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   Annabelle Bond Summits Everest: The story in her words...


MAY 9TH - BASECAMP

BACK TO THE OLD BASECAMP SCHEDULE, BED TEA AT 8.00AM AND BREAKFAST AT 8.30AM.. BED TEA IS ONE LUXURY OF BEING HERE WHICH I THINK I MAY MISS!! I NOTICED MY TENT HAS MOVED RATHER DRAMATICALLY SINCE I'VE BEEN DOWN VALLEY FOR THE 4 DAYS, DUE TO THE WEATHER WARMING UP. THE GLACIER THAT WE ARE CAMPED ON IS REALLY ACTIVE AND THE CREAKING OF THE ICE AND THE SOUNDS OF STONES CRASHING IS BECOMING CONSTANTLY MORE FREQUENT. WE ARE NOW DEVELOPING POOLS OF WATER AROUND OUR CAMPSITE AS THE ICE MELTS. IM STILL NERVOUS ABOUT "WHEN" WE ARE GOING TO GO FOR OUR SUMMIT ATTEMPT AND MY STOMACH IS STILL IN A KNOT ALTHOUGH UNFORTUNATELY IT HAS NOT CURBED MY APPETITE!! I CAUGHT UP ON MY EMAILS AND TYPED IN MY JOURNAL WHEN I RECEIVED A VISIT FROM A REALLY NICE ENGLISH GIRL CALLED ALLIE. SHE HAD BEEN TREKKING FOR 19 DAYS AND CAME TO BASECAMP TO SEE IF THERE WAS AN ENGLISH GIRL CLIMBING, NEEDLESS TO SAY THE BASECAMP NETWORK LED HER TO OUR CAMP.. IT WAS VERY NICE TO CHAT TO HER AND SHE WAS MOST IMPRESSED TO SEE I HAD UK TATER LYING IN THE COMMUNICATIONS TENT ( THANKS TO LISA'S PACKAGE!!)

I THEN WENT TO HAVE LUNCH IN OUR MESS TENT TO FIND THE WHOLE DISCOVERY CREW THERE HAVING A BIG POW WOW WITH OUR TEAM ABOUT WHEN WE WERE GOING FOR THE SUMMIT, ALL I CAN SAY IS WEATHER PROVIDING ITS GOING TO BE IMMINENT AND MY STOMACH CHURNED. I SPOKE TO MY FATHER ABOUT MY ANXIETY ATTACKS AND HE TOLD ME THIS WAS COMMON AMONGST ALL ATHLETES PRIOR TO A BIG EVENT...ALL I CAN SAY IS AT LEAST ALL ATHLETES HAVE A FIXED DATE FOR THEIR EVENTS, OURS CHANGES CONSTANTLY DUE TO THE WEATHER REPORTS. IF WE DO GO FOR THE SUMMIT IT WILL TAKE 4 OR 5 DAYS ON THE MOUNTAIN AND THIS IS THE VAGUE PLAN. WE WILL GO FROM BASECAMP TO CAMP 2, HAVE A REST DAY, THEN GO TO CAMP 3 AND SPEND A NIGHT, MOVE TO CAMP 4 ON THE SOUTH COL AND THEN LEAVE FOR OUR SUMMIT ATTEMPT AT AROUND 11.00PM AT NIGHT, AND ALL BEING WELL, HOPEFULLY BE BACK AT CAMP 4 BEFORE NIGHTFALL THE FOLLOWING NIGHT. IT WILL BASICALLY BE AN EXHAUSTING 5 DAYS AND THEN WE HAVE TO GET BACK DOWN. NO ONE EVER TALKS ABOUT THE DESCENTS BUT I CAN PROMISE YOU COMING DOWN THE LHOTSE FACE IS MENTALLY EXHAUSTING YOU HAVE TO BE SO VIGILANT WITH YOUR ROPE WORK, CONSTANTLY CLIPPING INTO AND OFF THE FIXED LINES. AMY TOLD ME YESTERDAY THAT THERE IS A LOT OF ROCK FALLING ONTO THE ROUTE ON THE LHOTSE FACE SO IM BRINGING MY HELMET WITH ME.. GOT TO PROTECT MY VALUABLE BRAIN CELLS CANT AFFORD TO LOOSE ANYMORE!! THE DISCOVERY GUYS LEFT AS OUR LUNCH ARRIVED AT AROUND 2.00PM, ANDREW IS ACCUSING MY BULKING UP WHEY PROTEIN POWDER OF CAUSING HIM TO BE SICK!! HE GAVE ME A CHOCOLATE BAR BUT I THINK HE MAY BE TRYING TO RETALIATE SO IM USING IT AS DECORATION!!

I THEN WENT AND SAW LOU ANNE TO SETTLE MY DEBTS - SHE HAS GIVEN ME THE MOST AMAZING THING FOR MY COUGH. WHENEVER I EXERT MYSELF IN THE COLD AIR I COUGH UNCONTROLLABLY AND SHE HAS GIVEN ME A PURPLE DIAL ( IM SORRY I DON'T HAVE THE NAME ON HAND) BUT BASICALLY ITS A POWDERED STEROID THAT U INHALE AND IT WORKS WONDERS! I BROUGHT A PURPLE DIAL FOR ANDRONICO AND ONE FOR THE REST OF THE GROUP IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY ON OUR SUMMIT ATTEMPT. I THEN PRECARIOUSLY MADE MY WAY BACK TO CAMP ACROSS THE ACTIVELY MOVING GLACIER AND READ MAGAZINES IN MY TENT AND RELAXED PRIOR TO DINNER. WE HAVE BEEN TOLD AT DINNER THAT WE ARE GOING FOR IT SOON SO IM MAKING PREPARATIONS BUT ITS ALL WEATHER PERMITTING.. WHO KNOWS WITH THE WEATHER ANYWAY, THE PAST FEW DAYS WHEN HIGH WINDS HAVE BEEN PREDICTED, THERE HAS BEEN 3 SUMMIT DAY OPPORTUNITIES..

