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Everest 2003: Ben Clark
Dispatch


Dispatch: Three updates below...

Update: Hello all, Jon here...

I'm going to switch into summit mode and try to send out emailed information as soon as I receive it. So, those of you off to bed will probably have a mess of emails waiting to be read in the morning.

Dawa and I just reached Lhawang by radio a few minutes ago. He said that they were sitting at camp 5 and waiting for the winds and snow to die down some more before they headed up any further. They also requested a weather report which is what I've been doing for the last few minutes here on my laptop. My friends with the HMA Expedition (Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, based in India) have given me their reports that they have had 3 climbers reach the Second Step (the last major hurdle before the summit) in a total whiteout. They've told me that one climber turned back, while two climbers carried on. Unfortunately, the climber who turned back also has the only radio, so we will not be able to get reports of weather on the summit if they make it today.

I've been informed by Ben's father that Ben's current plan is to wait for the weather to clear a little, then bypass Camp 6 (at 8300 meters) and head directly for the summit today (8848 meters) that's an elevation gain of over 1000 meters.

It's currently almost 12pm Tibet time (10:45am Nepal time) and I'm going to pass the weather info on to the guys momentarily. If I can contact them, I'll send another email in just a few minutes to a couple of hours.

This is totally exciting on my end and hopefully I won't pass out from the adrenaline...I have a job to do out here to keep everyone informed!

My friend Dimitri from the Russian St Petersburg team just came into the tent and said that one of their climbers just made it to Camp 6 at 8300 meters. It is not too windy up there, but it is still definitely windy. Hope that makes sense. Also, the path to the summit has been fixed with ropes, so visibility isn't of absolute importance. Just follow the ropes....

I'll be in touch, stay with us... Jon Miller

Update: Ok, here's the latest.

I could not reach Lhawang or Ben on the radio. This probably means that they are climbing and the wind is drowning out the sound of the radio or they'll contact us when they stop for a rest. Of course, this is just speculation, but the reports from the other camps say that other climbers are making progress up the mountain. Faithful, persistent Dawa will continue to try to contact the guys and will fetch me from my post next to the St Petersburg team's generator (may ours rest in peace...)

The weather looks positive for a summit attempt from now until afternoon on the 23rd. This is really positive, because it gives Ben options, a luxury on Everest.

The mood here at Base Camp is really something to experience. Everyone is excited and people are wandering from camp to camp looking for information about each team. Everyone is welcomed into every camp...we're all in this together and everyone is acknowledging that fact. Unfortunately, Everest is completely obscured by a massive fog-like cloud, so no one can zoom in on the North East Ridge to try and get a glimpse of the climbers. Oh, well, we'll just hope they stay safe.

Apparently, Ben's other climbing Sherpa, Lhakpa is staying at the camp on the North Col. Once he's been told that the weather is worth climbing in, he'll ascend from the North Col at around 7000 meters to Camp 6 at 8300 meters! This man is a climbing machine and probably one of, if not, the strongest Sherpas on the mountain today. He truly is an amazing individual...and he's been living up at ABC (21,000 feet) and higher for over 40 days without respite at the lower elevation of Base Camp!

That's all for now, you'll hear from me as soon as I get more information. Jon

Update: Hello everyone,

I've just returned from the British camp where I've been passing the time and trying to reach Ben on the radio.

Anyway, I've got my camera pointed at the Mountain, and with the next dispatch I'll send some video stills to show everyone what you can see from Base Camp, where it is now snowing lightly.

Hang in there, Jon

Dispatches

 





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