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  Mt. Everest 2004: Annabelle Bond's Updates


Annabelle Bond's journal:

Dispatch 6: APRIL 1ST AND 2ND

DINNER AT DRAGNAK WAS FAIRLY EVENTFUL AS ANDRONICO HAD AGREED TO PURCHASE PERTEMBAS BROTHERS YAK FLEECE WAIST COAT. TERMS WERE AGREED AND ANDRONICO WAS SOON CRUISING AROUND LOOKING LIKE THE LOCAL YAK HERDER, BUT AS HE WENT TO PAY FOR THE WAISTCOAT HE WAS SPORTING, THERE WAS A MISUNDERSTANDING IN CURRENCY CONVERSION! THE WHOLE LODGE WATCHED AS THE JACKET WAS TAKEN OFF AND RETURNED ONLY TO BE BROUGHT 5 MINS LATER. AS WE WATCHED THIS JACKET EXCHANGING HANDS BETWEEN THE TWO OF THEM, THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY NEGOTIATION GAME I'VE EVER WITNESSED, I THOUGHT THE ALTITUDE HAD FINALLY KICKED IN!

WE DEPARTED FOR THE CHOLA PASS AT 6.30AM THE NEXT DAY, IT WAS A LONG DAY AND THE SCENERY WAS STUNNING. THE PASS IS A ROCKY SCRAMBLE WHICH LEADS UP TO A SMALL GLACIER AT 5,400M WHICH WE CROSSED AND THEN DESCENDED SHARPLY INTO DZONGLA. WE ARRIVED AT LOBUCHE AFTER 7 HOURS OF WALKING AND WERE SOON TUCKING INTO DAL BAHT AND MARS BARS. THE TWO PEOPLE WHO RAN THE LODGE THAT WE STAYED AT IN LOBUCHE THOUGHT THEY WERE THE GUESTS AND WE WERE ALL TREATED WITH A GENERAL ANNOYANCE. THEY TOLD US WHEN WE WERE TO HAVE DINNER AND I COULD SEE THEY GOT OPENLY IRRITATED WHEN I ORDERED TONS OF FOOD! I HAVEN'T COME ACROSS TWO SUCH BOSSY SURLY CHARACTERS IN A WHILE. THE CONSTANT ALCOHOL ON HIS BREATH PROBABLY EXPLAINS THE LONG TERM EFFECT OF LIVING IN LOBUCHE. THAT SAID, WE DID END UP STAYING AN EXTRA DAY OBEDIENTLY EATING WHEN TOLD! ERNESTO, PATO, OUR DOCTOR AND I ALL HAD BAD COUGHS SO WE THOUGHT WE WOULD STAY LOWER DOWN FOR ONE MORE DAY WHILST THE REST OF OUR GROUP WENT ONTO BASECAMP.

ON OUR REST DAY AT LOBUCHE WE DID A SHORT, SHARP ACCLIMATIZATION HIKE TO 5,300M AND RETURNED TO THE LODGE FOR LUNCH. THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL TEAM WERE THERE AND I WAS TALKING TO HECTOR, ONE OF THE BEST CLIMBERS IN MEXICO. HE HAS MADE THE SUMMIT OF EVEREST TWICE, AND I WAS CHATTING TO AN AUSTRALIAN GUY CALLED ANDREW WHO WAS VERY UNASSUMING AND I SOON FOUND OUT FROM MY BARAGE OF QUESTIONS TO HIM THAT HE HAS CLIMBED 10 OF THE 8,000 M PEAKS WITHOUT OXYGEN OR O,S AS IM MEANT TO SAY IN MOUNTAINEERING LINGO! THEY ARE CLIMBING EVEREST FOR A DOCUMENTARY FOR THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL. THEY HAVE A SKIER CALLED SHANNA WITH THEM WHO ALSO PLANS TO TRY AND SUMMIT WITH HECTOR AND ANDREW. IM GLAD THERE IS ANOTHER GIRL CLIMBING AMONGST SUCH ELITE MALE CLIMBERS AS I AM, I FEEL LIKE I CAN RELATE TO HER!!!

