In Nepal, HR climbers prepare for Mt. Everest

“We’re all tucked in here at Camp 2, getting ready to go up to Camp 3 at over 23,500 feet tomorrow for a couple nights. This is our final acclimatization trip before the summit attempt. After this we’ll go back down for a good long rest after spending over 12 nights above base camp.”

That’s the latest e-mail report from Scott Woolums, owner of Hood River-based Adventures International. Woolums is leading a team of three climbers in an attempt to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, the world’s highest mountain. Hood River-based Woolums has been in Nepal since the end of March. He and his team spent a couple of weeks trekking to base camp at 17,500 feet, the staging area where Woolums and dozens of climbing teams from around the world set up their main headquarters for the two-month climbing season.

Since establishing their base camp, Woolums and his team have been moving up and down the mountain, staying at higher camps for a couple of days, then returning to base camp. The up-and-back helps acclimatize team members to the altitude.

“Staying at Camp 2 and higher demands some mental toughness as any simple task can put you out of breath,” Woolums writes. “Even putting boots on in the morning is a challenge.” Camp 2 is at 21,400 feet.

Another Hood River climber, Lisa Rust, is also in Nepal as a member of the first all-women’s climbing team to attempt to summit Everest. Rust, a teacher at Hood River Middle School, is one of six women on the team.

“She’s at Camp 2 waiting for the weather to (clear) so she can go up to Camp 3,” said Shelly McCandliss, who is substitute teaching Rust’s classes while she is gone. McCandliss said Rust has been sending e-mail updates to her students.

Like Woolums, Rust and her team have been moving up and down the mountain to acclimatize. McCandliss reports that Rust “hasn’t lost any weight and is doing really well.” Weight loss is a problem at such extreme altitudes, as climbers lose their appetite and preparing meals becomes an exhausting task.

Woolums said he’d seen Rust occasionally as their teams passed one another. “(I) see her coming and going as we move up and down between camps,” he writes, but their “schedules seem always different.”

Rust’s latest report, according to McCandliss, was that her team was aiming for a summit attempt around May 20, weather permitting.

“The kids are loving tracking her,” McCandliss added.

Woolums and his team are aiming for a summit attempt around May 13.

“Everything is coming together for our summit attempt,” he writes. “We have a good camp near the top of the Camp 3 area, protected from most larger avalanches and spindrift slides. Still it’s very steep ice right outside the door. We have set safety ropes up around the tents in case anyone takes a slide.” Woolums said he planned to send another update from Camp 3. “This is where things get a bit more exciting. We hope to spend two nights there, although in any bad weather we will come down as soon as possible.

“So let’s hope the mountain will allow us higher as we take each next step up.” For more about Woolums’ expedition, go to For more about Rust’s expedition, go to

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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