Dispatch 8, April 11, 2003:
When we left Zhang Mu this
morning we bid goodbye to the comforting shades of tropical vegetation. We
set out on a six hour drive corkscrewing upward through the Friendship Valley
and onto the wide open Tibetan plateau. Then it happened!
For the first time today, I
finally saw Everest with my own eyes. It was an amazing and mystical
situation. During this trip, Jon, Major, and I have been spending a lot of
nights awake both working and adjusting to the twelve hour time difference.
Riding in vans and government restrictions on filming incited prime conditions
for a nap. Although we had just traversed a 15,800’ mountain pass and we knew
Everest was approaching, we fell asleep. Almost simultaneously, one hour later
all three of us awoke for no reason. Less than a minute passed and we rounded
Four and a half years of my
life have passed, many days were spent in doubt, in fear, in anguish as new
obstacles arose in my quest to make it to where I did today. Seeing this
monarch, this stately pyramid poised majestically against a cobalt afternoon
sky, seeing it for the first time, after having awakened. I won’t tell you
what I said in those first few seconds but the first part was sacred and the
second part only enunciated the unrestrained feeling I felt laying my eyes on
something that for so long was only in my mind. It was Everest, I know it’s
been done before, I know it’s been climbed by almost every feasible line
scouted, I know it’s story has been told every which way, but I am here. I am
here with these two eyes and this mind to make of it what I will, it is my
turn to discover the true meaning of this experience, it is my turn to finally
come face to face with the mountain of my dreams!
Keep Dreaming, Ben Clark
Dispatch 9, April 11, 2003’,
14000’ Tingri, Tibet
Our first night at high
altitude, 14,000’, in Tingri, Tibet is over. We are resting today and
acclimatizing. Tingri is a small village and the last outpost where we are
stay before reaching the base of the mountain and beginning the climb.
We are staying in Tingri for
two nights to allow our bodies to adjust to the altitude. The rule of thumb
is that once you reach altitudes above 10-12,000’, to acclimatize, you should
average about a thousand feet a day of elevation gain. This way when we arrive
at 16,400’ base-camp we will be acclimated to the thinner air of Tingri, but
will still take a couple of days to rest before ascending to a higher altitude
to allow us to adjust to the 2000’ elevation gain of base-camp. This is why
Everest can take up to 50 days to climb. You need one day of acclimatization
for each 1000’ of elevation gain, you need a minimum of 29 days for Everest.
We leave tomorrow morning for
16,400 base-camp where we will live for 40-50 days. Although the view here is
rewarding, we look forward to closer ones ahead. This is our last day in
“civilization”. We are ready for the wilderness!
Keep Dreaming, Ben Clark