Posts Tagged 'Mt. Everest'

First Rotation

First and foremost Happy 21st Birthday to Alex!  Hope your day is terrific and we will celebrate in style once I return.  I’ll buy!

Resting here back at base after yesterday’s ‘dress rehearsal’ into the ice falls.  Seth and I went half way into the ice stopping at what is referred to as the ‘football field’ (I’m certain only the Americans refer to it as that).  The area is relatively flat (key word relatively) and a safe place in which to have a rest break after nearly 3.5 hours of hard vertical travel.  We were back at camp by about lunch time.  Time enough for me to head over to the medical facilities and get onto a study for the infamous “Khumbu Cough”.  Seems that a good percent of the climbers here at BC come down with a nagging cough that can lead to broken ribs and worse.  I’ve had it every time.  This year there is a medical study taking place and one can only be enrolled when one develops the cough.  Bingo! I’m in.  It is a double blind placebo study of a medication I get to inhale twice daily.  I cough constantly so who knows.

Tomorrow Seth and I will go for our first rotation.  A rotation is when a team leaves base camp and heads for one of the higher camps rotating back to base camp to regain strength and further acclimatization. In the next month we will try to have three rotations. We will once again leave at 4am to avoid the incredible heat once the sun rises and hits the ice fall.  We plan on staying at Camp 1 for three lovely nights.  Its far from life here at BC.

Just a tent, snow, ice and these huge mountains all around.  Besides sleeping and eating, a hike to Camp 2 and back it is not the liveliest spot.

Despite the weight, I plan on carrying my book and a deck of cards.  I’ve already asked Seth if he will help me take advantage of this time to learn to play a better hand of poker.  I think it is a requirement when on an all male team.

That’s it from here. Taking it a day at a time, one foot in front of the other, one cough at a time…


Climb On!


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…


Photos from the Trek…

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Ah Internet!


RMI is sending out dispatches which most of you know since they are linked to my web site so you are getting a double dose of updates. The guides have to rotate writing them. Last night was Chad’s turn. After dinner he trudged back up the hill to another tea house which has a new cyber cafe. It all sounds so high tech. And indeed it really is. Yesterday from Namche I had the joy of being able to skype with Christopher in Doha complete with live video….it was awesome! I was chatting away and laughing as I told everyone in the cafe “that’s my son!”

But as we ascend and the villages get more remote, the air thinner and technology a little more primitive dispatching will be less. It is a funny feeling to have to wean ourselves and lose that connection to home. I never do it well.

I have decided I am the matriarch of the group, now that’s something I never expected to be labeled, or at least not yet. But I am the oldest and in a few weeks will be the only woman on the team. Casey’s girlfriend is trekking to base camp with us, thank goodness! Not a day passes that I am not grateful for her being here. So I am slowly working on this role especially during a rousing card game of Texas poker I remind them of my stature. The guys are unimpressed and so I am treated as if one of them.

We arrived in Tengboche after ascending the infamous Tengboche hill, a long arduous climb that takes a good hour and a half of dusty ascent. At the top is the highest monastery in the world and…a bakery. Imagine this visage complete with apple strudel and chocolate cake. Many of us just had to sample that cake although we were warned of others getting ill in the past. Six of us disregarded this and happily consumed. Now we are on a vigal and watch each other for signs of food contamination. Extremely common here in the valley since sanitation, refrigeration and electricity don’t exist. No federal guidelines for food preparation. I am still leery of eating anything with the word steak or meat in it.

The scenery is breathtaking, Everest has been clear and prominent in the distance although menacing as the winds pummel her top. And we trek on enjoying the journey. We will spend another night here in Deboche- tomorrow we move higher to Peroche and I understand the prospect of a shower for Easter Sunday. I think that sounds better than a chocolate bunny don’t you? Our slow progress is intentional, spending a day resting at a new altitude before moving higher. This has been our agenda since leaving Lukla and will continue for the next week. This way we gain strength, give our bodies an opportunity to get accustom to the thinner air and recharge before moving and living even higher.

