Responses and Comments
May 29, 1997
It is ironic that mountain climbers are willing to risk their lives to obtain high altitude views, yet when these same views are available from a high flying passenger plane, the passenger is often urged to close the blind in order to facilitate the watching of a movie that could be seen anytime on video. Response from Pete Athans:
Actually, viewing from an aircraft the same panorama a climber would view is impossible. Further, there is a distinction in succeeding in the process of climbing Everest—not just arriving by public conveyance—that makes the view satisfying.
I have visited other Mt. Everest web sites and I noticed they mentioned the "gorak" as a type of animal that they saw on their climb. I know that this is a bird, but I was wondering what does it eat, what are its predators, what does it look like, and what are its behavioral characteristics? Please write me the answer if you know. Response from Base Camp:
Goraks are scavengers, living off any scraps they can find. They do not have many predators, but do have to brave the elements such as the cold and wind.
Where can I get a copy of your book, Everest, the West Ridge. I have tried quite a few book stores and dealers that specialize in hard to get books with no success. I have just finished Jon Krakauer's book, and I am starting it again tonight. My prayers go with the team. Response from Pete Athans:
Try Michael Chessler Books in Kitteridge, Colorado for Tom Hornbein's book.
In recent years there has been a growing trend in individuals with relatively little mountaineering expertise paying for guide service to be escorted on a summit attempt. Based on your experience, is such commercialization inherently flawed or have technological advances actually brought an Everest summit attempt closer to the general population? Have you had any contact with such individuals on your current trip? Response from Pete Athans:
The trend is not growing. People's awareness of it has grown. Some individuals have the skills and training to be guided, others do not.
I remember reading somewhere about a film crew that was producing an IMAX film while climbing and attempting to summit on Mt. Everest around the same time as the tragedy in 1996. Do you know anything about this, and whether or not they ever succeeded in summiting and making the film? Also, have any of you climbed any of the other 8000-meter peaks? Good luck on your summit bid! (I can't think of climbing anything higher than14'ers!) Response from Base Camp:
The MacGillivray Freeman Films' sponsored Everest Film was shot by David Breashears and crew. They summited successfully and shot precious film on the summit. The film will premier in March of 1998.
Since I have been following your climb, I was amazed to discover the number of climbers and groups attempting the summit at once. I was disappointed because it seemed like a 'tourist' stop. But then tragedy strikes and your snapped back to the reality that the mountain is rock and ice and unforgiving. I know you know this, more than anyone of us flat-landers, I would like to know how you brace yourself for this? How do you go on finish what you started? Response from David Breashears:
If one of your friends of family died in a car, would you quit driving a car? There's nothing about climbing Everest that's dangerous—most people die of human error. We're experienced, we're cautious, we watch the weather. We don't think climbing Everest is a death sentence. If you're willing to make the right decisions, such as turning around in storm, we don't think that climbing Everest then has to be governed by fear.
I've stumbled across your web site and I'm completely amazed that in this day and age, we can communicate our thoughts to the top of the world with the press of a button! Great Job! I called my Aunt who has been trekking in Nepal and spent a wonderful evening discussing your journey and the fascinating information that has been provided on the web site. We came up with a few questions for you: At one time, the bell of the monastery at Thyangboche was an empty oxygen bottle. It made a wonderful reverberating sound. Is this still the case and did the bell tower suffer in the fire in 1989? With the large numbers of climbing groups that come in every year, is all of their food imported or are there enough local vegetables, etc. grown to supplement the climbers diets? What kind of equipment will you be using to perform your physiological tests? Does this equipment behave differently at altitude than at sea level? How is it transported and how does the transportation affect the calibration? Thank you for the response! Good luck and safe returns to each of you! Response from Pete Athans:
Aside from meager foundations, the entire monastery was destroyed by a fire in 1989. Most of the expeditions here at Base Camp bring in half of their food from their own country.
This question is for climber David Carter. Response from David Carter:
I understand that you are native to Indianapolis and was just wondering how you be came interested in climbing and taking expeditions in such uncharted and dangerous areas when the area around Indianapolis is flat with just a few rolling hills. I would also like to inform you that I am a 7th grade student at Franklin Township Middle School, on team 7-2 we recently studied Mount Everest. Our Social Studies teacher Ms. Carnine has spoken about your visit to the Middle School several years and she has told us about your first trip to Everest and many of the things that you mentioned when you came to speak to team 7-2 at the middle school. I hope that you have a good climb and return safely, thanks for your time.
