Alpine 8000 Everest 2002 Expedition

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Alpine 8000 Everest 2002 Expedition

Expedition: Leader: Willie Benegas
Members:
   * Robert Geier  -  Australia
   * Maria Maccecchini  - USA
   * Louis Strik  -  Holland

   * Pingui, a small stuffed Penguin, the only penguin to summit 2 times. Our team mascot

Sherpas:  After two summits together, I consider them my best friends in Nepal.
   * Phenden Sherpa 3 times to the summit.
   * Pemba Ringi Sherpa     3 times to the summit.
   * Mingma Sherpa            1 summit.
   * Dalengi Sherpa cook
   * Dorgi Sherpa C2 cook
   * Migma chiri Sherpa    South Col.

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Surviving in Sargamata, the planet of the Sherpas.

4/17: Departure to CI with Maria at 5:30 am. We had to return just before the ladders because Maria has not recovered from the famous Kumbu Cough, so we went back to BC after organizing for her to go down to Periche to the clinic.  In my mind I did not know what to do. Some way or another I had to climb and sleep a couple of nights in CI to acclimatize.  Finally, I went to CI, which took me a couple of hours, having fun in the Fall, a ladder here, a ladder there, passing the women's expedition group.  Hello gorgeus!
A few words and off to my destination.  When I got to CI it was early, 9:30 am, and, wow!, what do I do with the rest of the day?  Anyway, I made some coffee and I told myself, what about taking some load to CII?  When I got there I met Mark Turner (International Guides).  We had some juice, a little chit chat, and I unloaded my stuff from our camp.  Luckily, our camp is in one of the best locations, contrary to what happened last season.  I could look at the conditions in the Lhotse wall.  I had intentions to climb the next day to begin fixing some lines.  I began my return to CI.  The time was 12:15 pm, a bad time to go through the Kumbu Glacier oven.  You know, you can take an Argentinean style steak and some eggs in a pan and you put them on aluminum foil, and I guarantee you a first class lunch, so imagine the effect on the brain.  I passed some thirsty members of the Swiss Expedition, I offered them some water and a couple of words and I went home, where I had some juicy steaks waiting for me. 

4/18:  Contact with BC.  Robert will climb the next day.  For the moment, I continue enjoying my solitude, but it looks like I pushed my body to the limits these last days and it decided to take a break, so instead of
going back to CII, I took some vacations at the CI beach.  He, he. 

4/19:  Descent to BC.  I came across Robert, who was climbing.  Luckily, he feels in good shape considering that he had to turn around from the balcony in the spring of 2001, during our assault to the summit.

4/20:  The Sherpas are having a well deserved rest at BC.  One of my best experiences is when your Sherpa team considers you an equal.  They cooked potatoes with a lot of chili peppers and they invited me.  They have a hard time eating all the chili peppers while pretending everything is fine, when actually you are dying for 10 gallons of cold water to calm down the hot sensation in your mouth. 

4/21:  Robert and the Sherpas went to CII, our next summer home.  The lines have been fixed up to CIII, in a more direct way than the last season. The weather is in the same conditions as in the beginning of the season: a frying sun by the morning and snow and cold during the afternoon, which you can feel deep inside your bones. Willie !

Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera

Dispatches