I HAD AN EMAIL FROM PAVLOS WHOM I WAS VERY PLEASED TO HEAR FROM - I CALLED HIM PAVO IN MY LAST JOURNAL ( I MISHEARD HIS NAME AS WE PASSED ON THE GLACIER) AND HE IS THE GREEK SPONSOR SO I WANTED TO CORRECT MY SPELLING ERROR. HE IS REALLY A GREAT MAN AND I REALLY ADMIRE HIM AND THE SUPPORT HE IS PROVIDING HIS TWO TEAMS. HE HAS BEEN AT BASECAMP HERE ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN FOR TWO WEEKS AND IS NOW GOING TO THE NORTH SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN FOR TWO WEEKS WHICH AT 21,000FT THE ADVANCED BASE CAMP ON THE NORTH WILL BE THE HIGHEST HE HAS BEEN IN HIS LIFE. TRUST ME, IT IS HARD SPENDING A LONG TIME AT THIS ALTITUDE FOR ANYONE AND IM SURE LISA AND PLERN WILL VOUCH FOR THAT. I WAS SORRY NOT TO HAVE MET HIM WHILST HE WAS HERE AT BASECAMP BUT I HOPE WE STAY IN TOUCH.

IM RESTLESS TONIGHT I HATE HAVING THE WHOLE SUMMIT THING LOOMING OVER ME...I THINK I JUST NEED TO GET OUT THERE AND GIVE IT MY BEST SHOT, I'VE BEEN AT BASECAMP NEARLY 6 WEEKS NOW CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? GOOD NIGHT FROM EBC!

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

15TH MAY - SUMMIT DAY THE BIGGEST EVENT IN MY LIFE!!!

I GREW MORE AND MORE NERVOUS ABOUT THE WIND AND IM AFRAID I WAS A LITTLE LATE IN GETTING READY, ONLY 25 MINS THOUGH AS I WAS PUTTING TONS OF HAND WARMERS AND FOOT WARMERS ON, GIVEN HOW PRONE I AM TO FROSTBITE...FINALLY I HAD MY DOWN SUIT ON AND HEADED OUT INTO THE WINDS TO FIND ANDRONICO AND MISAIL HAD GONE AHEAD AND KIKO WAS A LITTLE IRRITATED WITH ME TO SAY THE LEAST. FINALLY I WAS IN MY CRAMPONS AND HEADED UP A VERY ICY CREVASSE RIDDEN SLOPE ON THE LONG 5 HOUR CLIMB UP TO THE BALCONY. I HAVE TO CONFESS I WAS LEFT ALONE FOR A BIT HERE AND GIVEN THAT IV ONLY BEEN CLIMBING 3 YEARS I COULDN'T FIND A PACE THAT I WAS HAPPY WITH AND I WAS VERY NERVOUS ABOUT ALL THE SPLITS IN THE ICE.. I LOST A GLOVE AS IT BLEW OFF AND I THOUGHT LONG AND HARD ABOUT TURNING BACK A FEW TIMES BUT EACH TIME THE THOUGHT OF GETTING MY FATHERS COMPANY HSBC'S FLAG TO THE SUMMIT AND THE EVE APPEAL FLAG (WHICH IS THE CHARITY I REPRESENT) I PUSHED ON. I SOON MANAGED TO GET CHULDEN ONE OF THE SHERPAS TO PACE ME AND I PRESSED ON UPWARDS INTO THE WINDY NIGHT UP TOWARDS THE BALCONY. AS WE WERE THE FIRST GROUPS TO GO THE SNOW WAS PRETTY DEEP WHICH MADE IT REALLY ARDUOUS AS YOUR FEET SUNK IN WITH EACH STEP. ALSO, EVERY TIME I THOUGHT ABOUT TURNING BACK I LOOKED AT THE LONG LINE OF FLASHLIGHTS BEHIND ME AND DIDN'T FEEL LIKE EXPLAINING WHY I WAS TURNING BACK AT THIS EARLY STAGE TO EVERYONE, AFTER ALL ITS REALLY A ONE SHOT MOUNTAIN AND THAT BORE HEAVILY ON MY MIND!! AT DAWN WE ARRIVED AT THE BALCONY AND TOOK A BREAK AND SWITCHED OXYGEN TANKS.. ON MY OXYGEN I WAS FASTIDIOUS TO THE POINT OF ANNOYANCE IM SURE ABOUT CHECKING THE GAUGE AND HOW MUCH TIME I HAD LEFT, ITS VERY IMPORTANT ONCE YOU ARE ON OXYGEN THAT YOU DON'T COME OFF IT ONCE YOU ARE UP HIGH ON THE MOUNTAIN, THIS IS WHERE ALL THE ACCIDENTS HAPPEN. I THEN REALIZED WE WERE QUITE A BIG GROUP ON THE BALCONY AND EVERYONE WAS HANGING AROUND WAITING AND THEN I REALIZED WHY, I THINK EVERYONE EXPECTED OUR GROUP TO FIX THE ROPES WHICH RODRIGO HAD CATEGORICALLY EXPLAINED TO EVERYONE AT THE "ROPE FIXING MEETINGS" THAT WE WOULD ONLY PUT ROPES ON PLACES WHERE IT WAS ESSENTIAL, THE SOUTH SUMMIT, THE HILARY STEP AND THE SUMMIT RIDGE ( WE ALSO PLACED ALL THE ROPES ON THE YELLOW BAND WITH THE DISCOVERY TEAM. WE THEN JUST ROPED TOGETHER ALPINE STYLE AND SET UP TOWARDS THE SOUTH SUMMIT WHILST EVERYONE LOOKED REALLY ANNOYED OBVIOUSLY PRESUMING WE WOULD BE FIXING FOR EVERYONE I GUESS, BUT EACH EXPEDITION ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO ATTEMPT THE SUMMIT ON THE FIRST WEATHER WINDOW SHOULD BE PREPARED FOR MATTERS LIKE THIS AND RODRIGO AND PERTEMBA HAD TAKEN THE NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS FOR THAT. THE SOUTH SUMMIT WAS TOUGH AND I CRANKED MY OXYGEN UP A NOTCH TO GET ME UP THERE. CHULDEN AT THIS POINT HAD TURNED BACK AS HE KEPT FALLING ASLEEP ( HOPEFULLY FROM NOT PACING ME!!) AND I WAS NOW ROPED TO ERNESTO AS WE MADE OUR WAY UPWARDS.. I WAS NOW FULLY DETERMINED AT THIS POINT TO REACH THE TOP I THINK DAYLIGHT HELPS WITH ME, I REALLY HATE CLIMBING AT NIGHT.

