Team Expedition Leaders: Dave Pritt & Conan Harrod
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Team: Philip James, Patricia McGuirk, Walid Abuhaidar, Peter Madew
Conan Harrod report: THE RESCUE: After the epic 4 days descent to get back to Base Camp, I had to be evacuated to Kathmandu by Jeep because the helicopter was unable to fly into Tibet from Nepal due to bad weather conditions. The 8 days stay at the B&B hospital in Southern Patan were relatively comfortable and the reconstructive surgery on the lower left leg went well. We finally returned home to the UK 1st Class (Paid for by the insurance company), just a pity I couldn’t enjoy the free Champagne because of the antibiotics I was taking.
I was X-rayed and checked over at the local Stockport hospital near where I live and they are quite happy with how the operation went. I spent four weeks at home getting bored watching daytime TV before returning to work, still with the aid of crutches. Some of the metal work was removed on the 10th July and I could finally start to put some weight on the leg. As I slowly put more and more pressure on the left leg over the next couple of weeks, I started back at my Gym at the end of August to start to build the muscles back in the legs and rest of the body.
Its now the middle of August and I can walk unaided over short distances and even managed a slow walk round Buttermere Lake on the Adventure Peaks weekend. Jill was quite amused that I couldn’t keep up with her on the flat as we all set off together on Saturdays walk. I am already planning ahead to the next couple of years and am hoping to go to Peru next summer to climb Peru Alpamayo and Huascaran. I can also confirm that I will then be returning for another attempt on Everest in March 2005 with Adventure Peaks. The organisation and quality of equipment provided was excellent. More importantly, when it mattered the most during my rescue, everything was coordinated very professionally. I had no hesitation in deciding that I would again book with Adventure Peaks.
All mountaineering has some level of risk and despite what has been said in some of the media reports, it was entirely an accident and I do not hold anyone responsible.
I would like to thank the following people:-
Walid Abuhaidar and Peter Madew from the Adventure Peaks Everest 2003 team for their incredible effort during the 1st critical two days of my rescue.
Dave Pritt for coordinating the entire rescue with great skill and determination.
Phil and Patricia for their help manning the radio and contacting other teams.
The Adventure Peaks Sherpas for their involvement during all 3 days of the rescue down to ABC showing incredible strength throughout.
The Royal Navy team and other Sherpas who gave great assistance.
Other teams who provided vital oxygen supplies and additional help.
A special thanks to Jill who was left keeping friends and family up to date with what was happening and had to answer the endless phone calls from the media at all hours.
Thanks finally to everyone who sent cards and e-mails giving their best wishes.
I am still collecting money for my chosen charity :-
The Motor Neurone Disease Association so please donate online at : www.justgiving.com/everest
REPORTS (read in reverse order)
CONAN WAS CLIMBING EVEREST FOR CHARITY,
Conan and Dave will be home Tuesday 3rd June.
Once again many thanks to all those involved in Conan’s rescue.Thanks for all the emails and phone calls from all over the world enquiring about Conan.The amount of courage he himself showed in his rescue proved
to me that he DID summit Everest.
I do not Know if anyone knew that Conan was climbing Everest for charity.This was for research into Motor Neurone Disease(MND)also known as Lou Guerrin Syndrome.This is the disease Conans’ father died from in May 1988(15 years ago).There is no known cure for MND and most sufferers die within years(his dad in 13 months) The motor nerves of the brain and spinal cord die resulting in total paralysis, the person casnnot move,speak or swallow food and drink. It is a most terrible disease.
Both Conan and his dad showed great courage.
I hope that you do not think that I am being too cheekybut I was wondering if anyone would like to sponsor Conan? Conans attempt on Everest was totally self financing and any money he received went to MNDA.
If you wish to please send cheques made payable to MNDA with a note
mentioning Conans name. The address to snd it to is:-
Motor Neurone Disease Association
David Niven House
10-15 Notre Dame Mews
or alternatively to me(I will forward it on)at
Mrs C Harrod
67 Station Road
Once again many thanks Connie (mum) Michelle and Ian (sister and brother in law) Craig and Cathy (Conans twin brother and sister in law) Rachel (Conans girlfriend) and all the rest of the Harrod family.
Wednesday 28th May
Im really sorry that the website has not been updated for a few days, its been an emotional time for all concerned and it doesn’t help been bombarded by endless press/tv/and radio.
