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tents Report from Base Camp
by Audrey Salkeld
April 21, 1996

All climbing members of the team are now on the mountain, where they plan to remain a few more days, spending another night at Camp 2 where camera assistant Robert Schauer is expected to join them today. He is a day behind, having been trying to shake off an upper respiratory infection, which was not helped when he accidentally stepped into a freezing lake up to his middle while climbing Kala Patar last week. Ed Viesturs forged ahead of the main group, carrying a load to Camp 3, from where he reported the going between 2 and 3 was very icy. He will not be sleeping there, but rejoining the others at 2.

Base Camp is now quite a city with a dozen or so expeditions camped along the mile of the moraine strip. It is curious that, having voluntarily removed ourselves as far as possible from the trappings of the so-called civilization, expeditions then appear to vie with one another in creating alternative 'civilizations' of ingenious comfort and complexity. Elaborate mess tents have sprung up, with electric lighting and in some cases heating, music, comfy chairs and tables, as well as all the business paraphernalia of phones, faxes and e-mail, though these latter have proved fickle in practice. Even the Sherpas compete in the construction of impressive camp kitchens, mostly sangars (dry stone walls) with pitched roofs made from heavy-duty tarpaulins and laid out inside with all the economy and efficiency of kitchens in the best hotels.

Araceli Segarra There are several doctors at Base Camp—we share the services of the New Zealand doctor on Rob Hall's team—and Gamov bags are available both at Base and at Advance Base Camp in the Western Cwm. With these, it is possible to simulate the pressure of lower altitudes for the emergency treatment of victims of one of the serious high altitude disorders like HAPE or HACE (altitude-induced pulmonary or cerebral edema).

Yesterday, a young British climber with Mal Duff's expedition staggered down the Icefall in very poor condition after a serious heart attack. He was on oxygen all last night, under constant supervision, and evacuated by military helicopter early this morning to the coronary unit in Kathmandu hospital.

At Base Camp the main activities continue to be sending expedition postcards and keeping up with our washing! We socialize as much as possible with other groups—and trade good books to read. Every so often some outdated newspapers and magazines arrive by runner, so when all else stops we catch up on news of the world outside.


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



Photos: (1) courtesy Jenny Dubin.

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