Posts Tagged 'Base Camp'

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…

Wendy

Back at Base Camp!

Wendy called yesterday to report that the weather on Everest has cleared and the team is back at Base Camp.  They are planning to continue climbing today and the first successful summit attempts are expected around the 21st.

She said that she is still feeling great.  The physical exertion is tough, but they are going to focus on gaining as much ground as possible these next few days and hope the great weather holds.  The expedition continues to have issues with satellite connections, so cross your fingers that Wendy will be able to blog again in person very soon.

Wendy said yet again how much she appreciates everyone’s thoughts and support. The team is just hoping to make a lot of progress and see how far they get.

Climb on!

Trish

Pictures/Video on Mountain Link’s Site

Hi everyone – Trish here again…

Wendy is high in the sky and the computers are down for the count.  Looks like you’ll be stuck with me as middle man for a while.  I just spoke with her via satellite phone and here is a quick  update:

Brooke is posting photos and video whenever possible to the Mountain Link website.  Visit http://www.mountain-link.com to see the latest news.

Here is slideshow of early photos from the mountain as well:

http://www.mountain-link.com/adventures/seven_summits/Mt_Everest/Mt_Everest_Slideshow/

The team spent last night at Camp 1 around 19,000 ft. and will be moving up to Camp 2 later today.  Wendy managed the Khumbu Ice Falls well yesterday, but is glad to have them behind her!  Very treacherous.  Camp 3 is still not ready to receive climbers, but it looks like the first summit attempts will be possible by May 6th or 7th.  Wendy does not anticipate trying to be the first to the top this year, but it’s good to know that soon the team will be able to move forward as they feel able.

Wendy and Brooke are still coughing and dragging a little bit.  Their bodies cannot heal very quickly in the thin air.  But she said that physically she is feeling strong and is not having any symptoms related to the altitude (good news!).  The expedition is just going to ‘play it by ear’ as to when they push for the summit based upon everyone’s health.  If they begin feeling the effects of the altitude, the team will move back down to lower elevations to adjust and then climb up again.

Thanks to all of you who are watching Wendy’s progress.  Everytime we speak I share your comments and messages of support.  It means so much to her.

Climb on!

Trish

Namche Bazaar, Nepal

I love waking up in my tent.  The sounds of this village coming alive stir the senses.  Roosters crowing, someone calling their goats, the yak bells chiming and the tapping of the stone cutters already busy at work.  (It takes three years to build a house here.)

This will be the last email until we return to Namche after our climb in about a month.  Mentally I am trying to prepare myself.  I am already filthy as the countryside is pretty dirty and everything sticks to us.  But I have to let that go.  Today we head for Teng Boche then onward toward Everest base camp where we hope to arrive in a week.  From there on to Barunste.

Sleep was difficult the past two nights because of the incessant dog barking.  There are packs of them everywhere, and it seems when one would start he would get everyone going.  After complaining, we found out that the dogs carry on when there are animals about.  Okay… that makes sense, but there are animals everywhere.  Ah, but these aren’t just any animals.  This is Nepal and there are snow leopards and tigers!  So, after some reflection I’m kind of loving those noisy dogs now!

P.S. Today is marathon Monday.  To Maida and Mike – have a wonderful run.  I am with you every single mile.  Because for me it all started on that marathon route!  Wings on your heels you two!!

Namaste!

Climb On!

Trek To Everest Base Camp

We flew from Katmandu to Lukla, a tiny mountain village very high in the Himalaya.  So high that the run way is on the side of a mountain and points uphill.  We flew in on “Yeti Airlines”  in a tiny plane.  When you see the runway it is a nail biter.  Once off the plane our gear is assembled and sorted and the trek begins.  The countryside is spectacular.  Tiny hamlets all in stone.  No roads only a foot path that winds all over the mountains from village to village.  This is the main and only infrastructure and all forms of commerce pass by.  Yaks, native people with baskets on their heads, kids and many trekkers heading to various places in the Himalaya.  We stopped at many a tea house for a break and socializing with the proprietors.  Everything is neat and tidy and amazingly built and maintained.  Remember all this is still accomplished as it was hundreds of years ago.  There is no running water or electricity only an occasional generator.  These are the true Sherpa who left Tibet and now live in the Khumbu valley.  This “highway” connects their villages but they are not connected to the outside world except for the climbers.

Today was a six hour climb to Namche Bizaar.  This is considered the big city!  They even have an Internet cafe!  About an hour before arriving I had my very first glimpse of Everest…..amazing and absolutely enormous.  The wind was high on the top but I was able to see the south col and Lhotse and Nupste on either side although considerably lower.  It is magnificent and she took my breath away.  Brooke and I just looked at her then at each other then back at her.

