Dispatch - May 19
Just after 02.00hrs Base Camp Wyeth was noisy due a strong wind. This was not
the forecast. Getting up, I knew that weather updates were essential.
Communications systems were made ready and routine checks carried out.
I had the latest weather ready at 05.00hrs. Later the radio came to life.
Climbers were leaving High Camp Wyeth. The wind is strong and they would not
answer radio calls, only make them. This is because descending from the South
Col requires both hands at all times.
The latest weather forecast is for strong winds. Speeds of up to 50mph; and
these are expected to rise in the afternoon. The strongest winds are expected
over 7500m. This is why the team are descending to Camp 2 Lowe Alpine. All
climbers from other expeditions are also descending. The tropical depression
in the Bay of Bengal had been upgraded to a Tropical Cyclone. This has led to
large increases in wind speed. Convection also increased, which up here leads
to greater precipitation - snow.
Just received radio call from Camp 3 Spórt Corrán Tuathail. Lhakpa has started
to dismantle the Vaude tents in readiness for descending to Camp 2 Lowe
Alpine. The rate of descent is good. All the others have just arrived at the
Pemba announced that everybody was thirsty, but to stop and melt ice would
take too long. Dawe immediately contacted Tensing at Camp 2 Lowe Alpine and
relayed the news. Tensing had his insulated bag ready packed with high energy
juices, snacks and his personal high altitude gear. He embarked immediately up
the Western Cwm to meet the others on their way down.
Camp 3 Spórt Corrán Tuathail has been dismantled and all are heading down.
More details after we talk to the team. This will happen after they are
settled in Camp 2 Lowe Alpine.
We have just received a radio call that all members of the team are safely at
Camp 2 Lowe Alpine. They are all well, but tired. They have eaten well and are
settling down to rest. They plan to descend early in the morning and hope to
be at Base Camp Wyeth about midday.
Pat also revealed some details of the rescue on Everest last night. Pemba and
Lamababu were involved in getting climbers that were in difficulties back to
the South Col. This morning people from all expeditions assisted in evacuation
to lower altitude and over steep ground. Jangbu accompanied one climber all
the way to Camp 3.
At Base Camp Wyeth, Dawe and Adrian had known about the emergency up higher as
they were helping to co-ordinate things at EBC between various parties as our
Motorola Radios were the only ones that transmitted and received perfectly -
and clearer than any time before when contacting that altitude.
Special message to Brian at
Sigma Wireless in Cork
When you and Fidelma were here a couple of weeks ago, I told you that the
range and signal are excellent and they perform better than the
specifications. I think I also said that during several days testing in
hostile mountain environment that they performed admirably. In fact I think I
might have said that apart from user created problems they are a great
communications system. Last night when it really matter they were reliable as
ever. When bad weather conditions, caused by electrical charges and varying
air pressures, interrupted other radio broadcasts the Motorola was the perfect
The GM 360 Base Set and the GP340 Handsets are just brilliant - and so say all
of us. A big thank you from me on behalf of all those at the different Base
Camps. A very big even huge thank you from those people on the mountain, who
from dusk to dawn absolutely needed radio contact.
The Base Set and handsets are brilliant - thank you Sigma Wireless and
In the early of hours of the morning, we received the good news that most of
those who had been in danger were now relatively safe at Camp 3 and others had
made it to Camp 2.
At no stage were any of our team in danger. Those involved in the rescue and
evacuation were tired, but are now resting at Camp 2 Lowe Alpine. At present
it is snowing hard at Everest Base Camp, these conditions that started at
15.00hrs are expected to last for 24hrs.
We have just received news that the trekkers are in Lobuche. They are staying
the night there. We hope to see them soon. Among this group are Nima Sherpa,
Tim Orr and Eamon Muldowney. They are joining Sheila Kavanagh in her
expedition to climb the 20,305ft Imja Tse, also known as Island Peak.
Thanks to Sheila Kavangh
Sheila arrived at Base Camp Wyeth in April. She immediately embarked on a very
fast learning curve in relation to the expedition’s radio and satellite
Within a few days Sheila mastered the operation. This was essential so that my
work load could be shared.
Being a sociable person, Sheila made many friends among the support teams from
different expeditions. These friends shared many cups of tea with both Sheila
and me. These friendships meant that mutual help was always at hand when
We support teams were able to assist each other with any IT and Communication
problems. Such problems occur regularly with delicate technology in such a
I spent up to 2 hours every morning and the same in the evening getting and
analysing weather reports. Sheila always helped in checking the numbers. This
help with the weather forecast analysis ensured accuracy in my calculations.
Sheila also managed to keep to a rigid training programme in preparation for
her climb of Imja Tse.
Sheila made a huge contribution to the running of the communications system.
Her understanding of the operation made my life easier. This was the specially
the case over the last few days during our team’s summit attempt, success and
subsequent difficult descent.
18th May - 3pm
Pat has made radio contact with Base Camp Wyeth from inside his tent at High
Camp Wyeth. They are staying the night and will descend tomorrow. On the way
they have to break up Camp 3 Spórt Corrán Tuathail and bring everything from
there to Camp 2 Lowe Alpine. This is where they will spend the night. Tensing
will have a good nutritional meal with plenty of hot drinks ready when they
Pat says that they are all well, but tired. He wants to thank all those
who have helped them over the last year. He also expressed his heartfelt
appreciation for the many people who have followed this expedition through the
website and to the many thousands of encouraging e-mails that have been
He added that they all plan to descend early in the morning and hope to be
settled in Camp 2 Lowe Alpine by the afternoon. Pat hopes to be able to
transmit some photographs to Base Camp Wyeth for us to send on. However the
wind and low air pressure are causing difficulty today.
We will have more news as events evolve tomorrow. Here at Base Camp Wyeth, it
is 19.10hrs on Tuesday 18th May 2004 and we are about to have dinner. When
finished eating, Dawe, Da Rinji, Sheila and I are heading to bed. We have not
seen our tents or sleeping bags since Sunday at 03.00hrs. It has been a great
few days full of excitement. Tomorrow we rise at 05.00hrs, back to normal. The
climbers need precise weather details to plan their descent.
On behalf of all my friends here at Base Camp - Dawe, Da Rinji, and Sheila, I
would like to thank all the congratulation message that we have received today
- and they are still co ming in.
Sheila and I would also like to thank our families and friends for all their
support, since our involvement in this Irish Wyeth Everest Expedition 2004
This is a day that none of us involved will ever forget.
Talk to you in the morning
Base Camp Wyeth Out.
veteran expedition leader, Everest climber, author and motivational
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