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  Canadian Mt. Everest 2005 Along a trail as wide as a footstep


Photo Tom West ©EverestNews.com

Update: Thursday April 7th, 9pm. Gorak Shep, 5,180m

We had a three hour trek today from Labouche. It was another brutally tough climb.

The altitude is hurting us all. Our heart rates are up and our oxygen saturation levels are down. Despite the general fatigue and mild headaches, everyone in our party is doing relatively well. We’re pleased that we spent so long in training and that our preparations were extensive. All the stairs that Harold made the Toronto contingent climb, again and again and again, are paying off!

Just getting out of the tent can leave me breathless. If I bend over to pick something up I have to do it slowly as I feel dizzy when I stand up again.

At 16,600 feet we’re over half way to the top of Everest, which is 29,028 feet. Realizing how hard it has been to get to this height I have a very real appreciation of the challenge that Sean has ahead of him. That’s why he spends a few weeks at Base Camp, acclimatizing and preparing for the push to the top.

There are several other groups here and quite a few of the people are sick. A lot of people seem to have arrived totally unprepared for the experience with inadequate clothing and sleeping bags, little water and poor training. We met a couple here who had sheltered inside a hut for two days, trying to get acclimatized to the height. There was a helicopter up the mountain earlier in the day evacuating a hiker who had fallen too sick to make it down on his own.

We saw the full extent of the massive Khumbu glacier today, which snakes its way down the mountain side, as we climbed along a trail about 500 feet above it. In places the trail was as wide as a footstep, with a precipitous drop. Most of the team was fine but some of us needed to be talked along. This was no time for pictures or admiring the view down below. Just clenched teeth, a firm step and a steady pace. I was very pleased when we made it to our campsite!

On the way here we visited an Italian research station called the Pyramid Research Centre run by Jean Pietro Veso. It’s at 5,050m and looks like a pyramid made out of solar panels. It’s quite the sight and contains lots of weather measuring equipment.

We were also passed by an Everest marathon runner! She was a young French woman, Corien Favre, who is a three time winner of the foot race from Base Camp back to Lukla. It was quite bizarre to see her fly by as we trudged, breathless, up the mountain.

Through the fatigue, there is a growing sense of excitement as we get closer to Base Camp. Tomorrow will be another three hour climb before we arrive there in the early afternoon, our home for a while.

More later. Terry

Dispatches

 

 

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