I WAS NOW WITH ERNESTO AND NURU WHO HAD MY OXYGEN WHICH I WAS WATCHING LIKE A HAWK AND WHENEVER I COULDN'T SEE HIM I WOULD YELL AT HIM TO WAIT FOR ME!! I KNEW I WAS READY FOR A CHANGE SOMETIME SOON AND I HAD NO INTENTION OF RUNNING OUT. FINALLY WE REACHED THE SOUTH SUMMIT WHICH WAS AMAZING AND YOU REALLY FEEL LIKE YOU ARE GETTING CLOSE. I STOPPED AND SWITCHED OXYGEN TANKS AND MADE A MENTAL NOT OF HOW LONG I HAD WITH THE NEW TANK AND WE HEADED TOWARDS THE HILARY STEP. ANDRONICO, MISAIL, KIKO AND PALDEN WERE A LITTLE BEHIND US. I GASPED WHEN I SAW THE HILARY STEP, NOT THAT ITS TECHNICALLY DIFFICULT BUT ITS IMPOSING AT THAT HEIGHT AND THERE ARE TWO BIG ROCKY CONES THAT YOU NEED TO NAVIGATE PRIOR TO ARRIVING ON THE LONG SUMMIT RIDGE. OUR SHERPAS TASHI AND LAKPA RITA FIXED THE ROPES ON THE HILARY STEP AND THE SUMMIT RIDGE AND SOON I WAS MAKING MY WAY TO THE HILARY STEP CAREFULLY JUMPING OVER ROCKS AND CREVASSES TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THE FIXED LINES AND DESPERATELY TRYING TO AVOID WALKING ANYWHERE NEAR THE TERRIFYING LOOKING CORNICED RIDGE THAT DROPS DOWN INTO THE KANGCHUNG FACE ( RODRIGOS ROUTE TO THE SUMMIT!) I WAS SOON UP THE HILARY STEP AND ERNESTO AND I WALKED TOWARDS THE SUMMIT AND I WAS ALREADY FIGHTING BACK THE TEARS AT THIS STAGE. WE ARRIVED ON THE SUMMIT AT AROUND 12.15PM ON 15TH MAY ( UNBEKNOWNST TO ME OUR TURN AROUND TIME WAS 12.00PM BUT AS THE WEATHER LOOKED OK RODRIGO LET US STAY UNTIL 2.30PM) WE ARRIVED ON THE SUMMIT AND THE DISCOVERY CAMERA WAS ON MY FACE AS THE TEARS STARTED, I WAS MEANT TO BE HOLDING THE HSBC FLAG WITH A BIG SMILE BUT I WAS A TEARY WRECK AS I HELD IT TO THE SKY. I HUGGED ALL THE SHERPAS TASHI AND NORU AS IT WAS A FIRST ASCENT FOR BOTH AND ALSO LAKPA RITA.. I SAID MY PRAYERS TO PETER VAN JENSENS LATE WIFE LORNE WHO IM WORKING ON THE EVE APPEAL FOR STILL CRYING. THE OTHERS THEN ARRIVED ON THE SUMMIT AND I PHOTOED THE ARRIVAL OF ANDRONICO, KIKO AND MISAIL AND THEN I HUGGED ANDRONICO, IT WAS SUCH A BIG AND EMOTIONAL MOMENT FOR BOTH OF US WHEN YOU ACHIEVE A DREAM LIKE THIS THAT YOU THINK IS UNACHIEVABLE. THERE WAS KENTON COOL ON THE SUMMIT ALSO AND HIS CLIENT AND I THINK AN IMG GUY. AT AROUND 2.00PM THE SHERPAS GOT ANTSY ABOUT GETTING DOWN AND THEN I HEARD RODRIGO OVER THE RADIO TELLING US TO GET OFF THE SUMMIT NOW AS THE WINDS WOULD BE PICKING UP SO I GRABBED LAKPA RITA AND ASKED HIM TO TAKE ME DOWN AS THE OTHERS WERE STILL FINISHING PHOTOS. I HAVE TO SAY I THINK I DID THE QUICKEST DESCENT IN HISTORY ( IM OBVIOUSLY EXAGGERATING) AND I DON'T KNOW HOW I RUSTLED UP THE ENERGY TO GET DOWN BUT LAKPA TOOK ME AT A PRETTY GOOD PACE WITH NURU RIGHT BEHIND ME. I GOT SOME MORE OXYGEN AT THE SOUTH SUMMIT, I LOST MY WATER BOTTLE DOWN THE HILLARY STEP AND WE WERE SOON HEADING DOWN TOWARDS THE BALCONY ME ROPED IN FRONT OF LAKPA. I LAST SAW THE GROUP ON THE HILARY STEP WHILST I WAS ON THE SOUTH SUMMIT AND THOUGHT THEY WERE PRETTY CLOSE BEHIND ME, LITTLE DID I KNOW WHAT DRAMA WOULD UNFOLD!! I CHATTED WITH KENTON ON THE ROCKY PATCH OF THE SOUTH SUMMIT AND HIS CLIENT LOOKED IN PRETTY BAD SHAPE I THINK HE WAS THROWING UP AT THIS POINT ( THIS MOUNTAIN IS REALLY TOUGH) AND THEN WE STOPPED AT THE BALCONY FOR A BRIEF REST AND THEN TASHI TOOK MY ROPE AND WE HEADED DOWN TO THE COL. I ARRIVED BACK AT CAMP AT AROUND 5.OOPM HUGGED TASHI TO DEATH AND LOOKING EXTREMELY DISHEVELLED AND SHEEPISHLY OFF TO STAKE OUT A PLACE FOR THE BATHROOM I BUMPED INTO ANDREW LOCK WHO WAS GETTING READY FOR HIS SUMMIT ATTEMPT AND HE WANTED TO COME AND DO A POST SUMMIT INTERVIEW.. HE WAS COMING TO INTERVIEW ME IN MY TENT IN 2 MINS!! I HATE BEING CAUGHT SMELLING LIKE A POLE CAT AND HAVING JUST ARRIVED FROM A 17 HOUR EXERTION AND DEFINITELY WASN'T FEELING OR LOOKING MY BEST. ANDREW IS PRETTY CUTE SO I FLEW INTO MY TENT TO TRY AND LOOK A LITTLE BETTER BUT HE ARRIVED BEFORE I COULD DO A THING! DID A TEARY INTERVIEW WITH HIM AND WISHED HIM LUCK ON HIS SUMMIT AND THEN WENT AND CHATTED TO THE GREEK TEAM WHO WERE DEPARTING FOR THE SUMMIT IN A FEW HOURS. I WISHED THEM LUCK AT BEING THE FIRST GREEKS ON THE SUMMIT AND THEY SAID THEY HAD SEEN MY TEAM THROUGH THEIR TELESCOPE ON THE SOUTH SUMMIT.. WHICH I ASSURED THEM COULD NOT BE POSSIBLE AS THEY WERE RIGHT BEHIND ME.

