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 Autumn Everest 2000

Presents Everest Autumn 2000 !

Dispatches 9/17/2000:

Icefall active

Five Korean mountaineers planned an overnight stay at Camp I, yet a damaged ladder made them change plans.

The Icefall, which was already fully equipped with ladders and fixed ropes, is a very tricky section due to oscillating temperatures. Five Koreans planned to stay this night at Camp I set up three days ago, yet falling seracs stopped them. The seracs damaged one of the ladders across the crevasse, and the Koreans were forced to turn back. We could follow them from the base camp by means of a 600m telescope. In the afternoon the locals [Sherpa Climbers] fixed the ladder. The Koreans will make another try tomorrow. The six-member Slovenian team will attempt the Icefall on Monday, after tomorrow's consecration. The Sherpas believe that the expedition cannot tackle Everest before the consecration ceremony is held.

Dispatches (2) 9/16/2000:

Gear check

Today's cold and cloudy day was spent checking the mountaineering gear. Karnicar examined his skis.

With tomorrow's base camp consecration ahead, and an ascent across the Icefall to the first advance camp planned for the following day, we were today checking the gear. All the things needed for climbing in the ice were taken out and examined: crampons, axes, climbing girdles, karabiners and other pieces. Karnicar also examined the skis to find out that they have arrived undamaged all the way from Slovenia.

Birthday party on the third day at the base camp

Tadej Golob, 'young and with good prospects', as Davo Karnicar christened him, entered Christ's age (33) yesterday here at Everest base camp.

We were completely taken by surprise: our three cooks baked such a cake which would give hard times any Western bakery. No oven, no whipped cream or magic cream powders around. On his 33rd birthday, Tadej received from his fellow mountaineers a unique birthday card made of birch bark, with a dried Nepalese edelweiss. His wish was though an "undried Well", let's leave some secrets buried under the mighty mountains.

Dispatches (2) 9/15/2000:

Measurements of blood oxygen saturation

After arrival to the base camp members of the expedition were measured oxygen saturation levels. Results in line with expectations.

Blood oxygen saturation level (SpO2), one of the best indicators of physical adjustment to altitude, according to statistical data at the altitude of Everest base camp, where there is only 50% as much oxygen in the air as there is at sea level, never exceeds 85%. For your information a healthy person's oxygen saturation level in low-lying countries equals 100%.

Measurements showed that expedition members' values rank between 75 and 85%. It is expected that after several days spent at the base camp those values will stabilize at the upper level. The Sherpas' values are, after staying at the base camp for a few days, around 85%.

Despite all measurements, the best indicator of adjustment to altitude is how everybody feels; all members of the expedition are feeling very well. The only one with altitude difficulty is our communications officer, Suresh Acharya, who followed the doctor's advice and descended to a lower altitude for a couple of days.

Preparations in the base camp

The second day after arriving at Everest base camp was spent preparing the base for a longer stay. An electric generator was fixed and base camp electrified, storage reorganized and cold room dug.

The main output of today's work at the base camp is electricity supply set up for communications gear and for lighting the kitchen tent. Two fuel generators have been brought from Kathmandu, each 650kW of power, which shall yield between 300 and 400kW at this altitude. Both are streamlined for operating at 5,000m and now function impeccably, and also very quietly (56dB).

Bags which the porters and the yaks have brought to the base camp were reorganized. Cold room for meat storage was dug into ice though perhaps too late; a beef joint brought from the valley is stinking already...The weather has slightly improved. The sun which started to shine around noon almost completely melted yesterday's snow.

Dispatch 9/14/2000:

Arrived at the base camp

After a seven day trek, with breaks for acclimatizing tours, the expedition arrived at Everest base camp. Just as the tents were set up and the supplies taken care of, the snow began to fall.

The SI.MOBIL Extreme Ski Everest 2000 expedition arrived at the edge of the Khumbu glacier, to set base camp according to plans at an altitude of 5,340m. We made it just in time, before the snow in the evening. Due to gradual acclimatisation, no member of the team so far experienced any altitude problems.

The Icefall, the first obstacle on the way to the top, is equipped already. Today we saw some Korean mountaineers (who apart from us and a lonely Spanish guy are the only base camp dwellers) ascending to the first higher camp (6,000m).

For tomorrow, a day of rest is planned. Weather permitting, we expect to set for the mountain on Monday, after the Buddhist consecration of the base camp. The ascent is postponed upon request made by our Sherpa companions.

Dispatches (3) 9/13/2000:

Arrival at Lobuche

The expedition has arrived at Lobuche, the last stop before the base camp.

After a five hours' hike, all expedition members reached Lobuche the lodge nearby the Italian Pyramid (5,050m), a scientific research centre established and maintained by Italians. The Pyramid focuses on environmental projects (weather, flora, fauna), especially on the Everest water system. One of the two researchers who arrived the same day as our expedition even summited Everest in 1992.

After settling at the lodge, we enjoyed the Italian influence (where it was great to finally have spaghetti that actually tasted like spaghetti!). We ascended another 500 height meters, and for the first time exceeded the altitude of the base camp (5,340m).

In the meantime, all the cargo has arrived on the backs of the porters and the yaks safely at the base camp; we shall follow tomorrow.


Reminders of the gravity of Everest summit bid.

Hiking towards the base camp, we come across reminders which warn the mountaineer about the seriousness and the danger awaiting Everest bidders. One such reminder is the chorten which we saw along the path between Pheriche and Lobuche, dedicated to Scott Fischer, one of the best American mountaineers in the Himalaya, who died during a tremendous storm in 1996, at an altitude of around 8,200m.

At 5000 meters

As part of preparations for a bearable stay at the base camp, the members of the expedition today ascended to an elevation of five kilometers.

Today's day of rest was used for an acclimatisation ascent along a herdsmen's path above the settlement, which ended at a steep rocky crest decorated with Buddhist flags at an altitude of around 5,000m. After a couple of hours' stay at this altitude we returned to the valley.

So far none of the team has had any altitude problems. Ever since landing at Lukla we progressed gradually and slowly, to avoid these difficulties. Tomorrow we head for Lobuche (5018 meters). After Lobuche, there is only one day's hike to the base camp.

Previous Updates 9/18/2000 to 9/23/2000

Previous Updates 9/13/2000 to 9/17/2000

Previous Updates 9/8/2000 to 9/12/2000

Previous Updates 8/30/2000 to 9/7/2000

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