I would like to thank everyone for all there support and kind words, the office has been swamped with emails and calls from around the globe who have followed the team’s progress, but also have expressed there feelings to Conan, but more so to Peter and Walid who ultimately saved Conans life.
Conan is in hospital in Kathmandu. Patricia and Philip are in Kathmandu. Walid has returned to the USA and Peter has returned to Australia where we are awaiting news of his fingers.
Dave is currently helping the sherpas strip all equipment from the mountain. He returns to the UK 3rd June.
Rachel and I (Conan’s mum) would like to thank everybody who was involved in the rescue of Conan off Everest. I ESPECIALLY thank Walid Abuhaidar and Peter Madew (two of Conans team mates at Adventure Peaks) who saved his life on the first day and night to get him down to top camp They unselfishly risked their own lives to save Conan. I also give deep thanks to the sherpas from the Adventure Peaks team and other sherpas. Thanks to the RN team who helped Conan from 7500meters (they helped Peter as well). Thanks to everyone who took part in the rescue. The Adventure Peaks team (Dave, Philip, Patricia, Walid, Peter and the Sherpas) were all truly superb and were “ACE”. Rachel (Conans Girlfriend) I have much to thank them for. Thank you Jill for keeping me sane!! Conan is now recovering in Katmandu Hospital after an operation on his leg. He hopes to be back in England by the beginning of next week. Once again THANK YOU
Constance Harrod and Rachel
UPDATE – 23 May 2003
All climbing above 8000m is extremely hazardous and accepted by those who undertake the challenge of the worlds highest mountain, on Everest the dangers of high altitude are the most testing. What happened to Conan Harrod on May 21st at 8.30am was a result of a mountaineering accident, an American climber , slipped and fell pulling on the fixed rope, he in turn pulled off his sherpa who finally pulled on our client Conan who fell breaking his leg at 8500m. Assistance was given to get Conan back on the ridge where pain killing drugs were given.
What happened next can only be described as one of the worlds highest fight for survival and to whom most credit can only be given to Peter Madew, Walid , two of Conan,s fellow climbers. Walid was told on the radio that Conan had broken his leg, he immediately abandoned his summit bid at 8600m to return and help Peter evacuate Conan. The evacuation was along a notorious ridge with thousand of meters of exposure. Conan’s legs was splinted with an ice axe. The terrain is so steep that for the majority of the journey back to the high camp it is impossible to carry or support the injured person so conan had to crawl and hop over 2 kms, while Peter and Walid lifted the injured limb over the rocky terrain. At altitudes of over 8000m even the simplest tasks are desperate. It is impossible to describe the sheer strength that was shown.
They arrived at their top camp 8200m just after darkness after 10 hrs of crawling, hopping and support. Many groups had walked past both on their journey to the summit and back. Our sherpas had arrive from lower camps to assist but could only help to make them comfortable for the night before return to the lower camp 7800m for the night. They would set off early the next morning to return to 8200m to assist in the evacuation. Walid after providing support throughout the day also worked extremely hard throughout the night to keep Conan warm and fed, donating his own sleeping bag, unbelievable in temperatures -20-30 C. Throughout the day the remainder of the adventure Peaks team tried to gain support from other teams, it proved impossible for the section back to top camp 8200m. Support was given at 8200m, Russell Brice, Himalayan Experience donated oxygen and advice he being one of the most experienced guides on the north Side of Everest, Individual client gave oxygen and two doctors one from the Royal Navy and a client from Adventure Extreme gave medical advice by radio through Adventure Peaks. A Chinese Team contributed 3 Sherpas to help our 2 sherpas with the evacuation the next morning from 8300m with further support promised from 7800m (Royal Navy 3 person, Russell Brice 2 Sherpas, 3 more Adventure Peaks Sherpas). Peter Madew who had contributed so much in helping Conan get back to the top camp had contracted a degree of frost bite and at the 7800m camp was assisted down my a member of the Royal Navy.
The descent from 8200m – 8500m was again extremely Rocky and it was only due to Conan inner strength that allowed him to crawl, be dragged, pulled and lifted over the rocky terrain. Our Sherpas and the Chinese at times could only watch and wonder at Conan’s strength.
Radio Communication with Adventure Peaks Advance Base camp was maintained throughout, from which medical advice was relaid from supporting teams. We have been able to keep friends and relatives informed, through our office and Jill. A recent quote:
I just wanted to send a quick note to thank you all for everything you’ve done getting Conan down off the mountain. You seem to have worked miracles to get him down from such a dangerous situation.
