Everest 2001 : Erik Weihenmayer
|Today we hiked over the hill to the Pheriche medical clinic. We ate lunch with the high altitude doctors stationed there. Alan said to the trekkers coming up the mountain that their oxygen saturation in their blood should be around 80 percent. Eric, Mike O and mine were in the 90s — since we were coming down from so high. The doc said the first sign of altitude sickness is a headache combined with either dizziness or nausea, pretty much what I feel every moment I'm climbing above base camp. But down here I feel practically normal. A porter was in the clinic on bottled oxygen suffering from pulmonary edema. The doc let us each listen to the porter's lungs and you could hear the sound of gurgling fluid as he breathed. He was only 15 years old. The doc was worried about him. A helicopter was supposed to be flying him out this evening.|
Just to show
what an amazing team I'm part of, every time I near camp some faster
climbers on the team will work their way back to meet us along the
trail. As I got through the icefall the first time, still an hour
and half from Camp 1, Charley and Brad met us with hot tang. On the
way down the ice fall, half hour from base camp, somebody is always
there to meet us. We hear them calling up to us as we descend. The
most amazing moment was coming from base camp down to Dingboche two
nights ago. It was a long rocky and bouldery 9-hour day, in which I
kicked many rocks with my toes. Around six we came down below Tugla,
across a long, rutted meadow. The clouds had risen up the valley and
had engulfed us in mist. I felt it on my fingers like rain. At the
top of the hill above Dingboche I should of known to expect it.
There they were, Mike and Irie waiting with Sprite and candy bars.
They reached the tea house and before eating dinner had hiked back
up the hill to meet us.
Today over the radio we heard the tragic news of Babu Chiri Sherpa death near Camp 2. He is one of Nepal's national heroes; climbing Everest a record number of times. On my second trip through the icefall I got the privilege of meeting him as he was coming down. He leaned in towards me and I felt his barreled chest. His gloved hand patted me on the back. It sounds strange, but I can still feel the impression of his hand on my back.; warm and confident. Today I've been fighting to keep my head in a positive space. I've a lot of conflicting thoughts in my head and I'm not too sure what to think. I'll need more time to sort it all out.
I want to make sure that this accident doesn't make my friends and family worry more about us. One thing I've learned about our team is that we'll stick together and take care of each other, which gives me just enough courage to head back up there for the final push.Erik Weihenmayer
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