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  Mt. Everest 2005: Four Friends To Climb Everest For A Cure: May 11 -13 Everest Base Camp


Update: May 11 -13 Everest Base Camp - From Robert Chang

The waiting game continues as we battle boredom and malaise, but this is part of the Everest puzzle.  We recently had a meeting with a number of other teams and had pieced together a joint summit plan in which each team would contribute manpower, materiel and/or supplies for the summit push out of Camp Four to the Balcony and beyond.  This was based on an early prediction that there would be a small and short clear spell - which never came, so the plan was pushed back.

Our syrup crises has been averted due to a very generous team that donated a bottle to us - we are once again maple syrup stocked.  As for what the team members are up to, Chuck, Dan, John and I have been doing short hikes down valley to Gorak Shep and/or Pumori Base Camp/Camp One.  We are trying to keep some assemblance of fitness but as more days tick off, we feel the lost acclimatization we once had to almost 24,000 feet. 

Our Sherpas have completed all our large load carrying duties to Camp Four. This was an amazing feat once again, considering the other day 50+ Sherpas attempted to carry gear to Camp Four and only 18 made it, 13 from one team and the other 5 were ours (who by the way were carrying double loads once again to 26,000feet!).  Many other teams left gear and packs tied off to the fixed ropes between Camps Three and Four since the winds and conditions were too brutal to complete the task that day.

With our Sherpas completing this monumental goal, means at least for our team, everything is in place at each camp for us to make our summit push. 

Our summit push involves our team moving from Base Camp through   the Khumbu Ice Fall (one last time)  to Camp Two in one day, we then take a rest day at Camp Two (i.e. spend two nights there).  From Camp Two, we move up the Lhotse Face to Camp Three, spend one night at Camp Three.  The next day the plan is to move to Camp Four, we spend the rest of the day/afternoon there, then head out around 8pm the same night for the summit.   

We plan to summit mid-morning the next day, and upon the summit we return back to Camp 4.  The next day we head to Camp 2, then the next day to Base Camp - and then the large process of breaking BC and heading home.  This of course is based upon the many different weather forecasts we are getting here - and then choose a day we feel is going to be the best chance of good weather, and then reverse engineer the process knowing how many days it will take us to get in place to be at Camp 4 for the summit evening/day. 

Being with Apa Sherpa definitely helps, in terms of his vast experience and summit record - but as we have learned, this is all part science, part art, part luck and part intuition.  Not knowing the specific date when we plan to head up does at times wear on us - but anyone who is a veteran here, knows patience is just as important as anything else in terms of success.

As for using oxygen, yes our team, Sherpas included will be using oxygen out of Camp Three.  Very few individuals don't use "gas" as we call it here in BC and there are a few here on the mountain who don't plan to use it.  Debate aside, from a health and safety standpoint, our team has chosen to be on the positive side of things in terms of lessening the chances of high altitude sicknesses, frostbite, and being able to move a bit quicker on "gas".  We asked Apa about people who come here for their first time with the goal of climbing without oxygen and asked when do they think they might have bit off more than they could chew when opting to go for it with out O's, and he answered, "when they get to 8000 meters, then they know when they probably need gas....".  O's definitely help, even if we do have to carry the extra weight in our packs.  

We also recently visited some other camps to compare weather notes and our BC Manager Paula has been an active participant in keeping up to date on what other teams are thinking and planning. I was able to trade some of my teriyaki beef jerky for some canned lunch ham which was a great score. 

Weather forecasts are like gold around here, though now there are numerous sources, from France, Switzerland, US, UK, Sudan and a few more, so its a filtering process to say the least, with of course, the practice of actually poking our heads out our tents and looking up at the mountain.

Other teams are up at Camps Two and Three completing there acclimatization pushes.  We have been battling a technology bug of a sort with some problems with our email arrangement - so hopefully we can get this all ironed out before our summit bid - a great thanks to Damon Tribble at Tribble Designs for being our invaluable email help and tech support back at home!

As for the climbing Sherpas - they are down in Base Camp too.  They find long conversations into the evenings an integral part of their day as well as the friendly dice and card games.  We have had some time to show them how to use some video gear as well as show them some elements of organizing an expedition as well as improving their English reading and writing skills. 

Food has been good in BC, though our Sherpa Cook Birbal has been testy with our picky appetites at times.  I am lactose intolerant with our BC Manager - i.e. no dairy, a few others can't have garlic or onions in their food due to severe gastric issues that will arise later after the meal, so we aren't exactly the easiest bunch to cook for in the land of yak butter/milk - and a haven for onion and garlic garnishment - but our cook staff has been very creative. 

 We recently had pizza and beer night (limited beer for sure) and it was a fun, flavorful evening.  Under the supervision of our BC manager, we also had a new desert called Choco Pucks, made from a Texas biscuit recipe, with chocolate thrown in, and of course, steamed versus fried according to one of our Sherpa cook staff.  The creation came out quite good, a cross between fudge and a brownie - but probably not going to be on a Mrs. Fields menu any time soon.

As for me, my 150 pound frame is now down to about 130 pounds.  I am trying to supplement all my meals with a tube of Pringles, candy bars, and even some of the Sherpa meals that are left over.  I have a liking for their Sherpa stew with Yak meat and of course, a stew which has some Tibetan goat meat in it -protein is key for trying to maintain some weight (sorry if any offense to non-meat eaters).

The weather has cleared abit but with high winds above.  Updated weather reports are due in the next couple days, and so this new information can possibly start the process for many teams summit bids- ours included so stay tuned as we feel our summit push is near...... Rob



Rob Chang Everest Climber, author and motivational speaker. To book Rob e-mail

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