The last of the caravan of yaks and porters approaching the Base Camp for the
Irish Wyeth Everest Expedition 2004. Hundreds of kilos
of equipment and food have been ferried on the backs of men and animals over
the past 2 weeks through the Khumbu Valley to the snout of the Khumbu Glacier
A porter attached to a climbing expedition on Everest being evacuated by
comrades out of Everest Base Camp suffering from Acute Mountain Sickness in
the early hours of April 1. This sherpa was suffering from pulmonary edema and
died soon after. This highlights for the Irish and other International
climbers presently attempting Everest the deadly consequences associated with
the effects of high altitude.
March 29: Pheriche Today we are resting in the village of Pheriche at over
4000m and just four days or so now from the base of Everest and what will be
our Base Camp Wyeth.Over the last few days as we near our destination, our
scenery is that of the cloud piercing peaks of the highest mountains on Earth.
It is truly awesome! The weather is magnificent and buoyed by this and the
majesty of our surrounds, everyone is feeling great. The acclimatisation
process is going well and today's rest is a crucial part
of this. Tomorrow our trek resumes, to overnight at Lobuche, then it’s onto
Gorak Shep and finally to Base Camp on April 1.
Yesterday on our walk-in, I passed below Ama Dablam. For me it is still the
world’s most beautiful peak. As I strolled past this magnificent sentinel to
Everest, I remembered times past and my first ever expedition there in 1991.
It was my first time in the Himalaya and I was part of a group of 6 climbers
led by Con Moriarty who’s dream it was to stand on top of this peak.
Alot of water has passed down the Dudh Kosi river since then
but I remember the first time I ever heard the name;Ama Dablam, the first
photograph I ever saw of it. Our team was made up of Con and Mike
O'Shea from Kerry, Mick Murphy and I from Cork, Ciaran Corrigan and Tony
Farrell from Dublin. We were supported by Tim Hickey from Kerry, Mick Hennesey
from Cork and Peter and Rose Spellman from Clare. (Hello to ye all!) We were
young, a little naive but so full of enthusiasm. On reflection, it was an
incredible expedition for it’s time, for us and the way in which we attempted
it. I learned a great deal on that trip and yesterday it’s detail came
flooding back to me......thank you lads!
The summit of Ama Dablam eluded me in ’91 but I knew then I’d come back to
these mountains. I discovered something here of great importance to my soul. I
discovered too that I was blessed with a natural physiology suited to high
altitude climbing. 1991 was the first time I ever saw Everest and I felt drawn
to it. Two years later, I got
myself on an international expedition, climbing on the North Ridge. The summit
eluded me then too but I returned in 1995 and made it.
Ama Dablam and it’s amazing south west ridge though is where
it all began for me in the company of my closest friends. I returned here with
Con in 1999, after I completed the 7 Summits (the highest peak on each
continent). Moriarty and I just came away together, back to this place where
so much had happened a few years before.
In ’91 Con suffered an accident high on Ama Dablam that was
to have a detrimental effect on his mountaineering and on his life. A simple
slip under a heavy load caused three discs to rupture in his spine. That
summer he had a major discetomy. He was in his prime as a climber. He was my
climbing partner and mentor and we had a world of plans and peaks.
In ’99, we found ourselves out here during a period of
terrible weather that led to over fifty deaths on expeditions throughout the
region It scuppered Con’s acclimatisation and I sumitted alone. On that
incredible summit, I missed him.
Ama Dablam- where it all began for Pat Falvey and others from our approach at
Thangboche.The low precipitation of recent times is evident from the greyness
of the mountain slopes.
Crossing the suspension bridge over the mighty Dudh Kosi below Namche Bazarre
With political unrest arising from Maoist clashes with Nepali government
forces threatening to rip this country apart, Nepal's army troops are a common
site on our approch to Everest.
The Kerry climbers, Mike Long (left) and Aidan Forde (right) after meeting
with Pat Falvey on the trail at Thangboche on Saturday last
(Mar 27). Mike and Aidan were on their way out of the Khumbu Valley after
summiting the spectacular peak of Pumori a few days earlier. Pumori is a
satellite peak of Everest and stands at 7171m stands over Everest Base Camp.
Their climb was made as part of an international effort organized by the
American expedition organizer, Dan Mazur. It was congratulations and best
wishes all round, amidst the possibility of Pat and Mike meeting sometime in
mid-May on the highest point on Earth from two different sides, from two
different countries. (Everest sits on the border of Tibet and Nepal) on the
highest point on Earth sometime out in May.
veteran expedition leader, Everest climber, author and motivational
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