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Gavin Bate Everest 2002 Expedition

APRIL 1, 2002 Kathmandu is quiet, the nights almost empty of the usual revellers. On Tuesday a 5 day general strike begins [Now delayed, see our news] and there is an air of uncertainty. The Maoists are making their presence felt and it is a strange feeling. Tourists are perfectly safe though and we have been busy preparing for our move into Tibet this morning.

Will and I met with Elizabeth Hawley, the Everest archivist who is almost a legend in her own right now. She told us that we can expect about 97 climbers on the north side this season with a big Swiss team, several big commercial expeditions, some Japanese and us. My oxygen and barrels are being cleared right through to China/Tibet today and we start our journey at 6am.

There are 8 of us, myself and Will and six of the support team - Simone Machamer from Alaska, then Dale Holmes who is an aeronautical engineering student from London, Becky Healy who studies anthropology in Liverpool, Shell Coe on her year out soon to go to Oxford to study French and philosophy, Tom McNally who is soon starting on a photography course and John Dowling who is doing a PhD at Loughborough University.

We're all doing great and enjoying some nights out in Kathmandu before the chilly plains of Tibet. Probably things will be quiet for the next week until we get to Base Camp. It may be hard to set up my sat unit in the various towns along the way. I look forward to updating you when we get to the mountain.

Keep well,

Gavin Bate
Kathmandu

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Gavin and Will catch some R&R in Kathmandu before leaving for Tibet...