Climbing On

Mt. Everest climber Woolums ‘at mercy of weather gods’

Hood River-based mountain guide Scott Woolums has spent the past several weeks moving up and down Mt. Everest as he and his team of three acclimatize to the altitude and prepare for the ultimate prize: reaching the summit of the world’s highest mountain.

Woolums, who owns Hood River’s Adventures International, an adventure travel company that specializes in mountain climbs and treks around the world, is accompanied by fellow Hood River mountain guide John Rust, who is leading three clients of his own in an attempt to reach the summit of Lhotse, the fourth highest mountain in the world and closest peak to Everest.

The two teams have been sharing camps on the mountain and will break off for their separate summit attempts after Camp III, at 24,000 feet. The summit of Lhotse is at 27,883 feet, while Everest’s summit is 29,035 feet.

Over the weekend, Woolums and his team endured a massive wind storm while holed up at Camp III. Woolums reported winds blowing at more than 80 knots.

They are now safely down at lower altitudes, joining Rust’s team for a few days of rest in the village of Dingboche, at 16,000 feet.

“We have extended our stay here to four days down low to recover from being up high for so long,” Woolums reported Tuesday on his Web site. “The body recovers so much better at this altitude.” When the teams head back up the mountain, Woolums hopes it will be for their summit attempts.

“Basically they are at the mercy of the weather gods now,” said Yvette Blanchette, office manager for Adventures International who is in almost daily contact with Woolums via satellite phone. “(They’re) waiting for that window of opportunity.”

Last year, Woolums reached the summit of Mt. Everest on May 16. For reports and video feeds from the Everest 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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