I’ve just been speaking to his mother and neither of us can come close to expressing our gratitude for what you’ve done for him.
Rachel (Conan’s girlfriend, just in case you were wondering!)
From the camp at 7600m, a strong Royal Navy group added a welcome strength to the evacuation party, our sherpas and the Chinese had done so much from 8300m. They took the lead in getting Conan down to the North Col at 7000m where he spent the night. As I write four Navy members along with our Sherpas are doing the final stages in getting Conan down to the steep final stages to Advance Base Camp where direct medical assistance will be given by two doctors (Navy and Civilian). After medical attention we Adventure Peaks have arranged the final part of the evacuation down to Base Camp, another 22kms, Yak Hearders will stretcher this section to an awaiting Jeep or Helicopter for a full days journey back to Kathmandu and Hospital treatment.
Adventure Peaks thanks the many teams who have contributed to the rescue of Conan and to our Sherpas and the Chinese Sherpas incredible strength, his team members Peter and Walid who showed the ultimate dedication to a team member, Philip James another team members who showed such calm in helping to co-ordinate the different teams from base camp by radio. Also to the other teams who contributed to the joint effort: Royal Navy, Chinese, Himalayan Experience(Russell Brice), Spanish Team and the many Tibetan Yak Hearders. The ultimate person was however Conan himself, who should go down in history as one of the greatest endeavour for survival.
My part was to try and bring all section together and to liaison with other teams.
NEWS UPDATE – Thursday 22nd May
Peter and Walid are safely back to ABC, both are ok, I have spoken to both today and both have commented about the strength and sheer determination of Conan.
Evacuation progress has been slow today but it’s not surprising seen that Conan is hopping, crawling and sliding on his bum, as well as been carried by our sherpas.
He’s currently just above the North Col so the decision has been called to stay the night at the North Col and continue down the Col to ABC tomorrow. From there the team and sherpas will carry him the 22km back to BC. The British Embassy in Nepal are currently working through paperwork and legislation to enable the helicopter to fly into Everest Base camp, if the helicopter cant, then a Jeep is on standby to take him to Kathmandu.
The response in the office has been overwhelming and I would like to thank everyone for their support and kind words to the whole team.
URGENT NEWS – 21st May
On behalf of Adventure Peaks in the UK we would like to confirm that the British Climber who today has broken his lower leg is Mr Conan Harrod from Manchester.
Conan was moving with fellow team member Peter Madew from Australia when the accident happened between the first and second step on summit day. We are still unclear exactly how the accident happened but we are led to believe that a climber from another team slipped from above, landing on Conan. A radio call brought Walid who was higher on the mountain down to assist Peter with getting Conan back down to Top camp. The 2 team mates escorted and dragged Conan back to his tent and safety whilst sherpa support from our team and others moved to assist.
Conan is currently stable with medical support at Top camp. Evacuation will begin at first light tomorrow sherpas and other climbers will carry him down to ABC. A rescue helicopter is on standby to pick Conan from BC to fly him direct to Kathmandu.
Words can not describe what his fellow team members, sherpas and other teams have done for Conan today.
Adventure Peaks Office – UK
Report No 13 – Tuesday 20th May
Team 2, Patricia, Philip and Dave set off from the North Col this morning up the North ridge. Both Patricia and Philip were moving extremely slowly with the affects of been over 7000metres and at around 7400metres both made the decision from within themselves to turn around and return back to ABC. Dave accompanied both back down to ABC.
I have just spoken with Philip and Patricia at ABC to offer our congratulations and praise to both of them. Both are extremely pleased with the effort they obtained, and happy that they themselves made the safe, correct decision to turn back.
Dave has just called home after the 6pm Tibet time,radio call, all three of Team 1, Walid, Peter & Conan are safe and well at top camp (8200metres). They will begin there summit push about 1.30am Wednesday. Turn around time has been set for 12 noon, meaning that wherever they are at 12 noon they should turn around and return in order to safely return in daylight hours.
They will be radioeing Dave at ABC 8.30am Wednesday, by this time they should be well under way. As soon as Dave calls tomorrow with news, once family have been informed we will aim to update the website asap.
Report No 12 – Monday 19th May, 3pm
Dave has just called to let us know that Team 1 are safe and well at camp 2 (7800metres) and Team 2 are safe and well at the North Col (7000metres).
