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Everest 2004: Irish Expedition Update
Update 5: Birthday/Heli
pad construction; Heavy winds last night have made us Base Camp bound for
today, so we've postponed an attempt to get to Camp 1 for a further day. We'll
try again tomorrow.
It Clare's Birthday today and she's 33 years of age. We plan a small party for
tonight to celebrate her birthday as well as Easter on Everest. We're all
feeling a tinge of homesickness as we'll be missing the festivities back in
Ireland. Easter is a time of year that I love as the days are getting longer,
the weather is getting better and it's a great time for walking.
We've only another 46 days on Everest!
It's also Niall's last day at Base Camp. He will begin his journey home
tomorrow. He is really looking forward to returning to Siouxsie, his partner,
and Keelan their son, who will be celebrating his first birthday on Niall's
Helicopter Pad: Each team at Base Camp has got together to help build a
Helicopter pad on site in case of emergency. Not an easy task on a moving
glacier. Last year this was a blessing when George, one of our team mates, had
to be evacuated as a matter of urgency.
We're not sure yet if helicopters will be allowed to fly to Base Camp after
the crash last year; a Russian aircraft crashed killing two people and injured
seven others. We hope that the authorities will consent to allowing a landing
in case of a severe emergency. Building a landing pad at this altitude was
We are presently cramming our minds with foreign computer and communication
language and knowledge! We're driving Niall mad with last minute questions and
are just hoping that we'll be able to cope without his magic touch. We'll miss
his company as much his whizz kid knowledge!
So far, all equipment is standing up to the rigors of the mountain. I'd like
to thank all our sponsors for their sound advice; it makes life on the
mountain so much easier to see everything working.
Clare with birthday greeting.
Dispatch 17 - April 9th
Dangers of the Khumbu ice fall.
Its amazing, no one slept last night; apprehensions prior to our first
encounter of a place known to us climbers as the chamber of horrors. This
moving river of ice is over five hundred feet deep and moves at a speed of
over three feet per day. We will have to pass through this ice fall up
to 10 times as we attempt to reach the summit of Everest. The glacier has a
mind of its own; there's no chance to relax until past this section.
The Khumbu Ice Fall: A spectacular but treacherous horror-chamber of
bottomless crevasses, seracs, and ice blocks the size of three storey houses
that stand overhanging, ready to crumble without warning and quench your life
in a heart beat. This section stretches from base camp at 17,600 feet to Camp
1 at 21000 feet. We cross this area using fixed ropes and use ladders to cross
the many crevasses and towering ice walls.
Today's objective was to help acclimatization to 20,000 feet before returning
to base camp. Pemba, Clare, John, Niall and I had a spectacular day in the ice
fall before returning to base camp and should be ready to try for Camp 1
tomorrow. We had an early night to rest up for the push tomorrow. Lights out
at 8pm and dreams of moaning, crackling moving ice!
Jumble Of Ice Blocks In The Ice-Fall
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