Thursday, April 29: After
two nights at advanced base camp (6,400m), I returned the 22 km to base camp
on Sunday, April 18. It had snowed consistently the prior day, which made my
descent a little more challenging. Luckily, Mingma Tenzing Sherpa was
sure-footed and carefully set out footsteps for me to follow down the East
Rhombuk glacier. I arrived at BC 9 hours later, with Ganu waiting with a cup
of hot orange tang and biscuits. After a warm meal and a radio call to ABC to
let Dave and the team know I was down safely, I was out as soon as my head hit
the proverbial pillow.
Early the next morning I was fortunate to share my bumpy jeep ride back to
Zhang Mu with Viktor Koslov, the leader of the Russian Central North Face
Expedition (initial ascent attempt), who was on his way to Beijing to meet
with the Chinese Minister of Sport about his expedition. Iswari found me at
the border so I was lucky not to have to spend the night in Zhang Mu - we
continued the bumpy ride through no-mans land (the windy dirt road between the
Tibetan and Nepalese border) to Friendship Bridge and continued the additional
three and a half hour drive into Kathmandu. We made our 8pm curfew into the
city (following about 10 army roadblocks) where later that evening I enjoyed a
hot bath and room service at the very cozy Hotel Vajra.
The team is doing very well
and are making consistent progress up the mountain. Unfortunately, Kevin has
had to return to Kathmandu today following a diagnosis of pleurisy. Tony and
Ewen have been resting at BC as Tony was not feeling well earlier on and
descended last week to 5,200 to rest, but he is now fit again and they plan to
return to ABC tomorrow, taking two days for the repeat trip up with a stop
over at intermediate camp. Iain phoned last Friday to say that he had been up
the North Col (7,000m) the day before and that he was feeling strong. The team
returned to the North Col on Sunday where they spent two nights, including a
push to 7,200m on Monday before returning to their tents on the North Col.
They should have arrived at base camp yesterday where they plan to enjoy a
well-deserved rest for the next 7-10 days. They will now begin to follow
weather reports and will watch for windows when the winds are expected to die
down. Summit attempts will likely be made between the middle and end of May.
All my best to Kevin for a speedy recovery, Sandy
Friday, April 30: Iain phoned
yesterday with an update from base camp, where he arrived safely in the early
afternoon. As it turned out, his second descent from the North Col on Tuesday
proved an extreme challenge. Suffering from what seems to have been both
cerebral and pulmonary edema, most likely brought on by severe dehydration,
Iain was trying to make his descent to ABC alone while extremely disoriented.
Tom and Ben, who had been delayed slightly on the North Col as a result of
shooting video footage and taking sponsorship photographs, fortunately came
upon him as they returned to the ropes to descend. It was soon clear to them
that Iain was not well. They generously shared their water and helped him down
the fixed ropes all the way to ABC. While the rest of the team descended from
ABC to BC on Wednesday, Dr. Mike and Paul remained with Iain, opting to make
the trip in two days with a stop over at intermediate camp.
The entire team is now
resting and Iain is trying to eat and drink as much as he can to help rebuild
his strength. He is expected to make a full recovery. I can not thank Tom and
Ben enough for bringing Iain back down to safety. Dave has done a superb job
organizing logistics - my heartfelt thanks to Ben, Tom, Mike, Paul and Dave
and best wishes to the entire team as they enjoy a hot shower and the thicker
air at BC. I miss them all very much! Sandy
What is MS?
MS often strikes young adults
between 20 and 50 years of age. Twice as many women develop the disease. MS is
found most frequently among people who live in temperate climates, both in the
Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
In Switzerland alone, over 10,000 people currently live with MS. The disease
strikes one out of every 800 Swiss, representing a high proportion of the
population compared to other countries. In the US, a third of a million people
What are its symptoms?
The symptoms of MS may include tingling, numbness, slurred speech, and blurred
or double vision. Some people experience muscle weakness, poor balance, poor
coordination, muscle tightness, spasticity, or paralysis which may be
temporary or permanent.
Because MS affects individuals so differently, it is difficult to make
generalizations about disability.
What causes MS?
Most scientists think the cause of MS is "multi-factorial." The person's
genetic heritage, gender, birthplace, age, and environment contribute to
susceptibility, resistance, and the pattern of course MS will take. It is not
an inherited disease, in a strict sense, but a certain susceptibility may run
in families. One theory suggests that a common viral infection, acquired
during early childhood in genetically susceptible individuals, leads to the
development of an immune response (autoimmune reaction) when one reaches
adulthood. MS appears to result from an autoimmune process in which immune
cells mistake myelin as a foreign invader and attack it.
Is it easily diagnosed?
MS is not easy to diagnose. However, recent advances in medical imaging,
particularly magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), are helping to clarify
diagnosis. A conclusive or definitive diagnosis requires evidence of multiple
patches of scar tissue in different parts of the central nervous system, and
evidence of at least 2 separate attacks of the disease.
Is there a cure?
Although no cure exists at present for MS, many symptoms can be relieved and
the severity of attacks may be reduced through the use of various treatments.
There are also many therapies to moderate or relieve MS symptoms.
How to donate
In the United States :
Please send a US draft check, made payable to the “US National MS Society”
with written reference to the “ Nan J. Gascoigne Fund” to the following
P.O. Box 520515
Salt Lake City, Utah 84152-0515
Because we are collecting funds through the US National MS Society, your
donation qualifies as tax-deductable. By specifying the “ Nan J.
Gascoigne Fund” on your check, you enable MoonShadow to maintain control
of the funds and how they will be put to good use.
To donate In Switzerland and from all other countries please e-mail us
They are currently working to register MoonShadow as a
Digital Altimeter, Barometer, Compass and Thermometer. Time/Date/Alarms.
Chronograph with 24 hour working range. Timer with stop, repeat and up
function. Rotating Bezel. Leveling bubble. Carabiner latch. E.L. 3 second
backlight. Water resistant. 4" x 2-1/4" x 3/4" 2 oz. Requires 1 CR2032
See more here.