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

Day 34, Sunday, April 21st: Sean has a rest day at Camp 2 today. Not really sure what he is going to do, but as I have later learned he climbed up to 7000 meters, or 23,100 feet, and went back down to Camp 2. So he basically went to just below Camp 3 and down. I have also learned that the ropes got fixed between Camp 2 and Camp 3 in 1 day, 700 of the 900 meters set by one amazing Sherpa! This is usually a process that takes about three days to complete, but apparently, not this time. Nothing to report from Base Camp regretfully. Sean is doing great, and he informed me that the 7000 meter height felt great and that he is ready to go!

Day 35, Monday, April 22nd: I awoke to lots of snow and no sun this morning! Also, much to my surprise, Sean came walking into Base Camp this afternoon. They awoke at Camp 2 to horrible weather as well. Cloudy, snowy, and cold! They sat at Camp 2 and decided to wait for better weather. It did not get better, so they started down. Of course when they got to the icefall, for the hour they were in it on the way down, the sun came out to bake them... only to plunge behind the clouds as soon as they were out at B.C. The best thing for them to do now is wait. It will be another 10 days before the ropes between Camp 3 and 4 are fixed, and Sean is way ahead of the acclimatization. He does not want to be the first to trudge up to the summit, because then he would have to fix the ropes and make the trail! Ideally, he would like to be the 2nd or 3rd "group". I charged all the remaining batteries and started a 918 page book today! Sean and I discussed going to Gorak Shep to see if he can regain his appetite as well tomorrow. It was left up to how he felt when he woke up.

Day 36, Tuesday, April 23rd: Set out the Solar Panels and then took a bucket shower. It might sound weird or disgusting, but a bucket shower sure hits the spot when you have not taken a shower for a week or two. Left the panels alone all day to discover that they did absolutely nothing! I had no power at all. I fear that both the batteries are dead now. The new one lasted about 6 hours off 1 hour in the sun, now I get nothing from it. Always problems. We had a few visitors stop in today. A guy I sat next to on the flight from Bangkok to Kathmandu wandered into camp with a friend. It took me a while to place him, but I did eventually. He was the guy that ran up to first class after I told him of the nice view of Everest. He got to sit in First Class while I got the lecture and sent back to coach! We all had tea and quite a nice conversation and they headed back to Gorak Shep. Later our Sherpas took the car battery to the National Geographic camp to see if it could be charged with the generator, so I will have to wait for the results.

Day 37, Wednesday, April 24th: Today was meeting everyone day! I awoke to find a man peering into my tent! It was more like when I unzipped the tent he was right there staring at me. Strangely enough, he asked me if I knew where Sean Swarner was. I said I did, and about a minute later Sean was standing behind him. They spoke for a while and he took off for another meeting with another camp but promised to be back. While he was gone some of the women from the "all women's" team stopped by and introduced themselves as well. The man did come back and it turns out that he spoke to the guys we spoke with yesterday, and they told him Sean's story and how hospitable we were, so he just had to meet us! I ran over to National Geographic to see about the car battery, and spent about 2 hours speaking with Peter Hillary about batteries and email and all such nothingness, only to meet 2 guys from Mountain Madness as well. On my way out of the Communications tent, I ran into another man looking for Sean, who turned out to be our liaison officer. Quite a nice man actually. I went back for lunch and Sean was still talking to the man from the morning. He turned out to be a jewel, buyer/seller from Kathmandu who has a fascination with Mountain climbing. He left a bit after lunch, and right after he left we turned around and met a man and woman from Israel who spoke with 2 guys in Gorak Shep about a cancer survivor climbing Everest. They figured out it was Sean, took some pictures, had some chit chat, and left. While we were chit chatting, the liaison officer was eyeballing us. After they left the liaison officer jumped up and ran over to speak with Sean. They shook hands and the officer told Sean how much he supported his climb and wished him the best. He went back to Camp, and we literally turned around into 2 other people that spoke with the guys in Gorak Shep! More pictures and chatting, and we finally made it back to camp. Sean started to download music into his MP3 player so he wouldn't go out of his mind at Camp 2 and Camp 3 the next few days, and of course the power died. I assured him that Peter Hillary would supply some power, for the rest of the downloading, so it was back to the National Geographic Camp for power. Sean got through what he needed as soon as people from the French/Swedish Team came into camp looking for a computer technician. I volunteered my services, and gave them my name. One man asked if I knew Sean Swarner. He had been looking for him to do an interview for the French Climbing magazine Vertical. 10 minutes later we were over in the French/Swedish dining tent struggling to overcome language barriers for an interview. Time flew by, and the interview did not get finished due to the interruption of dinner. (Dinner takes precedents over everything due to the fact that it gets cold extremely fast!) We headed "home" for dinner as well, with me promising to come back tomorrow to look at their computers.

Day 38, Thursday, April 25th: I woke up and set the solar panels out.... again! Left them out all day as I literally spent all day working on the computer systems of the French/Swedish Team. Sean left early for Camp 2 and later I heard that he made it in an incredible 5 hours! Remember that I said that it takes some people about that long to get through the icefall, or to Camp 1.... 5 hours is very fast! He said he felt great and he was looking forward to Camp 3 the following day. He said he was eating fine and that stuffing himself when he was down here did wonders for him. I literally spent all day working on the computers, only to find that they are completely trashed. As I said before 2 of 3 computers break up here or on the way here for some reason. I am seeing this more and more as the time goes by. I don't think I know of a camp that has not had one break yet, except ours, unless you include the adapter.... but our computers are fine. The French/Swedish team had one screen break, so they had a brand new one sent up, it worked for 3 hours and then died horribly. Good thing it is under warranty. The last thing I tried to do was hook their last remaining computer up to their high speed satellite phone for internet service (at 7 dollars a minute for airtime!!!) For some reason I could get my computer to work with it, but not theirs. It might have something to do with what operating system is running (I have Windows 98, and they have Windows Professional 2000). Theirs was also in French which was also making things that much harder. So after a full day, if they want to use the internet, they have to use my laptop for it, unfortunately. Their 7 dollars a minute does go through at 118 Kbps, as opposed to my 2.4 Kbps. I came "home" hooked the car battery up to my computer to do some work and got 15 minutes of work out of it before it died. I am getting a little tired of the whole power situation here... but if they use the internet a lot with my laptop, then I think I will start to do work over there.

Day 39, Friday, April 26th: I woke up to howling winds, only to wonder what was going on 4000 feet above me at Camp 2! Around noon, Sean called me through the Brown University Camp and informed me that they headed up toward Camp 3 only to be blown back down basically by the 70 MPH winds. So they are basically hoping that their tents do not become a statistic at Camp 2 like so many others have in the past. A little while later they asked if I could get a weather report for them from the Nat. Geo. Base Camp. I tried, but could not. They could attempt to walk the little bit at Camp 2 to try and get it from Nat. Geo. up there, but they were afraid to leave the tent. They are hoping for clear skies tomorrow, so they can make it to Camp 3 finally.

Dispatches

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