Archive for May, 2009


Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Greetings! We’re currently in Kathmandu as we bring you this update. We made the 3-day trek out from Everest Base Camp, braved the erractic domestic flights and finally, our duffels bags have all just arrived here in the city.
It was raining every single day as we trek out, but we’re not for complaining because we heard that there has been 3 metres deep of snowfall since we left Everest Base Camp. Thankfully we got out fast.

Now, we just have to sort out our gear and logistics, and hop on the fastest SilkAir flight back to Singapore!

HISTORIC SUCCESS for NATAS Singapore Women Everest Team

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Five years of preparation, training and fund-raising paid off when the NATAS Singapore Women’s Everest Team (NATAS-SWET) put the first Singaporean women on the top of the world.

On 20th May 2009, the first summit team saw success when members Lee Lihui, Esther Tan and team leader Jane Lee stood on the summit of Mt Everest at 8,850m. 48 hours later, team members Joanne Soo and Lee Peh Gee added to the resounding success and reached the world’s highest peak. Team co-leader, Sim Yihui did not ascend due to recurring chest pains.

All members of the team are safely back at Everest Base Camp and are currently making their way back to Kathmandu.

The NATAS Singapore Women’s Everest Team would like to thank our Patron, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, and our generous sponsors and supporters, without whom this journey and resounding summit success would not be possible. We would like to specifically thank:

Title Sponsor: National Assocoation of Travel Agents Singapore (NATAS)
Main Sponsors: TruMarine, Lee Foundation
Supported by: Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO)
Official Health Supplement: Centrum
Official Eyewear: Smith Optics
Gear Sponsor: Marmot
Training Venue Supporter: SAFRA Adventure Sports Centre
Product Sponsors: SingTel, SilkAir, Yeo’s, BUFF, PowerBar, Polar, Kyocera, Greenpac, NPE, Sin Mue Mue
Suppporting Organisations: Singapore Sports Council, National Youth Council, Singapore Mountaineering Federation, National Library Board, People’s Association Youth Movement, Singapore Pools, Tote Board, Central Narcotics Board
Cash Sponsor: Hyflux

We would also like to thank individual sponsors who contributed to our journey.

Finally, we would like to express our gratitude to our coach and Base Camp manager, Mr Lim Kim Boon, who was a constant source of guidance and encouragement throughout our journey.

We look forward to returning to Singapore at the soonest!


Approaching the summit of Mt Everest


Camp 4 at South Col the final camp where we can see the route we will take up the south summit of Everest


Coming down form the infamous hillary step after the summit


Joanne Soo, member of NATAS SWET on the top of Mt Everest on 22 May 2009, 5.31am


Lee Peh Gee, member of NATAS SWET touched the roof of the world on 22 may 2009, 5.56am


Long queue of climbers approaching the Everest summit via the hillary step


South summit seen from near the Hillary step


The summit of Mt Everest overlooking Khumbu Nepal


View from the balcony where climbers change their oxygen bottles for the final push

[tags]mt everest, swet, natas, singapore women’s everest team[/tags]

Mount Everest on 20 May 2009

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

Press release: On 22 May 2009, the NATAS Singapore Women’s Everest Team added to their historic success by placing two more members on the summit of Mt Everest, the highest peak on earth at 8850m. Joanne Soo age 39 and Lee Peh Gee age 32 reached the top of the world at 5.31am and 5.56am respectively – Nepal time. The two girls are making their way back to lower camps.

Jane Lee and Lee Lihui have arrived back at Everest Base Camp on 21 May afternoon while Esther Tan is scheduled to be back later today. Look out for a more detailed press release from the Everest Base Camp.


Esther Tan and Lee Li Hui, members of the NATAS Singapore Women’s Everest Team reac hed the summit of Mt Everest on 20 May 2009, at 3.54am and 3.45am respectively


Jane Lee, leader of the NATAS Singapore Women’s Everest Team reached the summit of Mt Everest on 20 May 2009, at 4.43am

NATAS-SWET reached Everest Summit!

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

On 20 May 2009, a historic feat for Singapore was achieved when the NATAS Singapore Women’s Everest Team reached the summit of Mt. Everest, the highest peak on earth which stands at 8850m.

Lee Li Hui age 27, Esther Tan age 26 and Jane Lee age 25 of the NATAS Singapore Women’s Everest Team stepped on the top of the world at 3.45am, 3.54am and 4.43am respectively – Nepal time, making the team the first Singaporean women to reach the world’s tallest mountain.

The second summit team are currently on the way from camp 2 to camp 3 and they plan to go for the summit on 22 May.


Friday, May 15th, 2009

After a bout of turbulent weather which saw Everest Base Camp covered in 7cm-thick snow, the weather finally looks set for a summit window.

The last couple of days saw the entire Khumbu region, including surrounding towns like Pangboche and Pheriche experience high precipitation and winds. Even though this is not entirely weather to celebrate about, we remain hopeful here at Base Camp – because every inch of snow is an indication of the jet streams passing over us and the coming of good weather.

We’re sticking to the two summit-team strategy for this push so that we have higher chances of success. The first summit team will set off on the morning of 15th May, while the second summit team will head off a couple of days later. Hopes burn bright within the team, and we’re going to give this our best shot!


