NEWSLETTERS - Everest Spring 2010

Newsletter 3120 May 2010

Himex crew on their push for the summit

Sorry for the late update on where the members of the Himex team are, but bad communication and the fact that I am back in Kathmandu has made updating this site a bit more difficult than anticipated.

As you will probably know, on 17th and 18th May, a massive summit push was underway with dozens (or maybe even hundreds) of people reaching the top of Mount Everest. For Russell’s team, the time had not come during that period as the weather window seemed to be too small and too many people were going for the summit during these two days.

Russell opted for a bigger weather window and after having given his famous ’30 percent’ speech, the clients, guides and Sherpas were off to Camp 2 in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

You might now wonder, what the famous ’30 percent’ speech is. Well, it is Russell’s ‘lecture’ to remind his clients that once they get to the summit, they are only half way up. “You need to preserve some of your energy as you will still need 30 percent of your strength for the descent. Getting to the top is only halfway,” he always emphasises.

The Himex crew is currently on their way from Camp 2 to Camp 3 and will be heading for the South Col on 21st May. They will need a lot of mental and physical strength for their time above 8,000m, however, they are all very well rested, fed and acclimatised, which bodes well for their success. Weather and health permitting, they will certainly have a good chance to make it to the top of the world. “Everyone seems well up there,” Russell told me by email.

The next few days also mean a lot of hard work for the Climbing Sherpas on Everest. Everyone of Himex’s clients is climbing with a Sherpa, who will be carrying two spare oxygen bottles for their client, plus their own bottle. As far as I know, an oxygen bottle weighs around 8kg so if you do the maths you know how much they are carrying in oxygen only.

Sleepless nights

For Russell, and also for Monica, the summit push means staying up all night and being in radio contact with all the members, guides and Sherpas. Before I left base camp, Russell showed me his logbook and it is amazing to see how precisely he notes down all the radio conversations. “I write down every single dialogue, and I note down the time, where they were when I talked to them. It may be a cumbersome exercise, but it is for the records and for me to see when I talked to whom.”

When Russell was still operating on the North side of Mount Everest, he was camped at Camp 1 on the North Col and he was able to see his climbers through his telescope. “I prefer seeing the climbers, but it is not possible here so I have to rely on the radio contact with them,” he explained.

Monica is also ‘on call’ during the summit push as she will be with Russell near the radio in case her help is needed. “I hope that nobody needs medical attention over the next few days, but I am here all the time to give guidance,” she said.

On a different note, Stuart Denize has decided not to go for the summit and left the expedition a few days ago. We hope he will have a good trip back to Kathmandu and we are looking forward to seeing him there.

I will try and talk to the team today to find out more about the summit push and their whereabouts, but until now please be patient.