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Everest North Side Expedition:  Dick Bass, Jim Wickwire, Dick Bass, John Roskelley


Two Update below.....

4.14.03 Audio Update Transcription: This written account is a transcription of a voicemail message that John Roskelley. The call was made from Mt. Everest via a Telenor satellite phone.

"Well, good afternoon. This is John Roskelley from Everest base camp. This is a voicemail update from advanced base camp on the north side of Mt. Everest. We awoke this morning to 3" of fresh, cold, powder snow. There is a slight breeze with gusts up to 25 mph. It's brilliantly clear, but all along the northeast ridge and north ridge, wind devils indicate strong winds crossing over Everest from Nepal.

Since my last update, Jim, Jess and I have moved up to acclimatize and carry loads to the North Col. Dick started out with us on April 11 to the intermediate camp, but due to his continuing back problems, decided to spend a few more days at base camp. Jess and I arrived Thursday at the Intermediate Camp, and its fortunate that we did. It seems as though all the teams and their gear were moving up that day. As we sat and watched, hundreds of yaks loaded with tents, gear bags, their own food and assorted baggage arrived. There was a limited supply of rocky campsites available, so it was literally chaos in a small area. Yaks tore through the camp, tearing down tents, and dumping loads in all directions. After several hours, of this, peace again reigned, and only the sound of yak bells could be heard.

April 12th was a hard day. We got up early to beat the yaks onto the glacier, but were too slow. After a good breakfast of porridge, eggs and toast, I set off to film the exodus of yaks, yak herders and expedition members from camp toward ABC–about 7 miles and 2,000 vertical feet up the glacier. Pretty soon, everyone and their beasts of burden got into a rhythm behind each other and we strung out for miles along the crest of morrainal debris sitting on ice. I have never seen anything like this. I reached our camp at 21,000 feet after 5 hours of work under a fairly heavy load. Jess was right behind, enjoying talking with several other climbers from Britain. Jim, caught in the main herd, took his time and arrived later, feeling strong.

I call altitude the "great equalizer." No matter how young, strong, or healthy, altitude puts you on par with everyone else. I am always surprised how rubbery my legs feel, and how slow I can go until I become used to the higher altitude at each stage. Of course, age has entered the equation this trip, and I am not the same climber as I was 10 years ago. It is important for me to accept this now, because it is only going to get tougher up higher, and I need to go slower.

We relaxed all that afternoon, drinking fluids and trying not to make any sudden moves that would leave us...

–John Roskelley

4.16.03 Audio Update Transcription: This written account is a transcription of a voicemail message that John Roskelley. The call was made from Mt. Everest via a Telenor satellite phone. The initial rough audio is due strong winds blowing at the 21,000' Advanced Base Camp. Static breaks up the audio at the end.

Good morning. It is Wednesday, April 16th, at about 10 o'clock. The team is at Advanced Base Camp. Jim is in his tent, writing in his diary, and Jess and I are just finishing tea. Dick is somewhere between Intermediate Camp at 19,000' and being here at Advanced Base camp at 21,000 feet. We are still acclimatizing. It is out 5th day here. Jess and I took some loads up to the North Col, at about 23,000 feet, yesterday and felt pretty good. The Russians have put the ropes in to the Col, and about 50 people went up yesterday and staked out areas for their tents. Today, three of our Sherpas went up, to put up the tents that Jess and I carried up.

It is a windy day, but it is clear and about 40º. We are hoping that Dick will make it up today, and if not, tomorrow. I am sitting in the midst of about 100 tents, in a lenticular fashion that goes up hill from 21,000 feet to 21,600 feet at the top where the Chinese are camped. There are all types of colors. I have never seen this many tents in one spot. Big, huge tents for cooking and for people to eat in, and other tents for just sleeping in.

There are probably 30 different expeditions here this year, on this side, and it is pretty crowded. The Sherpas have been building tent platforms all throughout this entire area. I kind of call it "Illzong Loo" (unintelligible), because you are in a little tiered fashion in elevation gain... (static)... Russians... (static)... Austrians above me... (static)... it's quite an international camp.
–John Roskelley

Dispatches

 





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