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Everest 2003: Ben Clark
Dispatch 8 & 9


Dispatch 8, April 11, 2003: Tingri, Tibet

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 a corner.

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

Dispatches

 





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