Update: LATEST UPDATE: 19 MAY 05: Rex has returned to base camp as the window
of good weather on the summit closed as quickly as it opened. May 25 looks
likely to be the next opportunity Rex will have to go for the summit. Watch
this space for more updates.
Update: Tuesday 17 May
This is Caroline (Rex's
younger sister) at Everest Base Camp writing on behalf of Rex. This morning at
about 5am Rex ate a quick but substantial breakfast and prepared to head up
through the ice fall. He left base camp at around 6am.
Rex decided to head up the
mountain for his summit push last night in response to some serious
discussion. The climbing season is fast coming to a close at the end of May
when the monsoon comes in, and that perfect break in the weather doesn't look
like it will come at all. It has now become a question of picking the best of
the bad! The forecasts show extremely high winds, as high as 80-90knots on the
summit over the next week or so, perhaps with a small window on the 21st or
22nd where the wind may drop to about 30-40knots. However the various
forecasts that are going around base camp often contradict each other so it
becomes very confusing.
Rex has decided that he will
place himself at camp 2 which will allow him to either take any window that
may come along and push for the summit. If a window doesn't appear, or the
weather continues to decline he will come back down to base camp.
Unfortunately the weather and situation dictates that Rex will only have a
single attempt at the summit.
Last night he stuffed his
pack full of protein snacks, energy goo satchels, water bottles, some fairly
serious medications and a first aid kit as well as some odd bits-and-bobs that
he shall need (or hopefully not in some cases!) for his summit push. Most of
his equipment, including oxygen is already stored at camp 2, 3 and the South
Col. The IMG Sherpas have fixed ropes up to the balcony which is probably
about 4-5 hours from the summit, so logistically things are falling into
place, everything except the weather and the wind that is!
Every climber in base camp is
preparing to head up in the next few days and there were a load of people
climbing through the ice fall this morning heading upward. The mountain will
be crowded but that is expected every year. Hopefully Rex will not get stuck
behind a whole group of people on the night/morning of his ascent and if he
does hopefully there will be opportunities to pass them. It becomes quite
messy on the mountain when everybody is pushing for the summit at the same
time, and you can find yourself on a rope with thirty other people. A kicked
block of ice or a falling oxygen bottle could easily lead to a domino effect
of falling people! Furthermore waiting at the bottom of the Hilary step for
your turn would be extremely frustrating for anybody especially as you want to
be up and off that mountain as quickly and as safely as possible.
The most important thing for
Rex will be his awareness of his own physical condition and the conditions
around him on summit day. He will need to run through mentally every few
minutes all the things that could possibly be wrong. How cold are my toes and
fingers? Is my oxygen flowing freely and there is no ice in the tube? Is the
wind going to be too strong? How much oxygen have I got left? Am I running to
schedule with enough time to descend? Is all my equipment and clothing
functioning? Every little detail is important and any red flags that come up,
Rex will have to assess whether they can be handled effectively and if they
can't he must make the impossible decision to turn around. The summit is not
worth an ultimate gamble for anyone and any little problems with equipment or
your body, at that altitude can quickly turn fatal. I can not even begin to
imagine the difficultly in keeping track of everything up at an altitude where
you are bound to be hypoxic and the summit may only be a few hundred feet away
but you have to make the decision to turn around. Hopefully everything will go
to plan and although it will be a little breezy, Rex will be able to
successfully summit and then make his way back down.
Rex checked in on the 2way
radio a few minutes ago to let us know that he has made it successfully
through the ice fall and through the avalanche devastated camp one and will
arrive in camp 2 at around lunch time. Rex moves extremely quickly and
strongly on the mountain which is a wonderful sign but then again it becomes a
totally new ball game up high, carrying oxygen as well. He is in a good
position having already reached the yellow band without oxygen and hopefully
that will serve him well with acclimitisation and moving effectively on the
If there is a break in the
high winds around the 21st/22nd May Rex's schedule will be as follows:
17th May - arrive Camp 2
18th May - Rest day camp 2
19th May - Camp 3
20th May - Camp 4, afternoon nap and head out at about 11pm for the summit
21st May - Summit day - an 18 hour round loop and back to camp 3
22nd May - Descend to camp 2
23rd May - Safe arrival in Base Camp
This is subject to change and
it is extremely likely that it will, it all depends on the wind and the
weather which fluctuates and changes at the drop of a hat.
Lets pray that the weather is
good, the winds low and that Rex remains safe and is successful. I will be
keeping you all updated regularly as the final leg of Rex's adventure unfolds.
Rex Pemberton is a motivational
Twenty-year-old Australian Rex Pemberton has a dream. Already an
experienced Alpine climber, Rex has set his sights on Mt Everest and hopes to
become the youngest Australian to stand atop the world's tallest mountain by
summiting in 2005.
By the age of 10 Rex wanted to climb every hill and mountain he could find,
by 16 Rex was on an expedition to Bolivia and Peru where he climbed
6,025-meter Mt. Huclca Huclca. In addition he has already climbed on six of
the seven continents including famous ascents of Mt. Cook and Mt. Aspiring in
New Zealand. He's stood atop Mt. Blanc, the Matterhorn and 14 other
4,000-meter peaks in the European Alps.
If things go according to plan and corporate funding falls into place Rex
will lead an expedition to Nepal in the spring of next year. It's not a cheap
venture, as any Everest veteran will tell you. Rex, who runs his own
development company and works with corporate trainers Peak Times, is looking
to raise at least $65,000AU for his expedition. It's a venture that Rex
believes will pay big dividends for the Australian corporation that funds his
expedition. He expects a lot of interest and publicity during his attempt at
the Australian record for youngest Everest summiter.
As he works toward completing his dream Rex continues train and maintains a
rigorous schedule of running, gym workouts and stair climbing to keep in top
shape for the challenge ahead.
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