THE TEAM THAT I THOUGHT WAS MY TEAM WAS KENTON COOL AND HIS POOR CLIENT ARRIVING BACK DOWN, KENTON THEN INFORMED ME THAT MY TEAM WERE ON THE WAY DOWN VERY SLOWLY BUT SAFELY, SO RE ASSURED WITH THIS NEWS I WENT INTO MY TENT TO REST AND AWAIT THEIR ARRIVAL. AT AROUND 9.00PM I WOKE UP SUFFOCATING AND SCREAMED FRANTICALLY FOR CHULDEN AS I REALIZED MY OXYGEN WAS GONE. HE NOTIFIED ME THAT WE HAD NO MORE LEFT AT WHICH POINT I WAS ALMOST HYSTERICAL.

HE THEN WENT AND GOT A BOTTLE FROM ANOTHER TEAM AND GAVE IT TO ME WHICH LIKE AN ADDICT I STUCK ONTO MY MOUTH WITH RELIEF. HE THEN POINTED OUT SOME LIGHTS AND NOTIFIED ME THAT IT WAS OUR TEAM COMING DOWN AND THEY WOULD BE AT THE SOUTH COL AROUND 10.30PM SO I RELAXED AND FELL ASLEEP. I HAD NO RADIO AS ERNESTO HAD TAKEN MINE SO I HAD NO CLUE WHERE THE TEAM WAS WHEN I WOKE UP AT 1.00AM AND REALIZED THEY WERE STILL NOT BACK AT WHICH POINT I STARTED TO PANIC.. EVENTUALLY THEY ARRIVED AT 1.45AM AND I RUSHED OUT TO HELP ANDRONICO INTO HIS TENT AND GET HIM REHYDRATION SALTS.. SO WHAT HAPPENED FROM WHEN I SAW THEM ON THE HILLARY STEP WENT SOMETHING LIKE THIS...

