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The North Face of Nuptse: Willie and Damian Benegas

Dispatch Five


Dispatch Five: Dispatch 5-  City life in BC April 25, 2003 Everest BC

Everest City, Population 800. Yes, I think that we should have this on a sign at the beginning of Base Camp. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of Everest, and there are so many people here, Base Camp is like its own small city. Damian and I have been resting here at BC for the past few days, and so I have had lots of time to observe life as it goes on here.

In recent seasons past, there have been 15 or so teams. This year, there are 29. The citizens of our "city" range from serious climbers to climbers dreaming of being climbers.  And like in all cities,  the citizens here are defending their dream property. Everyone make fences built from stones and ropes, with signs posted explaining that you are trespassing, and that the ice fall route is in the other direction. 

Our city has a lot to offer. We are proud to say that we have an internet bar, although the coffee is replaced with a salty version of tea- "sherpa tea". There is also a small store where yak meat from the previous season is right now on sale. (We think that the clinic is secretly involved in this, in an attempt to increase the amount of consultations and the sale of imodium!!!!)  The Indian Company is running a movie theater, with a proud 25" T.V.  The show of today is the classic "Nocaly is chasing Pemba"- a lot of singing but not much action!  Also, we have a volunteer hospital. It is run by a non-profit organization, who charges the Sherpas a modest sum of $35 per consultation.

Many crazy things happen here in Everest City. There is a team from England that intends to carry an ironing board to the top.  At the moment, we are working on convincing them to set up a laundry mat, because a city like ours, without a laundry service,  is a biological hazard.  At least they could set up an ironing service, because after all, they are professionals you know.  They have been carrying that board all over the planet!

I am slightly concerned about an octogenarian, originally from the Land of the Rising Sun, who has the intent of converting our serious and proud ice hockey skating field (the Lhotse face, a stadium with a modest average of inclination 55/65 degrees), into an extreme ice run. 

We have not set up a City Council yet, however today, the 25th of April, at 4:30 pm, there is a meeting at the mess tent of the Indian/Royal Army team.  All team leaders will be present, and the organization and coordination of all team plans will be discussed. I have been invited to this meeting as an honorary citizen of Everest City, and as an expert adviser in building roads up this mountain.

There are a few other things I think we should discuss at this meeting.  With so many teams here, I think we need to establish a white pages phone directory, which in this case, would list our radio frequency.  I also think that with all of the hoards of climbers going up Everest and Lhotse, we should put in a road like the Californian freeway.  A road that goes through the ice fall, C2, C3, C4, and finally the summit.  This would make fixing the ropes for all of them so much easier!  The "climbers dreaming to be climbers" here are like bad Californian drivers. We can only pray to be safe of harsh weather, because we all know what Californian drivers are like, on Californian freeways, especially when the weather turns bad! 

And finally, like all towns, this one also has its own set of weirdos. That would be us- the crazy brothers who have a little tent in the middle of nowhere, at the upper part of the Valley of the Silence, near the imposing flanks of the north spur of Nuptse.  We are planning to open a new road, one suitable only for serious four wheel drivers.  The name of that road will be "the Fatai Sarpa Nuptse", The Crystal Snake of Nuptse.

To be continued................ Willie

Approaching the snake

Dispatches

 





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