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  Canadian Mt. Everest 2005: Special live satellite telecast to schools across Canada from Base Camp


©EverestNews.com

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 Harold Mah

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 few weeks.

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 Express.

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!

More later.

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.

Dispatches

 

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