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tents at Base Camp Report from Base Camp
by Audrey Salkeld
April 19, 1996

This has been a week of consolidation and acclimatization for the members of the IMAX/IWERKS Everest Expedition. All the climbers except Sumiyo (who was under the weather) climbed and filmed in the Icefall before sleeping at Camp 1. Ed and Araceli then climbed on to Camp 2, sleeping there also before rejoining the others at Base. Today, everyone except assistant cameraman Robert Schauer has gone up again and are expected to be away for six or seven days, during which time it is hoped to sleep as high as Camp 3 and make a carry from there to Camp 4 on the South Col. This is all part of the slow and steady process of accustoming the body to ever-higher altitudes.

The weather has been extremely changeable. The first night that the team slept at Camp 1 it was incredibly windy back in Base Camp and all of us there were fearing the climbers must be having a rough time of it with what Robert calls the "Lhasa-Kathmandu Express," the fierce wind out of Tibet which funnels over the South Col and through the Western Cwm into Nepal. In fact, on the mountain, they were enjoying calm and windless conditions, which only shows how localized the weather is up in these high mountains.

The next day started cloudy, but cleared to one of boiling heat. Before long the glacier was a mass of bubbling watercourses and many of the tents developed moats around them. IMAX shootingOur scientist, Roger Bilham, left the expedition and was accompanied back down the Khumbu glacier by David Breashears and Robert Schauer with the IMAX/IWERKS camera. They wanted to film him retrieving his GPS equipment from Kala Patar. That went well, and they had good views back to Everest, but a 4 hour wait up there in the hope for fine sunset shots was foiled when clouds rolled in again to obscure the view.

There followed two snowy days with no sunshine at all (and hence no possibility of generating any solar power) before fine weather returned yesterday. The combination of fresh snow and warmth has triggered an exceptional number of avalanches and stonefalls from the cirque of mountains around Base Camp, and we lie in our bags at night listening to what sounds like the 1812 overture as they crash around us.

During this period (13 April 1996) we celebrated the Nepali New Year—Year 2053. On a purely domestic level, one of the minor achievements this week has been the mastery of successful yogurt-making, which we try to do every day. In fact, no one can have any complaints about our food up here. Ed and Paula Viesturs have seen to it we are enviably stocked with delicacies; Changba (our cook) works magic in his kitchen, and various team members see to that we are plied with international cuisine.

May 27, 1996: Interview with David Breashears
May 24, 1996: They Made It! (Update)
May 20, 1996: They Made It!
May 16, 1996: Emergency on Everest
May 10, 1996: Taiwanese Victim
May 9, 1996
May 5, 1996
May 2, 1996: Team Returns to Base Camp
April 26, 1996
April 25, 1996
April 21, 1996
April 19, 1996

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