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News from 21 April 2003

Team arrived well in base camp
First material carry to camp 2

On April 15 the team arrived in the base camp; they were the 20th of 22 expeditions in Everest base camp. Meanwhile the camp is installed and the first material transports are being done.

Report by Eike Mrosek from April 21:

Today in late morning, Christian Rossel, Thomas Zwahlen, and I returned tired but happy to base camp from our first material transport to camp II (6400 m)! But it was not that easy: After another crossing of the Khumbu icefall we reached camp 1 at the beginning of the Western Cwm yesterday at 10 o'clock. We encountered temperatures of up to +50°C! So we decided to climb during the night, following the advice of the famous Swiss mountaineer Erhard Loretan. After sufficient liquid intake, we departed for camp 2 around 8 p.m. The route over impressive giant crevasses was well passable. At 10 p.m., astonishingly early, we arrived in camp 2 - however, at a wind speed of 80-100 km/h. So we entered the tent, but we knew that we had to go back to camp 1 - there were our sleeping bags and down equipments. The walk up to camp 2 was only for material transport (food, clothes, gas, ...). The cold forced us out of the tent around midnight. We hurried to camp 1, reaching the camp at 1 a.m. and immediately entered our sleeping bags. The storm increased further, and in the morning there was a thunderstorm. Fortunately the weather cleared again, and our friends told us on the radio that they were already in the icefall in order to also reach camp 2. The descent to base camp was not really a pleasure: scorching heat and not the slightest wind. Back in the basecamp we were happy to have put our material already so high on the mountain!

In the base camp, typical "expedition life": Hardly any shower, the skin in our faces gets tight due to the endless sun, cold, and wind. Our fingertips are chapped, not to talk about the lips. The usual comfort is lacking completely. The nose is completely sunburnt, despite sun protection factor 30... In the evening the sleeping bag is always cold and clammy, the ground is hard and bumpy (rubble under the tent). Clean clothes are a luxury - no word about a smell of perfume or anything like that. Friends and family far away!! At the same time we shall not forget our aim!! That is hard sometimes, and in the evening in the sleeping bag, thoughts are wandering between "8000er summit" and home! An eight thousand meter peak requires much more than suitability for altitude and physical fitness!

Despite all, we are all doing fine and our motivation is perfect! Tomorrow another low pressure zone will hit our area, afterwards we will ascend to camp 2 again in oder to install camp 3 (7200 m)!

In the Khumbu icefall
In the Khumbu icefall

Ladder over a crevasse in the icefall
Ladder over a crevasse in the icefall

Sunset in camp 1
Sunset in camp 1

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