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Everest 2003: Charlie Wittmack
Dispatch


(Transcribed for a satellite telephone voice messaged received May 12, 2003 at 6:32 AM) 

Base Camp  17,600 feet May 12, 2003 

Just when things start to get a bit slow here, Asian Trekking sent us out a new member. Michael, a Spaniard, arrived at Base Camp today with a permit to attempt Mt. Lhotse. He came from an attempt on Cho Oyu and had to leave because of issues with a visa and SARS epidemic. Rather than return home, he headed to Kathmandu and made an arrangement for Lhotse.

We were obviously surprised with his late arrival, but are pleased to have a new friend to talk with! His English is limited so we have resorted to a Spanish-English mix, with lots of gestures and sound effects. It is a language that most climbers are familiar with, and it is more amusing than effective.

Our Sirdar, Psang, returned to Base Camp today. (Have you noticed that everyone here is named “Psang?” We have five on our team!) The Sherpas are all getting tired of the wait as well and are promoting a riskier, earlier summit attempt. We were all glad to hear of their enthusiasm, but thought it better to wait things out and get a good window.  With that, the Sherpas packed up their bags and headed home to rest for a few days.  Everyone returns of the 15th to stage for the final attempt. 

The only strategy change right now is that all five members will climb, with six Sherpas, on a single attempt rather than two waves as before.  We have no preference on the method, although this strategy will be slightly harder for the Sherpas, as they will have to carry a couple of additional packs to the South Col. Charlie

Dispatches

 





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