NEWSLETTERS - Everest North Side 2005

Newsletter 11 April 2005

This is our first newsletter for the Everest 2005 expedition. The expeditioners all met in Kathmandu and we were there for a day or two before setting off for Tibet. We left just in time as the Maoists were planning a road strike which throws any city into chaos. We had the easy part, as our itinerary schedule included a flight straight to Lhasa, Tibet. Russell (Expedition Leader and the Boss) travelled overland from Nepal to Base Camp direct which is a pretty stiff sort of gradient when it comes to acclimitisation.

Lhasa is at around 12,000 feet so we all spent a few days acclimatising in the city. It's a fascinating city with the Potala taking centre stage right in the middle. The Potala Palace was the Dalai Lama's residence before the Cultural Revolution in the late 1950s.

We were frequent visitors to the Tibetan area of the city that certainly contains its own sort of magic and we also had the opportunity to visit other monasteries of special note in the area as well.

There are a diverse crew of amazing people going for the summit of Everest and also for the North Col this year and over the week-long trip in to Base Camp we certainly had a good opportunity to get to know each other. Over the next few days I'll make a special effort to introduce them to you. If you're looking at this web-site newsletter then I'm sure you've got friends and relations on this trip that you are keen to have updates on - but it's also nice to know who they're travelling with. They're a great bunch of people.

From Lhasa we travelled through to Shaegar Dzong where we stayed there for one night and then to Shiatze where we stayed for two nights and did an accclimitization trek uphill of around 1,500 feet to an ancient fort and very spiritual location for the Tibetan people.

We did some rugged travelling for many hours through the arid wasteland of the high plateau of Tibet that was yet beautiful in its own way. The Tibetan homes are built into the environment and look as though they totally belong.

A few hours from BC we topped out on a pass that showed the mighty Everest in all its glory and flanked on either side were other great peaks of the Himalaya including Makalu. The cameras were out and an elated team piled back into the vehicles bound for BC.

Base Camp with Himalayan Experience is quite something. The standard here is exceptional. There is no doubt that it is rugged living in a tent at 17,600 feet but the expedition leader has done all in his power to make this base as comfortable as possible. We sat down to a stunning meal on sizzling hot plates the first night - and tumbled into our tents very well fed.

The day we arrived the wind sprang up and has gone to around 80 kmph gusts that made our nights in our tents pretty interesting! The tents are all tied down securely though and the shelters have stood the wind for the past four nights. Today the wind dropped for the first time since we arrived and it's been incredible to experience BC without it today - but we hear it's due back for another week or so - which means more time to acclimitise here.

While we've been acclimatising here at BC there have been three waves of 82 teams of yaks carrying gear up to the interim camp and Advanced Base Camp. There has been a further three waves of 21 yaks in each team bound for the same destination with all the cooking, camping and climbing gear. Plans are well advanced and interim and ABC camps as a result have already been established.

With the severe winds Interim Camp had a major tent wiped out which has since been fully replaced and Sherpas have already established fixed lines to the North Col.

Overall everyone is well and taking it easy and they all send their best wishes and love to the guys at home.