I went on a vacation when I was 15 and challenged my dad to climb Mt. Rainer. The next year we went and climbed Rainer and fell in love with the mountains. It beats watching corn grow in Indiana. It's good to hear from you at Franklin Town Middle School.
We are a seventh grade class who would like to know your personal feelings about being on Everest. Please write back. Response from David Breashears:
Kansas City, MO
It is hard for us to write individually to all those writing e-mails to us, so we respond in this public fashion. We are feeling both elated and sometimes over-worked being back here on Everest. But there's no doubt that it's a magical place to us. It's always a tremendous sense of achievement and accomplishment if one reaches the summit. Thanks for following us on our climb.
Hey Land lord! (Dave Carter) I hope all is well! My question is how does the recent deaths of those five people effect you and the rest of your climb? I wish the best of luck, as you continue to reach the summit. We are excited for your safe return to Indy. Best of Luck to all of you. Response from David Carter:
The deaths on the north side tell is how dangerous this adventure really is. We will still be moving up the mountain, but we are being very careful. I'll buy you a beer when I get back.
At your altitude what does the sky look like? Are you anywhere high enough to above the dust-causing blue of the sky? Has the twinkling of the stars started to diminish as you get above turbulence? Good luck and "don't ever give up"! Response from David Breashears:
Jack (father) & Matt (son)
It's a very deep azure blue, startlingly blue, especially when contrasted with the white peaks of Pumori and Nuptse. I went outside last night and looked; I think the stars twinkle less up here.
Dear Spin the Crash Test Dummy, Response from Dr. Howard Donner:
This is your mother. Is Pete treating you well? Are you eating properly? Did your chaperone, Howard Donner, inform you of the dangers of HAPE, HACE, and, especially, HAFE (of which he suffers from time to time)? Take care, Spin. Come home safely to Telluride. We miss you.
P.S. Hi Howard! xoxoxo
Pete Athans reports that Spin's HAFE has been overwhelming, especially during ascent. Otherwise, he is well. The biggest problem at this point is determining a protocol for obtaining an MRI of his brain following his summit climb. Love, Howard.
It is truly fascinating being able to follow your adventure on Everest. Many thanks to PBS & NOVA for making this possible!! Can't wait to see the film next year! In an earlier e-mail one of you mentioned that Sherpas are superstitious with regards to removing bodies from Everest. Do they have any other superstitions about Everest? Are any members of the NOVA crew superstitious? (Anyone carrying a pair of lucky socks or some such oddity that they might admit to?) Hope you are warm and that you will all succeed and return safely! Good Luck! Response from David Breashears:
All the best,
The Sherpas have many superstitions about the mountain as they revere the mountain gods that are embodied in the surrounding mountains. When they read the lama calendars, by example, they have good days for climbing and bad days for climbing. When an event happens, like when one dies on the mountain, the Sherpas look for a physical cause or natural action that could have lead to that event. To answer your other questions, none of the NOVA crew are superstitious or believe in lucky charms as we hope our own will and hard work will help us reach our goals, (knock on wood). Pete and David have incorporated Buddhist beliefs into their climbing. They throw rice when they walk around the burning chortens at Base Camp, and both have amulets that they wear that were given to them by a lama.
The psychology of a climber? Response from David Breashears:
From what I read and hear, the sherpas are adapted to the altitude and seem to climb Everest with ease. Well, I know heart surgeons that do their job with ease and I simply accept that I'll never be able to do that. Why is it that climbers don't simply accept that they aren't meant for Everest and simply leave it to the sherpas. How much of that drive is EGO? How much of that drive is Adventure Quest? or are these the same? Let's face it. We presently can't swing from trees like monkeys, can't swim like fish, why is that climbing like sherpas draws us ill-equipped people to the mountain? Do the Sherpas think we are a bunch of western loonies?
PS. I'll buy some more lumber to help David and his climbers.
- There are many western climbers who climb nearly as quickly and nearly as strong as Sherpas. They are not a race of super humans. The Sherpas would not go into the mountains on their own. It is a job for them and climbing mountains is an idea introduced in the 50s. The Sherpas are only here on Everest because Westerners want to climb mountains.
- There are very few exceptional mountaineers among the Sherpas. They have very little training to make judgments about weather and avalanches, etc. They are the powerhouses able to carry loads but they generally do not have the technical expertise to pioneer hard alpine routes on their own.