Report No 11 – Monday 19th May
A few hours after our update was posted on Friday the team changed there summit plans. On Sunday 18th, Team 1, Peter, Walid and Conan left ABC to move to the North Col (camp 1). They are still going for the summit on Wednesday 21st May.
Today, Team 2, Dave, Philip, Patricia & Pemba (climbing sherpa who will be accompanying Patricia to the summit and back) have left ABC to move to the North Col.
They are going for the summit Thursday 22nd May.
As Dave receives news on Wednesday from Team 1 we will be updating as soon as we hear, this will be around 3pm UK time.
On Thursday, Dave again will phone the news straight home.
Report No 10 – Friday 16th May – Whalids Birthday!!!
I have just spoken with Dave, all are safe and well at ABC (6400metres). Weather reports today have confirmed that the team will go for the summit on Wednesday 21st May. The intended plan for the next few days is as follows:
Saturday 17th May Rest and get packed
Sunday 18th May The team will move to the North Col (7000metres)
Monday 19th May North Col to 7800metre camp
Tuesday 20th May 7800 to Top camp at 8200metres
Wednesady 21st May SUMMIT DAY. The team will aim to leave at around 2am.
All 5 members and Dave are setting out for the summit tomorrow. Dave is intending to take the satalite phone with him to enable reports and progress to be communicated back home. They are currently 5 hours ahead of UK time.
On behalf of all family and friends we wish the team (and all other teams) a safe and successful return to ABC.
The next report will be on Monday 19th May.
Report No 9 – 14th May
Dave phoned today to inform me that Conan, Peter and Whalid after receiving updated weather forcast set off upto ABC. Dave, Philip and Patricia will move to ABC tomorrow. The weather window now is looking extremely favourable for a summit attempt on the 20th & 21st May. The team will rest at ABC for a day or 2 while the sherpas finish setting up all the camps. The weather is now been monitered daily.
We hope to update daily now as the teams summit dreams are 1 week away. (weather depending)
Report No 8 – SUMMIT PLANS
The team returned to BC aware the next time they trod the same ground it would be on their way to the summit. We have now been playing the waiting game for the last week to ten days, our weather forecasts now show a possible summit window around the 22-23 May. We get our weather forecast from Switzerland in conjunction with Kari Kobler & Partners (A Swiss Expedition Company), in the past they have proven to be very accurate.
Its been a long wait for a favouarable forecast this year, the group have occupied their time visting other camps, the Tibetan Bars for the odd Lhasa bear, playing cards, reading and performing on Chineses TV. As part of the 50th Aniversary of the first Ascent CCTV (Chineses TV) have in conjunction with the Chinese team been preparing to broadcast live coverage of their ascent. The amount of technology and equipment involved is incrediable, including a 2km fibre optic cable from the North Col (7020m – 6400m) As part of the show interviews have been held with other teams to show an International flavour. Patricia and I were given 30 seconds each to perform live to 1.2 Billion viewers. The Chinese team are on a tight schedule to summit as a result of the TV, and are aiming for 17-18 May (Not the best weather according to our forecast!!!)
We have aslo been visted by the Chinese Army and our whole camp sprayed along with all other teams against ‘Sars Flu’ , very useful and I’m please we can now relax knowing we are clean and we have no need to use our shower for the rest of the expedition.
The team will leave BC onThursday 15th or Friday 16th for the long trek back to ABC, rest and do their final preparations until 18th before leaving for the North Col on the 19th. It will then be Camp 1 (7800m) on 20th, Camp 2 (8200m on 21st), Summit 22nd returning to 7800m and back to ABC on 23rd. Our summit bids will start on the 22nd at around 2am from camp 2 members should reach the summit at around 11-12 noon, arriving back at top camp at 4-5pm. The above is based on current advanced weather forecasts and could be adjusted as we recieve further information.
We have allowed three days after the summit bids to clear the mounatin before Yaks arrive to take us to BC (2 days), a further day of clearing at BC will see us in Jeeps heading back to Kathmandu on the 30th May.
Report No 8 – Friday 9th May
After several weeks of quite good weather allowing the team to acclimatise quickly and for the camps to be quickly established on the mountain, Everest finally awoke !!!
We have had 5 days of incredibly strong winds with speed of over 100mph above the North Col at 7000m. We are fortunate to be able to receive very good weather predictions to give us plenty of warning for such events. We were able to complete our final acclimatisation climb up the North Ridge to 7600m and safely descend all the way to Base Camp before the bad weather arrived. The winds proved very destructive over the 5 days with many teams loosing many tents at all camps. One or two teams have had to pull out altogether because of the damage. At Base Camp, we witnesses many tents being seriously damaged. The damage at ABC was reportedly a lot worse.
