NEWSLETTERS - Cho Oyo Expedition 2002

Newsletter 212 September 2002

Base Camp to Advanced Base Camp

These updates are being sent via the Indian Ocean INMARSAT satellite.

Hello all,
On the 8th of September we left our comforts of Base Camp only to arrive at the comforts of Advanced Base Camp at an elevation of 5650m. Thanks to the great meals prepared by our cooks, everyone arrived in good health after the 22km journey and 5 day stay at base camp.

From here the true bulk of the Turquoise Goddess (Cho Oyu) can be seen looming over our camp. Its steroid induced massif can only be compared with that of Mark the Muss flexing up to it (or stretching as he claims) each morning. Stuart, the estranged Canadian, still insists on night watch in order to protect us from straying bears, and Sue feels delightfully safe with such, as well as having 7 other team mates to bodyguard her against foreign straying climbers. James is complimenting his medical studies with a proficient and intense suntan course, complimented only by fine dining and participating with the other Brits in traditional affairs. Paul and 'The Colonel' continue their patriotic stance to the Monarchy by rallying to the occasion with the Queen's profound grammar and literate proficiency that unites us all with a 'jolly good show'........and Ian just continues to dance in the afternoon snowfalls whining Johny Williamson songs and throwing snowballs at bordering expedition members with the fine country hospitality he is renown for.

There is no shortage of colourful banter amongst members fed from the various members of the Commonwealth (ie Australia, England, Canada and New Zealand). On the 10th we participated in the traditional Puja ceremony. As the resident Llama chanted his prayers, all climbers and Sherpas alike were blessed with safe climbing and success on the mountain. Even though its full significance may have blown over our heads along with the incense and smoke, it portrayed an air of confidence and festivity into our climb.

On the 11th we all successfully completed a return load carry to camp 1 (6400m) after conquering the 'gentle' scree slope as described on this website. This slope was called several different names by us climbers - none of which can be repeated for innocent readers.

Today (12th Sept) is Simon's birthday so we have declared it Australia day for him. The Aussie flag flies proudly in the mess tent, and his verbal banishment has been lifted temporarily between meal times - although talk has it that his freedom of speech may be threatened once again. Regardless of his limitations he proudly wears his newly acquired Kangaroos jersey (an Australian rules football jumper) graciously given to him by his fiancé Sonia and is presently running around ABC kicking goals like a little kid.

On the 13th we will again move up to camp 1, this time for an overnight stay. The following day will be used to advance half way to camp 2 to further our acclimation process, before returning to ABC. At present snow continues to fall on the mountain offering some challenging climbing and hopefully in the near future the weather will behave considerably for our advance on the mountain.

All at ABC send their hello's to their families, friends, pretty-girls and foxes waiting back home. 'The Colonel also wishes to send his best wishes to the BBC. We hope to further update you all when we return to ABC in a few days time.

Happy Days
HIMEX - Cho Oyu 2002