International Mountain Guides (www.mountainguides.com) Everest 2002 Expedition

Tuesday April 23: Allís well on the South Side today, with most teams resting. Yesterday (Monday) was marked by heavy snow and wind on the mountain.  Eleven of our IMG Sherpas managed to sneak up to Camp 3 early in the day and set up two more tents there, then beat a hasty retreat to Base Camp. No Sherpas from any team went up to Camp 3 today (Tuesday) despite the fact that the weather has now cleared up.  Everyone is thinking that it would be smart to give the snow on the Lhotse Face a day to settle before starting back up there.  Hopefully tomorrow all the Sherpas from the teams responsible for fixing to the Col will start back up on the face and work on the fixed ropes above Camp 3.

Currently our members Stuart Smith, Kevin Flynn, Ted Wheeler, and Lee Meyers are at Camp 2 acclimatizing and waiting for improvement in the weather so they can go up to Camp 3 for a night or two. Phil Ershler, Sue Ershler, and Mark Tucker are heading up to Camp 2 tomorrow to do the same. The Ford [women's part of the expedition] team has been acclimatizing at Camp 2 and is now returning for rest days at Base Camp. 

The ongoing impact of the Maoist conflict here in Nepal has crept closer to us. The telephone system that provides service into the Khumbu region, including the nearby villages of Gorak Shep and Namche, has been attacked and telephone comms in the region are out of commission for the foreseeable future. The only way for us to contact Kathmandu is by sat phone at this point. This is OK for us, since we have sat phones at Base Camp and still enjoy ready access to rescue assistance if we need it. The teams here who do not have sat phones can use ours if they need emergency help. Unfortunately, the villagers down valley are the ones who are taking the brunt of this new problem, since they have lost contact with family, friends and businesses they operate in Kathmandu. Good news is the Khumbu has a reliable system of communications by people moving about regularly on foot who can deliver and receive messages for others cut off by the lack of phone service. Let's hope this is the extent of the Maoist interference with life here in the Khumbu.

Eric Simonson

Khumbu Base Camp

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