Adventure Peaks were very lucky !. The only damage at Base Camp was the toilet tent blowing down. Luckily I’d just left it a few minutes earlier !. The damage was only a couple of bent poles and so we quickly dismantled it to prevent further damage. At ABC, the Mess tent had two broken poles which were quickly replaced with spares and a Quasar had a ripped Flysheet so the tent was again dismantled to prevent further damage. Once the winds had eased on Wednesday 7th May, one of our cooks at ABC ascended to the North Col to check on the 4 tents there. The Quasar store tent was destroyed but all it contents were still there and one of the 3 Hyperspace tents received minor damage. This was great news as most of the essential summit gear was stored in these tents !
Credit must go to the Sherpas and the team members who ensured that all tents were securely pitched at these camps and also to Adventure Peaks to the high quality of tents used without which we would be in the same situation as most other teams with a lot more widespread damage. The Sherpas are currently continuing their work in stocking the higher camps with the oxygen and other gear required for our summit bid.
So apart from sheltering from the wind, what has kept us occupied for 6 days resting at Base Camp ?. We soon get tired of playing Poker, especially as Phil always wins as is currently over 600 toothpicks ahead which equals 6 rounds of drinks !. We have tried to help the local Tibetan economy by visiting one of the many bars at the start of Base Camp. Not quite what most of us are used to, the bars are wooden framed shacks, not very structurally sound as most of the pieces of “Drift Wood” are strung together. Covering the whole structure is thin plastic sheeting looking like your Grandmothers Shopping Bag !. We have hired a local Tibetan to collect water and do other chores and we 1st visited a bar he owns and his daughter runs. Unfortunately on the second visit it had become a victim of the storms so we had a small collection to pay for its reconstruction.
In the last 2 days, we have been approached by Chinese Television to get involved in there 8 day live Television Broadcast of their teams ascent of the mountain. Patricia has been asked to be our representative on the show on the 11th May. We have also had a 2 hour interview by a Chinese newspaper.
So looking ahead, the original hope was to summit around the 14th – 16th May but the forecast we have received is not looking too promising with summit winds of 40mph so we are waiting for a more favourable forecast before we make a move. This also allows our Sherpas to catch up on the work in stocking the camps after 5 days of bad weather.
So how are the team doing ?
Dave is recovering slowing from his bad Chest Infection and is quite happy about all the coverage Adventure Peaks is getting. This is despite being called “Simple” by the newspaper interviewer !
Phil is quite happy about the extra acclimatisation time. He was very unhappy that the Chinese lady from the Chinese TV company CCTV thought he was 40 years old, despite the fact that if he summits, he will be the youngest Britain to summit from the North Side at 24 years old !.
Patricia is understandably quite apprehensive about talking live to 1.2 Billion Chinese viewers on Sunday !
Walid is getting quite upset that he hasn’t been invited to any of the parties by the American team next door. He was quite shocked when our Tibetan water carrier tried to persuade him that he should marry his 17 year old daughter and take her back to the US !. That’s the fastest I’ve seen the 22 year old run since the start of the trip !. He spent every 5 minutes checking on his tent during the 5 day storm.
Peter is becoming quite impatient and headed off to ABC today. Probably worried about the rest of us embarrassing him on Chinese TV !.
Conan is still capturing all the embarrassing moments on his Camcorder and is keeping those finished video tapes well hidden from the rest of the team.
The next report will come when we have received a good forecast and are about set off on our summit bid.
Latest News is that the toilet tent is now back up at Base Camp !
Report No 7 – 6th May
The team are currently all safe and well at BC. Everest has been seriously hit by over 100 mile winds causing extensive damage to tents and camps. Our team have been lucky in terms that they haven’t lost any tents at BC and ABC, as some expeditions have been reported to have lost everything and have had to abandon any chance of summitting. We are waiting for the winds to drop before the sheraps can go to the North Col to check the tents there and at 7500 metres camp. A summit bid for the 10th May, is now out the question. The team will wait at BC for the weather to come good.
