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  Everest 2007:  Climb High South East Ridge 2007 Expedition: Success


Climb High South-East Ridge 2007 Expedition in aid of Motor Neurone Disease

24th May - He has made the summit and he is fine!  David just called - I can't tell you the feeling of relief we all had when we heard his voice.  It apparently took longer than expected to get to the South Col, and so they summitted on Monday - 21st.  He then got caught up in the awful tragedy of Pemba's death, trying to help our her husband, Raj, who understandably is very distressed.

I have just received an email from him saying:'

Nuri and I did summit successfully with out any great alarms (no solid food for 4 days and my water bottle freezing on summit day so only 1/4 L of fluid to drink, aside) at 8:40am on 21st May, so if you could let people know that would be great.'

He decided he couldn't wait any longer and left the other sherpas to help recover Pemba's body and he has walked out on his own.  He couldn't get a connection on Satellite phone, so walked to the next place, a Himalayan outpost, to try and call us.  It was closed up!  Then the women who had arrived with him had an epileptic fit and he ended up needing to resuscitate her and get help for her.

He had just walked to Namche, the next place and called from there.  He had been 4 days without any food so is a little weak, and both he and Nuri have picked up a sinus infection - but other than that he is okay,  He is now going to walk to Lukla and try and change his ticket home so he can come back a week early - we hope. 

Thank you to everyone for all your calls and messages of support over the weeks and especially these last few days.  You have been wonderful.

23rd May - No news yet.  I suspect that when David couldn't get hold of us by satellite phone on Monday, he commenced his four day walk out - which will mean that we may not hear from him until Friday.  Until then we can just go on the old adage that 'no news is good news'.

You may have noticed that the amount raised in sponsorship so far has reduced dramatically today.  I have just had an awkward (and amusing) call with the MND Association who told me that the amount raised offline was a (fantastic) 300!  When I said that one of their operators had told me 5130 in April - there was a lot of shuffling of papers and a comment 'Oh dear, well she was very new'.  Never mind, I still think that the amount all of you have contributed to MND for David is absolutely wonderful  - thank you.

22nd May -  No news from David, but I have just learned that Pemba Doma - the lady running David's expedition, has died on Lhotse.  You may remember that originally David's party was one of four - two going up Lhotse and David plus another climber (since turned back) going on up Everest.  They would have shared the journey to Camp 3 and then peeled off.  David would have had his personal sherpa, Nuri, with him.

This is so shocking and sad.  David stayed with Pemba Doma at her house before getting to base camp and was full of admiration for her and her husband, Rajen.  I gather she leaves behind a little girl too, Lhemi.

Earlier: 16th May - It is a go!  David just rang and the weather has changed again - An advance party of Sherpas and one team have summitted to made sure the whole path is clear and David leaves tomorrow - hoping to get to the South Col on the 19th, summiting in the morning of the 20th and returning to base camp in the morning of the 21st.  Our next contact won't be until he is back at base camp.

He is feeling a little nervous now, though excited.  He is still fit though has lost over 10kg in weight - about 4" off his waist!  I could do with this diet!   He says the food has been good but he has had enough of it now and one of the lists he has been making (!) has been of all the food he would like to eat.

 I asked about concerns re. queuing at the Hillary Step;  he says it will remain a concern, but many would-be summitters have gone home (for various reasons) - so the chances for him look as good as it can be.  He is desperate to come home, and if all goes well will try and change his ticket to get back on Sunday 27th May.   We are all in a tiz at home - excited, nervous, unable to concentrate - probably as he is feeling but without the low oxygen excuse.  Fingers crossed everyone.

Earlier: David rang again this morning - having spent a frustrating day yesterday trying to get through - the satellite connection was demonstrably variable as we were cut off mid-way through our conversation.

He is hugely frustrated as the weather has changed yet again - and now their summit attempt has been put back to the 21st - 22nd May.  The window is lessening too (21st - 25th) which is not good for all the people who want to summit from the South - you don't want to have to queue at the Hillary Step!  The weather was quite unsettled last week with a lot of snow and high winds, and it means that when they do go through - one advance party will need to clear the path through the deep snow. There has been much jockeying of position by the teams, apparently - but it looks like one of the larger parties may go first.

David is tired of the waiting.  He has climbed to Camp 3 and above, is fully fit and raring to go and just finished his 10th and last book - so not looking forward to the endless days hanging around.   He has struck up a friendship with an Italian pilot - but the other team member who was meant to be climbing with him, Ishan, couldn't make it through the Lhotse ice wall and so has had to turn back.

He will try and call us just before they start for their final ascent (around the 17th) and again as soon as they get down to base camp (21st/22nd).

