NEWSLETTERS - Everest Spring 2000

Newsletter 213 April 2000

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.

Russell, and the gang, arrived at ABC this afternoon. They are establishihg camp today, tomoow and the next day. The first group of climbers and trekkers will leave for ABC on the 15th, arriving there on the 17th. The last of us, myself included, depart for ABC on the 16th.

There will be three yak trains, carrying our gear to ABC. 180 yaks each carrying 110 to 125 pounds.

So, in the meantime, we've all been climbing the local hills, in an effort to acclimatize to the thin air. Today Andy and I climbed a 21,000 foot peak that rises directly above base camp. I did wear short gaiters over my sneakers, kept the sand out. It is amazing to think that you can climb a 21,000 ft. mountain anywhere in the world, wearing only sneakers. it took us about 3.5 hours to reach the top, climbing nearly 4,000 ft. in the process. Most of the skies were clouded, but the views we did get were great. Everest darted in and out of the clouds. Our clearest view was of Gyachung Kang, a peak that is about 50 feet short of being 8,000 meters.

The team is doing great. Everyone seems to be strong and healthy. And by popular vote, the famed world traveler, David Eaton, has been voted best dressed trekker. With that going for us, we are bound to be a happy bunch.