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Dhaulagiri Expedition 2002

Note the May 9th dispatch follows the May 8th dispatch

7:45 AM CST May 8 Ben Clark: Ben called last night (May 8) at 1:30 AM CST (12:15 PM Nepal) The weather was clear and there was light wind.  The expedition had been at Camp 3 and had run low on food.  JJ and the Greek went down to Camp 2 to bring new supplies up to Camp 3.  The main group left Camp 3 and moved to Camp 4 at 24,500 feet.  At the time of the call, JJ and the Greek were about 3 hours from Camp 3 and the main group was about half- way to Camp 4. 

At the time of the call, Ben had returned to Camp 3.  The early part of the ascent is on 50-degree slopes.  He had reached over 23,000 feet and his feet had become numb, he had a thumb become numb and assessed his physical state as not able to continue without severe frostbite and permanent injury.  He said otherwise he was strong and had plenty of physical energy to proceed, but knew he should not.  He made a sound decision to abort his summit attempt at this point.  He was very disappointed but realized that with his feet in the condition they were in, he could not go on without permanent damage.  The storm that kept them at Camp 3 had meant they had to ration food and water.  This left him dehydrated and unable to stay warm.  It takes about 6 liters of water per day per person and about 6,000 calories just to break even metabolically.  Less than that and one suffers some degree of dehydration and heat loss. 

He had the full use of his thumb and his feet were warming back up.  He had chemical foot warmers and his feet in a garbage bag and was in a tent.  He didn't think he would have any permanent problem from this.  Of course, we were concerned that he get his feet back because he still has to descent 4,000 plus feet to Base camp and then make the 26 mile up and down trek back to Jomosom to catch the plane to Kathmandu.  He said he didn't think that that would be a problem since he stopped when he did. 

He expected JJ and the Greek to return to Camp 3 with food, fuel and water. He thought he would reassess his condition tomorrow morning and if OK, he might go up with JJ and the Greek to Camp 4 and attempt the summit, but this was doubtful.  If not, he will await the return of the team at Camp 3. 

At this time, the summit team should be at Camp 4 at 24,500 feet and resting.  They should shortly be heading up to the summit.  If things go as planned, around midnight CST, they should be there. 

We will keep you posted on the status as we receive further information. 

Jerry Clark

May 9, 2002 Jerry Clark 

I just talked to Lindsay she spoke with Ben.  He is at base camp with the base camp crews.  JJ and the Greek went up and joined the main group at Camp 4.  They will attempt the summit tonight (morning of May 10th Nepal time), then descend to Camp 2 if possible.

Don't know what they plan to do if they don't have good weather for tonight.

Jerry

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