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  Mt. Everest 2004: Irish Expedition Update


Text from Pat - May 2: With wind speeds to high and a bad forecast until May 6th, we've decided to return to Base Camp Wyeth in order to conserve our energy. This is a disappointing development, but is beyond our control as the mountain and the elements call the shots.

We are anxiously awaiting an improved weather forecast in order to head back up the mountain and establish Camp 3 Spórt Corrán Tuathail.

Update - May 1: The bad news for the day is, that the weather is going to get worse and this is likely to last for a further four days.

What was meant to be a four day outing to set up Camp (3) Spórt Corrán Tuathail is turning into a mammoth trip just to get it established. It now may take eight to ten days as the weather pins us down at Camp (2) Lowe Alpine. Listening to the winds beating against our tent is enough to drive even the most level headed person crazy. The constant sound of wind hurdling on the ridges above is like the sound of a train passing you in a station at high speed and not stopping... but the train has an endless supply of carriages!

We arrived here at Camp (2) Lowe Alpine on the 28th April with great enthusiasm. Though exhausted, we looked forward to taking a rest day and then moving through to Camp (3) Spórt Corrán Tuathail. Our plan was to establish camp on the icy Lhotse face, have a night there to acclimatize and get back to Base to prepare for our summit bid.

Now, with no end in sight to the bad weather and our energy being depleted from the altitude, it is a major decision what's best to do next. There is no easy solution. No matter which decision we make, our strength will be affected.

On the North side of Everest, I have sat out weather conditions like this for two weeks at a time and it didn't affect my strength when it came to a summit push. I was lucky then.

It's amazing just to watch the winds from our Camp 2 - stripping Everest of the snow that was attached to it. It is now back to being a Black Pyramid and the Lhotse face looks awesome as it is stripped back to blue ice all the way from Camp 2 to Camp 3.

We will sit and wait to see what our radio contact will bring at 6pm from Base Camp Wyeth.

Dispatch - April 30th: Clare and I have decided to give it a further day at Camp (2) Lowe Alpine. While our Sherpas have taken the opportunity to push with loads to Camp 3 and then help out at fixing ropes with 10 other Sherpas across the Lhotse face to the infamous yellow band and on to the South Col.

Without doubt these are the most enthuasthic Sherpas that I have had in all of my expeditions to the Himalayas. They are as excited at the idea of getting to the summit as we are.

Clare and I are acclimatizing to our lofty position at Camp (2) Lowe Alpine; the trick is to avoid burning ourselves out too soon and here at this altitude it is so easy. We are resting and eating trying to recover from our long ascent the other day from Base Camp Wyeth. As you can imagine it is not easy trying to file reports back from this height.

Today to amuse ourselves we are sitting outside our mess tent and looking up on the mighty Lhotse face and to our goal for tomorrow - Camp 3 (Camp Spórt Corrán Tuathail) at 24,000 feet.

If we achieve this, it will give us a firm grip on the mountain for our summit attempt. Camp 3 is daunting when you look at it from Camp 2. As you look up the Lhotse face from Camp (2) Lowe Alpine; it appears steep and dangerous. 4,000 feet of blue ice with an unrelenting slope of 60 degrees, right in the centre is Camp (3) Spórt Corrán Tuathail which is etched from the slope of steep hard blue ice. A fall on this face is likely to be fatal as to successfully ice axe arrest on this face would be virtually impossible.

Tomorrow, all going well, we will try to overnight at Camp 3. This will
give us a firm hold on the mountain for our final summit assault.

The Sherpas had a hard day today as the winds above Camp (2) Lowe Alpine were 60-70 miles/hr.

Base camp tonight confirmed our worst expectations - that the jet stream winds are approaching Everest.

Dispatches

Pat Falvey, veteran expedition leader, Everest climber, author and motivational speaker.

To book Pat Falvey on his 'AGAINST THE SKY' LECTURE TOUR. e-mail us at

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