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American Sean Swarner takes on Everest: A Cancer's Survivors Journey to the World's highest Summit

Day 26, Saturday, April 13th: Woke up with tea in the tent again. Didn't want to get up again, but had to eat breakfast so we could go into the icefall. Headed out to the icefall with the faculty advisor from Brown University, because it would probably be the last day that I would be allowed to go. Our Liaison officer comes in tomorrow or the next day, and we don't want to get fined by him for me being somewhere that I am not allowed to be. I am here once in my life and I wanted to see it for myself. It is amazing, juts of ice rising and falling everywhere, and the heat as intense as a desert! It is so much like a desert in fact that there can very well be mirages. The ice is an amazing blue color as well. Sean hooked up his helmet camera, and recorded a whole 10 seconds for some reason. We came back and went over the whole system, to see what was wrong with it. Hopefully it is up and working for Sean's trip tomorrow through the icefall and his stay at camp one. He is also planning on visiting camp 2 and coming down after his nights stay at camp 1. We came back and I was exhausted! I spent the rest of the day charging camera batteries and the huge battery pack for the helmet cam. The clouds rolled in for the afternoon, and it dropped below freezing again, had dinner then headed to bed.

Day 27, Sunday, April 14th: Sean left early this morning to head to Camp 1. Got confirmation that he arrived safely by around 9 am. Around 9:30 Guy Cotter came to take his solar configuration away to take to Camp 2. So I am again without power. I am going to strip the solar panel we came with to see why it is not working. Right now I am in the Brown University tent using their power. They needed something off my computer, so I used this opportunity to my advantage as well. Tomorrow Sean will be heading up to Camp 2, and then back down to Base Camp. I went to a puja today to try and lay some lines towards some power, and one group said that they would give me some battery acid come Wednesday. Not sure if this would be enough to have a fully charged battery or not though, I might very well have to charge it after I put in the acid, if so then that is out the window as well. I hope to have something worked out, sometime.

So here I am again, on my third legs of power! Arthur and Guy come through again! This time a bit more complicated with a lot more stuff fried. I was over at the Adventure Consultant/Brown University tent trying to think of something to do about power. I happened to have the solar panels we came with, with me, so we tested it with a voltmeter. It said it was kicking out 18 volts! Bonus, but for some reason it could not charge my battery. So Guy popped up with a really old solar control box, that seemed to work. So I ran home and hooked everything up. It said the battery was charging, and that everything was go. But I plugged in the adapter for the laptop and the light would not turn on, meaning no power. I also tried the inverter (to household current) and it fried the fuses. I fiddled with a few things and tried them both again, crossing my fingers. Again, no power and fried fuses. So right now my inverter is useless, due to no fuses, and nothing else is working. I call Arthur on the radio, and he comes over with his voltmeter and we fiddle with a few things. After much painstaking thinking and fiddling, we come up the fact that the solar panel I came with was wired wrong. That is why nothing would run or charge off it. It also turns out that it fried my car/air adapter for my laptop! So I am 100% reliant on the inverter and the extra fuses that Arthur had. So inventory so far includes 1 fried household adapter, 1 fried car/air adapter (which will make the plane ride home very very boring), 4 fuses, and who knows what else later on down the road. But on the bright side, I currently have regenerative power... hopefully. Off to another supplied movie night (which might be the only reason people are nice and helping me, but that is why I brought them!) Need some leverage up here with all the politics!

Day 28, Monday, April 15th: Sean radioed from Camp 1, saying that he had successfully made it up and down from Camp 2. To put that into perspective, camp 2 is higher than any mountain in America, including Denali (McKinley). But still about 8000 feet shy of the summit of Everest! He made it safely down to Base Camp, and basically rested for the rest of the day. We had dinner and went to bed. The next two days will be rest days for him. Then back up the mountain on Thursday!

