Madness Expedition 2004: Summit Day on Everest
Day 51: May 16:
This is Sarah Henley reporting form Base Camp. I just got word from Willie at
Camp 4 and they are all attempting to rest. Gene and Gary are feeling good.
Murray feels good but he is a little tired from the day. At this point
Murray's crampon seems to be holding so we'll just hope it stays that way.
Their departure time from Camp 4 for the summit is 9:00 pm tonight. Willie
will try to radio sometime during the night to give an update but it can be
challenging to stop when they are in a huge line up of people all going to the
same place. He will definitely call us at Base Camp when they reach the
Balcony and then again at the South Summit before they get to the Hillary
Step. We will also of course hear from them when and if they reach the summit
sometime in the morning. I will keep you posted...
Day 51: May 16: This morning
the Mountain Madness climbers left Camp 3 at 7:30 am for the South Col., also
known as Camp 4. Gary and Gene reached the Yellow Band at 11:00 am and then
continued on to the Col. arriving around 3:00 pm. Murray was quite a bit
behind them on account of his crampon braking again. They managed to fix it
and Willie waited for him to get to the Yellow Band. Willie and Murray
arrived at Camp 4 around 4:00 pm. When I spoke to them this morning everyone
was feeling as well as expected. I asked Murray how he was feeling and he
said, "things are good for all things considered". I thought this was a
perfect response because once you get to these elevations everyone will and
expects to feel a little off. Last night they slept with oxygen and other
than it being awkward I think they all managed to sleep some. Today climbing
to Camp 4 was their first time actually moving while breathing oxygen. This
can be very challenging at first because ones breathing pattern has to
completely change, the dry air can cause a sore throat, and the mask limits
ones vision. Now they are all trying to rest as best as possible before they
head to the summit tonight. Gary will be climbing with Phendan Sherpa, Gene
is climbing with Undi Sherpa, and Murray will climb with Mingma Sherpa.
This morning I got word that there were 20 people on the summit around 9:30 am
and there were more folks waiting below to get their turn. There was also
another 20 to 30 people still on their way up. Twenty people on the top of
Mount Everest is definitely tight. The route up to the top last night was one
huge highway which can make it difficult for individuals to find their own
personal pace. In a lot of places it is not as simple as just passing someone
slower than you. We have been told here at Base Camp that the route is not
all the way fixed with lines. The past two summit rounds have not been using
fixed lines for some of the way past Camp 4. Willie is aware of this and he
intends to be ahead of the rest of our guys and will fix lines where needed.
I will be in touch more frequently when they begin their summit attempt
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