NEWSLETTERS - Everest Expedition 2001

Newsletter 87 May 2001

The Sherpas are heading back up

Clouds are racing past the summit, changing directions every few hours and dumping thin layers of snow on the mountain every evening. Some mornings we awake to a dusting of snow, some afternoons a mini cold front races through camp, dumping three or four inches. The weather has not been stable.

The first few days of the unsettled weather has been a blessing for most of us, allowing us to recuperate from our sore throats and limps. Now, after nearly a week in base camp, patience (not being a patient) is the problem. We want our chance to climb.

Before we can really make a true summit bid, we need to finish stocking the camps, a job that falls on the shoulders of the Sherpas. This morning, they headed back up the hill. Tonight they will be back with Russ and Ram at ABC. Tomorrow will be a rest day. Then, on the 9th, they'll be heading up with big loads, stocking the upper camps.

The rest of us will begin heading up on the 9th or 10th, hoping to get all of us to ABC on the 11th. Once there, we'll wait for a good weather report before beginning our first attempt.

In the meantime, we really have had little problem keeping ourselves entertained. Marco is trying to learn all about east vs. west coast rap from Professor West. Robert and Evelyne have been working with Swiss TV, part 2 of the 3 part series they are doing on Evelyne's summit bid (remember that if she summits, she'll be the 1st Swiss woman). The rest of us have been getting up the courage to clean our socks, or lacking that, been reading book after book.

One boring morning, a neighboring expedition's kitchen tent caught on fire. That was exciting. Grown men standing around and laughing at their own misfortune: until they remembered the propane tanks.

Even as we speak, there really is very little action on the hill. A few groups have been establishing their camp 2, but most have been in BC with us. I think that, like us, most groups are recuperating this week. By week's end, the hill will be alive with groups stocking camps and the most hopeful will be setting themselves up for the first of the season's summit attempts.

Despite the turmoil in the upper atmosphere and the torpor at basecamp, it is getting warmer. Spring is approaching, making us even more anxious to head back up the hill.

The gallery has a fresh photo of Everest. It is a beautiful morning. Perhaps the best ever. The music is blaring. People are packing. Tomorow we begin to filter up hill.

Chris Warner