Update: Monday 12th April,
8pm. Gorak Shep & Everest Base Camp
(EST is 9 hours 45mins behind Nepal)
Dave gets to 18,500 feet up
the Khumbu Ice Fall
Diary by Terry Kell and
Sean got up at 6am this
morning to take part in a special live satellite telecast to schools across
Canada from Base Camp. The broadcast linked in via amateur radio to a school
in Almonte, Ontario (Sean’s and my home town) and on to schools in New
Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia. Almost 30
children asked him questions about his experiences, and the challenge of
living at Base Camp. He was excited by the end of the broadcast but also a
little emotional at having spoken to so many well-wishers back in Canada. I
think the memory of Almonte and the realization of how far he has come, made
him a little melancholy. He’ll need all the support he can get for the next
I also got up early this
morning and watched the climbers going up the Khumbu Ice Fall which is some
way from Base Camp and presents one of the most dangerous obstacles on
Everest. It’s certainly one of the most terrifying as it looks like an almost
sheer wall of ice and you never know when a piece of it will give way. There
is a part, the size of an apartment block, which looks ready to collapse at
any moment. The climbers, and there may have been as many as 30 of them, were
carefully avoiding that section and going up the left hand side. Dave was in
there with them and I looked for him, all the while keeping my fingers crossed
that there would no more avalanches. Dave climbed about two thirds of the way
up the icefall to 18,500 feet and said it’s the hardest thing he’s ever done.
He returned to Base Camp, exhilarated, exhausted, and safe.
We had more technical
problems today – the wind storm broke one of our critical cables so we’ve
ordered another one to be sent to Kathmandu and then up the mountain via Yak
I (Terry) have now returned
to Gorak Shep with Gerry, Nicole, Harold, Katie and Keith. The trek was
harder than we expected and we’re tired but well and in good spirits.
We had an emotional goodbye
for Sean and Harold, who will stay on the mountain, and we loaded them up with
food, medical supplies and our best wishes. I envy Sean his dream of summiting
Everest. It’s an incredibly difficult environment in which to survive. The
landscape has a lonely, windswept beauty but the wind drives through you like
a knife; it’s bitterly, bitterly cold and the air is thin and dry. Even
tonight I’m still coughing as my lungs and throat are so dry. The surface at
Base Camp is also impossibly hard to walk around with jagged rocks and sharp
stones that make every step planned or painful. Back at Gorak Shep, it almost
seems like we have the comforts of home.
I (Harold) have stayed behind
with Sean to assist him in his climb. We practiced on ladders this morning and
we will start at 5.30am tomorrow to ascend the Khumbu Ice Fall. Elia has
stayed on for a day to continue the training of the Sherpas on how to use the
cameras and seems happy with their level of skill. Wayne went on a hike
looking for one of the trails that heads down to another Base Camp but
couldn’t find it and ended up going in a big circle. The environment is very
confusing sometimes and when the wind is blowing and the temperature is
dropping, it’s difficult to get around.
Base Camp is filling up with
more and more climbers and hikers. I met a Jordanian climber who has climbed 6
of the world’s 7 highest peaks and has come to summit Everest.
The stress of Base Camp
starts to show on people’s faces after a while. They get cold; their appetites
get depressed; they become hunched and quieter. Tomorrow, when we say goodbye
to the rest of the party, it’ll just be me and Sean!
Terry & Harold
Terry Kell is returning to
Kathmandu, with most of the expedition party and they will return to Canada
within the next 7-10 days.
Harold Mah is staying at Base
Camp to support Sean Egan when he makes his summit attempt in May.
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