Episode 048: May 20th, Camp 3
What’s The Frequency Kenneth? I spent the morning today trying to get in touch with my friend Julian. His parents had contacted me and were terribly worried about him. I knew Ben, Lhawang and Lhakpa were alright, climbing between Camp 2 and Camp 3, so I thought I’d try to put Julian’s parents at ease.
No luck. The radio situation was a comedy of errors. I was never able to get into direct contact with Julian who is at ABC. Instead, I was able to communicate marginally with Julian’s teammate, Rupert who was up at Camp 2. Unfortunately, I was only getting about every other word that Rupert was saying. It was maddening! At one point while transmitting, the radio switched frequencies all by itself!! Ugh!
Everyone is making a mass push towards the summit due to a supposed weather window that’s opening so there’s a frenzy of information flowing out of Base Camp and onto the Internet. Julian’s parents had discovered me through a dispatch to our website that was picked up and syndicated through EverestNews. I guess I had mentioned Julian, Rupert and Stewart’s names in the text and they put two and two together and found my email address. I offered to try and talk to Julian as their proxy. Isn’t it amazing that these two strangers in the UK could get in touch with me, but I can’t get in touch with our climbers who are just a few kilometers away?
In any case, Julian’s developed a chest infection and is out of the climb. Bittersweet news. Not climbing is safer than climbing, but a chest infection sounds dicey at best.
As for Ben and Co., faithful Dawa was able to get in touch with Lhawang via one of our radios a bit later this afternoon. The guys are at Camp 3 and are waiting on the weather to move up to Camp 4…the final camp. Once they get there, they’ll begin the final push.
I’m in a constant state of excitement and panic. So many days have led up to these moments. It’s hard to believe.
Total Running Time: 23:45
Dispatch 35, May20th, 2003: 16,400’ Mount Everest Base-camp
Hello all, Jon here…I’m going to switch into summit mode and try to send out emailed information as soon as I receive it.So, those of you off to bed will probably have a mess of emails waiting to be read in the morning.
Dawa and I just reached Lhawang by radio a few minutes ago. He said that they were sitting at camp 3 and waiting for the winds and snow to die down some more before they headed up any further. They also requested a weather report which is what I’ve been doing for the last few minutes here on my laptop. My friends with the HMA Expedition (Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, based in India) have given me their reports that they have had 3 climbers reach the Second Step (the last major hurdle before the summit) in a total whiteout. They’ve told me that one climber turned back, while two climbers carried on. Unfortunately, the climber who turned back also has the only radio, so we will not be able to get reports of weather on the summit if they make it today.
I’ve been informed by Ben’s father that Ben’s current plan is to wait for the weather to clear a little, then bypass Camp 4 (at 8300 meters) and head directly for the summit today (8848 meters) that’s an elevation gain of over 1000 meters.
It’s currently almost 12pm Tibet time (10:45am Nepal time) and I’m going to pass the weather info on to the guys momentarily. If I can contact them, I’ll send another email in just a few minutes to a couple of hours.
This is totally exciting on my end and hopefully I won’t pass out from the adrenaline…I have a job to do out here to keep everyone informed!
My friend Dimitri from the Russian St Petersburg team just came into the tent and said that one of their climbers just made it to Camp 4 at 8300 meters. It is not too windy up there, but it is still definitely windy. Hope that makes sense. Also, the path to the summit has been fixed with ropes, so visibility isn’t of absolute importance. Just follow the ropes….
I’ll be in touch, stay with us…Jon Miller