Our tents at Everest base camp covered in snow that fell through the night


Digging our tents out


Clearing the snow from our tents

[tags]everest, swet, natas singapore women’s everest team[/tags]

Jet stream complicates first summit attempt

Monday, May 11th, 2009

The team’s summit attempts have been postponed, due to weather changes. The weather window we were aiming for on the 11th and 12th of May got smaller, due to winds picking up as jet stream passed over the top of Mt. Everest. As stronger winds picked up in both the east and the west, the team and the rest of the IMG climbers (climbers with the mountaineering agency we’re partnering with) who were aiming for the same summit window decided to postpone the summit attempt and come back to base camp to wait for a more favourable weather window.

We took this opportunity to stay at Camp 2 (6,500m) for a couple of nights to optimize our acclimatization, and we’ll be keeping active at base camp with hikes to nearby mountains to stay fitting fit for the summit push. Word has it that there may be a weather window towards the end of May, we’ll keeping our eyes open for that.

Sure, it was a disappointment for the team that our first summit attempt has been foiled, but to put things in perspective, this expedition has been 5 years in the making – what is waiting for a few more days for the summit push?

The NATAS SWET is heading for the summit!

Friday, May 8th, 2009

It’s crunch time! The acclimatization cycles are complete, the weather’s looking good and we’re feeling more prepared than ever. At the crack of tomorrow’s dawn, we’ll be headed for the summit push, towards the top of Mt Everest at 8,850m. Stay tuned, we hope to bring you good news from the top of the world!

The NATAS SWET at Camp 2

Kim Boon, Our 7th Team Member

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

You may not have seen him in our pictures, or notice him at the airport send-off, but Mr Lim Kim Boon is an integral part of the team.

Mr Lim Kim Boon, the team’s capable base camp manager
Kim Boon is our capable Base Camp Manager, training coach, advisor, team liaison officer, and our beloved 7th member. He is one of the pioneers who started the rock climbing sport in Singapore back in 1980s, and has been actively involved in our sport climbing and mountaineering scene since.

Kim Boon has been with us since the formation of the team 5 years ago, and has been selfless in imparting his advice and skills. He was Advisor to the 2005 NUS Centennial Team and a member of the Premier Taxi Everest Without Oxygen Team in the same year. Currently based in the UK, Kim Boon has been conducting ice-climbing courses in Sichuan, China since 2003. We’ve been to several of his ice-climbing courses which have proven greatly beneficial to our climb on the Lhotse Face up to Camp 3.

Kim Boon in discussion with our Sherpa, Kami

Last but not least, it is because of Kim Boon that we’re able to call Everest Base Camp our comfortable ‘home’ for the past few weeks. From great advice to nifty improvements to our living conditions, we’ve been blessed by Kim Boon’s presence.

Thank you, Kim Boon!


Kim Boon with our Sherpas Dawa, Jamling and Kami (L-R)

Final Acclimatization Rotation Complete

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009


camp 3 perched on the steep Lhose face

Two days ago, we returned from Camp 3 (7,100m) on Everest, therefore completing the last of our acclimatization cycles before the summit bid!

At 3.30am on 26th April, we set off once again up the Khumbu Icefall. This time round, our objective was to get to Camp 3, sleep one night there and climb up towards the Yellow Band the next morning. Camps 1 and 2 are now familiar places to us, we stayed one night at each camp before heading up the Lhotse Face towards Camp 3 on the 3rd morning. A bit of background here: the Lhotse Face is a sheer face of near-vertical ice stretching 800m – the terrain on this face is ext remely steep and climbers have been known to experience difficulty kicking into the hard and dry ice on this section.

It was a long and tiring plough up the Lhotse Face towards Camp 3. We took about 8 hours to get to our tents, which sits at the highest section of the entire campsite. Once we’ve settled into our tents, we had a bit of dinner before retiring for the night. We slept without oxygen and woke up early the next morning for our short climb towards the Yellow Band, a horizontal section of rocks that sit below Camp 4.

The south summit in the background

We toggled with the oxygen systems that we’ve learnt to use at Base Camp, and strapped on the 7.5kg oxygen bottle onto our backpacks to begin the climb. We journeyed for about 1.5hours before we reached the bottom of the Yellow Band and turned back towards Camp 3. Once back at Camp 3, we packed up and left for Camp 2 and subsequently, Base Camp.

We’re currently recuperating at Base Camp, waiting for weather reports of favourable weather windows for us to make the summit bid. While waiting, we’re abiding by the principle of ‘active rest’, where every other day, we hike up to surrounding peaks like Pumori and Kala Pattar. This is important for us to stay active and healthy for the summit attempt.

We’re thankful to be safely back at Base Camp. Just yesterday, we witnessed a major avalanche on the Khumbu Icefall which saw the left section of the icefall crumble down. It happened a day after we’ve returned, at the same time we would’ve been travelling through the icefall. This is a timely reminder for us that climbing is a humbling sport. Climbers don’t conquer Everest, they survive this giant of creation.

At this point, we’d like to wish our naming sponsor, NATAS (National Association of Travel Agents Singapore), a very happy 30th anniversary! Although we’re not able to join in the celebrations physically, we’re with you in spirit and hope to bring back good news!

We narrowly missed the avalanche on the Khumbu icefall