MAY 13 2002 Report The waiting is over. Now the fun begins. A forecast
five day spell of good weather has settled on
the worlds highest mountain and there is
frenetic activity at Advance Base as everybody
prepares for their summit bid. High temperatures
towards the end of week - minus ten on the
summit - and low wind speeds of between 10 and
12 knots indicate that the window is here!
no fewer than forty people have gone up, many of
them Sherpas taking in last amounts of stores
for clients. But also clients with tight anxious
faces, and probably the odd tight sphincter as
well, can be seen trekking up the glacier
towards the Big E .
morning's meeting was good. Most of the team
leaders were there. We discussed each person
paying some extra money towards the Sherpas who
have so far put in 5,000 metres of rope to 8,300
metres. Super humans. We agreed readily.
discussed the issue of rubbish and keeping this
environment up here clean. Each team will hire
an extra yak to carry out rubbish. I am pleased
to say that Will and I did that last week
already. So now the hubbub about Camp has an
added tension in the air, and no more so than in
our little mess tent where Will and I pack and
repack, weigh and reweigh, and look longingly at
our drum of oxygen bottles! Aargh! But no
turning back now, the decision is made, the die
is cast. We go without and the two of us
discuss, with no great excitement, the
difficulty of carrying everything on our backs
to high camp at 8300m, about 27,000'.
we talked about getting oedema and what to do if
either of us were rendered incapable. There is
no room for sentimentality now, the issue is
real; what do you do if your partner has a head
like a pumpkin, can't breathe properly and has
trouble standing? Issues.
leave tomorrow morning. I have my phone with me,
so all contact from now on will be audio
messages. Richard, whizz kid in UK, will
translate these into text messages. A warning.
We plan to try and summit on Friday morning at
around 10am our time - which is early UK
time! Our nerves are frazzled with the
waiting, but it is a double-edged sword.
Nervousness about going up and relief at going
up at last! So much hanging on the next few
days! Is there any mountain in the world that
can generate such a melting pot of emotion, of
dreams and ambitions, of fear and trepidation?
sitting in the Adventure Alternative office in
Glasgow - I have a piece of your wedding cake
carefully tucked into my rucksack. In fact Will
and I are eating some of it now. I promise to
take it as high as I can. Andy and Louise - we
take the very best wishes for your new baby to
the summit of Everest.
in Sydney - Will takes you in his heart with him
to the summit and can't wait to get married to
you in August. A case of another dream coming
true... So many people to think of, to thank for
all the wonderful support and emails over the
past weeks. Now we focus on what is ahead and
all that has happened in the past will count
towards it. We truly believe we have done this
the right way, but now comes the test and if all
this sounds dramatic then so be it. It is. Come
here and stand next to us and look up at the
sky, at that unforgivable black triangle of
rock, and you will see.
once pooh-poohed the whole Everest thing to me,
describing it as a well-trodden path to the top,
all been done before, Piccadilly Circus on the
summit etc. Unsurprisingly it came from someone
who had never even clapped eyes on the mountain.
Let those people stay at home for fear of being
us luck and God speed, and we will do our best.
Base Camp Everest