- It is their spirit and hard work and unyielding ability to function at these altitudes that makes these big expeditions possible.
Hi, my name is Pam. I am from Wisconsin, and I am following the Everest climb with a friend at work. My question is: Do you feel that the loss of life is worth the experience and other data you gain from this climb? Also, is the job of climbing assistant the main means of income for the Sherpas? Response from Pete Athans:
Good luck and stay safe.
Our team has not sacrificed life for this data. For many Sherpas, climbing is their main means of income.
Everyone is motivated by different things and please don't interpret this in a negative way. My question is, while you are in the process of ascending the mountain and learn that other skilled climbers have just lost their lives attempting the same thing, what is going through your minds and do you have second thoughts? Response from Pete Athans:
Good Luck and God Be With You,
We regret the loss of their lives for their families. On our part, we have no second thoughts.
Hi...I'd like to direct this question to David Breashears. This last Christmas I read an interview with Dick Bass (The Seven Summits), and he said he has plans to attempt Everest again. I was wondering if A) he has contacted you to be his guide (again), and B) whether or not it's a good idea for someone of his ability to make another attempt just to beat some age record?...It seems to me (based on his own story) he barely made it down alive, and it was only because of your experience he did so. Response from David Breashears:
Thanks, and best of luck to all.
Sleepy Hollow, NY
I regularly see Dick Bass as we've been close friends since our summit of Everest in 1985. Dick has contacted me about going back to Everest. I've discouraged him from doing so. His tremendous victory of 1985 when he became the first person to climb all 7 summits should be enough. But we all need to dream, and Dick's dream of going back to Everest sustains him through difficult times as do dreams for many of us.
To David Carter, Response from David Carter:
Greetings from Indiana. Thought you might want to know Arie Luyendyk won the pole this year at 218.263. Steve Kinser also got a ride and qualified at 210. Also, Larry Bird will be introduced as the new coach of the Pacers tomorrow. Hope the winds calm down soon so you can make your summit attempt.
We probably will be moving up the mountain over the next few days. The winds have still not died down, but we're still going to position ourselves on the mountain to be ready for when the winds do die. Drink a beer for me at the race!
Hello!! My name is Tony, and I was wondering, How does it feel to be climbing the most dangerous and highest mountain on land? And how do you cope with the fact that you might die on a big icy rock that few people have conquered? Response from David Breashears:
Climbing Everest has had its ups and downs for us and because it is the highest mountain in the world, we take extra caution to be careful and use common sense when on its upper slopes. Climbing Everest is not nearly as dangerous as it's made out to be. For well equipped and cautious climbers it's not a "Death Sentence." It is very common to climb Everest without any mishaps at all.
Information returning to Wisconsin concerning the missing party seems a little sketchy. Was Anatoli Boukreev or his party involved? Kick it! Response from Base Camp:
Anatoli Boukreev was not among those that died on the north side of Everest on May 8. Getting news from the north side (as explained in a recent newsflash) is very difficult. As far as we know (and according to a source close to him), Anatoli was on the permit with the Kazakh climbers attempting the north side of Everest. However, we have reports today that Anatoli is now back in Base Camp here on the south side.
To Howard Donner, Response from Dr. Howard Donner:
I heard about your adventure and this website on KOTO. I just had to let you know that all of our thoughts are with you back home. I hope all is going well for your party, it's a little far for San Miguel Search and Rescue to respond to. Will you be home for "Mountain Film"? NOVA should present this segment next year. Be safe, have fun, and be prepared for a million questions at the next SAR meeting.
High winds have delayed the summit climb. Mountain film is now an impossibility. Look forward to seeing you as soon as I return. Say hi to everybody on SAR.
David, when and where can we see your 1996 IMAX film? Response from David Breashears:
The Everest IMAX film is scheduled to premiere in March of 1998.
I heard someone say that the new version of the Indy cars for the Indianapolis 500 must be as loud as the howling winds on the summit. I think that's probably true, it just doesn't create a wind chill factor at the track. David we are all rooting for you back here in Indiana along with all your partners. Let's hope you get the climb in before the 500 takes place! Response from David Carter:
The winds sound like a 747 taking off. Things are going well. I should be back in Indiana in about three weeks.
Greetings to HoDo and the team from your followers and well-wishers in T-ride! We've been following the dispatches closely, and hope your weather clears soon for the summit—Howard, will you have the honor and challenge of going to the top, or is Spin taking your place? Response from Dr. Howard Donner:
Godspeed, all of you.
