Episode 022: French Cooking, Part 1

Do You Want Fries With That? A few days ago the final 4 members of our Everest expedition arrived at BC. Two Frenchmen, a Belgian and a Sherpa drove up from Tingri. Kind of sounds like the opening to a bad joke, but I have no idea what the punch line would be!

The two French climbers are Bertrand and Alain, the Belgian is Andre and the Sherpa is Dawa Chiri whom I met back in Kathmandu. I’m very pleased to have them here; they seem like very interesting people. Everyone but Andre speaks a bit of english. Andre is a 68-year-old climber who will be attempting Everest for the second time. If successful, he’ll be the oldest climber to summit the world’s highest peak.

Alain and Andre are doing well after arriving at 17,000 feet but Bertrand has been suffering from a touch of the altitude sickness. Today we rolled out their rented Gamow bag and tried it out. It’s a small hyperbaric chamber used to simulate lower altitudes.You can tell that we all must be suffering from the lack of oxygen up here since we placed the bag in direct sunlight! Bertrand climbed into the airtight bag and we all took turns pumping it full of air. Everything seemed fine until I noticed that Bertrand’s little porthole window was fogging up. The sun is quite powerful up here and I soon realized that it was slowly cooking this poor, afflicted frenchman! The horror, the horror…

After about 45 minutes we released him from his pressure cooker and as soon as his damp clothing touched the cool BC air he immediately became cold and shivering. Ah, climbing Everest is so glamorous.

Jon Miller

Total Running Time: 18:44

To: Susan Miller
From: Jonathan Miller
Date: 04/24/2003 05:41AM
Subject: All is well

Mom, I take long naps while Ben is climbing. I have a cough I can’t
seem to shake. Not too bad, but I’ve been resting a lot to try to shake
it. I can’t communicate with Ben right now because he’s not high enough
and is behind Changtse, a minor peak (if you consider 7,583 meters minor). We just installed our radio base station and maybe tonight we can hear them up there at 21,000 feet. I’ve heard the climbing is going well for all teams. Maybe by the 3rd of May people will be standing on the summit! Seems a little bit early, though.

I spend my day hanging with Tom and the Russian doctor Dima (Dmitri) and then I do some editing and then I nap. Yes, the good cook Dawa is still here and we talk in slow English in the evening. Two more clients
showed up yesterday. They are from France and I really like them. Allan is 58 and Bertrand is 50. They will attempt the summit without Oxygen. I’m really enjoying their company and I know it’s the same for them. there’s another , Belgian, that showed up with the two French guys. I want to say his name is Andre but I’m not entirely sure. He is really cool too. 68 years old and trying Everest for the second time in 3 years. He made it up to 8000 meters in 2000 and turned around. He was not using Oxygen. He will this time. He’s a character.

That’s all for now, Mom, but thanks for keeping the emails coming.

Love, Jon