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Responses and Comments #1
April 17, 1997

Question:

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!

Sincerely,
John Mylant
Colorado Springs, CO




Response from Base Camp:

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.



Question:

To David Carter (and team): All of us in Indianapolis wish all of you safety, good weather, and God speed as you make your way to the top of the Earth. It is great to be able to follow your progress in real time. My question is which component do you consider more challenging: the physical or the mental? We look forward to your safe return and compliment all of you on the advancement you are making to science and mountaineering.

Garry Rollins
Indianapolis, IN




Response from Base Camp:

Climbing Everest is certainly both a physical and mental challenge and the two are inseparable. To put one foot in front of the other up in the thin air beyond 26,000 feet is a physical barrier that takes some mental discipline. Without the mind, the body would ultimately give up and just turn back down the mountain. Of course, there are the natural fears for one's safety and survival when climbing on Everest and the anxiety caused by not mastering those fears is much more debilitating than the physical effort of climbing the mountain.



Question:

We are a sixth grade geography class at Holley- Navarre Middle School in Florida. We are following your quest to the summit of Mt. Everest. We wish you lots of luck. Our question, today, is once you reach the summit, how will you get back down? And are you Americans?

Barbara Legee
Holley-Navarre Middle School
Florida




Response from Base Camp:

Once we reach the summit, we will turn around and climb back down the same route we came up. It will take us approximately 4-6 hours to climb down to Camp IV at 26,000 feet where we'll sleep and then the next day begin our descent down to Camp III and so forth. David Breashears, Ed Viesturs, Pete Athans, and David Carter are all Americans and Jangbu Sherpa is from Nepal.



Question:

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!

Lawrence D.
Santee, CA




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."



Question:

Do any of the climbers have a sense that perhaps they have crossed this path before, assuming none of them have knowingly made this journey in the past?

Christopher H. Johnston
Minneapolis, MN




Response from Base Camp:

All of our climbers have made this journey, knowingly, in the past and are back to climb Everest again for many different reasons, one of which is the quest to understand what is happening to them physiologically at altitude.



Question:

Hello: I am a physician in San Diego. Are you all taking medications to help with altitude, such as Diamox or Decadron? What are your medical contingency plans if someone starts to get altitude sickness? Do you have a physician along with you? This is an interesting study. Are there any control groups involved? The results that you get will be much more valid if you are comparing results to a similar group at sea level, as well as at various altitudes at the same time. Unless variables such as medications and oxygen use are taken into account, your results will be skewed and possibly meaningless. (You have probably already thought of all this, I'm sure). Good luck! I wish you all well on your endevour.

Sincerely,
Robert Power, M.D.
San Diego, CA




Response from Base Camp:

Some of us have taken Diamox to enable us to sleep (and breathe) at night. If someone becomes ill from altitude sickness, we generally adhere to the rule of sending them down to a lower altitude. In extreme cases we might put them in a Gamow Bag to temporarily alleviate the symptoms and then send them down. Diamox and Dexamethazone are always options, too. We will have a physician (Howard Donner) joining us in about 10 days. But, there are many doctors here at Base Camp who are familiar with mountain medicine. There is also a clinic at Pheriche at 14,000 feet which is about a day's walk from here. There are already existing control groups that have been studied at varying altitudes in the past years. Our intention is to study 4 elite climbers who have excelled beyond others at high altitude and are willing to partake in specially designed tests on Everest. We are a small sample, but we are very interested in what the data on these 4 climbers will tell us about peak performance at extreme altitudes.



Comment:

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.

John Stires
Escondido, CA




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.



Comment:

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!

Chris Parsons
San Diego, CA




Comment:

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!

Michael Russell
Urbandale, Iowa


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