Archive for April 8th, 2010

Settling in at Base Camp

The latest RMI team dispatch from Dave Hahn…

April 8, 2010
17,575 ft.

Namaste from Everest Basecamp.

Our first full day at Mount Everest began with saying goodbye to Scott’s Dad, Jeff. As planned, he headed down valley this morning just after a sumptuous breakfast in our dining tent. The team enjoyed mild temperatures and an “easy” day resting and getting organized at 17,500 ft above sea level. We met for a strategy session in which we discussed plans for first week of the climb as well as for “big picture” plans for the how the rest of the climb might play out. Jeff Martin and Mark Tucker worked hard to buff out our electrical and communications systems (we rely largely on solar energy, satelite link-ups and handheld radios in these areas). Importantly, we gathered the entire team so that the American climbers could get to know the Nepali team members and vice versa. Tendi Sherpa and Lama Babu -along with our great chef Kumar- facillitated the introductions. We spent the afternoon resting and chatting. We intend to meet with the famous and hard-working “Icefall Doctors” who are currently putting in the climbing route through the Khumbu, and later we’ll tour the Himalayan Rescue Association’s basecamp clinic and meet the medical doctors. It seems abnormally hot and dry for early April, and each afternoon we’ve seen the air get murky with forest fire smoke from somewhere down valley. A quiet day has been punctuated by giant ice avalanches off the surrounding glaciers… keeping things interesting.

Dave Hahn


An Update from Wendy at Base Camp… April 8th

We arrived!  And with a sigh of relief my computer is operational here at 17,500 feet.  I have written blogs along the way but posting them is another story.  The one message we as a team are getting loud and clear is that our focus should be Everest NOT technology.

With that I have been reluctant to go to the few internet cafes we have passed.   It’s a fine line and I am careful not to use poor judgement.  In additon I feel like a totally out of place person here… age, gender and my MS make me feel like a marked animal.  So my philosophy has now been to keep my head down, draw as little attention to myself as possiple and get the job done.  For those of you who know me you know just how very out of character this is and how very difficult.  Guess this too is another part of climbing Everest.

Okay here we are at the most luxurious base camp set up I have ever seen.  Our dining/common tent actually has… are you ready for this?
wall to wall carpeting, flowers on the table, napkins of various colors arranged ina big centerpiece, tablecloths and a chef to rival a five star restaurant!  I am blown away!  The work and preparation that has gone into our creature comforts commenced weeks ago in this very forsaken place yet to see it today I can only give a great deal of credit to the Sherpa and all the days of hard work that have gone into it.

Our camp is so plush that other climbers are coming to take photos of the set up!

Because sanitiation is such an issue, there are handwashing stations strategically placed along with hand sanitizer just like a public rest room.  We each have our own brand new tent.  There is a large shower facitility, showers will be assigned to days of the week with racks for clothes and personal items.  Tents for communications, storage and all our extra gear.

And food constantly!  The cook staff even wear aprons, the head chef is always in snow white.  Along one wall in the dining tent are shelves with plastic buckets containing an endless supply of games and movies, books, footballs, whiffle balls, bats everything for the long period of base camp down time.  And everything is brand spaking new.  Again, with sanitiation in mind, we have hanging baskets to put our personal items, water bottles, etc. in so that they do not get placed on the dining table.  Every last detail has been carefully planned, plotted, calculated AND carried up here on someone’s back.

We had a team meeting this morning led by Dave Hahn with an overview of the months ahead.  Base camp is cushy intentionally because the work ahead will be hard, very hard.  Not a day passes that he doesn’t remind us that this is the ‘advanced’ class.  Our focus as of today has shifted from the trek in to climbing Mt. Everest.

True to nature I once again got sick on the trek.  I never seem to be able to come to Nepal without some stomach issue.  I spent two terrible nights in Perche grateful for the attached bathroom where I spent most of the night.  But there is an American staffed medical facility there and on the third day I went to the doctor and got on antibiotics.

Although I am still feeling slightly out of sorts I am  most definately on the mend.  I was cursing the entire three days to base camp as my stomach continued to rumble.  Now with our “Wolfgang Puck”  of Sherpa chefs I am anxious to be totally improved so I can enjoy what he creates in the little stone kitchen down the hill.

More to come…


Posts by Date

April 2010

About Wendy Booker

In June of 1998, this 55 year old mother of three was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS after experiencing balance problems, blurred vision and numbness on her left side. When first diagnosed, Wendy was devastated. But it took very little time for her to transform anguish into inspiration. She immediately turned her hobby of casual running into a continuous pursuit and has now completed nine marathons.

Mountain climbing became the next conquest. Wendy learned about a team of mountain climbers with Multiple Sclerosis who were attempting to climb Mt. McKinley (Denali) in Alaska. With no previous climbing experience, she dedicated a year to hard training and set off with them in 2002. Although weather conditions prohibited the team from completing, Wendy attempted the summit again in 2004 on her own and she succeeded!

The feeling of accomplishment she experienced propelled her next aspiration: to climb the highest mountain on each continent. Just five years later, Wendy Booker has successfully reached the top of six of The Seven Summits – Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. McKinley, Mt. Elbrus, Mt. Aconcagua, Mt. Vinson Massif and Mt. Kosciuszko. Mt. Everest, the highest mountain on earth, still awaits for 2010.