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Gavin Bate Everest 2002 Expedition

TIME: 16:30 BST SAT MAY 18 2002 LOCATION: Camp 1

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Gavin has just phoned again having had an epic day returning from Camp 3 to Camp 1with all their gear. Gavin explained some more about what happen over the last 48 hours... They left at 10pm local time from camp 3 and arrived at the Camp 4 area around about 3am, where they rested for a couple of hours. They then set off for the summit and got as far as the second step (about 8,600m) and that's when Willie's knee gave way.

They waited for a while but it was late in the day (about midday) and they eventually decided to call it a day and started the long hard journey back to Camp 3. About nine hours later they staggered into the camp in near darkness and collapsed into their tent unable to lift a finger.

Unfortunately they only had one sleeping bag so Gavin had what he described as the worst night sleep of his life. He slept in his down suit only and was very cold. Willie used the bag to keep his leg warm as they couldn't afford it to seize up any more. A few hours later they called and started the next carry down to Camp 1 - where they are now. As you might imagine they are exhausted and disappointed at not reaching the summit, but Gavin was philosophical and they both reckon they achieved a great deal in the circumstances (no oxygen and no sherpas).

That's all for now, Take care, Richard

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Gavin and Willie on a previous Camp 2 carry