We are all back at BC since Friday. Since our last report, the majority of the team have spent two nights on the north col at 7010m.The weather was good during the morning but heavy snowfalls followed for both afternoons. Sharing 2 and 3 to a tent was an experience ! I managed to survive 2 nights sandwiched between Conan and Phil, we hardly had space to breathe and enjoyed frosty condensation dripping down on us in the morning. The slightest movement and we rolled into each other. Phil and I even managed a few boxing matches during the night to gain extra space due to all the space that Conan had managed to capture.
Every little task is an effort at altitude but we managed. We all ventured up the North Ridge during our two night stay at the North Col, some higher than others but all reaching new personal height records of upto 7600m. The views are spectacular from here for the brief moments before the next snow storm arrived. It was quite crowded on the col and this will only get worse. Collecting snow and boiling water is a lengthy process up here, but we all enjoyed lots of hot drinks, cupa’ soups and boil in the bag meals. Our Sherpa team were with us as always and starting to transport gear to camp 2 at 7800m and preparing supplies for 8200m camp.
It was great to descend again to the relative comfort of ABC. Peter descended straight to BC deciding that beer and chicken was the lure to get there. Wallid departed North Col first, 2 sleepless nights not suiting his temperament at all. Phil looked after me on the descent and Conan passed by with the video ready at all times. At one stage Peter tried to get rid of Wallid but only succeeded in ripping the flysheet with his iceaxe.
So here we are at BC, resting and relaxing before our summit bid. Dave had a bad cough and did not go to the North Col this time. He is now on antibiotics and we are all here together in good shape. We are at BC at the right time as the winds have increased dramatically, the jetplume is in its glory and the weather forecast for the next few days is not good with winds as strong as 140kmh.
Hopefully the weather will improve in one weeks times for a possible summit attempt by the team !
Report No 6 – Tuesday 29 April
I have been emailed today to let me know that the team have now gone back to the North Col to spent tonight with the intention of pushing upto around 7700m to the next camp. They will then probably descend back to the North Col to sleep or ABC. The aim of acclimasation is to climb high, sleep low.
The weather forcast isn’t looking good for them towards the end of the week so they will return back to BC to rest and sit and wait for the weather window to go for the summit. Dave and other expeditions are looking for a summit bid around the 10th May as long as the weather comes good.
The fixed rope is fixed to top camp (8200m) and this week our sherpas hope to fix the summit ridge.
The team will now start to receive weather forcasts every other day so they can moniter the weather.
I have just spoken with Dave, he was calling from half way up the North Col, the new Satalite phone is the size and weight of a mobile phone. He’ll probably be ordering room service or a pizza at the North Col!!!.
Each team member carries with them a hand held radio so throughout the climb they have radio contact with ABC and each other.
Report No 5 – 28 April – “BACK AT ABC”
Lassitude, lethargy, langour. Or is it just downright laziness? One of the most noticeable effects of spending time at this altitude is the extreme level of apathy that results. Knowing full well that you, our avid readers, have waited with bated breath for further news of our progress we have battled against this effect to bring you our fourth instalment:
We last left you on tenterhooks with two of our members (Peter and Walid) about to spend the night above 7,000m on the North Col. Suffice to say their night passed less than comfortably with them physically holding the tent walls up in the gusting winds. The other tents (without the same diligent occupiers) didn’t fare quite so well, so the next morning we sent Conan up, armed with needle and thread to repair the damage.
Having received enough of a beating, and our bodies starting to deteriorate at the altitude we decided it high time to return to Base Camp (BC). And what a wonderful decision it turned out to be: BC was positively tropical by comparison, with its wonderfully thick inviting air and night time temperatures barely below freezing. The four days we spent there healed our bodies wonderfully, and we were left strong and ready for our next foray up high above the snows.
But first the long walk to Advance Base Camp (ABC). 22 kilometres of mind numbing plodding along what has euphemistically been titled the Moraine Superhighway. This walk is not to be underestimated at it gains over 1,000m and ends at an altitude of 6,400m – its hardly surprising that other groups split the walk into 2 stages. Well not us, with our penchant for pain, we just slog it out in one go (with varying degrees of success). Phil, by way of example, arrived late at night with his entourage in tow (1 Sherpa, 2 Yaks and accompanying herder) – well the invite said bring guests!
All that brings us rather nicely to where we are now, as the title states, back at ABC. Waiting for a storm to pass before we can venture higher up the mountain (7,500m being our goal this time). If all then goes to plan its another few days recuperating at BC, this time, however, waiting for the ‘weather window’ which will lead to our summit bids.