Happy Easter to all.

One of our team members is taking great photos thank goodness someone is technology savvy! Here is the link:
To view Rob Suero’s photos go to:

Climb On!

Keep on Trekking!

Can you believe it? Less than a week ago I was gutting it out at B+S Sports in Salem and today I arrived in Namche Bazar en route to Everest base camp. This quick and efficient arrival is quite contradictory as how things usually proceed once in Nepal. This time our quick progress into the Khumbu Valley has been remarkable.
I arrived in Kathmandu short one duffel. I was assured that should the errant bag not arrive most of it’s contents could be replaced in Nepal – I don’t think so! That duffel contained the mother load of American cuisine. All those little yummies that I was counting on to make my stay a little more pleasant. All I could think about was my large jar of Jiff, my swedish fish and….the gummy bears! But the bag was located- arrived 24 hours later and I was happily reacquainting myself with the contents the night before we left for Lukla.

Without so much as a hiccup we flew to Lukla and began trekking to Phakding (yes pronounce it as you may well imagine) it has taken me four trips to the Khumbu to finally write the name of this village. Now we are at 11,500 feet in the heart of the Sherpa valley in Namche Bazar one of my favorite villages along the 36 mile trek to base camp. We will be here for three nights to gain strength for this new altitude and to get stronger for the ever thinning air above. This is a bustling village full of life and commerce. The deliveries of food and necessities all arrive on the back of a human or yak and loads are constantly moving up and down the valley. I had an encounter along the trail yesterday with a wayward mule, something rarely seen around here but gaining in popularity. He came right at me so it was a duck and cover. Not something I expected to be writing about…” hey I got struck by a mule!” We both are no worse the wear but I am now the brunt of some good jokes over it. Guess it was all caught on film. All I recall was a very large red furry thing coming straight at me at what looked like tremendous speed.

I write this blog on my very own computer which is both a thrill and as most of you know, technology causes me a great deal of stress. As well it should since I am sitting in a tea house which at the moment has no electrical power (electricity is via generator, solar or hydro electric and very sketchy) not because of region’s primitive power source but because I plugged something in and single-handedly caused a black out. Need I say more?

We will be in Namche for three nights using this time to go out for hikes at higher altitudes and to rest. Our team leader Dave Hahn has reminded us and asked that we pass along in our communications that we can’t always get internet and to use our time wisely instead of stressing about communications. My focus will have to be on staying healthy and climbing and when I can write I will but from now to base camp my blogs will be infrequent. Rainier Mountaineering also has updates via their website ( which you can also use to track our progress. They are better equipped getting information out and since my little electrical episode I had better be careful
Feeling great, loving being here and getting to know the gang I am going to be with for the next two months. I am looking forward to your emails so keep them coming! Sheryl I am waiting for the Red Sox scores once the season opens! Jeremee and Bob hold down the fort at B+S, Joyce and Terry take care of Mom, and Chris, Jeff and Alex Booker I’ll try not to do too many embarrassing things but I’m already way ahead on that so accept my apologies now.


The RMI Team Arrives at Namche!

First RMI Everest 2010 Dispatch from Dave Hahn…

March 29, 2009
11,500 ft.