Spin is on for me this time. Maybe we should consider an interview on KOTO with Spin when we return. Thanks for watching our site.
What, if anything, has your team heard or learned about the Yeti? Is this creature of legend the subject of any research or is it simply dismissed as a fanciful creation of Hollywood? Response from Pete Athans:
Hollywood did not create the legend of Yeti. The stories have existed for centuries in Sherpa culture. In Sherpa lore, there was a war between Sherpa and Yetis to drive the Yetis out of the Khumbu. Sherpa consider it very bad luck to see a Yeti, or evidence of them. Their existence is widely disputed. More recently, near Gokyo, there was an alleged Yeti attack of a Yak.
I noticed in the information about who was on the mountain this year that there is a Canadian team. Is there any way for me to find out who the members of the Canadian team are ... ? Thanks - and continued success with the expedition! Response from Base Camp:
The Canadian team members are as follows: Expedition leader Jason Edwards (from Tacoma, Washington), Deputy Leader Jeff Rhoades (Pocatello, Idaho), Jamie Clark (Calgary, Alberta), Allan Hobson (Calgary, Alberta), Expedition Physician Doug Rovira (El Dorado Springs, Colorado). Support staff are Communications Specialist (and NOVA team electrician when we have minor power or electrical problems) Bruce Kirkby (Toronto) and educational liaison David Vavra-Rodney (Calgary).
I have been following your trek up Everest and I was wondering as a 16-year old female who loves to hike, how many women have summited Everest? How many of those women have been American, if any? I hope that the wind relents and you can continue to have a successful climb. Good luck, you are doing great. Response from Pete Athans:
Stacy Allison and Peggy Luce were the first American women to summit Everest. Stacy has written a book about her adventure that might be a good reference for you.
As I was reading today's update I was surprised to learn about Spin, the test dummy, accompanying Pete Athans up the summit. What is the purpose of Spin? I'm sure he is to be used for experiments, but what kind? What data do you hope to get as a result of taking Spin up Mt. Everest? Thanks, and keep looking up! Response from Pete Athans:
Spin's predominant purpose is to interject some humour into a frequently serious environment. Spin will be subject to an MRI and other tests upon his return!
I am a junior high computer and math teacher in a very small west Texas town, and am desperately trying to convince my students that there is a big world outside of their small town and they can reach that world via the internet... I would greatly appreciate it if one of the members on the mountain could please e-mail my students about what is going on ... It wouldn't have to be anything too long, but just something from any one of the climbers would be greatly appreciated! My prayers are will all of you in your quest! Response from Base Camp:
Many of us had Everest in our dreams long before we came here and have found that just about anything is possible if you keep trying. We are all waiting for the winds to calm down before we are able to attempt our summit climb and try to keep focused on the climb, the film, and the neuro-behavioral and physiological testing that we must accomplish on Everest in the upcoming weeks. You can follow all of our news on the Internet as we transmit our daily newsflashes from base camp at 17,600 feet.
I know you have heard this many times before but you are truly an inspiration. I cannot begin to tell you how you've changed my life. My question though was, how exactly did you get involved in this? Not everybody climbs Mount Everest. What type of schooling did you have. I think this whole e-mail thing is great. Response from David Carter:
Michelle Rae Heisner
I saw Mt. Rainer when I was 14 while travelling on a family vacation. The next year, I challenged my father to climb it with me—and we did. It was an intense climb, I got sick on the summit but I had such a good time I returned the next year and did a five-day climb on Rainer to learn proper climbing techniques. I fell in love with climbing. Ever since, I have had some incredible experiences in the mountains. Mt. Everest was a draw in my life ever since seventh grade when I did a book report on this great mountain—I fell in love with it then and have been haunted by it ever since.
I've been diligently following your online reports, and find myself unexpectedly anxious and expectant as the team departs on its summit push. I'm writing simply to express my best wishes to David, Pete, Ed, Guy, Veikka, Jangbu, Tashi, and the rest of you bound for the top (and to send my regards to Howard at BC as well). You are all in my thoughts. Climb hard, be safe, and keep up the good work. Response from Ed Viesturs
Jon: Thanks for your note. All is well, we're ready to go but it's very windy up high, so we're patiently waiting for a break in the weather. We had hoped for a May 7 summit, but the wind gods did not allow us to make our attempt. So, the waiting game begins. Hope your book is a great success. Let's have a beer when I get back to Seattle. Ed.