FROM DEPARTING THE SUMMIT ANDRONICO RAN OUT OF OXYGEN, THIS WAS MY BIG FEAR TO RUN OUT AT 29,000 FT.. THERE WAS MORE OXYGEN AWAITING HIM ON THE SOUTH SUMMIT BUT HE HAD 40 MINS OR SO WITHOUT OXYGEN WHICH I THINK CAUSED HIM TO BE EXTREMELY TIRED. AT THE SOUTH SUMMIT HE HAD MORE OXYGEN GIVEN TO HIM AND THE GROUP CONTINUED DOWN THE MOUNTAIN VERY SLOWLY. AT THIS POINT KIKO, ERNESTO AND MISAIL WERE ALL OUT OF OXYGEN COMPLETELY AND WE HAD NO MORE OXYGEN STASHED AWAY UNTIL THE BALCONY BUT OBVIOUSLY WE HAD NO IDEA HOW LONG IT WOULD TAKE THEM TO GET THERE AND HOW LONG THEY WOULD ALL BE WITHOUT O'S PLUS THEY ALSO HAD VERY LITTLE WATER LEFT.. THERE WAS THEN A HUGE CONFUSION ABOUT WHERE THEY WERE ON THE MOUNTAIN AND AT WHAT TIME, BY NOW THEY WERE ALSO STARTING TO MEET ALL THE OTHER TEAMS GOING UP FOR THE SUMMIT WHICH CAUSED FURTHER DELAYS DUE TO THE ASCCENDER OR DESCENDER HAVING TO CLIP IN AND OUT OF THE FIXED ROPE. OUR POOR SHERPAS WHO HAD ALREADY RETURNED FROM THE SUMMIT WHERE THEN ASKED TO GO BACK UP THE MOUNTAIN TO MEET THE GROUP TAKING THEM WATER AND OXYGEN. THERE WAS A BIG MISUNDERSTANDING PROBABLY DUE TO THE FACT THAT HALF THE GROUP WERE HYPOTHERMIC, FROZEN ( THE WINDS WERE NOW BACK UP TO 50MPH) AND HYPOXIC ABOUT WHERE EXACTLY ON THE MOUNTAIN THEY WERE. THE SHERPAS COULDN'T FIND THEM AND RADIO CALLS BETWEEN RODRIGO AND THE GROUP WERE FREQUENT AND CONFUSED. CHULDEN WAS THEN SENT BACK UP AS THE GROUP STILL HAD NOT RETURNED AT 12.00PM AND HE WENT WITH 3 BOTTLES OF WATER TO GO AND FIND THEM. POOR CHULDEN SLIPPED ON THE ICE AND STARTED SLIDING DOWN THE TREACHEROUS ICY LHOTSE FACE TO CAMP 2. ALL THE WATER FELL DOWN THE SLOPES OF THE LHOTSE FACE AND SOMEHOW BY SOME MIRACLE HE MANAGED TO SAVE HIMSELF..

SHAKING TERRIBLY HE BRAVELY CONTINUED UP TO FIND THE GROUP WHICH HE DULY DID. POOR KIKO ONLY GOT TWO FINGERS FULL OF WATER WHICH HE COULDN'T UNDERSTAND WHY HE WAS GETTING SO LITTLE ( POOR CHULDEN HADN'T EXPLAINED WHAT HAD HAPPENED TO HIM AS HE SKIDDED ON THE ICE NEARLY TO HIS DEATH) THE GROUP WAS EXHAUSTED WHEN THEY ARRIVED, ABSOLUTELY FROZEN AND OXYGEN DEPLETED BUT THE MAIN THING WAS WE WERE ALL BACK AT THE SOUTH COL SAFELY IF NOT A LITTLE DRAMATICALLY. RODRIGO AND PERTEMBA MANNED THE RADIOS ALL NIGHT AND I THINK A FEW PEOPLE COULD HEAR WHAT WAS GOING ON - THE DISCOVERY TEAM WERE GREAT, BEN HAS BEEN FULLY IN THE LOOP WITH OUR TEAM FROM THE GET GO. PERTEMBA WHOSE MAIN WORDS TO US ARE "POLE POLE" WHICH MEANS SLOWLY SLOWLY IN NEPALI WAS SCREAMING DOWN THE RADIO TO THE GROUP MOVE FASTER, FASTER FORGET ANY "POLE POLE"

NOW!!!!ONCE ID SEEN ANDRONICO WAS OK AND STILL WAS MANAGING TO JOKE WITH ME I WENT BACK TO MY TENT AND LISTENED TO ERNESTO AND RODRIGO ON THE RADIO IT WAS ABOUT 3.00AM BY NOW AND I WAS EXHAUSTED!!! THE MAIN THING WAS WE WERE BACK AT THE SOUTH COL AND THE WHOLE TEAM HAD MADE THE SUMMIT TOGETHER AND WE WERE THE FIRST TEAM OF THE SEASON TO BE THERE.. TOO TIRED TO FEEL EUPHORIC AT THIS STAGE!! WE HAD AN 8.00AM START TO MOVE OFF THE SOUTH COL AND BACK DOWN TO CAMP 2 WHERE I COULD START TO FEEL SAFER BUT STILL THE ICEFALL TO NAVIGATE. THEN I CAN CELEBRATE!!!!!! I AM NOW BACK AT BASECAMP BUT SO TIRED FROM A WEEKS EXHAUSTING CLIMBING SO ILL FILL IN THE 16TH AND 17TH DRAMAS TOMORROW. THE 11TH, 12TH AND 13TH WILL BE UPDATED IN THE NEXT DAY OR TWO BUT I WAS SO TIRED THIS MORNING I LEFT MY JOURNAL AT CAMP 2!! A VERY HAPPY GIRL WHO HAS ACHIEVED A BIG DREAM IS SAYING GOODNIGHT FROM BASECAMP

