International Everest 2002 Expedition
8th 2002, Everest Base Camp 17,500 ft.
Everyone is in base camp and feeling great! It feels
like we have finally started, after a long couple
weeks trekking into base camp. I actually have some
time to write a bit more about our expedition now.
just had our Puja (Sherpa blessing ceremony) this
morning. This is an essential rite for the Sherpas in
preparation for any Everest expedition. The Sherpas
believe that to go into the icefall above base camp or
to any higher camp is dangerous before the Puja. So
most expeditions wait till all members and staff are
here to participate. The sun came out of the clouds
just in time for our ceremony. The Puja included
prayers, dancing, a bit of whiskey, prayer flags,
burning juniper and incense all mixed together for a
significant yet lighthearted party which lasted 3 to 4
hours. Two other groups also had their Pujas today, so
base camp was quite festive.
the Puja, our team went into the lower section of the
icefall this afternoon for some ladder practice and
exercise. It is always exciting to check out the route
into the Khumbu Icefall for the first time. This is
the entrance to the Western Cwm higher on the
mountain. All expeditions via the South Col route have
to make multiple trips through here to the higher
camps. The ice fall is a constantly changing living
beast, full of ice towers on the verge of collapse, a
series of huge ice steps across hundreds of crevasses
and through areas we call popcorn ice, where you can
see down through ice debris a hundred feet below and
things are just frozen together enough to hold your
weight! This is place you want to spend as little time
as possible in.
now, several inches have accumulated. So we’re
inside our dinning tent with the heaters cranked and
about to watch a DVD movie. Dramatic change in the
weather today, from hot sun to full snowstorm. As more
snow falls, tomorrows plans are changing.
camp is actually quite luxurious. We have a full solar
power system with a couple backup generators to
facilitate a heated dinning tent with 110v light
system, satellite phone, computers, DVD player, plus a
shower tent and individual tents for all. It is
basically our own little village at 17,500 ft. We will
be in and out of base camp for the next 2 months, so a
comfortable place to hang out in bad weather is
critical for the spirits on longer trips like this.
Our base camp staff is terrific; we have super cooks.
It is quite a social scene at base, with lots of good
friends showing up on other expeditions, interesting
projects going on, films, trekkers, always something
plans call for a slow program of acclimatization on
the mountain. First we’ll go up to Camp 1 at about
20,000 ft. for the day, probably April 10th. After
this we plan a few days of rest, then back up to sleep
at Camp 1 for a couple nights with a hike up to Camp
2. It will take a while for Camp 2 to be ready to stay
in. After this second foray up higher we again take a
rest at base camp. The next time up, the third trip,
we plan to shoot up to Camp 1, then up to Camp 2 for
several nights, with a day trip up to Camp 3 followed
again by another rest at base camp. Our forth trip to
altitude will be direct to Camp 2 for a couple nights;
then onto Camp 3 for 2 nights, and then all the way
back to base camp for a long rest. The next trip up we
should be ready for a go at the top, although to
predict that far in the future schedule on Everest is
only wishful thinking. As we get closer to May, we
will be getting better ideas on when our first shot at
the top will be.
tuned for more stories of life at 17,500 ft. and
to everyone from Jack, Bruno, Jason and Scott!