Hello Dave Carter and team. My name is Jason. My dad and I have been following your trek and want to wish you luck for the summit, and for your safe return. I hope you can reply back. But if you can't, then I just hope you reach the top!!! Thanks. Response from David Carter:
Thanks for your interest. It's great that you two are able to follow us on the Web site. Keep logging on as we attempt our summit climb.
To: David Carter Response from David Carter:
Hello from Methodist Sports Medicine Center in Indianapolis! We were wondering how your reconstructed ankles were holding up during your climb. We also know that you have had some knee tendonitis that we have treated you for over the last couple of years and were curious as to how, if at all, it was affecting you. Are you wearing any ankle or knee braces for support? Best of luck from the staff of M.S.M.C. and everyone at Peak Performance Fitness Center.
My ankles are holding up well. I've had no problem whatsoever. Concerning the knee tendonitis—nothing. Basically the only problem I've had in my legs is I have an infected big toe. Other than that I feel fine, and hopefully we won't be doing any further business together! Thanks for your support.
Hi David, Response from David Carter:
This is so cool to be talking to you while you are climbing Mt. Everest. I am going to call your mom and dad tonight to tell them I e-mailed you . It looks like you are up to Camp III. I can't imagine going through the physical strain you all must be going through. Hang in there David and I hope you reach the summit soon. I know what a quest this has been for you and am very glad to see your dream about to come true. God speed to you and your companions!
I appreciate your support and well wishes. I'm feeling strong and looking forward to heading up the mountain.
How much mixed climbing is involved climbing Everest? Does it depend on the route? Also, what is the temperature difference between Base Camp and the summit? Good luck to each of you and Godspeed. Response from Pete Athans:
The only mixed climbing of the South Col route is approximately 100 metres on the yellow band and 15 metres on the Hillary Step. Presently the temperature at base camp is approximately 40F. during the day and 20F. at night. On the summit the temperature is approximately an extreme of -40F, but more likely -10 F. to 0F. all depending on winds.
A word of encouragement from Indianapolis! I don't know if you will get this message before you attempt the summit , but I hope like hell that you make it. There are a lot of North Central and I.U. people here cheering you on. It has been very interesting being able to follow your team on the internet. The last news we have is you are at base camp III, and preparing to move on. Go for it Dave. Response from David Carter:
Thanks for your support, everything is going great. We're hoping to leave for the summit in the next few days.
I was wondering if it is very noisy all the time on Everest because of the wind. I think this would be a disturbing factor when you have to be there for months. So, how is the wind on Everest? Response from Pete Athans:
In past years the wind has been very loud from Base Camp and above. This year, we have been very fortunate to have relative few high wind days. The other loud noises that we hear are avalanches and glacier movement.
To Edgar: You'll have to write back soon to let everyone know at Film/Video how you and your crew are doing. I have been waiting to hear from you. But perhaps you didn't receive my last e-mail. Jay, Darryl, Roy, Pizio, and myself wish you the best of luck as you guys take on the elements. I will pass on any info you send, so don't hesitate to write when you find the time. Talk to you soon. Response from Edgar Boyles:
Greetings from both Pete Athans and myself here at "Hypoxia Beach" at 17,600". Things are going well and the gear is holding up even though we are in a pretty extreme and harsh environment. Everybody is ready for the summit, so stayed tuned to the web site as it's just about showtime! All the best to the crew there, look forward to seeing you on my return.
Best regards, Edgar.
Hi from the fifth grade! It is exciting to hear from people on Mount Everest. We want to ask if the flag from Hillary and Tenzing is still at the summit? and when you climb do you ever find the bodies of other climbers? That would be very hard. Response from Base Camp:
Eric Z., Christina C., Deedee C., Shea S.
from Cleveland Urban Community School
The flag from Hillary and Tenzing's summit is no longer there. Sadly, there are bodies along the route.
I am interested in the age of the climbers in your group and how this might effect how they approach the climb. Be careful and have a safe climb.< Response:
David Breashears (age 41)
Pete Athans (age 40)
Ed Viesturs (age 37)
David Carter (age 34)
Jangbu Sherpa (age 26)
Your discussion of the number of expeditions on the mountain is staggering. Is it correct to assume that all will attempt the ascent to the summit? From your description of the helicopter "tours" it would appear that there is a certain amount of "unthinking activity." Would it be fair to assume this is also true with regard to some of the other climbing teams? Do you have any idea what percentage make it to the top. Response from David Carter:
God speed and safety to you all from sunny California.