WE LEFT LOBUCHE LATE MORNING ON MARCH 3RD AND ARRIVED IN BASECAMP 3 AND A HALF HOURS LATER. ON OUR APPROACH TO BASECAMP WE PASSED THE REMAINS OF THE HELICOPTER THAT CRASHED HERE LAST YEAR, )NEEDLESS TO SAY IT IS ONE OF THOSE RELICS FROM THE AFGHAN WAR). SHORTLY AFTER PASSING THIS MORBID WRECKAGE WE ARRIVED INTO BASECAMP AND THERE WAS THE CHILEAN FLAG AND A HUGE BANCO DE CHILE LOGO WHICH MARKED OUR HOME FOR THE NEXT 6 WEEKS. EVERYTHING IS GREAT, WE HAVE A BIG DOME MESS TENT AND A COMMUNICATIONS TENT WHICH IM THE MOST REGULAR VISITOR TO! WE ALL HAVE OUR OWN TENTS AND ITS INTERESTING TO SEE THE 4 TONS OF EQUIPMENT THAT WE HAVE LAID OUT!

TOMORROW WE HAVE OUR PUJA CEREMONY WHERE ALL OUR ICE AXES AND CRAMPONS ARE BLESSED FOR OUR UP AND COMING CLIMB. THE LAMA WILL COME AND BLESS OUR EXPEDITION ON SAGARMATHA. THERE WILL BE LOTS OF JUNIPER BURNING AND RICE AND FLOUR THROWING, BUT I WILL TELL U ALL ABOUT IT TOMORROW.

THE ICE FALL OPENED TODAY AND WE ARE PLANNING A PRACTICE TRIP INTO THE ICEFALL ON 5TH MARCH, IT LOOKS SCARILY MAGNIFICENT IF THAT IS THE RIGHT DESCRIPTION OF IT, I KEEP GAZING UP AT IT IN BOTH AWE AND TERROR. I HAVE A SLIGHT HEADACHE BUT OTHERWISE AM FEELING GOOD AND THE TEAM FEELS VERY BONDED!

Dispatch 7: APRIL 4TH

AFTER A FRIGID NIGHT I WAS AWOKEN AT 8.00AM BY ONE OF OUR SHERPAS WITH HOT TEA, SO GREAT. WE THEN HAD BREAKFAST AND AT 10.00 WE HAD OUR PUJA CEREMONY. I COULD SEE DAVID BREASHEARS AND ALL THEIR TEAM ALSO HAVING THEIR PUJA AT THE SAME TIME AS US. IT WAS INCREDIBLE THE CEREMONY, WE ALL SAT WHILST THE LAMA, PERTEMBA AND ALL OUR HIGH ALTITUDE SHERPAS CHANTED AND THROUGH RICE AND BURNT JUNIPER. IT WAS QUITE A CEREMONY AND I FELT A LITTLE EMOTIONAL AS I PRAYED THAT WE WOULD ALL COME BACK SAFELY. WE MADE FOOD OFFERINGS TO THE GODS THAT ARE TO PROTECT US DURING OUR CLIMB AND THEN THERE WAS A LOT OF CHANG AND BEER DRUNK! IT WAS VERY BEAUTIFUL AS THEY RAISED THE PRAYER FLAGS AND THE CHILEAN FLAG WAS RAISED INTO THE SKY.. I SNUCK ON THE HSBC FLAG AND THE EVE APPEAL FLAG WHICH ARE THE TWO FLAGS IM TRYING TO TAKE TO THE SUMMIT AND HAD THEM BLESSED FOR MY SAFE JOURNEY. I THOUGHT TO MYSELF THAT I REALLY HOPE I CAN TAKE THEM HIGHER THAN BASECAMP.

DAVID BREASHEARS CAME OVER TO OUR PUJA CEREMONY, HE IS SO HIGHLY REGARDED HERE AND OUR SHERPAS WERE ALL VERY EXCITED TO SEE HIM AND MOST OF THEM HAD WORKED WITH HIM ON PREVIOUS EXPEDITIONS. HE GAVE ME THE MOST BEAUTIFUL JOURNAL WITH A PICTURE OF TENZING NORGAY ON THE SUMMIT OF EVEREST AND A BEAUTIFUL INSCRIPTION. I WAS VERY TOUCHED AT HIS THOUGHTFULNESS.

