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  Mt. Everest 2005: Alpine Ascents Everest 2005: Happy Cinco de Mayo


Update: Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone. Unfortunately, we will not be celebrating with margaritas here at base camp. I have plans to rectify this oversight next season, however. So, beer and chips will have to do. Sigh, life is tough here at base camp.

It was great to sleep in at base camp this morning and be awakened by nice, strong, warm, morning sunshine after a refreshing night’s sleep in the thick air of base camp. I spent a lot of time reflecting on yesterday’s near tragedy at Camp I. Actually seeing the devastation first hand shortly after the icefall which created it was a very sobering experience, and I personally cannot explain why any of the six climbers at Camp I survived the resultant avalanche. An area the size of a small town was impacted on the surface of the Khumbu Glacier just under 20,000 feet. It appeared that there were several thousand tons of ice chunks and rock debris ripped from the face below the parental ice cliff on top of the West Shoulder of Everest which covered what used to be Camp I. Many feet wide crevasses in the glacier were freshly snow-bridged by snow plowed across the surface of the glacier by the force of the avalanche. Many small valleys ten or fifteen feet deep on the surface of the glacier were filled in, and the whole area in general was covered with ice boulders, and in some cases rock boulders.

It was a heart-warming experience to work with the ad-libbed international team of climbers, guides and Sherpas who made this rescue happen, and happen so quickly. This is the climbing community coming together at its best. Also the job of coordinating essentially the entire base camp and above by radio for the rescue fell to Ellie our base camp manager (not to mention my sweetie), and who performed exceptionally well.

But what does this all mean? We all court risk every day of our lives, whether we acknowledge it or not. 50,000 or so highway deaths per year, and how many people commute with private vehicles on freeways every day without giving it a thought? Despite what some sectors of the legal profession would have everyone believe or what some government agencies would like to believe, risk will never be eliminated from life. There are many who also feel that risk is an essential ingredient in life and one which has been so much removed by modern civilization, that it must be sought out for peace of mind or mental well-being. In its essence, that is one reason why we are all here to challenge Chomolungma.

Sometimes, it seems as though we live the richest by risk-taking at whatever level our personal comfort-zone dictates. It is almost like a moth and a flame at times; the challenge is to get close enough to singe without incinerating. This therefore, dictates that after such an incident as yesterday is when life feels the most precious, the most “alive” if you will, and so it is. The scenery is never better, the air is never fresher, the mountains never clearer, our friends and family never dearer, and the beer never more refreshing than we are reminded by a close call of our own mortality.

Willi Prittie

Dispatches

Vern Tejas, Willi Prittie, Dave Morton, Jose Luis Peralvo, and Lakpa Rita Sherpa will lead the Alpine Ascent team on Everest this Spring. They will attempt the standard South East ridge route.

GUIDE STAFF (BIOS)

Lakpa Rita Sherpa
Senior Guide & Sirdar

Vern Tejas
Senior Guide

Willi Prittie
Senior Guide

Dave Morton
Senior Guide

Jose Luis Peralvo
Senior Guide

Ellie Henke
Base Camp Manager
CLIMBERS

Nigel Clark

Esther Colwill

Ron Farb

Kevin Grant

Cathy Groninger

Kent Groninger

Mostafa Mahmoud

Jeanne Stawiecki

Dianette
Strange-Wells

Tony Van Marken

David Liano

Danielle Fisher

 

Millet One Sport Everest Boot Expedition and mountaineering boot for high altitude and extremely cold conditions. The Everest has conquered all 14 mountains over 8,000m and also the Seven Summits- and has now had a makeover to ensure continued peak preformance. With a newer sung, Alpine Fit, and even lighter Expedition footwear for mountaineering in conditions of extreme cold.  NOTE US SIZES LISTED. See more here.

 

A cold weather, high altitude double boot for extreme conditions The Olympus Mons is the perfect choice for 8000-meter peaks. This super lightweight double boot has a PE thermal insulating inner boot that is coupled with a thermo-reflective outer boot with an integrated gaiter. We used a super insulating lightweight PE outsole to keep the weight down and the TPU midsole is excellent for crampon compatibility and stability on steep terrain. WEIGHT: 39.86 oz • 1130 g LAST: Olympus Mons CONSTRUCTION: Inner: Slip lasted Outer: Board Lasted OUTER BOOT: Cordura® upper lined with dual-density PE micro-cellular thermal insulating closed cell foam and thermo-reflective aluminium facing/ Insulated removable footbed/ Vibram® rubber rand See more here.

 






 

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