Have to Believe
Basecamp Rongbuk Glacier October 1, 2001
entire team is back at Advanced Basecamp. Yesterday,
Dan, Scotty and I completed our journey to camp at
7,000m where Brian and Pemba were waiting.
was a beautiful day and evening — absolutely bright
sunshine all day and a near full moon reflecting off
Mt. Everest and the surrounding peaks. To be one of
only five people on the mountain last night is an
experience that I know I’m going to carry with me
for many years to come.
must admit that yesterday was not without a little bit
of trial on my part. I was really anxious to leave
camp in the morning and didn’t drink enough fluids
prior to leaving. By the time I was halfway up the
fixed line on the North Col, I was starting to bottom
out on both of my prosthetic legs due to being
dehydrated and losing volume in my residual limbs.
the time I arrived in Camp 1 a little over two hours
later, I was in a lot of pain and really moving quite
slowly. Brian immediately started the stove and began
melting snow for hot drinks. After two quarts of hot
liquids, I began to feel a lot better.
inspecting the ends of my residual limbs, I discovered
that I did have some tissue damage and bleeding on my
right residual limb. There was a lot of attention to
detail when engaged in activities at this level as an
amputee, and my momentary lapse is going to cost me
the next couple of days. It won’t happen again. Pain
is sometimes an excellent teacher. The descent back
down to Advance Basecamp this morning was a long
lesson along those lines.
woke this morning to falling snow and really, really
poor visibility. The decision was made that all of us
would descend and that Karl, Kelly and Gopal would
remain in Advance Basecamp.
is still snowing rather hard at Advanced Basecamp with
about six inches of snow covering the rocks. It’s
hard to say how much snow has fallen higher up the
mountain. Our concern now is avalanche danger on the
route and how our summit attempt date will be
of us are feeling kind of down about that right now.
This is a small, almost unsupported team, and it took
us a solid month to push the route to 7,800m, which is
within striking distance of the summit.
chose at this point to not believe the unthinkable.
We’ve had so much support from our backers and
sponsors. We’ve had weeks of hard work at altitudes
where breathing at times seemed to be our greatest
ultimate goal to stand at the top of the world is
within reach. It could be taken away from us by a
storm lasting a couple days. That thought could be
disheartening. However, we’re not going to give up
hope by any means. All of us are dedicated and focused
on success. We still have a few days left and many
things are possible.
have to believe that it can be done. I know for myself
that this is a simple truth. Had I not clenched my
fists, centered my resolve and believed that things
could be done — almost impossible things as
sometimes viewed by others — I would just be
climbing those dark inner walls of my mind, alone,
really going no where, rather than being on the
magnificent slopes of Mt. Everest with a team of
mountaineers who also believe that it can be done.
have an update on Oct. 2 to let you know how the
weather is unfolding and how things are going in
general. We are really concerned about avalanche
danger, the length of this storm and what its effects
are going to be. Good night from Everest, and we’ll
be checking back in within the next 24 to 36 hours.
Take care, and we send our greetings to all.
on the Expedition