I WENT WITH HIM OVER TO THEIR CAMP WHICH IS NEXT TO OURS AND THEY HAVE A GREAT MESS TENT WITH TIBETAN RUGS THROUGHOUT. I CHATTED TO STEVEN DALDRY AND JOHN FINCH THE TWO DIRECTORS OF THE MOVIE THAT THEY ARE MAKING AND WE ARE ALL GOING INTO THE ICE FALL FOR THE FIRST TIME TOMORROW. IM SO IMPRESSED THAT JOHN AND STEVEN ARE GOING IN..THEY BOTH LOOK FIT AND RELAXED AND I PRAY THEY DON'T FIND ME FROZEN WITH FEAR ON ONE OF THE LADDERS! I SAW ED VIEUSTERS AND MET JIMMY CHIN WHO LOOKED VERY COOL, HE IS AN AMAZING CLIMBER APPARENTLY SO ILL BE LOOKING FOR ALL THE TIPS THAT I CAN GET FROM THESE GUYS. IM GOING OVER TO THEIR TENT FOR DINNER TOMORROW NIGHT AS HALF OUR TEAM ARE GOING WITH ANDRONICO TO TAKE HIS TWO SISTERS GABRIELLA AND PAULA WHO HAVE BEEN TREKKING IN WITH US BACK DOWN TO LOBUCHE WHERE THEY ARE FLYING TO KATMANDU BY HELICOPTER. THEY HAVE BEEN AMAZING, HAVING NEVER BEEN THIS HIGH BEFORE THEY BOTH FEEL AT HOME HERE AT BASECAMP AND ARE FEELING GREAT. I THINK THE TEAM WILL BE VERY SAD TO SEE THEM GO AND NOW I WILL BE THE ONLY GIRL, THEIR GRINGA AS THEY CALL ME! I THINK I'VE TAKEN UP WAY TOO MUCH TIME IN THE COMMUNICATIONS TENT SO ILL REPORT BACK WHEN IV BEEN INTO THE ICE FALL, AND I HAVE TO TELL U IM EXTREMELY NERVOUS ABOUT IT!!!

Dispatch 8: 5TH APRIL EVEREST BASE CAMP, KHUMBU ICEFALL

WE HAD OUR FIRST PRACTICE DAY IN THE ICEFALL TODAY! OH MY GOD WHAT A DAY! AS WE WERE ONLY PRACTICING WE LEFT CAMP AT 9.30AM WITH PATO, OUR DOC, MISAIL, KIKO, ERNESTO, PHILLIPE )OUR CAMERA MAN WHO HAD NEVER WORN CRAMPONS BEFORE) MYSELF AND ALL OUR HIGH ALTITUDE SHERPAS WHO ARE JUST AMAZING, THE CLINT EASTWOODS OF THE MOUNTAIN, I ALMOST EXPECT THEM TO SHOW UP CHEWING ON TOOTH PICKS! DUE TO A HEAVY SNOWFALL THIS WINTER THE ICEFALL IS MUCH BIGGER THIS YEAR, SO ITS A LONG WAY UP AND DOWN BEFORE YOU REACH ANY OF THE LADDERS. I BUMPED INTO ED VIESTURS AND VEIKER WHO HAD BEEN UP TO CAMP 1 ON THEIR FIRST ACCLIMATIZATION TRIP, THEY HAD BEEN UP AND DOWN IN ABOUT 6 HOURS! EVERYTHING WENT FINE UNTIL I GOT TO THE FIRST LADDER. AGAINST EVERYONE'S ADVICE, THE FIRST THING I DID WAS LOOK DOWN AND PROCEEDED TO FREEZE. AS I GLARED DOWN INTO THIS BOTTOMLESS ABYSS, I COULDN'T COMMIT MY 2ND STEP. EVENTUALLY, PASANG OUR CLIMBING SIDHAR COAXED ME ACROSS AND WITH SEWING MACHINE LEGS ) CAUSING THE WHOLE LADDER TO SHAKE) I SOMEHOW GOT ACROSS AND STUMBLED INTO PASANGS ARMS! ) DON'T THINK HE EXPECTED THAT ONE!) WE THEN CAME TO A BIGGER CREVASSE AND LADDER CROSSING AND HERE I STAYED PRACTICING. I SAW DAVID BREASHEARS COMING DOWN FROM A MORNINGS FILMING HIGHER UP THE MOUNTAIN AND HE SHOWED ME HOW ITS REALLY DONE AND JUST RAN ACROSS. I WAS WARNED THAT HIGHER UP THE MOUNTAIN IS A HUGE CREVASSE CROSSING WITH 5 LADDERS TIED TOGETHER, I AM ABSOLUTELY DREADING THIS ONE!
I'VE CONCLUDED THAT, HAVING TRIED BOTH WAYS OF COURSE, CROSSING THE LADDERS ON ALL FOURS IS MY PREFERENCE. BEFORE YOU ALL LAUGH, IM KEEPING VERY GOOD COMPANY IN THIS METHOD OF CROSSING, NO NAMES MENTIONED, BUT A FEW OTHER PEOPLE ARE DOING THE SAME! I WAS FURIOUS TO SEE PHILLIPE OUR CAMERAMAN FILMING MY REAR AS I CRAWLED ACROSS ONE OF THESE LADDERS, ALL I NEED IS A DUMMY IN MY MOUTH TO COMPLETE THE PICTURE! PHILLIPE WAS AMAZING AND ALSO MANAGED TO CROSS SOME OF THESE LADDERS, EVEN THOUGH HE HAD NEVER USED CRAMPONS BEFORE.

