Episode 025: Back To Base Camp

Give It a Rest. Even here at ABC, I still can’t believe I’m here at Everest! This is one of the problems with being a photographer: sometimes you need to put the camera down and experience things for real. It’s too easy to view your world as an outside observer through the lens. This is why, after so much planning and reading and thinking about Everest, it is easy to forget that I’m not just watching all of this on a tiny video monitor in the viewfinder…I’m actually here!

Wait a minute, was that a little difficult to follow? Maybe it’s time to head back down to Base Camp and breathe the thicker air! Just let me get a few more shots first…

Yesterday Ben, Lhawang and Lhakpa returned from their acclimatization trip up to 7900 meters. They spent last night up on the North Col (6900 meters) and descended to ABC this morning. It was very exciting for me to watch them return. It’s always good to know for sure that your friends are doing OK and are safe. Apparently the climb up to their recent highpoint was extremely difficult for Ben. But he made it, and it will be easier the next time as they head for the summit. Who knows exactly when that will be? First we have to return to BC for a few days to let the team rebuild their strength. Luckily, it’s easier to walk downhill than uphill so we can make the 22km trek back to camp in one day instead of two.

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been gone from our families and friends for nearly a month…and that we’ve got more than a month left to go. It’s actually quite surreal. Yesterday was my mother’s birthday. I called her today on the sat phone since it was still yesterday in the USA (chew on that!) to wish her a happy one. 10 years ago to the day she got an important phone call from my brother Eric to say that his first child had been born. Now, a decade later, she received a phone call from another son from Mount Everest. I wonder what amazing thing our other brother will call her about on her birthday 10 years from now? No pressure, Chris.

Jon Miller

Total Running Time: 15:12

Dispatch 24, April 26, 2003: Advanced Base Camp, 21,000’

I awoke today at 23,000’+ a little tired from the first foray to 25,000’+. Not to worry though, I’m heading down to ABC where I have heard that Jon, our film director, has ultimately made the highest and hardest hike of his life. A non-climber, I am very proud of Jon for making it to 21,000’, he really goes above and beyond what I ever expected! I will rest here for two days and return to base camp.

Ben Clark