Keep checking for another updates at that time …
Report No 4
All the team except Dave have returned back to BC to enjoy a few well earned rest days. The team experienced another wild stormy night at ABC before descending.
The team will rest at BC for about 4 to 5 days before journeying back to ABC to push higher up the mountain.
Its an essential part of acclimaitisation that the team keep going high &, dropping back down to BC, before going for the summit they will have to endure that 22km walk from BC to ABC at least 2 more times.
Conan & Patricia has intended to go to the North Col to spent the night but weather conditions and fresh snow prevented this. Whalid & Peter descended back safely to ABC after a wild night at North Col in which the wind caused 1 of our tents poles to bend (they have now been straightened).
Dave had a meeting with other teams yesterday regarding the fixing of the fixed lines past the North Col, all teams sherpas will begin fixing the lines in the hope that weather permitting by mid next week the lines will be fixed to 8200 metres. Our sherpas are constantly carrying loads up to establish each camp.
Peter and Whalid moved back to the north Col to spend the night at 7000 metres, whilst the others rested at ABC.
We have since then moved up to Advanced Base Camp, and some team members have reached the North Col. We were all hoping that the cold of Base Camp would abate the farther up the mountain, but strangely it is getting colder and colder. We are, however, persevering ably.
Our trip up to ABC, ~21,000, included a night at interim camp. The population of interim camp, a truly miserably place equipped with its own cess pool, was distinctly in favour of the yaks. While Peter and Walid were about to call it a night they noticed a yak tied just a few feet away from their tent. During the night that lovely beast of burden decided to scratch its head on Walid’s side of the tent. Being asleep in a high altitude daze, Walid thought that he was being attacked by the infamous yeti and dove directly into Peter’s arms. He was trapped between two equally hairy beasts, and despite the efforts of the team he is still in need of therapy.
We have established ourselves very comfortably at ABC, with all the amenities of modern life, thought I can’t get the New York Times to deliver. ABC has become a verifiable metropolis as more and more teams arrive, but our camp location is very pleasant.
The fixed lines leading to the North Col 7010m have been laboriously installed by the Russian and Chinese teams, and have facilitated our movement up the mountain.(Some equipment was supplied by Adventure Peaks for this fixing) After arriving at ABC we spent two days acclimatising by walking to the base of the fixed lines, and on the third & forth days we pushed on to the top of the North Col. On day three, near the top of the Col Conan, Peter, and Walid, in that order, were slowly marching upward. Walid looked up at Peter, just 10 or 20 vertical meters ahead of him, and chuckled at his pace of 1 step every ten seconds or more. ‘I’ll catch up in a moment’ he thought. Half an hour later the distance between them remained the same, and both were doing everything possible not to sob like small children. The three weekend mountaineers persevered and had a moment of splendid camaraderie at the Col. On day four lead by Conan again, David and Patricia enjoyed the painful experience. Phil still to complete acclimatisation will be getting to the col in the next few days. In all four tents have been established at the col due to an enormous effort by Purbar, Ringin, Conan, David & Patricia. Enough equipment and supplies are in place at the col to push on to camp 7800m weather permitting. .
The dynamic between team members can often times be the funniest thing during an expedition. The first thing to notice on our expedition is that we have six people divided by a common language. Each of us speaks English with a different accent and we regularly have no idea what the other is saying. One mans bog role is a another’s toilet paper. And while Dave utilises the famously subtle English wit, Walid hasn’t a clue whether he is joking or serious. We often revel in the blank stares of misunderstanding, but laugh heartily afterwards.
Report No 3 – 15th April 2003
The team are currently at Advanced Base Camp (ABC) which is situated right under the North Col and North Ridge, they arrived there on Saturday. Yesterday and today saw the fixing of the fixed rope to the North Col at 7000metres by 2 other teams, our sherpas will be involved in the fixing higher on the mountains as all the teams sherpas assist in this task together.
The team will do there first carry to the North Col tomorrow (Wednesday 16th) with the hope of erecting 4 tents. They will return to ABC for a couple of days rest before returning back to the North Col to try and sleep the night at 70000metres.
All the team are well.
So we know have 2 camps set up, 1 at Basecamp and 1 at ABC, each camp has a cook tent and mess tent with cook and cookboy. The team in effect have 2 homes, with 2 beds, 1 at each tent.
Life at ABC is extremely hard, everything is a real effort moving at 6400metres, and of course its extremely cold.