Day 29, Tuesday, April 16th: Today was a rest day for Sean. Basically a lazy day recovering from Camp 2 the day before. Sean took a bucket shower in the early morning and I took one just before lunch. It felt amazing. So many days without showers, and then finally the payoff! After that we basically sat around and read all day. I couldn't get more than about 10 minutes out of the car battery and solar panels after I charged some batteries. Hopefully tomorrow I will get some acid for the dry battery I have, and that will definitely help with the power woes. Tomorrow Sean has another rest day, while his climbing Sherpas head to Camp 2 with supplies and back for lunch! We planned for another movie night because Sean had the day off tomorrow, but dinner did not get around until 7:30, and it was too late for us to have a movie, so we hit the sheets, so to speak.

Day 30, Wednesday, April 17th: Woke up with a bright bright sun, so I set out the solar panels and left them there all day. Hopefully I will have a charge longer than 10 minutes to work with later today. Well, it was another rest day for Sean and he is getting antsy. He isn't really the type to just sit and rest for two days. They also held the meeting for fixing the ropes above Camp 2. Ghombu came back and informed us that they will not fix the ropes to Camp 3 until the 20th, meaning that they will not start until then, which is more likely around the 22-23. This bit of news set us back a few more days. Ghombu was trying to tell Sean that because of this, he is going to have 2 more rest days here at BC. Sean and I discussed it and decided that 4 days total at the lower altitude would basically kill his acclimatization that he has started. After a lengthy...as lengthy as you can get with someone that does not speak English that well... it was decided that Sean is going to accompany the Sherpas to Camp 1 tomorrow. After arrival at Camp 1, the Sherpas will hurry to Camp 2 with supplies while Sean follows a little slower, then they will all come down together. The next day will be a rest day, then off to Camp 2 for a few nights, up to Camp 3, then down to BC again.

Otherwise today we did not do much, we watched a movie with another camp, around 3 in the afternoon as to not have a repeat of last night. Movies really do break the monotony! After the movie, we came back and I had a battery to use, so I put together some more updates, went through some more pictures, and did some other work. It got cold, we had dinner and we went to bed!

Day 31, Thursday, April 18th: Sean left with the Sherpas and was back before I woke up. He had apparently forgotten his sunglasses, so he came down. As I thought further into this, I came to the conclusion of how simple a mistake this could be, and with grave consequences. When leaving at 4-5 in the morning, sunglasses are not big on the priority list, because there is no sun at the time. Out of sight out of mind, so to speak. Why would one think of them when the sun is still a few hours away? Easily forgotten. The grave consequences while in the icefall with no sunglasses is asking for snow-blindness. The suns rays intensified from every angle can easily burn a retina, cornea, or even a Thanksgiving turkey. So he intelligently came down. Only to ascend later with our guide on the trek to Base Camp.

I on the other hand did not have as productive a day. The Brown University group wanted me to take some pictures (their digital camera was stolen in Kathmandu), so I sauntered over and helped them out. 

Day 32, Friday, April 19th: Rest day before the big trip to camp 2 for a few days. I charged a ton of batteries all through the morning which basically killed all chances of me using power for anything else all day. We basically sat around and did nothing the entire day, besides charge batteries for Sean to take up to Camp 2 with him. I'm sorry to say, but this was an extraordinarily boring day!

Day 33, Saturday, April 20th: Sean took off early in the morning for Camp 2, and his extended stay there. The plan is to stay there for about 3 days, then up to Camp 3, down to Camp 2, then BC. Then he is ready for the summit push! I heard rumors about some acid at the Brown University Camp, so I trudged on over there and did in fact find some! So I am in business with the late dry battery, now wet battery! I got back to camp with the acid and when looking for some wire. And of course I could not find any. I put out the word on the Sherpa Vine and sure enough, about 30 minutes later one comes to me with some kind of chopped up lamp chord. Good enough for me! I hooked it all up, with the two batteries, and I think this is going to be my final configuration. What am I up to now... 4? Hopefully this will enable me enough power for the rest of the trip. Sean made it safely up to Camp 2, but of course our walkie-talkies do not reach each other. So if I need to speak with him, I have to run over to Brown University Camp and use their Tower antenna. So thus completes another day at Base Camp.

Dispatches

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