MAY 16TH - POST SUMMIT EUPHORIA, CAMP 4 - CAMP 2

I WOKE UP WITH EVERY BONE IN MY BODY ACHING, MY NECK KILLED FROM THE PRESSURE OF THE STRAP OF THE OXYGEN MASK AND THE BLISTERS ON MY HEELS WERE UNBELIEVABLY PAINFUL BUT I WAS SO HAPPY ABOUT ACTUALLY MAKING THE SUMMIT YESTERDAY, IT WAS A DREAM COME TRUE FOR ME AND I WAS THINKING OF MY GRANDMOTHER AND HOW PROUD SHE WOULD BE RIGHT NOW. SHE IS 96 YEARS OLD AND BEING ONE OF THE FIRST WESTERN WOMEN IN NEPAL AT ALTITUDE MY CLIMB WAS SOMETHING THAT WAS VERY CLOSE TO HER HEART.. I SPOKE TO MY SISTER IN HONG KONG AND CRIED IMMEDIATELY I HEARD HER VOICE, I DON'T KNOW WHAT ITS BEEN ABOUT THIS CLIMB BUT I'VE BEEN A COMPLETE EMOTIONAL WRECK. WHAT I DIDN'T KNOW THAT SHE RELAYED TO ME WAS THE HELL THAT I HAD PUT MY FAMILY THROUGH, THEY HAD BEEN FOLLOWING THE WEBSITE WWW.EVERESTNEWS.COM.  I WAS SATELLITE PHONE LESS AND RADIOLESSS AT CAMP 4 SO COULDN'T TELL THEM I WAS SAFE SO I FEEL REALLY BAD FOR THE STRESS AND ANXIETY I PUT MY FAMILY THROUGH. IT WAS GREAT TO SPEAK TO MY SISTER AND MY DAD FOUND OUT I HAD MADE THE SUMMIT IN FRONT OF 50 HARDCORE BANKERS AND PUNCHED THE AIR AND RAN OUT OF THE MEETING TO TELL MY MOTHER WHO WAS SO HAPPY AND RELIEVED.. BIG EXCITEMENT IN OUR FAMILY. I'VE BEEN TEASING MY DAD AS OUR DOG WHICH IS A BULL TERRIER IS THE APPLE OF HIS EYE, AND THE THINGS WE HAVE TO DO TO GET ABOVE THE DOG IN TERMS OF GAINING HIS AFFECTION - I MEAN I HAD TO SUMMIT THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN ON EARTH TO GET THE EDGE ON OUR DOG!!!

EXHAUSTED WE ALL GOT PACKED UP, AGAIN I HAVE TO MENTION OUR SHERPAS AND HOW AMAZING THEY ARE, THE LOADS THEY CARRIED DOWN TO CAMP 2 WITHOUT OXYGEN WERE HUGE AND THEY HAD ALSO BEEN TO THE SUMMIT NOT WITH US THE DAY BEFORE, NOT TO MENTION GOING BACK UP WITH WATER AND OXYGEN TO HELP ANDRONICO, MISAIL, KIKO AND ERNESTO. I PUT MY DEPLETED OXYGEN SUPPLY ON THE LOWEST FLOW AS I WAS ABOUT TO RUN OUT, I FIGURED I HAD ENOUGH TO GET ME TO THE YELLOW BAND AND THEN I WOULD HAVE TO GO WITHOUT. I SET OFF WITH ANDRONICO AND WE STUMBLED WEAKLY OUT OF THE SOUTH COL AND FINALLY ON OUR TRIP DOWN TO CAMP 2. WE WERE LIKE WAR VETERANS BATTERED, WEAK AND LOOKING LIKE SOME KIND OF VAGABONDS AS WE HEADED TOWARDS THE GENEVA SPUR. AT THE TOP OF THE SPUR WE PUT ON OUR CRAMPONS TO RAPEL DOWN AND I LOOKED OVER THE EDGE AND SAW THE BIGGEST LINE OF CLIMBERS HEADING UP FROM CAMP 3 FOR THEIR SUMMIT ATTEMPT. DAVID BREASHEARS, ED VIESTURS, VEIKER, JIMMY AND AMY WERE ALL ON THE WAY UP.

DAVID GOT INTO A LITTLE FIGHT WITH A SHERPA WHO HAD NO MANNERS AND WAS TRYING TO PUSH PAST HIM ON THE ROPES. ITS REALLY DANGEROUS WHEN PEOPLE DO THIS AS ROCKS CAN LAND ON WAITING CLIMBERS HEADS AND NO ONE REALLY HAS A HELMET ( I NEVER WORE MINE IN THE END, VANITY PREVAILED!!) I SAW THE SHERPA PUSHING DAVID, WHO WAS COMPLETELY IN THE RIGHT I HASTEN TO ADD, BUT IT WAS STRANGE TO THINK THAT U CAN HAVE A FIGHT AT 28,000FT!! I HAD TO WAIT AT THE TOP OF THE SPUR FOR A WHILE, THIS IS WHAT IS SLOW IN THE WHOLE CLIMBING EVEREST PROCESS IS THE WAITING ON THE ROPES. I SAID GOOD LUCK TO DAVID, ED, AMY, JIMMY AND VEIKER AND NOW WORRIED ABOUT RUNNING OUT OF MY OXYGEN I CLIPPED ON AND WHIZZED DOWN THE SPUR AS FAST AS I COULD. I CAUGHT UP WITH ANDRONICO AND WE HEADED ON DOWN TO CAMP 3 WISHING ALL THE CLIMBERS COMING UP GOOD LUCK..( I WAS SO HAPPY I WAS HEADED DOWN RATHER THAN UP!) KIKO WAS FEELING AWFUL AS THESE GUYS WERE NOT ON OXYGEN AND WE WAITED FOR HIM ABOVE CAMP 3..I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW TIRED EVERYONE WAS.

