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  Mount Everest 2004 Expedition: Americans Dan Lochner and Dan Meggitt


Dispatch Everest 2004 Team Endeavor

Dan Lochner & Dan Meggitt Team Endeavor - Everest 2004 North

Dispatch - Dispatch - April 28 - May 2 - Team Endeavor - Mount Everest - North

Wednesday April 28, 2004: Today we woke by 6am due to the Yaks arriving this morning to shuttle our gear from BC to ABC. The Yaks showed up around 8:30am and again they began the process of weighing our barrels and loading them onto Yaks. For some reason, I think this process is a scam.

This time the Yak herders argued with me that one of my barrels weighed too much and that I needed to unload some equipment to allow for even loads on the Yak. Following their request, I began tearing through my barrel to lighten it and after removing a sizable amount of equipment, the weight was still inadequate to them. As I continued to remove more, they returned in a rush as the other Yak herders were departing and told me that the weight was fine and to put it all back it and seal it. It seemed as if they were trying to get a few more bucks out of me but decided it wasn’t worth their time. Of course the Yak was perfectly capable of carrying the load as it originally was and it did.

Meggitt had a similar problem with one of his barrels being overweight. In addition to his barrels being shuttled by Yak, Meggitt also hired a Yak herder, the same man who was supervising his barrels to carry his pack. This Yak herder felt that one of Dan’s barrels were overweight so to remedy the situation, Dan unloaded his 24-pack of Budweiser from his barrel and put it in his pack. Now, instead of the Yak being burdened with this additional weight, the Yak herder was now responsible for it as he was carrying Meggitt’s pack, seemed like a poor outcome for the Yak herder.

Our group also had a problem with the overall weight of our personal and group gear, being a total of 177 kilograms overweight. It seems that even after accounting for all gear and arranging the correct number of Yaks given the gear, additional Yaks and money for that matter is required.

Dan and I made excellent time to Intermediate Base Camp during our second trip, shaving two hours off our original time and we felt great. We were pretty psyched about this as we felt marginal during our first trip.

Thursday April 29, 2004: Today we rose by 6:00am and were in the Mess tent by 6:45am drinking hot tea. Dan and I were happy to hear that this time the cook boys fetched the water from a stream and not the nearby pond which smells and tastes like Yak. After we all huddled in the Mess tent to warm ourselves, Meggitt and I left Intermediate camp for ABC by approximately 8:15am.

Again we both felt considerably better during this second trip to ABC and we cut three hours off our original time. The weather was great out and we found the hike to be much more enjoyable this time.

Meggitt and I arrived at ABC within 15 minutes of each other, arriving by approximately 1:30pm. Here we treated ourselves to a full lunch and then retired to our tents for much needed rest. I was impressed by the additional number of tents in ABC compared to my last visit. ABC has grown into a small city and it is definitely more pronounced than BC as the useable camping area is smaller so expeditions are much closer together.

After a short nap, I spent sometime organizing my tent and barrels. Finishing a few hours before dinner and with Meggitt still sleeping, I perused a Men’s Health Magazine in the Mess tent until dinner. One of the features in the Magazine was 25 Hot Travel Destinations, mostly being warm beach like climates, this was not helpful to read given Meggitt and I are climbing Everest.

Dinner was pasta with a red sauce which was quite tasty. Soon after finishing, Dan and I hit the sack to recover from our two day hike.

Friday April 30, 2004: First of all, please excuse my writing from now on as it is quite difficult to construct coherent sentences at 21,300 feet. Anyhow, today we had our second Puja, this time at ABC. It was administered by one of our group Sherpa, Dawa Sherpa. Meggitt and I did our best to photograph and videotape it so we can show you all at home what a Puja is all about.

After the ceremony, we assembled our Mountain Hardwear Space Station tent. This tent is humongous. It took over an hour to assemble it because the first time we put it together incorrectly. During the second time we coordinated its assembly better and it went up flawlessly. Although some feel it won’t stand up to the high winds of ABC, it has done an excellent job so far.

We spent the rest of the day moving into the tent, which we have named the “Pleasure Dome.” It was here that we reviewed our oxygen bottles, masks, and regulators. We also had a meeting with our two Sherpas in which we discussed the summit bonus, which tent would be used for each camp, and how many oxygen bottles we should bring on summit day.

After dinner, we turned in by 8pm to get plenty of rest for tomorrow’s hike to the North Col. At this point it doesn’t look great as the weather is lousy.

Saturday May 1, 2004: We had anticipated on going to the North Col today but due to high winds and poor weather conditions, we aborted our plan. A weather report stated that hurricane force winds were going to take place above 7,000 meters (22,966 ft) so taking this into consideration in addition to the visual weather, we took another rest day.

Meggitt and I spent the majority of the day trying to fix our generator. For some reason it won’t start and Meggitt and I speculate that it may be the fuel or the carburetor. Anyhow, Meggitt spent most of the afternoon completely disassembling the generator in an attempt to revive it. With it in many pieces, Meggitt impressively put it back together. What is more impressive is that he brought it back to life and made it run with ten to twenty spare pieces leftover. Unfortunately, our success was short lived, as the generator ground to a halt again after only 30 minutes of operation. Yet, we believe we have isolated the problem to the air/fuel mixture on the carburetor, and plan on giving it another try tomorrow.

We spent the other portion of the day painting the tips of our oxygen bottles black and writing “2004 Everest Expedition” on each bottle to help distinguish which bottles are ours on summit day.

Tonight, as I typed out this dispatch, I managed to somehow burn out the AC adapter to my IBM laptop. Turning on the DC/AC inverter, I was soon overcome by a pungent odor that I traced back to my laptop with much dismay. I suspect a power surge from the generator is to blame. Luckily, with a little bit of ingenuity and some long distance tech support from my brother in Rochester, New York, I was able to adapt a Compaq AC adapter, so that it has allowed me to run my computer. I will keep my fingers crossed that everything will run as hoped. I am soon learning that ingenuity is a way of life at 22,000+.

Tomorrow, we are planning to head to the North Col. However, again this is contingent on weather conditions. At the moment, the wind is still blowing strong and it is bitterly cold. Regardless, we are anxious to begin climbing to the North Col, and to prepare our bodies for our summit bid, anticipated sometime during mid to late May.

Sunday, May 2, 2004: Again, the weather was poor at ABC and above. I woke up at 6:00am and it was still quite windy out, so I went back to bed until 8:00am. As I was preparing to exit my tent, I felt that maybe everyone had already gone up the North Col, as I didn’t hear anyone moving around or talking in the Mess tent. As it turned out, everyone was still sleeping due to the weather.

After exiting my tent, I began walking around only to notice that many tents had been destroyed from the high winds during the night. This was only a sample of what was to come. After breakfast, Dan and I went to the Space Station tent to hang out and work on the generator. A few hours later, a gust of wind hit the tent and snapped one of the tent poles in half. This was a surprised but we were quickly able to repair the pole with a metal sleeve. However, an hour later several large gusts of wind hit again, this time snapping two tent poles in half and picking the tent off the ground. For a moment while the wind was blowing, Dan and I with the help of others held the tent from blowing away. After checking out the damage, we thought we had it bad until we glanced around us. Several tents were destroyed or shredded, including an adjacent Mess and Cook tent which had been completely flattened.

The Space Station tent is completely staked out now. Hopefully it will stand the weather overnight since the wind is still blowing hard at the moment. Not to worry though, everything is under control and again we are planning to make a trip to the North Col tomorrow if the weather permits. All is well here at Everest ABC.

 Dispatches

 
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