20% of the climbers attempting to climb Mt. Everest make it to the top. There is attrition due to illness and lack of experience, basic lack of determination and patience.
Do you guys ever feel—I hate to say disappointed—but maybe surprised that coming into the year 2000, the top of Everest is still such a daunting task for humans to undertake? It seems to bode ill for mankind in space when there are such inhospitable places that strain our maximum capabilities right here on the home planet. Just thought you'd be in the mood for some philosophy. Good luck up there. Don't let the moon hit you on the head. :-) Response from Ed Viesturs
Guy T. Schafer
I look at it as a challenge not as a daunting task. We don't have to climb Everest. We choose to do it. I think we should be happy to have something like Everest. There are people like us who want everest to get us away from the normal, day to day life. Some of us need that as normal life isn't challenging enough.
Dave Carter, Response from David Carter:
Everyone in Indianapolis is extremely excited about your trek to the summit. We are very proud of you and following your progress via the website daily. Joanie in the Speedway Flagroom has a chicken sandwich with mustard and a pitcher of water waiting for you upon your return. I hope you're back in time for The Race and La Jolla afterwards. Let us know if your interested in Indy 500 updates during May. Good luck and God bless,
Kevin and Wendy Davey
Thanks for your support. Everything is going really well. We should be heading back up on the mountain in a couple of days to make our push for the summit.
Message from Hoosier State to David Carter & team: Response from David Carter:
Our condolences and support go out to the family, friends, & climbing team of Mal Duff. Dave I hope this e-mail finds you and your team well. What is your location on everest at this time? Will you be making an attempt for the summit this time around? If you do how many in your party would there be? Look forward to hearing from you.
We are now at Base Camp taking a much needed rest. We will probably be leaving Base Camp in the next five days for our summit push. Most likely, there will be seven climbers going for the summit.
My question is for David Carter. I'm wondering how many Hoosiers (if any) have ever reached the summit of Everest? I am, like many other Hoosiers, am amazed that mountain climbing became your passion considering there isnt a mountain in the state :) Anyway, if you didnt know the Pacers missed the playoffs and we might lose our coach (Larry Brown) in the process. Good luck and God's Speed! Response from David Carter:
I'm not sure if any Hoosiers have summitted Everest before but I think that Chris Chandler (from the 1976 American Everest Expedition) was from Bloomington, Indiana.
Thanks for writing.
Hello, I am Tristan and I am 6 years old, my sister is 5 years old. We hope you are having a good climb and that you are not too cold. Take care, and watch out for Yetis. Response:
Tris and Laura
Thanks for your e-mail. David and Pete say hello from Camp II.
With tourists being ferried in by helicopter to snap a few pictures then leave, is there a danger that Mount Everest will become what the Grand Canyon has here in Arizona, cluttered with fixed wing planes and heliocopters scattering noise pollution and sometimes people in crashes? Response:
For the most part, we didn't have any fixed wing flights over Everest last year, so we don't think this is going to be a problem. Since the Japanese Expedition has left this year, there has been no unnecessary air traffic above and around Base Camp. We hope it will never happen again.
Hi to every brave soul attempting Everest! My question to you ... because of the many people climbing Everest the garbage must be enormous. Is this breath-taking mountain taking on the appearance of a "junk yard"? One day I hope to hear of an expedition to Everest where the goal isn't only to summit but to clean-up the rubbish left behind. Best of luck for a safe return! Response:
There have been multitudes of clean up expeditions but those have been centered on Base Camp. Yes, on parts of the mountain the garbage is increasing . The higher you go, the greater the difficulty in removing waste. It should be noted that very little if anything is being done on the north side. However, as mentioned in a previous e-mail, people are trying to make an effort.
I just want you gentlemen to know how happy and excited you have made a 55 year old, Type II diabetic woman from the City of Brotherly Love. For no reason that I can figure out, I have always been fascinated with Everest, and now because of you, I will get the closest chance that I will ever have to being there. My 56th birthday is on the 15th of May. I was just wondering if you will still be on the mountain, or will your climb be over by then? Be safe and blessed by whatever Higher Power you each believe in. Response from Base Camp:
Most sincerely yours,
Yes to your question of being on the mountain around May 15. We will be making our summit attempts about this time.
