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Gavin Bate Everest 2002 Expedition

APRIL 13 2002 Well, I have to say I'm a very happy fella. Coming online today I found an e-mail from Gavin - the subject line read: "Hello from 21,450ft". Sitting in a north Leeds suburb, in the United Kingdom, it really makes your stomach churn with excitement thinking of them tucked away under the North Col! Will and him are now at Advanced Base Camp and Gavin has unpacked his M4 sat unit from the expedition barrels and managed to set it up - no mean feat for Gav!

He mentioned the solar panels from unlimited-power.co.uk and wanted to tell Graham Robey that he is using the lamps, panels and torch he gave him virtually all the time - apparently they are working perfectly and hardly have time to rest! Most crucially, they are powering his comms and enable this contact with the outside world.

In fact, he says, all their equipment has arrived safe and sound and they are very happy with their overall progress. Both feel on top of the world (no pun intended- well, maybe) and they are still the only climbing team at that height. The Korean and Swiss sherpas are working away though. Both say acclimatisation is going well. You can tell Gavin is very excited! He tells me the weather follows a similar pattern each day: beautiful warm sunshine greets them in the morning, but then clouds move in in the afternoon and the temperature drops dramatically overnight - Gavin estimates it to be about -15C.

Gavin is still unwilling to break trail, so they will sit tight until the commercial teams rope in the route above ABC... more news on that when I get it. The trekkers who came in with Gavin and Will are back in Kathmandu - probably having their dinner as we speak (they are about 7 hours ahead of GMT). Gavin says they all did exceptionally well and both Will and he were sad to see them go.

Gavin has promised some pictures in the next 24 hours or so... I will keep you posted! We will also be sending out our first batch of text messages too - I like to call it extreme texting! Logistically, I'm glad to say everything is running to plan (touch wood) and the excitement is building slowly but surely. 

"Hooray, sitting at 21,450' in my tent, semi-naked (warm) and reveling in fact that we are first to this height and best acclimatized. High and exposed here, Everest cuts the sky in two. Omigod. Gav."

That's all for now,

Richard (Gavin asst in the UK)

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