Hello from Everest Base Camp!

The latest RMI Dispatch from Wendy’s Guide, Seth Waterfall…

April 9, 2010
17,575 ft.

This is Seth saying hello from Everest Base Camp!

This is the team’s second full day at base camp and we’re steadily getting our communications gear online. We’ve got a large solar array and we are able to power all of our communication equipment completely by the sun. As you can imagine, though, getting several computers up and running for email access is not a trivial task at 17,500 feet in the heart of the Himalaya. That said, all of the planning and hard work that my boss, Jeff Martin, and our Basecamp Manager, Mark Tucker, have put in is paying off and we’ll all be able to email and call our families and friends shortly.

It’s not all about the modern conveniences here though. We’ve also been busy becoming a part of the base camp community. Last night we paid a visit to the Icefall Doctors and the Himalayan Rescue Association. RMI and First Ascent have made generous clothing and gear donations to the Icefall Doctors this season and last. Last night we dropped off new climbing clothes for ‘the docs’. Those guys work extremely hard at establishing and maintaining the fixed ropes and ladders through the icefall so that the expeditions can focus on the upper parts of the mountain. It was great to be able to show our appreciation by giving them brand new climbing gear.

After visiting the Icefall Doctors we dropped by the HRA to visit the medical doctors at base camp. We had a few clothing items from First Ascent to share with them as well. The HRA is a full medical clinic that is open to anyone here at base camp. This allows expeditions to pool their money to fund the clinic as opposed to each expedition brining their own doctors. The doctors at the clinic usually conduct some kind of research and this year they are working on treatments for the notorious ‘Khumbu Cough’. It’s nice to know that there is work being done on a treatment for the painful cough; I just hope that no one in our expedition becomes part of the study.

We’ve also started to think about heading up the mountain. Today we had our Puja. This ceremony involves a blessing by a Buddhist Lama and the raising of our Puja Pole. It is also a big party and folks from around base camp dropped by to help us celebrate. Our camp is now laced with prayer flags and we have all been blessed and are now free to move up the mountain. This is most important for our Sherpa team as they do not enter the icefall until after the ceremony. Now that we’ve had our Puja we will spend several days practicing for the icefall and upping our acclimatization. Then we’ll be ready to start our first rotations up into the Western Cwm. Wish us luck!

Seth

The full moon rises behind the serrated ridge of Lhotse and illuminates the Khumbu Icefall and Basecamp

The full moon rises behind the serrated ridge of Lhotse and illuminates the Khumbu Icefall and Basecamp

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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.


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