Does going to extreme altitude make you bald like Dr. Hornbein? Response from David Breashears:
Having read that well known high altitude tome Everest: The West Ridge, it is obvious from the photographs therein that Dr. Hornbein was already receding before he had ever stepped foot on Everest. We think that the lack of hair cover allows for increased oxygenation of the brain, which is why Tom is such a smart guy and Brownie is always trying to catch up. Response from Pete Athans:
Needlessly said, there is an abundance of Rogane and Grecian Formula here at BC.
What is the weather like today? Has anyone had problems with the altitude? How much does it cost to go on an expedition like this? Response from Base Camp:
Best wishes from the Gilbert, Iowa elementary school.
We woke up this morning to clear sunny skies and a temperature of 5 degrees F. As is typical for the region it clouded up in the afternoon with gusty winds and a high of 40 degrees. At the moment it's 5:00 p.m. and overcast with a temperature of 30 degrees and my fingers are frozen typing this message. So far, there have been no major problems for us here up high. But we've all felt the affects of the thinner air more here than at our homes in the USA. It costs approximately $20,000 per person to run an expedition like this to Mount Everest.
We have two grandchildren that are home-study students and we have made this an assignment of current events (well, my daughter has) but grandpa likes to help! We, being in Indiana are expecially concerned and delighted to have you, David Carter, taking part in the wonderful event! We are also forwarding everything we can to our son, stationed in England, to keep him informed of your progress! Bless you all! Claire wants to know your different ways of keeping warm and do you sing songs? Response from David Carter:
It is good to hear from a fellow Hoosier. I stay warm by drinking a lot of water so I can stay hydrated. I also have good quality gear. I really don't sing a lot. I have a problem, I can't hold a note.
Hello to the NOVA Mt. Everest Expedition! We are anxiously following your journey up the mountain passage to Mt. Everest. We have followed other journeys from NOVA in the past. The Ice Mummies of Peru were also inspiring. We certainly wish you all the best fortune in the world and will continue to follow your journey. One of the members of your staff named on the Web Site is Liesl Clark. She was a member of the expedition in Peru. She served as the photographer in that expedition. In what capacity is she serving this Mt. Everest expedition? The Web Site mentions photographer, but exactly where is she and what are her duties. Will she be joining this climb at any time? If so, at what point will she join the climbers? Ms. Clark had written a very nice message to my fifth grade class and the students recognized her name. They are wondering what her job is in this expedition.Again, best of luck! Response from Base Camp:
Fifth Grade Instructor
Hello to Sharon Simon's Fifth Grade class. I'm here at Base Camp co-producing the NOVA high altitude documentary with David Breashears and producing, writing, and photographing (sometimes) the web site in situ. Those are my official duties. I have been with the climb from Day 1 in Kathmandu, but unfortunately I must stay at Base Camp while David, Pete, Ed, Carter, and Jangbu go into the Icefall and beyond. Perhaps some day... All my best to you from the frozen world of glaciers, avalanches, and clanging yak bells.
Greetings from Colorado! How much sleep do you manage to get each night, and how does it change with altitude?Does the quality of your sleep change? For example, do you wake up often, and are your dreams different (pleasant vs nightmarish, intense vs unmemorable)? I assume you feel a great spiritual connection with the mountain when you are on it. Do you ever feel fear on the mountain? How do you reconcile the possibility of death with your will to live? Best of luck, we are all pulling for you! Response from Base Camp:
We usually go to bed after dinner (by 8pm) and usually wake-up between 7-8am. It's not a sound sleep. People generally wake up 3-5 times a night because you have to go to the bathroom. The higher you go, the more disrupted your sleep pattern. At camp IV, you usually take 15-30 minute catnaps. A climber must prepare to leave by 11pm at camp IV. At camp III your sleep is often disrupted by wind noise and altitude problems and the need to go outside the tent to answer the call of nature. On the mountain, it's cold and dark and there's not much to do. You're in your sleeping bag for a long time (11-12 hours). By and large, dreams are not more intense but are more memorable. They are typically shorter, more abstract, and usually are interrupted. Yes. We feel a spiritual connection with the mountain. We feel honored and reverent to be able to climb on this mountain. Fear is not an emotion that enters into our psyche very often. However, fear makes you cautious and it's a natural feeling. It's a wonderful struggle and fear is an important element in high altitude mountaineering. The views are stupendous. It's a wonderful place to be. I.E., It's not all fear, suffering and danger.
