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Dhaulagiri Expedition 2002

May 3, 2002 – Ben Clark

                Situated in the safety of base camp underneath the 12,000' North Face of Dhaulagiri, our team spirit and strength continues to grow do the fierce winds from overhead.  Our days now revolve around resting and making preparations for our summit assault.  When our margin of safety is increased by a trend in the weather, which will not leave our team up to our thighs in snow and up to our necks in peril, the anticipation of a summit attempt will be put into action.

As for life here in base camp, there are few complaints about trading our cold cracking fingertips for the warm paper cut’s caused by any number of books we may have read throughout the last few days.  When not reading many of the group have spent hours dueling it out over chess matches, sharpening cramp-ons, repairing gear, and discussing the warm tropical climate and beautiful sunny beaches of Thailand not forgetting the many amenities found there, none of which exist here in base camp. In the days to come we anticipate the opportunity to ascend to camp two once again and from that vantage our team hopes to make a safe and calculated attempt on the summit rewarding us for the patience and dedication we have all put into this climb.

Keep Dreaming,

Ben Clark

May 5, 2002 – Jerry Clark – Ben’s Father

Sunday evening, May 5, 2002 7:15 PM CST

Ben left a message on our cell phone this morning at 7:48 AM, but didn't call back.  He said that they were about 23,000 feet, wished Anne a Happy Birthday (today is her birthday) and said he was tired and was going to get some rest and wouldn't call back today.  He said the weather outside was miserable.  I don't know what that means for sure but probably means it was cloudy, windy, cold and maybe snowing.

From what he said, they are probably at Camp 3 at 23,600 feet (that is where they are supposed to be).  I have checked the Pokhara weather and it was cloudy, so it could have been snowing and windy.  Forecast for the next several days in Pokhara is for clear and sunny skies with light NE winds. I'm not sure what that means for the mountain, but clear skies should be good.

If they move up Monday (Nepal - Sunday night here) to Camp 4, then a summit attempt will probably be made Tuesday (Nepal - Monday night here) as planned.

Will keep you advised of further messages.

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Camp 2 with summit plume off of Dhaulagiri

Photo: Jeff Justman