We seem to be repeating ourselves here in the Khumbu, saying “that couldn’t have gone any smoother” over and over. Sure enough we got out of Katmandu right on schedule yesterday morning with an easy flight in a Dornier 228 twin engine prop plane. We all survived the uphill landing in Lukla, had a fine breakfast there and then hit the trail at around 8 AM. There are twelve of us at the moment, plus Raju and Lama Babu (our climbing sirdar). We’ll be joined any day now by climber Michael Brown, but for the moment, there are four climbers, four guides, two trekkers and two team managers and everybody is walking well. The gang walked just fine on somewhat crowded trails yesterday, through farms and small villages to Phak Ding. There we moved into Jo’s Garden, a traditional “tea house”, for the night. It is a peaceful place, with the Dudh Khosi -a river of constant whitewater- flowing furiously past and erasing all other sound. For many of us, the night was our first of full sleep in what seemed like a week -what with the hectic packing, repacking, flying, packing, more flying, early starting and jet-lagging. Today all seemed to be in good moods and good health and so we joined the busy trail again for the walk upriver. By late morning, we’d entered the National Park and found a nice outside table at a cafe for lunch. A few plates of rice and potatoes later and we got back into the walking. We tackled the notorious Namche Hill and cruised past about a hundred trekkers, porters and pack animals all grinding up in low gear. Conditions were just perfect for gaining about 2000 vertical feet since the ample cloud cover and a few gentle breezes kept the heat tolerable. But the clouds did rob us of what could have been a first view of Everest from the trail. No matter, we’ll see it soon enough. The team is tucked in at Camp De Base, a fine lodge in Namche, the “Sherpa Capital” as everyone calls it. We’ll spend three nights here, trying to get used to the big jump in altitude (we are up around 11,500 ft now) and enjoying the shopping, communications and social opportunities of this bustling and spectacularly placed town. Tonight, since it will be the first at true altitude, we won’t be able to drink much alchohol… but if we could, we’d be toasting Mark Tucker’s mom, who turned eighty back in California. Happy Birthday from the RMI Everest 2010 team!

Dave Hahn

4,3,2,1 ….we have lift off!

Well gang here we go again-the first of what I hope will be many blogs on the road to the top of the world. I am commencing the journey from a Marriott in LA. I arrived this morning and have a ten-hour lay over and since I slept for a mere hour and a half last night I thought this might be a wise place to hang for the day. There is little suffering involved as I plan to order room service repeatedly, shower at least three times, sleep in a bed and just get all those little niceties in before they become fond memories. My count down to lift off really began several weeks ago as I counted out how many nights I had remaining in my own bed -but I am so looking forward with excitement and anticipation that even leaving the luxuries of my everyday world behind is okay by me.

I am ready!

The gummy bears are packed, the kids at the Donald McKay School have all signed “our” flag and made prayer flags for me to hang over my tent at base camp. My wonderful trainer Jeremee made me cry (no not from a punishing workout) but I found saying goodbye to him the hardest of all. Think Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz saying goodbye to the trusted Scarecrow. For the past seven months Jeremee has been the connection to everything that climbing Everest means. As has always been the case for me, it isn’t just about the mountain. Oh no, it is about so very much more.

To all of you who have taken my mission on as if it were your own I want to say thank you. Your constant encouragement, Sheryl joining me on Saturdays for painful long runs when she wasn’t even training for a marathon yet and really would have preferred to play tennis! To Antonella for running 13.9 miles when she was only planning on running 8, okay maybe a 9! And for stopping to do all those ridiculous push-ups, squats and v-ups every few miles in the dirt went way beyond. To Katie for listening to all the craziness fluttering through my brain, no filter there! To all the incredible women at the B+S power hour who kept me going more than they realize, the cake with buttercreme frosting was a pretty ‘sweet’ way to my heart too. You have my word I will be back to workout with you. And to the “Fish Chicks” you continue to lighten my life even though your year has been challenged and difficult’

I could go on and on since the people I have met along the way have made the road to the top of the mountain so much more. As I have always said, this mission belongs to everyone I’m just crazy enough to have to actually do it.

Yup, I’m ready so let’s get ‘er done!!!

Climb on!

No Summit for Wendy…

After a long and thoughtful decision-making process with Wendy and her guide team, it’s been decided that she cannot attempt the Everest summit again.  There are really two core factors at play: weather and health.

