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  Mt. Everest 2004: Irish Expedition

Dispatch - May 19

Just after 02.00hrs Base Camp Wyeth was noisy due a strong wind. This was not the forecast. Getting up, I knew that weather updates were essential. Communications systems were made ready and routine checks carried out.

I had the latest weather ready at 05.00hrs. Later the radio came to life. Climbers were leaving High Camp Wyeth. The wind is strong and they would not answer radio calls, only make them. This is because descending from the South Col requires both hands at all times.

The latest weather forecast is for strong winds. Speeds of up to 50mph; and these are expected to rise in the afternoon. The strongest winds are expected over 7500m. This is why the team are descending to Camp 2 Lowe Alpine. All climbers from other expeditions are also descending. The tropical depression in the Bay of Bengal had been upgraded to a Tropical Cyclone. This has led to large increases in wind speed. Convection also increased, which up here leads to greater precipitation - snow.

Just received radio call from Camp 3 Spórt Corrán Tuathail. Lhakpa has started to dismantle the Vaude tents in readiness for descending to Camp 2 Lowe Alpine. The rate of descent is good. All the others have just arrived at the camp.

Pemba announced that everybody was thirsty, but to stop and melt ice would take too long. Dawe immediately contacted Tensing at Camp 2 Lowe Alpine and relayed the news. Tensing had his insulated bag ready packed with high energy juices, snacks and his personal high altitude gear. He embarked immediately up the Western Cwm to meet the others on their way down.

Camp 3 Spórt Corrán Tuathail has been dismantled and all are heading down. More details after we talk to the team. This will happen after they are settled in Camp 2 Lowe Alpine.

We have just received a radio call that all members of the team are safely at Camp 2 Lowe Alpine. They are all well, but tired. They have eaten well and are settling down to rest. They plan to descend early in the morning and hope to be at Base Camp Wyeth about midday.
Pat also revealed some details of the rescue on Everest last night. Pemba and Lamababu were involved in getting climbers that were in difficulties back to the South Col. This morning people from all expeditions assisted in evacuation to lower altitude and over steep ground. Jangbu accompanied one climber all the way to Camp 3.

At Base Camp Wyeth, Dawe and Adrian had known about the emergency up higher as they were helping to co-ordinate things at EBC between various parties as our Motorola Radios were the only ones that transmitted and received perfectly - and clearer than any time before when contacting that altitude.

Special message to Brian at Sigma Wireless in Cork

When you and Fidelma were here a couple of weeks ago, I told you that the range and signal are excellent and they perform better than the specifications. I think I also said that during several days testing in hostile mountain environment that they performed admirably. In fact I think I might have said that apart from user created problems they are a great communications system. Last night when it really matter they were reliable as ever. When bad weather conditions, caused by electrical charges and varying air pressures, interrupted other radio broadcasts the Motorola was the perfect companion.

The GM 360 Base Set and the GP340 Handsets are just brilliant - and so say all of us. A big thank you from me on behalf of all those at the different Base Camps. A very big even huge thank you from those people on the mountain, who from dusk to dawn absolutely needed radio contact.

The Base Set and handsets are brilliant - thank you Sigma Wireless and Motorola

In the early of hours of the morning, we received the good news that most of those who had been in danger were now relatively safe at Camp 3 and others had made it to Camp 2.

At no stage were any of our team in danger. Those involved in the rescue and evacuation were tired, but are now resting at Camp 2 Lowe Alpine. At present it is snowing hard at Everest Base Camp, these conditions that started at 15.00hrs are expected to last for 24hrs.

We have just received news that the trekkers are in Lobuche. They are staying the night there. We hope to see them soon. Among this group are Nima Sherpa, Tim Orr and Eamon Muldowney. They are joining Sheila Kavanagh in her expedition to climb the 20,305ft Imja Tse, also known as Island Peak.

Thanks to Sheila Kavangh

Sheila arrived at Base Camp Wyeth in April. She immediately embarked on a very fast learning curve in relation to the expedition’s radio and satellite communications system.

Within a few days Sheila mastered the operation. This was essential so that my work load could be shared.

Being a sociable person, Sheila made many friends among the support teams from different expeditions. These friends shared many cups of tea with both Sheila and me. These friendships meant that mutual help was always at hand when needed.

We support teams were able to assist each other with any IT and Communication problems. Such problems occur regularly with delicate technology in such a harsh environment.

I spent up to 2 hours every morning and the same in the evening getting and analysing weather reports. Sheila always helped in checking the numbers. This help with the weather forecast analysis ensured accuracy in my calculations. Sheila also managed to keep to a rigid training programme in preparation for her climb of Imja Tse.

Sheila made a huge contribution to the running of the communications system. Her understanding of the operation made my life easier. This was the specially the case over the last few days during our team’s summit attempt, success and subsequent difficult descent.

Thanks Sheila,


18th May - 3pm

Pat has made radio contact with Base Camp Wyeth from inside his tent at High Camp Wyeth. They are staying the night and will descend tomorrow. On the way they have to break up Camp 3 Spórt Corrán Tuathail and bring everything from there to Camp 2 Lowe Alpine. This is where they will spend the night. Tensing will have a good nutritional meal with plenty of hot drinks ready when they arrive.

Pat says that they are all well, but tired. He wants to thank all those
who have helped them over the last year. He also expressed his heartfelt appreciation for the many people who have followed this expedition through the website and to the many thousands of encouraging e-mails that have been received.

He added that they all plan to descend early in the morning and hope to be settled in Camp 2 Lowe Alpine by the afternoon. Pat hopes to be able to transmit some photographs to Base Camp Wyeth for us to send on. However the wind and low air pressure are causing difficulty today.

We will have more news as events evolve tomorrow. Here at Base Camp Wyeth, it is 19.10hrs on Tuesday 18th May 2004 and we are about to have dinner. When finished eating, Dawe, Da Rinji, Sheila and I are heading to bed. We have not seen our tents or sleeping bags since Sunday at 03.00hrs. It has been a great few days full of excitement. Tomorrow we rise at 05.00hrs, back to normal. The climbers need precise weather details to plan their descent.

On behalf of all my friends here at Base Camp - Dawe, Da Rinji, and Sheila, I would like to thank all the congratulation message that we have received today - and they are still co ming in.

Sheila and I would also like to thank our families and friends for all their support, since our involvement in this Irish Wyeth Everest Expedition 2004 began.

This is a day that none of us involved will ever forget.

Adrian Rahill

Talk to you in the morning
Base Camp Wyeth Out.


Pat Falvey, veteran expedition leader, Everest climber, author and motivational speaker.

To book Pat Falvey on his 'AGAINST THE SKY' LECTURE TOUR. e-mail us at

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