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Dhaulagiri Expedition 2002

April 22, 2002 Ben Clark Today's dispatch is my last until returning from the upper mountain.  For the last few days the climbing Sherpa have made the preparations on the mountain so we can begin our ascent.  The Sherpa's  effort has advanced as far as Camp Two at over 19,000' and our own effort has installed a tent full of gear at Camp One so that we can begin the long steady ascent to the deadly zone above.  After the second ascent of the laborious and testy trail from Jomosom to Dhaulagiri's basecamp and the absolute disagreement of the weather and terrain I realize my desire to climb this icy white temple of my physical and emotional commitment is the most focused I have ever been.

Photo: Jeff Justman

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 For an American in a land so far away now from family, from friends, from the woman I love, I am ready to extend my comfort zone to now include a place that is such a stretch from reality that my mind must dissolve visions and illusions of success and experience and draw only from the reality of my own will power and sanity.  In the corner of my eye dwells a flood of emotions and now in my fixated gaze is the cascading icefall that graces the path to the sacred summit of Dhaulagiri. 

To those vicariously climbing alongside us I look forward to our return and sharing our experience.

Keep Dreaming, Ben Clark

April 22, 2002 Ben Clark

            Base camp is up and running.  After my four day emotionally and physically draining foray, my return here has been very fruitful.  Today we packed and organized our gear as well as tested and adjusted our oxygen regulators. Camp two at 19,000' has been established and after today's rest we plan to begin our climbing on the upper mountain.

    Tomorrow we will travel to Camp one at 17,000' and push onward and upward until the weather changes and we are forced to retreat.  With the ever-impending danger of the Monsoon season approaching, an intimidating circumstance this far West in Nepal, there is the chance that we may even attempt the summit.  With scenarios building and my focus increasing, in the corner of my eye is a flood of emotion and in front of me the cascading lower icefall that leads to sacred space of Dhaulagiri's summit.

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