Newsletter 910 May 2001
As I write the radio is crackling with the voices of the Sherpas and Russ. Early this morning, 7 Sherpas left Camp 1 at the North Col and headed up the mountain. They are carrying the last loads of Oxygen bottles to Camp 4 at 8300m/27400 ft.
In total we will have 95 bottles of Oxygen on the mountain, a few reserved just for medical emergencies. Each bottle weighs 3 kilos/10 lb. and costs us $380 to buy, fill and transport to ABC. By the time they reach Camp 4, a bottle must be worth $450-500. Oxygen bottles are worth their weight in gold, especially when you factor in the safety and performance they offer. Each climber will sleep on a bottle at Camp 3 (7900m/26000ft.), then climb on a second bottle from Camp 3 to 4. That bottle will be set at a flow rate (1 to 2 liters per minute) that will allow us to nap, etc., at high camp.
We will each use three bottles on summit day (most groups use two). The additional oxygen should allow all of us to climb a bit quicker and stay warmer. In fact, the most obvious benefit of Oxygen is relative to staying warm. The normal shortage of Oxygen at extreme altitudes forces a body to send the Oxygen where it is needed most (brains and other vital organs), leaving the toes and fingers to shiver.
With these loads being dumped, there is no need to go back to Camp 4 until we are headed for the summit. This is a big leap forward for the team.
Meanwhile, Keiron, Naoki, Jamie and Marco are heading to Interim camp. Robert and Evelyne are on the move to ABC. The rest of us will push to ABC from BC tomorrow.
The 22km/13mi. journey takes a minimum of 6 hours and is pretty tiring. Our hope is to get everyone in ABC on the night of the 11th. A big strategy pow wow will follow, using the data (route conditions, logistics, etc.) gathered by the Sherpas. It will also involve a lot of self assessment among the members. Without a crystal ball, everyone's imput is critical.
Some quick and interesting tid bits: Almost all of the team has been out of email contact for the last week or so. The email set up is in ABC, while most of us have been in BC. So if you've been awaiting a reply, these should start to flow tomorrow.
Someone's been sleeping in our tents. Camp 2 has been the site of guests. Too bad they did not have the decency to ask permission or simply let us know. No one's done an inventory, but let's hope they did not steal from our food supplies or use our stove fuel (odds are they did).
OK enough typing. It's climbing time.