Rather than the usual 2 weeks of clear weather that allows teams a reasonable time frame to ascend to the summit, this year’s window was divided by a nasty storm.  Only very strong climbers can make it from base camp to the summit in a very short window.  Unfortunately between Wendy’s MS symptoms, a bout of the flu, long waits for acclimatization and weather, and fatigue… it was decided that Wendy’s expedition cannot safely continue the climb.  She is completely out of gas!  At the pace the team was moving up the mountain, they simply would not have been able to reach the summit before the next wave of storms closes Everest for the year.  In addition, a physician who examined Wendy on the mountain recommended that she not try again for the summit.  It’s a short window to find success on Everest, and the team just did not have the lucky breaks to get to the top this time.

Their highest point attained was the base of Lhotse Face and they are now down below base camp trekking out to Lukla.  Wendy hopes to be back in Kathmandu by the 25th.

When I spoke with Wendy this morning she was in good spirits.  While she would like to have succeeded, of course, not summiting was always a distinct possibility.  Only 20% of first-timers summit Everest on their first attempt.  This was a particularly difficult year to make it to the top due to the erratic weather patterns and crowding on the South Col (the north face of Everest was closed by China causing most climbers to switch to the South Col).

Wendy is proud of her team, pleased with her performance and is looking forward to coming home and working hard to use the Everest experience to promote her sponsors and advance the MS cause.  In spite of not summiting, the climb truly was successful in that Wendy has proved that people with MS can accomplish amazing things!

I’m expecting Wendy to be back in Boston around May 28th if the trek out goes smoothly.  Please feel free to forward specific questions via comments or email to

Thanks, everyone, for watching Wendy’s progress and cheering her on.  She’ll have a personal blog update complete with stories coming soon.

Climb on!


* A note on Wendy’s ‘MS symptoms’… Above 20-22,000 feet her MS symptoms start flaring up. Numbness, dizziness, vision problems, etc. that she experiences from time to time seem to get worse above a certain altitude. The problem was pronounced on the Everest climb, and I think Wendy will talk to her neurologist about it when she gets home to see if there is some reason for the escalating symptoms that we can address.

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!


News from Camp 2

I had a wonderful call with Wendy this morning (evening in Nepal)!  She sounded so healthy and chipper – it was great to hear the excitement in her voice.

Lhotse Face Route on Everest

Lhotse Face Route on Everest

The team spent last night at Camp 2 at almost 22, 000 ft.  They are right below the Lhotse Face – a wall of ice that they will have to climb to reach Camp 3.  Wendy said that it’s a beautiful mass of blue ice, but will pose a challenge as they will be climbing without oxygen at such high altitude.  The Lhotse Face is an unavoidable part of the traditional southeast route up Everest.   Camp 3 sits about halfway up this ascending wall of glacial blue ice. From its base to the top, the Lhotse Face rises 3,700 feet at 40 and 50-degree pitches. The entire route is fixed with ropes, and climbers get into a rhythm of pulling and stepping up to ascend.  I’ve attached an image of the route so you can visualize Wendy’s location on the mountain.

Early summits estimates are now around May 3rd-5th, but the Sherpa have still been unable to get the entire route prepped.  Wendy’s expedition will position themselves for a summit attempt based on how well they are doing with the altitude.  If they begin feeling sick or really fatigued, they will move down to a lower elevation for a while to allow their bodies to adjust.  So far, Wendy said that she is feeling good.  They continue to cough and get winded just walking a short distance, but low energy is to be expected in the thin air.

The climb to Camp 3 will probably be the most physically demanding yet, due to the fact that they will be so high and will make the climb without the aid of oxygen.  Once at Camp 3, the team will sleep on oxygen at night.  Wendy said that when the sun comes out in the daytime it is actually quite hot, but then at night the cold is bitter.  They are all bundled up in down and report that the tents are pleasant at night for sleeping and relaxing.

Wendy and Brooke had a long call with the kids at Donald McKay Elementary today and I could tell that made her so happy.  She also talked with her mom and was in high spirits as she was heading off to bed.

More news from Everest to come soon…

Climb On!


(Trainer Jen reminded me last night that everyone in the universe may not know who I am!  For those of you who don’t know, I’m Trish Thomas, Wendy’s publicist in Colorado.)

Posts by Date

December 2022

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.