NOVA Online
Site Map

Delayed at Advance Base Camp
May 5, 1997
By Liesl Clark

The roar of the wind heard above Camp II sent a clear signal to our climbers that it was not a good idea to move up to Camp III today. All the Sherpas who went up to the South Col (Camp IV) had to turn back due to the high winds. "We can hear the winds roaring above us like a freight train while we sit in our tent," reported David Breashears this morning. Today, the winds out of the southwest are reaching speeds on the summit of up to 75 miles per hour and the temperature could dip down as low as minus 36 degrees.

After deciding to remain at Advance Base Camp (Camp II) at 6:30 this morning, Ed Viesturs radioed back to David Breashears and Pete Athans from his tent, "Well, we'll just augur in." It won't be a day of just sitting around, however, as both crews (David and Pete at Camp II and us at Base Camp) need to videotape radio communications sequences with Doctor Howard Donner for our NOVA documentary. Today we are focusing on changes in barometric pressure on the slopes of Everest.

Whenever you wait one day at Advance Base Camp, there's always the fear that it could turn into many more days of waiting. We overhear David and Ed commiserating about last year, when they spent 30 days at Camp II. All are hoping that this year will not be a repeat in weather patterns. "We have only enough oxygen (16 bottles) for one try on the summit," explains David, noting the importance of this decision. "Once we decide to proceed higher, all arrows point up."

Meanwhile, Howard Donner was interviewed by Daniel Zwirdling last night for a story NPR's Weekend Edition did on wilderness medicine. As we hovered around the satellite phone in the cold hours of the night waiting for Daniel and his team to "get into a recording studio" at NPR, we sang what we could remember of the NPR radio theme song to Howard in preparation for his interview (ever notice how similar it is to the Jeopardy theme song?) Daniel introduced Howard as a Telluride doctor who regularly hangs a sign on his door that reads "Gone to Base Camp." The interview went well and Howard went back to his tent covered in the virtual ticker tape we regaled him with after his debut.

In the meantime, all is well at Base Camp and Advance Base Camp as we hope for better weather on Everest.

June 10, 1997: Back Home (27)
May 25, 1997: Climbers Return to Base Camp (26)
May 24, 1997: Descending Toward Base Camp (25)
May 23 PM, 1997: NOVA Climbers Safely Off the Summit (24)
May 23 AM, 1997: NOVA Climbers Reach the Summit! (23)
    Hear the archived live audio broadcast from the summit
    Read the transcript of the broadcast from the summit
May 22, 1997: Bid for the Summit (22)
May 21, 1997: Helicopter Crashes at Everest Base Camp (21)
May 20, 1997: Moving On Up (20)
May 19, 1997: Poised at Camp II (19)
May 18, 1997: Departing for Camp II (18)
May 17, 1997: Dead Sherpa Found on Khumbu Glacier (17)
May 16, 1997: Jet Stream Winds Blast Camp II (16)
May 13, 1997: Receiving News from the North Side (15)
    May 13, 1997: RealAudio Interview with David Breashears
May 11, 1997: Five Climbers Presumed Dead on the North Side (14)
May 10, 1997: The Waiting Game (13)
May 9, 1997: Pulmonary Edema Evacuation from Base Camp (12)
May 8, 1997: A Hasty Retreat to Base Camp (11)
May 7, 1997: Sherpa Falls To His Death On The Lhotse Face (10)
May 6, 1997: Spin: A Passenger to the Summit (9)
May 5, 1997: Delayed at Advance Base Camp (8)
May 4, 1997: NOVA Climbers Leave Base Camp for Their Summit Attempt (7)
May 1, 1997: NOVA Team Prepares for Summit Attempt (6)
April 26, 1997: Indonesian Expedition First to Summit in 1997 (5)
April 23, 1997: Expedition Leader Dies at Everest Base Camp (4)
April 22, 1997: Japanese Expedition Pulls Out (3)
April 16, 1997: Traffic Reports on Everest (2)
April 14, 1997: Rescue Season Begins (1)

Lost on Everest | High Exposure | Climb | History & Culture | Earth, Wind, & Ice
E-mail | Previous Expeditions | Resources | Site Map | Everest Home

Editor's Picks | Previous Sites | Join Us/E-mail | TV/Web Schedule
About NOVA | Teachers | Site Map | Shop | Jobs | Search | To print
PBS Online | NOVA Online | WGBH

© | Updated November 2000