Adventure Peaks is commited to keeping the mountain clean and to aid this all rubbish and solid toilet waste is taken back down to BC to be destroyed.
There are many teams this year, including 2 TV camera crews.
The team now have all there communication set up with radio links to BC and ABC and the satalite phone and laptop enable the team to contact home and obtain weather reports.
Report No 2 – 8th April 2003
Most of the team met up at Heathrow in plenty of time for the 8:30pm departure to Kathmandu.
We were met by a driver from Hotel Thamel at the airport and transported to the hotel in the Thamel district of Kathmandu, near the heart of the Tourist district.
All services for the expedition were being handled by Ishwari who proved very efficient which meant that there wasn’t much preparation left to do so Dave remained to finalise a few things while everyone else visited a couple of the local Temples.
We were scheduled to leave for Tibet on the Tuesday as we couldn’t sort out Chinese Visas until the Monday. We headed out of the city for the day with a chance to stretch the legs for the 1st time in the local foothills. We ascended to the village of Nagakort which on a clear day offers amazing views of the Himalayas.
A few final checks of equipment on the Monday and then we were ready to depart. The lorry with all the gear left in the early hours and the rest of us went by private bus at about 7am.
We arrived at Zangmu on the Chinese border about lunchtime and quickly passed through all the check points. We had to stay the night in Zangmu as transport permits had not been finalised. The rooms were very damp and the village was very dirty so we were glad to leave the following morning for Nylam.
We arrived here on Wednesday 2nd April and stayed for two night. The village is at 3700m so gave us a good chance to acclimatise. On the Thursday we had our 1st proper acclimatisation walk up a local peak at 4300m. We were joined by all the cooks and sherpas. Everyone was feeling strong and spirits were high.
On the Friday we drove to Tingri, a very nice traditional Tibetan village at 4250m. We again spent 2 nights here. The Sherpas and Cooks stayed for just the one night, heading to Base Camp early to set up camp. On Saturday 5th April we had our 2nd acclimatisation
walk up a local peak above Tingri at 4900m.
We all then travelled on to Everest Base Camp for lunch on Sunday. It was good to have a decent meal after several days of Chinese food which proved very repetitive. The food at Base Camp which is all cooked and served by our cook and cook boys has been fantastic in the 3 days we’ve been here. We each have our own basecamp tent to spread out in and have a great communal mess tent complete with tables, chairs, table cloths and CD player. Washing is carried out either by having a bowl of hot water, or by using the new high tec shower which is a high power garden sprayer, luxury.
Base Camp is filling quickly with many large expeditions including 3 expeditions with very large film crews. Also attempting the mountain this year is Dick Bass, the 1st person to climb the 7 summits. If he summits, he will be the oldest person to summit at 73 years.
We will be heading to Advanced Base Camp for the 1st time on Friday 11th. Anil the Sirdar and 2 of the Sherpas will be heading up to ABC on Wednesday 9th to set up ABC early in time for our arrival. We hope to ascend to the North Col for the 1st time on the 15th or 16th April.
A further report will follow after this.
Report No 1 – 28th March 2003
On Thursday 27th March 5 of the above team left Heathrow for Kathmandu, the start of their Everest Expedition. Peter from Australia will meet the team in Kathmandu.
The Team will again be led by Dave Pritt, Director of Adventure Peaks who summitted Everest last year along with 2 team members. Also part of the team again is Patricia McGuirk from Ireland who is attempting Everest for the 2nd time, last year Patricia reached the North Col at 7000metres.
The Team will spend 4 days in Kathmandu whilst final preparations are made, they will meet their team of climbing sherpas, cooks and porters who they will spend the next 60 days with.Once permits have been obtained they will leave Kathmandu crossing the border into Tibet bound for Everest Base Camp on Tuesday 1st April.
The journey will take 5 to 6 days to reach basecamp which is situated on the Rongbuk Glacier at 5200 metres,along the way they will carry out acclimatisation walks.
Unlike the South side, the team along with all their sherpas and cooks and vasts amount of equipment will be driven right to basecamp.
The Team will hopefully be one of the first teams to arrive to enable them to establish good campsite locations which will be home for them for the next 6 to 8 weeks.
The Team over the next 8 weeks will be emailing progress reports home which will be updated on this site, you can now follow their progress and read their stories.
We wish them all a safe successful expedition and hope they reach the top of the world.
If anybody has any questions regarding the Everest Expedition please don’t hesitate to contact me either by email or phone