I RETURNED TO BASE CAMP AS FAST AS POSSIBLE, TARZANING DOWN THE FIXED LINES WITH LAMPU SHERPA, I AM DETERMINED TO MOVE THROUGH THE ICEFALL FAST. I WAS SOON BACK AT BASE CAMP HAVING LUNCH WITH RODRIGO JORDAN AND TELLING HIM DRAMATICALLY ALL ABOUT IT! I WAS VERY EXCITED TO HEAR THAT 2 OF THE DISCOVERY TEAM MEMBERS, HECTOR AND ANDREW HAD BEEN OVER TO VISIT RODRIGO WHILST I WAS IN THE ICE FALL AND THAT THEIR DIRECTOR DAVID HAD ASKED WHETHER I MINDED BEING PART OF THEIR SERIES THAT THEY ARE MAKING ON EVEREST. I TRIED TO LOOK VAGUELY PRESENTABLE AND HID MY GREASY HAIR IN MY ARCTERYX HAT, AND SCHLEPPED ACROSS BASECAMP TO THE DISCOVERY TENTS ) WE ARE AT OPPOSITE ENDS OF BASECAMP) AND PRAYED THEY WOULDN'T SEE ME STUMBLING AMATEURISHLY ACROSS THE ROCKS AS I ARRIVED AT THEIR CAMP. I SPENT SOME TIME TALKING TO THEM, THEY ARE ALL GREAT AND I LOVED MEETING SHANNA WHOM I FEEL I HAVE A LOT IN COMMON WITH IN TERMS OF OUR GOALS, EXCEPT SHE USED TO BE A DOWNHILL SKI RACER FOR CANADA WHICH MADE ME GREEN WITH ENVY.

AS HALF MY GROUP WERE IN LOBUCHE SEEING OFF ANDRONICOS SISTERS AND MARCELLO, WHO HAS ALREADY SET UP OUR WHOLE COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM, I WENT OVER TO DAVID BREASHEARS CAMP FOR DINNER. THEIR MESS TENT IS UNBELIEVABLE, TIBETAN RUGS ON THE FLOOR, STATE OF THE ART COMMUNICATIONS, YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE SOMEPLACE ELSE NOT AT EVEREST BASE CAMP. I HAD A GREAT DINNER WITH ALL OF THEM AND THEN STUMBLED IN THE SNOW BACK TO OUR CAMP, THANK GOD WE ARE NEIGHBOR. ITS SNOWING HEAVILY AND IM IN MY TENT EXHAUSTED, WE ARE GOING BACK INTO THE ICEFALL AGAIN TOMORROW TO PRACTICE ON THOSE DREADED LADDERS. BASECAMP FEELS LIKE A SMALL VILLAGE, ITS ACTUALLY VERY PRETTY WITH ALL THE PRAYER FLAGS STREWN FROM ALL THE PUJA CEREMONY LOCATIONS. IM TOO TIRED TO WRITE ANYMORE SO GOODNIGHT FROM A SNOWY EBC!

Dispatch 9:

APRIL 6TH KHUMBU ICEFALL

AFTER A 10 HOUR SLEEP, WHERE I SLEPT THROUGH THE DEPARTURE OF MISAIL, KIKO AND ALL OUR SHERPAS AT 5.00AM TO GO TO CAMP 1 AND AN AVALANCHE, I WAS AWOKEN AT 8.00AM WITH MY SHERPA TEA. WE ARRIVED INTO THE ICEFALL FOR OUR PRACTICE SESSION AT 10.30AM, I CONSIDERED THIS LATE AND HAD BEEN CHOMPING AT THE BIT, READY WITH MY HARNESS ON SINCE 9.30AM. I WAS ANXIOUS TO GO IN AND OUT OF THE ICEFALL FAST AND NOT HANG AROUND IN THE SCORCHING SUN OF THE LATE MORNING) ITS REALLY HOT IN THERE). I HAVE TO CONFESS I FELT MORE TIRED TODAY THAN YESTERDAY. I PASSED ALL OUR SHERPAS WHO HAD ALREADY BEEN TO CAMP 1 AND WERE HEADED BACK TO OUR BASECAMP IN A 6 HR TRIP. I LOVE THE SHERPAS, THEY ARE ALWAYS FRIENDLY AND SMILING AND THEY ARE JUST MACHINES UP HERE AT THIS ALTITUDE.

