Report from Base Camp
by Audrey Salkeld
April 25, 1996
Our climbers have now been on the mountain for a week in order to work and
accustom themselves to sleeping at Camps 2 and 3. Unfortunately the weather
has remained unsettled. Today, they were going up to Camp 3 again, but it was
misty and cold and they decided to stay put for another day. We do not expect
them back in Base until Saturday or Sunday. Another expedition's (Rob Hall's)
Sherpas left Base Camp today with supplies of rope for fixing the section
between Camp 3 (on the Lhotse Face) and Camp 4 (on the South Col).
In Base Camp, apart from a few brief sunny spells, we have had sprinklings of
snow over the last few days, and it has been cold enough to sit around in our
down clothes almost all the time. No one has felt much like taking a shower or
washing clothes. A few nights ago we saw lights in the Icefall. It was a
group from Scott Fisher's expedition assisting down a stricken Sherpa. It
being impossible to get a helicopter in, he was transported on to Pheriche,
from where the news is still ominous. He is still critical with pulmonary
edema and possibly pneumonia as well, as he has barely responded to the
reduction in altitude. We have been told that he requires ventilation and
round the clock nursing.
Among the personalities in other camps is a young boy wanting to break the
record for the youngest person to climb the mountain and the veteran American
climber, Pete Schoening (hero of K2 in 1953) who would like to break the record
at the other end of the age scale.