Photos from Everest
We have returned to base camp, the expedition winding to a close. Attached are a few photos I thought you might be able to use. We are of course a bit sad to be leaving without reaching the summit. But we are looking forward to long hot showers, steak dinners and our loving families. The order is deliberate: our families might reject us upon first smell and our wives and girlfriends would be shocked by our emaciated bodies.
When we last wrote, on May 24th, we were busy escaping two nights of high winds and a whole lot of disappointment at Camp 2. Our summit bid was over, blown away by a weather forecast that didn't predict the severity of a low pressure system. Now, high on the mountain, having spent a lot of emotional and physical energy, many of us began to suffer doubts about our ability to try again.
These doubts followed us down hill. As the soreness in our legs and backs took root on the 25th, the doubts grew.
On four of the five last days, climbers have reached the summit of Everest via the North Ridge. We're guessing that nearly 60 people have summited, so many more than any season before. It is really amazing to watch, as a stream of people top out on the ridge and cut across the prominent summit snow field. At times its like a catepillar, stretching then contracting, as the climbers inch upward towards the top.
As you can imagine, everybody is getting excited. Between 8 a.m. and noon, as base camp radios crackle with calls from the top, different groups let loose with cheers. It is contagious: a group of Japanese, then an even louder cheer from the Ukranians, followed an hour later by a rolling cheer for a Sherpani who summits via the North Ridge.
May, 12-14, 2000 days 44-46
He's looking old, folks!! Graham Hoyland woke up, wishing this dream was over. It was his birthday. Forty three years old and still not smart enough to give up climbing for golf. This is actually his second birthday on Everest. How foolish can you get?
The rest of us had plenty of fun at his expense. Russell and the Sherpas were with us in base camp and it didn't take long before the pop tops were pulled on a few Pabst Blue Ribbons. We pulled the tables into the sun, served horsedourves and invited a bunch of British and Dutch climbers over for a party.
Russell gave Graham some peices of a tent and some kind of old food tin, excavated from a camp site at 7,900 meters. These scraps of canvas and the sections of tent pole were from the 1924 British Expedition. Graham's uncle was one of the climbers on that team.
Dispatch covering May 3 to 5, 2000. Days 35 through 37, Correspondent: Chris Warner. Pushing the route to 7,900 meters.
It takes a mighty big puja to bless ten tons of food and 25 people April 14, 2000 Everest base camp, Tibet Climbing Mt. Everest is a feat of logistics. The strongest climbers would never summit if there wasn't a tidal wave of gear and food pushing them upward. Well, we have one of the best piles I've ever seen. Here's a brief list:
Over 10 tons of gear has been transported to base camp, in 5 jeeps and two trucks.
Advanced Base Camp is Established April 13, 2000 Everest Base Camp, Tibet
Russell, Mark, four Sherpas, twelve yak men and sixty yaks, loaded with 120 plastic drums, left base camp yesterday morning. It was quite a chorus of yak bells, Tibetan "giddy-ups," and the hoots and hollers of the Sherpas. It is easy to be impatient with the yak men, sometimes a lot of yelling is needed to get them moving.
The trail to ABC, goes up alongside the Rongbuk Glacier and the huge terminal moraine it has piled up. In a few hours, the route ascends a side valley along the the East Rongbuk Glacier. An interim camp is placed in this valley, about 8 miles from base camp. From this camp, it is another 4 to 5 hours, steadily uphill to advanced base camp. This camp is placed just below the North Col, at 21,500 ft.
The last few days have been exciting. Team members have trickled into Kathmandu from all corners of the globe. Each has brought enough gear to outfit a climbing store. Combined with the group gear, over 100 garbage can sized plastic barrels, brimming with gear, are stacked into a pyramid nearly as tall as Everest. We are now ready to depart.
The climbers and trekkers are headed to Lhasa, Tibet by plane. Our group will begin our process of acclimatsing, by visiting the famed sites of this ancient city. On April 4th, we will leave the city and set out across the Tibetan plateau in a fleet of jeeps.
Russell and the Sherpas will be traveling overland with two trucks worth of equipment and food. At the Tibetan border, they will transfer the gear into four smaller trucks provided by the Tibetan Mountaineering Association, our hosts in Tibet. Their journey will take them up and onto the Tibetan plateau.
This will be Himalayan Experience's 6th expedition to Mt. Everest. Russell Brice, the expedition leader, has twice summited Everest via this route, and has participated in eight Everest trips in the past. Himalayan Experience's team of seasoned Sherpas and guides will be leading a team of eight climbers and five trekkers.
The North Ridge of Everest lays wholly within the country of Tibet. This is the route pioneered by the British in the 1920's and 30's. It was the sight of the great Mallory and Irvine epic of 1924, and was first climbed to the summit in 1974 by a team of Chinese climbers.
The North Ridge differs greatly from Nepal's South Col route. Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay successfully ascended the South Col route in 1953. Since then, the South Col route has been ascended by over 800 climbers. The North Ridge has had fewer than 200 successful ascents.