amazing. . .gotta love them.

Friday, May 04, 2007


Got a quick shout out about this PB&J and crepes as well. On Everest? Hilarious. Seems like the food is pretty good. Lots of people sharing goods up there, including some wonderful cheese and tea from the foothills o' Appalacha (in fact another Constantine was met who loves Constantine's cheese).
Their camp at North Col is set and ready for use. Brian said 7-8 days of hard work were on the way, including 2 trips to Medium Camp before their last few days of rest at BC or possibly ABC. Then they shoot for the moon.
Confidence and spirits seem to be in high gear as always. Thanks again for all of your wonderful support for such a worthy cause.

PS-Martha-please call me when convenient

Thursday, May 03, 2007

BC Update

I got a quick call from Brian just after a breakfast of crepes, hard boiled eggs, and a pb&j sandwich. I passed along the love and good vibes that have been posted lately. The crew will be leaving BC tomorrow. Brian & Justin will make a straight hike to ABC; while Katie & Rachel will spend a night or two at the interim camp before ascending to their new home at ABC. They are feeling great, eating well and thank you for the support.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Back at Base Camp

I got a call last night from the Everest crew; they sounded great. Brian & Justin are back at Base Camp hanging out with Katie & Rachel. They are chilling at BC; taking some day hikes and making friends with other expeditions. In the next few days they are going to start the trek up to ABC. To ensure Katie & Rachel are properly acclimatized; the group will spend 2 nights at an interim camp between BC and ABC.

Brian & Justin send a big thanks to all the folks who participated in the Satellite Climb this past weekend. Please leave a comment with your story so we can fill them in they next time they call.

WKYC News Channel 3 in Cleveland is going to re-air the Everest story during their 9am broadcast on Saturday or Sunday. (More than likely on Sunday) Keep checking and for updates.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Audio Update: Justin and Brian back to base camp - Katie and Rachel arrive!

Justin called and left a message two days ago but unfortunately I was experiencing some technical issues and couldn't get it up until today.

Click here to listen to Justin's update - Voice mail received April 28 (the connection is kind of lost at the end of Justin's message)

Brian just left another message last night (May 1) and also called to say that Katie and Rachel had arrived safely.

Here was what Brian had to say