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Everest South Side Expedition: American Commemorative Expedition


 Current Nepal Time

Dispatch Group Two: Acclimatization! Acclimatization! Acclimatization!

Acclimatization! This is the key word in getting ready to climb the world's largest peak. So far all climbers have spent two nights at Camp I and five nights at Camp II. The importance of getting used to the altitude cannot be taken lightly.

At both camps, the climbers spend the time reading, listening to their Walkman, playing cards and eating pretty luxurious meals. Contrary to popular belief MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat) and freeze dried foods are not the main stay of their diet. Meals consist of breakfast pancakes, eggs, bacon, and fruits. Lunches of soups, sandwiches, cheese, and vegetables served around 12:30 make up the middle of the day, while ham, chicken, buffalo, potatoes, vegetables make up the dinner time - always followed by a desert of fruits, pudding, Jell-O or even apple pie. Weather has prevented the climbers from getting to Camp III. So today at 4:30, they are returning to the Everest Base Camp for a few days of rest before they ascend again.

Weather at Camp II has been quite variable with temperature during the day as high as 114 deg. F and as low as 4 deg F. in the evenings. It's the high winds and snow above Camp II that have prevented them from going any higher. It may seem to be a slow process but just as the famous Robert E. Lee said, "Most major accomplishments not only to be time, but patience as well." In other words "Calm Yourself" as the other Robert E. Lee would say. The acclimatization process is slow but necessary for the climbers or anyone who comes this high. It was told to myself that if one were to fly from sea level to the top of the Everest at 29,035', they would be dead of High Altitude Pulmonary Edema within two minutes and if they were just taken to the Base Camp at 17,800', they would last only two hours.

This is why Bob Hoffman has taken such care and calculation, not just for the climbers to make it safely to their Everest climb, but for the Sherpas, porters, trekkers and support staff as well. Bob's experience and know how through 22 years of climbing and leadership are respected not only by the climbers, but also the leaders of other groups in the Base Camp. Coming down to the Base Camp to let the climbers rest up and prepare for the summit only makes sense to strengthen the climbers physically as well as mentally. As stated before, I personally feel that baring bad weather or an individual's poor health, all eight climbers will soon be standing on Top Of The World. -Don Briggs, Base Camp Manager

Base Camp Update: We are all doing well at base camp. Included in our 11-day trek was a special "puja" with Apa Sherpa in his home village of Thame and a visit to the school in Thame where we are hoping to expand with a secondary level. Our team members and climbing Sherpas are all healthy and strong. We are totally organized at base camp. So far only two delays have occurred: One with the oxygen coming from Russia and the second, the generator being held up in shipping and then customs. But, thanks to Sue Hoffman in the USA and Deepak of Wilderness Experience, our agent in Kathmandu, both arrived without incident. We know the hard work that was involved in accomplishing these tasks. We have been to Camp I carrying loads (equipment and gear) and are anxious to continue with our ascent and acclimatization to higher camps. As of now, thanks to our strong climbing Sherpas we are stocked up to Camp II. We are currently being delayed due to problems in the ice fall! We are primarily concerned with safety and don't want to continue our push to higher camps and jeopardize the safety of our Sherpas or team members. So far there has been 2 injuries in the ice fall. Yesterday 2 Sherpas were hurt after an anchor pulled while crossing a ladder. They were rescued by all the climbing Sherpas in the ice fall and brought down to base camp and one had to be helicoptered out to Kathmandu. The ice fall is in bad condition and thanks to our expedition leader, Bob Hoffman, we were the first to file a formal complaint with the group (SPCC) responsible for maintaining of the ice fall (now other team leaders are also filing complaints). The SPCC is working to improve the anchors and ladders across the crevasses, but they need more people to do the job effectively. This year, with the large number of teams going through the ice fall, excess use on the ropes and ladders is causing failures to occur and the ice fall needs constant maintenance for safety.

We feel we have a strong climbing team. Our climbing Sherpas are some of the best with an average of 3 summits each between them. This includes Apa Sherpa, who holds the record with the most Everest summits to date. Also between our team, we have an average of 1.5 climbs on Everest before. The team as a whole has tons of mountaineering experience and cumulatively we have climbed in almost every mountain range in the world.

Our goal of course is to ALL summit, but in a style where safety is our primary concern. Thanks for all your support and good wishes. They do not go unnoticed, and are very motivating.

We are off tomorrow, for 9 to 10 days to establish up to Camp 3 and to further our acclimatization. We'll be out of contact, so no worries, we are all in good spirits and are watching out for each.

-Mimi Vadasz & Bob Hoffman

Dispatches

 





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