Newsletter 530 April 2005
Greetings once again from Base Camp! After several more days in "hurry up and wait mode," I write to update you on the news of the past days. Everyone is doing fine and dealing in their own way with this mentally and emotionally challenging time. While we are understandably anxious to proceed back up the mountain, we all appreciate that this period of recovery from our time at ABC and waiting for the proper weather window is vital to our success later in the month, as well as expected part of the overall program.
The team is passing the time in a variety of ways, both individually and in group activities. Among the ways we are keeping busy: reading, listening to music, playing cards, washing our "slightly dirty" bodies and clothes, napping, frequent treks (3-6 hours) up the surrounding hills and frozen rivers to maintain our physical and mental health, and much story telling. You can well imagine that personal hygiene and laundering clothes at this altitude is challenging at best and much more time consuming than we are all used to back home. Additionally, many of us enjoyed the wonderful "care package" that Liz Stringer sent from Hong Kong to Sissel, in particular the guides really appreciated the silk boxers!
Yesterday, most of us participated in a Jez and Grania organized Pub Quiz Game at our favorite "tea" house in the temporary Tibetan village (a.k.a., Shanty Town) located about 1km away that exists to serve the Base Camp community. The participants were divided into teams of three and four (6 total) and had to answer about 50 questions in six categories. Much fun was had by all and the victorious team consisted of Paul, Richard and Martin (North Col member). The victors generously shared their spoil (a very fine bottle of whiskey provided by Russell) with all thirsty team members last evening.
Among those unfortunately unable to attend yesterday's game, were Charlie and Chuck who returned to ABC for further acclimitization due to having to cut their program short a week or two ago. They are both doing well and while Chuck enjoyed a much deserved rest day upon arrival at ABC, Charlie chose to venture up almost to the North Col and felt very strong upon return. They have been on the go for quite some days now and had to be "reined in" for a rest day today - which they appreciated.
As we all await word from Russell to move back up the hill in the days ahead, we can't help but notice his weather forecast has accurately predicted the snow of the past several days and the current high winds that are buffeting the higher parts of the mountain. While we are keen to "get on with" our summit push, we are all happy to wait for the best weather window in the "relative" comfort of BC. We are all confident in Russell's judgement and hope that he gives us the go ahead sooner than later.
As I wrap up, I am pleased to report, most importantly, that everyone is well and, as always, we extend our best wishes. Please know that you are all frequently in our thoughts. Those of us from the USA were especially thinking of our Mom's on their special day yesterday.