THE LHOTSE FACE WAS FAIRLY UNEVENTFUL, EVERYTHING WAS STARTING TO MELT AND TWICE ICE SCREWS JUST FLEW OUT OF THE SLOPES WHEN WE WERE HOLDING ONTO THEM. FINALLY WE GOT TO THE BASE OF THE CWYM AND ANDRONICO AND I HEADED BACK TO CAMP 2 CHATTING ABOUT OUR SUMMIT DAY IN DETAIL. JUST OUTSIDE OF CAMP 2 RODRIGO, PIPE AND PATO JUMPED OUT AT US SHOWERING US WITH POPCORN AND YELLING CONGRATULATIONS, IT WAS SUCH A NICE FEELING TO BE BACK WITH THEM AND SEE PALDE OUR COOK. FRANKIE FROM DISCOVERY FILMED OUR ARRIVAL BACK AND INTERVIEWED US ALL.. WE THEN HAD A HUGE DINNER, AMAZING THAT PALDE CAN PREPARE FOOD LIKE THAT FROM THE BATTERED OLD GREEN TENT! I THEN HEADED TO BED ABSOLUTELY EXHAUSTED AND WE WERE GETTING UP AT 5.00AM TO HEAD DOWN TO BASECAMP.. U MUST BEAR IN MIND THAT WE HAD HARDLY SLEPT IN 3 NIGHTS BY NOW. THE WORST THING WAS I WAS AWOKEN ABOUT AN HOUR AFTER I WENT TO SLEEP, I FELT LIKE I HAD BEEN DRUGGED I WAS SO EXHAUSTED BUT I KNEW I WAS GOING TO BE ILL.. SOMEHOW I GOT OUT OF THE TENT IN TIME, I THINK ALL THE FOOD I ATE HAVING HAD NOTHING FOR 2 DAYS WAS TOO MUCH FOR ME.. I WOKE UP THE NEXT MORNING AND FELT SO ILL IT WAS RIDICULOUS AND I HAD NO IDEA HOW I WAS GOING TO GET THROUGH THE 6 HOUR WALK TO BASECAMP BUT I KNEW I HAD TO GET THROUGH THE ICEFALL BEFORE I COULD CELEBRATE MY CLIMB PROPERLY. I WAS PATHETIC AND CRIED BECAUSE I COULDN'T PUT MY THERMOREST INTO ITS HOLDER, I THINK ALL EVIDENCE POINTED TO SHEER EXHAUSTION AND AN URGENT NEED TO DESCEND!!
 