9th May - At last, David rang again this morning; he was due to ring on the 4th, but didn't and I must admit that as time passed I got more and more worried - which turned into cross, until eventually I spent a sleepless night telling him off in my head!  So probably just as well that it was Dorothy, his mother, he got hold of when he called!

Not much news though - he still has a nasty cold, which is getting him down a little, and the expected summit date has come forward to the 15th or 16th May.  Dorothy says he sounded quite homesick - I don't think these personal challenges are necessarily fun - just very hard work.  He is hoping to ring on Saturday morning (12th) - so I will find out more then.

Earlier: Progress update - Climb High South-East Ridge 2007 Expedition in aid of Motor Neurone Disease

28th April - News from Base Camp.  David and his team were climbing up to Camp 3 as planned last week - when they heard that one of the porters on the Italian team had fallen off the Lhotse face (between camps 2 and 3) and been killed.  They all felt they wanted to turn round, and I gather that teams are going up today to recover the body for the family;  terribly sad. 

They now have 4 - 5 days rest at Base Camp; David is thinking of going down the valley to one of the lodges (in desperate need of a shave, wash, and clean socks).  They will then go back up to Camp 3 (around 3-4th May) - going up to the yellow band of rocks.  It takes about 8 hours of walking to Camp 2, and a further 5 hours to Camp 3 - and is, in David's work '*!* hard' Then it is back down again...I asked why they couldn't go to the summit now, apparently 200km winds are getting in the way - even blowing down the loot and shower tents at base camp.

Everyone is fine, apart from the dry, Khumde cough he has (I think our dog, Mocha has come out in sympathy).  Apart from the winds, weather is fine, still varying between +30 and -10 on the Lhotse face (-2 at base camp).

Progress update - Monday 22nd April- News from Everest Base Camp

Climb High South-East Ridge 2007 Expedition in aid of Motor Neurone Disease

22nd April - David rang from base camp and told me about his team.  There are only 4 of them in his expedition:  Ishan, a Bangladeshi-American who is an Immigration Lawyer;  Thomas, a Physics Professor and Christina who is an Italian research scientist from the Pyramid research station in the valley.  Thomas and Christina are climbing Lhotse, so only David and Ishan are taking on Everest.  David is delighted with his Expedition group, one of the others has 40 clients!

As I said last week, they have been taking kit up to Camp 2, had 2 days of rest in Phereche (6-7 hours down the valley - mainly so David could recover from a cold he caught from the Canadians!) and are now back at base camp for a couple of days.  They will then go to Camp 2 with a view to climbing to Camp 3 around the 24th April.

The weather is rather amazing.  It was +35 going to the Western Cwym and then dropped to -15 overnight. 

He is well, only having the dry cough which is typical of that altitude - and for which he has an inhaler. 

Otherwise, there is quite a lot of hanging around and he says he spends his time making lists of what he (we) are going to do when he gets back!  Oh dear! ...I think this is the bit that we at home - and the surgery, won't look forward to so much!

All of his kit is working brilliantly - apart from his ipod which is a source of great frustration, especially during the rest days;  all the hours before downloading his favourite tracks.....He is going to ring next weekend with the next update.  I told him that he has now raised over 14,000 for Motor Neurone Disease and he nearly fell off the mountain!


Earlier: Climb High South-East Ridge 2007 Expedition in aid of Motor Neurone Disease

7th April David (Dr David Ratcliffe) rang this morning having just spent his first night at Everest Base Camp.  His pre-Everest climb was cut short - as the warm days and then cold nights had made the ice on the Cho-La glacier treacherous.  David has met his guide, Nuri, and will meet the rest of this party today.  He says he has met some Canadians from another expedition who are all really nice.  Last night in his tent was freezing - waking up to ice inside, and even his suntan cream had frozen.  I didn't ask about his pee bottle!

1st April
We stayed an extra day in Namche as the Yaks had not arrived, but are definitely off tomorrow. I think the plan may have changed slightly with the good weather ( I saw Everest today - very clear) so we may go straight to base camp over the next 4-5 days. Nuri has left today with the Yaks. Have gone to the museum today and seen the ``famous`` crashed helicopter.
31st March
Ive just done an acclimatisation walk up too the airstrip in the next village by a school set up by Sir Edmund Hillary where Pemba went to school.
30th March 2007
Hi, I have arrived in Namche 3400m and we will have a rest day tomorrow. It is the main village in the valley and there is a big market in the morning. People have been coming in from all over loaded down with all sorts of goods. It's been very hot with bright blue skies and a 600m gain in height. We are to stay in a lodge owned by Pemba 's family.
Feeling OK but stomach playing up a little. We have been trekking up with a group of 5 Canadians some of whom are the distributors of the Sherpa Adventure gear.







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