The conditions in Namche are not as inviting as they were our first night on the trail.  Here everything is a hike and a steep on at that.  It will take me most of a half hour to return to our tent as it is uphill from here.  The village is truly built on the very steep side of the mountain.  All along our travels commencing in Lukla we have been greeted by the Buddhist prayer flags. Along the way huge boulders are inscribed with Buddhist prayers hand carved in the rocks centuries ago.  We must always pass to the left.  Anytime there is a monument or a pray flag or bells, which we ring as we pass for those are the sound of our prayers going up to the heavens, we must pass to the left.  I love that part of the climb.

This will be all for today.  There is a good deal of political tension and satellite phones and communications are being confiscated.  We have heard that at Everest Base camp no satellite phones or computers are being allowed.  They are critical for the climbers and safety for high altitude rescues.  The Sherpa are also not being permitted on the mountain.  They are the ones who put in and maintain all the fixed ropes and routes so this too will make  climbing just now very dangerous if not impossible.  Word is that the Chinese are now putting pressure on Nepal until after the torch goes up the mountain sometime in May.  Glad we are not making an attempt to climb this year although we have already had to change our schedule.

More to follow.

Climb On!

Congratualtions, You Are Over Fifty!

My first twenty four hours in Kathmandu.  Words once again escape me, and to describe all that I have experienced in this short a time is also going to be hard.  I can describe my emotional state in one word…. intense.  The dirt, heat, sanitation (or lack thereof) population, sights, sounds, color and mainly the squalor.  Traffic like I have never witnessed.  No rules just drivers sharing the road with rickshaws, bicycles, cars, buses, cows and millions of people.  And these roads are tiny even walking is frightening.  I was unable to take many photos yesterday (I am writing this in the dark as the electricity goes out daily all over the city.  The computer is on a generator.) Blackouts are frequent. But taking a picture was more than I could do. I had to first try to absorb all that I was seeing.  I have now been around the world, the number of countries I could not say but I can say I have never seen anything like this.  The air is filled with dust and smoke.  The smoke is from the funeral fires where the Hindus cremate their people out in the open.  They stand in homage until the fire is small, several hours. Then the ashes are swept into the river where bathing, drinking, swimming and general livelihood takes place.  Our eyes burn, we take shallow breaths so as not to cough from all that is undoubtedly airborne.  Tiny children beg but we have been told by the government not to give anything to them, it is very difficult to even pass and not acknowledge.  Both Brooke and I slipped money to a frail lady, funny how we both gave to the same woman.  There was something about her that touched us both. The streets are teaming and I feel like I am back in a time zone to which I have never been.  Leper’s, cripples and car horns.  The nose and push of humanity is everywhere.  When we finally find an enclave into which we can stop and rest we are exhausted.

But despite my western eyes taking in this very strange world, to the Nepalese this isn’t strange at all.  It is I who am the strange one.  I inquired of our Sherpa, Kharma Babu what the life expectancy is.  As you may imagine it isn’t very old.  Few people over fifty anywhere.  I would say the average age of the people I see out on the streets is 20 – 30.  How sad I tell Kharma.  “Oh no,” he tells me, “it is not so sad.  It is a wonderful thing to be old.”  I lament my age and upcoming birthday.  Ah but by Nepal philosophy we look at the young and say “ah ha, we have made it, we survived the 20’s, 30’s.  Congratulations, you are over fifty – and by Nepal standards this is far better than being young!”

I wasn’t too happy about my birthday next week although celebrating it at Everest Base camp is pretty exciting.  Now I’m thinking I may really like this over fifty thing because I too survived my youth and that’s not really a bad thing now is it?

Tomorrow we fly to Lukla and begin our trek to Everest base camp then on to Baruntse.  Our itinerary changes by the moment because of the Nepal elections and the Chinese army also at Everest Base camp both on the north and south side.  No satellite phones allowed, not computers and no Sherpa allowed (they are Tibetans) so we are adjusting as we go and will plan accordingly.  We rely on the Sherpa for our safety and progress through the Himalaya so we will see what tomorrow brings.  We are registered to climb in Nepal so from there the adventure begins.

More to follow.

Climb On!

Base Camp!

We safely reached Base Camp on Mt. Vinson at 11 pm on January 2nd! The late arrival time didn’t matter at all because the sun shines 24 hours a day right now (the peak of summer in Antarctica). We have changed climbing routes due to some issues last year with the old route, and will now only stop at 3 camps throughout our ascent: Base Camp at 7000′, Camp 2 at 8700′ and High Camp at 12,200′. More to come soon…

Climb on!


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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.