MAY 17TH - CAMP 2 - BASECAMP

I HEADED DOWN WITH RODRIGO FEELING SICK AND WITH A BLISTER THAT CAUSED SUCH PAIN WITH EVERY STEP. RODRIGO HAD VOLUNTEERED VERY BRAVELY TO TAKE THE GRINGA DOWN!! WE HEADED OFF, PRETTY FAST I HAVE TO SAY CONSIDERING HOW ILL I FELT AND ALL WAS FAIRLY UNEVENTFUL UNTIL WE GOT INTO THE ICEFALL. WE CHATTED TO CHRIS WARNER WHO HAD MADE THE SUMMIT OF LHOTSE WITHOUT OXYGEN AND HE WAS FEELING AWFUL. HE HAD GOT THE BASECAMP BUG A FEW DAYS BEFORE HIS SUMMIT ATTEMPT AND HE WAS FEELING PRETTY ROUGH. WE HAD A BRIEF CHAT THEN RODRIGO AND I HEADED DOWN TOGETHER. AT THE TOP OF THE ICEFALL BEFORE U START ON THE ROPES AND LADDERS AMONGST THE MAZE OF DEATHLY LOOKING SERACS AND OVERHANGING ICE THERE WAS A HUGE CREVASSE WE HAD TO CROSS ( IT REALLY SHOULD HAVE A LADDER THERE) I TOOK ONE LOOK AND SAID TO RODRIGO BEFORE HE LEPT FOR IT " DON'T YOU THINK YOU SHOULD CLIP IN?" " YEAH GRINGA MAYBE FOR ONCE YOU ARE RIGHT HE SAID JOKING WITH ME" LUCKILY HE CLIPPED IN BECAUSE AS HE LEPT, THE ICE HE LANDED ON COLLAPSED AND HE WAS LEFT SWINGING OVER THE CREVASSE. I SCREAMED, ITS SO HORRIBLE WHEN THIS HAPPENS AND MY HEART RATE SHOT TO ABOUT 200 BEATS PER MINUTE. HE FINALLY GOT SECURED ( IF YOU CAN CALL ANYTHING IN THE ICEFAL SECURE) ON THE OTHER SIDE, AND MY HEART BEAT EVEN FASTER AS I KNEW I WOULD NOW HAVE TO JUMP TOO. I MADE IT, BUT WE BOTH WERE IN SHOCK AND PANTING WITH OUR HEADS ON THE ICE. I WOULDN'T WANT ME TO BE THE PERSON TO RESCUE ME SO IM SURE RODRIGO WAS RELIEVED THAT HE MANAGED NOT TO FALL INTO THE DEPTHS OF THE CREVASSE!! WE CONTINUED ON REALLY FAST - I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE MY ENERGY WAS COMING FROM, JUST AN URGENT NEED TO GET AWAY FROM SNOW AND ICE I THINK. THE WHOLE ICEFALL HAD CHANGED YET AGAIN AND THIS TIME EVEN WORSE EVERYTHING WAS MELTING. WE MET THE ICEFALL DOCTORS AND THEY ARE GREAT BUT A LITTLE RELAXED ABOUT THE LOOSE ICE SCREWS ON THE LADDERS AND CASUALLY ASKED US TO TAP THEM IN IF WE SAW ANY LOOSE ONES! THANK GOD THIS WAS OUR LAST TIME IN THE ICEFALL IF THAT IS HOW RELAXED THEY ARE I THOUGHT TO MYSELF..
THE NEXT INCIDENT HAPPENED TO POOR RODRIGO WAS WHEN HE WAS ON A LADDER WHICH UNBEKNOWNST TO US HAD ONE OF THE LOOSE ICE SCREWS THE ICEFALL DOCTORS WERE TALKING ABOUT ON IT. LUCKILY RODRIGO WAS CLIPPED IN, BECAUSE THE LADDER SHOOK HEAVILY AS HE CROSSED IT AND JUST BEFORE HE REACHED THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CREVASSE, THE WHOLE LADDER TIPPED OVER!! HE LEPT FOR DEAR LIFE AND LUCKILY REACHED THE OTHER SIDE WITHOUT FALLING INTO THE CREVASSE. NOW IT WAS MY TURN.. MY HEART RATE SHOT UP AGAIN AND I CRAWLED ACROSS MOST OF THE LADDERS ON THE DESCENT, ALL DIGNITY ABOUT LOOKING GOOD LONG GONE! WE CARRIED ON DOWN FAST AND I WAS CONSTANTLY ON EDGE ABOUT ANY FURTHER MOVEMENTS IN THE ICEFALL. FINALLY AFTER ABOUT 3 HOURS OF HELL, MY FOOT WAS SO PAINFUL AND MY I WAS TRYING NOT TO THROW UP, WE SPIED PERTEMBA!! TEARS WELLED UP IN MY EYES AS I REALIZED I COULD FINALLY RELAX, THE ORDEAL WAS OVER AND THIS ANXIETY THAT HAD TAKEN OVER MY BODY COULD BE RELEASED. HE WAS WAITING WITH A COCA COLA FOR US AND ITS NEVER TASTED SO GOOD!! WE ALL HUGGED AND SAT AND HAD OUR COKES AND THEN RODRIGO, CHRIS WARNER AND I HEADED BACK THE FINAL STEPS TO BASE CAMP. I WAS FOLLOWING RODRIGO AND THE WHOLE OF BASECAMP IN OUR WEEKS ABSENCE HAS BECOME LITERALLY A RIVER!! AMAZING HOW QUICKLY THINGS CHANGE ROUND HERE. WE WERE CROSSING A SMALL RIVER OF MELTING ICE AND RODRIGO JUMPED ON A SEEMINGLY LARGE SECURE ROCK AND THE NEXT THING IT COLLAPSED AND HE WAS SITTING WAIST DEEP IN ICY COLD RUNNING WATER.. WHAT A WAY TO END OUR TRIP DOWN THE ICEFALL. I THOUGHT BASECAMP WAS SAFE BUT EVERY SECOND ROCKS AND ICE WILL CREAK AND MOVE AND MY TENT IS SO PRECARIOUSLY PLACED ONTOP OF A SMALL MELTING SLAB OF ICE THAT IF I WASN'T HERE FOR JUST ONE MORE NIGHT I WOULD HAVE TO REPITCH IT!!!

WE HAD A DELICIOUS LUNCH, MY ILLNESS SEEMS TO HAVE SUBSIDED NOW THAT I WAS BACK AT BASECAMP!!I WAS SO HAPPY TO SEE OUR COOKS BIM, CHULDUN AND CHAGMA..I LOVE THEM ALL, THEY ARE SUCH AMAZING PEOPLE. WE SAT AND GOSSIPED ALL AFTERNOON, RODRIGO, PIPE, PATO, KIKO AND I AND THEN I CAME TO WORK ON THE COMPUTER.. THE BOYS GIVE ME GRIEF ABOUT NOT BEING ABLE TO START THE GENERATOR AND WOULDN'T DO IF FOR ME UNTIL THEY HAD CONSUMED AT LEAST 5 BEERS!! I THEN WORKED ON MY JOURNALS AND 500 EMAILS!! UNTIL DINNER AND ALSO SPOKE TO MY MUM WHOM I MISS DESPERATELY. I WAS REALLY WORRIED ABOUT ANDRONICO STILL AT CAMP 1 AND I KNOW ILL BE ABLE TO RELAX FULLY WHEN HE IS DOWN SAFELY AT BASECAMP.

Annabelle
 

Dispatches

 
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