|May 7: Hello
from the Base Camp of the tallest mountain in the world!
huge round of applause to our fearless leader Gary Guller and
our skilled high altitude climbing Sherpa who braved the
ferocious high winds at Camps 1 and 2 the past two nights. Upon
arrival at Camp 1, Gary and Nima Dawa Sherpa assessed the
situation and found that at least 70% of all expedition teams'
tents were destroyed or missing from the mountain.
suffered the same fate, but luckily extra tent poles were
brought and several yards of climbing rope was used to tie our
one remaining (but collapsed and damaged) tent down securely.
All this repair work done at an extremely high altitude and
after a long ascent through the Khumbu Icefall. Needless to say,
Gary and Nima Dawa were ready for a good night sleep after the
But, as the
mountain and Mother Nature would have it, the winds continued to
rack the mountain and the two spent the night bracing themselves
against the walls of the tent. Many times they needed to stand
up to make sure that the tent did not become dislodged and
tumble down the mountain - with them in it. Needless to say,
they had little sleep during the night.
The Sherpa that
continued on to Camp 2 found a similar scenario. However, they
were also prepared and spent several hours repairing what they
could after a long day's climb. They also had a sleepless night,
spending most of the time preventing supplies and tents from
being lost to the whipping winds.
and it was time to decide what course of action to take. Here at
Base Camp, I had spent the day comparing weather forecasts with
other teams in order to provide as much information as possible
to Gary so he could make an informed decision. At 4am they
called to see what I had to report. The weather reports were
conflicting, but after 4 days, we figured the wind had to let up
soon. They made the decision to stay on the mountain and make
the push to Camp 2 despite continued wind. Gary also felt that
if he wanted to keep the hope of an early summit push alive, it
was best to stay on the mountain. Gary Scott, who had just
returned from a week of re-oxygenating and acclimatization at
lower altitudes conferred and agreed.
morning, Gary Guller and Nima Dawa Sherpa made the push to Camp
2 through the wind and arrived safely before lunch. Vince left
Base Camp and ascended to Camp 1 and will meet up with Gary G.
and the climbing Sherpa at Camp 2 tomorrow. Gary Scott, after
one more rest day at Base Camp, will head directly to Camp 2
tomorrow. All the team will be together and poised for a summit
push as early as May 12th. To assure the best chances for
success, our climbing Sherpa will be taking loads to Camp 4
Sherpa will be ascending to Camp 3 to assess the wind damage
there. Although we have not seen Camp 3 since the high winds
hit, we have heard reports from other teams, some who lost
everything, that the damage is great. We all have our fingers
crossed that our supplies such as tents, sleeping bags, high
altitude down suits, high altitude food and fuel have not been
blown off the mountain. For some expeditions, these losses will
be catastrophic and mean their chance for the summit is over.
For others, it will mean expensive replacement costs as well as
the time and effort involved in re-supplying a camp at such a
As always, we
owe a great thanks to all our supporters and sponsors who have
made this expedition possible. With each passing day, we are
closer to bringing the message of the limitless potential of
people with disabilities to the top of the world. We could not
be where we are without all the personal emails from all of you
out there following our progress. We especially thank the
students following this expedition from Dripping Springs, Texas
School for the Deaf, Easthampton Middle School, Sollars
Elementary School in Japan, Dr. Janis's sister's class in Riga,
Latvia, the 3rd and 4th graders in Westminster, CO and all other
students who have contacted us.
Reasons to Climb Everest (in the humble opinions of those crazy
people who have come this far to do it):
5. Because we
are not all there (upstairs that is)!
4. Because it is too hot in Texas.
3. Because who doesn't love walking across ladders above
2. Because we love staying awake all night at altitude wondering
if we will be blown away by the fierce winds.
1. Because we are sick and tired of indoor plumbing, hot showers
and the conveniences of modern life.
Stay tuned for
the next dispatch about the exciting developments over the next
few days. We are counting on you to send lots of positive Karma
our way (and to make arrangements for optimal weather and strong
legs for our climbers!). Sherpa language lesson number gu (9) in
the next dispatch!
Talk to you
Base Camp Manager
Team Everest '03