EVERYONE HAS CONCLUDED THAT THE ICEFALL IS MUCH LONGER AND MORE DIFFICULT THAN USUAL. I APPARENTLY HAVEN'T REACHED THE DIFFICULT PART OF THE ICEFALL YET ACCORDING TO DAVID BREASHEARS LAST NIGHT AT DINNER!

ERNESTO AND I REACHED THE THREE LADDERS WE WERE PRACTICING ON YESTERDAY IN A FAIRLY QUICK TIME. I WAS ON ALL FOURS IN THE MIDDLE OF A LADDER CROSSING STARING DOWN INTO THIS BOTTOMLESS WALL OF ICE WHEN SUDDENLY THERE WAS A HUGE AVALANCHE. I SCREAMED AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS FOR ERNESTO, )DIDN'T REALLY KNOW WHAT HE COULD DO TO HELP) BUT ERNESTO ASSURED ME AS I REMAINED FROZEN ON MY KNEES THAT THE AVALANCHE WAS TO OUR RIGHT AND THAT I WAS OK. NOTHING LIKE THAT ADRENALIN RUSH.

PATO WAS A LITTLE SLOWER TODAY AND TAKING PICTURES, SO I ZOOMED DOWN AS FAST AS POSSIBLE WITH 2 SHERPAS FROM ANOTHER EXPEDITION. I WANT TO MOVE THROUGH THAT ICEFALL AS FAST AS MY LUNGS WILL ALLOW ME.

I MET THREE ENGLISH GUYS FROM JAGGED GLOBE ALSO PRACTICING ON THE LADDERS AND I PASSED THE KOREANS HAVING THEIR PUJA CEREMONY ON MY WAY BACK TO CAMP..

WHEN I GOT BACK TO OUR CAMP, I HEARD THAT KIKO WHO WAS EN ROUTE BACK DOWN FROM CAMP 1 WAS REALLY SICK WITH A FEVER AND SORE THROAT. IT TOOK HIM AND MISAIL 10 HOURS TO GET TO CAMP 1 AND BACK DOWN AGAIN. PATO, OUR DOCTOR, ERNESTO AND I WERE ALL ANXIOUSLY ON STANDBY FOR KIKOS RETURN TO BASECAMP AS HE HAD RADIOED US TO SAY HE FELT TERRIBLE. I FORGOT TO MENTION THAT IT HAS BEEN SNOWING EXTREMELY HEAVILY HERE, HENCE ALL THE AVALANCHES.

KIKO WAS REALLY ILL WHEN HE APPEARED AND HAS GONE STRAIGHT TO BED. ANDRONICO, RODRIGO AND PERTEMBA RETURNED FROM LOBUCHE LOOKING LIKE SNOWMEN, SO WE ARE ALL BACK TOGETHER AGAIN!

TOMORROW I HAVE A REST DAY BEFORE GOING HIGHER INTO THE ICEFALL ON 8TH APRIL AND I WANT TO CONSERVE MY ENERGY FOR THEN. IM GOING TO SEE THE DISCOVERY TEAM TOMORROW TO SEE IF THEY ARE STILL INTERESTED IN FILMING THE GREASYHAIRED GRINGA.

ITS 5.30PM IN THE AFTERNOON AND IM FINALLY WARMING UP IN MY TENT. I THINK I AM THE ONLY PERSON WHO HAS PUT ON WEIGHT AT BASECAMP, PALDE OUR COOK IS AMAZING ALTHOUGH HE OBVIOUSLY DOESN'T ENJOY HIS OWN COOKING AS HE IS SUPER SKINNY! HE WILL BE COMING UP TO CAMP 2 WHICH WILL BE OUR ADVANCED BASECAMP WHEN THE TIME COMES FOR US TO HEAD UP THE MOUNTAIN...

Dispatches

 

 

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