Hi everyone! Hope things are going well. My son Jordan (9), and daughter Aureal (7), are tracking you by internet as part of a school project. We spend much time in the mountains climbing together here in Colorado. Thank you for this opportunity! Let us know how you are doing and we shall stay in touch. I don't know if you could call and let them know what the temp. is like but they would really love to hear from you! Response from Base Camp:
Colorado Springs, CO
Thanks for your well wishes, your support is much appreciated. The temperature here at Base Camp has ranged from a high of 40 degrees Fahrenheit during the day to 0 at night. On the mountain, the temperatures are generally colder. Commonplace occurrences are frozen shampoo, conditioner, and sun cream. If you wash your clothes and put them on the line to dry, inevitably they freeze solid so you can lift your T-shirts off the line like a piece of stiff cardboard ready to be pasted onto a lifesize cut-out doll. Same goes when you wash your hair. It freezes solid before it dries.
To any Team Member: I understand there will be 13 teams this year at Basecamp. As human encroachment increases in this and immediate areas, are there any measures being taken to lessen the impact on that environment? As I'll bet the inclusion of additional time and equipment to bring us information increases the logistical burdon to a dangerous endeavour, I'd like to thank you all for deciding to include us. Thank You! Response from Base Camp:
This is a very good question. Although there may be a lot of people at Base Camp this season, we are all endeavoring to minimize our impact up here. Expeditions now attempt to carry out everything that is brought up the mountain, including waste at Base Camp. On the mountain, especially at Camp IV where there are still old discarded oxygen bottles, many are carried down at the end of the season and Sherpas are paid a bonus to do so by Brent Bishop's American Environmental Expeditions. In such an extreme environment it is not always possible to do so, but the important thing is that the expeditions recognize their environmental responsibility. There are now strict Nepalese environmental regulations regarding this matter. For instance, all expeditions must place a $4000 environmental fee/deposit to the Ministry of Tourism which is not refunded if the expeditions do not return with the same number of oxygen bottles they took up the mountain. Each expedition must also return with an amount of bagged garbage commensurate with the size of their expedition. Peter Athans, veteran of 12 Everest expeditions, adds, "The mountain is demonstrably better than it was in 1985. There is certainly a heightened aesthetic of preservation here than there was 10-12 years ago."
I'd like to see some stunning pix of hale-bopp against a backdrop of the Himalayas, certainly a one-time opportunity. Best of luck to all on your journey, and thanx for letting us share the adventure. Response from Base Camp:
We've had the good fortune of being able to see Hale-Bopp most of our way up to Base Camp and in the early evening it sits just above Pumori's peak here. Seeing it with David Breashears' 60-power spotting scope from the Sherpa village of Dingboche was one of our high points on our approach march.
What an incredible pair of achievements!...Not just the scaling of Everest, but also the application of technology to put the World beside your team!!! I wish you and all the team members the best of luck - and look forward to your safe return!
San Diego, CA
I would first like to say that I'm behind you 100% on this climb. I will be tracking your progress on the internet. You have my prayers on a complete climb up and down. In class we are studying Mt. Everest so any information would be helpful. Jesus will be with you always.In Jesus' name good luck!
This is a message to and a question for Ed Viesturs: Ed, it's been a few years since I bumped into you on the summit of Rainier and even longer since I was on your rope, but I wanted to send you some good wishes as you make yet another climb of Everest. My question for you is: why do you return to Everest year after year? You've already proved yourself there by summiting several times without oxygen and carrying the IMAX camera to the summit. What's left for you there and why not complete the other 8000-meter peaks? Response from Ed Viesturs:
Hope to hear from you when you get back and perhaps bump into you on Rainier this summer.
Hey Martin, great to hear from you. This will be my last Everest climb for some time. This year, I had the opportunity to work on this NOVA physiology film with David Breashears so I went for it. I will go to Broad Peak in June—my 10th 8000-er. Next year I will concentrate on doing two or three new 8000ers. I vow not to be on Everest for quite some time!
Lost on Everest |
High Exposure |
History & Culture |
Earth, Wind, & Ice
Previous Expeditions |
Site Map |
Editor's Picks |
Previous Sites |
Join Us/E-mail |
About NOVA |
Site Map |
PBS Online |
NOVA Online |
© | Updated November 2000
Support provided by
For new content
visit the redesigned